103 thoughts on “I Am Alive

    1. Turns out it has a three year warranty. So it will just be a lot of trouble finding a repairman, but other than that it’s fine. I just can’t clean now. And since we have an elderly cat who is a pukeomatik.

      1. I have found that it is becoming increasingly harder to find repairmen. Further there is also more items where to repair it costs nearly as much as a replacement costs. Sigh! This year I have piecemeal replaced all the major appliances in my kitchen. Who knew a replacement computer chip for a dishwasher was two thirds of its value?

        1. My wife wants a new washing machine. I want a used one, made before the mid-1980s, that doesn’t have electronics in it. Giant multifunction rotary switches or pushbuttons with tons of mechanical gubbins I can fix; proprietary electronic components, to.

          1. Some years back I was told by my very knowledgeable appliance-repair dude that if you have a choice, *always* go for the mechanical switch, especially in any large appliance that involves water, heat, or grease. (Does that leave any out?) All of which corrode electronic switches, leading to premature death and costs more to fix than it’s worth.

            He also said Whirlpool was the only brand he’d buy, or that was worth fixing. No idea if that still holds, but my Whirlpool/Costco fridge and washer have outlived their rivals.

            1. We bought a large Whirlpool freezer about 5 years ago, and last year it got a final trip to the dump. The door was warped; if I tweaked it, it would stay set until the heat came on, when it would warp again.

              The final straw was when I had to take it out of the laundry room to get new floors installed. The door started to drip water. Lots of water. I emptied the freezer and disassembled the door; about 5 pounds of ice were in the door, due to a poor design; the drains were set so nothing could get out…I would have liked to have a back alley design review with the (ir)responsible parties…

              We bought a Frigidaire freezer. Now, the refrigerator and range (circa 2012) and the dishwasher (circa 2014) are all Frigidaire. No problems.

              We have about 7 years on an LG top-loading, no agitator washer. It’s been good for us. Recommended. Heavy in electronics, but they are solid.

          2. Yummmmmm …. mechanical buttons! I fondly remember old houses with mechanical buttons for turning on and off the lights.

            I haven’t forgotten the old wiring, however, nor the fuse boxes that accompanied it. But I do wish there were still the two button light switches that didn’t cost a double-sawbuck to get!

          3. One brand, and only their basic model with a mechanical controller: Speed Queen. Everything else is essentially disposable crap.

            You’ll pay more for a new one up front, but it will last a lot longer. If you need more affordable, watch for a good one to come up on Craigslist. We had one of those EPA-certified “high-efficiency” models which don’t actually clean your clothes, and it’s now on the back porch after I found a guy on Craigslist selling a virtually mint-condition Speed Queen for a hundred bucks. He didn’t know what he had, and couldn’t understand why so many people were calling for it…

          4. I had to replace the rotary timer switch on my old dryer and it cost nearly as much as a new dryer. Getting it locally it would be near twice as much but I found a place online that was only about $150.

            1. Here’s the problem with a lot of machines: You pick one out, based on whatever criteria you use, whether price, appearance, or features. Unless you include “This is a machine made in large numbers and likely to be kept in production for years…” as one of your selection criteria, you’re probably going to find that getting parts for that limited-production machine you bought ain’t at all easy, within a very short period.

              Likewise, with manufacturers–Are they prone to building a whole bunch of different models, and churning everything, or do they keep the same basic machine in production for years, decades even, and just make minor cosmetic changes? (Samsung, I’m looking at you, ya skeezy bastids…).

              Speed Queen machines are built for commercial specification, and you’ll find that the home-use models share parts extensively with the commercial line. This means that they are very likely to keep the parts in production, and that you’ll be able to find them affordably. The one-off jobs coming out of companies like Samsung, which are in production for a year or two…? LOL… Just like with Fisher & Paykel, the production lots aren’t big enough to really justify anyone keeping parts in stock or production lines open. Speed Queen, though? They have stuff for machines going back 20 years, and you can stick the latest series of parts into most of the old machines without issue.

              Buying appliances is a lot more involved than most people think. You go into the store, you should be looking at things like “How many of these are they building, and how long will this model be in production…?”. If the answer is “This company turns over model lines like I change underwear…”, well… Expect to get screwed, when you go looking for parts in a few years.

      2. My first thought was “Was he in your house when he died?!?”
        My son spent some time in a carpet-cleaning/restoration job. He had to clean up after a dead man once. So, yeah, my brain went there.

      3. I’m glad to hear it was a carpet cleaning machine as opposed to someone you’d hired to clean your carpets you had a heart attack or something.

  1. My husband is down with something today, but I’m pretty much normal. As much as I ever am.

    Just glad to make it home from work in the snow.

    1. My father … I don’t know. He fell Saturday and both he and my mother says he’s all right, and he doesn’t seem to have broken bones, but he doesn’t want to go do the doctor. He tends to give up, and I don’t know if the can’t do some things or won’t. I may have to go over my parents heads on this, which is hard because both are in their right minds.

      1. I do not wish to alarm, nor to encourage less than filial devotion, but …

        Falls cause bruises. Bruises cause blood clots, which are prone to travel through the body to places where they are not helpful. Strokes and heart attacks entail extensive recuperation and are never fully recovered from.

        There is probably no cause for alarm, but if insurance covers testing testing ought be done. If nothing else, time spent in hospital while awaiting test results can be used conveying some mild Christmas cheer to those not able to be at home. Maybe pick up a couple dozen fidget spinners to disperse in the children’s’ ward? Books of origami are often popular with kids, especially if you can demonstrate with such easy figures as The Crane.

  2. “But the carpet cleaner died…”

    Notice to all units, this is your ‘Go’ signal. I repeat, this is your ‘Go’ signal. Breaching will be at the front, terminate with extreme prejudice anything running out the back.

    1. Dear, by the time he and the cats got through playing with Sarah’s house, she’d rather have a visit from Fluffy…..

  3. Philosophical question:
    When the carpet cleaner dies, after you dispose of the body, who cleans the mess in the carpet?

    1. *raises eyebrow*

      Your friendly forensic anthropologist. The carpet, the floor, the bloody drag marks sanded out, the tailings you missed during the burial, the clothes with the evidence on them, etc., etc…

      Whatever you do, just don’t burn it. Organic residue for bloody miles, that.

      1. I know IRL evidence isn’t going to be like they show on the “documentary” TV shows, but since we got a dark light….

        Holy crud, is the traditional “found a splatter of organic fluid” stuff horribly bad evidence. As one might guess, from the whole “washing it with bleach doesn’t work” thing– eek!

        Don’t get me started on the horror move blood splatter I managed…with a slap of improperly drained pork roast, which I managed to THROW AGAINST THE WALL. (I was trying not to drop it. It looked like I stabbed Elf.)

        1. Isn’t it amazing how, in hindsight, such incidents would have been much better handled by simply letting it happen?

          I know that I usually forget the number of times I DID manage to avoid disaster in such instances, at least until later.

        2. *chuckle* I can imagine! The thing with blood is that it’s a body fluid doing a lot of work. Two things cause it to stain, and badly. Protein content, which is food for pretty much everything that lives, and coagulents. The latter is what makes those stains stick so bad.

          Actually, trick to getting blood out quick? Meat tenderizer. If you’ve got some in the kitchen, you can get the stain out… Just keep in mind it can eat the fabric, too, so be careful with it.

        3. IIRC, the luminol reacts not just with blood, but anything with iron, copper or cyanide molecules. So it will also pick up on that starchy potato water as well.

            1. Oh yes, now there’s a cover-up. Hmmmmm……
              And, if it were cyanide, then you could throw them off as to the murder method, too, perhaps.

  4. Why, oh Muse, why must you demand a new ending to the book, thus dragging me into the area I deliberately avoided researching because I wanted to avoid that entire bloody (literally) period in Hungarian history? Whyyyyyyyy?

    Never mind. I can guess. *heaves sigh so hard that it enters low Earth orbit*

          1. Which, interestingly enough, is actually the name of the cattle. Goulas is the Hungarian grey cow. Goulas is also the stew made from said cattle.

          1. re: Note
            Well Duh! Serious drinking competitions should not — repeat, NOT — cross weight classes. If you must match drinks with a centaur be sure to make proper allowances for mass differentials.

            That’s why we have weight classes, people! How else is a light drinker to compete against a heavy drinker? Know your limits!

      1. Alas yes. Something about being a convenient, flat route from Asia to Europe… As one commenter here said a year or so ago, “Don’t live in a place where lots of history happens.” I was hoping to avoid 1939-47 in particular.

        1. Acquaintance of ours, from the former Yugoslavia, referred to the problem as being that the region simply produces way more history than it can consume.

        2. The middle East and the Med are in history rich areas. Which body of water was Homer referring to? The Aegean? At the beginning of the Iliad I think. The Wine dark sea.

    1. Typical conversation:
      Me: O Muse, I invoke our contract and demand an answer. Why X?
      Muse: Why not X? And Y. Z could also fit.
      Me: Argh.

      I don’t manage my projects well. I’ve got one I need to sit down and finish figuring out how to plot, one that I probably just need to start writing using what ‘plot’ I already have, and just over the past day alone have started two more. The muse is demanding I rationalize one of the latter, and outline a century or so of history. (The other one doesn’t need history now, it wouldn’t be important until well after I start, and I’d be backfilling from stereotypes.)

      1. Never argue with the muse. It always makes things worse. Just do what it tells you and hope that it doesn’t start pushing you for a sequel.

      2. In my latest two to plot, I’ve stuck in a scene where the characters sit down and marshal all the clues I’ve given them. So I can marshal them myself and work out what they need to learn to figure out what’s going on.

  5. Both granddaughters (long, blond hair) found to have lice on Christmas Eve. Believe caught from friend. Beloved DIL made mad dash to store for chemicals you would prefer not to expose children to; spent 3 hours on each girl’s hair Christmas Day. Wash all bedclothes, etc. etc. and oh, don’t forget the carpet cleaner too.

    My husband still in hospital. One thing about this Christmas, it will go down in the family annals as one of the most memorable ones we have ever had. In about 20 years it will make for a funny story. Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes.

    Happy New Year early to everyone.

    1. Brother_1 converted to Judaism, but when we were visiting on Boxing day, he was feeling awful. This was when Niece_2 was about 3 days old, so I drew the duty to take Brother to the ER. At which point he got the barium portrait of his GI system. And that appendix was hot. Fun Christmas. No idea when Hanukkah was that year.

      Two weeks later, I was feeling awful. Dragged myself to the clinic and admitted knowing what the symptoms implied. The preliminary diagnosis was “he’s nuts”. Second opinion diagnosis: “he’s right”. Spent the next four days in the hospital recovering from the appendectomy.

      Brother and SIL sent a get well card–they won the sweepstakes: The card said “it’s going around”. Damn, that laugh hurt. 🙂

      1. The weekend my youngest was born on a Friday (a holiday weekend in the summer), my uncle went to ER (or more properly Emer. Depart.) for appendicitis and got sent home* (it ruptured later in the week and took a week or more of antibiotics to clear up the sepsis), and my first cousin’s daughter had her first child on that Tuesday. My offspring’s second cousin’s offspring has shot up lately and is taller by a noticeable margin.

        At this year’s Christmas Eve’s gathering we were trying to remember if it was that Christmas Eve or the next when my oldest had to have a trip to the ER to get her a nasty cut just above her right eye sewed up. She tripped in her grandmother’s living room running to greet her cousin and collided with a wooden chair. I could remember someone had to watch the baby; I just couldn’t remember how old the baby was.

        *This may be because the senior personnel were unavailable (my uncle had heart issues) or it could be that the medical personnel present thought that antibiotics could handle the situation. This is not new; in reading historical accounts of US subs in the Pacific in WWII, there were several appendectomies handled on board the subs by the pharmacist mates. In at least one account (probably Adm. Lockwood’s “Sink ‘Em All) the medical personnel criticized this and stated (sulphur?) drugs should have been used to deal with it.

      2. Damn, that laugh hurt.

        Oh, yes. I still remember the thing at the hospital they gave me, post-operation, that made me cough. Boy that hurt.

  6. “I am alive.”

    Good for you. I myself am in that not-quite state between all the way alive and all the way dead. Sort-of alive? Not quite dead? Undead? It is hard to say. I sit still and say “uuuuhhhh periodically.

    1. Don’t shuffle along with your arms out and saying ‘uuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh’ frequently. You’d likely be recategorized as a zombie. And saying ‘brainssssss’ is RIGHT OUT.

  7. To TRX get a Speed Queen washer. All metal, made in USA, no, repeat no electronics. I just replaced my old electronic one (Maytag) and have fallen in love with old technology (water level I control) and agitator. Top loader. Huge capacity and no animal or human air stuck to clothes. (Only drawback is short friends say they can’t reach bottom of it.) Wash 18 shirts/sweater (sizes large tall) and all came out beautifully clean and soft with no softner added.

    1. We’re knock wood doing well with a Kenmore washer and dryer. We had to buy a new dryer because we don’t have gas in our house. I guess it’s not new if we’ve been living here 11 years?

      1. We had a Kenmore front loader. It might have been fine on city water, but with the well water we have (lots of minerals, no chlorine), some really nasty gunk grew on the rubber seals. It was just about impossible to keep the seals clean enough so that wet laundry wouldn’t get filthy again. YMMV. It doesn’t help that the Sears affiliate could have taught sleazy business practices to Shady Al’s Used and Abused Cars.

        $SPOUSE now hates front loaders. We didn’t have a platform, and her back is fragile. We also had two curious dogs who tried to investigate the chamber whenever the door opened. Later on we had a Lab/Aussie Shepherd puppy who thought anything softer than mild steel was fair game for chewing. So, one chunk of steel and some shop time later, I had a puppy-resistant knob..

        1. Can’t recommend front loaders. They have issues, including the gunk and the odor. I do not think it has been resolved.

          The only draw with front loaders is that supposedly they use less water. Well, maybe. But then you have the gunk and odor issues. More expensive, too.

          1. Front loaders supposedly use less water per load. They also run smaller loads, meaning you run more loads which may entail burning mre water (and power) for a fixed amount of laundry.

            Sorta the way those 2.5 gallon toilets use less water per flush but not all loads are equivalent.

  8. Why did I immediately think of that old coin-operated videogame Sinistar?

    [“BEWARE! I LIVE!”]

  9. OT: Any geologists here? Especially earthquake seismologists. I need to discuss faults and joints and fracture zones under Dallas.

      1. Oh, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Dallas has always been sort of a Yankee Texas town compared to others.

    1. Stephanie Osborn has a book on the New Madrid fault, “Rock and Roll” and she posts on here occasionally.

  10. Have you considered a back loading or side loading washer?

    Bottom loading ones are really hard to find for some reason.

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