Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This week has been pretty good for us.  On Sunday my husband found this Kindle at the recycling center/dump (Which means we actually took the 3 weeks of recycling out.  That is great in itself.).  I gave him specific instructions not to bring any more old electronics home, as he was already returning several failed repair attempts on this trip, but he said I would want this one.

Naturally we hoped it was thrown out for something simple, so he plugged it in to our old charger, and we got a critical battery screen error that didn't go away despite being plugged in for a while.  We found that a little concerning, but soon realized that the charging light had turned off and that E Ink stays where it is, even with no battery in.  He did a little googling and found that the Kindle wouldn't take a charge unless the charger had just the right amperage, often only working off a USB port.  So there was still hope for it.  We tried a few chargers at our house, our friend's house and finally my Mom's house.... and one finally worked!  We played around with it and everything else about it seemed just fine.

We learned it is a Kindle II International version (free 3G!), which is very similar to the current Kindle Keyboard 3G, selling now for $189.  Here's the creepy part.  Within seconds we had the previous owner's email, full name, and complete access to her Amazon account.  Probably more, had we dug around on it.  We could have easily bought whatever we wanted on amazon on her account (however once she realized it, she could have severed our access to it, but still have had to foot the bill).  We reset the account, synced it with ours and started adding on free public domain books.  It's instant!  It's crazy!  We also bought a copy of our favorite Bible translation to have on there, since I'd want that on a Kindle Fire anyway if we ever get around to buying that.  It's original name was "Wendy's 2nd Kindle" so we assumed she wasn't too attached to it and just tossed it without a second thought.  Her loss, our gain! 

She's borrowing my helmet.  I have such a small head.
Second project this weekend and another dump find - fixing up bikes!  I had previously found a bike for Eve at the aforementioned recycling center in November.  One side was really rusty, including the chain and sprockets, and the other side completely clean.  I thought I had taken pictures of the before, clean up pictures, but I guess not.  Anyway, in November I used WD-40 and crumpled up aluminum foil to clean off the rust.  Using WD-40 on a bike chains is not typically recommend, except for initial cleaning of the rust.  It worked well and got the rust out of the really tiny places.  I also disassembled the back coaster brake and cleaned that out.  I didn't have any chain lube or hub grease, so once it was all cleaned up I re-assembled it dry and left it for later.  I used this site for help, but it still took me over an hour to get the back hub brake reassembled.  One of the problems was that I had to take the entire thing apart to clean it, not just one side, and that site doesn't show all ways of reassembling it.

March???  In New England?
Anyway, this weekend had unseasonably warm weather so I brought the kids bikes (and helmets) out to parents house, since they had both the grease and lube the bike needed.  I did a quick disassembly & dry reassembly and was ready to go.  The final reassembly was super fast, even with the grease mudding everything up.  That hour+ last time really helped me to understand these things, I guess.  After that I did all the normal stuff; lubing the chain, putting on the chain guard and inflating the tires.  Everything went really smoothly and I personally was even able to ride it around just fine.  Success! 

We still need to get better training wheels, as we salvaged those from the smaller free bike that we stole wheels from for the balance bike.  Plus we'll need to accessorize with all her 6-year-old bike bling (ding-ding).

Real men wear pink.

I decided to buy a bike for Eli's birthday back in December.  It was a hard decision to pay for a new one, but it was either spray paint Eve's old bike or buy one.  It's not that I'm opposed to a boy with a pink bike (really, Eli even wore pink boots one winter because he liked them so much, see above), but I really wanted Eli to feel like this bike is his, not just his sister's hand-me-down.  Painting sounded okay, but I really didn't want to take on another unnecessary project.  And since I know that it's really hard to find a used 12" bike around here cheaper than $25 (from looking around for Eve's 1st bike), I bit the bullet and decided to buy a new one. 

It was $25 at Walmart on Black Friday and I thought it was a good deal, as it has both real brakes and inflatable wheels... but when I assembled it, I found it would have probably been easier to overhaul Eve's old one.  The chain guard hits the chain, so I had to cut a notch out of it (more repair to that to come, for sure), and then I found the back wheel skipped really bad.  If you tried to crank it, it would frequently loose it's footing somewhere in back hub and skip out of place.  I was so bummed.  It was supposed to be the easy answer.

Anyway, I got over my loss and fixed it this weekend.  I did the same disassembly, cleaning and reassembly I did to Eve's bike, and it worked just fine.  I didn't see anything wrong with it when it was taken apart, so perhaps it was just the tightness of the screws on the back.  Either way, I could tell right away it was better, as the back wheel didn't clamp to a stop anymore. 

On a more boring note (yep, it's possible), we also used our new DVD/VHS recorder to move over old home videos to DVD this weekend.  We pretty much bought the thing for that purpose (and normal use, as our old DVD/VHS player broke several months ago).  We'll be sending each member of Jon's family a copy of the videos, and I know they'll love it.  I'm so glad to have that project nearly done, as it also means we can give back the 10 VHS tapes that have been cluttering my closets for 6 years.  It wasn't that hard, we just let it do its thing whether we were home or not, and switched the tapes when we remembered.

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