How I Spent My Easter Weekend, or; I’m Really not a Dumbass, or; Why I Am Banned From the Local Home Depot, or; Norman Saves the Day.
High everyone. Jim the Honorary Jew, here. How do you like the title of my new rambling essay on stuff? We just celebrated the holiest of days for both Christians and Jews. Like I mentioned in my post at this time last year, Passover is a big deal, but it is not in the same league as Rosh Hashanah. In that same vein, Good Friday and Easter don’t measure up to Christmas. And by the way, why is it called Good Friday? It seems to me that it is a very cruel misnomer. It should be called “The Worst Friday in the History of the World for Christians”. I am sure there is a logical explanation for this. But I can’t speak as a religious scholar, only as an observer of cultural phenomena. Religious scholars may well argue the significance of these celebrations are at least as weighty as the Rock Star holidays (I’ve only known two religious scholars: my college professor, who Really liked his female students to the tune of two to three per semester; and a good friend, Curt Edward Allison, who puts his religious knowledge and training to the test daily as a marketing director for a car dealership. Oh yeah, and my brother, Reverend Robert Foos. His church service is live on the internet every Sunday, so he must be good at it. I think so, anyway).
Okay, so what does that have to do with the odd titles of this piece of work? Well, nothing, actually, except that it happened during the holidays. Hence, the first title, “How I Spent the Easter Holiday”. It all started because our washing machine broke. The cost of the repair seemed exorbitant so Gayle Kelly Foos and I decided to spring for a new one. So off we went to to the Mall to shop at Sears. Parking was pretty easy; we were car #8 in a parking lot designed for 1400 cars (thank you, Amazon, for freeing up all those spots for us). We then spent an hour comparing different models and prices. We didn’t need that long, but the helpful sales person was a bit slow to help. Perhaps, he was helping the only other shopper in whole the store. We finally made the purchase. The next big decision was delivery and installation. For a mere $100 they would arrange for a crew to deliver and install the washer and haul off the old one… in two weeks!! I was was wearing my last pair of clean underwear, so that timeline was way off. We decided to pick it up and haul it home ourselves. How hard could it be to install a new washer? The hardest part for me should have been getting Gayle’s SUV backed up to the loading dock (I have a car-and-trailer-backing-up disability; I got a Gentleman’s C in Boat Backing Up School. Gayle aced it, but she couldn’t stand to back the boat into the water for fear that she would be pulled into the sea and die. What a pair we are!). But in just a short while we were loaded and headed home. What could go wrong?
Next, comes the “I’m really not a dumbass” part of the story. Removing the old washer and installing the new one should have been a 10 minute job. The washer and dryer share a closet with the hot water heater and the HVAC system. To remove the old washer, I had to move the dryer out of the way, which was relatively easy. Getting the old washer out of the closet was a bit taxing, but straight-forward. I was now ready to install the new one. And then it happened. While moving the dryer, the dryer vent hose disconnected from the outside vent….Now, I need to pause the story for some background. I have a Doctorate earned after 22 years of public education. I can build you a statistical formula that can produce a regression wave so beautiful you’d think you were looking at it from the beach at sunset. I know lots of stuff. It’s kind of hard to beat me in Trivial Pursuit. But when it comes to household repairs, however, I am a grade school dropout. Okay, back to the story…. So when I was able to pull out the old washer without problems, I was a little cocky. Yes, that is a very easy task, but I set low bars for myself. After inspecting the old dryer vent hose, it was obvious I needed to replace it with a new one. So off to Home Depot I went. During that first visit I found the dryer vent hose department, which, oddly enough, is right beside the dryers. I purchased the most expensive hose because it looked very sturdy, even though Gayle argued for the more flexible one. I also purchased a vent with a flap because the old one didn’t have a flap, making it quite the welcome mat for everything living outside to take up residence in the dryer. Then I headed home to try out my new DIY skills.
The dryer vent to the outside is located behind the water heater in the closet. The space behind the water heater didn’t lend itself to getting my whole body into a position in a way that I could use both hands to hook the hose onto the vent. Now here is the problem. The dryer hose and the vent are exactly the same size in diameter, so just sliding the hose over the vent and then getting the clamp in place and tightened is an impossible task, especially with only one hand. Try as I might, I couldn’t make it work. The solution I came up with sounded good to me. The expensive hose I purchased was very stiff. The old hose was damaged and had to be replaced, but it was made of thin plastic and was flexible enough to fit over the vent. I decided to return to Home Depot and find the cheap hose even though I would have to endure a few minutes of “I told you so” from Gayle.
“This shouldn’t take long” I said to myself. “I know where it is located. I’ll just pick it and go”. They didn’t have plastic ones. They had a cheaper one that looked more flexible than the expensive one. It was right beside the vents, so I decided to try to put the hose onto the vent before I left. Well, the cheap hose is also exactly the same diameter the vent, and I couldn’t get it to slide on. As I was struggling with this dilemma, the friendly dryer salesman from the next aisle asked in a not so friendly tone what I thought I was doing, so I told him, perhaps in the same tone as he used. I was into the 4th hour of a 10 minute job and I admit I was a bit testy. He told me to quit messing with the merchandise. I then requested that he try it. He related that all the hoses were the same size and 100 people per week install dryer hoses without a problem. Except he could’t do it either and I gave him a big smirking laugh. He then asked me to leave his department. “Huh, I’ve been kicked out of better places than this” I said to myself as I left hurriedly because I couldn’t think of anything witty to say at the moment when he pointed to the door. I realized then I forgot to get the hose. You know, I really love Loews, and they have cheap vent hoses.
So I arrived home not in the best of spirits. And low and behold, I couldn’t get it to fit, either. I can tell you that my man pride was pretty much finished off. I though I might have to take up crochet-work. When I get into these snits, Gayle does one of two things: her first choice is usually to find a Utube video, watch it for a few minutes and then fix it, much to my chagrin. Her second choice, the secret weapon, as it were, is to call Norman. Norman Nickle is good friend of mine. He is somewhat of a freak of nature, however. He owns several small businesses that all take mechanical genius to keep them running and he is up to the task. He is a combination of the Car Guys, Bob Villa and Mr. Wizard. He would still be a good friend even if he wasn’t a fixit savant, but he is. If you have a problem with your car, whether it is a flat tire, an odd noise being emitted from the rear differential, or brake problems, call Norman. If your garage door isn’t working, call Norman. If you have plumbing problem, call Norman. If you can name it, he can fix it. I called Norman. Did I mention we are friends? Oh yeah, I may have mentioned that. He brought his truck filled with every tool imaginable and his future son-in-law to help him get stuff out of his truck. He began the task trying all the things I tried with the same success. I did smirk a little about that. But instead of throwing up his hands and whining like an eight year old girl he kept trying alternatives until he had it mastered. It did take him about 15 minutes, while I only worked on it for about 6 hours. Did I mention he is a friend of mine? We sat around and talked for a few more minutes and then he had to go. It was the holiday weekend, after all.
So that’s how I spent my holiday weekend. And now I’m sitting at home writing this tome in clean underwear, once again proving the adage that all things turn out OK in the end. If it’s not OK it only means it isn’t the end.