Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Gestalt II: The Update

Okay, the dust has settled from this morning’s freneticism.

Nothing has been decided about the bathtub drain, although I did determine, by poking around with an orange stick, that the exit hole in that drain is amazingly small. It may be that the drain is slow because it’s just built that way. This is something I will think on.

The dogs have settled down, apparently having yapped themselves into a stupor. As Catseye pointed out at this morning’s post, there’s nothing like a barking dog to spike your blood pressure. Indeed, that was the reason Cassie’s previous humans cited for dumping her at the dog pound. Ruby, however, is not a barker; she usually will not rise to the barking bait even when Cassie is baying. There actually has to be something going on to cause Ruby to bark.

The going-on, as noted, was the joy of young children playing on the street, it being a school holiday. Arf!

The kids have now gone even further on to bigger and better things, probably televised, and so the hounds are napping.

Out at the pool, which has been shut off for the past several days pending arrival of a repairman, the following Discoveries were discovered:

The pressure gauge is not, after all, busted. With a little fiddling, I fixed it.

Harvey the Hayward Pool cleaner stopped dead in the water NOT because the pressure gauge was broken or because much of anything else was wrong with the pump and filter, but because he had ingested a pecan, kindly dropped into the pool by a passing bird.

Those birds do that all the time. My challenge is to train the critters to deposit the pecans, preferably un-nibbled, right outside the back door, thankyouverymuch.

So with great pleasure I called off the pool repairman.

Planning to dump a bag and a half of pool shock into the drink, I tested the pool water first. Good thing: Acid level was normal; chlorine level was so high it turned the yellow test color to orange. Ooohkay…that explains why no algae has been growing in those much-neglected precincts. It also excused me from having to shock the pool, lhudly sing huzzah.

It further excused me from the planned trudge to Home Depot. Main thing I needed to buy there was chlorine tabs, at an elevated (not to say “extortionate”) price. Clearly, with chlorine levels high in the toxic range, there’s no need to add more…

The effing Venza (the more I drive that car, the less I like it) has again developed an infuriating rattle, somewhere in the vicinity of the dashboard. This, it develops, is a known issue with the Venza…and with several other other late-model Toyotas.

When I say I will never buy another Toyota as long as I live, I am not kidding. If I could figure out how to trade this thing in on something else without bankrupting myself, I would do it. Today.

The last time (which is to say the first time) I noticed this, I made an appointment with Chuck the WonderMechanic, who thought he could fix it. But before I could get the car to him, the rattling stopped. And…interestingly…here’s how it happened to stop:

I’d driven out to lovely Sun City at SDXB’s dinner invitation. When I got into the car to drive home after dark, it suddenly started rattling — and I mean make you CRAZY rattling.

The weather was much like it is right now: crisp and rainy.

A couple of days later — before the appointment at Chuck’s — I rattled on down to a Costco. Left the car parked in the lot for half an hour or 45 minutes. Then moved on to a Target, where the vehicle sat in that store’s lot for another 45 minutes, give or take.

In the Target lot, it was parked facing the sun. As today, the sky was patchy: sun and clouds. That meant the sun had at least some opportunity to shine directly on the black plastic dashboard.

Ohhhkayyy…now I come out of the Target, climb into the car, drive away…and realize it’s stopped rattling!

Huh. I surmise that the sun has heated the black plastic enough to cause it to expand, and in doing so has tightened the joints between the several plastic parts that comprise the contraption’s dashboard.

I do not take it to Chuck.

This was several weeks ago.

It was fine until yesterday. But weirdly, the weather conditions are almost identical: it’s been raining, it’s been cold.

So, when I rattled on home, I parked it on the driveway facing into the sun, and left it there for an hour. Figured if it worked before, maybe it’ll work again.

Well. It might have sort of worked: after letting it sit for an hour, I took it out again. The rattle seemed less egregious. But…it still rattles.

Okay…if a little solar heat is good, a lot must be better, eh? Left it parked in the driveway again. Whenever I feel like getting up, I’ll drive it around the block again.

It looks like little can be done about this. When you get on the Web, you see a lot of crazy schemes indulged by do-it-yourself aficionados. Some worked, some didn’t. But none of them are things I care to bother with.

This would explain why the vehicle was turned in after two years, wouldn’t it?

Friend came by with her books in hand. We’re going to donate them to the church’s fund-raising book sale, with stickers on the inside front cover directing readers to where they can find more of Friend’s work.

These are children’s books, and they’re really pretty cool. She is a grade-school teacher and a special-ed expert. The books are precisely targeted to specific grades. As part of her marketing campaign, she has gotten herself invited to classrooms to work with the books and the kids…and as she was describing the things she and the teachers were doing with them, I realized she had a kind of de-facto lower-grade textbook-like tool. I suggested she write teachers’ guides describing the various insightful and innovative ways she had for working with them. She liked the idea.

Another fucking robocaller jangled as I sat down to eat lunch, drink, and write this.

Checked into Ooma again. It still looks dauntingly technophobia-inducing. To hang onto your phone number (which I really need to do, since it IS my business number), you have to ask Ooma to switch it over. It takes three to four weeks, they say, to make the shift — though you get to use your number, you apparently also get to pay Cox for the privilege (as well as paying Ooma) and during that time, obviously, you wouldn’t be able to engage NoMoRobo.

It doesn’t exactly defeat the purpose…but it sure as hell makes it more difficult to achieve the purpose.

So I remain undecided about whether I want to subject myself to the hassle of changing carriers.

Most of our paying work is under control just now. Returned one article to the client this morning. The Kid is working on a second. So from my perspective, nothing remains to be done. We’ve read over 300 pages of the 475 pages the project is said to comprise, and now we have a lull. I should be able to goof off.

Which, you could say, is what I’m doing now.





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  1. Hmmm…Sorry to hear about the new car troubles….Couple of things ….As for the drain….one of my old “patented” landlord hacks. Get your wet vac and try to apply suction to the drain and see if you can dislodge the blockage. In most baths the drain to the tub will be tied into the sink. Put the stopper in the sink and fill the sink with a bit of water and close the vent holes if you can with duct tape and/or a rag. Then apply suction to the tub drain….A word of caution this will bring up some NASTY stuff. After you get SOME movement boil a pot of water. then put a cup of baking soda down the drain dry….follow that with a cup of vinegar. Then plunge a bit and follow with the HOT water…plunge some more…DONE.
    Aaand as for Oooma….I have considered taking the plunge as well but cherish my phone number that I have had for almost 32 years. A lot of folks have this number….which is good and bad. But anyway what I’m thinking about doing is order the Ooma hook up with a different number they assign me. Then if I like it…change my old number over to the Ooma. I was iffy on Ooma when I first read about it….But now I’m starting to feel like a sap paying a bit over $40 for the landline with local and long distance. Wonder what the start up costs are? Good luck with the rattle…..

  2. LOL! Interestingly, WordPress deleted the reply to this. Charming.

    E-mailed you a description of the bathtub shenanigan complete with image and the $64 question.

    Ooma will let you move your phone number over, assuming that service is available in your part of the country. They have a page where you can enter your area code and exchange, and it’ll tell you whether the number can be moved:

    It’s a lot cheaper…looks like a fair amount of technofiddling is inherent in it, though.

    For robocall escape, several phone manufacturers now make devices that let you block a couple hundred calls, which is a lot more than Cox allows. The problem is, so many robocalls are from spoofed numbers, so your machine would fill up fast. Apparently NoMoRobo recognizes so many crooks’ numbers that it picks up a lot of the spoofed numbers without your having to program them into the system.

  3. I don’t care about the “robo calls” or unsolicited calls BUT they drive DW up the wall as we are on the “Do Not Call List”…..which is a joke. My concern/gripe is the “price creep” of landline service. As I said I’m beginning to feel like a “sap” paying over $40 a month when others pay $4 ….or NOTHING. Hmmm…. $40 times 12….almost $500…Some would say that’s serious money….This would pay for a lot of trips to Aldi…And more good news…they are putting a new Aldi right up the street….which should reduce the miles put on my truck…which should keep me out of the new car market for some time….maybe for ever ….

    • Yeah…like everyone, they keep jacking up the prices. Wouldn’t it be nice if our income could jack itself up commensurately?

      One of Cox’s marketing scams is the “package deal.” What I’m afraid of is that if I cancel the landline, they’ll jack up the cost of the computer connection. Our area has a limited number of providers, none of them very reliable. Cox for all its outages is better than most of the others.

      Don’t trade your truck in, if it’s still running at all. I wish I’d kept the Dog Chariot..this new piece of junk strikes me as a dead vehicle waiting to happen. Bell Road only gave me three grand — it wasn’t worth handing the car over for that amount. Three thousand bucks for a car that will be running when the Venza is limping along would’ve been a bargain…

  4. Well at least with the pool, it sounds like you dodged a bullet on a few costs. That makes for a pretty decent day in the grand scheme of things.

    If the car starts rattling when it’s cold and rainy, the joints or whatever you mentioned are probably contracting, thus enabling the rattling to begin again.

    • Yup. That’s what I figure. But you understand: we’re not talking VERY cold: like, in the mid-60s.

      And isn’t it odd that in its ENTIRE seventeen years, the Dog Chariot never once rattled? What happened between 2000 and 2014 that Toyota forgot how to build a dashboard that isn’t secured firmly?

      As it develops, a little more snurfling around the Internet reveals that this is a common issue in many later-model Toyotas.

      heh heh heh…you’d be surprised the lengths to which shade-tree mechanics will go in their quest to track down and get rid of Toyota dashboard rattles. 😀 It’s pretty hilarious, in its way.

  5. Hoping that jestjack’s suggestion helped. I routinely do baking soda + vinegar + boiling water to all our drains aside from cleaning them because I live in fear of a plumber’s bill!