end of an era
Sunday, January 16 2011
The mother of our friend Sarah the Korean (who is of mostly-Irish extraction) was having some medical difficulties, so Gretchen (as she often does) dropped everything and drove off to Western Massachusetts to be a supportive friend. I had to undertake last-minuted battery maintenance on the Honda Civic; the battery I'd restored with tap water the other day had proved flaky, so now I was restoring a different one using distilled water (and at least one copper terminal shim made from a half inch fitting).
So for me it was a night of burritos, beer, and television. I can't always watch Hoarders or Intervention while I'm eating, but I usually prefer to drink some sort of alcoholic beverage when watching either, particularly if it's Intervention and it's the story of a raging alcoholic.
In the early 1990s my preferred brand of computer was Macintosh, partly because Windows was a useless kludgy mess until Windows 95. I started out with a Macintosh SE and then, in 1992, graduated to a Mac IIsi ("Plutarch") that I'd managed to obtain in a manner that would have been familiar to Johnny Cash. Today I took it out to just start it up for old time's sake. (I have all the cables and converters necessary to attach old Macintosh hardware to modern multiscan monitors.) But it was dead, and it remained so no matter what I did. I'd started it up a couple years ago, but now it looked like the 20 year old hardware had finally died. Perhaps this was related to a very old puddle of cat urine that had dried on the top of its homemade aluminum case. The urine had long ago dried out, leaving a network of long, fibrous crystals.
While we're on the subject of cat urine, I should note that the other day, on the suggestion of a reader, I poured a bunch of distilled white vinegar into the closet carpet in Gretchen's basement library (in the place where Nigel had been pissing). I'd let it sit like this for a few days, making the basement smell a little like a cat had taken a piss into a moldy salad. Then, after another bath, I dumped a few gallons of warm recycled bath water into the carpet and wet-vac'd it out. After a few days, the results are pretty striking: there is now almost no cat urine smell in the basement whatsoever.
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