Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The telltale... what, what, WHAT?

I was just emptying the dishwasher, while waiting for the teapot to boil. Mounted on the wall to the right of my cooktop is a spice rack Mr. Sandyshoes made for me. On hooks at the bottom of it, I hang spatulas, etc. So I'm hanging up some of these utensils. The kettle whistles, I make my tea, and continue unloading clean dishes while it steeps. At some point I notice a faint ticking sound in the vicinity of the spice rack.


What could it be? Who would care? It's barely perceptible.


But it bothers me because I don't know what is doing it. I assume it is the spoon I see rocking back and forth on its hook a bit after I hung it up, and I go to steady the spoon.


Not the spoon. The tick is coming from higher up, within the spice rack, somewhere between parsley and tarragon (yes, they're alphabetized. Yours aren't?).


Maybe the change in humidity from opening the dishwasher just after it finished running is causing the wood of the spice rack to expand against the kitchen wall?


I press on the spice rack and hold.


Hm. That did seem like kind of a stretch. I've emptied that dishwasher hundreds of times and never noticed this before.


The ticking is regular. I'm going to time it.

Tick. One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand,


Every four seconds. But what? From where?


The pepper mill? I take out the pepper mill, hold it to my ear, feeling foolish now, but something is ticking. This is a question with an answer, and I want the answer, even if it's going to make me feel like a dope.


Not the pepper mill. In the wall. I go around to the other side of the wall, which is my laundry room.


It's even less perceptible here. Definitely on the spice rack side of the wall.


Folks, I wish I had an end to this story. Something in my wall is still ticking. Every four seconds. Quietly, but distinctly, ticking.

I predict it will continue through tomorrow, and stop just as Mr. Sandyshoes gets home from his trip. There won't be any point in telling him about it, but I probably will. Uh-huh, he'll say. The spice rack is ticking. Sure thing. Don't worry baby, I'll get right on that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

4th grade homework is impossible

The Bean's favorite subject is "science." Under that umbrella, her class spends time on various topics in turn. The current unit is about weather, the atmosphere, etc. So she brought home a study guide that has terms she wanted me to quiz her on (humidity, greenhouse effect, front, anemometer...) and questions she should be prepared to answer (what properties can be used to describe air masses? In which layer of the atmosphere does most weather occur?).

I scanned through the guide, making sure I knew everything she was supposed to learn, plus a little extra for discussions. It's cool -- I had forgotten all about the troposphere being called that. So far, so good.

The last bit of her assignment read "Please review the symbols of a weather map and [emphasis mine] be able to predict the weather." And I thought, whoa.

She didn't understand when I told her if she really mastered that last bit she could quit school. I guess some stuff's only funny to parents.

OK, maybe only to me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This one goes to '11

In amateur rock bands where individual egos trump balanced sound, often one musician will nudge up the volume on his amp, and in a few minutes another one will do it too, and not to be outdone a third pushes his over the volume of the others, leading the first one to realize he's not loudest any more and crank it up, etc., until everyone is at max volume and nobody can even stand to be in the same room anymore. You expect kids in garage bands to behave this way.

Same thing in Presidential primary elections. Florida moved up its primary more than a month, to January 31st (why?). South Carolina and Nevada had to follow suit (why?) and moved theirs to January 14. Iowa is having its caucus on January 3 (why?). New Hampshire's Secretary of State is now saying he'll move their primary into December 2011 if necessary to maintain first-in-the-nation status and comply with a NH state law that says theirs has to happen a full week before anyone else's (WHY?).

This is so flippin' stupid, and I haven't even gotten into the candidates, about whom humorist Andy Borowitz quips "there are people running for President I would not trust to park my car." Hm. Probably best I don't get into the candidates, except to say that Mitt Romney's inevitability train now appears to be leaving the station before the calendar year is even over.

This is so depressing I may forget to complain about the Christmas decorations already up in department stores.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Help! Police!

Our town has a weekly newspaper. Like many local weeklies, ours includes selections from the week's police reports. These are always worth reading. Yes, there is sometimes news of real crime (thefts from unlocked cars, mostly) and traffic accidents, but more importantly, we have gems such as these:
A resident from North Shore Boulevard called police at 9:27 PM to report a squirrel in the house.  Police contacted the animal control officer. The resident called police back an hour later to say that the squirrel was still in her home and had scratched her. Police suggested that she contact a private company specializing in ridding homes of wildlife.
A resident called police at 10:33 PM to report seeing four coyotes wearing dog tags walking in the area of Quaker Meetinghouse Road and Route 130. Police checked the area but did not see any animals. Police determined that the report was unfounded since coyotes do not wear dog tags.
Naturally, friends and family visiting from more cosmopolitan settings grab the local paper as soon as politely possible after arrival. You just never know if a "suspicious person" will turn out to be a Comcast employee, or if maybe a goose will be observed walking down Main Street at dawn, with or without dog tags.