Monday, February 23, 2009

The War of the Towels

or, "My Wife is Trying to Drive Me Insane."

I have an odd problem with The Mrs. She is a compulsive towel collector. By this, I don't mean that she steals the towels from hotels, or that she needs to buy unique towels from tourist destinations. No, I mean every time she sees a towel, she feels compelled to put it in the laundry basket. Not compelled to wash it. Not compelled to replace it. Just compelled to remove it from the place one needs a towel and to deposit it in the laundry until a "full load" of towels is hoarded.

Since the switch to the front-loader washer, this means quite a number of towels can be built up in the laundry before any washing needs to take place. However, interestingly, my problem doesn't have anything to do with running out of clean towels. We have, probably, 35 towels. We have enough for all the bathrooms three times over.

No, my problem has to do with there never, ever being a towel in any of the bathrooms. Case in point: Friday, it was my job to put MaxieC in the tub. Naturally, there were no towels in the bathroom. I got three clean bath towels from the laundry room (where they build up in big piles on top of the dryer, never to be distributed to towels racks) - one for MaxieC, one for HannahC, and one for a bath mat - plus a hand towel for the sink. I grumbled about how there are never any towels, but left it at that.

Then, Sunday, I went to put MaxieC in the tub again, and again there were no towels. Now, I was in a bad mood Sunday, so I complained vociferously to The Mrs. about how I put brand new towels in there Friday night, and they were gone already. It went like this:
Me, CherkyB: "Why did you take the towels out of the kids' bathroom?"

The Mrs.: "I see dirty towels, I wash them."

Me, CherkyB: "But you took all the towels out of there on Friday, so they were only two days old!"

The Mrs.: "If I see a dirty towel, I clean it. I'm like a hotel maid. All I ever do is wash towels."

Me, CherkyB: "But they weren't dirty. They had been used only twice."

The Mrs.: "Oh, is your hotel service not good enough? I'm not a good enough maid?"

Me, CherkyB: "I just want there to be towels in the bathrooms. Is it so hard to replace towels when you remove them?"

The Mrs.: "Oh, you're complaining about the maid service? I work harder than a hotel maid, and you're complaining!"

Me, CherkyB: "Arrrggghh. A hotel maid wouldn't take all the clean towels and not replace them. A hotel maid would replace the towels the minute she took the old ones. And a hotel maid would clean the room, too. You are a terrible hotel maid!"
Which makes me kind of wonder if this shouldn't be the next installment of "Something Not to Do."
Me, CherkyB: "Look, I want you to do less work, not more. We don't need to wash the towels after every use. I'm not asking you to wash the towels more often. I'm asking you to do it less often. Like once a week."

The Mrs.: "I'm busy. I have to teach these kids school all day. I don't have time to be your damn towel maid. I don't have time to wash the towels every day for you."

Me, CherkyB: "AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR!!!!! I don't want you to wash the towels every day! I want you to NOT wash the towels every day! And I want you to not collect the towels if you aren't going to wash them. Just leave the towels in the bathroom until they're dirty."

The Mrs.: "Well, maybe you should take over the cooking since I'm going to be spending all my time washing towels for you."
OK, not going well. I retreat to my basement bar/lair to ruminate. Then, I complain over Yahoo Messenger to her mother. As soon as I do that, I regret it.

Yeah, it's kind of turning into a Something Not to Do post.

Well, today I got home from work a bit early because of a little snafu in The Company's security software that trolls the HR database to find any "change in status" of employees with security clearance, and then issues 14-day renewal notices that require you to re-justify why you still need access to that particular data set given your change in status. My change in status was that my boss went on to the next project, so they transferred me to another boss (who will continue on as my new boss on my next project, which is a different next project from my old boss's). That transfer showed up on Friday. On Saturday morning, my "change in status" was discovered by the HR crawler, and immediately all my clearances were revoked. The automated system sent me six different emails (one for each security clearance they revoked) telling me that I had ignored all the renewal notices (that they never sent) and let my renewal period expire (despite the renewal period being 14 days, and this was less than 24 hours later), and now I'd have to reapply for everything from scratch (which takes up to two months for factory data, unless you know someone).

So I spent my entire morning trying to figure out if there was a reason the renewal period was skipped and we went straight to revocation (which also happened to the other guy on my team who switched at the same time as I did for the same reasons), and how to file a bug ticket, and if there was any way to undo the revocation so that I wouldn't have to go through the two-month unless you know someone process. I managed to get a bug ticket filed, but that was it.

Thus, when I got to the end of the day and needed to pull the most recent factory data in order to make some foils for my work group tomorrow, and I still didn't have factory access cuz I didn't know any of the approvers personally, and my buddy in Arizona that does know the approvers personally cuz they're in his group couldn't find any of them to fast-track my approval, well I just said, "Fuck 'em," and I went home.

When I got home, HannahC was doing schoolwork, and MaxieC was practicing the piano, so I watched TV. Eventually, all the noise stopped, so I wandered upstairs to see what was up. I found The Mrs. in the laundry room. She pointed at a big laundry basket of towels and said, "There you go. I finished washing all your precious towels. Now why don't you go hang them up in the bathrooms."

So I did. Then...
Me, CherkyB: "Uh. Why did you replace the towels in The Childrens' bathroom?"

The Mrs.: "They were dirty."

Me, CherkyB: "The ones I put in there last night?"

The Mrs.: "I see dirty towels, I wash them. Just like you make me."

Me, CherkyB: "But they weren't dirty. They were one day old. They had been used once."

[The Mrs. dialing the phone]

Moother: "Helloooooo"

The Mrs.: "I did his stupid towels, and now he's mad because apparently I did them wrong!"

Me, CherkyB: "I didn't say you did them wrong! I asked you very specifically not to wash the towels cuz they were clean, and you did it anyway. The only reason I can think of at this point that you did it was just to annoy me."

The Mrs.: "I don't know what you want. You complain that there aren't clean towels, so I wash the towels. Now you're mad about that."

Me, CherkyB: "No! I complained that there weren't any towels at all. I didn't complain that there weren't clean towels. I complained because you keep washing clean towels and not replacing them. That's it. New rule. You are only allowed to collect towels one day a week."

[I hang up the phone]

The Mrs.: "What day?"

Me, CherkyB: "I don't care. Since you did them all today, how about we start with today. Monday. You can collect the towels on Mondays."

The Mrs.: "A lot of times I'm busy on Mondays. That'll never work."

Me, CherkyB: "AAAAAAAAUUUUGGGHHH!!!! You're doing this just to piss me off! I know you are! You aren't this stupid! You have strutured your entire life around figuring out what I want, and then doing exactly the opposite. Is this really how you want it to be? Just spending all your time trying to figure out how to drive me insane?"

HannahC: "Boy, this sure is a stupid thing to fight over. You people are idiots."

Me, CherkyB: "AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!"
Then, I did something the genius of which was apparent only to me. I opened up the dishwasher, full of nice clean dishes, and I got out a ketchup bottle and squirted it all over them. Then I announced with much fanfare, "Oh look at that. The dishes are dirty. I guess we'll just have to wash them all again!"

I retire to my bar/lair to ruminate. When I return, she's on the phone with her mother again.
The Mrs.: "I'm only allowed to wash towels once a week now. I'll run out of dish towels and wash cloths in less than a week [because we only own 25 of each - ed.], but I guess we'll just have to live like that."

Me, CherkyB: "You can wash the dish towels and wash cloths if you need to. I just want you stop washing the clean towels in the bathrooms."

The Mrs.: "Nope. Those are towels, too. And I'm not allowed to wash towels, so I guess we'll just have to go without."
I put MaxieC into the tub for his bath. A little while later, I hear her talking to her mother on the phone again, which is easy enough because she only talks with the phone on speakerphone.
The Mrs. [to her mother]: "I guess he should be taking over all the cooking then, since I'll be so busy washing towels for him."

Me, CherkyB: "Wait. You just complained that you were only allowed to do them once a week now. How is it that this leaves you with no time to cook?"

The Mrs.: "I'm pretty busy doing laundry to your liking. I think you should take over the cooking."

Me, CherkyB: "OK, if you'll take over earning the money."

The Mrs.: "No."

Me, CherkyB: "Why not."

The Mrs.: "Cuz I'm not the one complaining about how you earn money."

Me, CherkyB: "Less work! Less work! I'm asking for you to do less work. If you would do less work, it would make me happy. I can't believe you won't agree to do less work. And I can't believe that suddenly doing less laundry means you don't have time to cook or to vacuum anymore."

The Mrs.: "Oh? Now I don't vacuum?"

[Oh shit.]

Me, CherkyB: "You vacuum like once every six months."

The Mrs.: "I don't think you could even tell if I vacuumed."

Me, CherkyB: "That's because you don't."

Moother: "Oh, will you two shut up about the towels already! For Christ sakes."

The Mrs. [to her mother]: "I think you should move in with us so that you can be in charge of this 4:00 towel check. I just don't have the time to check that there are towels in the bathrooms every day precisely at 4:00."

Oddly enough, this is pretty much standard fare around these parts.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is it time for Blog of the Week?

Way way back, I used to name a Blog of the Week every now and then. But I stopped. The last time I named a Blog of the Week was, I believe August 8, 2007. And there, like with many of my previous Blogs of the Week, I bestowed the honor upon an upstart blog without sufficient track record. That blog ended up having a grand total of one additional post after being named Blog of the Week, and then (like so many of its predecessors) it simply ceased.

This is largely an unforgivable offense to Me, CherkyB - making a mockery of the Blog of the Week title. But I'll have to get over it given that the Badger fellow has decided to marry my wife's sister (which, I suppose upon reflection, is a lot better than finding out that the Hedgehog fellow is marrying your wife's sister).

But I've been keeping my eye on an upstart blog for a couple weeks now. It has just about everything you could hope for in a Blog of the Week: a recurring theme (Wednesday's Only in Texas - though it doesn't use the "labels" box at the bottom of the post window to label the episodes for easy sorting and retrieval from the "labels" widget on the layout page like I do with my recurring themes, like this one), a rather regular rate of updates, and most importantly, a number of posts that actually link to Me, CherkyB.

Yes, that's right. It's all about me. But you knew that. This upstart blog had, oddly, jumped to #2 on my referring sites list for the Month of February. It trails only behind the host used for my wife's family's and my family's personal websites. (You'll have to click on it to enlarge to read this pic.)

That's fahbulous. But there hasn't been a post referring to Me, CherkyB in a while, and there isn't a link to Me, CB on the blog frame, so I expect this is just an unsustainable blip.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I've lost my rye

Damn. I just poured two fingers. Where in the hell is it?


It was over there. I left it there when I fed the guinea pigs. And still no one has yet laughed at me calling them Italian-American pigs. If someone would just laugh, I could stop trying this joke.

My wife hijacked my day today, as often happens on a Saturday. See, I had just a couple teeny-tiny errands to run. First, I was going to buy The Childrens a new compooter cuz their old one is so dead. Second, I was going to stop by Sam's Club to buy a cheap-o cyclonic vacuum (which is $11 cheaper at Sam's Club than it is at Walmart) cuz the Italian-American pigs' bedding gets all over the rug in the basement, and I'm tired of cleaning it up with my $800 vacuum and having to change the bags all the time.

So, it went like this:
Me, CherkyB: "I want to buy a cheap, bagless vacuum for the basement so we can do a quick once-over every day and not have to change the bags all the time."

The Mrs.: "Ummm...OK. I need to buy some music."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh. There are lots of downloadable sheetmusic places."

The Mrs.: "I want to see it before I buy it."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh, well maybe we should find the local sheet music store."

[dum dee dum dee dum...looking in phone book]

Me, CherkyB: "It's on South College. Right near the computer store."

The Mrs.: "I have to go to JoAnn Fabric, too."

Me, CherkyB: "Ooooookaaay."

The Mrs.: "We can't go until MaxieC gets home. He should be home any minute."
He was across the street playing with his friend. Two and one half hours later, when he finally returned (at 3pm), it was time to go. On the way, The Mrs. started whining about how she forgot to eat lunch. Then she turned to me and asked, "Did you eat lunch?"

Like somehow I had left the house, eaten lunch, and returned without her noticing.

So I spent like 15 minutes at the compooter store (where they convinced me they could fix the old compooter for $60 probably, and if not, I'd get $40 of that back), then waited for 30 more for The Mrs. to get done at the music store, all the while with MaxieC bashing his stupid skull into me. I took both childrens to the dollar store next door to kill time. After about 15 minutes in there, The Mrs. showed up and announced that she had commissioned the guy in the music store, who was "a composer" to write her the music she wanted, since they couldn't find it in any of the catalogs.

Some version of Ave Maria for viola and soprano for Ellie's wedding.

God help us.

Great. Now it's like 4:15, and we're heading two blocks over to JoAnn Fabrics. Twenty minutes later, we're on our way to Sam's Club for our last stop. Right?

Wrong. We're heading to a pizza place for lunch.
The Mrs.: "Do they have pizza by the slice?"

Me, CherkyB: "They have pizza by the slice at lunch on weekdays. I dunno if they'll have it now."

The Mrs.: "Cuz I really need pizza by the slice. I'm starving. I forgot to eat. But I don't want to wait for them to cook a pizza. So they need to have pizza by the slice. I can't believe I forgot to eat lunch. Aren't you hungry? I'm starving. Why didn't you remind me to eat lunch? Did you eat lunch? You ate lunch, didn't you? I need pizza by the slice. Justine's is good pizza. I hope they have pizza by the slice. I can't believe you're not starving. And I can't believe you're so lazy that you won't eat lunch if I forget to make it. I hope they have pizza by the slice, cuz I can't wait around. I'm too hungry. Why aren't you hungry? Why didn't you remind me to eat? You know I need to eat or I get dizzy. And I'm starving for some pizza by the slice. You f'cker. You would just let me starve, wouldn't you? Maybe I'll just stop cooking for you from now on so you can see what it's like to be starving like I am. Bastard. I can't believe how absolutely lazy you are. You're lucky I cook for you at all, you inconsiderate lazy bastard. I hope they have pizza by the slice."
Of course, nobody has pizza by the slice on a Saturday at 4:30. So we had to wait for them to make us a pizza.

Then we were off to Sam's Club, right?

Wrong-o. Now we have to go to Goodwill because HannahC needs a Mad Scientist costume for something. I know not what. Probably Odyssey of the Mind.

And Goodwill is a mad house cuz they're having a 50% off sale.

But finally we make it to Sam's Club. Where The Mrs. takes the cart and won't let me put the vacuum in it cuz she needs "some stuff" and The Childrens want to ride in it. But I don't find out about this limitation until we're halfway back into the warehouse, where I am told, "I don't understand why you didn't get yourself your own cart. I need soup stock."

So I have to schlep my sorry ass all the way back to the entrance to get another cart in order to be allowed to use a cart for the ONE GODDAMNED THING WE SET OUT TO GET AT THIS STORE. And the lady at the door watches me as walk I out the entrance into the vestibule, grab a cart that is six feet away, and come right back in. And then she asks to see my membership card.

Now, of course, the entire day is gone. The Childrens don't have a compooter, cuz the repair guy wan't in that late on a Saturday. But at least I have my cheap-o vacuum. MaxieC and I amused ourselves watching videos from a TV show. We started with this one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Great Peanut Recall

As all you regular readers know, I packed up the homestead and moved to Fort TomCollins about 2.5 years ago. We've all been substantially happier since the move, but every now and then something sets off a twinge of nostalgia. Yes, there are a few things I miss about San Schmose, and it's not just that every liquor store sells porn (in both print and DVD form in your better liquor stores). No, I miss the people. Particularly that one kind of people that you don't find at The Company in Fort TomCollins.

Yup. I'm talking about gullible people.

See, in San Schmose you have a lot of people that we used to call "foreigners," and these people come from cultures that apparently lack any tradition of "yanking your chain" or "putting you on". Or, possibly, their command of the English language is such that they don't pick up on the telegraphed signs of a good tall tale. Not that gullible people are, strictly speaking, required to be foreign. It's just that in my line of work, pretty much everyone I ever met in San Schmose was foreign, so perhaps I'm overgeneralizing.

Now, the other explanation could be that back at my old The Company location, I was revered for my sage wisdom, and so those that didn't work with me closely enough to really get to know me actually thought I was capable of being serious, and thus were easily duped. Whereas here in Fort TomCollins, I'm just another in a long line of people who were either run out of town at their old sites or, if they're local, simply given from their company to mine in order to jettison dead wood from the bottom line. So nobody takes anyone seriously around these parts.

Now the thing that gets me is when someone I have known for literally years and with whom I have worked on a day-to-day basis on multiple projects still hangs on my every word. This has got to be scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel gullible. And yet, there it is.

Why, just last week I was IMing this old chap that I'll call "Peanut,"and he was raving about what a genius I was with my blogging. (See, already you're starting to see my point.) And we were also having a good chuckle over Angry Thespian's latest leftwing poetry rant a bit, too. Eventually, talk turned to how I had said this about Dear Leader:
"Off-the-cuff, he has nothing but incoherent, emotional blather and substanceless philibustering."
He said something about how filibustering is spelled with an 'f' and not a 'ph'. I just love, by the way, when people criticize my spelling. Especially since upgrading to Firefox 3.0, where the on-the-fly spelling checker works so much less reliably than it did in 2.0. It takes a very simple mind to criticize spelling.

So I looked it up, and he was right. I edited the post a re-posted it. Then I stonewalled. "Yes, of course it's spelled with an 'f'. That's how I have it."
Peanut: "I see it spelled 'ph'."

Me, CherkyB: "Are you using IE or firefox??"

Peanut: "Google Chrome."

Chrome? God, this is too easy.

Me, CherkyB: "Hmmm. Try IE or Firefox. Chrome has this stupid spellchecker thing built in that autocorrects web pages."

Peanut: "Holy crap. On IE, it sez filibustering. Incredible."

Me, CherkyB: "You know, there may be another explanation for this. Try hitting 'refresh' in chrome. Refresh turns off the autocorrect. If it still says 'ph,' then it isn't the autocorrect."

Peanut: "Refresh ==> fili. Genius."
It's like shooting a fish in a barrel. I almost feel guilty playing against such a minor league team. Like Kathy Griffin slapping down a heckling 3rd grader.

But, still, I gotta say it was fun. The most fun I had all week, actually. So this is my cheery post.

The experience also made me wonder what ever happened to Peanut's smiley little sidekick, "Jeeters." He was a happy little new hire until we learned how easy it was to control him. Then we worked him to near death and he quit. I actually miss him at work cuz the stuff he used to bang out in one day takes our genius crew a minimum of three weeks to agree to do, and then another three to actually do, then two to be convinced they did it wrong, and then another two to correct it. Poor Jeeters. He's probably an alcoholic by now. I can't remember if I tried to teach him how to drink or not. I tried to teach Peanut and failed. That Peanut is as dense as a mesquite stump.

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's always something

The Childrens' compooter died today. I don't know why. When I turn it on, it beeps once, but then nothing. The video doesn't even come on to give the BIOS splash screen, nor does the hard drive light flicker at all. I do note that the CPU fan is running really, really fast during this death. Either Carl, Jr. will tell me something simple to do that will fix it, or I'm gonna have to buy The Childrens a new compooter. This one cost $350 four years ago, so I'm not going to cry so much over the expense. It's just that I hate having to set up everyone's account just the way it used to be.

I fixed something today that had been broken since we moved in - the light in the first floor bathroom. Well, the light itself worked. It just hung on the mirror at an odd angle, with the left end quite a bit lower than the right. This turned out to be a case of somebody hanging the light by driving a regular old screw into drywall without an anchor, which was trivial to fix. The really odd thing here is that the right side of the light was held in place with a molly bolt, but the left was just a screw (a sheet metal screw at that) into drywall that had naturally pulled out. So someone took the time to do half the light right. That's bizarre.

Now, the second odd thing was that I could see half of a plastic anchor poking out from behind the mirror at the bottom of the hole in it. Meaning either someone put the anchor in the wall too low, or the mirror people bored the hole through the mirror too high. I'm reconstructing the crime scene thusly: some enterprising fellow roughed out the wiring for the fixture and then put in the drywall anchors, then the mirror was delivered and the anchors didn't line up with the holes, whoever actually put up the light fixture after the mirror install didn't have any more anchors (or was too lazy to get them), so he just screwed it into the drywall. Then, the right side came loose sometime later, and the previous owner of the house fixed just that side because if there's one thing we could count on from the previous owners, it was that they never actually fixed anything right. Then the left side came loose, but they sold us the house before fixing it.

The really sad thing is that the holes are about 1/4 bubble off level, so upon putting in the anchor and attaching the fixture to it, I found I could not level it. The Mrs. immediately pointed that out, because she's the supportive type. I'll have to get back in there to cut a slot in the drywall for the molly bolt to slide down. I thought there should be enough play in the molly bolt given the large hole already there, but there was not. Then I decided no one would notice (forgetting, of course, the hyper-critical eye of The Mrs. because in the happy place in my mind, she's a very charming, non-hyper-critical person).

I also fixed the fence gate so it doesn't drag on the ground anymore. I'm sure I'll hear that something is wrong with that soon enough.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

CherkyB, The Charmer

While walking the dog this afternoon:
The Mrs.: "Why are you so out of breath?"

Me, CherkyB: "Cuz I'm fat."

The Mrs.: "I'm not out of breath, and I'm fat."

Me, CherkyB: "That's just because you're used to it."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An anniversary

Of sorts.

Today is the 14th anniversary of the last day I was neither engaged nor married. 14 years since I traded the stinging salt air of freedom for the shackles of a family man. Ahh, the nostalgia that Valentine's Day bring out each year.

I proposed to The Mrs. the day after Valentine's Day. I was going to do it on Valentine's Day, but then I decided that that was just waaaay to cliché and conformist for me. So, you let V-Day pass, let the disappointment build through a glorious, swelling, turgid crescendo, and then swoop in to save the day (well, save the next day).

Plus, like my marriage, my proposal was memorable mostly for its humor value. I can't remember the lie we agreed to tell The Childrens if they ever asked about it. But let's just say the The Mrs. knew what she was getting in to when she said yes.

Speaking of which, I hear that Ellie is getting married. That's fahbulous, as it gives me an opportunity to trot out CherkyB's Secrets to a Happy Marriage:
  1. Don't get married.
  2. When you choose to ignore #1 (beause you think you're different), at least don't have kids.
  3. When you choose to ignore #1 and #2, buy the biggest, most expensive bed you can afford.
I wanted to do something really special for Valentine's Day today. Something that really captured the essence of the holiday. So, I cleaned out the drain pipes of our sinks. I mean, who doesn't want to get their pipes cleaned on Valentine's Day?

It turns out we have a lot of sinks. Nine of them. I started on the second floor, where there are four sinks, cuz my sink had been draining slowly, and no amount of Drain-o Max Gel changed that. Drain-o is, naturally, for people who either don't know what the f'k they're doing or are dreadfully lazy. I was trying to be in the second category. But no. I had to remove the pipes and clean out the traps and the down tubes and everything.

I did only seven of the nine, cuz I have the kitchen on open all the time (The Mrs. has not yet learned the moderation required with the garbage disposal), and I cleaned out the bar one just a few weeks ago. My fingers are still stinky, despite washing them a billion times.

So the Week of Disappointment has passed largely without incident. The Mrs. has managed to complain numerous times that I bought her a birthday cake rather than cooking her one, but then she keeps staring off into the distance and saying, "though I guess the oven was broken..." as though this is a major point of disappointment that she can't get full complaint value out of a store-bought cake. And a Carvel's ice cream cake at that. Which, as she says, "Is your favorite and The Childrens' favorite, but not my favorite."

I gave HannahC her first guitar lesson tonight. She is going to be taking guitar in her "Options School" school for homeschoolers next year, and she's been very excited about that. I dug out my acoustic to see if it would fit her (though The Mrs. has declared that she will not be allowed to take that guitar to school on account of how expensive it was). It didn't. I'll have to find a smaller one. She learned the first 7 notes of the first exercise in William Leavitt's "A Modern Method for Guitar: Volume 1." That was about 40 minutes into the lesson, cuz we had to learn the various parts of the guitar and how to hold the pick and how to shape your left hand before we started playing, and we spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting the guitar to the viola that she plays. Tomorrow, maybe we can add a few more notes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It was the fuse

Hot damn, we have an oven again. Just in time for The Mrs.'s birthday casserole. Everybody wish her happy birthday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shocked, I tell you

I don't know why I'm shocked, as there was every indication that this was the case despite all the careful management and shielding of the truth that went on. But I listened to some of that prime-time Obama press conference live on the radio, and when that guy is not using a teleprompter or answering questions he was supplied ahead of time, he sounds dumber than a stump. I mean, this guy makes W look like a good communicator when in an unscripted environment. It's bizarre, given how well he can deliver a speech. Off-the-cuff, he has nothing but incoherent, emotional blather and substanceless filibustering. Can't directly answer a question for the life of him.

I hope people look back wistfully on the failed Carter presidency, cuz here it comes right back atcha.

On a happier note, The Mrs. managed to find the receipt for our oven, so we can now get it repaired for free under warranty. The guy is coming tomorrow. On the phone, the service manager said it was likely the thermal overtemperature fuse, which is the same thing my googling turned up. I see that as a good thing when people agree on the likely cause of a particular failure.

Or maybe it's a bad thing, because it means it's a common enough problem that maybe this will just happen all the time.

I will be home to watch the repair guy. That way, I'll know exactly how to replace the fuse. Then, I'll go buy another one to keep as a spare. That will guarantee that I'll never have the problem again. Normally, I'd leave The Mrs. home to deal with repair guys, cuz she likes to wear something low-cut to try to get a discount. Or at least a bunch of free refrigerator magnets.

We shall see if it is the fuse or not. I know none of you care, but I didn't run up the hill or use the erg at all today.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Miss Clear

On Saturday, MaxieC got tired of "helping" me replace the dishwasher and kitchen faucet, so he asked me if there was a craft we could do where we make something out of junk instead. I told him that I had to finish up the work I was doing, but afterwards it might be possible. So he went around to all the recycling containers and picked out stuff for the project.

I put back all the glass stuff, but we were left with a few plastic bottles. I noted that it would be a lot easier to do the "craft" if I had any hot glue, but I had given all my remaining hot glue stick to a neighbor recently to finish one of her crafts. I figured that'd buy me a day.

It didn't. The Mrs. suggested I had a lot of duct tape. Sadly (or, I guess, predictably) this was true.

So there we sat in the garage Saturday night with a milk jug, an OJ jug, a Coffee-Mate jug, a water bottle, and a roll of duct tape. After sizing it all up, I decided we could make a person. We cut little X's into the milk jug with a razor knife (MaxieC's first experience cutting with a razor knife) and duct taped the other bottles into the holes.

I cut the top off the milk jug to allow the OJ jug to fit in better, and then used the top that I cut off as the nose. The water bottle top served as an eye, with the other eye being some piece of plastic I found on the workbench that I think used to be part of a climbing vine anchor. I used cyanoacrylate glue (i.e., what is often known as Super Glue, but without all the stabilizers that keep it from hardening in the bottle) to attach everything. I had mixed luck with the CA glue. The nose and one eye popped of later. We also glued some leather bootlace on for a smile and for a necktie (it was not determined until later that it would be a woman).

Then, I used some of my 3M Super 77 spray adhesive to glue an old rag onto the head for hair.

On Sunday, I went to Ace to get some more glue sticks. We were then able to re-attach the eye and nose, plus add a lot of pom poms and some ribbon. Behold "Miss Clear."

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Oh Fabulous

Just when I get the dishwasher and sink faucet replaced, the oven I put in last year decided to die. Well, it decided to commit some form of suicide during a self-clean cycle. But, I think it's just a cry for help, because all the electronics work. It just doesn't heat up ever. I googled and learned that if self-clean makes your oven no longer heat, this is usually the "thermal overheat" fuse. Apparently, there are about four other people in the world who have the same oven I have who had this happen and asked about it on appliance repair blogs.

It's an easy fix, but step one is to remove the oven from the wall. I just don't feel like doing it, cuz I know once I get it out and the fuse is fine, then I'll be obsessed about what it could be for days on end. I'll just call our repair guy (who I thought we wouldn't be needed anymore given I've replaced almost all the appliances). Maybe I'll pull the oven out of the wall before he gets here, cuz he charges in 15 minute increments, and I'd really like to pay him just to fix the thing, not to uninstall and reinstall it cuz I can do that no problemo.

The Proscrub feature on the new dishwasher seems to work nicely, though we have not yet put in anything that was really super baked-on dirty.

I hear that my next major task is to remodel some of the basement to turn it into a live-in nanny quarters. The troubling part of that is that the bedroom and the bathroom are on opposite ends of the floor, and in between is my bar and air hockey room.

I'll miss my bar.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

May I speak with you upstairs for a minute?

I have strayed from my base a bit, but today I am back in full force.

That's right. I'm choreblogging. You all know that's why you follow along so closely. You just can't guess what wacky project that CherkyB feller will get up to next.

Well, fear not. I have not just one, but two projects to talk about today. And with pictures!

So youse all remember the problem I had with the old dishwasher? How it had a hole in the bottom? In case not, here's a picture:

Haaa! I kill me! It's like prom night all over again, as they say.

Yes, but seriously, that wonderful patch that I devised to fix the hole in the bottom of the plastic dishwasher tub using QuikSteel managed to last all of three days before it popped the hell off. So The Mrs. declared that she simply couldn't live in a house where she had to continuously worry that the dishwasher was going to leak all over the floor, and decreed that a new dishawasher we shall have.

That's the problem with trophy wives, by the way, in case any of you single guys are thinking of getting married. All they do is demand, demand, demand. They're worse than Democrats.

Ok, maybe I got carried away there. They aren't really worse than Democrats. But they're a damn close second.

Given that I take direction poorly (and the fact that all my web searching had noted that no one had the dishwasher I wanted in stock, and the special order time was two weeks), I mixed up a batch of JB Weld and dolloped it generously in and around the hole. JB Weld, however, takes 15 hours to cure, so I had plenty of time to head to Lowe's to order a dishwasher.

I got the model that was the closest approximation to the dishwasher I put into our last house, as we were quite happy with that one. But that was almost eight years ago, so they weren't really completely identical. In particular, the little contdouwn timer that we used to have that would simply display random numbers until it eventually finished washing has been eliminated.

The trouble with these modern dishwashers is they have all kinds of temperature and dirt sensors that constantly update the wash cycle. And if you put a digital readout on the front of the dishwasher that is supposed to represent "minutes remaining", it goes up and down every time the sensors adjust something, and in the five years we had that dishwasher, I don't think it ever came within a half hour of taking the amount of time it said it would when it was started.

The dishwasher was delivered at 7:50am today. Yeah. 7:50am on a Saturday. And they called at 7:30am to say they were on their way. Included in the delivery was carting off the old one, so on Friday night I had removed the dishwasher. It was then that I discovered that the shutoff valve for the dishwasher didn't quite 100% shut off the water. So I stuck the hose in that bucket. It wasn't until the next morning that I discovered that the valve slowly opened just a little bit more over the course of about a half hour after being shut off. It did this quite reliably. The amount of water that dribbled into the bucket overnight would never have gotten halfway up, but when the valve opened itself a bit more, it managed to overflow the bucket sometime near the morning.

All projects begin so happily. I like to call this picture "Hope for Change."

"SOS" means "special order service" in this context. That tells them not to sell my dishwasher to someone else, I guess.

Now, I have owned three houses over my many years, and in each one The Mrs. has insisted I install a nicer dishwasher. So I know it is supposed to be easy. But I also know it never really is. So I approached this project with great trepidation. That is, until I got the new dishwasher out of the box.

See, my old dishwasher was a Kenmore. A number of different companies make dishwashers for Sears to sell under the Kenmore label, but I happened to know this one was a Whirlpool because it had a soap dispenser that was exactly like the one in the KitchenAid we had in our last house (the dishwasher we liked, as opposed to the Bosch I put into the first house cuz Consumer Reports said it was the best, but then it broke three times (twice for the same thing) in its first two years and it never really got the dishes that clean, plus it was impossible to clean the sieves). The new dishwasher, being a close approximation of the last house's dishwasher, was also a KitchenAid. KitchenAids are just higher-end Whirlpools, but imagine my eleation when I discovered that the underneath was laid out identically to the Kenmore I had removed. Sure, the motor was different, and the tub was different, but the locations and sizes were all identical assuring that all the hookups (water, drain, electric) would go right on without any reconfig.

Wonderful. CherkyB catches a break. It went in quite smoothly. See:

Except for that hose sticking out the front. The new hose was a little stiff and didn't want to tuck under and stay there. The kickplate, though, held it in nicely once installed.

All shiny and new.

These little blue jet do-jobbers in the back are a recent innovation. They're called "Proscrub," and you can lay the back row of tines in the bottom rack back at about 45 degrees and then stack up really dirty pots and pans facing the Proscrub jets. I cannot report on if they work yet, as they're running right now, but the lady in the store said, "people don't agree on if they are any good."

A hell of a glowing endorsement.

The front panel has lots of little blue LEDs. They match the overn nicely.

Now, the second project has a lot fewer pictures. When I went to turn off the water to the old dishwasher prior to removal, I noticed that there was a lot of water under the sink. I discovered that the faucet was leaking from somewhere up inside its body. So, probably this could have been fixed by a new cartridge or valve stem packing or o-rings, but the faucet was cracked when we moved in and never really worked all that well. So I just replaced the whole thing. This is a finish called "Tuscon Bronze", which means it's painted bronze with black paint over it that has been brushed off around the edges to expoe the bronze.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Why just the fingers?

In the 12+ years I have been married, my fingers have apparently fattened up to the point that I need my wedding ring resized up 1/2 to 3/4 a size. We're going to start at 1/2 size and go up from there. I pick it up tomorrow after 10.

Which means tonight, I am sans wedding ring. I should like go cruise the CSU campus or something.

The weird thing is that only my fingers have gotten fatter in that time.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Soon, someone will cry

The Childrens are taking turns at a new game. One of them gets under a comforter on the couch, and the other one bashes him/her with the Batman ride-on bouncy ball MaxieC got for his birthday.

Interestingly, they only do this during commercial breaks. They're watching Chain Reaction on The Game Show Network, which is part of the homeschooling curriculum for learning vocabulary and spelling. I should probably put a stop to it, but they seem to be having a lot of fun. And, as a child, it is very very difficult to have fun without any risk of injury.

OK. I intervened. I suck.

[update: OK, because I intervened, they needed to find something else to do. And, apparently, MaxieC thought that meant sneaking up behind HannahC and punching her in the back. Now MaxieC has a fat and bloody lip, is crying, and is in naughty corner thinking about his decision.]