During the christmas season, Tyson and I stopped at EMS to pick up gifts. At the checkout counter they had the usual spontaneous buys. This time we fell for it, and picked one up. It is a little thumb drive sized LED light. And better yet, it comes with a crank to charge it. Since then I have decided that it is the best fidget toy ever. I crank the handle, and I produce energy. And that energy gets stored away for when I need it later. So I keep cranking and cranking, feeling very productive about all the energy I am saving up for the future when I might need a flashlight. The problem is that I don’t need a flashlight. I am sitting in a house with plenty of compact fluorescents lighting my day. So then I started getting creative with how to use all that energy that I was so productively creating. So I built a lamp shade and a stand for the flashlight so it would work as a romantic bedside light. Except the flashlight dims from its peak fairly quickly and then doesn’t penetrate the lampshade well enough, so I have to crank it again.
Wait, wasn’t that where this all started?
(And in case you need a fidget toy, this is what I got. It doesn’t keep it’s peak intensity very long, but it will glow dimly all night.)
And now you are still wondering what I have actually been up to.
Ever since returning from christmas vacation, there has been continuous snow on the ground. It has not all been great skiing conditions, especially after it got poured on for a day. But we have managed to make it out skiing most weekends. In our local wanderings, the best thing we have discovered is a large conservation area in Mason with lots of hiking trails. Then this past weekend, I dragged us out of our local habit and we went on an AMC ski trip up in the Whites. The ski trip wasn’t anything extraordinary, but our compatriots enthusiastically marketed at us until we agreed to sign up for a few more ski trips. So it looks like the next few weekends will include seeing new parts of NH and hanging out with social people.
The other fun skiing thing that has been going on is that one of our co-workers chose to learn to downhill ski as her new year’s resolution. Since she is a good friend of both Tyson and I, and we had already been having fun introducing her to rock climbing, we decided to help. Now mind you, neither of us have downhill skied much in the last ten years. We managed to convince another co-worker who is much more current on downhill skiing to come, and we went to a local hill for night skiing last monday. It took our combined efforts to figure out how to instruct skiing despite the three of us being good at it. It took us the longest time to realize the subtle difference between “put your skis in a V shape to stop” and “put your skis in a V shape with the edges dug in to stop.” But we all had fun. Tyson brought along his cross country skis and spent a bunch of time learning how to telemark on them. At the end, the three of us decided to see what else the ski area had besides the bunny slope. It turned out not much besides location, location, location. So tomorrow we are going to take the morning off from work and go to a nicer ski area that Tyson knows.
The other thing that we have been juggling around in our heads, and it seems like a bunch of the rest of you have too, is a house. We have been having fun reading passive solar design books and sketching out floor plans. But even though the housing market is going down, land and construction still aren’t that cheep. So we have also been occasionally perusing the internal realtor sites for decent options in our area. We noticed one that was plausible and had an open house on a convenient weekend day. We checked it out, and then we came back home and tried to figure out if we were actually serious about house buying. The question was basically money. As it turns out, to buy anything in our area that isn’t a project house, we would end up spending more on interest than we are on rent. So for now, we are back to sketching floor plans for fun, saving up money, and hoping the housing market doesn’t suddenly recover.