2023 Week 15 -Time for the Fly Swatter

The weather is warming up, and it’s lawn care season yet again! Fortunately, I have a firefighter in my neighborhood with a lawn-mowing business. I’ve been using him for several years, and he does a great job keeping the yard looking tidy, and his prices are very reasonable. Unfortunately, I’ve been a little lax on the weed and feed and decided to hire a local company to treat the lawn. After a bit of Google searching and review reading, I found one in Fishers that claims to be heavy on communication. The initial consultation and application proved them right. I’ll do a more in-depth review later this year once I get a few applications on the lawn.

I just realized the other day I hadn’t had as much food content lately, but I’ve still been eating lots of new things and trying new places, so I will include a lunch/dinner segment in the blog more regularly. I headed to The Garage for lunch last week to check out a Cuban place we spotted on our Birthday tour of Indy a few weeks ago. I’ve been hesitant to visit the Garage for lunch because of the parking prices ($6+ when I went to an after-work event a few months ago), but I just learned that Lot 4 on the West side of The Garage offers parking for $2 from 9-5 and between 11 am and 3 pm, the first hour is FREE.

On my last visit, I checked out Palavana Cubano, “Indy’s newest go-to spot for Cuban-inspired cuisine, specializing in the classic Cubano Sandwich,” according to the Garage Vendor Page. Being my first time visiting this location, I opted for the traditional Cubano Sandwich (they have several varieties) and a mix of regular and sweet potato fries (which are slowly starting to grow on me).

As you can see, this is not a small sandwich. It felt like it had a full pound of roasted pork, and I could have easily shared this (or only eaten half), but it was so good I joined the clean plate club with this one. The sauce on the side was a cumin-based red sauce that went well on the fries. Now that The Garage Food Hall is complete, it houses some excellent lunch/dinner options. I’m planning a return visit to try another new place in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Last Friday, the first day of the 2023 NRA Convention in Indianapolis, at least 35 school districts in Indiana received a robotic-sounding voice calling in a bomb threat.

“Out of an abundance of caution, troopers throughout the state have been in communication with their local schools to offer assistance and resources,” the statement continued. “School corporations are working with their local law enforcement to make the best decision about their operations today.”

Indiana State Police

The convention’s timing and threats may be coincidental, but the timing is suspicious. According to Vice magazine, this isn’t an isolated incident, A Computer-Generated Swatting Service Is Causing Havoc Across America, and people can pay as little as $75 to have a school shut down. Of course, schools have to take this seriously, but the amount of resources and time wasted is incredible.

Swatting is when someone calls in a bogus threat in an attempt to direct law enforcement resources to a particular home, school, or other location. Often, swatting calls result in heavily armed police raiding an innocent victim’s home. At least one case has resulted in police killing the unsuspecting occupant.


The Vice article listed above is a really good read and gets into the problem’s details and provides a couple of recordings used in the past. It’s going to be interesting to see how these incidents will be handled as time goes on.

And finally… Speaking of criminals, where do you keep your valuables? If you have a Safe, is it easy for a burglar to locate it? The following video has some great ideas for hiding and protecting your stuff from getting stolen.

Indianapolis – Midland Arts & Antiques Market

I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs & came across a reference to the Midland Arts & Antiques Market in a post about Ralston’s on Mass by Indianapolis Restaurant Scene.  By the way, IRS is the #1 Indy food blog on Urbanspoon (with good reason) & you should check it out!

I drive by the Midland building all the time & never realized what it was.  I was downtown at the annual company picnic with the boy on Saturday & we decided to check this place out on our way home.  First of all, this place is HUGE! The sign on the east side says it used to be an old window & door factory.  It’s also a little tricky to get to because of the one way streets.

Plan on spending a few hours to see everything.  I’m going back to shoot more pictures of the unique items being sold in the 150+ booths & display cases.  Here are some of the more unique things I saw while visiting.

First 10 Days With The Nest Learning Thermostat

nest v 2 6272a85dAfter waking up to a cold house 3 mornings in a row and finding my programmable thermostat reset to its factory defaults I set out on a quest for a replacement.  I’d seen the Nest Learning Thermostat before but always shied away because of the $250+ cost.

After reading a review of the new 2nd generation unit, and customer comments saying the 1st Generation was better (and now cheaper), I decided to take another look at the Nest.

Designed by former Apple employees the Nest is a remarkable device with a feature list almost too amazing to believe.  At first glance a web enabled thermostat sounds like overkill but when you realize what that feature allows the device to do it become more interesting…

By connecting to the Internet the Nest can be controlled remotely via computer or smartphone.  It also receives software updates and monitors the weather outside your home.  This last feature allows the unit to learn the thermodynamic properties of the structure and estimate the amount of time it will take to reach a requested temperature.

inside_nest_largeLet’s say I program the thermostat to let the house be a little warmer when I’m at work.  If it’s been programmed to have the house at 72-degrees at 5pm knowing the outside temperature and how log it’s going to take the AC to get to the requested temperature allows it to only run the AC as long as it needs to.  So on a really hot day it might start the pre-cooling process at 3pm where a cooler day it might not start until 4:30pm.

HVAC cycles are recorded and you can view the heating/cooling cycles for previous days.  There’s even monthly energy reports available.  Since I’ve only had the unit for 10 days it’s still learning.  Future blog posts will further detail the long-term usage of the Nest.

There’s a lot of chatter online about the Gen 1 vs. the Gen 2 versions of the Nest.  The Gen 2 has a slightly different look to it and it’s designed to work with a greater variety of HAVC units.  People who have “upgraded” to the new unit have a lot of complaints about how it does not seem to work as well as the Gen 1.  The good thing is they both run the same software and have the same feature set.  After verifying my HVAC system would work with the Gen 1 Nest I placed my order and saved about $75 in the process.

One feature that Immediately got my attention was the heat/cool mode.  You pick the upper temperature you’re comfortable with as well as the lower temp.  The Nest will heat or cool as necessary to stay within that range (no more manually changing modes).  I have mine set for 66-74 degrees and that 8-degree range is enough to prevent my furnace or AC from running most of the day when the temps are in the 60’s-80’s.

nest_learning_thermostat_3The Auto-Fam mode allows me to cycle the fan at just about any schedule I want.  Currently I run the fan for 15-minutes an hour to keep the inside air from becoming stale.  I used to leave the fan running constantly to help even the temperature between floors.

A proximity sensor on the unit detects movement and after a few weeks it’s supposed to learn when you’re home or not.  This allows you to set a broader temperature range.  If your work/weekend schedule is pretty consistent this may be a good option for you.  My schedule is not and I’m not sure how well this is going to work long-term.  10 days in and it’s still trying to “learn” my schedule.  The display of the unit turns on when you approach it which is pretty cool.

Call me lazy but being able to adjust the Heat/AC from anywhere is pretty cool.  Especially when you wake up one morning to a house a little cooler than you want.  Pickup the smart phone, tap tap tap, the heat comes on and you’re toasty in minutes.

There’s a lot more to talk about but for now I’m going to leave you with this promo video that gives a good synopses of the Nest.  Feel free to leave any questions in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Working From Home Is Like Saying No to Drugs

workingfromhomeI could not agree more…

Frankly, I don’t really care if I am less productive working from home than in the office. Productivity is only one variable in a complex equation. Another very important variable is personal happiness. I want to be productive, but I also want to be happy, and sometimes those goals conflict and I have to sacrifice one for the other. Working from home is where I am potentially sacrificing productivity for happiness. Now, to be clear, I’m not conceding that working from home makes me less productive, but instead I’m saying that I really don’t care. It’s a moot point in the argument.” [MORE]


Old Style Drill and Plug Anchor

Being a homeowner for the past 15+ years I’ve had my share of do-it-yourself projects and a never-ending “Honey-do” list to tackle every weekend. For the most part a house is pretty easy to take care of as long as you stay ahead of problems before they manifest themselves into something bigger.

Recently I discovered a new (to me) kind of wall anchor and wanted to let everyone know about it. It’s called a Zip-It wall anchor. I’ve always hated getting out the drill and trying to make sure made the correct sized hole for the anchor I wanted to use. I usually drilled the wrong size hole and ended up having to hammer the anchor into the wall, often damaging it in the process.

New Style Push and Screw Anchor
New Style Push and Screw Anchor

The Zip-It anchors don’t require a drill and their unique auger design provides a secure grip in the wall. All you need to do is push the sharpened tip into the wall and use a phillips head screw driver to screw the anchor into the wall. Zip-It’s come in nylon as well as metal and a variety of sizes.

I’ve used these for the past 6 months and there’s no way I’ll ever go back to the old drill and plug method. Zip-It fasteners can be found at just about any hardware store.