Thanksgiving 2021

Snow Goons

Monday before last, Kris tried to make hamburgers for lunch but couldn’t get the pellet grill to light. We decided to save hamburgers for dinner. In the afternoon, I had a small break between meetings, so Kris and I were out walking the dogs, and a freak storm came our way. We were walking through a construction zone, and the wind was so high I was trying to make sure no debris was heading towards us. All the while, we’re being pelted with ice. I think I saw snow goons throwing icicles at us. This was not mentioned in the weather forecast.

Scout and Blaze (dogs) playing in the snow
Scout and Blaze

When we finally got the scared dogs home, Eli informed me that one of our Aspen trees in our backyard had fallen. It smashed the propane grill. So much for cooking hamburgers.  Fortunately, the fence survived.   After my last meeting, I took the rest of the day off to buy a chainsaw, chaps and stopped by Wendy’s (we have a Wendy’s now!) to get hamburgers.  A lightning storm was coming through, and right after I paid for my order, the power went out. I waited a bit, the power did come back up, but Wendy’s couldn’t get their grill to boot up.

Aspen tree fell down on my fence
Aspen Tree Down

This made me reflect on my 3-2-1 backup strategy.  You’d think three different grills, each using a distinct power source, and one being offsite, would be enough to ensure hamburger availability.  But here, we had our primary pellet grill that wouldn’t light, our backup propane grill got taken out by a tree, and then Wendy’s electric grill got electrocuted.  There would be no hamburgers for the Bryan household that day.

Chainsaw

Tuesday I took a vacation day, learned how to use a chainsaw safely, cut the tree off the fence, and lived to tell the tale.  I bought an electric chainsaw. I’ve standardized on the Craftsman V20 battery system. Craftsman shares a lot of internal components with DeWalt–but red is a whole lot cheaper than yellow. My local ACE Hardware happened to have the v20 Chainsaw. It runs nearly silent; the loudest noise is the chain cutting the tree. It does eat through batteries–I went through four 2 mAh batteries (replacing them when they were at 1/3). If I was cutting trees every day I’d get a gas chainsaw. But it’s not like I have a tree falling down very often and I have a lot of batteries.

Then I went back to Wendy’s and got our hamburger order fulfilled.

I don’t go shopping, but when I do, I bring home the bacon.

Overhead garage storage

Fast forward to this week, we’ve so far not been able to find a larger house in Sandpoint after looking for over a year.  So we’re trying to make our house more space-efficient.  I took this week off to move a lot of my office (printer, etc.) and servers out of the office into the garage so we can convert my office into a bedroom.  This is sort of like playing a sliding tile puzzle. To do that, I need to run new ethernet cables, build a server rack, etc. And there is stuff in the garage where I want the rack to go, so I installed overhead storage racks to free up floor space.  Of course, I had just finished up the overhead storage, and the garage door spring randomly broke! I learned how to replace it myself–but now I’ve got to wait on parts to come in.

Broken garage door spring

In the midst of this, I started the process of refinancing our house–with skyrocketing inflation,  interest rates probably aren’t going down further anytime soon, I can do a zero cost no points refinance from 4% to 3.5%–and pulling some extra cash out to put into I-Bonds that are yielding 7.12%.

Speaking of inflation, a few men at my church started a podcast called Bitcoin and the Bible exploring the moral case for Bitcoin. This is the best resource on Bitcoin from a Christian perspective. While I am not as adamant about Bitcoin as they are, I do think it’s a good podcast to listen to for those interested in cryptocurrency. It’s well put together and a great introduction to Bitcoin for non-technical folks, and its implications for Christians. I should caution that a lot of people have lost their Bitcoin to hackers or to simply losing their wallets or forgetting their wallet password. This is nothing like banking systems that can reverse accidental transactions.

Bringing us back to Thanksgiving; Albert Mohler did a podcast on Thanksgiving.  He does one on Thanksgiving every year and I couldn’t agree more with his commentary.

Even though I spent most of the time working on home projects during my vacation, I’m taking Thanksgiving day off from my house chores to reflect on God’s goodness, to celebrate the provisions he has given us and all of mankind. 

The recent supply-chain issues are a reminder of the things God has blessed us with through our ability to subdue the earth.  We have reliable electricity for our house, gas for our cars, food on the table.  Sitting by the fire in my living room, I can summon nearly anything and have it on my doorstep in days.  I can even 3D print things. We have instant worldwide access to information via the internet. I can look up how to replace a garage door spring within minutes.  We have the capability to create a vaccine to fight a global pandemic in 12-months.

These are things we should not take for granted, but thank God for creating us in His image and giving us the ability to innovate and create this technology, and blessing our labor in doing so.

Well, I’m signing off to smoke some pies. I hope all of you have a good Thanksgiving.

Ben

Pie

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.
– Ephesians 3:20 ESV

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