Tag Archives: technologically inept

Three Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed


So The Lovely Rhonda and I went to rearrange one of her girls’ rooms today.  She wants a desk like my kid has now, and we figured why not?

Oh, so many reasons why not.

First thing we find out is that one of the four drawers (two each side) of the captain’s bed is defunct.  The little screws that affix the drawer track to the bed were completely pulled out.  And the composite wood/glue stuff the bed is made of is not the sort of thing you can repair easily.

Okay, so we’ll put that side of the bed toward the wall.  We start removing things from all the drawers, so we can move the darn thing.  And of course we find that the drawer that backs up to this one is similarly broken.

A short conference is called and it is decided that we must make an emergency trip to Ikea.  This bed must be replaced.

Then the smallest child in the house, as we are gathering shoes and coats, calmly enters the bathroom and vomits copiously.

Change of plans.  I will run to Ikea alone.  Nobody else really wanted to go anyway and we can’t take Barfy McPukerpants with us.

On the way there I return a call from an old friend who is in town for a few days.  Unfortunately he is in town because his mother passed away.  But he’s got some time to hang out before getting back on the plane tomorrow to return to his wonderful family, and for some inexplicable reason he’s willing to spend it with us!  So I meet him at Ikea and he is patient with me as I communicate with TLR using the only means available to me in Ikea, the text message.  I think they block cell signal for the same reason casinos have no clocks or windows — to cut you off from reality so you will spend more time, and therefore money.  Stressed people who have to either send a million tedious text messages or else — horror! — rely on guesswork and long-distance mind-reading tend to lose all touch with sanity and make expensively bad decisions.

At any rate we finally obtain the needed items and head back to The Burrow, where we surprise TLR because I did not tell her that my friend was coming too.  TLR then runs a few errands with the one of her children who is not throwing up while Graham and I begin demolition on the old bed frame.  What we find when we remove the mattress is that the metal bracers that run diagonally from the center of the frame to the corners are suspiciously bowed and bent.  As if, say, children — certainly not OUR children — had been, oh, perhaps, JUMPING on the bed.

That can’t possibly be the situation, because OUR children would NEVER do that.  Perish the expensive thought!

Oh well.

We then begin assembling the new dresser which goes about how you might think.  Go ahead and conjecture amusingly to yourselves about how we put pieces on upside down or pounded dowels so hard they broke through to the outside of the dresser shell, etc. etc.  This will save time and keystrokes at my end.

When TLR returns she is not in any mood to cook so I take over (meatloaf, and it was delicious) while she and Graham finish assembly of the dresser and bedframe.  This involves rather more hammering than I suspect is strictly called for in the instructions, and at one point I was rather breezily asked where one might find a set of drill bits in the shithole that is our garage.  But aside from these things I stayed ignorant of the entire process, as is my wont.  I am not a fan of the assembly process if it is not taking place under my specific, rather exacting specifications.  These specifications include the tedious sorting of materials and painstaking, step-by-step adherence to the instruction manual in excruciating detail.  Since virtually no other human being of my acquaintance will follow this process, I usually leave the room and get drunk find something else to do until the project is completed.

At last the dresser and frame are done and the children, after a stern lecture about Why We Do Not Jump On Beds, and furthermore How Many Weeks Of Allowance a new bed frame might cost a child caught jumping on a bed, are all either asleep or close to it.  The pukey child spent some time napping on the couch and appears to be over the worst of it, and tomorrow morning we will finish what was supposed to happen today.

They say life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.  I say, life is what happens whether you like it or not and this is why wood glue and alcoholic beverages were both invented.

Holiday update


So, Thanksgiving was yesterday.  And it wasn’t bad, overall.  We had a friend over with her kids, and The Lovely Rhonda’s parents came, so it was a reasonably hectic affair.  I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much without some chaos and mayhem.

We had a smallish turkey and smallish spiral-cut ham and the usual side dishes.  Our Thanksgiving is short on innovation but long on pie.  I am the only one who likes cranberry sauce and this is okay with me.

Today we attended a bazaar at a rec center in Portland.  Soap, particularly goat’s milk soap, is popular at these things.  As are crocheted items.  I saw a dress, about toddler-sized, that looked like it could stop a bullet.  It was dense and variegated and I wondered how many potholders died that it may live.  We bought a few things and moved on.

Tonight I attempted to assemble two small wire-mesh drawer things from Ikea.  We got these for a bit of storage by our desks which we will need once school begins.  I followed the instructions supplied within the packaging, but disaster struck as I put together drawer number three of the first thing.  I put it together with the flanges facing in instead of out, making it a perfectly nice little tray but not so much a functional drawer.  Thus it has been ordained that I should be journeying to Ikea in the morning to purchase eight more small plastic widgets with which to secure bits of the drawer to other bits of the drawer.  The widgets, or as I believe they are called in Swedish, Wÿdgëtts, cleverly mushroom into useless globs of plastic the first and only time they can be used.  To their credit, Ikea may charge me only about a dollar if anything for them.  I guess they figure the privilege of laughing at my ineptitude after I leave is payment enough.

That and some cleaning and rearranging of the children’s rooms is how the day shall be spent.  Let the good times roll, hallelujah, and be thankful for Ikea’s As-Is department.

Poetry in Motion


So I went to the gym again today.  It’s starting to become some kind of habit or something.

Helga made me do the usual unspeakable acts, and afterward I retreated to the safety of the DeathMaster.

Now, I’ve been sick lately and you’d be surprised how much it takes it out of you to have a Chronic Digestive Ailment That I Am Mercifully Not Describing in Detail, You’re Quite Welcome.  I go to work and come home and sit like a zombie for the rest of the evening.  Probably this is how The Lovely Rhonda got me to watch the first episode of Glee; first hit’s always free and now I’m hooked.  But that’s another blog post.

So I fires up the DeathMaster and I punches in the info: program, weight, level, time.  Enjoy your workout! it tells me.  I begin to trudge.

Silly me, I thought I could just suck it up and continue on at my former pace as though I had not spent the past three weeks in hedonistic indolence, eating nothing but processed foods (doctor’s orders!).  Twenty minutes?  Ho ho!  It is to laugh!   I completely bonked at eleven minutes, even after pausing the machine twice for a quick breather.  I toyed with the idea that I could just turn it down a level, but no.  Almost without conscious thought I found that I had turned the machine off and dismounted.

Speaking of the dismount, is it just me or is there really no graceful way to lob one’s carcass onto and off of the DeathMaster?  This is partly because of the exercise-related accessories that I find I simply must have: water bottle, small towel (for sweat-related issues, ew!), and MP3 player with headphones.  There is no way to hold these many things in your hands and grip the handrails firmly as instructed per the very detailed litigation-prevention decal pasted prominently on the DeathMaster’s sleek metal  carapace.  So it’s a clumsy sort of hyurk! that happens and with luck my various accoutrement don’t get ejected in the process.  Then may I place my items in their appointed places and the trudging can commence.  The dismount is no better.  The lowest step tilts at a weird, ankle-threatening angle and so I must perform an ungainly reverse-hyurk! to get down from the second step which is at roughly chin-level.

It’s ever so much more wonderful to do this with one’s back to the glassed walls of the racquetball courts full of sweaty old guys in terrycloth wristbands whacking their blue balls around.  (Heh.)

First world problem of the traditionally-built gym member, yes.  I know.  May this be the worst of my trials.


It’s a zoo out there


So today the children attended Zoo Camp, wherein we allow them to spend the day at the zoo being herded around by patient young college students.  They have all attended summer sessions since they each attained the ripe old age of four, so this is old hat for them.  There are no tears at the dropping-off.  In fact they barely acknowledge that we will be parting company.  Such sentimental things they are.

It being December in the Pacific Northwest, and also zoo camp day, the weather monsooned all day.  I picked up three damp, tired children in the looming dark of 4pm.  Since there were three of them, each having to be picked up from a different earnest (yet oddly haughty) young camp worker, I spent about fifteen minutes in the downpour.

Oh, I had an umbrella.  It’s a cute little ultra-compact rainbow-striped number meant to fit neatly into your handbag.  (As if I would sully my Coach with a wet umbrella, but there it is.)  Despite this, everything from the lower back on down was liberally moistened by the time I got back to the van.

And?  There was a gust of wind, and my totes adorbs brelly turned inside out and connected with the side of my head with a resounding THWACK.

Yes.  I was victim to a freak umbrella accident.



1’s and 0’s


So The Lovely Rhonda is off for another exciting day of union negotiations, and I’m set for a training committee meeting followed by a billing meeting.

Urgh, that sounds fun, says TLR.

Oh yes, I say.  See, it’s like this:  imagine that everyone USED to play World of Warcraft.  But it’s been like three years.  And everyone else is playing Star Wars now, but you don’t play Star Wars, you never have, but now you have to sit through meetings where everyone talks in endless detail about Star Wars.

Ew, she says, why don’t you play Star Wars?

It’s not available where I live, I say.  But it’s coming.  So, it’s like I know what they’re talking about, I mean it’s still an RPG, but I never got to play MMO.  No, see it was more like I was playing like Dungeons and Dragons?  With the dice and the pencils and the papers and the books, like old school?  Because we only used a computer to like PRINT OUT the billing.  Then you had to turn it in to be entered by somebody somewhere else.

HOW PRIMITIVE, she shudders.

Yes, I say.  We were like cavemen.  And my tiny pterodactyl inside the chunky computer case made of rock?  The one that etches the documents onto stone tablets with its beak?  My tiny pterodactyl is dead.

The Droid I was looking for


So we upgraded our phones yesterday.

Little did we understand that upgrading ones phone is much like visiting a foreign country, one whose language one does not speak and whose strange customs one finds not only confusing but irritating.  This might have been best put off until Friday night, when one has time to learn the arcane rituals and sleight-of-hand required these days.

Problem: phone rings, but answering requires crack team of experts.

Problem: multiple screens are confusing to elderly brain.

Problem: touch screen technology meant for skeletal fingers of prepubescent children, not clumsy sausage hands of middle aged women.

Solution: cursing, bitching, and alcohol in reasonable quantities.  Oh, and amusing games to take mind off frustration.

This phone contains more technology than the first moon landing.  I wonder at which point I will be able to reliably answer an incoming call?