Monthly Archives: December 2012

dryer repair & clothesline update

It’s still 2012 .  I would like to report that I fixed the old clothes dryer , that it works well , that my theory about the door switch being the problem was correct , and that Ada is happily doing laundry . I should explain that Ada does not necessarily like doing laundry , but she definitely hates for me to do it . She has ” a method ” . How difficult is it to do laundry ? Didn’t I do laundry for years before  I was married ?  It’s not , as they say , rocket science , after all !  It’s not brain surgery ! It’s not computer repair ! ( for you IT people out there ! ) . But I am banned from doing laundry in our house . That’s just the way it is .

When I wrote a post on this blog recently about the broken dryer I started to get  suggestions from readers . The problem seemed to be the belt . Check the belt . Sounds like the belt . You need to replace the belt . The belt , the belt , the belt ! If I had a better camera I’d take detailed pictures of the belt and post those . It’s a fine belt . It’s a good belt in excellent condition ! Believe me , it’s not the belt , folks ; it’s not the belt . I  know a bad belt when I see one . Thank you for your advice , though , even the former plumber who told me it sounds like the belt .dryer repair 003

Did I not explain myself clearly in the former post ? The drum spins —- the belt spins it . There is no slipping of the belt . It’s a wonderful energetic tough little belt .It’s a trim , sleek , handsome ,  strong belt .  Belt’s fine . The belt is not the problem . Believe me .dryer repair 004

But , of course , no one believes me . Why should they ? The part I ordered has not come yet . FedEx —- 3 to 5 days . Not yet . Depending on when we start the counting of the days , today is the fifth day . Actually it’s the sixth , but yesterday was Sunday . No one counts Sundays because Sundays are not  “business days ” .  I’m hoping to get my switch delivered today . Today is December 31 , 2012 . I’m hoping to get the dryer fixed this year . I’d hate to have to wait another year to fix it . If it can be fixed . If the switch is the problem as I suspect .

There are things that I’d rather be doing instead of  waiting for FedEx delivery of a clothes dryer part . I could be relaxing in front of the fireplace .clothesline 001

Having a beer .clothesline 005

Maybe sipping it from a German stein .

Or at least a cup of coffee .clothesline 003clothesline 017

But no !  I’m having to hang clothes on an improvised clothesline . No one around here has those great old backyard clotheslines any more , the ones that stretched out at the top of a wooden pole , spread out like a flower opening up . They would spin around . Rex had one next door . He never used it anymore , but he left it out there in his yard anyway . It was a relic of the past , a deteriorating curio for kids to wonder about . The new owners took it out , of course . It was an eyesore to them , I suppose , a useless old piece of junk . It was like the old concrete backyard incinerators in southern California where people burned their trash way back when , sending clouds of more soot into the already dirty L A air . There are some of those old polluters left , too , but not many . Useless junk . Eyesores .clothesline 016

And I have to listen to Ada complain a little about having to hang wet clothes on the line . ” You won’t hang them properly ,” she said , ” and they’ll be much harder to iron .”  But she had no clothes dryer in Poland , I reminded her . I suggested to her that hanging the clothes was a good thing , a reminder of home .  She half-agreed for a few seconds . She thought about it briefly . She agreed that she always hung clothes to dry in Poland .  She has good memories of Poland , of course . She looked at the clothes hanging and I thought that there was almost a smile . If not quite almost , then at least  almost almost . ” Are you going to be able to fix the dryer ? ” she said instead .clothesline 015

” I haven’t got the part yet .”

” I’m going to the laundromat to use the dryers there , ”  she said .  But the clothes dry well on the line too . Everyone used to do it that way here too . Fresh breezes and sunshine affecting the clothes .  Laundromat ? Maybe the world has gone too far too fast . Maybe we should take a breather ,  revisit some of the old ways . In our case it will only be until the day that the  part arrives .

Ada was , nevertheless , packing wet clothes into a laundry bag , getting  ready for the machines . Meanwhile ,  our machine idly sits out on the back patio . Waiting . I hope that part is coming today . It might be the answer . If not , then the motor is worn out .  Thanks for the advice readers , but it’s not the belt . Believe me .

” A horse , a horse ! My kingdom for a horse ! ”  Or a door switch .

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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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with any luck ( not )

painters 002Gary Powers , pilot , shot down over Soviet Union in 1960 in a U-2 spy plane . He survives the crash .

Leon Praport  , holocaust survivor from Poland , emigrates to Israel and then to the USA .

getty museum 007


Gary Powers , then a newsman in L.A. , covers a brush fire in the local foothills in 1977 and that day his helicopter crashes  ,  killing himUtah trip 020100_2559100_1839IMG_3088 .

alley walk Arcadia 045

Picture 078


IMG_2675Praport , visiting from New Jersey , rides Angels Flight, ” The Shortest Railway In The World ” ,  in L.A.  one morning . One of the two funicular cars breaks loose and hurtles Praport to his death in 2001 .



And you wonder why these pictures don’t match the story .

local mountains 001Things sometimes just don’t seem to make sense .

santa plastic 001


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funny about spelling

I notice spelling errors in other people’s writing . In mine sometimes , also ;  but in other people’s always . Well , nearly almost always .  I’ve had my spelling errors pointed out to me , too , in my blog posts , usually by my sister Pat , who reads my posts regularly I think . I hope she doesn’t read them like I used to read the Daily Bulletin issued at Virgil Middle School when old W. was principal . I used to read that sheet just to laugh at the mistakes . There wasn’t much use , otherwise , to read the boring thing . It almost never had any useful information . There were always mistakes , always ,  and often hilarious ones . I don’t remember any of them now  except school spelled scool . I suppose I was  easily entertained in those days , on the hunt for easily obtained enjoyment in an often joyless place . It seemed to be a great irony to have an education institution mangle and misuse the language on a daily basis in print .christmas 004

My brother-in-law FaceBooked a post recently about his retirement and he made a typo spelling error . He wrote thought rather than though . Some people commented on his short post by the time he saw  his boo boo . He then had trouble correcting the typo without deleting the entire post . He felt a need to make the correction . Frustrating  stuff !100_2872_2

I recently re-read one of my friend Joe’s  blog posts over at  Coming of the Toads . He mentioned me , that he remembers me correcting his spelling way back when we were teachers  together long , long  ago . He discusses spelling in his post and mentions great writers who were lousy spellers .kolorowy

I was not a good speller in school . Remember those end-of-the-week spelling tests ? Twenty-five words each week and maybe a bonus word ? We all had those soft -cover spellers , twenty-five spelling words per chapter .  The word list was always at the top of the page . These would be  the words on Friday’s test . Memorize them ! Practice with your mom !

I got Cs anyway . Sometimes a B . Maybe an A-  once in a blue moon . I practiced the words , tried , tried .  What could be easier , after all ! But :  C , B , A- once in a blue moon . I wasn’t adept .

Much  later in my life  I could recognize misspelling . In others . Like a witch’s curse it came upon me unannounced . It stuck like glue . When did it happen ? Late high school ? College ?  Later ? And now I am doomed to see bad spelling . Incorrectly spelled words on a page pounce on me mercilessly like leopards . Spectral  tireless cursed leopards .

Daniel Boone wrote phonetically . Whatever the word sounded like he wrote down . People in those days did that . Words didn’t have to be spelled  ” correctly ” . He’d  spell the same word different ways . The important thing was to catch the meaning , to hear the word . No one was cursed with spelling tests . No twenty-five words ! There were no bad spellers . Or else , everyone was a bad speller , but no one cared .  Daniel Boone . Davy Crockett , too , spelled like he spoke . Crockett was in Congress . Communication was the key , but spelling ? Who cared ! It was a free country .civil war reenactment Moorpark 062

Noah Webster wrecked all that . Talk about American freedom ! Webster ended that idealistic notion . He wrote a dictionary . There was , after that , a ” correct ” way to spell each and every word . Creativity was out ! In 1786 he published ” The American Speller ” . People called it the ” Blue Backed Speller ” and for  hundreds of  years afterwards students were forced to learn proper spelling . In 1806 he published ” The Compendious Dictionary of the American People “. And we Americans were from then on doomed . We were dominated by proper spelling and correct usage . Little children were from then on dominated by spelling tests from lists of words forced down their throats by dictatorial teachers . The words themselves were prisoners . Any odd spellings were shamed and then weeded out ! Conform , damn you ! Toe the line ! Fall into lock-step !civil war reenactment Moorpark 043

Freedom of Speech ? You say patriots fought for it in the 1770s ? That’s gone , fella ! Get out your dictionary . Study that Speller !

I wish that you , readers ,  couldn’t spell ,that you  can’t recognize the so-called spelling errors on a page . Let freedom ring once again in America !  It’s perhaps not too late . Anyway , there are long lists of great writers who couldn’t spell , my friend Joe wrote .   Joe might be one of them . luffa 007

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Bob and the fig tree

My friend Bob was given a fig tree by his father-in-law . I asked for a cutting . That was , I think , thirty years ago , or maybe a few more .  My cutting grew into a small tree . It’s a petite little thing . It produces a handful of delicious yellow figs each year . It grows quietly  out back and minds its own business .
fig tree 006

The Italian father-in-law lived on Staten Island . A dedicated  and diligent gardener ,  evidently . Bob  said the father-in-law grew figs outside in pots on his brick patio on Staten Island .  He had bricked in his yard . When the cold weather comes the father-in-law moves the plants indoors . He’s a serious gardener .  He  shared a cutting of one of his figs with Bob thirty five years ago or so . He brought it out to California to give it to Bob .

One day Bob asked me , desperately , seriously ,  ” Did that fig twig grow ?” . Panic peeked out and peered around the corners of  his voice . He was a desperate man .

” The one you gave me a few years ago ?  Yeah , it’s growing .”fig tree 003

” Can I get a cutting from you ? My father-in-law is coming to visit ,” he explained . ” I’ve been telling him for years that the darn fig is growing . ”  But it wasn’t . It had withered away years before due to my friend Bob’s neglect . For years he had been describing how delicious the figs were over the phone to his father-in-law on  Staten Island . Now Bob needed something to show his father-in-law  or the bubble would be burst .

So  Bob planted that cutting I gave him and told the in-law serious Staten Island  gardener that this little plant was the same one from Staten Island .  The ruse worked , I guess . Bob was forever grateful to me for the fig tree cutting .

I haven’t seen Bob for several years now . A mutual friend visited last night . She had seen Bob over Christmas . ” Does Dan still have that fig tree ?” he had asked her . She had watered our garden last summer when we were travelling  and when he described the leaves of a fig  she said , yes , there is a fig tree in his backyard .  ” I would like to get a cutting ,” he told her . ” Do you think he could give me a cutting ?”

I guess  gardener father-in-law is coming back for another visit . Sure , Bob can have another cutting .  I hope the little trick works again, if that’s the situation  . Or , maybe Bob has decided to take up gardening in his spare time since  he retired last June . He’s an Italian from Staten Island , too , after all .  That might be a good start for developing a green thumb . I don’t know .  I don’t think that he has bricked in his yard yet , though .fig tree 004

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a broken dryer

We’re going to get a new clothes washer and a new dryer when we renovate the house . The machines we have are experienced . The washer has been taken apart by me once or twice and it  got so embarrassed that it went on working . Too much self-conscious distress , I guess , with it’s washer guts splayed out for all to see on the back patio , too much machine humiliation for it to handle . So it gave up it’s little game of pretending to be a goner .  The washer still works . It sounds like an Apache helicopter on the attack when it’s operating   , but it works . The house rocks with the old machine’s thumping protest if there is any  imbalance in the load , and that’s sure annoying , but it works .

Now the dryer has decided to take it’s chances . It buzzes but the drum doesn’t spin . I dragged the old metal beast  outside .  For the treatment . Took it apart , a few bolts here and a couple of screws there . The whole thing comes apart easily except the place where the motor hides . I cleaned it all out , dust , dirt , old socks. No money ; no bills ; not even any coins  ;  a neatly folded wiring diagram on a yellowed paper . Twenty years of dust ? Thirty ? Who knows . dryer repair 005

Everything seemed to be in good condition under the dirt . When I spin the drum it continues it’s rotation . Then , when I open the dryer door the whole thing stops , which it  is supposed to do . But it won’t start up again . Refuses . It’s not supposed to do that .

You should understand that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing . Opening the machine up is like opening a Christmas present , tearing off the wrapping , discovering what’s inside . Surprise ? A narrow drive belt ! A little buttoned door switch ! A big metal cylinder .

The motor seems to be o.k.  At least it goes when I begin by spinning the cylinder drum . A bad motor wouldn’t even do that , right ?  Got to use logic . Don’t surrender to complete and total dryer-guts ignorance . Use logic . This is not rocket science. This is not brain surgery .  dryer repair 001

Maybe there’s a starter , some kind of solenoid ? I can’t be standing in front of the thing every time we do a load of clothes to put my hand in there and spin it . Besides , the door switch button needs to be pushed as I spin the thing . The door switch makes the thing stop when the door is opened . It’s a safety thing , I guess , so that someone won’t be tempted into getting in as the dryer is spinning and drying . Maybe to warm himself up .  Maybe somebody’d consider tossing a salad in there otherwise , or mixing a cocktail , or tumble-drying the house  cat should it go out in the rain . dryer repair 002

I didn’t see any starter on the motor . I wouldn’t know what a dryer motor starter might look like , but I didn’t see anything that looks like it might be one . Using logic , then , I thought if there is no starter , and the motor is good , then there is something else going on here . The door switch ? dryer repair 004

The door switch ! Sure , it clicks . But does that mean it’s good ? That little switch may be holding up the whole laundry process ! The weak link in the laundry chain !  Could be . Could be .dryer repair 006So I got on the internet to Whirlpool Parts .  Twenty bucks for a door switch . Seven more for shipping . I hate to pay seven bucks for shipping . Don’t think about it . $600 and up for a new dryer . Think of that .  Then : do I want to take a chance that the door switch is the problem ?  Dirty Harry says , ” I know what you’re thinkin’ …………… Do you feel lucky , punk ? Well , do ya ? ”  I had to think it over . Use logic .

dryer repair 003

I’ll let you know if the switch is the problem . The part arrives in 5 to 7 days by Fed Ex .  Shouldn’t be too much of a problem unplugging the old one and plugging in the new one in .  Famous last words ?

Sometimes you need to take a chance . After all , no risk no gain .  Fools rush in where angels fear to tread . Semper Fidelis !  Damn the torpedoes , full speed ahead ! If it ain’t broke don’t fix it . Every man is an island . No man is an island . We have nothing to fear but fear itself ! I’m ready for my closeup now , Mr. DeMille .  Just say no . When the going gets tough , the tough get going . Enough ?

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boxing day

No , it’s not the second Christmas .  It’s Boxing Day . We have the local crowd over for left overs .IMG_3369

Boxing day originated in Britain , I guess , when employers gave their servants presents the day after Christmas since the poor suckers  had to work on Christmas because  who else would have served Christmas dinner or cleaned the fire place afterward ? Or run the Hoover across the floor . The lords of the manors , no doubt , presented the poor folk with boxes of left-over crappadocia . ” Here . Merry Day-After-Christmas ! ”  I don’t think the employers went to Zales for the perfect diamond ring or gave gift certificates for Carribean cruises . Nevertheless , it was probably a nice custom .random 045

I heard a barmaid in an Irish pub explain that Boxing Day was the day you went and ” boxed the ears ” of those who didn’t give you a present on Christmas .  The spirit of Boxing Day , I suppose , is in the eyes of the beholder .

We have our local friends over to the house on Boxing Day .  Everyone has gone off and celebrated Christmas in their own ways , with their own friends and families ,  but now we all get together for the day after Christmas to share a meal . Ada serves the Christmas left-overs and cooks some other delicacies . The tables are groaning . Scares the cats . Presents are exchanged despite the vow from most of us to cut that part of the tradition next year .Xmas baking 2012 004

” We’ll see you on Boxing Day , I guess . ” It is a promise , a commitment . You’d better be here !  I’ll box your ears if you don’t !

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