Slow weekend

Geeeeeez, I got seriously comment spammed today. Looks like time to upgrade to the new version of MovableType. Agh!
I spent this weekend in an experiment. The experiment was this: what would life be like if I actually took a project and completed it completely, utterly, unquestionably. Would my mind be clearer, would I be less stressed out, if I actually finished projects, instead of just starting them all the time (which I’m very good at!)
My project was to mount my DirecTV satellite dish on the roof and run the cables in a professional manner. I’d need to:
Mount the dish.
Align the dish.
Run a cable from the dish to the electrical room.
Run a second cable from the dish to the electrical room.
Run two cables from the electrical room to my loft.
Patch the cables into the patchbay in the closet, so the video goes to the living room.
Cut two cables and attach them to the existing wall sockets in the living room to bring video to the Tivo.
My first voyage was to Fry’s Electronics. This is how all good adventures (and debacles) begin! I purchased 150 feet of RG-6 video cable, some F-style connectors, an F-style crimper, a steel fish tape, and random other tidbits. Drove back home.
Working first on the dish, I discovered that I could not mount it on the post I’d planned to use. The post was too wide! So I considered attaching the dish to an existing pole used by an HDTV antenna. That looked like a good prospect, but… then I discovered I was missing a few bolts.
Sooo… I walked to the hardware store and got some bolts, and also a pair of female-female F-style connectors. Oh, and stopped at Rubio’s for some fish tacos. Mmmmm.
Back up on the roof, I installed the brackets and tested the pipe to make sure it would hold the dish. Looks good! Okay, got the brackets on there, put the dish on there, and… crap, the dish knocks up against the HDTV antenna. So I pull the brackets off and change their position and reinstall the dish and adjust it so it is plumb and then set it back to the angles I had it at originally on my balcony, and … whew! Worked up a sweat.
Now that the dish was installed, I decided to tackle the cable. I had tied some bolts on the end of some twine earlier in the week, and dropped it down through the main electrical pipe from the roof. So I tied the twine to my cable and tried pulling it up. Okay, that worked for a little while. When the weight of the cable became too heavy, the twine yanked the connector off the end of the cable – pop! up came the twine, down went the cable. Bah!
So next I took out the fish tape. It’s just a big long steel tape. I tied the cable to the fish tape, then pushed the tape down through the pipe until I encountered resistance. Then I ran downstairs (6 floors), and there was the cable, sticking out of the pipe. Excellent! After some yanking, routing, crimping, I had a cable installed.
I decided the next step was to run a cable to my loft. Uh, how to do that? It looked like there might be a cable run from my closet to the electrical closet, but it wasn’t marked. There were two bundles of cables coming into the closet: phone cables and video cables. But they weren’t separated into incoming and outgoing, so I had no idea how to get the fish tape to go where the incoming line was coming in from. Argh! I decided to try an experiment.
There was a pipe sticking up in the closet; looked like it had no useful purpose, except that it was the same diameter as a pipe in the electrical closet. Hmmmmm… so I stuffed the steel fish tape down there to see what would happen. After lots of pushing, I ran over to the electrical room and – sure enough! There was my fish tape! Tied a cable to it, yanked it back, crimped and connected and there we go!
At this point I ran up to my loft and attached the satellite finder to the connectors in the living room. I figured out which connector in the patchbay corresponded to the living room, hooked up a cable, attached it to the Tivo, and – yay! – I had a satellite signal. My guessing at the dish angles had even worked out.
Of course, running the second set of lines was nowhere near that easy. First off, I had to go back down to Fry’s to get more cable. Argh! So by now it was Sunday. 🙂 But I had the Tivo working, so I wasn’t in as much of a rush. 🙂 I picked up some zip-ties from Fry’s as well.
Basically, after this, it was smooth sailing. Just lots of pushing and pulling, screwing up, running up and down the stairs (my poor quads), and repeatedly attaching cables and yanking cables and etc when I did something wrong. But… eventually… I got everything hooked up.
And when that happened I really didn’t want to do anything else. But instead I forced myself to go pin down the cables in the electrical room, clean up my mess, close the electrical pipe on the roof, label the pipes and seal them, and put my tools away. That whole last part, which I’d normally just ignore and “do later”, took a lot longer than expected.
But, here we are, end of the weekend and my Tivo is working great. The install is invisible, and I feel like I accomplished a project and also learned a few things. So, all told, it was a good weekend. 🙂
And the good news is, it’s one more thing accomplished that I no longer have to think about. Yahoo!