Remembering the Past.


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The Round School as it was called back in 1941.

I was thinking just the other day in one of my quieter moments, of all of the years that have passed in my life and of all of the many hundreds of people I have known and countless memories that are now just brief recollections of time gone by.

The most memories that really stand out are the ones when I was just a kid starting from when I was very young at 4-5 years old until I was getting on for 11. All were about where I lived, the kids I grew up with and the war which was going on all around me. I vividly remember the troops and the jeeps and armored vehicles and the dog fights and doodle bugs and the lights reflected in the night skies of London burning during the Blitz. I remember the soldiers of different nationalities that my family would invite to our house. One in particular, Henri, a French -Canadian cleaned and polished my shoes as we were all going out to the local pub a couple of miles down the road. I remember night times sitting in our neighbor, Mr Streatfield, shelter that my brothers and Father had helped to build, listening to the guns and planes and hearing shrapnel falling on the roof, waiting for the big explosion as a bomb might fall. As it happened, we were lucky. Later on, we had an Anderson shelter which is like a very large table made of steel, that sat in our living room. Some nights we would all sleep together under this thing, just in case. We lived just 8 miles inland from the coast in a direct line of the German bombers and fighter planes on their way to London and other targets and from our vantage point midway up the hill, could see the tracer shells at night that the Artillery guns were putting up in an attempt to shoot down the enemy planes and the Barrage Balloons during the day.

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Doodle Bug. A German rocket propelled flying bomb.

Early in the war, I often watched dog fights in the sky as the British pilots would take on the German ones. These were very brief and it was not unusual to see a plane fall out of the sky with a stream of smoke emitting from it. Luckily, none crashed anywhere close to me. Another time, I watched a British Spitfire pull alongside a doodle bug which were really Flying Bombs, get close enough for it to get its wing tip under the others wing and flip it over causing it to crash and explode harmlessly into the countryside. Such are my memories.

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Battle of Arnhem showing the Allies Paratroopers dropping down

I remember sitting by the shed in the back yard and looking up as hundreds of planes, each towing a glider, on their way to Arnhem to fight another battle. I was too young to realize that many of those brave men would never return. We had a very tall and solitary Pine Tree that stood on the back corner of our lot and I remember the German plane that flew between my house and the next no more than ten feet off the ground just missing the Pine tree as he desperately looked for a place to crash land. I can even remember the look on the pilots face as he flashed by. He crashed a couple of fields over and was killed.  I was probably the last person to have seen him alive.

Living on Huggletts Lane which was about a half mile long, there were several kids all around the same age and we would bum around together. I can remember the names of some of them. There was Ivy Upfield and her brother Radford, Tony Waite, David Farmer and John Holman who was a bit of a sickly kid as he suffered from Asthma. There were Nina and Frieda who were the first to explore the difference in the sexes and used me to help them which I willingly did without a clue as to what it was all about.  My best friend was Dennis Baker but he didn’t live on the Lane but a little further down the main road in a place called Cade Street named after Jack Cade, a notorious rebel who was killed in that area by the Sheriff of London back in the 1600’s. With being such a close knit group as we were, it was no surprise that when one got sick with the usual childhood complaints, we all took it in turns to get sick. We had a local Nurse whose mode of transport was a bicycle and she would take turns in visiting us all carrying notes from one to the other as we chose to write them. The Doctor as needed, made house calls but he did at least have a car…

I remember many of the times I spent with my boyhood friends walking the fields and woods learning about Nature although to us, it was yet another game in the ongoing saga of the great explorers. We would leave in the mornings and come home late in the afternoon generally because we were hungry. We made our own fun and were never in need of entertainment. In the evening, there was the radio which we would gather around to listen to the news of the war and the wartime programs like Music Hall performed by people whose one role in life at that time was to make people laugh to take their minds off the terrible things going on all around them. I can remember when the entire family was sitting around the fire place toasting bread. We each had a slice and mine fell off the toasting fork into the fire and I wasn’t able to rescue it. That was the last of the bread due to the rationing and I went to bed hungry that night. Food rationing was something you learned to live with.

We had other excitements besides the bombers and doodle bugs when a Flying Fortress returning from a bombing raid over Europe flew over with one wing that looked like it may come off at any time as it flopped up and down. The Captain had ordered the crew to jump and they all floated down in a leisurely drop with one of them landing at the top of the Lane only to be met by most of the people that lived there all concerned for his welfare. He was OK and it was not long before the local Squire drove up and collected him to take him back to his home until the Authorities came to pick him up. We heard later that the pilot crash landed the plane on one of the temporary runways built for such events and made it out safely.

I remember learning to ride a bike only to have it taken away for a while as punishment for riding down the hill with my arms outstretched and not holding onto the handlebars, not realizing that my sister, who was looking after me in lieu of my Mother having left for America to marry a GI that she met, was watching from the window.

I was ten years younger than the my sister who was the youngest of her and two brothers. They all went off to fight in the war even my sister who was in the ATS. My oldest brother went to Egypt and came home with an Egyptian wife. My middle brother was invalided out with rheumatic fever from which he eventually died of a heart attack at a very young age. My sister was released on a compassionate discharge to look after the family.

Because I was the baby of the family, I never got to do too much with the other three but I remember one time that the four of us went out into the woods together and I managed to fall into a stream and get totally soaked. They happened to have an old bike that did not have any tires on the wheels, just the hard metal rims and Peter loaded me on to the handlebars and biked home as fast as he could. I can even remember that bumpy ride home which was worse than the soaking. When I think about it, it must have been really hard to get that bike moving without any tires.

In 1947 when I was eleven, the South of England had one of the hardest winters in history with more than twelve inches of snow falling and remaining on the ground for several weeks. During that time, I contracted an ear infection that left me deaf in both ears. I can remember sitting on the bus on the way to the Hospital for treatment and seeing a horse standing in a field covered in snow with icicles hanging from it’s mane. It was not there when I came home and I later learned that the farmer had put it into the stable.

There was a hill close to my home and following the snowfalls, all of us kids would congregate there with anything that would slide down the hill. The more prosperous of the kids even had real toboggans much to the envy of the ones that had sheets of tin or even large pieces of cardboard to make that trip down. Regardless of our means of transport, we all had fun. Snow in the South of England was a rarity as it is known as the Sun Spot of the South and generally has the mildest temperatures of the entire country.

I attended a school named the Round School in Old Heathfield. It is now called All Saints And St Richards Church Of England Primary School. The Head Mistress was a dragon of a lady by the name of Miss Ray who was very fond of her use of the cane, usually across the hands but for what she decreed as more serious offences, to the buttocks. This was administered in front of the entire class as a supposedly lesson to them all. By the way, I am no worse off for the corporal punishment meted out by Miss Ray

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While we were in school, the older boys took it in turns to stand watch. We were supposed to ring the school hand bell which was a monster of a thing that was as much as one kid could handle IF we spotted any German planes in our vicinity. If we did ring it, the rest of the kids inside the school were all supposed to get under their desks. Sometimes, we would ring it just for the hell of it.

Besides learning the three R’s, we learned practical things like Gardening and how to use hand tools and we even put on school plays in which I got the lead role one time although, I can’t for the life of me remember what part I played or even the name of the play. I do remember learning my lines on the long walks home and practicing on my friends. I found the use of the hand tools very useful and would make models in the shed that stood in the garden. I truly believe that the basic hand tool schooling I got also served me well later in life and gave me the first ideas of what I might accomplish. My Grandfather had a cabinet shop in Heathfield where he hand made the most marvelous furniture so maybe some of his skills rubbed off on me. I like to think that is the case. I also remember standing at the bottom of Huggletts Lane as my Grandfathers Funeral procession drove by and I said goodbye to that wonderful man.

I remember walking the three miles to the school rain or shine, picking up others kids along the way until there was quite a crowd when we finally arrived. The walk home was the same except for those kids who had things to do or chose to walk with their friends. There were a few shops in Old Heathfield proper including a Post Office and a grocery shop where we could buy nibs for our pens as we used old fashioned pen and ink for our schoolwork. One of the duties of the older kids in the class was to keep the inkwells filled as the ink was apt to dry out. There was another shop that sold cigarettes and tobacco and one time, my friend Dennis and I bought a ten pack of Woodbine’s. The owner had no qualms in selling them to us as the perils of smoking had not yet been identified and everyone smoked. We found a place to smoke them each having five that we smoked one after the other. We had no idea of what we were doing and didn’t realize just how ill they were going to make us. Needless to say, that cured me of any future smoking and I have never smoked since. Sometimes, if we had any money, myself and others would stop by the local Tea Shop and sit and drink a cup of tea. All this before we were eleven years old. A cup of tea cost us two pennies each and the Woodbine’s for a pack of ten was five pence. There was an Army base on the way and we would stop in to chat to the soldiers whose main job was to maintain the heavy equipment. Our big thing was to get them to sound the very loud klaxon horns just like the horns on the modern day trucks and they would be happy to oblige at least once.

A bit later on because of the problems I was having with my ears, my doctor decided that I should have my tonsils out which meant a stay in a hospital for a whole week in a small village named Uckfield fifteen or so miles from my house. My Sister took me there on the bus which was also the way we got back home following the hospital stay. Luckily, by that time most of the air raids were over as the German Forces were on the retreat. So different than from today when a Tonsillectomy is just an overnight stay.

When I was a little older than ten, I took what was called back then, the Eleven Plus exam to see if I was smart enough to attend the local Grammar School which was located in Lewis more than sixteen miles away. I passed it with flying colors. If I had not passed that exam, I would have remained at the Round School until I was fifteen, then off to work doing goodness knows what, probably training to be a Carpenter with my Uncles Construction Company. As it was, the start of the next term saw me catching the bus at the bottom of the Lane into Heathfield and then getting on another Bus that took me into Lewis and the Grammar School along with about forty or so other kids of all ages between eleven and eighteen. The Grammar School was really directed to sending the smarter kids to college. Those that did not make College would get a very good education, much better than attending the local school even without the College. As it happened, circumstances later in my life really interfered with all of that education.

No longer would I take that 3 mile walk to the Round School which I had taken every day except weekends and holidays with the kids I had grown up with. The war had been over for almost three years. My oldest brother had returned bringing his new wife and started to produce a family of three kids which were all born by Midwife in the room upstairs. Imagine what sort of impact the screams of a woman in labor had on a ten year old boy as I listened to the wonders of childbirth going on in the room above me.

My Sister had been dating a Scotsman for some time and had then married and had moved out leaving my Brother and his growing family and my Father and myself. My Father met a woman who owned a Fish Shop in Heathfield and was dating her for a while. One evening, there was a knock on the door and a Constable was standing there to inform us that my Father, biking home in the dark from one of his interludes with his new lady friend, had been in an accident and was in the Hospital in Uckfield, the same one where I had my tonsils out. He was not seriously hurt and was back home with us a week or so later. This must have convinced them to get married which they did within six months and we moved out of the house I had been born in to the Fish and Chip shop on Hailsham Road in Heathfield. As is usual with most adult things, I was not consulted as to the future of my life and so ended my life on Huggletts Lane. With the exception of Radford who came into Hailsham one time, I never got to see any of my childhood friends ever again although I did hear that Ivy had moved to Canada. I sadly said goodbye to the first part of my life with its long supply of beautiful memories that I have no trouble in recalling and can clearly envision in my mind seventy years later. There are many stories still untold of growing up on Huggletts Lane. Would I like to be back in those times even with the war on?Apart from the obvious of being young again, I would have to say that yes, I would. Things were so much simpler then with no Internet or TV and we lived in our own comfortable little world the boundaries of which did not extend very far. Alas, there is no going back…

And so started the second phase of my young life but that is another story…

Written 10/22/2018

A New Computer


Asus

Well, it finally happened. After years of relatively good service, my computer refuses to boot up. No matter what I try, it just keeps doing the same old thing, nothing. That’s not entirely true as the screen does go through several iterations but keeps ending up at the same place. I bought this from a friend who knows a lot about computers. He had taken out the video drive and installed an SSD drive in its place. All in all, between us, it has been a very good computer.

I took the opportunity to go to Office Depot to take a look at the computers they had on display. A couple of them caught my eye so I had a few questions for the computer guy who was working at the store. He answered all of them and seemed quite knowledgeable. I thanked him making a mental note of the makes and models and drove over to the Best Buy store just across the street. I wandered around for a bit looking at what they had which was a lot and wondered how I was going to be able to choose between them. I am not a gamer so the very high end computers were quickly passed over. What I did want was something with an SSD drive plus a regular storage drive and it had to have a lot of memory plus a touch screen and I found the very thing in a top of the line Asus. While I was looking at this particular computer, a sales clerk whose name was Mauricio, wandered over and answered more of the questions that I had and convinced me to go ahead with the purchase. Actually, he didn’t have to work that hard as I had pretty much made up my mind.

I followed him back to the check out station and he went through the long process of the sales paperwork. Turns out that they did not have this computer in stock and it would take two days for it to be delivered to my door. I told him that was OK but he also checked the other stores and found one in a different store in South Austin. Before he had finished telling me about it, it disappeared off the screen as someone had purchased it. So, it was back to waiting two days for the new one to be delivered.

The next day, I got to thinking. I had already arranged for them to transfer as much off my old computer that they could to the new one. I will have to re-install my program files which will be interesting as so many of them are downloads and are not on disks. Oh well, face that battle when it comes but in the meantime, I wondered if they could resurrect the old computer. So, I loaded everything in the truck and drove back to the store and luckily for me, Mauricio was on duty behind the counter. He proved to be incredibly helpful and ran a couple of tests there and then and pretty much decided that one of the two hard drives had gone bad and unfortunately, it was the one that the computer boots off to start up. That pretty much decided the fate of that computer as I didn’t need to fix it, only get the info off the drives. I left that computer with them so they could start doing whatever magic they do and drove home.

True to their word, the new computer was delivered around 1:30 pm on the second day so I jumped in my truck and took it to the store where Mauricio asked a few more questions and then I drove home. With a couple of phone calls in between, two days later I got an email telling me that my computer was ready for pick up. Not wasting anymore time, I once more jumped in my truck and made the 10 minute drive to the BestBuy store and retrieved the new computer. This is not the first new computer that I have bought as I have had several and I already knew that it would not be set up as the old one nor would it have all of my programs on it. Most of my data was either in one of the Cloud storage units or on any one of several external hard drives that I had been using over the years.

Then followed several days of pretty intense work of recovering programs, those not on a disk but requiring downloading again. Locating the unlocking key’s was a bit tricky and I still have a couple to get but as I have nothing but time, presents yet another challenge.

So, there you have it. I now own a brand new laptop with 2 terrabytes of storage and a 256 SSD drive with 2 gigs of ram. Hopefully, this one will last me for the rest of my given days. If I should outlive it say in 10 years or so, I probably wont be needing a computer anyway and if I do, I will gladly buy a new top of the line model….

Written 10/14/2018

One of Those Days…


 

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Have you ever had one of those days
when things go wrong in so many ways
no matter what you try to do
nothing goes right and you have no clue
as to what the trouble may be
making it hard to fix that you can see
as there is no pattern what is going wrong
first this then that and nothing belongs
you try something different in the hope it works
but of course it doesn’t and your head hurts
from thinking and worrying to make things go right
and your beginning to think you’ll be at it all night
you followed the instructions just as you should
that something so simple is misunderstood
you try and try with all of your might
hoping like hell to get it right
finally you put it down and admit defeat
and wander off to bed to sleep
but sleep won’t come as you toss and turn
still worrying as thoughts spin and churn
until eventually you slip away
and you’ll worry about it another day.

Written 10/13/2018

What Day is It?


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Today is Saturday.. I think! One day is pretty much the same as the next at this stage of my life. I no longer look forward to the weekends as they are pretty much  the same as any other day except there are more people out and about and any special events are usually held on the weekend.

Used to be, many years ago, that every weekend for me was taken up with soccer, football to the rest of the world. I was either coaching one of the several Youth teams assigned to me or was actively playing myself on a couple of different teams. Even in the summer, things didn’t change very much except the Youth teams were off and we older people didn’t run anywhere near as hard or as long and we drank a lot of beer.

Nowadays, when I get up, the first thing I have to remind myself is what day it is. Once I have that firmly fixed in my mind, I check the calendar on my computer to see if I have anything special lined up that I need to do like a trip to the Physiotherapist for my aching shoulder or my Doctor for a geriatric check up. If I didn’t keep track of things on my computer, I would miss half of the appointments at which my presence is expected.  Apart from any benefits those visits do provide, I see myself as a piggy bank for all of the Doctors, Dentists and such that I seem to need in my old age. Thank goodness that I had the foresight and was lucky enough to work at the University of Texas at Austin for 22 years prior to my retirement that resulted in a pension and excellent health care.

After I have figured out what day it is and what important things I need to do, I usually fill the rest of my day on several other and no less important things like checking the ponds and the health and welfare of the couple of hundred fish that reside in them. There is usually something that needs my attention like a filter or a pump or maybe an improvement on something that I felt needed working on. I should state here that I don’t do gardening. At least not in the accepted sense.  Of course I take care of the ponds and I do mow the outside strip alongside the road every couple of months and the area that grows wild at the very bottom of the lot as it is really a dry creek and only floods when we get the odd gullywasher. Other than that, all of the plantings not counting those in and  around the ponds are all native vegetation that I allow to run wild except in the several walkways which I keep trimmed for ease of access.

I also like to hike a lot except the weather has been so bloody hot that it made more sense to sit inside rather than to bake in the 100 degree heat. At least, I have that to look forward to and as I only occasionally hike on weekends, I can hike any other day of the week to avoid the crowds.

So you see, that even though the weekends are relatively unimportant and I never know what day it is when I wake up, there is always plenty to do to keep me occupied and being a creature of habit, nothing much changes from day to day. One of my habits is to go grocery shopping later in the day and at the same time, treat myself to a Grande Non Fat Decaf Latte from Starbucks. This is my one serious vice as it happens every day and is not cheap when totalled up for the year at $4:38 a cup. Still, the way I see it, everyone is entitled to one vice as long as it is not harmful to oneself or others. It could be worse as I could also smoke and drink but I have never smoked because of my athletic prowess and it has been 10 years since I have had any alcoholic drinks.

Lets see now, it is almost 4:00 o’clock and now it is raining again, almost time for that Latte. So goes another day in my life…

Written 9/29/2018

Time


DSC_2687I have a conflicting mind
worrying about a different kind
and looking for a sign
maybe that should plural be
as more than one as you will see
that bother me
my body it is slowing down
with creaks and groans that I have found
are all around
my brain it no longer works so fast
it takes its time even to the last
to remember the past
yet even with these flaws in me
living is still my priority
as there is still lots to see
to all of you that are growing old
struggle on for I am told
the end is cold
better to be half a man
enjoying life as best we can
than let the glass run out of sand
turning back the hands of time
to an age much more sublime
that only I can find.

Written 9/26/2018

 

New Dishwasher Part two


The next available weekday day was Labor Day which of course, I had forgotten about. Amazing how many important Holidays you miss when you are old and retired and living alone.  Damn. Makes no difference as one day is pretty much the same as the rest of them. I made the call and got an answering machine, surprise, surprise and left a message. explaining what I had done and “would you please reschedule the installation”. The next day being a Tuesday with everything back to normal, I received a call back message only for it to say that I had to call them back to reschedule. More frustration but being very good at following orders even though I was almost at the boil, I called the rep back and between us, she rescheduled for the following Friday. I asked for the afternoon but she said she had no control over the actual time but would do the best she could. Can you see where this is going?

As they had done on the very first schedule, the Rep called me on the Thursday prior to the installation to confirm that it was going to be in the morning after all and she was sorry but to be prepared for the installation from between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm the following day. Heeding her words, I was up early (for me) and went about my usual morning rituals, feeding fish, feeding dogs and then feeding me in that order as I waited for the phone call from the Technicians telling me that, “they would be at my house in 30 minutes”.  Prior to that, I had cancelled my Physical Therapy session scheduled for that morning explaining the situation. That went off OK as I waited and waited and waited. By 12:00 pm, it was obvious that it was not going to be a morning install so I gave it a couple of hours and  in an exceedingly bad frame of mind, called the Scheduling Person back again. Even though by then, I was thoroughly P.O’d, I held my temper in check and was a very civil gentleman as it was not her fault. Wait a minute,  maybe it was but I was not to know if it was or not. Thirty minutes later and after being passed from the Appliance Delivery person to the Installation Scheduling person and in between listening to the same terrible canned music over and over as I was put on hold time after time, we came up with a new date, this coming Thursday the 13th. Hell, it might be a bad day for some but in this case with such an ongoing story of horrors, what else can go wrong? When I asked her what had happened with the original work order,  she stated that apparently the person that set up the Friday install had filled the work order out wrong and that she was sorry for the inconvenience. Yeah, Right. Talk about a comedy of errors.

Thursday the 13th rolled around as usual as there had not been any end of the world experiences to prevent it and I made the effort to get up early so as to be ready for them. Didn’t want them ringing my doorbell with me half asleep. I was lucky, as the installer called me at 8:00 am to tell me they were 20 minutes away. I had to move my truck out of the driveway so that it didn’t get damaged as they squeezed by and as I got out of the vehicle, the installers pulled up. Great timing. These were two different guys than the first pair so I led them inside and they went straight to work.

The installation went very smoothly and the only adjustment they had to make was to the hole in the cabinet that the water pipe passes through, just a little bigger. They quickly finished the assembly and tested for leaks and then ran the unit for a 15 minute wash cycle to make sure it was working properly. Satisfied, they collected up their tools and one of them went over some paperwork with me that required a half a dozen signatures and they were on their way. I gave them a substantial tip, at least enough to stop at Starbucks and buy a coffee and donut. I saw them out the door and then grabbed the mop and proceeded to clean up the water that had splashed all over the floor, brought in the mat and admired their handywork. Just for the hell of it, I found as many dirty dishes that I could locate plus a few clean ones to make up the load and started it up. An hour or so later, it was through and the load was clean.

I wonder what is next? I have already replaced the Microwave, Refrigerator and Stove so I guess it will probably be the water heater. Again, that is another job that will require installation as my copper pipe soldering skills are not that good. As a side note, I was checking around to see if I could get cheaper house insurance and one of the companies would not insure me because the water heater had not been replaced and they were concerned that a 34 year old heater would present them with problems down the road. When I asked what sort of problems, they really didn’t have a definitive answer. Oh well, it does fall under the category of one of the things that will need to be replaced when the house is eventually sold.

But, for the time being, I will enjoy my new dishwasher and maybe make an effort to use it every couple of months…

Written 9/16/2018

New Dishwasher Part One.


Being a long time Batchelor or should that read Divorced and living alone for the past 26 years, one learns a lot when it comes to maintaining a household. It is so much easier when there is only one person to account for in the ways of cooking and keeping the larder and refrigerator well stocked. Items such as doing the laundry are also on my own personal schedule and although I am pretty good at keeping my clothes clean, folded and put away, I also have made sure that I have plenty to wear. As it usually consists of tee shirt and shorts along with socks and shoes buying is easy although I did have a problem the other day when I wanted to purchase new hiking shorts (that’s the  actual name of the shorts) and ended going online and buying directly from the manufacturers. No big deal as a week later, they came in the mail.

The same is true of cooking the food that I eat. I am very much a creature of habit which includes food. I find something that I like and I will stay with it until either something new comes along or I just get sick of eating the same old stuff. That’s because I have an easy to please set of taste buds brought about by 30 years of stodgy English food. If it wasn’t for the ketchup, even fish and chips would be bland. Consequently, with only me and the dogs to feed and the fish not using any utensils, between us we don’t dirty very many dishes tending to have 3-4 plates and bowls stacked in the drying basket at all times. Which brings me to the main part of the story.

I have lived in this house for 34 years first as a happily married person and finally as a miserable, bad tempered,  grumpy old man that I have now become. The house came equipped with a dishwasher as all modern houses have and ours was used pretty extensively in the early years. Heck, we were comparatively young and energetic and washes dishes was not a part of our plans and that’s why they made dishwashers in the first place. Following the move from married to single, or I guess the proper word is Divorced, like its a black mark on your character, the dishwasher was used less and less and finally it got to the point where I would have to remember to push the start button for a few seconds just to turn the motor over or it would just freeze up. This meant that I would have to get the tools out to manually give it a turn. Apparently, it is something associated with electric motors that they need to be turned over for a few seconds at least once a week or they would create this problem.

The first time it happened, I called a repair man as I don’t know enough about appliances to fool with them. He lay on the floor with a wrench and gave the motor a turn and it worked just fine. So, I quickly learned from him and took over that role for myself and as long as I remembered to run the motor every 3-4 days, I only had to copy his actions  a couple of time after I had managed to forget the schedule. It finally got to the point that I would have to make a point of filling the dishwasher with anything I could find that needed washing and even some of the clean stuff out of the cupboard just so I could run the thing.

About a month ago, I deemed that it was time to run another load as I had managed to dirty up some pots and pans having taking it upon myself to do some real cooking. So, I loaded everything in and started it up and water poured everywhere. Apparently, it had developed a leak and although I gave it a cursory once over, I couldn’t locate it. That did it for me as I unloaded everything and washed the dishes and pots and pans by hand all the time mumbling under my breath about stupid dishwashers which wasn’t really very nice of me as after all, the thing had lasted 34 years. I’m really good at mumbling under my breath. The alternative to that is turning the air blue with a whole string of cuss words delivered at the top of my voice which usually makes the dogs run for cover.

I debated over what to do made especially more difficult by not needing or using one very often and finally came to the conclusion that I should replace it if nothing more than to save having to do it if and when I finally move out of here. Whether that be feet first in a box or of my own volition it made no difference. When the place eventually sells, it needs a working dishwasher if nothing more than to look good as the current one, the bottom front panel is kinda loose. It fell off one day when I accidentally kicked up against it and although I replaced it (sort of) from time to time, in the end I just left it propped up against the unit.

Next step was to Home Depot, one of my most favorite of stores to see what they had in the way of cheap dishwashers. I was amazed at the variance in the price range from a little over $400.00 to well above $1500.00. I don’t know what you get at the top end different to the cheaper models but I certainly was not interested enough to find out. I discussed my needs with the Sales Clerk and he told me, after checking prices and models, that I should wait until the sales that happen around the Memorial Weekend. I also wanted to renew my Home Depot charge card as my old one was not longer in the system with me having not used in eaons and I wanted to use the 6 months interest free option to pay off this purchase. He told me to delay that as well and do them both at the same time as that would get another $40.00 taken off the price.

I took his advice and as soon as I saw the sales advertised, was back to the local Home Depot to make my purchase. Everything went smoothly as I picked out one of the cheaper models and then arranged for them to install the thing. The  female Clerk told me that I would be getting a phone call from some other source regarding scheduling the installation. I bade her farewell and thanked her for her help which included the new Home Depot charge card.

True to her word, I received a phone call and we went through the necessary arrangements for it to be installed. The earliest date available was 5 days away and they could not give me an exact time only that it would be either morning or afternoon and that I would receive yet another call the day before with either of those times. The day arranged was for the coming Saturday afternoon between 12:00 and 4:00 and as luck would have it, the delivery/installers came early. One guy brought in the new unit while the other stuck his head under the sink to start with the installation which required turning off the valve to shut off the water. Then came the first of the bad news. The valve having been there for 34 years and hardly used in that time, had frozen and would require,”a plumber to come out and replace it”. I asked the usual question, “you don’t do that?” and of course, the answer was no. So, they left the new unit in the middle of my living room, collected their gear and left giving me instruction on what to do next regarding scheduling a new installation date after making the repair.

I thought about it after they had gone and decided that I could do the job without the services of a Plumber and save myself a $100.00.  The next day being a Sunday, I went back to Home Depot and asked the guy for the part that I wanted. He knew exactly what I was talking about and led me straight to it. He picked one out and handed it to me telling me that “this should do the trick”. I drove home and then taking a deep breath, opened the sink cabinet doors to reveal the part that I needed to replace. At least, I thought I would reveal it but of course, it was behind other stuff like the Garbage Disposal and sundry other items making it really difficult to get to. I had worked under here before as a couple of years back, as I had changed out the same Garbage Disposal so I already knew just how difficult the job was going to be. The only way to get at everything was to lay down on my back but not before placing a rubberized yoga mat that I happened to have plus a thick kneeling pad, under my shoulders in the hope of at least making the job a little more comfortable. I forgot to mention that I am going to Physical Therapy for my left shoulder that I managed to overstretch whilst loading all of that loose change into my truck and laying down in a very uncomfortable position trying to unscrew frozen fittings with my arm above my head was not very easy. Of course, it had to be on the injured side as I couldn’t reach it with the other arm. I had previously turned off the water at the main valve after dragging off the heavy metal cover to the manhole, making sure that it was drained and holding before working on releasing the rusted part.

Mikey sat in his chair watching for a while until he got bored and then he turned his back on me and went to sleep.  Gritting my teeth, I pressed on and after a very lengthy struggle and turning the air blue with a few very well chosen cuss words, managed to break the rusted part loose.  I have yet to figure out whether it was the cussing or that I had applied enough pressure to break the rust seal or maybe a combination of both. Gizzie came over to find out what all of the fuss was about and licked me on the face as if to say, “Good Luck” before going back to his hiding place and going to sleep. Ginnie, being the smart dog that she is, was nowhere to be seen. From that point on, it went very smoothly as I replaced the old with the new. Almost there I thought as I went about re-attaching the other two pipes to the valve fitting. Alas, I spoke too soon as it turns out that the Home Depot Sales Clerk had inadvertently given me the wrong sized part. It was not really his fault as he was not to know that both of my attachments were 3/8 inch in size and he had given me a part that had one at 3/8 inch and the other at 1/4 inch.

So, I jumped into the truck and drove back to Home Depot and picked up the correct part returning the other part at the same time. It was easier to dismantle the valve that I had just installed as the hard job had been in breaking the rusted old valve loose and with that job done, everything else at that point was brand new. I quickly reinstalled everything and tested it by turning on the outside main valve and brought it back up to pressure. Everything held which was a huge relief.

Written 9/16/2018