Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Nursery – Part 2 – Transport Logistics

This is a continuation of Part 1 of the Nursery Setup.

After tirelessly cleaning and moving all of the stuff we have accumulated over the last few years, I finished up clearing out the office at around 1 am on Saturday morning. The desks I had to leave inside of the room as I could not move it by myself. This was the final product of a weeks worth of cleaning:

Clean Office

Clean Office

Transport Logistics
Earlier in the year, we had purchased some nursery furniture as it was on sale. We had no space at all to store it in our apartment, so we had to stored it at my in-law’s place between the sale and when we were going to transport it over to the nursery. As a quick tip, I would highly recommend doing that, when you are expecting and you see a deal, take it. Don’t wait for it. We are looking around now for deals, and there are none to be had! Anyways, since the furniture is off site, the logistics of transporting the items to the new nursery posed as an interesting problem.

First, the dimensions and weight of the boxes were varied. Last time, we needed two cars to transport the boxes a short distance from the store, the trunks wouldn’t close, and we had to use a roof rack. We had a few other people helping us load it on and into the cars. The dresser we picked out is pretty heavy. This time, we didn’t have that luxury. We knew a car and also dollies and other moving tools would be required for this one.

Second, the vehicles used last time was not really made to transport heavy boxes like this. While it was ok going only a few kilometers, this time, we had to travel 30 km on a highway and some sections of the road are under construction and not really well paved. We needed another vehicle to transport it. Looking around the options available, between gas, mileage, and time, most places would have an estimated cost of $100. While it’s not much, at that price, we might as well book someone to move it for us. Before we resorted to looking for reputable shipping companies (though we thought about putting it on uShip), we looked at Zipcar to see if they also had some vehicles available for yesterday. We found 2 possibilities, a Ford E-150 or a Toyota Tacoma. I would have preferred to get the Ford because it was covered, but the boxes would not have fit into the van. We ended up selecting the open bed Toyota Tacoma and hoped that it would not rain. (It didn’t. Yay!) The only condition to be concerned about is time, as you don’t want to return your Zipcar later than the expected time.

Third, living in the downtown core, it means that travelling to our place isn’t as easy as pulling into a driveway and just dropping stuff off and leaving your car on the side of the street. Traffic can get kinda crazy. The truck needs to move around in tight spots at a moments notice to avoid honking and angry people. This one is all timing, you pick a time and hope that you don’t run into a game of some sort that can gridlock the roads.

Fourth, living in an apartment means that elevators and delivery doors need to be booked ahead of time, and there are dimensions to consider as well. You don’t want to have boxes show up and then find out that you can’t fit it through the door or at any point between the truck to the nursery. Measuring before the move is highly recommended. We had a good idea of where everything was going to go, and how we were going to move it there by the time we had help available to actually do the move.

The Transporter
We had booked earlier in the morning at 8 am to avoid the traffic at least for one leg of the trip. I had planned to wake up at around 6:45 am to get ready, eat breakfast, and do some last-minute shuffling and dimension checking. And then head out of the door at around 7:30 am to drive to the location of the Zipcar. While that was in the plan, the reality was a smashed alarm clock (by me) at 6:50 am and then me rolling out of the bed to get my Dad’s call five minutes before we had to head out. We barely made it out at 7:45 am. Luckily, I planned enough buffer into the travel time and we managed to get there just at 8 am. After a walk around the car and the usual Zipcar checking routine, which was noted as a dirty car with scratches on the hood and sides, dirty scratched interior, and less than a 1/4 tank of gas, we were on our wounded way.

Once at my in-law’s place, we quickly loaded the items. We noticed that one of the boxes was too tall and it needed to be tied up some way so that the taller item doesn’t flip and fall over while driving on the highway and causing a catastrophic accident. We ended up tying the two of the boxes together in the hopes that the heavier one will keep the other from falling over.

Once we deemed everything secure, we drove away (slowly so things don’t fall out of the open bed) to beat the countdown to the Zipcar return. During the whole trip, I was checking the gap between the two boxes. Whenever I felt uncomfortable with the distance between them at the top, I just stopped to the side and checked the straps. In total, I had to stop twice, once before I got on the highway, and once after.

The drive to the apartment was a fairly smooth, with the occasional bumps here and there. We did notice a lot more cars on the road. I think everyone had just finished their Saturday Cartoons and were out and about for lunch. It was a sunny day, and luckily not too windy. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we got hit by a sudden gust of wind. Our nursery furniture would probably could have been in pieces, sprawled out over the highway.

Once we got to the apartment, the doors and elevators were opened for us to move these boxes to the suite. All in all, the apartment experience was excellent. With this task under my belt, I cannot stress the importance of the role a dolly plays in this situation. Having all the floors effectively at one level, the dollies were back saving instruments. Once we loaded it on the dolly from the truck (there were some tipping iffy parts there), it was a simple matter of just wheeling it to the elevator and eventually in our suite.

Apologies, I didn’t take any pictures of the actual travel from and to our apartment, because I was too busy making sure that I was driving at speeds where the wind wasn’t going to catch the box and make it fly, and I was staring at the distance between the two boxes from my rear view mirror. Instead, this is what the boxes looked like in our place once they were delivered.

Nursery Furniture in Boxes. Success!

Nursery Furniture in Boxes. Success!

The Nursery Game Plan…

  1. The Den Contents to Cache
  2. The Den Furniture to Distribute
  3. The Office Contents to Cache
  4. Transport Furniture On-Site
  5. The Office Furniture to Den
  6. The Nursery Furniture to the Old Office (New Nursery) – We are here…
  7. The Nursery Contents to the Nursery
  8. The Office Contents to Den

Items in italics have been moved or added since the last post.

Now I know how the people on Shipping Wars feel like!
E

My New Raspberry Pi Lego Case

Since playing around with the Raspberry Pi, I knew I had a need to encase it in something. I didn’t want things dropping or spilling on it. I mean it is just a circuit board after all. So, to solve this problem, the nerd kid in me raided the various places around the house and found a decent sized stash of miscellaneous Lego pieces. These pieces were either left overs from other sets or just parts that I had used to put together a patchwork spaceship or something in my youth. The parts that I could find and spare resulted in a pile of odd-shaped pieces that were in all types of colors ranging from transparent green 1×1 plates to weird ladders and slanted pieces. I even found a 2×10 plate that was conductive! Anyways, here is a picture of the before and after of the stash to the patchwork case for my Raspberry Pi.

Randoms to rPi Case

Randoms to rPi Case

Fast forward to today, as I see it sitting there on the TV stand, I think that something should be done to make it fit in more. While it had “character”, it really was sticking out too much. So I decided to make a new one that was more discreet. I had seen what others had done, and I also played with the Lego software for making a model and instructions of the case that I was trying to build. I had put a pretty good plan together when I found that it was impossible to get the parts! I basically had to go either directly to Lego’s Pick a Brick or Bricklink to get the parts I need. The individual pieces didn’t cost much, but shipping is what killed it.

After searching through several Lego stores, one of the patrons overheard what I was looking for and suggested that I go to Lasting Toys to check it out because they carried a lot of stuff and usually dates back inclusive of 3 years. So I made the trek over there and found that they did have a lot of stuff. But not as much loose bricks as I thought. I flipped through their catalog of items that were available and had to make a decision on the fly. I ended up getting two black plate sets and a bag 50 smoky black bricks. I had to roughly work out how I was going to put it together and then by enough to make two cases. (I am thinking the other one will be used to encase the rPi video baby monitor.)

Once I got home, I set off to work, playing with the dimensions and the blocks I had on hand and how I wanted it to fit together with the board. After some trial and error, along with some sealing off of ports (like the HDMI, I don’t need video output for a server), I finally finished and here is the end result:

Sleek Raspberry Pi Lego Case

Sleek Raspberry Pi Lego Case

Overall, I am very happy with the end product. The smoky black bricks made it possible to see the lights and because the parts are more normalized, it’s a LOT stronger structurally than the old Lego case I put together out of a mishmash of odd parts. The case fits the decor of the TV stand and it will also allow me to eventually bolt a fan to it so that I can cool the ram sinks I put on the chips. The next step is to sort out the GPIO pins and get the fan mounted and hooked up.

Time to go parts shopping!
E

Status – 20130327 – 0218

A quick status on the Nursery Game Plan. I am currently STILL moving stuff from the old office into the cache area. I had no idea that there was this much stuff in the office. I just tossed out something like a stack of notes at least a foot tall from University (which I haven’t ever looked back at!) and moved some of the pieces out into the cache area. I still have the bookshelves to go through and some of the computer stuff on the desks. Here’s what the cache looks like right now:

The Current Cache (Living/Dining Room)

The Current Cache (Living/Dining Room)

Hopefully, I can get all of this stuff cleared out before the end of the week because that’s when we are moving in the baby furniture!

Purge time!
E

The Nursery – Part 1 – Playing Musical Rooms

The Nursery Room Game Plan

The Nursery Room Game Plan

The layout of our apartment is pretty typical. It’s a two bedroom with a den and solarium sitting at roughly a 1,000 square feet. This place has grown up through the years from being a bachelor pad to a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) lodging. Now, it’s about to undergo another transformation, into a DEWK (Dually Employed With Kid) home. In an effort to get everything set up, we have been shuffling a lot of things around.
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Vegetable of the Week: Pineapple

Pineapple

This past week, the baby is the size of a pineapple or four oranges. Guidelines in terms of measurement size and weight in the footnotes are ~16.1 inches head to heel and ~3.3 lbs in weight. It’s kind of a weird size to be four oranges… Doesn’t it feel like they could have picked a better option? I mean, pineapple works. I think there are enough average vegetable sizes that it could have matched with a unique set of produce.

Anyways, baby is moving more than last week, as expected. It’s stronger too. It’s kind of funny to see my wife’s belly change shape as the baby moves. If we provide some outside stimulus around the same area of the movement, it responds with more movement. I haven’t quite figured out what part is moving yet, whether it is its arm, leg, hands, and/or feet. I think I got its feet last time. Maybe it’ll become more apparent in the coming weeks.

Pineapple!

E