Archive for the ‘Mishaps’ Category

Stud Finder

One of the joys of buying a home is finding all the things the previous owners did to it. I know I used my first house as a learning experience to know how to and how not to do certain repairs/improvements.

I am redoing one of the closets in our house. I pulled off the boards that held up the old shelf in the closet and found this:

image of holes drilled in a wall to find the stud

Apparently there was not a studfinder handy when he installed that shelf. And just in case you think it was an isolated case, here is the other wall of the closet:

image of holes drilled in a wall to find the stud

The board wasn’t that long, about 15″ maybe.

On the plus side, I now know where exactly the stud is and where it isn’t.

A little bit of spackling and paint, and no one will ever know. As long as they don’t read this post.

He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.

1 Samuel 9:4

Pumpkin Vandals

Back around the beginning of November, we had pumpkins sitting on our front porch. The kids had carved them into jack-o-lanterns, so they were just sitting there looking nice.

One morning, however, I opened the door to find that someone had vandalized them during the night.

image of some smashed pumpkins

It was more than just a smashing, as they evidently took some time mashing them up..

It was disconcerting that someone had taken the time to find our secluded house solely for the sake of ruining our kids’ carvings, as I didn’t see anything else amiss.

But then I looked closer.

image of some smashed pumpkins

And I saw claw marks.

I revised my guess about what happened to include raccoons instead of teenaged humans. And it restored my faith in our little neighborhood.

And now all its carved work They smash with hatchet and hammers.

Psalm 74:6

Bulb Trouble

There are a number of fun things that happen when you drive a 15-year-old car. One of which is replacing light bulbs.

One headlight stopped working. Not knowing exactly how old the bulb was (worst case: 15 years), I stopped by the parts store and bought a pair of headlight bulbs.

After I got home, I opened the back of the headlight and started to replace the bulb. Once I finally unplugged the bulb from the connector, I was greeted by a lump of melted and burned plastic. The connector of the wiring harness was partially gone and the terminals were not making a solid connection. I put the new bulb on just for fun but it didn’t fare any better. So I adjusted the terminals on the connector and plugged the old bulb back in. Success! So I left the old bulbs in place.

Since I didn’t trust the connector (something is not right if plastic is melting and charring), I ordered a replacement wiring connector. The bulb stopped working a couple days later again, so I swapped out the old connector for the new connector and the bulb has been fine ever since.

Then a couple weeks later, the turn signal starting blinking rapidly. That usually means one of the bulbs burned out, so I went and bought replacement turn signal bulbs. However, the new bulb didn’t work either.

Hmm…

I put the old bulb back in and it didn’t work. I set the assembly down so I could figure out what was going on and the old bulb started working again. Turns out the wiring harness was a little flaky. The bulb stopped and started working a couple more times as I reinstalled the turn signal assembly. But I got it stable and everything was good.

For a couple days.

Then the turn signal started blinking rapidly again, telling me that the wiring harness flaked out again. So I ordered a replacement turn signal connector and wiring. And I drove for a few days with a bad turn signal while I waited for the equipment to come in the mail.

Finally, the connector arrived. I went out to the car and turned on the signal. I was surprised to see that the front turn signal was fine and the back turn signal was bad. Of course, the back turn signal uses a different bulb than the front. So now I had to stop at the parts store and get a new bulb.

I replaced the back bulb and everything was fine.

So now I have a spare set of headlights and a spare turn signal connector, so I’ll be prepared in case they ever go out.

Moral of the story: diagnose the problem before buying replacement parts, not after.

Behold this; we have investigated it, and so it is. Hear it, and know for yourself.

Job 5:27

Ship to Home Depot

Home Depot sells a variety of things online that they don’t stock in their stores. Usually I get them shipped to my house because shipping is free as long as one spends over $45.

There was a time a while back that one particular item was not eligible for free shipping to my home. But it could be shipped to a nearby store for free. So I elected that option.

When purchasing online and shipping to the store, their website asks you which desk at the store you want to pickup your item. I selected the Customer Service Desk because it’s right at the entrance.

A few days passed and I got an email telling me to go to the Customer Service Desk to collect my item.

So I did.

The person there took my paperwork, had me sign something, then told me that my stuff was down at the Pro Desk because it was too big. But since I was all checked out, all I had to do was walk down there and get it.

A few months go by…

I ordered something else to be shipped to the store. This time, I planned ahead. It was an item that was larger than usual, so I knowingly selected Pro Desk when the website asked where in the store I want to get the thing.

A few days went by and I received an email stating my item was at the store and I am to go to the Pro Desk to get it. I went to the Pro Desk. I saw my item behind the desk, so I asked for it and showed the clerk my confirmation sheet.

She said I had to go to the Customer Service Desk for them to check it out, and after I paid I could come back and get it.

“But I’ve already paid online. Here’s my receipt.”
“They still need to do the checkout up there.”
Showed her the email, pointed to the item (which was a few feet behind her), etc. to no avail.

I walked across the store to the Customer Service Desk. They quickly rang me up, I signed something, then they sent me back to the Pro Desk.

In conclusion: If you order something from homedepot.com and have it shipped to the store, always select Customer Service Desk. Because it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll have to go there first anyway.

P.S. If you’re concerned that Home Depot won’t get this message because they don’t read this blog, do not worry. I detailed my experience in the survey they requested of me later that day. I kept it helpful – something to the effect of “your email should tell people to go to the customer service desk to check in before they collect their items.”

These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.

1 John 2:26

Bad Elevator

Probably many people do not pay as much attention to user interfaces as I do. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but if I have questions when trying to use something, it makes me wonder how much thought went into the design.

Take, for instance, these elevator buttons.

confusing elevator buttons

If you are in a hurry and want the doors to close, you glance down and push the button next to the Close Doors symbol (AKA >|<).

But wait! There are two buttons next to the Close Doors symbol. Which one is the correct one?

In my case, I started at the end and noted that the button is placed to the right of the symbol, then I went over to the symbol I wanted and pushed the button to the right of it.

Not a big deal if someone pushed the wrong button for Close Doors, but what if someone pushed the wrong button for the Open Doors button? That would summon the fire department.

The button layout and/or background design should make it obvious which buttons go with which symbols.

Like this (please excuse the poor editing):

better design for elevator buttons

Or this (likewise):

better design for elevator buttons

Or a different color or border or something to separate close buttons.

If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign.

Exodus 4:8

Make Yourself Visible

Human eyes respond best to two things: contrast and movement.

So if you want to be seen, wear contrasting colors or move a lot. For best results, do both.

When I go for a jog, I wear a bright shirt and dark shorts. By “bright” I mean neon yellow or a bright blue or bright red. I run on the side of the road because there are no sidewalks. So I want cars to see me, because I don’t want to be hit.

I want to be seen.

Really though, I don’t care about being seen. I want cars not to hit me. That’s my goal. But the only way I know to avoid that if I am on the road is to do my best to be seen by the drivers.

So I wear bright colors. Colors that contrast not only with the other part of my clothes, but that also contrast with the surroundings.

For example, I was driving along my running route a while back and just missed a jogger. He was wearing a dark green shirt and dark shorts. His outfit did not contrast with itself. Plus it did not contrast with the surroundings. This was in Michigan. The side of the road was grass and trees. Things that are mainly green. And the trees provide shade, which means shadows. So it’s a dark green. The guy might as well have been wearing camouflage. At least he was moving so he caught our attention.

Please, dress to be seen if you’re jogging along the road.

The other example had to do with two women who were on a different section of my jogging route, but they were walking. So there was not much movement. And they were wearing white and tan clothes. That did not provide much contrast with their white skin and dirt road. You can wear a white shirt to provide contrast if your skin is like Manute Bol’s, but in general a bright color is more visible than white is.

I was driving to work, going about 50 mph like I usually do, when suddenly I see arms waving at me from the road. So I swerved and braked, and ended up going past these women closer and faster than I would have liked to. I would have been annoyed if a car went by me like that while I was jogging.

At least they were walking facing traffic so they could see that the drivers couldn’t see them. And that’s how they knew I might hit them. So the lady closer to my approaching vehicle raised her arms at me in annoyance. I didn’t see her face because I was concentrating on trying not to injure them, but her body language seemed to be conveying the idea of “what are you doing? why are you barreling down the road so close to us? give us some room, crazy driver!”

And her act of extending her arms (more out to the side) provided the movement that the human eye needed. Since there was no contrast in their coloring and little movement, I didn’t see them until then.

Runners/joggers/walkers : please do yourself a favor and wear bright colors. If your outfit consists only of white, black, gray, or brown, you are headed for trouble with traffic. Make sure you can see the cars because they might not see you.

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Hebrews 4:13

Easy Open Bag

Having hard water, we go through a bunch of softener salt. That salt comes in 40 or 50 lb. bags. The nice people who make the bags tried to make my life easier by putting perforations near the corner of the bags so that I can open the bags and dump them out without needing tools.

The only problem is that they didn’t communicate that well with the graphic designers who arrange the printing on the bags.

image of a bag of water softener salt that claims to be easy to open

When this bag design started appearing around here, I took the claim at its word and attempted to rip open the bag starting at the edge directly above the end of the arrow.

However, due to either the miscommunication or someone’s trying to be funny, that’s not where they put the perforation. So when you try to rip it there, it does not work.

image of a bag of water softener salt that claims to be easy to open

Now I know to grab and rip where the arrow does not point. The arrow is just a decoy. Aim for the perforations.

There shall be an opening at its top in the middle of it; around its opening there shall be a binding of woven work, like the opening of a coat of mail, so that it will not be torn.

Exodus 28:32