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

The Search Goes On…


Ginny the new girl

Ginny, the last one remaining of the original dogs…

As I am still looking for a companion for my little Dachshund, Ginnie, the loner and only female in the group, I decided to head to the three different Dog Rescues that I tend to visit on a periodic basis.

The first and furthest away is in Bastrop, a distance of 38 miles from my house. That is the same place that I got Mikey although at the time, his name was Charlie. It doesn’t seem to matter what I call him as he only comes when he feels like it. Actually, that is not really true as when I am out in the yard and working around the ponds, he is usually no more than a couple of steps away. Only if Ginnie starts to bark at something which she is prone to do, will he tear off at top speed to help her investigate whatever she was barking at.

I walked around the kennels at the Bastrop Rescue, many of which are empty as they are not inundated with dogs at this time. I did not see one Great Pyrenees and that has to be a first as usually, there are 2-3 of them. In the small dogs, they had a few mixed breeds and Chihuahuas, several of which were either males and/or in pairs. I didn’t see a single female that I thought would be a good companion for Ginnie.

My next stop was at the Austin Animal Shelter on Levander Loop which is the biggest of all of the places I visit. They had a lot of little dogs of all breeds and shapes and sizes but many had adopted stickers or were males. None of them said to me, “Take me home”.

My final stop was  at Austin Pets Alive in Tarrytown which is a little different than most shelters. It has four different areas all one after the other where they house the dogs several to an area. As these areas are adjoining, it is always a noisy place to visit as one barking dog sets off the rest of them. Again, these are all small dogs of different mixed breeds and varieties with Chihuahuas being the predominant strain and again, very few were female. So, very reluctantly, I left and made my way home wishing that that I was filthy rich and could give all of the dogs that I had seen today, a permanent place to call home.

Next week, I will take a drive to Georgetown, the place where I got Gizzy, just in case another small female dog is there and looking for a home.

Written 8/26/2018

Mikey the Comforter…


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Mikey looking very bright

When will it end you may well ask
working on yet another task
there is more work for me to do
why me, he exclaimed, I haven’t a clue
there was I just doing my thing
not bothering anyone in my dream
and all of a sudden and before my eyes
this shape began to materialize
not one I recognized straight away
or that I had seen on a different day
a brand new shape unknown to me
struggling like it was breaking free
ready to jump into my brain
and never to appear again
with blazing eyes and claws so strong
looking like it did not belong
in anything alive on this earth
and yet in its own familiar way
I thought I recognized what it did say
with its barks and growls and loud howls
and scratching claws and licking tongue
and wagging tail swishing in fun
and then I awoke only to find
that Mikey, my dog was what I had seen
and asleep and drifting in my dream
I had called out and thrashed around in my sleep
getting Mikey excited from his place near my feet
with his barks and his cries all for the sake
to bring me back to this place and awake
away from the demons that had me secured
dreaming of things that are totally weird
he licked my face and calmed me down
as if to say don’t be a clown
sleep peaceful now and I will watch
and make sure that your sleep is not lost
for nothing will get to you today
not while I am here to stay
I patted Mikey on the head
and turned back over and instead
of going back to sleep again
thought about how it’s not the same
to dream of monsters when I was a kid
and have my Mother stroke my head
and tell me everything’s OK
tomorrow is another day
instead I settle for a wet nose
and a cuddle as he moves in close
from Mikey as I close my eyes
and into a deep sleep did slide.

Written 8/25/2018

Big Brother?


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I got to thinking the other day about life. Not just my life but life in general and how it seems to change on a daily basis. It is worse now than ever it was before namely due to the ability at which the word can be spread throughout the world.There is barely a time lapse for information of an event in say New York City reaching London, or Hong Kong or anywhere else in the world in just the blink of an eye.

In this electronic age of internet and Facebook, there are no secrets as people fall over each other in an attempt to be the first to share the news, any news. In this country, the USA, people are so addicted to their cell phones that I swear they are an extra attachment to their wrist. When I walk around the Supermarket and as I like to do, study the people in front of me, I am amazed at how many times they check their phones walking the length of the store. It is as though they are willing a text or a call to come in just to keep them amused. I can see they are NOT checking a grocery list that some people keep on their phones as that list doesn’t change. If this isn’t bad enough, even more annoying is that person in the checkout line that insists on continuing her conversation even while trying to deal with the check out clerk. How rude is that? Good manners have gone out of the window along with common sense and decency as far as cell phones go.

Maybe it’s because I am old stodgy geezer that is set in my ways but I do worry about where we are heading with all of this technology available to the world. If people are already so connected to their cell phones, what it to prevent a “Big Brother” from sending subtle messages of unrest or something similar?

In a way, it is already happening. I am a creature of habit one of which is to take a drive late in the afternoon and head for the grocery store. Then I generally buy a Latte from the Starbucks next door and take a drive listening to the current Audiobook before heading home. I always know when it is time for me to head out the door as a message appears on my phone around the time I leave, telling me that the traffic is light and it will take me 15 minutes to reach my favorite HEB store! This is before I even leave the house. I certainly do not send the message to myself and it is not coming from one of my friends but someone or something is certainly keeping an eye on my actions. It’s kinda scary in a way as what else is being compiled of my everyday actions and habits? As I said before, I am an old geezer and hardly a threat to anyone. I am not involved in any illicit actions that I know of and have no know vices. Hell, I am even too bloody old to appreciate beautiful women when I see them.

What if by chance, I was a double agent or a drug runner or any of the things that one would normally associate with being kept under close scrutiny. Is the scary message that I receive also watching those sort of people from afar compiling proof of some sort of wrongdoing, waiting for the moment to send in the SWAT team or the FBI? How many other people have the same thoughts as I do and just how secret are our lives? I guess we shall never know as the word here is secret.What people don’t know about, the less it concerns them.

As for me, I am going to change my habits and start my routines in the morning at a totally different time. See if I am afraid of Big Brother…

Written 8/24/2018

Why do we blog…


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I was checking my emails this morning as I usually do before embarking on any major (or several minor) tasks that I had lined up for the day. Sometimes, it may be things that I have planned like a particular piece of work around the ponds and garden where I can get out under the very hot Texas sun and sweat a lot. It may even be a walk at one of the Parks although, lately it has been way too hot to enjoy that activity. More recently with the hundred degree heat, it has been to settle myself down in front of my computer and see if I can coax a story or a verse out of my old and feeble mind. Well maybe not so feeble but definitely getting old and forgetful.

Back to the emails which are now somewhat under control after I made the decision to take the “Like” button off of the blogs that I post. The number of blogging friends has dropped considerably as I guess, I am being removed from other people’s lists as I no longer receive the amount of mail that I did before or the number of blogs from other bloggers who before, had graciously pushed the “Like”button. This was something that I expected and I do miss having my ego stroked with all of those “Likes” . Still, can’t have it both ways and I do have a lot of other things on which to spend my time.

This brings me to my current thought of the moment and that is, “Why do we blog”? What compels us to sit down in front of our computers and pour out our heart and souls for others to read. What is it that prompts our particular brains to write about the things that interest us. Better yet, why do we think that other people are interested in reading the stuff that we type out with such regularity. Is it human nature to be that interested that we not only take the time to write about our given subjects but also to spend time reading the same or at least similar stuff from other bloggers?

We are such a diverse bunch and our interests range from the mundane to the ridiculous. Many of you are very articulate and write very interesting stuff that is a pleasure to read or you take wonderful pictures and share them for the world to see. Others try to heal the world of the ongoing bombardment that humanity is subjecting it to on a daily basis. Yet others, me included, share their daily routines and try to turn them into stories of interest. All of us have something to share but why do we want to share it? What drives us?

Years ago, before the advent of computers and modern technology, the only means of communication other than to speak was to write it down with the use of a pen and paper. Perfect writing was a skill and only practised amongst the Gentry of the land as not too many lay people knew how to read and write. People prided themselves on their calligraphy and even letters written between family members were works of art. More to the point, receiving such a letter was also treated as a special occasion and a thing of great personal value. Alas, those days are long gone and I for one can only remember one handwritten letter that I received from anyone in the last five years. Those that have found their way into my mailbox have all been typed and not on an old fashioned typewriter either but a modern day computer. Letter writing is a dying art and is going the way of the Dodo. Everything is email and text nowadays.

I, like almost everyone else in the world, use a computer for all of the writing that I do. I make so many mistakes and have so many do overs and corrections or even re-writes on some occasions that it would be inconceivable to me to write any other way. Consequently, when an idea or a thought strikes me that I want to share, I can sit down and even with my two fingered typing, quickly write up a piece that may not be grammatically correct but at least all of the words are spelt correctly. Than goodness for Spellchecker!

Even with all of this, it still does not answer the question of “Why do we like to write” and what is more to the point, why do we share it with others? It’s not like we are going to make any money off our blogs although I suppose that there may be some out there who claim they do. Me, I am not one of them so there has to be another reason. Maybe, I am a frustrated Author with a million dollar book inside of me just waiting to pop out although, somehow I don’t think so. I am more of a reporter than a writer. I need a subject matter to write about as my brain is not capable of the twists and turns that it takes to be a modern day writer/novelist. More to the point is the pleasure I get from writing a good piece or taking a great picture and sharing it with the rest of the world and blogging is a way for me to do just this.  It is the perfect platform to express ourselves in so many different ways with whatever it is that interests us.

That still doesn’t answer the question of why we do what we do. I have never done this before but it might be interesting for those of you who have taken the time to read this all the way through to go to the Comments section and write a short response as to what is your reason for blogging. It will make for very interesting reading.

Written 8/4/2018

Stimulant


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I opened up a brand new page
just so that I could see
if I could jog my memory
and something wonderful would emerge
making the effort worth the while
or if it would suit my style
as writing without a single thought
very often ends in nought
as my brain only functions with a light
something turned on by power so bright
a stimulant from this wonderful world
whose wonders we view with thoughts unfurled.

Alas, as hard as I tried nothing came
no words of wisdom from my brain
nothing to write or words to impart
it was just as though my brain would not start
at least in the way for others to see
no verse no rhyme no story from me
it really felt like my brain had shut down
refusing to work with anything profound
on days like today when thinkings a pain
I walk with the dogs to stimulate my brain
fresh air and good company and a break from it all
and maybe tomorrow the words will just fall.

Written 8/24/2018