Thursday, September 8, 2011

Some Kind of Cosmic Balance Sheet.....

Karma should really consider getting a louder siren. It would be completely awesome if I had a heads up before they be knockin' on my door like they the dang police (cleaned up Friday reference changed a bit to suit just this instance). But nope. No siren, no heads up, not even a tap on the shoulder before BAM! there it is smackin' ya right up in your face. This time it really hit me where it hurts-----the kitchen. The kitchen is my sanctuary, my hidey hole if you will...

I rarely notice the good karma. If I find a penny on the street I should be all like, "Heck yes! Monies for me!!" But nope, I stick it in my pocket without a second thought...unless, of course, it's on tails. You never pick up a penny on tails. If you do you have to put it in your shoe. I did that once, it was annoying as crap. Don't put pennies in your shoes. Trust me.

So these days I'm madly in love with recipes. It started simple enough with a chicken and dumplings recipe that turned out to be nothing short of ambrosia-like. I ate them for days upon days and even whipped up another pot Tuesday. Then there was Japanese rice and teriyaki chicken. It was delicious, albeit a bit salty. Next time I'll do better. And the last night was the oven fried chicken.

The recipe was simple enough. I donned my iPod and sang away the moments (apparently a bit louder than Nathan liked) while prepping the chicken. Preheat oven, check. Stick this junk in a bowl, check. Crush these corn flakes, check. Viola! All ready to go into the oven. Oh wait...what's this? It's been 15 minutes and my oven isn't preheated. Somehow Adele in my ear didn't sound as sweet as it did just mere seconds before.

Okay. This can be handled. It has to be something simple. Maybe I didn't break the entire stove, just a small part of it. I turned on a burner. A minute amount of head wafted to my hand. No more than the equivalent of a pinprick where there should have been a horseshoe stake.

"Uh oh, Babe...there's something wrong with the stove."

Adam's used to me calling him in with problems. A lid won't come off a jar, I can't quite reach that can... This is one of the many reasons I got married. If you're short and have a tendency to fight tooth and nail with jars, get married. It makes life sooo much easier. Short weakling chicks will not survive alone.

It should be mentioned that this has happened before. There would be heat, but not nearly enough. The lights would come on, but it was obvious that no one was home. In that particular instance we found out much too late (after buying a new stove) that it was, in fact, the fuses. I know next to nothing about fuse boxes. I do know that breakers are easier and when they trip, it doesn't take a visit to Wal-Mart to fix it. Click--done. But, without the luxury of a simple click, Adam went to Wal-Mart.

Fuses in hand, he trekked down the basement steps. I wanted to be excited. I wanted to be optimistic. Heck, I would have settled for the glass having even a drop of water in it, but with the fuses only being a little over a year old, I was skeptical (especially since the ones we replaced before looked like they were probably replaced sometime before the combustible engine was debuted).

No luck. I could tell he was trying different things waiting for me to yell gleefully, "It works! It works! By Jove I think you've got it!" Lights went off, lights came on. The microwave blinked. The computers went off. At some point the clock in the bedroom went off and came back on. Nothing. Then...something...a tiny tendril of heat...but only for a stolen moment. Was it a dream? To much to hope for? A small ray of light in a horrible downpour? It was simply that; a short small burst of heat gone within moments; a wisp of heat and poof....... Surely I had imagined it.

So, Adam did what any red-blooded American male would do in such a situation. He took the stove apart. Not the fuses. Has to be a loose wire. Screws came out. So many screws. I'm still trying to be optimistic. Trying so hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel...wondering if perhaps it was a simple wire, a tiny problem in a sea of horrendous possibilities.

I'm not going to get into detail about the mouse. I'm just going to mumble the words old and crispy and move along. He was removed and parts were scrubbed. This was my stove. My STOVE. I nearly felt violated. I still shudder to think.... Gack.

No loose wires. Yup, it was a good idea, don't get me wrong, but I suspected as much. He put the stove back together.

McDonald's for dinner. Yes, I'm not to proud to admit that I lost my mind for a few minutes. This was my STOVE y'all. My stove! A source of comfort, sustenance and a part of my getaway. My stove was not working. I overreacted. I do that.

I pulled myself together and with a couple of cheeseburgers and some sweet tea in my belly I could think a bit more clearly. Adam suggested he climb up in the attic to see about wiring. That was the only idea that was really coming to mind. He had cleaned contacts on the fuse box part thingy, (the technical term, ladies and gentlemen) so the fuses were making contact. That couldn't really be the problem.

Then I remembered the dream of heat; the small puff of warmth that came from the burner for a mere nanosecond. I explained in my topsy-turvy detail how when it seemed like he was placing the fuse box part thingy back into the wall, it seemed to work for a split second. Hmmm... Yes...for a split second I believe it worked. So Adam trekked down the stairs once again to move the part thingy just a bit. A little jiggle basically....

It worked!!! Heat poured forth like rainbows full of love and laughter. Yes. We had fixed our problem....well...temporarily at least. Apparently we're going to have to clean the actual fuse box. I'm loathe to think of it.... No power while cleaning a fuse box. Sounds like a hoppin' good time to me!!

Maybe it's not karma really. Maybe it's just God's way of reminding me that things may be all jacked up; that they fall apart; that they get all mucked up, but in the end, it's all okay. The entire world may feel like it's coming apart at the seams, but you never really know when it'll turn around. It could be within the next moment, the next day, the next year...but it will turn around.

My cup runneth over.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener

Every day is a new opportunity for something to go wrong. Yes, it's true. It's the age old adage's fault; "If something can go wrong, it will." But take heart, dear reader, because even though every day is an opportunity for something to go wrong, it's also an opportunity to say, "You are not gonna defeat me! I shall smote your wrongness into ruin and be done! Now...away with you." no one really talks like that and even if they do, it's probably just in their head.

My house is trying to kill me. Never buy a house, children. I know there are people who push the issue, "Buy!" they say, "Raise a family!" they say.... They never say your crap is gonna break daily and you're gonna have to fix it cause you make a house payment instead of pay rent. They would never say that. Real estate agents aren't born evil. I even know a couple who to this day aren't evil, but a tiny bit of warning that you'll pay and pay and pay some more would have been awesome. Plus, if you're lucky---errr---if lucky is want to call it, your house will come with a yard. You can plant flowers and put up little fences and it will be yours--your own--your precious. Ah, but along with the dying flowers (black thumb syndrome...mine will never be green) you will have grass. Grass grows. This summer I have been absolutely convinced that someone sneaked onto my lawn and covered it in fertilizer then sneaked around and made the lawn mower uber angry, to the point that it would hate me for all the days of my life. I know I have enemies, but sheesh! Couldn't you have shaved my head in my sleep or something? I mean really...that would be so much easier to deal with than the ding dang hayfield that becomes my yard every week. I can't keep an aloe plant alive, but I sure can grow a lush lawn of grass. What the heck is that about?!

I know folks who love mowing. I'll never understand that. Maybe if someone hadn't jacked up the mower I'd like it just a little bit more. Maybe if the top screws wouldn't come out or the dang thing would actually shut off when I tell it to, I wouldn't face the task with such daunting dread. Maybe if I had a nifty zero-turn mower that weed eated (eated? ate?) killed the grass and made me dinner, I wouldn't wanna hijack a concrete truck and "accidentally" spill the contents all up on the grass. I'd complain about the fact that it's 650 degrees in the shade every single time I decide to mow, but I probably shouldn't. That way when it's 10 below zero I can complain about that and no one can say, "Weren't you just griping about it being hot last August?!" This woman is rarely completely content.

Would you believe this blog was supposed to be about a three day clogged pipe incident with witty statements about plungers, bleach and drain cleaner? I think I'll just advise you to rent, not buy, and leave it at that. Get a good landlord. Surely they'll be much easier to get along with than a mortgage company anyway, right?


Thursday, August 18, 2011

If at First You Don't Succeed

When deciding to become a Domestic Engineer, whether by choice or circumstance, it should be necessary to take some sort of course. Only a bit of guidance really; something that could give hints on how to put drawstrings back in pants, kill a spider from 6 feet to fix a leaky sink--ya know...the basics. I'm not saying all would-be house dwellers must take the course, but in this town where jobs are a dime a dozen, (unfortunately the dime has to be the ultra rare 1982 "No P" dime) one can not just call up a seamstress, exterminator or a plumber at any given moment.

Don't get me wrong, I can fix things. I can put drawstrings back in pants with the best of 'em (or at least the second best) and my ultra nifty Home Defense can get some distance, but when it comes to plumbing it's sort of an, "If at first you don't succeed," thing...

I could never be a plumber. I'm sure the nice draft above a drooping pant line would be quite lovely, but frankly I'm not sure I have the patience or the stomach for it. Fortunately, the instance of which I write occurs from beneath the kitchen sink.

Day one: Just a leak. Not a big deal really. A constant drip, drip, drip... I'm thinking I could just tighten this baby up and be done with it. Easy peasy. You believe that, right? If you're familiar in the least with this blog you know how many times in my life "Easy peasy" has fallen into my lap. Three? Four times maybe in 31 years? Yeah...that sounds about right....

After waiting for Adam to get home with the plethora of tools and gadgets he has up in the Jeep, I nab the pliers.. They weren't as awesome as a pipe wrench would have been, but they weren't as lame as say...a screwdriver or a butter knife. They were pretty decent sized and I thought they would fit the bill nicely. And they did. Wielding my fix-it tool and determined to stop the steady drip, I sit myself down in front of the kitchen sink. I can see where it's leaking and a with a little tightening, I should be done in about 45 seconds. Righty, tighty. Lefty, loosey. Oh come on, you can't tell my you don't say that in your head every time you tighten/loosen something. Really. Anyway, as I turned the pliers, the leak became worse. Poop. Okay, so this is a sideways thingy so I turn my head slightly sideways to determine which way was tighten. Finally I figured it out. Ta da!! All fixed! Go me! I'm awesome!

Then, as I retract my pliers, I bump another pipe ever so slightly. comes undone. What the heck?! Okay...No big deal.... ADAM!!!!! He rides his shining stallion into the kitchen (or walks if you don't want to pretend he's a knight, but I'm telling you the imagery is beautiful) and puts my oopsy back together again. It takes a bit of time, but with me as his trusty sidekick we declare the mission a success and move along with the evening.

The next morning I'm making breakfast. Normal day. Yay no drip! lalala..... I go about my day as planned. Laundry, dishes, cleaning off the vast amount of stuff Nathan has brought into the living room...the normal stuff. Around lunch time I hear it. My heart sank. Drip...drip...drip. So like any self respecting fix-it chick would do, I took up my pliers (luckily they had been left in the house) and ventured into the kitchen. Cautiously I look beneath the sink--CRAP!! Would you believe (and I know you will) that it's the pipe that was leaking before?! Remember folks--if at first you don't succeed (yadda, yadda, yadda...chances are I should just wait until Adam gets home). So, I start tightening the pipe--again. And just as I finish, I hit another pipe. This wasn't the same pipe Adam fixed the previous night. I suppose that's what got me the most. If it had been his pipe, I probably wouldn't have been so annoyed at myself.

So, I fixed the pipe that I broke while fixing the pipe that I fixed the night before when I broke the other pipe.

Later that night I unclogged the bathroom sink. I call into the living room, "I fixed the bathroom sink!" In reply I hear a resounding, "NOOOOOOOO!!"


Friday, April 29, 2011

And the Radio Just Keeps on Playin' all those Songs about Rain

Nothing is ever cut and dry with me. It's usually grab the scissors, they're too dull, get a knife, the blade breaks, find a utility knife and there's no blade so I saw at it for an hour with a very dull saw blade that is hanging around on the basement floor and get it apart just in time for a huge flood to come and get whatever is supposed to be dried sopping wet. Okay, so I don't really know what the whole, "cut and dry," thing means, but I'm assuming it's something that's simple and straight forward. In any case, nothing is ever easy.

Almost the entire last week sets the example that cut and dry and I are not compatible. I see you there rolling your eyes and thinking I'm being a bit dramatic. I suppose I could be. I've been known to tip the drama scale from time to time, but in this instance I believe it's warranted.

Sunday was Easter. It rained. A lot. I'm not talking this nice little spring rain that brings forth nice little flowers and birdies are still singing happy tunes throughout as you frolic happily through dandelions that have gone to seed, (that's probably not a good idea seems they would stick to you in any amount of moisture) I'm talking heavens to Betsy killed a cat, yo (if you have ever conversed with me face to face and something is beyond belief, that's the phrase I use) raining. A torrential downpour that would make Noah sit up and take notice. It was the beginning of numerous ark jokes, countless rain song posts and days and days worth of rain. When this much rain falls in such a short time, there is runoff. And where did this runoff decide to land? All up in my basement.

Some may have been overjoyed at the thought of an indoor pool at the bottom of their basement steps. Why wouldn't they be? A chance to do those laps you've been putting off, or float around on a mat while sipping tropical drinks from a coconut with a little umbrella, but not me! I'm the pessimistic type sometimes. Indoor pools are cool and all, but frankly, I prefer to have hot water and no fear of it reaching the fuse box. I was secretly terrified that the water would rise to the fuse box. I'm not sure what kind of havoc that would wreak, but yo, I did not want to find out. The 14 inch deep water was still several feet from reaching that point, but little miss worst case scenario likes to rear her ugly head from time to time.

Monday morning rolled around and the water had not receded in the least. Not a single solitary drop had dissipated. We discussed it (one of us in tears that nearly matched the strength of the afore mentioned downpour) and decided buying a pump would be the best course of action. Tractor Supply was awesome!! We bought a little pump, some water hose and an extension cord. Oh, how my spirits lifted! This was going to work, I just knew it! We'd have a nice dry basement by the day's end and all would be well. After getting this nifty new pump home, put the hose on it, ran it out the basement window and got everything ready to plug it in. The moment of truth! This was going to work! This is awesome! Happiness and woots filled my mind in crazy tendrils while grabbing the plugs to get it started. Let's do this!! I smiled as I plugged it in, certain that this was the answer! Nothing happened. Nothing at all. All was silent. What the dog poop in the mornin' (another one of my rather insane exclamations)! the extension cord is leeching power. Let's plug it up directly. We repositioned, plugged it in and nothing. Well poop. This isn't helping us any. Reading the instructions told us nothing that we didn't already know. An exchange was in order. Adam went back to Tractor Supply and exchanged it. This one worked. We watched for a few minutes as water blasted from the hose. Woot!! The water is going to go down in no time now! An hour went by and I measured the water. It had gone down 3/4 of an inch. This was going to take forever!!

Just then my dad swooped in to save the day! He showed up with this massive piece of machinery that had to weigh every bit of 100 pounds and looked as if it had been tripped over by dinosaurs. I was skeptical. After all, this day was full of roller coaster likeness and I was almost sure this was going to be a big ol' freefall downward. It first. After about 45 minutes of fiddling with it, priming it, priming it again, is there enough gas, what the heck does this do, which is in and which is out, we got it running. And boy, oh boy did it run! Gallons and gallons of water lurched through the hose and down the back yard. Oh, happy day! Happy dances and more woots! Water was disappearing from the basement in leaps and bounds! Awesomeness! rained. Oh, did it rain! It rained like pouring water out of a boot. And when it rains there is runoff. And where did this runoff go? All up in my basement. I'm not sure where my dad's patience came from. Everything that had been pumped out was back in. He may have just been holding back because his oldest daughter was crying like a 2 year old who lost her favorite dolly. Either way, he held fast. It was pretty amazing really. Until about 6 that night we pumped water out of the basement with that old pump then we used what we have since called, "LittlePump." The next morning, the water was gone!! One fight many more to go? Ah, that remained to be seen!

I'm a huge fan of major appliances. Next to [most] people and my cat, they're the best things ever. They cook, they wash dishes, they keep things cool or frozen. What's not to like----when they work. That morning, I remained cautiously optimistic that the appliances in the basement hadn't been destroyed beyond compare. First the washer. Saying a small prayer, I turned the knob and pulled it forward. Nothing. My heart sank. We had just bought this washer mere days before the flood and I had been able to use it for very nearly 48 hours. Why, oh why wouldn't it bring forth the beautiful spray of water that had immensely impressed me so recently? Maybe it was stopped up. I pressed the button and turned it to the spin cycle. Silence greeted me and fear gripped my heart. the washer was dead. One small failure, we can get past this. On to the dryer. Atop the dryer, placed under the detergent was a black cord. I studied it for a second and then laughed to myself as I plugged the washer's cord into the socket. The washer then began to do the absolutely amazing job that it was meant to do! Success!

The dryer, on the other hand, didn't work. I made sure it was plugged in, set the timer and pressed the button. I was only greeted with a quiet hum. I opened the door, turned the drum, (drum? barrel? spinny thing?) and tried again. This time, not only did it hum, but it emitted some sort of funky burning smell. I decided to leave it as it was. Maybe it just needed to dry out. Maybe it was dead. Maybe space aliens had landed sometime during the night and implanted some sort of not working device all up in it's innards. At worst, the dryer had gone to that big junk heap in the sky. At best, it was on hiatus. Moving along to the water heater.

I hate lighting pilot lights. It's not that I'm afraid of gas or the whole crouching down thing to get it lit, it's just that I completely stink at it. I can light a pilot light one out of about 64 tries. I wish this was an exaggeration. I wasn't too surprised when I couldn't get it to light. Adam could try again later.

I am hard pressed to let things just go as they are. If there was any way on God's beautiful (albeit muddy at the moment) green earth that I could get the dryer to work, I was going to. Wednesday morning I set my sights on Google and didn't come up for air for at least half an hour. Through site after site after dreadful, not-so-helpful site I combed, searching for an answer. Finally, I found it! Aha! I will take it apart and see what I can see. The schematics studied, screwdriver in hand, I made my way to the basement. According to my research it could be the motor, the blower wheel, the timer thingy wiring or the bushings (?) needed oiled. First, I needed to get the top screws off and see what I could see. The first two screws went remarkably well. I knew they needed a Phillips head, so I was pretty much set there. After I unscrewed those, the little side parts were pretty much supposed to pop off, or that's how I understood it anyway. Remember the cut and dry thing? Yeah, that decided to play a role in the disassembling of the dryer. Nothing came off anywhere. didn't quite work out so well, let's just go ahead and check on the timer wiring. Grabbing a pair of pliers (these were bolt-like and I wasn't sure I had the correct size, so I thought pliers would work best) walked to the back of the dryer. That's about the moment I decided that no one should ever buy used appliances and not check out the boltage before hand. Yeah, I'm not sure if boltage is a word, but it fits here, so I'm using it. There was every type of bolt and screw known to civilized man holding the back plates on. Screws, both Phillips and flathead, screws that took hex keys, and one screw that wasn't much more than a nail. Also, two bolts, one of which I could use a flathead screwdriver on. Ahhh, but you see, I wasn't in possession of a flathead screwdriver. I had several wrenches, the pliers, and various other tools that were absolutely useless in this case, but no flathead screwdriver. Three trips upstairs and a broken butter knife later, I had something that worked. It was something called a Miss Army knife. It's equipped with perfume vial, a mirror, a corkscrew, a hair pin, a small light an ink pen and much to my delight, a flathead screwdriver! Way too much time later I'm looking at a bunch of stuff that I have no idea what is. The wiring looked fine. There was a bit of dirt that had been left behind from the flood on the floor of the dryer, but other than that, I could see nothing wrong. Back to the front. I studied for a few moments wondering how the heck to remove the bottom panel. The screws were out, but the sides wouldn't pop off like they were supposed to. I suppose I could have gone back to Google, but at this point it just seemed a hassle. I hadn't bookmarked the only useful link anyway and I thought it would just take up more time. I tried to lift the top. It came up, but only slightly. Hmm, that's not going to work. I crouched down and felt around the front bottom panel. I pulled gently and low and behold! It just came off in my hands. No screws were required to remove it. I sighed and wondered who the heck came up with that dang schematic and for the first time since I had began this little project, realized that that may have just been the wrong schematic. It did look like my dryer though, but I guess a lot of dryers look about the same. Regardless, I could see the motor. I ran my finger along the floor of the dryer. Dust, with only a minute amount of moisture rested there. I shone a flashlight to the motor. Well, poop. The motor seriously looked like crap. Junk kinda dangled from it and I was pretty sure the color was a bit off. I decided letting it dry out would be the best idea.

That was about 3 days ago. The pilot light has since been lit, the washer works like a dream and there still isn't water in the basement. Unfortunately the dryer is probably a loss. After letting it dry it still doesn't start.

I suppose I could be sad about the dryer. I could mope and pout and just generally be emo about it, but I'm not. Sometimes we have to admit our defeats and just celebrate the victories. After all, the washer works, we have hot water and the basement is dry (for the most part, that is a story for another time). If the only loss we took is the dryer, well, I'm okay with that. After all, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Nope, it ain't bad at all.