When I was a youngster I loved the Ma & Pa Kettle movies. The characters first appeared in the 1947 film; The Egg and I, and were so popular a series of Ma & Pa Kettle movies followed. The title roles were played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride. Main’s “Ma” was very similar to “Lucy”, the beleaguered Reno guest ranch hostess she played in the 1939 film The Women. The Kettles were the neighbors no one wants to have. They had a seemingly infinite number of children who could not have been more rambunctious and their eyesore of a ranch house was falling down around them. Whenever something broke or fell apart, Pa would say; “I’m gonna have to fix that one of these days.” He never did. At Casa de Harper we try not to be the Kettles of the neighborhood but, at times, the to-do list seems to be growing instead of shrinking. In the past few days, however I have made some progress.
Elly May, the Cement Pond Is Ready
I’ve made a breakthrough with the pool. It is hard to keep a pool in top shape during monsoon season and ours has been looking a little grim. I’d brush and vacuum, get the water tested, add chemicals, filter and backwash and then wait to see if it worked. ‘Rinse & Repeat’. After adding more than $100 worth of various chemicals and spending the best part of four days brushing, vacuuming and backwashing, I finally concluded the problem was a combination of green and mustard algae. Nice! I added algicide over the weekend and ran the filter for 24 hours. I backwashed, added chlorine, and ran the filter for another 24 hours. As of this yesterday’s water chemistry tests, I am proud to say the patient in on the mend. The water is still a little cloudy but it is white-cloudy rather than green-cloudy. Another day or two of filtration & backwash and the dead algae should be gone leaving the water a beautiful crystal blue. Best of all, at this point the chlorine level is so high that after a brief swim I can pass for a natural blond.
* * * * * * *
Game of Thrones Revisited
I was so proud of my recent industry replacing the inner workings of the tanks in a couple of Casa de Harper water closets I was disheartened when one of my recently repaired thrones started to run continuously. Happily, the problem was mechanical failure; a small plastic piece had broken, and not operator error. I was able to get a replacement part and fix it fairly quickly. The happy ending in this story is I am becoming quite proficient at toilet repair. That’s a résumé booster!
* * * * * * *
Singing In The Rain
The shower head in the master bathroom had been leaking. The fixture was designed to conserve water but it was not doing its job properly and more water was coming out around the edges of it than was being forced through the jets. Water Pic to the rescue. Depending on the setting, this one can be adjusted to conserve as much water as the one it replaced but this one pulsates and can be aimed wherever ones mood and the laws of hydrodynamics and common decency allow.
* * * * * * *
Don’t Let the Terrorists Win!
Recently the remote controls for our garage door opener stopped working. The opener itself worked fine when activated by the wall switch but the remotes would not activate it. Assuming it was the batteries, I replaced them; all the while being secretly impressed that the battery manufacturers had become so skilled in planning obsolescence that the batteries in both ‘clickers’ died on the same day. I was less impressed when replacing the batteries did not solve the problem. Neither did resetting the codes.
So who was to blame for the great garage door opener revolt of 2013? None other than the Department of Homeland Security; until recently headed by our own former governor Janet Napolitano. It seems the folks at Homeland Security has taken control of a range of frequencies from 380 to 400 MHz for use by the military’s Land Mobile Radio Communication (LMR) System. The consequence was that if you happen to have an older garage door opener; such as Casa de Harper’s 1997 model, AND live within 50 miles of a military base there was a possibility your opener might stop working.
Well this sounds like conspiracy theory nonsense to me but there was some supporting evidence.
- I do have an older garage door opener that operates at that frequency. I do live within 50 miles of a military establishment. And they did stop working.
- Genie sells a “Universal Dual Frequency Conversion Kit” to fix the problem. It seems unlikely they would go to the trouble to manufacture and distribute a solution if the problem did not really exist.
- I live in Arizona where hating the government and blaming everything that goes wrong, large and small alike, on our foreign-born, non-white, socialist President is a moral imperative. Of course it is the government’s fault. O.K. so the action by the Department of Homeland Security took place two years before the current President was elected. Don’t try to get all tricky with facts and logic! If we Arizonans cared about that we’d observe daylight-savings time.
- It says it on the internet so it must be true. Of course one place I found the information online was a “White Pride World Wide” website. They are upset about the government doing this. Of course they cite as an example problems with garages in Ottawa Canada. Is there a US military base in Ottawa? Perhaps the White Supremes think Ottawa (or all of Canada?) is part of the United States? I am not sure but don’t plan to spend much time pondering it. I long since stopped over-estimating the intelligence of white supremacists. On the other hand, they knew about this problem before I did so there must be a smart cookie or two peeking out through the eye-holes in those sheets.
- The most persuasive evidence of all, however, was this. When I mounted the new receiver on the ceiling in my garage and wired it up, the remote controls worked. It took me a couple days of trial and error to get both the remote controls AND the pre-existing wall switch both working but in the end, everything works as it should. And the military base can have my old frequency as my contriburtion to the war on terror.