Modernizing the Condo/So Many Links

When we came down in November we brought with us a 14TB drive filled with copies of our Movie and TV Show libraries to have a local copy for convenience. That drive was full and would not allow additional content so I started thinking how I could add a NAS cheaply. I ordered a Raspberry PI and installed OpenMediaVault on it with three 8 TB drives (one for parity). It seemed easy enough but I quickly found out It was not working the way I needed it to and I could not figure out how to fix it.

All of my drives are USB3 drives and I didn’t want to shuck them and put them in a case. I do have experience with UnRaid and I found a cute little Beelink AMD Ryzen mini pc with and NVME, RAM and Win10Pro license on sale on Amazon for just over $300. I couldn’t build a similar computer for even close to that. It was a no-brainer purchase. After spending days waiting for the parity to build and adding a a 4th 8TB drive. I’m finally copying the Plex content onto it.

While all of this was happening, I installed Pihole in a VM on my computer, which meant my main desktop now had to be on all the time. I will be migrating that to a docker on the unraid box, which is another factor in the decision to splurge for the Ryzen box.

I also decided to install HomeAssistant in a VM on my computer. That turned out to be super easy and it turned out I could then easily automate the turning on AND off of the rear speakers for the TV/home theater in sync with the TV. I’ll be migrating that to a docker on the unraid box too, another factor in the decision to buy it.

Next I decided to add a wifi security camera for peace of mind. I installed iSpy on my computer and configured it to record HD videos anytime there’s motion and it integrates with HomeAsistant to give me a constant SD stream that I can access with my phone. It too will be migrated to the docker which will finally let me allow my power-hungry desktop to sleep again.

3.5 yrs later

Where to begin… We did the Irish Wedding trip, It was amazing. Photos can be found here. For 2019 we did the long stretch in PR in Feb/March. Photos can be found here. During the summer we decided it was finally time to move to PR and we’d do it in December. I decided I’d take that opportunity to go to Oregon one last time, and so in August/Sept I did 3 weeks in there, 2 weeks vacation wrapped around a working week, photos. We spent the next few months getting ready for the move, getting the cat’s paperwork, booking flights and planning the trip.

December 9th was my flight day, with Robert, Kati and the cats arriving on the 11th. Gave me a day to get cat and people supplies before they arrive. Dec 2nd I had a huge IT disaster happen that suddenly had me working 16 hr days during a time I was going to finish packing and getting rid of stuff to other people and the garbage. December sucked for me.

Jan 2020 as work was finally starting to settle down a hair, The earthquake hits and kills power and internet for over a day. At the end of Feb some family came to visit and Robert decided to go back north, to get his lower back worked on, as the family. By March, work had calmed down to semi-normal so I chose to do a road trip around the island and photograph a bunch of it. On the 2nd day of the road-trip I had an incident where I thought I was going to be mugged and then after spending 5 hrs. driving to my next destination and the booking falling through I headed home for a depressing staycation ending. Then the Covid Lock Down happened.

Kati and I were in PR and Robert was up in NJ for the first 6 months of the pandemic. I stressed out because I was still not fully setup to work from home if there were to be power/electricity/internet outages and I couldnt go anywhere to get what I needed. Robert killed time by shopping for a boat. After 6 months things had calmed down a bit and I flew up to help Robert close on the boat and get it ready to come down to PR. A couple of weeks or months, turned into a year as he and I bounced back and forth from the boat in Wilmington NC to the house in NJ several times. Covid and all it entailed is not making this fast or easy.

2022, It’s now early Feb and we’ve been back in PR since November. We got some much needed new furniture and restocked on supplies and repairs and are continuing to flush out the condo with niceties.

Life Intervenes

The past year has been, well, not as planned. Between Irma and Maria, plans to attend an Irish wedding and my back issues, Our beloved Casa Anolis has only seen us once and that was back in February. Post Maria we were as involved as much as we could be from a distance, but it was our friends on both coasts had to do the dealing-with. And in recognition of that, we very much have to thank our friends Bill and George for looking out after Casa Anolis and Babe. We were very glad that they could look in on things and use whatever we had there for their survival. Fortunately we suffered no more damage than a good post-Maria bumper crop of mildew. Our complex’s position on the hillside protected us from the worst of the winds although we held our breath, fearing that a mudslide might bury the back yard. But none ever came and so we escaped intact. In fact, other than a few downed palms and and tree  limbs, Monte Sol was unscathed. Our first impulse was to catch the next available flight down, but with trees and power poles down and road wash-outs, movement about the island was severely hampered. That, plus scarce living resources made us reconsider. In the end we decided not to add to the problem of two more non-essentials using the precious resources and postponed our upcoming fall trip. Little did we know that as we kept checking back that it would not be until February before we could get down.

March, 2018, A Maria mudslide that carved away the hill from under the row of houses. Green growth now covers the mud.

Over a two week period we spent time on our side of the island and with our friends on the western side. We spent a lot of time just driving around, looking at the changes in our familiar world. Yes, trees uprooted and steel power poles ripped out of the earth tell a story, but nothing conveys the massive power of the two storms like the mudslide picture that Dean took.  The slide literally took back yards away and carved out the earth under the houses’s slabs. Yes, that very big dip in the hill, wider than those four houses is what fell away. On a closer to home example of the recovery effort, I think that the most telling personal example of how the island’s population fared post-Maria is that a friend staying with our friends in the west finally got power to his house this past March. He could not live in or repair his house for over six months. Think about that. Watching your home deteriorate for six months with your hands tied.

To the future:

We are looking past the Irish wedding later this month (2 weeks of a different type of green) and our current plans are to do a staggered stay in February/March. Dean is planning on working from there -I.T. support can be done anywhere that there is a reliable internet connection- to test out the viability of our permanent move. The good thing is that the partners of the law firm that he works for are fully on board. And if that all goes well, this coming year could see us in Casa Anolis on a more permanent basis.


It’s been awhile.

What’s left of the plastic pulley

So lots of things have happened and I haven’t been keeping up with the blog lately. We’ve had a couple of visits to the island lately but they haven’t always gone as planned. Vacation/project time seems to always collide causing plans to get screwed up-no matter how hard I try to make things flow smoothly. This last visit also saw Babe throw a power steering pulley right in the middle of picking up supplies. While at the hardware store the power steering started to act funny. Continue reading “It’s been awhile.”

Update for Casa Anolis

New island and bar stools.and it works perfectly in the space. 

Here are some updated pictures for the kitchen/living room. We took these pictures just as we were leaving. We finally got the replacement island that we wanted from Ikea (naturally) We also bought a matching two-chair table from Ikea that matches the dining table. Our thoughts are that it goes out onto the front terrace when we are there for morning coffee and comes in to be put with the main table to make a seating for six-which is what we’ve already done and it works perfectly. Continue reading “Update for Casa Anolis”

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