How’s it going?


A few weeks back, I went through a series of posts where I grudgingly admitted I have lived a reasonably interesting life.

While that’s all well and good (and a needed boost to self-esteem), the fact is my interesting bits are more the product of unique or special events or periods in my life. For the bulk of my time on this spinning blue-green ball, I am ensconced in moments of true mundanity.

Often times, I am asked by friends and family, “How’s it going?” and I reply with a “fine” or “same”, because, well, nothing interesting is going on.

To prove this point and for lack of anything better to type about, I now punish you with a series of true life experiences guaranteed to numb your brain.

Why do yourself…

…what you can pay others to do for you.

Well, sure, I could learn carpentry and electrical engineering and save myself the money. Or, I could just pay someone else to do it for me and sit around browsing web pages.

In a surprising twist, hiring a handyman/contractor to fix my front door, front gate, cracks in the walls, install GFI plugs and reset verticals cost me less than an electrician quoted me for installing the GFI plugs alone.

Though I’ve hung all the verticals in my home previously (with fine results, if I can be allowed a self-pat on the back), I figured I should throw that in so that I could get enough items of work that someone would actually come out to quote me (the first two attempts, I never got a call back…hmmph).

Sure, ok, the guy bought the wrong switch plate for the master bath GFI, but they’re only $1.58 at Lowe’s and attach with just four little screws. Easy enough for me (boy, did I jinx myself there).

I’m pretty happy about the work and the way the place looks now (I really enjoy being able to open the gate wide – I have an upward slanting walkway that the gate jammed against only about 1/3 open.

I can handle this

Famous last words.

So, the switch plate mentioned above was easy enough to locate. There was even a Lowe’s employee in the aisle. He asked me what color I wanted (they had white and ivory) and I said it didn’t matter. I told him I wasn’t married and he laughed and nodded. Sure, no disagreement over color was waiting for me when I got back.

I went with regular white, which turned out to be the same color as all my outlet covers. So there.

What no one, not the contractor, his helper or I, noticed was that the master bath switch plate had been shaved at the bottom. Whether that was because the counter piece was too high or the switch and outlet had been reinstalled too low didn’t really matter. I was tasked with the grief of trimming that hard plastic cover.

I pulled out one of my old box cutters, threw in a new X-acto blade and sliced and sliced and sliced until my wrist and fingers hurt (though I was careful to keep any body parts far from the direction of my cutting, since the blade slipped a few times before a groove could be created).

With enormous relief, I went back to the switch. A combination of horror and dismay gripped me. I had trimmed the wrong side. Oh good grief.

I returned to my little work area and trimmed the other side. I was developing a rhythm or system by now and managed this trimming much quicker. Of course, with both sides trimmed now, I knew it was only a stop-gap. I would have to get another switch plate the next day.

I did that thing and trimmed it neatly (and correctly) and the story ends. Almost. Now, apparently, the switch itself is slightly cracked. Not inoperable, but it needs jiggling. Who’s going to fix that for me?

It just won’t die

I suppose I should be pleased.

My Weber Genesis Silver B gas grill is 13 years old. It’s given me many years of spectacular service and manages to support my BBQ parties of 20 or so people admirably and fits my patio well.

Recently, it had been giving me trouble lighting. More than a few times, I’ve had to use those long matches to stick through the lighter hole to ignite the gas. I thought, perhaps, it was time to retire the old thing and buy a new grill.

I’ll be honest, the idea of picking up a new grill was kind of exciting. I had some big ideas about what I could do with an even larger cooking surface. And I do love using my grill several times a week.

But…my nature is such that I don’t like discarding something that is still functional. Growing up with heavy exposure to grandparents who suffered and survived the Great Depression, I have been strongly influenced by their beliefs about the value of conserving and nurturing what you have already spent money on.

So, I looked carefully at my grill. Truly, it had served me faithfully and brilliantly across all that near decade and a half. I felt I “owed” it to the grill to see what I could do to restore it.

Using my new friend, Amazon, I purchased new grill grates, new flavor bars and (gasp) a new igniter kit.

Each item I selected was not Weber® brand equipment, but aftermarket versions of some significant dollars less. Except the igniter kit, which was only a couple of bucks cheaper.

Tell me you don’t see where this is going.

Everything fit nicely in the grill and now I was faced with replacing the igniter. This worried me, as I was concerned that if I botched the job, I would effectively lose all use of the grill.

The kit came in a nondescript box, but looked straightforward enough. I browsed YouTube and found a quick installation guide. And it was as easy as it looked.

Until I got to the button, which I couldn’t get to fit for all my efforts. While everything else (including removing the panel to do the button install) took little time to complete, the button took me 20 minutes before I fished the old one out of the garbage and looked.

Yup. They didn’t match. My fingers curled in silent rage. At myself, of course.

I went back inside and ordered the Weber kit. Two days later, the grill was back in all its glory.

Yes, I should have paid the $3 more and got the Weber kit initially, but in my defense, the Weber page said it wasn’t sure it would fit my grill and the aftermarket said it would. Meh.

No more talking heads

I’m not a binge watcher of TV. I haven’t found that many TV shows that I care to watch.

I have been spending a lot of time (too much) flipping around the cable news programs during this tumultuous time in our country’s history.

Beyond that, I occasionally watch some sports on TV and a random movie from the On Demand selections.

Every few years, though, I disconnect totally from cable TV and just sit around with my internet.

It’s a process I like to call “Comcast needs me more than I need them.”

Randomly, they will call me up and offer me a package that’s too good to refuse. This past time it was all cable stations, HD cable, DVR and a couple of movie channels for $30 more a month if I signed up for 2 years.

Of course, once that 2 years is up, they sock you for $40 more a month. Instead, I opt for $30 less (meaning, really, $70 less).

It doesn’t mean I jump right over to Netflix (remember, not a binger). Nor do I immediately expand my XM package to include internet listening as well (oh boy, keep the talking heads without the actual heads).

It just means that for a time, until Comcast gets antsy and calls me back, I will have more free time away from my couch.

I guess that means I can do more home repairs. Or, work on the following…

All this and Halloween too

Amidst this period of repairs and recrimination, I was receiving box after box after box of styrofoam blocks from Wal-Mart.

Apparently, their third-party seller wasn’t prepared to send 60 blocks at one order. So I must have gotten 8 different shipments. Ridiculous, because the order qualified for free shipping. Wal-Mart swallowed some serious profits on that stuff!

Over the next few days, I should be receiving some skeletons and an animal cage. As I mentioned in my last post, all this stuff (except the skeletons) needs to be painted black.

Currently, it’s lightning, thundering and pouring. That means, as I feared, patio painting. Ugh. Not only limited space, but limited air flow. And the wet weather means drying time is going to be slow.


zzzzz. Sorry, even I fell asleep proofing that post. On the bright side, I actually have real subjects to type about in the future.

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