A New Computer and a Cake

On March 15 I received an email from Framework telling me that they were preparing my computer batch. I had been waiting a long time for this computer so I was very excited. Though, Julian’s birthday party was scheduled for March 23 and I was worried about having my attention divided if it turned up before the party. I received a shipping notice on March 21 with an estimated arrival of March 25. This seemed like a good time for the laptop to arrive.

Jaeger’s parents were coming to visit us for Julian’s birthday and so we played musical offices. Jaeger’s office is also our guest bedroom so he moved up to my office, because I’m better at blocking out random noises, and I moved to the gateleg table in our living room. Picture of a table with computer equipment. To the left is a mobile monitor which is using three books as a computer stand. In the middle is a laptop, also using three books as a stand, on the right is a closed laptop, and in front is a wireless keyboard and mouse.For a temporary space, it isn’t too bad. I borrow Jaeger’s portable monitor and my Zoom “background” can’t be beat because it shows off our bookshelves and Jaeger’s pygmy date palm. As one of my work colleagues commented, it’s the perfect zoom background1. However, I still miss my two full-size monitors at my regular desk.
A gray sofa with a sofa table behind. In back are two bookcases, filled with books, and a pygmy date palm.

Overall, my current job involves a lot of collaboration and a lot of meetings. I don’t usually have many meetings on Friday but last Friday was an exception. I ended up with five meetings that day. During my first meeting the doorbell rang and Jaeger went to answer it. I figured it was a replacement hammock which I had ordered for Julian. However, Jaeger returned with a suspiciously computer-like box and placed it down next to my desk. It was Bree, my Framework laptop, and it sat there taunting me my entire work day. Fortunately, Friday is one of Jaeger’s nights to cook so once I logged off work I started putting my computer together. Work had been a lot that day and I was still a little flustered so I didn’t get proper unboxing pictures. However, I did get a couple of pictures in the in-between stages. I purchased the DIY Framework option so the computer came without the hard drive, memory, keyboard, touchpad, bezel, and ports installed.
An open laptop showing it's internal components. Framework’s instructions were easy to follow and I put it all together and verified I could bring up the Bios right before Jaeger announced supper was ready.

After supper we played Wingspan together. Julian and Jaeger’s mom were a team and Julian kept trying to give her instructions using pseudocode, which didn’t work particularly well. However, point-wise they still ended up solidly in the middle.

Saturday morning I woke up early and nervous because it was Julian’s birthday party day. I went downstairs to make muffins for breakfast and then discovered I had too little sugar for the cakes I was planning to make while the muffins were baking. It was still very early, and everyone else was still in bed, so I rushed to the store to pickup sugar. I got back and mixed up the muffin batter. I went to put the muffins in the oven and discovered that my oven was broken.

So . . . I have a history with this oven. Back in 2021, a couple of months after we moved in, it was Jaeger’s birthday and I baked a cake for him. That went fine. However, after the cake was finished I went to bake the main entree for the evening and discovered the oven was broken. This wasn’t great but we also had a range oven so it wasn’t terrible to have the wall oven broken. I had a repair person come out and he told me it was likely the control board was broken but the oven was old enough we couldn’t get replacement parts for it anymore. However, he said I could send it into some random place on the internet and they could likely repair the board. I delayed for quite a while but eventually sent them in and discovered to my astonishment that it actually fixed the oven. I had two ovens again! However, this last fall, my range oven died and is still dead. I was thinking about replacing it but for complicated reasons it would be pretty expensive and I decided I could live with only having one oven. After all, most people survive perfectly fine with one oven. All that to say, when my wall oven broke Saturday morning, it was a problem.

I contemplated the situation in a mild panic. Clearly I could go to the store and buy a cake but Julian had already specifically requested a strawberry cake with chocolate frosting. I pulled up Consumer Reports and their top rated toaster oven was a Breville Smart Oven it was expensive for a toaster oven but Consumer Reports rated the baking component as “very good”. Miraculously, the specialty cooking store in Santa Cruz actually had one in stock so Jaeger went to pick it up. While he was gone we continued our various birthday preparations. He got back and I started baking the cake in batches. The toaster oven fit a 9″ round cake pan but it obviously would only fit one at a time. That said, I have now baked three cakes in the toaster oven2 and I can confirm that the baking function is very good. The cakes turned out perfectly. While the cakes were cooling, I started putting together the ingredients for the frosting. Then I realized I was out of powdered sugar. I have never had so much trouble making a cake before. I did a last minute pivot to a whipped chocolate ganache topping and finished it minutes before guests arrived.

The party involved a lot of kids, some adults, and a lot of overall chaos. I think it turned out well, aside from Julian having a breakdown at the end, and we all survived.

Everyone departed around 4:00pm which allowed me to squeeze in a little quality computer time with my new laptop. My next task was to install the OS (Ubuntu 22.04 LTS). That went smoothly and I had a functioning computer before I had to go make supper.

As time permits, I’ve continued tinkering with Bree. Overall, I like it. In my opinion, the big screen makes it worth the extra weight but I could definitely see it being too big and bulky for many people. I briefly tested out Sketchup and, unlike my old laptop, it looks like it shouldn’t have any problems running it. I now have all my essential programs installed but will likely continue customizing it for a while. I have the option of either having a numpad or centering the keyboard without a numpad and I’m still testing things out to see which layout I like best. Likewise, it came with the graphics module installed and I want to try it without to see if I prefer the (slightly) smaller size.

Once finish transferring everything from Myfanwy to Bree, I’m going to repurpose Myfanwy to be Julian’s new computer. Julian inherited a very cheap laptop we had original bought for our au pairs to use as a TV for our streaming services. Once our au pairs left, we gave the computer to Julian but it is a very cheap computer and is painfully slow to use. While Myfanwy is old, she still works significantly better than Julian’s current laptop. I’m also planning to switch him from Windows to Linux which will provide more complications from a parental control perspective but I’m tired of dealing with Windows. I have this Friday off, for Cesar Chavez Day3, so I plan to schedule some dedicated tinkering time.

  1. Normally they see patterned blue curtains. My curly hair makes the virtual zoom backgrounds, or blur backgrounds, look weird.
  2. I made two for Julian’s party and then one for Calvin’s birthday today.
  3. This is a state holiday in California but for some reason the kid’s still have school.

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