the heart of pagan darkness
Tuesday, December 22 2009
I drove across the Hudson today to pick up computer supplies destined for a prison from Bard College: ten uninterruptable power supplies (to deal with flakey prison power) and a hard drive containing an 80 gigabyte update of two research databases. I had other errands to run along 9W, and despite the expense of the supplies I was then carrying, I could (as I always do) leave the car unlocked in the various places I parked it. This time it was being guarded by two scary-looking black mutts, one of which appeared to be a runt Pit Bull, though I leave it unlocked even when I don't take the dogs with me. We've only had our car burgled once from leaving it unlocked. (Gretchen used to keep spare cash in the glove compartment and one day she found that the cash was no longer there and she hadn't taken it. But it hadn't been a big enough crime for us to change our ways.)
While I was out, I bought a chair from Target, an identical copy of a chair that Gretchen bought several weeks before. After much lobbying from friends, she's decided it's okay to clutter up the living room with more furniture, particularly given our difficulty in seating even modest groups of people (a task made all the more difficult by seating preferences of Eleanor the dog and Wilma the cat). Target doesn't sell much furniture, and there are only two chairs to choose from. They have identical shapes, though one is floral and the other is striped. The one I bought was the latter.
Over in the Home Depot, I bought a number of things to help implement several possible woodstove futures. The problem is that our existing woodstove is gradually crumbling into pieces from the inside. It is no longer possible to seal it up and make it burn efficiently, and so much of the heat goes up the stack. There's a larger stove that could replace it out in the garage, but it lacks transparent doors and so wouldn't make for as cozy of a woodstove experience. The other alternative is to continue using the existing stove until it completely falls apart, but try to reclaim as much as possible of the heat going up the chimney. There's a device to do this called a "heat reclaimer" and I'd ordered an inexpensive unit and taken delivery of it the other day. They're nothing more than simple thermostatically-fan-powered gas-to-gas heat exchangers, and they're not even especially efficient. The most disturbing thing about the one I ordered was that it came covered with Jesus fish because Vogelzang, the company that manufactures it, is Christ-obsessed, though not enough to manufacture their products outside of China, the heart of pagan darkness.
Let's return to Home Depot for a moment. I'm very familiar with that place: its policies, the individuals on its staff, and the aisles incompletely surveilled by anti-shoplifting cameras. Today I noticed that the two young guys working the contractor checkout were new. And then it turned out that the eight-to-six-inch exhaust pipe adapter I wanted to buy was lacking a UPC code. I told the checkout guys that I'd gotten it from the plumbing section, so they called it in to the plumbing desk to ask for a UPC code. But when they said "stove pipe," they were referred to the lawns and gardens desk. It was a big ridiculous run around that might still be unsolved if I hadn't led an employee directly to the place where the adapter was stocked and had her write the product code on it. (For some reason, none of these adapters had been tagged with UPCs.)
In an effort to save on fuel oil, I've tried to reduce my heating-season bath-taking to once a week. But when I actually have to interact with people, I occasionally have to move the schedule around. Tomorrow I'd be doing computer work in a prison, so I took my weekly bath tonight, two days early. Some day I hope to have some sort of solar-powered hot tub waiting for me to take a bath any time I want one. The problem with trying to live energy-consciously is that you can always live with more consciousness than you are living now.
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