Home Networking, Or The Project That Only Took A Year…

I finally got the motivation up to run the network cable between the first and second floors.  There was a little drilling involved, but all-in-all, I think I did minimal damage.  It’s nice to have the non-wireless devices on the second floor back online, in particular my workhorse laser printer that is going on 12 years old and still works like a champ.  Let’s just say they don’t make ’em like that anymore.

As of now, my fingers are sore because I haven’t put the ends on twisted pair cable in over a year or two.  After the first connector of tonight, I got back into the groove and knocked out the remainder in short order.

RJ-45 Crimper
My fingers are sore, and I'm kind of rusty, but I got it done.

So, now that I have the upstairs wired in again, what next?  Well, I’m not really sure yet.  I do know I need to get some kind of Linux server back online for various network maintenance jobs and the like, as well as possibly acting as a VPN gateway.

I’m also considering playing with OpenSolaris.  I hear the filesystem is pretty amazing.

Oh yeah…I also still have a nagging “itch” to scratch from that asset tracking database project I was working on at my last job.  I always wanted to be able to tell how often an asset had been moved and then see if I could correlate it with breakage rates.  I figure if you move a computer around three times a week, treating it like a bale of hay when it’s handled, eventually things like hard disks are going to give out.  So, having a database server to test on again will be nice…maybe I’ll even get crazy and play with database clustering.

Regardless of what I do with the network upstairs, the important thing is now I can start moving the computer equipment back into place.  Hopefully this means I’ll be able to see the floor up there in the office soon. Maybe I’ll have a functional office and ham radio station again before the hockey season starts up.  Time will tell.

(Re)Opening the Old Cabin

Since I was snowed in this weekend, I tackled a lot of chores around the house that had been neglected for far too long.  See, here’s the thing:  For most of the last year, I really haven’t been living on the farm more than perhaps half of the time.

Why?  Is not important.  Not anymore.

Simply put:  Things have changed.  I will be spending my time here at home again.

“Home.”

Frankly, it still feels a little strange to call this place home again.  Maybe that’s just the cognitive dissonance talking.  Just when I was getting comfortable with the idea of calling Nashville “home,” I now find myself back on the farm.  Despite my current state of confusion, it is good to know I can always come back.  For years, this farm has been a place of refuge and support for my family.

So, with all that explanation and back story out of the way, we now resume our regularly scheduled blog posting.

Faced with a house that had only been lived in at most three to four nights a week for the last few months, I had a lot of work ahead of me.  Besides all the usual dusting and decluttering one would expect from a house that had been idle for this length of time, this house brought several extra challenges:

This house is in the middle of a corn/soybean field, and that means…mice.  Lots of mice.  Back in the fall, the mice had begun to move in when it got colder and after the beans were cut, they full-on invaded.  Traps were not enough, so I had to resort to poison.  Mice gone, but then I had a lot of “mouse sign” to clean away.  With some help from Dad, and a lot of quality time with the Shop Vac, those little bits of nastiness are now taken care of.

I went through the bathroom cabinets and drawers, took everything out and put it on the floor to survey what I had.  Wow, that was enlightening…and more than a little embarrassing.  I was shocked to discover I had 2-3 of almost everything.  Let’s just say I won’t be needing to purchase any shampoo for the next few months.  Also, I found and tossed a lot of expired products—some of them dating back to when I was living in Wisconsin.  Everything is now neat and logically organized, and that feels pretty good.  I can now open the door to the master bath again when giving the “let me show you around the place” tour.

The kitchen had needed a major purging for a while.  Old baking materials and herbs and spices had to go.  The pantries were all emptied and sorted, long-expired things were tossed, and everything was reorganized.  Now that I can see what I have to work with, cooking will be much easier.

That was pretty much the whole weekend’s work.  So, what’s the next phase in Operation Move-In?  Well, there is the whole matter of the upper floor, parts of which have not been worked on since my first semester of Law School in 2004.  Seriously, there are old class notes and textbooks that probably haven’t been touched in six years—again, where did the time go?  In my defense, as I settled in here at this house, implemented wireless broadband internet access, and began to use a laptop exclusively, I found I didn’t need to use the office upstairs at all.  Regardless, I need to get that space cleaned up and organized.  I suppose this is my best chance, as I have about six weeks of what I call the “dead season” to go before spring hits and I’ll be outside more often than not on weekends.  The soccer fields and the lake should expect to see a lot more of me this year.

It feels so weird to be back home.    After not really living in this house for the past few months, I’m back, and it looks like I’m back for good.  I guess I need to make the best of it.