Annoying to Good

Today I noticed one of the lawn sprinklers had a puddle around it and decided that the most likely problem was caused by the rubber diaphragm in the valve was needing to be replaced.

Normally it’s easy to get the part and kind of annoying to replace the part.

I need to turn a manual water valve to off, remove the electric solenoid, remove 8 screws and lift the top from the rest of the valve. This requires I lay on the ground, reach into the valve box and have enough light to see what I’m doing. Then I have to put it all back together and, for some reason, the valve nearly always leaks when it’s all back together…which requires I take it apart to correct my error.

This time, the two nearby hardware stores did not have the part, nor did the two closest large home improvement stores. The third place I tried indicated, on their website, that there were 29 of the parts in stock. So, I go there. The web site was wrong. I finally found someone to check on the store’s internal web site and they called to get someone to go see if the parts were actually in stock.

The part was in stock and it was set aside for me., so, I drove the 20 miles/30km, each way, to get the part.

By this time I was somewhere between annoyed and amazed.

I got home, replaced the part….AND IT WORKED THE FIRST TIME!!! No leaks. So, I guess I’m “even” in how things turned out.

Yes, it’s still warm enough in the USA desert southwest to be able to work on the lawn sprinkler system…it was 79F/26C. Don’t worry, you can laugh at me in the summer when it’s 120F/49C

A Disadvantage

I’ve posted several times about my 1957 truck and all of its advantages. We’ll, it does have one disadvantage.

This image was made in February.

Today it was 112F/44C…in the shade. I don’t bother looking at the temperature shown by a thermometer sitting in the sun…..112F is hot enough that I don’t need to see higher thermometer readings.

Today, I had to go get some lumber and the truck’s long bed is perfect for hauling the 10 foot long 2 by 4 lumber I needed.

When I got into the truck I “just happened” to notice that it was hot inside the truck. The truck is a cab-over engine design, so I am sitting beside the engine when I’m driving it and even though there is a protective cover over the engine, it doesn’t do much to keep the engine heat out of the truck cab. The only “air conditioning” is what is jokingly called 4 40 air conditioning, which is 4 open windows and driving 40mph. So, it became even more hot inside as I continued to drive.

I was about an hour driving around in the truck, taking used motor oil to the auto parts store so the oil can be recycled, going to the storage unit to pick up my electric saw, going to the post office that is on the way to the lumber yard and then to the lumber yard.

I parked the truck at a shaded spot at the lumber yard so all the lumber could easily be loaded. I looked at the digital thermometer in the truck cab and it read 137F/58C. When I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket to get a picture of the thermometer, the phone was off. I turned the phone back on and displayed on the screen was a warning that the phone was powering off due to being overheated. The phone powered off again, so I don’t have any pictures of the thermometer.


I ran 6 miles this morning.  At 7:30am, when I started, the temperature was already 96F degrees with 47% relative humidity.

When I finished, I needed only one word to describe the situation.  Like the character Ralphie in the movie Christmas Story, the word was not fudge.


Outside Stove

One of the few problems with living in the USA desert southwest (not counting my opinion of the area’s water policy) is using the kitchen oven in the summertime.  When it’s 110F/43C degrees outside, like it is right now, it seems foolish to pay to heat the oven that ends up heating up the kitchen at the same time I’m paying to have the air conditioner keep the house cool.

The neighbor across the street mentioned that his kitchen range (combination stove and oven) wasn’t working.  I offered to fix it for him (these are easy to fix), but he had already purchased a new one.  He went on to say that he was going to put the old one out on the sidewalk with a “free–needs fixing” sign on it and if it was still there the next morning, he would pay to have it hauled to the recycling facility.

I saved him the need to pay to have it hauled away and brought it to my enclosed back porch.  The prior owners of our house had an electrically powered hot-tub and the electric outlet for it was still in place.  The stove needed an electric circuit with less capacity than was needed for the hot tub, so I simply changed the circuit breaker to a smaller one and changed the electrical outlet to the correct one.  The wires are slightly larger than needed, but that’s perfectly acceptable.

Every Thanksgiving holiday I’ve complained about not having enough stove and oven space and every summer I’ve complained about paying to heat the house that I’m also paying to keep cool.


I’ve fixed two of my complaints for less than $100 and 2 hours of time.  It turned out that the appliance parts store was only 1-1/2 miles (2.5k) from the house, so I walked there and even got some exercise in the process.


And the Ranger Laughed

My physician sent some orders to the medical testing lab and today I took care of that; 5 vials of blood and a “whiz quiz” (urinalysis).  I had to fast for these tests, so I hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday evening and the earliest available appointment was 9:30am.  I would have liked to have been finished with this earlier, but that’s OK.  I’ll live. 🙂

I got home, ate some food, drank some water, did some yard work and then decided to go running.  It was 103F when I started.

After about 1-1/2 miles on the trail, I decided I’d turn around early and head back to the car.

On the way back to my car, I was sweating enough that I began to think, “If I collapse and die out here, will the medical examiner need to examine my bone structure to determine my gender?”  Farther along, I began to think of  “The Night of the King’s Castration”.

I made it back to the parking lot….looking like I had crawled out of a swamp and laughing out loud.

I guess looking like one had crawled out of a swamp and laughing out loud is enough to concern the park rangers.  As I walked to my car, a ranger approached me to find out if I was OK.  So, I told him why I was laughing.

And the ranger laughed, but not because he had to.






speedometerAt 7:32am PDT, the car I was driving reached a milestone.  250,000 miles. It’s my 1995 Isuzu Trooper.

I’m hoping I can continue to drive it for another 5 or 6 years.  I have high hopes that this will happen.

Right now, it’s after 10pm, it’s still over 100F (a bit warmer than 35C) degrees and I’m sitting outside watching chicken cook on the grill.  This food is for tomorrow evening.  It’s nothing fancy.  I do like “cooking fancy”, but not after 10pm.

My wife is a physics teacher, school just started and the air conditioning isn’t working in her classroom.  Today she said it was 95F (35C) degrees in her room.  I do know she was pretty tired today.  Since I like cooking, I try to do as much of it as possible so she can “just come home and relax.”

I think she had it easier when she was working as a nuclear engineer, but that wasn’t her passion. Teaching is her passion.  I understand.