The one thing that a Navy career, and a subsequent life in an engineering industry, gave me is an appreciation for tools and their uses. As a result, I have been able to learn over years, homeowner maintenance skills that I have put to good use. Sometimes these skills are out of necessity and other times, as a result of being unwilling to hire a “professional” – who probably could do a particular task more efficiently but at a cost to my pride and wallet.
I learned that earlier in the year when my air conditioning system shut down unexpectedly. I inspected what I knew, but then found – when calling a serviceman – a dog-hair and dust-choked filter had caused a pressure switch to trip. At considerable expense for that lesson, I then decided I would research all my home systems for maintenance and repair information that I could reasonably do myself. Fast forward to this past week. All our large appliances in the kitchen have failed in turn over a few years. We were hanging on till we became “empty nesters” (the kids were extremely hard on our kitchen). We purchased new refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher. But because the last time I had replaced leaking water valves I wasn’t thinking what working appliances needed I had no means for the installation crew to hook up icemaker or the dishwasher. And the man the company sent to install my new microwave told my wife the unit had greater dimensions than the old one to be removed.
Of course, this was partially correct and partially, B.S. In the case of the microwave, the installer was likely tired, irritated or unmotivated to actually “look” at the unit. When my wife and I went back to the store – talking with the salesman also – the floor display was a HALF-INCH larger in depth and height than the original. It would have fit without any modifications! But the installer took the new unit away with him. I still need to get him back. As for the line to connect the dishwasher, apparently the issue was a little more complicated. Because the stock water line was four feet shorter than required (new kitchen have the dishwasher next to the sink and not adjacent like my 1960’s-design) a new hose about ten feet in length is needed.
I put the new dual-outlet valves on the existing pipes under the sink so I would not totally foul-up Thanksgiving plans my wife had. The cobbled together work leaked requiring a big roaster pan catch basin, and frequent draining for the past few days. That is where my love for tools, an engineering sense, and YouTube comes in. Today while my family was out of the house, I removed a stubborn piece of copper pipe under the sink and then brazed on a new section. A few technical difficulties resolved by a quick visit to the hardware store – for some advice, a section of flame-proof cloth for welding; I also borrowed my son’s fire extinguisher at his insistence – and after a couple tries: Success. With full water pressure back on this evening there have been no leaks and no desperate calls for a plumbing contractor on a holiday weekend.
Both dogs, Dexter and Comet – who normally hang around at my elbow ALL the time I am in the kitchen – were NOWHERE to be seen. Maybe they didn’t want to be witnesses to me setting myself on fire?
Reader, persons who have never witnessed a hurricane, such as not unfrequently desolates the sultry climates of the south, can scarcely form an idea of their terrific grandeur. One would think that, not content with laying waste all on land, it must needs sweep the waters of the shallows quite dry to quench its thirst. John James Audubon
I’ve ridden out hurricanes aboard ship while in the Navy. The bow of the ship rising out of the water, the sonar dome shimming and vibrating the ship as it settles, and waves rushing up the forecastle and crashing into the superstructure. With the ship listing 20 to 30 degrees port and starboard, I have witnessed, some might say, stupidly, the seemingly close wind-whipped waves briefly from the watertight doorway outside my workspaces. I’ve been lashed by wind, water, and debris in 40, 50, and 60 knot gusts while ashore in the Tidewater region (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads) of Virginia. In all of these experiences, my shipmates and I were not trying to go through the middle of the maelstrom with its 30- or 40- foot seas. Our ships, which can withstand tremendous steel-bending punishment from waves at sea, would be hammered at the pier. Fortunately, most storms diminish in intensity before making landfall. But the rain that comes with these storms moving across the land at ten to fifteen miles per hour drench the land with feet, not inches of rain.
I know many will hunker down to ride out the storm coming ashore today in North Carolina. I also know that it will likely be widespread power outages, and take weeks to restore. Be safe out there.
My wife and I are well-suited. Her strengths complement my weaknesses. My strengths do the same for her weaknesses. We both help the other with a soapbox commentary on blogs and Facebook posts. I get on one (sometimes), and she helps me back away from publicizing commentary that makes me sound like the old opinionated Chief I am.
And then we tend to have random -topic conversation on the way to COSTCO.
“Meh. I just love the videos that have goats interacting with people.” My dearest love continued, “Meh? I wonder if that really is a word. Or just a sound? Sounds like a goat.”
There was a time when I might have known the origin of this. I was raised to be both physically-active and a bookworm. But I digress.
In the decades before iPhones and Androids, I might read a lot of books to invigorate my vocabulary; these days not so much. On my smartphone, Internet dictionaries tell me “meh” in indeed a word.
Meh: used to express indifference or mild disappointment
What other words became part of the lexicon in 1992?
With everyone using text, Snapchat, Twitter, or other app – the spoken word is probably going to disappear. The written word is already only trendy – but is my stock in trade so I cannot believe it will ever become an archaeological artifact. Is language going to hell? Meh!
Not just the sound goats make. At least this post has not been a time suck.
Two retired Chief Petty Officers meeting over cigars one evening were only casually known to one another. Two other veterans and two others, a high school wrestling coach and an auto mechanic were all enjoying the late afternoon absently watching a baseball game on the television. As the cigar burned to a nub, the two salt- and barnacle-encrusted old seafarers became fast friends. It is the shared experience of Navy life. Deployments, wartime, and good and lousy beer five thousand miles away from home. Sharing stories of Red light districts and Shore Patrol. Looking out for our shipmates who may have enjoyed liberty a bit much.
When did you serve?
Went to bootcamp, in San Diego, in ’77.
Oh, I went through RTC in Orlando in ’78. I retired in ’99.
Shellback ? Oh yeah, I remember those @#$# shelaylee (shillelagh)
Went through 3 times. Wog first deployment and then Shellback for the next two crossings.
They used GREASE! Took forever to get it out of my hair. @#@#$@#!
Did away with it ten years ago. Sailors just aren’t tough anymore.
What about Chief’s initiation? They are bringing it back? Great.
It was a great life.
Yeah. It was a great life!
Gotta be moving on. CINCHOUSE is expecting me.
Underway. Shift colors.
Our other pals looked quietly confused; all they heard was gibberish.
As a retired military man I am grateful that I am not deployed to far away seas these days. In San Diego, this holiday weekend has been an opportunity to meet with friends. Saturday with an outdoor concert by the San Diego Symphony at the downtown waterfront ending with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture (with cannons!), Sunday with a gathering at Mission Bay, and today for breakfast at a restaurant our friends have enjoyed since the husband was a child.
American sailors on liberty in Pusan, South Korea before 1999 used to talk about going to Texas Street. Dive bars and cheap eats.
When I visited Pusan in 1999 while aboard USS CORONADO, I remember a Russian carrier in port. Russian bar girls. To avoid uncomfortable conversations, my shipmate and I had a line popularized by Steven Segal: “I’m just a cook!” Didn’t see any Russian sailors. But I picked up a few words in Russian.
I don’t know what it’s like today, but I left there thinking the bar district had become “Russia Street”.
Learned a little bit about being stationed in South Korea. I learned how to order a Starbucks in Korean. “Grande Mocha”.
And I know not to enter any Asian establishment with a “barber pole” out front. Was told they were “massage” parlors. Wonder if they also do haircuts?