Return of the Murph

March 23, 2022

Young Murphy suffered an ACL injury around the time that Ollie died last summer. (August 2021 was something.) The veterinarian decided that since it was only partially torn, if we kept him calm (ha!) for a few months (what?) and kept him low activity until spring (um?) it would fully recover.

murphy and his upstairs bed
‘u finally awake? I’m bored.’

And you know what? It did. He limped until he didn’t. His knee cracked all of the time until it stopped cracking. And now it’s March and he is back to full zoom potential.

murphy keeping me company while I assemble a raised bed
‘this is boring’

He and I have been taking daily walks again mostly for the benefit of my own sedentary behind. He’s excited for the first 5 minutes of the walk, and the last 5 minutes of the walk, but other than that he’s content with zooming around the yard. He’s definitely the only dog I’ve had who’s apathetic about walks.

murphy. walking
‘this is boring too’

We have him on a hip and joint supplement as well to make sure he stays in working order. It has glucosamine, condroitin, turmeric, and fish oil and I hope this will help stave off the arthritis that might occur because of the injury.

But he’s a great dog, loud as an airhorn and soft as a Gund. Not the Best Boy, but the Goodest Boy.

Murphy immodestly on his back
‘draw me like one of ur french girls’

And I love him.

Post title inspired by Return of the Mack.

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Gardening, Home and Family, I live in New Jersey

The weekend that was a balm to my soul

March 21, 2022

It was gorgeous here in NJ this weekend. On Saturday the temp went up to the low 70s, and Sunday it was in the high 50s. SPRING HAS SPRUNG! Know that I jinx us all by typing this, because it tends to snow here at the end of March/beginning of April.

In no particular order, this weekend I:

  • changed the turn signal lightbulb in the black Jeep – thanks to YouTube for showing me how to do it on a Wrangler. Jeeps and their lightbulbs, let me tell you….
  • mounted the birdhouse I received for Christmas
  • cleaned the leaves against the fence one side of the house — it’s a chainlink fence and it’s a giant sieve for leaves
  • put on the new greenhouse cover because the old one was more packing tape patches than original plastic.
birdhouse on my tree
My first-EVER birdhouse. I can’t wait to see what moves in!
  • moved the onions to the greenhouse
  • assembled a new raised bed
  • trimmed back the giant pots of perennial herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, mint)
  • planted more garlic and some carrots
  • bought some more soil for the existing raised beds

UGH I love the beginning of spring so much. I love doing all of that mucky garden work.

And midday Saturday I said ‘eff it,’ picked up Mom, and went to Ocean City (NJ) for a few hours.

panoramic shot of the beach from the edge of ocean city, nj's music pier
From the Ocean City Music Pier. Panoramic shots are so weird and intriguing.

Salt water air makes me feel better about everything. And, I had my first slice of Manco & Manco pizza. We’re usually Prep’s pizza people but it was closed (it’s only March) so we checked out Manco & Manco and it was really good. Nice, tangy sauce and perfect crust. Even Mom’s gluten free pizza was fantastic.

We walked the boardwalk for a little bit and came home rejuvenated! This week there’s not much on the calendar except Murphy’s grooming appointment on Tuesday and … and … AND… a trip to the office on Thursday! We’re not officially going back, but I’m itchy to take a trip into the city and I’ll get to have lunch with one of my favorite coworkers.

It was a good weekend. I hope everyone else’s was great too! <3

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Gardening, Life

Friday 5: Take me to the old playground

March 18, 2022

Happy Friday! It’s GORGEOUS here today. The weather inched into the low 70s. I took Murphy for a walk at lunchtime, and after work I planted garlic and lettuce outside! Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. And Sunday we’re vernal equinoxing! Welcome spring, you gorgeous gorgeous girl.

giant boxes on a pallet. not pictured: Kim's simmering doubt that this will fit in the proper room and her sinking feeling that her craft room will be completely overtaken.
This is the quilt machine and I swear I have no idea how it’s supposed to fit where it’s supposed to fit.

This week’s Friday 5 theme is Take me to the old playground, which for me is right down the street from where I live. I never really made it far from the nest.

  1. When did you most recently swing on a swing?
    Mmmm…can we count amusement park giant swings? Because that would have been August of last year.
  2. On what issue have you teeter-tottered?
    Gosh, all of them? Right now I go back and forth on police funding. I believe we need a police force. I do not believe they should be outfitted with military-style equipment. I believe some of the money we spend outfitting police with military-style equipment could better be spent on social services that may get people to a better point where they don’t *have* to steal baby formula. I’m not so much “defund” as “rethink.”
  3. How close is your residence to a park, and when did you last visit?
    There is a little playground up the street and although I drive by it every day I haven’t been there in over 2 years.
  4. How capable are you with a charcoal grill?
    Not capable at all with charcoal. Barely capable with a gas grill. Every year I tell you all I’m going to grill more this season, every year I am afraid to light the gas grill.
  5. With what are you playing hide-and-seek?
    I had four chapsticks kept in very logical places. Purse, desk, nightstand, living room end table. I tossed the living room one after I was sick last week. Since then, I have been moving them around (brought the desk one to the living room, the purse one to the desk, the bedroom one to the purse, the living room upstairs etc etc) and now by some law of physics, there is never one where I am sitting. The solution is to buy a new chapstick this weekend.

The weekend! Back in November my MIL ordered a quilt machine. I am not a quilter so I’m not exactly sure what it does, but it seems to be a computerized sewing machine on rails mounted to a large table. It arrived in nine (!) boxes on Tuesday, and tomorrow two people are coming to assemble it in her room. They’re arriving between 8 and 9 so I have to make sure I’m up earlier than usual so I’m not padding around in my jammies while these folks are here. I am going to build my new raised garden bed this weekend, and also buy some more potting soil and fertilizer.

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I love the Internet, Life, Work

Cleaning my keyboard

March 17, 2022

I celebrated two years of working from home by cleaning my keyboard last weekend. I do it once a year or as needed after a spill. Because I spend 8+ hours a day at my keyboard and eat my lunch at my desk some days, it gets pretty grody. My keyboard is a Razer gaming keyboard, but for any keyboard where you can pop the keycaps off and replace them safely, this should work for you as well!

(I originally storied this on Instagram, but I’m archiving it here because this place should always be the #1 source of my own content. I forget that from time to time.)

I am not responsible for any damage you may incur by cleaning your keyboard. Do not try this on a keyboard where the keycaps don’t easily pop off. Do not try this on a keyboard that your employer owns.

The very first thing you want to do is take a photo of your keyboard. You may think you know where every keycap goes, but once you get past the letter keys, things can become very confusing. Insert/Delete/Home/End/Page Up/Page Down? Or Home/End/Insert/Delete/Page Up/Page Down? Take a photo. It’ll also be a nice “before” shot.

dirty keyboard
My reference photo.

Either turn off the computer that the keyboard or unplug your keyboard from the port. Now start popping off your keys. You can use any thin tool to help you out. I’ve used a paperclip, I’ve used a butter knife, but this time I used the can opener tool on a Leatherman. As long as it’s not sharp. You don’t want to cut yourself or slice what might be under your keycaps. It gets easier after the first key.

popping off keycaps
So disgusting.

By the way, did you know that people are creating beautiful custom keycaps out of resin? The world may be terrible but beauty and creativity is always around and always staggering.

I add two drops of dish soap to a bowl and fill it with warm water. I’m a fan of Dawn because of the baby ducks on the label. I dump the keycaps in there, agitate them a little, and let them soak while I tackle the area beneath the keys.

keycaps soaking in a bowl of water and dawn
“you’re soaking in it!”

If you are the type of person who loves pulling hair clogs out of drains, this part is going to thrill you. All of the gunk under the keys needs to go. But don’t be skeeved, because it’s mostly crumbs from what you’ve eaten, and your own hair/eyebrows/eyelashes. Turn the keyboard over and tap it firmly. Use cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol to scrub the dirt away. Use a microfiber cloth to tidy up the outer areas.

keyboard without keycaps
Almost finished!

Pour the keycaps into a colander and rinse well. To dry them, put them on a towel and roll the towel up like a jellyroll. Squeeze the towel to get as much water off of the keycaps as you can.

keycaps on a towel
Roll and squeeze

This is where the photo of your intact keyboard comes in clutch. But also, use your judgment. See how that key doesn’t look right? I thought it was the E but it was actually the M.

incorrect key placement
womp womp

(I went back in with a Q-Tip after this and cleaned more gunk.)

The soapy water will have lifted most of the dirt and grime, but you’ll still have to spot-clean some keycaps as you replace them.

Some of the larger keycaps have metal bars under them. Those bars help with balance and bounceback. The key (ha!) to replacing those is to place the metal bar beneath the plastic tabs that are on the keyboard. The ends of the bar have to stay beneath the tabs while the keycap is lifted and clicked back into place. If the metal bars aren’t placed correctly, the keycap will not feel right when you press it.

closeup of a keycap with a metal bar beneath it
Not a great photo, but you can see how the ends of the metal bar are under the plastic tabs.

Once all of the keycaps are replaced, plug everything back in, open your favorite text editor (or good old Notepad) and give it a test run.

a screenshot of a text file
Did you know that we type that quick brown fox sentence because it contains every letter?

Et voila!

clean keyboard
Much better, and typing on it just FEELS better.

Is this as clean as it could be? No. I’m not a housekeeper on the level of the cleaning influencers on Instagram or Tiktok. But it performs much better when it’s cleaner.

I ended up removing a Dorito’s worth of Dorito dust and enough DNA to implicate me in every homicide in New Jersey.

Good luck!

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March 15, 2022

While I was illing, my seeds started to sprout. They’re a bit leggy because I didn’t get the overhead lamp on in time, but I think they’ll be okay.

tiny tomato sprouts
Way too tall for this early in the game.

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