01 November 2006

Dad, the toilet won’t flush!

What does it mean what you push the lever to flush the toilet, and nothing happen? This was my question after scrubbing the toilet clean and trying to flush the soap out. Obviously that means that the chain that connects the flap to the bar which is connected to the lever is no longer working properly (also known as “broken”). When I was a kid one simply fixed this be reconnecting the steal chain that had fallen from the bar that is connected to the lever back to the bar (that is connected to the lever) thereby causing it to work. But apparently in our modern era we have outgrown such things as steal chains, and now we use the sophisticated foam “chains” that are permanently welded the flap. The up side to all this is that whenever (not “if ever”) the foam “chain” breaks and no longer connects to the bar which is attached to the lever one simply goes out and buys a new flap (with the “chain” permanently welded to it) and replaces the whole contraption. This means that one is always operating with a relatively new foam flap which holds water better than an old foam flap (even though the rubber ones that were around when I was a kid seemed to last forever) thus saving you money on water. Sometimes I wonder what we have really gained by forgoing all our expensive, long lasting, stuff of old and using cheap, not so long lasting, stuff of today. I may never know, as so much of it seems to be but a memory of my childhood.

13 October 2006

Angry red light

I have a wireless mouse that recharges on a base so I never have to worry about batteries. Recently when I put my mouse of its base it has been giving me an angry flashing red light. The first time I same it I picked it up then reseated it. I thought maybe the light was telling me that the battery was really low, but usually it flashed red when it was off the base. I decided to leave it for a bit to if it changed to green. It didn’t. After several days of not charging it I thought I would try different batteries. Indeed the new set gave me a friendly flashing green light. So, after a year with my mouse I now know that an angry flashing red light means the batteries are quitting. So long old blue batteries, it has been a good year.

06 October 2006

Canary Waterworks

Recently we have been having tons on rain. It came in droves, or rather buckets, from the sky. The other night I went to bed with the sound of a waterfall and thought it quite pleasant. I woke the next morning and realized that the sound of a waterfall near my house was not a good thing. I opened my bedroom blinds and saw a sheet of water flowing before my window. Instantly I knew something was wrong. I bundled up and went outside. There was a remarkable amount of water flowing off my roof for the amount of water coming down from the sky. I looked at the gutters and realized that I must have a clogged pipe. In a bold moment I decided I had to clean the gutter before going to work, so I would get my ladder and…oh. I don’t have a ladder. I thought hard, and the closest thing I could come up with would to climb on top a chair and hope to clear the block. Another idea came too. I have saved my lawn mower box all summer (I don’t know why, but maybe for this). I took the box outside and set it between the waterfall and the pipe. I then hauled my office chair outside and placed it in the box. It fit so perfectly that the chair didn’t swivel at all. One more trip inside to retrieve a wire with which I fished in the pipe. Suddenly there was a sound of a rush of water, and the waterfall was gone. But that only eliminated one of my three water features. There is an artificial stream in my backyard (I think the pipe drain into it) that runs through the whole compound out to a storm drain. I actually rather enjoy it as it adds a level of sophistication to my yard. Fluff also really enjoys it as there are lots of shrubs to hide in and bugs to eat. The third feature in the Canary lake. Canary lake explains why my front yard is about a foot higher than the street and my driveway. Apparently (as I now know) the parking areas in front of my house also serve as the gathering point of any excess water that has landed on my or my neighbor’s driveway. Well when water comes down in buckets this area overflows and fills the street and even part of my driveway. Thus in a storm the Canary compound features Canary Lake, the Canary Creek, and sometimes even Canary Falls. I will also mention that Fluff is often confused by this vast amount of water and thinks he wants to play in it, until he realizes that it is water, then he wants to come back inside, only to want to go back out.

10 September 2006

Sudden Silence

I wake up and look at the clock. I jump out of bed; it is 5:20am on a Saturday morning. I was supposed to be up 2 hours ago. “Better wake up the Kyle kid” I thought. But he wasn’t asleep in the spare room. I wandered the house to check all the rooms. His suitcase were gone and he with them. All that remained was a simple note that read “Thanks for everything”. My heart sank and I knew he was gone, as he was supposed to be. Kyle, my brother, had come home somewhat unexpected for 2 months and needed a place to stay for a week. I was reluctant to have him stay, but I accepted and made room for him. For the past week we had had fun times, not so fun times, and bored times, but life, mine in particular, was happy. I had more fun than I expected, and I got to know my brother a little better. I had forgotten how different things are when someone else is around; when someone else is at home after working hours. There were reasons to do fun things and reasons to stay home. (Fluff loved the fact that someone could pet him.) And now in a moment it was all over. I have to admit, I knew this moment would come, I just didn’t know that I would sleep through it. I didn’t know I would feel so bad. My house was empty, I was alone. Fluff now realized that I was up so he wanted out. After I let him out I used the lonely moments to think and breathe while I watched for the rising sun. The loneliness, which used to seem so normal, now seemed so selfish. My life was now a little less complete now that it is focused on me. How odd life is when suddenly it is all about me. But this is the way it is.

15 August 2006

Conquering the garbage disposal

The other night I peeled an orange with the intention of eating it. But after one bite I realized that it was no good so I threw into the garbage disposal (yes, I made sure I had one first) and ran it. It sounded awful but ran a little bit then suddenly stopped. I flipped the switch a number of times and it wouldn’t work so I braved the disgust, unplugged the disposal, and plunged into it. I found some of the orange left, but also something else. It was hard and smooth, like plastic, but it had writing on it. I jiggled and pulled but it was stuck and I didn?t have an Allen wrench that fit the hole at the bottom of the disposal to get it unloosed. “Great” I thought, “I just wanted to eat a simple orange and this is what I get”. I grabbed some tools and a flashlight and commenced surgery. I soon found that my disposal was held up by one of my plastic teaspoons which wasn’t just stuck but was actually wedged underneath one of the spinning blades. Now, I don’t know if you have ever been in this situation so I will try to describe it. Start with a tiny 3 maybe 4 inch opening into which you must shove your hand (or other tools) into a dark space where a tiny shaft of light shines down (at best) all the while thinking of all the horrible things you have sent down this very drain and how at any moment they might, for no explainable reason, suddenly come rushing back at you. I pulled and pulled and wiggled and jiggled, but it wouldn?t come unstuck. But I got the disposal to run again, sounding worse than ever. I let it run for a bit but the rest of the spoon would not come out, so I gave up (but not before I dumped oil and soap and ran tons of hot and cold water to try to get it loose. The next day I busted out the needle nose pliers maneuvered them down and twisted and twisted until SNAP! I had gotten a piece of the spoon! I was so excited I did it again. Snap! I got another piece. Snap! A third piece, but this one was so small I wanted to give up before I broke the disposal. I decided to give it one last try. I twisted and twisted and twisted and twisted and stopped (Mr. Fluff wanted to come in) and twisted and twisted until I thought I was going to twist the whole disposal out of my sink then Clunk. I had triumphed over the garbage disposal because I held clutched in the grip of the pliers the last of the spoon. I dropped a few lemon peels down and let the disposal run until they were gone. I am so happy it works now, though I must admit I think I need a more power one.

02 January 2006

Too much floss

When I was a kid I hated flossing. Not just because of the annoyance of running a thin piece of wax coated string up and down through all of my teeth with little perceptive change (unless I hadn’t flossed in a long time) but just the whole process of locating suitable floss, we had several different floss in the house, and extracting the allotted amount (I think it was about 6 inches), wrapping it around your fingers tight enough to hold onto but not so tight as to turn your finger purple, in general it was a pain. As I grew up I collected the sample floss that the dentist gave with each visit. By the time I left home I had an 18 month supply of floss. Finally I ran out. I was pained at the thought of having to actually buy floss (I think for the first time in my life). I eventually gave in to the evil marketing of Johnson & Johnson and bought a canister of floss. It cost a whole $3.79 for 200 yards. That night I pulled out 6 inches of my newly purchased floss and started flossing. I went through the usual motions of floss with my circulation cut off and finger barley having enough room to get around my teeth, then I stopped. I realized that I had been flossing like that for years and if I kept it up my floss would last me a life time. I don’t know how much people feel about having the same container of floss forever but I know that at some time it losses it’s flavor and in general gets gross. I decide to seize the moment and floss with a new piece of floss and this time it would be a foot long. So I yanked and cut and enjoyed using the incredibly long piece of floss. My roommate gave me a really weird expression when I told him that I would never again submit to using a piece of floss less than 8 inches. I feel at this point I should give a moral so I will. There comes a time in all of our lives when we will be challenged to break with the traditions that we grew up with. Sometimes we need to hold true and fast and never let go. Things like not smoking, always telling the truth, being honest in business are hallmarks of good character and should never be changed. But sometimes we should let go as soon as possible and experience life from a different perspective. Things like how much floss you cut, what type of deodorant you use, what style your hair is, the taste of eggplant should be evaluated though out your life (especially if you are not enjoying your current experience with the aforementioned items). If you decide to change you will experience something new and different (hopefully for the better). But, if you decide to stay with what you had before you will have a new appreciation for what you have. Either way your life will be improved. But remember, hold fast to your character, never let it degrade. As an end note, my current roommate has taught me to floss before I brush my teeth. It doesn’t leave my mouth with the same minty fresh taste, but my mouth does feel a lot cleaner.