Thoughts @ Large: 64

• I recently noticed that the water pressure in our shower was low and that the flow rate dropped when another faucet opened or a toilet was flushed.  This never used to happen.  So I looked at the situation and figured that the pressure regulator on our water supply was either filled with sediment or some internal part was broken.

the do-it-yourself bible of my younger yearsIn the old days, armed with my well-worn Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual, I would have shut off the water and taken apart the regulator to see if I could clean it out myself and save us some bucks.  But here is where a few decades of life pays its rewards.  It is more likely I would have taken the thing apart only to have some piece crumble in my hands, and then the hardware store would have no replacement part because the manufacturer went out of business, and meanwhile we have no water and someone is now standing in front of me asking when I’m going to turn on the water because someone has to get a shower and leave for an appointment in an hour.  Intuiting that, present-day me decides to call a plumber.  Experience has a way of teaching things that do-it-yourself books and videos never cover.

• I make a mean tossed salad, I really do.  Invite me for dinner someday and I will raid your produce drawer, and probably a few other places in your pantry, and if given enough warning I will bring other fresh goodies with me (maybe even radishes) and then I will make excellent salads for all of us, custom-prepared so that Person A can have her broccoli and bleu cheese while Person B enjoys his black olives and ranch.  I may not cook worth a damn but I could have had a stellar career as a greens-tender, if such a position existed.

• I really thought there were still a few absolutes in life, some things that, even in these fractured times, every rational person can agree on.  For example, though I do not share their passion, I understand why nature-lovers object to bear traps.  And while I think the alt-educated people who refuse to vaccinate their children are supremely misguided and negligent, the damage caused by their selfishness is, for now, limited.  But I draw the line at mosquito activists.  Mosquito activists!

• What would it be like if we had no heritage?  By that I mean, what would we be like, what would our cultures be like, if we lived our lives based on what we personally experienced and not the dusty heritages that our parents and relatives drummed into us, defining and confining our actions and reactions?  It may be that most of us, the world over, adopt and cultivate our own heritage-brand that we then operate under, carving out our narratives from our kindred’s experiences while acting as if we experienced their events ourselves.

• Last fall, my friend Eric introduced me to the Spelling Bee game in the New York Times and I am now hooked.  It’s a game that doesn’t last more than a day, one can leave it and pick it up at will, and while it offers more challenge than an everyday word-search, one is spared all the weightiness of solving the crossword puzzle.  And for me, the Spelling Bee also offers a meta-level of amusement arising from my attempts to find longer, compound words hiding among the seven letters provided that day.

Here are a few examples I found (with my definitions) that I am sure amused only me:

  • BABYLIT  –  children’s books with washable pages?
  • NAGBOT  –  someone who reminds you of the obvious, over and over again
  • KNOBBOY –  the doorman’s understudy?
  • LAXABIT –  the pill you take when you only have to go a little
  • HAMDOWN  –  annual barbecue and fiddle festival in Ames, Iowa

Needless to say, none of these words were accepted.

• P.S.  A quick update on our water supply pressure regulator.  The plumber replaced it.  Pressure and performance is back to normal.  Cost: $300.  Makes me think I should have at least tried to clean or replace it myself — could have saved a few bucks.  I’ll never learn.

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10 Responses to Thoughts @ Large: 64

  1. Kim U says:

    Plumbing is a nightmare. Can never find the correct replacement part without 3 or 4 trips to the hardware store. Worth it to call a plumber.

  2. Rick says:

    I learned long ago to rely on the professionals. Maybe it’s because I am Home maintenance challenged.

    • Lynne Benzing says:

      Ditto! And, if something goes wrong in the fixing process…I rather it be on their head….of course, it most likely will wind up on my wallet! 😅

  3. Gavin Larsen says:

    The NYT Spelling Bee is the BEST. It’s a highlight (the highlight, sometimes) of my week. I gauge my self-worth by how many points I get and whether Frank Longo deems me a “genius” or merely “excellent”.

    • Craig says:

      I am compelled to go the distance to Genius — only rarely try to reach Queen Bee, as there is always some obscure word that I am never going to come up with. Thanks for reading!

  4. Bruce says:

    I’m also home maintenance challenged and prefer to rely on professionals though my wife is a bit more adventurous with some home issues. I have that exact Reader’s Digest book! My parents gave it to me for Christmas in 1976. So far I have only read their note to me on the inside of the front cover. I’ll get to it one of these days.

  5. Dorothy says:

    As usual, you made me smile, Craig … I always said that my engineer could fix anything – it only takes twice the time and costs twice as much!! And, we also have the same book!

    I’ll going to check out Spelling Bee and love the laxabit definition!

    Feel free to prep me a salad anytime! 😘😘

  6. Rob says:

    —Debby and I were on opposite sides of the do-it-or-hire-it-out conundrum for decades. She wanted us to fix things (and she was and is very good at that) and I wanted to keep writing and allow someone else to tackle those things. Maybe it’s the same process you went through, but she is now on my side.
    —As for heritage, we come into the world with no clue and our parents, teachers, ministers, and others tell us what the rules are. As we get a bit older we realize other people are being given a different set of rules. Later still we realize the rules are really up for grabs and we can live this thing as we like, given the realities of law enforcement, the laws of physics and digestion, etc. To get us here in the first place, though, heritage is basically a requirement. Its problem is it’s too all-inclusive. “Son, accepted wisdom says don’t wander around after dark because of the lions. It also says if you burn these leaves in this bowl and chant this chant and dance this dance, the crops will grow.” Classically, most people did both, some people rejected first the dance and then the lion thing, and others, probably too few to get us out of this mess, do sort it for themselves in a way that approximates real usefulness.
    —Hurry and patent Laxabit. And maybe TwentyWinks.
    —$300 is worth most aggravation I cause myself tearing apart things that may, as you say, crumble.

  7. Pete says:

    Regarding mosquito activists, I’m curious how these activists would feel about the Loa Loa worm, a parasitic worm that can get into your eyeball.

    One thing I’m very against though are companies that offer mosquito killing services. They aren’t doing mosquito control. They kill every insect present in the area. It’s indiscriminate killing. Good bugs and pest bugs, all gone. Along with those bugs being gone are all the animals that prey on them, like birds.

  8. Eric says:

    Excellent additions to the Spelling Bee lexicon – stranger “words” have been accepted as valid!

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