Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Fat of the Land

I hate to go on and on about my current workplace, but in my daily existence there I find more and more to go on and on about. Example:

The office is very health conscious, evidenced by the popularity of the workout facility in the center of the building, and by the existence of a beach volleyball court on the property. Breakfast is provided on Friday mornings, and the main feature of breakfast has been bagels and cream cheese. I'm told that a previous menu included bacon and eggs, but that was too unhealthy, so they opted for bagels and cream cheese. Now bagels are apparently the devil incarnate in carbs, so those are banished as well.

All that's left in the breakfast buffet now is salad, hummus, salsa and veggies such as mini-carrots, sliced green peppers, and uncooked cauliflower. Mmm. Can I have seconds? Oh, and scrambled egg whites. I can be spotted on Friday mornings shuffling away from the delectable bounty carrying a plate consisting only of a mountain of scrambled egg whites topped with salsa.

In the crusade to rid the workplace of the bad evil nasty carbohydrate, the powers that be also removed the packets of instant oatmeal. Apparently this was a popular item, because I overheard a different person whining about the lack of oats seemingly every time I went into the kitchen.

And it's not like I'm in the kitchen all day. During the course of a workday, I go into the kitchen to get exactly two cups of coffee, and milk for the cereal that I bring from home. But in these trips to the kitchen, on the day the oatmeal died, I heard several people mention that the oatmeal was gone forever. One track mind I guess.

One woman brought a packet from home, and as she prepared it, I listened to probably three different people at different times come by and say
"Where did you find that oatmeal?"
"Oh, I brought this from home."

With every passing vulture, her reply seemed to get more and more guarded, as if she was going to scald their faces with the hot water if they didn't back off immediately. Good thing I brought my cereal from home.

And to provide further closure on a pair of recent postings:

You Can't Always Get What You Want (May 7)
When the appliance repair guy re-sent the new part, I received the box and didn't open it for two weeks. When I finally opened it, it was the wrong part. They sent part #3, a much heavier, bigger component to the dishwasher door than the little jellybean-sized part #1A I requested. I e-mailed the guy about it, and he offered to send a refund. Maybe he's tired of the back and forth.

Thievery Corporation (April 23)
My stolen pen magically appeared back in my edit suite. The joy lasted about 2 days when the pen was stolen again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The ABC song blaring over the car stereo had grown old. So did B-I-N-G-O. As well as "Wheels on the Bus". And after we had burned many many miles listening to the entire Yo Gabba Gabba album, I knew it was time to break out some real music for Judah.

I began his musical journey in what seemed like a safe place for children: The Beatles. Not that I thought that their psychedelic era was appropriate for kids, but I just don't own any early-moptop-stage Beatles. Revolver seemed like a safe bet. Plus it has "Yellow Submarine" on it, and they already sing that song plenty at his preschool. But all we ended up listening to was the Yellow Submarine song, because toward the end of the song, I'd hear one word spoken from the back seat: "Again."

I moved on to Rubber Soul and discovered that Judah didn't like "Drive My Car" as much as I thought he would, and I was surprised that he liked "Michelle" more than expected. When we gave Sgt. Peppers a try, it fell flat on its face. For an album as catchy and colorful as that one, not one song was a winner in the boy's book.

The White Album fared much better, again proving that I have no idea what catches a three-year-old's fancy. I predicted "Rocky Raccoon" and "Bungalow Bill" would be hits, but he never asked for those, instead opting for "I'm So Tired" and "Julia". We oscillated between listening to "Yellow Submarine" and "Michelle" until I decided to try something else.

Next I thought I'd move onto something a bit more in line with my own musical tastes, that being Led Zeppelin. Judah showed me once more that I don't understand him, waving off my attempts at luring him into the Led Zep world with "Down By The Seaside". But once I played "Black Country Woman", there was the magic word again: "Again." By the time we made it to school that morning, he had found his sound, shouting "Louder" over and over while he nodded his head to "When the Levee Breaks". That's my boy.

That was about as far as I wanted to push the rock on him, but a few days later he was in the bathtub and I was singing the chorus to "Merry-Go-Round" from Motley Crue's first album. He asked "What's that song?", and being the repetitive chorus that it is, I sang it repeatedly, but he wanted to hear the actual song, not some lame dad singing it. I grabbed my phone and played the chorus section over the crappy speaker. "Again" he said, so I obliged. "Again".

The next morning in the car, as soon as we pulled out of the driveway he said "I wanna hear that Merry-Go-Round song again". So I played it for him and he said "louder". And when it was over he said "again". To date, the play count for Merry-Go-Round has now exceeded all other songs in my music library. Years from now, if I look in the rearview mirror and see Judah wearing a Motley Crue pentagram headband, I'll have nobody to blame but myself.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want

When I signed the towering stack of paperwork to enter into the realm of home ownership, I coincidentally left the comfy confines of irresponsibility. The thing I miss most about that world is being able to call the landlord when anything in the apartment was broken. The luxury item that I insisted on in both an apartment and now my home, was a dishwasher. And now my dishwasher was broken.

It wasn't anything major going bad like the plumbing, but the spring that holds the door shut had snapped. It's remarkable how much those springs do, because without them, the door feels like a lead weight coming down that will crash through the floor only to stop once it's reached the center of the earth. I put on my dishwasher repairman hat and did a little research. I mean, how hard can it be to replace a spring?

Several sites online had elaborate diagrams of every single piece that holds my dishwasher together. I found the correct spring (part 1 on diagram), compared sites for the lowest price, and I ordered. Several days later, I received an e-mail from the place I ordered which stated:

"Good Morning
During the process of your order we see that the item that you have purchased had a pricing error. The price has been adjusted. With your permission we can charge you the additional cost and proceed with the order. Or if wish to cancel the order at this point please respond to this email and inform that you wish to do so. I do apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your time."

I didn't feel good about these guys pulling a bait-and-switch on me, so I told them I'd like it for what they'd listed. They insisted on the price change, so I canceled my order. I went to the next vendor and bought the spring, and a few days later it arrived. I installed it easily, and we were back in dishwasher door weightlessness-world once again. All was good for about 3 days. And then Lily heard a snap while opening the dishwasher, and the door felt like a lead weight once more.

I checked the springs and they were both in good shape. It was now the little tiny jellybean-sized plastic linkage (part 1A on diagram) that had broken on one side. So back to the non-price-jacking vendor I go to buy two linkages, just in case another one broke. 5 days later a package arrives. Here's what the contents of the package looked like:

It's hard to imagine that somebody would actually package these two items together and not think they're not going to get a call back. One clearly looked used. Because of the nature of the part, it deals with springs and pressure, I couldn't trust that the part wasn't used to the extent that there wasn't already significant wear on it to the point that it would break prematurely.

So I wrote the vendor back and sent the pictures. The response was that I should trash the used part and they'd send me a new one immediately. Two days later they delivered on their promise. And now we're back in dishwasher door weightlessness-world once again. Pure bliss.