We recently moved. If you know us, that doesn’t come as a surprise to you. Since we’ve moved so often, we’ve gotten this whole process down pretty good. We don’t hang on to alot of things, especially heavy things. There are two things I check before I buy anything: how much does it cost, and how much does it weigh. New pair of running shoes? A few ounces, not bad, I’ll take it. A watermelon for a summer treat? Whoa, we’re wading into the “several pounds” arena there, better put that back.
But against my better judgment, last year we bought Ethan a 14′ trampoline. Conveniently (so I thought), it breaks down into tiny pieces that can fit into a 5′x2′x2′ box. As it turns out this “convenience” is really a deadly trap, tempting you to consolidate all 200+lbs of galvanized steel and nylon netting into a single immovable container.
“Immovable, except to me of course.” These are the words of my hubris which betray my aging body. In my mind, I saw my 20 year old self hoisting the massive box onto my shoulder, strolling from the back of our house to the front, perhaps while whistling a jaunty toon, then gracefully depositing it in the POD storage container in our driveway.
Here’s how it really went down. I tipped the box on its end, put my shoulder into it, then immediately realized that the only “hoisting” that was likely in my future was myself onto an ambulance stretcher.
“But surely once it’s up on my shoulder, then I’ll be good to go.” So I called Missy over to help lift it onto my shoulder, which she did.
Immediately, I realized I was in way over my head. The crushing weight of super-jumpy-fun-time drove me into the ground. But my reputation as a man was on the line. I had to set out toward the front of the house.
At this point I blacked out, and only regained consciousness when my wife inserted herself into my hell. By her account, I was making noises that qualified as somewhere between full on cardiac arrest and gentle sobbing. I may or may not have wept openly. Understandably, her instinct to help and support her husband kicked in, and strong. Unfortunately, that instinct seemed to drown out her understanding of basic physics. Let me illustrate:
Here we see your basic leverage system, where the fulcrum would be me and the downforce is the behemoth box of pain perched perilously upon my shoulder.
Here we see Missy “helping” by lifting with great force on the back of the box.
“STOP HELPING! STOP HELPING!” would have been what you heard shouted were you in our neighborhood that particular afternoon, as I staggered forward, desperately trying to stay underneath my cargo as it violently and quite unexpectedly pitched forward.
Astonishingly, I recovered my balance just in time to dump the box in the storage container. It later occurred to me that placing the empty box in the POD first, then bringing the pieces of the trampoline there could have avoided this ordeal, but I blame the unicorn.Posted in Random | Comments Off
Let’s just get this out of the way up front: when we moved I emptied my 6 yr old son’s fish tank, stole it and took it to work. Look, he didn’t even notice, and it beats my original idea which my wife veto’d: have HIM dump the still-living fish down the toilet and use it to talk to him about death. I still think we missed a teachable moment there.
But that’s not the story in this post. When I finally got around to taking the fish tank in from my car, I kinda forgot what all I had wrapped up in that walmart bag inside it. So on my trip to Petsmart on Friday at lunchtime to get a higher powered filter and some fish, I skipped right by the gravel and decorations, assuming I was set, that I had packed that all inside the tank.
When I got back to my desk, I discovered, or rather didn’t discover, those needed essentials for a smooth, stress-free transition from bag to tank for my 6 neon tetras. So I just filled the tank, set the new, higher powered filter on low, and poured in the fish. But the lack of decor items breaking up the landscape just allowed the filter to spit out water unhindered, and created a bit of a maelstrom within the tank. The swirling current was almost too much for the tiny fish to offset by swimming furiously against it.
So come 5:30, I had an idea to try to ease the stress of the fish for the weekend, until I could get the tank set up proper. I had two small plastic tree things from a beta tank I used to have set up at work, so I dropped them in, hoping they would settle to the bottom and give the tetras a place of shelter during the terrible storm.
Instead, as I discovered this morning, those trees didn’t settle to the bottom. No, they stayed mostly afloat, spinning and bobbing in the current, occasionally catching a downdraft and diving halfway down the tank towards the fish, before floating back to the top. So in reality, I had created a giant tree monster that, from the fishes point of view, enjoyed teasing them by randomly threatening to squash them against the cold plastic bottom of the tank. Add that to the still constantly swirling current, and I had 3 out of the 6 fish dead from stress.
But I like to look at the bright side. The three that survived just made it through the fish equivalent of Navy Seal training. I almost want to get little plastic knives they can keep in their mouths and paint their faces with black grease. These fish are invincible.Posted in Random | Comments Off
After hearing Dave Ramsey on the radio 6 years ago, I quickly came to the realization that I believed a classic American myth: that the car you drive is an indicator of the amount of success you are having. Dave quickly dispelled that by throwing these facts out: the average millionaire drives a reliable used car, the average family in America is one missed paycheck from bankruptcy but has two brand new shiny cars in the driveway, etc. The car you drive just isn’t a measure of your financial success.
However, I think I caught myself missing the point behind that lesson entirely, and wound up in another camp, albeit subconsciously. I started looking at strangers driving nice cars and thinking, “Boy, they sure are putting on a show. How many more payments? Or is it leased?” I flipped the whole thing around, measuring strangers financial smarts based on how crappy and old their car was.
Now mind you, this was a subconscious thing, and for some reason people I actually know were exempt. But Joe Public on the street, boy he was fair game.
I had missed the whole point: I have no right or means to judge anyone based on the vehicle they drive. I don’t have any information about them, nor should I, nor would it do me any good if I did. Judging them based on their car, or their clothes, or their house, or anything for that matter, only serves to hurt me and the cause for which I fight.
It’s an ugly fact that I’m quite ashamed of. Casting judgment on others is a very easy trap to fall into, and I hope I never do it again.Posted in Random | 1 Comment »
Here’s a phrase I bet you’ve never said: “I hit myself in the face with a crowbar while opening my sunroof.” I, however, have. While trying to leverage my sunroof open as mentioned in my last post, the crowbar itself staged a coup and turned on me, swinging around and striking a swift blow right in my mouth. It drew blood, and I was stunned. Up until this point, I had assumed the crowbar was on my side of this little battle. Me and ol’ Crowey vs. the sunroof. It seems clear at this point that it is unhappy with work conditions or pay rate or something, but we’ll find out for sure in the upcoming labor negotiations.Posted in Random | 5 Comments »
I’ve blogged before about the love/hate relationship I have with the 97 Saturn I drive. But I think I reached a new plateau today.
The ol’ Saturn came from the factory just 14 short years ago equipped with an electric sunroof. Somewhere between then and when it came into my possession, the sunroof was the victim of some type of catastrophic event that resulted in a twisted, screeching, scraping sound being emitted whenever you push the open button. It was really quite horrifying the first time I pushed it, almost like a Bengal tiger had descended onto my car and was attempting to peel back the roof like a can opener.
For the first few years, I just accepted that the sunroof was broken and wouldn’t open. But the cover that normally slides forward to hide the glass part was also broken, and stuck in the rearward position. So I always had the sun shining in on my head. One day I decided I would try to fix it. Three minutes of tinkering, then pushing, then pounding and I was through trying to fix it and just wanted to see if I could manually force it open.
I was somewhat successful, in that it opens now, but not without some sort of prying device. Luckily I keep a crowbar in my trunk, so this summer I promoted my crowbar to the passenger seat for quick access on hot days. It’s common now to see me in the parking lot after work prying at the sunroof of my car just like in Grand Theft: Auto. Except one look at the car and everyone knows I’m not stealing it.
Yesterday, I had driven to work with the windows down and sunroof open (because the A/C quit working and I can’t justify spending any money on it, it would be like resealing your driveway when your house is on fire). It seemed sunny enough, so I went into work without thinking twice. About 5 minutes into a 1pm conference call, it was brought to my attention that it was now raining. Hard. Like rivers in the parking lot hard (too soon to The Nashville Flood of 2010?) I ran outside, closed everything up, got drenched, and looked forward to getting home with a large wet spot on the back of my pants that evening.
So today, when I got to work, I played it smart and left only the passenger window open so that I could continue to air out the car from the internal hose-down of the previous day, but minimize the damage should another storm pop up.
And another storm did pop up. But this time, as I weighed my options, the prospect of running out into the rain to save only the passenger side of my car seemed less automatic than in the past. A thought occurred, “What if I leave it?” Passenger seat and floor get soaked. Not the first time that’s happened, probably more like the 15th (seriously). I am in no more discomfort than normal on my drive to and from work for the next few weeks before it drys out.
So I remained seated at my safe, dry cubicle while water poured into my car. Meh.
Note: I have zero intention of ever reselling this car to anyone, or else I might care more. My conscience couldn’t take it. Between the broken parking break, the leaky window seals, and the disintegrating interior, I’ve decided that it’s my moral obligation to ensure that the only part of this car that will ever be reused anywhere is the engine, since it seems like it will never. ever. die.Posted in Random | 1 Comment » « Previous Entries
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