Friday, July 15 2005
I finished work on my 19th Century door chime project today. In the end I had to rewind the coil, this time upon the plastic spool from the original telephone mechanism. First, though, I had to remove all the fine copper armature wire that had been on that spool. I did so in the most aggressive, destructive manner possible, using a pair of scissors. The wire came off in a frothy mass, resembling shearings from the unruly mane of a redhead.
I installed the chime above the front door and drilled a hole through the exterior wall to connect in the outdoor pushbutton switch (which I'd bought months ago). For power, I ran speaker wire to a 9 volt DC supply brick temporarily borrowed from some networking equipment, though at some point I'll install something more permanent.
I had Gretchen test the chime when she came home and it worked reliably when the bell was adjusted to the correct position. She was more impressed with it than I expected her to be. I do all sorts of crazy things like program databases and design Flash animations, but there was something more tangibly homebrewed about this that called attention to my detailed understanding of the forces involved. I hadn't built it from a kit, followed instructions, or put together existing components. I'd pretty much built it from scratch following a plan developed in my head. I'd had to solder pipes, wrap coils, drill holes, etc. To me it seemed like a fairly primitive system, but it was like magic to her. "It's not normal to know how to do stuff like that," she said.
Today had been the last day of Gretchen's library class and all she'd had to do was administer a test. We celebrated how painless the week had been by going out to eat at the Pupuseria on Broadway in Kingston. While swimming at the neighbor's pool we'd learned that tonight would be the night of the Uptown fireworks display, so we thought we'd hit the Uptown midway and partake of the festivities.
Unfortunately, though, a freakishly torrential downpour started falling just as we entered Kingston. Broadway had been blocked off for a parade, all of whose participants soldiered on despite the punishing drenching they received. Using back streets (the kind that members of a boy band might hail from), we managed to get within a block of the Pupuseria and dash to it through the rain.
Today marked the first time I ate as many as six bean and cheese pupusas. I'd ordered five, same as always, but then Gretchen, who had ordered four, had second thoughts that she'd ordered one too many.
The downpour continued into the evening and we skipped the fireworks, but Kingston launched them anyway. I could hear them rumbling in the distance from the laboratory.
The door chime. The arm holding the mechanism is bolted on, not soldered, allowing me to disassemble it.
The mechanism. Really all you can see is the hammer, fashioned partly from a wine cork.
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