Summer vacation, 2013 Edition – Steven’s graduation from high school, relaxation galore

Home for Steven’s graduation

This past week I was at home for my brother’s graduation from high school, and in general for some much-needed vacation away from CT.  All told, it was a lovely time at home!

I am very, very proud of my brother for graduating high school and preparing for OSU in the fall!!

I am very, very proud of my brother for graduating high school and preparing for OSU in the fall!!

Games Galore (“GG” as they say)

So, the majority of my fun and games whilst at home, as it were, consisted of, well, fun AND games!

a slew of gaming with old friends, on my family's lovely deck

a slew of gaming with old friends, on my family’s lovely deck

The games for this vacation at home included Cosmic Encounter (a game of intergalactic politics, which is quick to learn and has 50+ different alien races to try out, so high replay value), 7 Wonders, Bohnanza, Star Fluxx (a science fiction-flavored version of Fluxx), Chaos in the Old World (the uplifting experience of competing, as daemonic gods, to do the most damage to humanity in the Old World!  Fun for the whole family!), and Talisman (my friend Pat’s favorite game, a quick and easy adventure board game that is entertaining and quick to learn).  All good stuff!

Cosmic Encounter is a new addition to my game library

Cosmic Encounter is a new addition to my game library

Being a bad good big brother, I have always gotten my brother involved in gaming with me… and gave him one game as a graduation gift… and now he has begun to purchase games, himself.  Yessssss 😀

Steven's girlfriend Audrey even got involved, with some 7 Wonders... Steven's copy of it, as I have begun to addict him to gaming :)

Steven’s girlfriend Audrey even got involved, with some 7 Wonders… Steven’s copy of it, as I have begun to addict him to gaming 🙂

Working on the car

Obviously, it wouldn’t be an official blog post if it didn’t at least mention my car, right? 😛

The most important fix while at home was replacing the vacuum lines in the engine, which allow boost to be passed to various components and thus tell them how hard the engine needs to work at any given moment (say, when it is going up a big hill).  My friend Tom gave me a hand, and we got them in place.

Tom the Wallet Destroyer, giving me a LOT of help getting the vacuum tubing replaced in my car

Tom the Wallet Destroyer, giving me a LOT of help getting the vacuum tubing replaced in my car

Additionally, we installed a boost gauge into the center c0nsole, so I can easily see a mechanical reading of how much boost the car is producing (in case my phone ceases showing accurate readings, or the car’s engine computer decides to die on me).

... and then installed a boost gauge so I can diagnose that issue from the driver's seat, in the future

… and then installed a boost gauge so I can diagnose that issue from the driver’s seat, in the future

Without a doubt, that was the most important fix.  Even so, my time at home also saw the right rear door handle being fixed; the cupholders in the front seat being fixed; and Leon replacing the condenser in the engine, to get the air conditioning working anew.

I fixed me some cup holder as well, finally

I fixed me some cup holder as well, finally

Fun with family and friends

The majority of my time at home was spent relaxing, and with friends and family, but I wouldn’t be me without squeezing in at least one other project, right?  So, to help my parents in their quest to not produce any garbage but recycle all waste, I asked them about what garbage they DO throw away (approximately one small bag per week, for the whole family)… and it turned out to be mostly food waste.

So, I sat and thought about the least work-intensive method of helping them compost said food waste, both in terms of building the thing AND in terms of upkeep for them, for years to come.  And I drew out a simple sketch of a compost bin that would aerate from slats but never require turning, and also have high volume (it is a 6 foot cube).  I built this while home with their help, and now my folks officially produce zero garbage from their house!

Father-son-son time, building  the compost bin I envisioned

Father-son-son time, building the compost bin I envisioned

the finished compost bin for my parents' house

the finished compost bin for my parents’ house

The summer (hike) ahead

This morning (Monday the 10th of June), I had an appointment about the shoulder injury I managed to get from krav maga a couple of weeks ago (and the MRI I got 2 weeks ago).  It turns out I have at least a torn capsule, if not torn cartilage as well… so this will be a hiking-heavy summer, like 2012, I guess.  More on this as it develops. :/

The trip back

So, after 10 days off, I drove back to New Haven with the MFALCON and was MUCH better able to handle the big hills… so the vacuum tube replacement made a big difference in performance, it turns out.  I am blessed to have a car and the ability to get home, but particularly to have such gorgeous terrain and scenery on the way home.  The Allegheny Mountains are breathtaking, for a good part of the drive.

 the open road and hills and dales, between home and CT

the open road and hills and dales, between home and CT

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