Saturday, April 9, 2011

Messages from another planet?

Is what I wondered, when, after a long day suddenly, late at night, beeping started. I figured it was one of the smoke alarms, and since I can't climb and read and change batteries in the ceiling all at the same time, I asked my saintly next door neighbor, who came in willingly, and ended up spending two hours changing batteries, fixing wiring in one of the units, taking them off completely, cutting the power, and still finding the eerie loud beeping going on. Repeated all this to find out where it was coming from, now that the smoke alarms were just fine. But they had joined in the beeping for a while. I wonder if there's sympathetic resonance with electronic gear? About midnight we both declared ourselves baffled, and decided to put it to our nearest expert.

Had to tolerate the beeping all night till we could get my neighbor who has rewired her own house and knows everything there is to know about the power in these houses. Explained the situation, and how all the cats flew at me and dug in their claws all night every time the beep went off, despite having closed all the doors between us and it. This also involved moving catboxes and food and water, since the area of the noise was also the kitty restroom and cafeteria.

Soooooooo, neighbor comes in early next morning, which involved my getting up very early, cross-eyed with fatigue, and showering before doing the two hours of early morning care HP needs, so that whatever happened I was dressed and up for it.

And she diagnosed in two seconds that it was a CO alarm which had died, and was beeping to let me know it was ready for the great alarm shelf in the sky. However, it closely resembled the beep pitch and interval of the smoke alarms because, guess what, they're made by the same mfr. who no doubt uses the same chips in everything. I installed it seven years ago and forgot all about it.

The other neighbor came into see what was up, and gallantly offered to shop for a replacement alarm for me on his way home from work, since it's not possible for me to get away long enough to shop for one without special arrangements ahead of time.

Why neither of us could find it, as Neighbor Two explained was that in this kind of hollow wall, the sound travels around the ceiling area and sounds as if it's coming from yards away. Ohhhhhhh.

All quiet now. Finally. And gallant neighbor One shopped on his way home from work, delivered the new alarm and flatly refused to be paid for it. What a friend. When I feel overwhelmingly grateful for neighbors and friends who do this kind of beyond all requirements kindness, I remember a friend who told me not to worry about it, but recognize I had given them an opportunity for community service!

The earlier part of the first day was a bit more productive -- meeting with the library star who is running their summer arts program, on how to do papermaking for large numbers. We explored all kinds of thoughts and ideas, such a luxury for me, to be the idea person who strolls away and lets the other people do the heavy lifting.. So, I couldn't resist, I tried making a post of paper (a post is a stack of sheets) at home, at least after the departure of the neighbor who stopped in to visit and visit....using the mix they were thinking of using and slapping off onto windows to dry. Hence the pictures.

Whole post, drying on mirror

Closer view of two pages from the post.

However, the pages would NOT come off the glass next day after they dried, because I suspect, of the recycled paper mixed with the pure abaca pulp (which is what I use exclusively, and which makes wonderful paper that will come off glass when dry). Recycled paper has sizing in it, which is, um, glue.

Sooooooo, I ended up scraping it off the mirrors, and will repulp and reuse it. Better that I discovered this to forewarn them, rather than have 90 kids all sticking paper to glass and the resulting exciting adventure of trying to get it back off again!

Making the paper in the kitchen was fun, took me back to long ago papermaking classes which were great, and I've made paper a number of summers since then, too, out on the patio, great outdoor art because of all the water, but not recently.

Finding that I got nothing from the batch was not quite as fun, sigh. First time I ever had a batch not work. But it's the first time I ever included recycled paper in with the good stuff. So now I know.

Next up: fiber arts projects I'm designing for my girl scout friend who's going for an award and plans to learn this stuff from me then teach it to groups. Interesting challenge, to teach her something she can not only get quickly, but can teach in her turn.


  1. Oh the continual adventure of home ownership! Re the paper escapade - ouch. I suppose though, to look on the bright side, at least you were forced to clean your mirrors!

  2. Re the girl scout, that's an interesting challenge.

    Re the paper, where will you dry the next batch? Lower % of recycled paper in the mix?


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