Archive for the ‘Household Matters’ Category

Yesterday I stayed home because I was awaiting a serviceman. And not just ANY serviceman. This person was hired from Amazon. You’ve seen how Amazon is always begging you to hire a plumber or whatever, and mostly you say, I HAVE a plumber, shut UP Amazon–well, the light went out on my projector, and as I went through the business of ordering a new one, Amazon coyly asked if I needed someone to install it.
You are thinking, YOU HIRED SOMEONE TO CHANGE A LIGHTBULB? Well, yes, I own the soft impeachment.
See, the projector is an elaborate (AND EXPENSIVE) electronic device which is installed on the ceiling. I thought I could probably figure out how to effect the exchange, but the anxiety and fear of failure (and of irretrievable harm to the device) made the expenditure seem trifling. Comrades, I clicked YES!
When the doorbell rang, I hastened to the door and opened it to find a stout man smelling strongly of tobacco, no insignia or uniform, standing before me. He introduced himself, and I showed him to the room. He quickly did the job (it looked complicated, so I felt vindicated)​, we tried it out and it worked. Grand!
I thought, what a useful fellow! I asked him for his card, but he said he couldn’t give it to me. That bully Amazon has him in thrall!
It is a new thing, to me at least. I’m not sure that I approve–but am very relieved to have my projector back on track. Movies tonight!


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The dire month of January is speeding by–February awaits with biting cold or possibly balmy warmth, but either way it will soon be past, making way for March. The older I get (and this year I turn 70) the faster the time goes by, and though I attempt to welcome each new day, it is more of an effort that it used to be.
But let us not whine and moan, for heaven’s sake! Here we are in this pleasant land–not living in some ghastly prison camp, not cowering while bombs drop, not held at the whim of dictators–and there are MONTHS before taxes are due.

So show a little respect.
The lame disgruntlement you may sense from the lines above derives from an unsuccessful attempt to disable my ancient computer before tossing it on the dustheap of history. Having left it in the corner as I triumphantly installed my SHINING NEW machine, I finally decided the old hulk was no longer needed, so plugged it in to remove the files.
It would not turn on, not if it was ever so.
Something of a blow.
HOkay, no problem, I would simply remove the hard drive and dispose of it! I readily removed the side of the machine, and was able to dabble in its innards–but as for removing anything, NOT HAPPENING. Welded in, it seemed. One could have smashed it with a hammer–which perhaps, come to think of it, I should have done. Instead, I had a pleasant time snipping all the cords and spraying water all over what remained. Then, I inserted what was left in a garbage bag and tossed it in the bin.
I am now feverishly changing all my passwords–and I have A LOT of passwords–in readiness for the thieves and dastards who troll garbage dumps for computers, who will dry out and rewire the ancient machine and RETRIEVE ALL MY DATA.
Though that does sound pretty unlikely, actually.

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In all the excitement of Christmas preparation, it may have happened that I purchased a few more food items than were strictly necessary.

Or even, MUCH MORE than a few.

Adding an impetus to the problem, many of my family found themselves unable to relish their meals due to a superabundance of truly wicked Germs, which caused non-festive behavior and led to much time spent in the smallest room of the house. So that in making a current comprehensive assessment of available viands in the house, I find I could readily entertain as many people this weekend as I did during the festival itself.

However, my children are all fled to the far corners of the earth, and I own to a longing for quiet. Lucky thing there is the FREEZER, that seemly apartment for storing food. Mine is luckily quite capacious. There is also the fact that the current COLD temperatures keep any food items carelessly tossed into the garbage from making themselves known via heinous bad stinks.

So, mostly we are back to pre-holiday status here, aside from the lavishly arrayed freezer. There was however a large container of ricotta which had to either be tossed out or used. HA! There was also a large bag of dried figs (what MADNESS descended on me as I bustled through the bursting aisles at Costco, truly, I am baffled at such wild behavior) and suddenly I thought—FIG AND RICOTTA PIE!

Nice looking, no?

Though what the hell I am going to do with it, one wonders–my powers of eating are limited– but at least I have used up the pint of ricotta!

So there’s that.

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When the painter said he couldn’t start until the 14th, I SHOULD have said, OK, we’ll have to wait until after Christmas. But instead, with that imbecilic fecklessness which is one of my (very few) flaws, I brightly bade him go ahead. Which is why instead of baking cookies, making casseroles, and wrapping gifts, I have spent the weekend dusting books and objets d’art –and they are VERY DUSTY INDEED, (for which I blame no one, least of all, myself) and putting them back on shelves. The shelves are now gleaming white and looking very well indeed, but possibly their former dilapidated and grubby aspect would not have materially depressed our holiday spirits.
SO–having not had time to do all the cooking and baking I usually task myself with, I steeled my nerves and set off for COSTCO to purchase food stuffs. And wine, of course. Getting there is slightly terrifying, a trip I could never make without Siri and her firm directions–horrifying high speed expressways intersecting in bewildering complexities. But, made it there, and as always was overwhelmed–it is a TEMPLE OF GREED–everything you could want is there, towering up to the ceiling in huge piles of luxurious amplitude. I spent quite an astonishing amount of money, filling up my little car, and am now back home and ready for lunch.

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I am dealing with non-stop adversity here, comrades! But bravely of course! Ever dauntless!

Betrayed by Garden Device
Just when I finally got the automatic watering system running like CLOCKWORK, there was a sudden horrid flood on the path under which a buried hose takes water to a planter box.

SIGH. Pulling up immensely heavy flagstones, dabbling in the mud–in the blinding heat, while having the blood drained out of me by voracious mosquitoes (probably infected with Zika)–so NOT the way I had planned to spend my weekend.
Well, the hose connector had just burst apart. It was an example of an exciting new technology in hose connectors–so much quicker and better than the old fashioned kind! Except, that is, for its COMPLETE failure to actually, you know, connect hoses. I replaced it with an old fashioned connector, and trashed it, together with all its family of expensive couplers and gewgaws. Put the mud and flagstones back down. Then spent a satisfying few minutes writing a venomous review on Amazon. HA! That should show them.

Betrayed by Electronic Device
Having decided that I MUST watch Game of Thrones–damn the expense!–I turned on Roku, found HBOGo and clicked on GAME OF THRONES SEASON 7! YAY! Go Jon Snow! Except his voice was mute. As were all the other voices. I could hear wind blowing and gulls screaming, and the occasional dim whisper–but, nothing more. The subtitles were valiantly doing their part, so I knew what people were saying but couldn’t hear it. Somewhat unsatisfying, don’t you know.

Was it the speakers? Was it the receiver? Was it the punishment of an angry God? No time to find out, getting so late. So, I went to bed, feeling ill used. The next evening I tested the speakers and the receivers–which all worked–and tested the other device–which worked. Eh? So, I did what I should have done first, asked Mr. Google. “WHY can’t I hear dialog on Game of Thrones?” Well well, what do you know. OTHER people had this problem. It was a setting on Roku–change it from, uh, [original setting that worked perfectly until now] to ‘Stereo’. BINGO! My $14.99 not wasted after all.

Betrayed by Browser
You’ll be thinking, HOW can this poor woman be doomed to more suffering! And yet, so it is. See, after my lovely trip to NY and Maine, I came home and put together a wondrous web page documenting all the charming times we’d had. HOURS I spent on it, making everything just so. Then with all the pride of a master artist, I set it winging up to the cloud, and made ready to unveil it to my adoring public–but first, prudently checking it out to make sure all was ship shape. WELL. Chrome refused to load my updated styles. Chrome liked my OLD styles and would NOT change, not if it were ever so. My every effort in vain. Other browsers–Edge, Safari–blithely displayed the updated look, but not Chrome.

Well, well it could be worse. It could be EVERY browser hating on me, instead of just Chrome.

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Every summer I struggle with the Water Features that so enhance my garden–the gentle sound of gurgling water bestows such peace, is so very pleasing.
Related image
[NOTE: image may differ from actual garden experience]
So very displeasing however is the process to set it a-gurgling. The pipes, the pumps, the hours squatting in the grass ensuring not only a day of subsequent backache but also affording the mosquitoes excellent access to all parts of my body.
This year I was mightily tempted to hire a stout fellow to assail the larger fountain and DIG IT OUT OF THE GROUND, removing it from my sight forever.
However, I resisted, cleaned out the horrid sludge it had accumulated over the winter, bought a new pump, and set it to work. Success!

Instantly visited by a pair of youthful cardinals, agog to test it out.

The little lion fountain was quite another case, however. The inner piping had become almost solid with mold/grunge/dead insects, and refused my every effort to ream it out. SURGERY was required.
This involves a sharp blade and WATER PROOF CEMENT, comrades. But do I quail? Well, yes, a bit.


  • Cut square(ish)hole in fountain back, retaining cut piece.
    • (NOTE: this exposes the little inner reservoir where the water gathers so that it wells out of the lion’s jaws and does not spurt in an unseemly manner.]
    • [NOTE 2: This delicate artistry is why one cannot simply ream a pipe cleaner down its throat.]
  • Give the now exposed piping what for, until it is clean like whistle.
  • Open can of cement. MY, it is well sealed. Use crowbar if necessary.
    • HA! You thought it was a ready-to-use paste! Not so. It is a powder.
      • A toxic powder, btw
    • Get out the vacuum cleaner and clean the spilled heaps of toxic cement powder off the table and rug.
    • [NOTE: cement powder is not that poisonous to cats or humans, at least not in small amounts]

Assembling Tools and Materials

  • Carefully mix cement powder and water .
  • Throw out the mixture and start again, this time with 3 parts of cement to 1 of water, rather than the reverse, you idiot. Reading the instructions, such a good idea.
  • Glue carefully retained cut out piece back onto fountain with the cement. Then cover all the gaps with cement.


You are a genius! Hurrah! Now, put it back on the wall outside, fill it with water, set the pump going and enjoy the delightful burbling fountain. Success!

In other news, when I sat down to watch a movie last night, there was a fizzling sound and suddenly only the front speakers were working, the rest silent as the grave.

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Keeping up the elaborate garden technology that my darling left me is challenging but I keep trying, and at least it has not yet failed completely. Following is Scientific Procedure for Fixing Broken Device.

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