junk boxes from the garage
Saturday, December 24 2022
This morning in the living room, it didn't take too long to get to the status of queen bee on today's New York Times Spelling Bee (the panagram was "unboxing"). At some point as we were working on it, the bar mitzvah for Dinah's son Lev began in Tel Aviv (they were seven hours ahead of us), and we could hear fairly good singing from a congregation. Periodically, though, this was punctuated by the unmuted audio from various older famiuly friends who have yet to master videoconferencing technology even after all this time.
One of the things Gretchen had wanted for "Baby Jesus Day" was a clean garage, which I'd been bad at allocating the time to work on. So early this afternoon at some point I put on some warm clothes and gloves and went out to do some straightening in the garage. It's an insulated (if unheated) garage, so it still held some residual heat from warmer days. Meanwhile outside temperatures had dropped to a face-hurting ten degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest conditions so far this season. At some point I carried a large plastic tray and a small cardboard box in from the garage. These contained chaotic mixes of different things (everything from drywall screws to pencils to pocket knives) as if they'd been the contents of junk drawers. A large part of any garage cleaning involves sorting such small items so they can be placed in their proper homes. It was the sort of thing I could do inside the heated comfort of the house. Such work is easy to obsess about, and at some point I was feeling cranky from not having eaten anything in awhile. That was when I had some leftover Thai curry on rice. Meanwhile Gretchen was yacking endlessly with Gilley in Portland. She tried to engage me in some light-hearted banter, but I didn't yet have enough glucose in my blood.
Later, despite the cold, I managed to wrestle the new elliptical exercise machine out of the garage into the arctic air outside and then in through the front door. From there, Gretchen and I managed to carry it up the stairs, though she was a little freaked out by how unwieldy it was on the way up. It was an easy thing to bolt together, but then it turned out the 9VDC wall wart it came with was dead, and I had to source a replacement from my bin of 9VDC wall warts (most of which are low-amperage linear supplies, not high-amperage switching supplies of the sort it had come with). Fortunately, it seemed work fine with a supply rated only a third the power of the defective one it had come with. The only other issue with the elliptical was that it squeaked a bit, a problem I would ultimately solve with grease. But it was much quieter than Gretchen's old $100 exercise machine.
This evening Gretchen and I watched Jeopardy! and then three episodes of Letterkenny. There's something wrong with that show, though I can't quite put my finger on it. It definitely helped its intelligibility when Gretchen turned on English subtitles.
Gretchen had originally planned to go back to Blackbird tonight to attend an LGBTQ "makers' event," but it was so brutally cold outside she decided it was best to stay in.
The tankless hot water heater I'd bought a few weeks ago has proved defective, heating water irregularly. I attempted to contact tech support, but that email box is full, suggesting the company (Niagara Industries, Inc.) is no longer an ongoing concern. Fortunately, though, I can still return the device for a refund from the eBay seller. Meanwhile, Gretchen wanted us to take showers together tonight. So I turned on the oil boiler for the first time in a couple months, and we heated our water that way.
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