Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Toys and Tape Make Food Taste Great

Our microwave oven stopped working on Wednesday. Actually, it continued to work, but the door wouldn´t open. Something inside the door-latch mechanism seemed to be jammed or broken. I was more than a little perturbed. After all it´s only a little more than a year old.

I´m not sure about you, but I am a heavy user of the microwave. It´s primary purpose in my life is to warm the many forgotten mugs of coffee that I perpetually leave around the house. That´s enough of a blow in itself. Of course there are other tasks for which it is suited and, short of baking bread, it is part of virtually every meal I make.

Wendy began to get alarmed with how panicked I was becoming over the loss of this small appliance. I felt thrust back into a dark age of wood ovens and feudal servitude. I don´t mind daydreaming about such things, but not over a cold cup of coffee -- especially when the weather has been so dreary again. Rain about 4 or 5 days running and a high temperature today of 14 C. That´s 11 degrees below normal for anyone who is keeping score.

After 24 hours without microwave bombardment, I was climbing the walls (but, not in the good climbing way).

The solution... duct tape AND Lego. The holy-grail of home repairs. I have to admit that the Lego was Wendy´s idea (and yes, I´m bragging about her). Brad, if you´re concerned, I was very mindful of the capacitor inside. It was well shielded. If you were here, I would have enjoyed a trip to the source to pick up a 20,000 ohm resistor to discharge it safely. As it was, I did it my way and skipped that step.

Sadly, I had to take it apart two days later and add a couple of bolts because the tape was just too stretchy. I thought that would be the case, but I was nervous to drill into the existing plastic unless it was totally necessary. Seems very solid now.

-------More Detail for the Interested------

The pad that gets pressed on the outside of the microwave pushes the large black piece in the picture above. It rotates on a pin and an arm at the end of it toggles a switch that checks to make sure the microwave is off and then a second lever that opens the door. The arm in question, being the smallest piece, snapped off. The Lego was the perfect dimension to replace this arm and came in several lengths, allowing me to select a piece that could be adequately secured to the existing block. In the end, the tape was only functional as a method of holding the pieces together while I drilled through the original piece. I like to use bright colours of tape, to alert anyone who goes into the devices that I have worked on that things are no longer in factory condition. This is usually me -- and yes, >I need the reminders.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Everyone is home

There has been a constant flurry of activity around the house, now that school is over. My usual slow paced serentity has been replaced by a frenzy. It's mostly good, but always takes some adjusting. Wendy comes home in full battle-school mode. Leora and Anwyn come home forgetting that the whole world doesn't celebrate summer holidays like elementary school children.

Parents, see below...

Anwyn - "I thought summer was for totally relaxing and doing what you want."

Father - "Right. But between you and your sister being home, that's eleven extra hours of home and yard messing that happen every day."

Leora and Anwyn - "Daaaaad!"

Father - "I'm only giving you an extra hour of chores per day. compared to your share of five and a half hours of messing, that's a pretty sweet deal."

We have now all signed up for a summer chore schedule which takes a lot off of my plate. This is good, because I am taking a lot more library shifts now that my school bus is parked for the summer. Speaking of which, it is very nice to have our driveway back.

My quest-training schedule is getting back up to speed. I haven't been doing many stairs lately, but I have been keeping up with my running and my right arm is almost not a total nuiscance. Wen and I have been trying the very agressive push-up regieme at hundredpushups. I made it to phase 4, but was forced to retreat. I think we will both be on phase 3 a few times.

June 20th, I biked out to Osler bearing Father's Day stewed rhubarb for my dad. It was 40km following the river, while in town, and on gravel roads, once out of the city. Took me two hours with a lovely tailwind. I got a ride home. It will be quite a challenge if the girls want to accomplish this. So far, they like the idea, but haven't been motivated to train.

BTW,  Doctor, if you are in a location with internet access... I am still interested in coming out to see you this summer for an aggressive climb if you schedule permits.

Last night the girls and I went to the fireworks at Diefenbaker park. It was quite beautiful, but the atmosphere was a bit smokey and assy(urban dictionary) for my taste. Last year we tried to drive, but were deterred by the traffic jam. This year we biked and were rewarded for our efforts. We scooted past many frustrated drivers, both on the way there and on the way back.