Archive for the ‘Mishaps’ Category

Customer Service Answers

We have been having trouble with our trash service. I figured it was because we moved and I didn’t know exactly where to put the trash can so the garbage truck could find it.

When I called to start the service, the person on the phone said to put it at the driveway. But our neighbor said they wouldn’t pick it up there so I had to place it out by the main road.

I put the trash can where the company said, not where the neighbor said.

The first week, they did not pick up the trash, so I called and notified them like one is supposed to.

The second week, I emailed the company a question. “Our garbage was not picked up today. Where am I supposed to put the trash can so that it will get picked up – by the driveway or by the main road?”

By this point, I figured the neighbor was right – the garbage men wouldn’t pick up the trash at the driveway. But I wanted an official answer from the trash company. Where do I put my trash?

They replied right away.

“We are sorry for this problem. We will send someone out to get your garbage collected today.”

That’s good to know – and they did come get the garbage – but they did not answer the question.

Maybe they don’t want to go on the record.
Maybe it’s supposed to be a secret.
Or maybe they are trained to assure the customer the problem will be fixed. Any questions are secondary.

But it’s kind of annoying. I want to make sure I am doing my part correctly. How can I do that if they won’t verify what my part is?

Maybe that’s the answer…

But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.”

2 Kings 18:36

Vinyl in the Dryer

Having young children, we have a few of the waterproof mattress pads or covers. Mostly, they are made waterproof by having one side of it made of vinyl. Or some other type of softer plastic, but we’ll just call it vinyl.

In our previous house, we never had any problems with the laundry. The washer and dryer handled the mattress pads with no problem.

Then we moved.

Our first week in the new house, we ran a load of laundry. It wasn’t the first day in the new house only because there was no washer or dryer. So we had to buy them – a brand new washer and dryer, all shiny and sparkly and undimmed by human tears.

The first load of laundry in the new appliances, and we ruin the dryer.

Almost.

More like temporarily ruined the dryer.

image of a clothes dryer with vinyl melted to the inside of the drum

We ran plenty of vinyl through our old dryer and it never melted. But the new dryer melted the vinyl off the mattress pad and it stuck to the metal vent in the dryer.

I even had the heat set at medium, not high. I wonder what high would have done.

I had to pry, then cut, the mattress pad out of the dryer. Then I had to peel the vinyl off the metal vent. But it wasn’t cooperating, and it was an uncomfortable working position, so I had to unscrew that vent from the dryer in order to get at it better.

image of a clothes dryer with vinyl melted to the inside of the drum

After spending a couple hours on it, I finally gave up. I left it with the plan suggested by my wife of finding a product to dissolve the vinyl off it. I came home that evening to a metal vent that was free of any vinyl.

A friend had soaked it in hot water, and the vinyl softened up and peeled right off. So I was able to put the vent back in the dryer and we could resume cleaning our clothes. Or at least wearing dry clothes.

Moral of the story: if you get vinyl melted onto a metal surface, use hot water. It should work for other surfaces too.

And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and be clean, and afterward you may enter the camp.

Numbers 31:24

Stamped

image of a child with ink stamps all over his legs

And that is why you don’t leave a 4-year-old alone with ink stamps.

Thus says the Lord God, “Clap your hand, stamp your foot and say, ‘Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, which will fall by sword, famine and plague!'”

Ezekiel 6:11

Scaffolding

Some of you may recall that we recently moved. Part of the move process involved getting furniture from the 2nd story down to the moving van.

This was a complicated process, as some of the furniture was too big (queen box spring, long dresser) to fit down the stairs, as the stairway makes a turn at the bottom and larger items can’t make the corner. We knew it would be a problem getting those items out, as we had a problem getting them in.

Back then, we borrowed a scaffolding and used that to load the furniture in through the upstairs window. This time, we went to borrow the scaffolding and someone else was already borrowing it.

Not to be deterred, I went to the nearby store and bought 2 sheets of plywood and 3 dozen 2x4s. And some nails.

A few hours later, and with some help from friends and relatives, we had a scaffolding:

image of a makeshift scaffolding built out of 2x4s

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Not-So-Confusing Concepts

Due to my engineer-like traits of wanting to follow specifications, I do well at grammar. It’s relatively easy – there are rules, and you follow them. The rules are many, and sometimes may be vague or conflicting, but they are there. All one has to do is remember them and use them.

And likewise for the meanings of words. Words have specific meanings. When people are sloppy with their word choices and say things they didn’t mean, it annoys me. “You know what I meant” is a common excuse, but the reason we have a language is so that you can say the words that match what you mean and then everyone is clear on what you meant. If you can’t be bothered to say what you mean, why should I be the one to put forth effort in order to understand what you mean? Maybe that’s a valid excuse for a 3-year-old who is still learning words, but not for an adult who has completed his schooling.

There, now the groundwork for this post is out of the way, and I can get to the list of sayings that I’ve noticed people are having a hard time with. These are concepts more than spelling and grammar. Items in the spelling and grammar categories are things like lie/lay and effect/affect. Those are not hard either, people, but that’s a different topic.

  • Wrong vs. Lying
    “Are you saying I’m lying?” is a common retort one might hear when one corrects another. But most of the time, one is not accusing the other of fraud. In order for someone to be lying, he must know the truth but present something other than the truth. Presenting something that he believes to be the truth but is not the truth is not lying, simply an error.

    I’ve noticed this more in politics than other areas of life – Senator So-and-so lied to us about such-and-such. Maybe he didn’t lie – maybe he was just wrong.

  • Original vs. Unique
    “That’s not original” is an accusation that is made against something that one has seen before. But original doesn’t mean no one else has made a similar item – that’s what unique means. Original means that one thought it up by oneself. Multiple people can think of the same thing independently and they would all be original but none would be unique.
  • Flush Out vs. Flesh Out
    I never thought much about this one, because it seemed obvious enough to me. But I’ve been noticing it more and more. And when I was in England recently, I noticed they always got it right.

    Flush out is when you are trying to find something – think about the hunting dog who goes into the reeds to flush out the fowl.
    Flesh out is when you are trying to fill in gaps – like adding flesh to a skeleton to get a complete body. Apply this to things like a writing outline – the outline is the skeleton and you flesh out the details of the story.

  • Forward Slash vs. Back Slash
    Can you not see which way the slash is leaning? If the slash is leaning to the right, it’s a forward slash. Because that’s the direction the text is going. And if the top of the slash is left of the bottom, it’s a back slash. The only valid excuse I can think of for getting this one wrong is if your native language is written right-to-left.

    If you’re not sure, just say “slash” and people will type the right one.

  • Try To vs. Try And
    Trying to do something implies effort that may or may not be successful.
    Trying and doing something implies effort and then success.

    Why bother trying something and then doing something? Why not just do it? Yoda up – don’t try, just do.

    Try to verb means one action – an attempt at verb.
    Try and verb means two actions – an attempt first and then the verb.

    The only time this is acceptable is if you really intend on a practice round of whatever it is you’re doing.

Alright, I’m stepping off my soapbox now.

To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,

Proverbs 1:2

Try to Dry

Ah, the old riddle: what gets wetter the more it dries?

Before answering that question, allow me to show you a photo from a hotel at which we stayed during a recent trip.

image of a sign at a hotel pool

Here’s a closer shot so you can read it.

image of a sign at a hotel pool that says to towel dry before leaving pool

It says

Please towel dry before leaving pool.
Thank you.

My wife pointed it out to me, as she correctly knew I would appreciate it.

The sign should have said to towel dry before leaving the pool room or before entering the hallway or courtyard.

To comply with the sign as written would have required over 100,000 towels (according to a topic I saw on Reddit about how many towels it would take to dry a pool. They assumed a larger pool, but they also assumed larger towels so it’s close enough).

Not only would the pool users waste a lot of time drying off while in the pool, they would need a pool-sized space to discard the wet towels.

We did not comply with the letter of the law, but I do believe we followed the spirit of the law.

Now back to the original question. The answer is, of course, a Hampton Inn pool room.

The waters from the sea will dry up, And the river will be parched and dry.

Isaiah 19:5

Customer Service

Our recent trip to Cedar Point was our second trip this year. The first one did not go so well. Let’s back up about 3 weeks before our successful trip…

I had planned a special father-son trip with Alpha, our oldest. He had never been to Cedar Point. I hadn’t been in over a decade. And I had never stayed at the on-site hotel. Since I was planning the trip, I decided to splurge and stay in the hotel. (Tickets are cheaper that way, and you get into the park 1 hour early. That part is key to this story).


Friday afternoon, June 6 – the big day. He gets home from school and I get home from work. We eat dinner, with the rest of the family of course, then load up the car and head out to Cedar Point. A couple hours later, we are there. We check into the hotel, walk along the shore of Lake Erie, and look into the park from the edge. We go back into the room, watch an episode of Treehouse Masters, see what we can of the Luminosity show (i.e. fireworks) from our window, and go to bed.

Everything’s going fine.

In the morning, we wake up, go downstairs for breakfast, and finish around 9:15. The park opened for early entry at 9:00, so we figure we will check out and go into the park. Back up to our room we go. One last potty break before embarking on our amusement park adventure… and the toilet doesn’t flush. And the sink doesn’t work.

I call the front desk, asking if it’s just our room. She replies that it is the whole hotel. So we check out, put our luggage in the car, and go into the park.

The water in the park isn’t working either. Toilets aren’t flushing. Drinking fountains aren’t fountaining.

But we are there, so we walk around.

I show the rides to Alpha, and he ponders them. He is interested in the water rides, but they aren’t going.

We eventually make our way to the Sky Ride. Alpha hasn’t wanted to ride anything up to that point, so I tell him that we are going to ride the Sky Ride.

So we do.

And that takes us to the front gate.
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