Dutch Boy urgency
Saturday, May 22 2004
Today was filled with errands with the inlaws, first out to Phoenicia for lunch, and then to various shoppes along the way home, mostly to look for kitchen odds and ends. We stopped at a place called Fabulous Furniture on Route 28 to look at the crazy metal sculptures in the front yard. They were mostly reptiles, dinosaurs, and other animals, all made from pieces of scrap metal. The most spectacular sculpture of all was an alien rocket ship that had spent some time near the intersection of Broadway and Ulster Avenue near Uptown, Kingston. Inside Fabulous Furniture most of the items for sale were pieces of wooden furniture made out of scrap pieces of trees. The majority of these benches fashioned from cross sections of tree crotches. Gretchen got to talking with the guy who runs the place, who looked a little like an English-speaking Rasputin. He seemed like a nice enough guy and even volunteered to donate woodchips to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
Someone had recommended Tapeheads, so we watched the DVD tonight. Parts of it kept us watching, but there was something about it that was just plain irritating. It seemed to be trying hard to be a John Waters film, but it was much more amateurish and belabored. Furthermore, it was filled with so much padding that I had suspicions it had originally been written as a short film.
Our house's water filtration system is designed mostly to remove iron oxide from the water. Water coming from the well is mixed with tiny bubbles of air, which causes the iron to precipitate out into a tank. Every two weeks or so, 80 gallons of water is blasted through that tank to flush it out. Since there is no drain in the basement boiler room, the flushing water runs in a plastic hose up through the first floor office, through a wall into my laboratory, along the wall, then through a wall into the laundry room and ultimately into the washing machine's drain. The flushing makes a characteristic churning sound which is impossible to miss in the laboratory. Evidently tonight was the night for the big flush, because I heard it begin at around 1:00am while I was sitting at my computer. But the sound it was making was not a good one. It sounded like a firehose was being directed at the wall. It turned out that the flushing hose had developed a catastrophic leak. Some months ago, after damaging it during the installation of an ethernet line, I'd replaced a segment of the hose. But since I'd lacked a proper L-fitting, I'd been forced to use a T-fitting, one of whose ends I'd plugged with a piece of plastic and some glue. Evidently this had held for a time, since there'd never been any water damage over the ensuing months. But tonight the plug must have shot out of the T-fitting and then the deluge began. It's a good thing I was around to do something about it. What I did was run over and hold my hand against the leak and wait for the flush cycle to finish. It took a couple minutes. What I didn't know was that there were at least two flush cycles. The second began while I was mopping up the water from the first, sending me back into Dutch Boy mode. When that cycle ended, I ran downstairs and unplugged the filtration mechanism lest there be a third flush. Then I fired up a butane torch and melted the end of the plastic T-fitting closed, something it was reluctant to be. Not wanting to risk another flood (particularly, say, when I might be asleep), I then capped the fused fitting-end with a tiny jar completely filled with epoxy. Though the jar was tiny, it contained a relatively large amount of epoxy, and it released a great deal of heat soon after the two component fluids were mixed together.
Sally (left) and Eleanor in the front yard today. The black and white object is a stuffed rabbit that one of the dogs (probably Eleanor) stole from a neighbor. Click to enlarge.
We ate lunch at Sweet Sue's in Phoenicia. This is some of the wall decoration there.
People hanging out in front of a store on the main drag in Phoenicia today. This store is also a Trailways station and features a creepy display of gnomes in its front window. The pharmacy across the street was open for business, though we saw no signs of life within. Nearly all of the items near their front windows were bleached from years of exposure to the sun. Click this picture for a bigger version.
The alien rocket out in front of Fabulous Furniture on Route 28.
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