Saturday, November 18, 2006

Honey Do List: Conquered.

This is a historic moment. My "Honey Do List" is officially empty for the first time in I can't remember when.

I completed the last two items on the list today which were:

1) Replace Furnace Filter
2) Fix Fridge Water line

The first one was easy. The second one was annoying. The water line to our Fridge is attached to the back via a 1/4 inch compression fitting. The copper tube was fixed to the back of the fridge with a clamp to keep it from recoiling against the fridge. However, the Fridge broke a few months ago. Yes, my less than one year old Amana had a compressor failure. So, we had a loaner for a while. When the appliance people returned our old Fridge they failed to hook the clamp back up to the back of the fridge. This became really annoying, because every time you filled up a glass of water when the water would stop the copper pipe would recoil and hit the back of the Fridge making a clunky sound. This also happened every time something happened to put back pressure on the line, like flushing a toilet. So, every time anyone flushed the toilet, the fridge would make a light "clunk". Annoying, but not the end of the world, so I put it off.

Today, when I went to fix this problem, I realized there was a side effect. Every time the pipe recoiled, it put additional pressure on the compression fitting at the wall valve. Over time, this loosened the fitting and it leaked a drop of water every time it recoiled. I took everything apart and discovered that the copper pipe was worn from all the recoil and also had been crimped. Finally, I noticed that the brilliant plumber hadn't bothered to put any pipe tape on the threads either. If he'd done this it probably wouldn't have leaked. Anyway, the good news is that there is a plastic catch basin in the wall and the floor is laminate, so there was no damage from the water. I went to Home Depot and got a reinforced plastic supply line with pre-installed valves for $7.50. Incidentally, buying the parts and using the el-cheapo plastic hose would have cost over $10.00. Go figure. Anyway, I got it installed (with pipe tape on the threads) and now it's fixed. No leaking and no more annoying noises coming from the Fridge when you flush the toilet in the middle of the night.

WOOO HOOO. No more Honey Do list for me!!!! Yeah!

Wait.... What's this??????? Anna is walking towards the Fridge with a pen.... No!!!

Don't do it honey!!!!


Guess I lied.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Every now and again, something happens that reminds me how small Brownwood really is. A few weeks ago, I woke up and I couldn't hear out of my right ear. This happens occasionally to me. Apparently, excessive ear wax production runs in my family. Go figure.

So, not wanting to wait several days for a normal doctor appointment, I grabbed the phone book and looked up "Urgent Care". They were able to get me right in.

When I showed up at the office I soon realized that the 80 something receptionist was the doctor's Mom. I thought it was nice of the Doc to employ her Mom. Besides, she was a nice lady and chit-chatted with me while I waited.

A few minutes later I was taken back to an exam room where the Doc looked at my ear briefly and declared, "Yup, you got a load of wax in there. I'll be right back."

I expected her to return in a few minutes with one of those Welch Allyen ear cleaner thingies that shoots water into your ear and also has a vacuum line so it simultaneously blasts the wax out and sucks it up. Instead, she return pushing a metal cart covered with a cloth. she pulled back the cloth and I stared in horror at a row of surgical tools. Things to poke you with, a small syringe, a medium syringe, and a syringe that was larger than my forearm.

What happened next is something I can't really even begin to describe. Water and hydrogen peroxide where loaded into the mega-syringe. This was thrust into my ear and a torrential burst of water was propelled into my ear canal. Then, another tool would be used to poke at the wax and scrape some away. This was fairly painful. The Doc was fairly sympathetic, but continued on. This went on for almost an hour until finally the last stubborn glob of wax relented and came out.

Meanwhile, during the hour torture session I learned all about the Doc's goat farm.

When the Doc rolled in the cart full midevil tools a part of me wanted to return to my primal Flight or Fight instincts. I should have listened to myself. It would have been morally and legally reprehensible to fight off a Doctor and her 80 + year old mother. Listen to your instincts when they tell you to FLEE!

Footnote: This really wasn't a completely terrible experience. Admittedly, it hurt, but I survived. And my ear is all better. I now use Debrox every two weeks to keep them all clean. Anyhow... if you thought this was funny..... just wait for Part II. Coming soon.... Ear Wax, Part Deux.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Riding the wind

I've heard about Texas wind and dust storms and all that stuff. I really don't think that Texas wind is any worse than the midwest. Until last night.

A cold front rushed in from the north at break-neck speed, moving 50 - 60 MPH. About 11:00 PM, just as I was getting into bed, the wind began to howl. A lot. This was made somewhat worse by the fact that our roof is in the process of being reshingled from the May baseball hail storm. A lot of stuff started blowing around, including my wife's plants. I decided to move the plants into the garage so they wouldn't tip over and get ruined. So, I opened the garage door and stepped outside to grab the plants, which are in pots about 5 feet from the door.

It felt like I was stepping into a sand blaster. Dust and stuff was blowing all over the place. I quickly grabbed the plants and let the wind blow me back into the garage. After closing the door my ear began to itch. I reached up to scratch it and realized that my left ear and canal where coated in dust and sand. I'd been outside for about 10 seconds.

The howling and blowing and fence creaking and stuff hitting the house kept me up until almost 2 AM. During this time, I had plenty of time to contemplate all sorts of things. I think I finally understand why Texans build predominantly brick and stone homes and often use heavy metal roofs.

This morning was fun too. Riding a motorcycle into 55 MPH winds is a bit like riding a bucking horse while someone else is trying to push you off from the front. What's interesting is that when you're going 70 MPH into a 55 MPH headwind the wind is so loud that you can't hear the roar of the engine beneath you. The bike wants to go everywhere except for where you want it to go, and the wind buffetting will make a man out of you. Yee haw!

Friday, November 03, 2006


If you are a Muslim, at some point in your life you must make a pilgrimage to Mecca, provided you have the financial means to do so. If you live in Texas, at some point, you must visit the Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR is nearly a religion here.

There happens to be a race at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, and our company sponsored NASCAR team was kind enough to bring a car to work today so we could all stare at it. I thought it was pretty neat to see. For some of my co-workers, it was nearly a religious experience.

The most interesting thing to me was how loud the car is. One of our safety engineers was outside measuring the noise level. At idle, it's 105 DB. When revving the engine, it's about 125 DB. It was loud enough that standing 15 ft from the car, you could feel the sound waves pulsing against your chest. To put that in perspective, the maximum volume of an iPOD is 115 DB. Each increase of 10DB represents a doubling of sound volume. So, 126 DB is a little more than TWICE the maximum volume that an iPOD can drive a set of earphones. Unreal.

After work I ran home and got Anna and the girls so they could see it too. Here's a picture of Hope with the car. Unfortunately, Tori refused to stop running around long enough to have her picture taken.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

New Sam's Club Catalog

ahhh... Sam's club. The place where we go to buy sugar in 50lb sacks, pickles in 5 gallon jugs, he-man sized bottles of ketchup, and batteries by the hundreds. Buy in Bulk! Huzzah!

Generally speaking, the people I see shopping at Sam's are in the "buy in bulk" crowd. Ranchers buying a bunch of food, people toting around 5-8 kids pushing two or three shopping carts, and parents of toddlers buying crates of batteries. In case you're wondering, I fall into the last category.

Today I got a new Sam's club holiday catalog. I browsed through it looking for Christmas ideas for my wife, but alas, most of the fare offered was ostensibly out of my price range. For example, the first page advertises a Cessna Citation Mustang... yup.. a private Jet. A tad bit pricey at $2,734,600 - but if you have the means, I'd highly recommend it. In case you're actually ready to buy, you have to wire a $275,000 down payment by noon on November 9, 2006, prove that you have the means to purchase the plane, and then wait until around Q4 2007 for delivery. On the plus side, there's no extra charge for leather. Oh... I almost forgot, you have to be 18 to purchase this item.

If that't out of your price range, you might consider this walk-in wine vault. It's only $33,000. Still too much? How about some new Jewelry instead? You can get this lovely Pear Shaped Tanzanite for a scant $27,560.

But who really wants all that stuff anyway? I'd much rather spend money on having an experience. You could go to the super bowl. That package will only run you $71,000, but does include an invitation to Dan Marino's private party.

Not a sport's fan? How about Tony Bennett? See him in concert, meet him backstage, and get his autograph for only $44,000.

Sheesh... and I thought I was part of the middle class. Hello.