Weekend o’ projects

Last Thursday I installed a programmable thermostat to replace the old mercury-filled dial-down model. This turned out to be a pretty simple project, though once again the age of the house complicates any project where we try to rely on advice from on-line sources and books. To wit: the new thermostat manual and all the on-line advice said to label the wires coming from the wall according to the labels on the old thermostat’s terminals. Good idea, except there were no labels on the old terminals. I guessed based on the color of the insulating fabric wraps around the old wires, crossed my fingers, and hooked up the wires accordingly. I guessed right, as it turned out; after cutting the power back on, I turned the thermostat up to 90° and was rewarded a few minutes later with the telltale whistle of extra air blowing out the relief valves in the radiators. (This, by the way, appears to be designed to eliminate knocking and the need to bleed the radiators. Based on the one cold day we’ve had so far, it appears to be working, though it does make one want to turn off the teakettle.) Now I need to find a place to dispose of the old thermostat (this program in western Massachusetts gives me some hope).

Yesterday was mostly a shopping expedition. We picked up some glaze to mix with the paint we used for the bottom half of our dining room; we’re going to try to add a little sophistication to the top half, which in its current baby-blue color looks a little too little-kid for the room. And we picked up a replacement light fixture for the dining room so I’ll stop braining myself on the chandelier. And we bought a little more than 30 pounds of tomatoes—it’s sauce time.

This morning while Lisa started to make sauce I installed new weatherstripping on the bottom of the garage door—hopefully that will give us some relief from the water that floods in during heavy rains. This afternoon I’ll clean and reinstall some storm windows, blow the maple seed pods off the driveway, and mulch the existing leaves. My neighbor’s tree has already started to turn, so our big maples shouldn’t be too far behind.