the other theo

There is no dark side of the moon really… as a matter of fact, it's all dark.

Month: April, 2015

It’s Easier With The Right Incantation

We have a garden shed in our back yard.   It holds various hand tools, the lawn mower, the string trimmer, fertilizers and pesticides, paint for the interior and exterior of the house, and some lawn toys that we want out of the weather.

I’ve done some work on the shed over the 7+ years we’ve owned the house.   Somewhere in the past, previous owners of the house thought it would be a good idea to stick the shed to the concrete slab underneath with spray foam.  I guess that the idea was to keep the water out and preserve the floor.  This effectively did the opposite: any water that leaked in instead stayed there and rotted out the floor.  So, I took a day around Memorial Day weekend in 2012 to re-frame the floor.  At the same time, I also raised the shed an inch or two off the ground to get wood away from water and allow water to evaporate.

The one remaining problem with the shed was there since we bought the house: you couldn’t lock it.  There was a handle on the door, and the handle had a lock.    Unfortunately, that lock had no key… and the handle was locked in the open position.   Again, previous owners attempted to solve this problem by installing a hook-and-eye latch near the top of the door.

It was an imperfect solution to the problem, at best.   The hook occasionally came free from the latch, causing the door to swing open.   It’s position at the top of the door also meant that door didn’t close particularly well at the bottom.    My bandage on a bandage for these problems was to latch the door at the top and then put a small ceramic planter against the bottom.

The Missus and I both wanted a better solution ever since the Peanut was born.  With sharp tools and chemicals inside, we wanted to firmly lock that door.   Sharp edges, chemicals, and toddlers don’t mix well… unless you want Nancy Grace inventing a nickname for you during Court TV coverage of your negligent homicide trial.

I new there had to be way to replace the handle on the door.  It looked like a relatively common piece of hardware… and there was an id stamped onto the lock to identify the key required to open it.   Yet, in order to ask for a replace something, you need to name it or otherwise describe its function.   Other than “shed door handle”, I really didn’t know exactly how to do either.

That changed a few weeks ago.  Throwing “shed door handle lock” into the image section of Google finally got me a picture of a “T-handle door lock”.   Throwing that term into Google Web got me pages that had such a lock with its common sibling, the “L-handle door lock”, and that was exactly what I was looking for.

I ended up paying about $25 for a universal replacement L-handle lock, commonly used to lock residential garage doors.   That took about 3 days to arrive, and now it looks like it’s always been there:



With the power of the lamp, which turns night into day…

I never was much of a fan of the 1990’s show Seinfeld.  While I recognized the show’s frequent embrace of utter silliness, I also felt that the show sought truths that didn’t particularly interest me.  So I think I can count the number of episodes I’ve seen most or all of on one hand… or maybe two.

That said, our house lately resembles Kramer’s apartment in The Kenny Roaster episode — one of the few I do know:

We live near the end of a cul-de-sac with a street light at the turn around.  The bulb in that light died sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, and despite multiple attempts on our part to alert the Public Works Department to the problem, nothing was done for a long time.

Last week, the reason for the delay became clear.    The city also announced plans last year to replace the orange sodium-vapor lamps in the lights with bright(!) white LED lamps.   Rather than replace the dead bulb immediately with another orange bulb they would eventually replace, the city waited until our street was scheduled for the LED upgrade and replaced everything.

The change with the new bulb is rather startling, to say the least.   After several years of dull orange light, and then who knows how many months of no light at all, the front of our house is now bathed in bright white light.   There is no need for a night light in either our living room or front bedroom.   Both rooms now appear to be in a perpetual state of blue-white pre-dawn illumination.

Despite some early morning visits from the Peanut, I feel no sense of personal metamorphosis:

Then again, the Peanut is not likely to know where to find counterfeit Russian fur products.

Sometimes You Need Words… Or Know What They Are

One of the problems with having a child with apraxia is that there are no words when they would really help.

Here’s a case point:   The Peanut was out riding a toddler swing in our back yard a few weeks ago.   I was doing a some clean up on our patio, so although I would make sure to give the Peanut a push once in a while… my attention was generally elsewhere.  After he’d been in the swing for better part of an hour, I noticed that the swing had stopped and there was a sour, acid odor in the air.   When walked around to the front of the swing, I saw that the Peanut had vomited all down his front.   I immediately started to clean him (and the swing) up and called to the Missus to get some water in the tub to finish the job.

That left the Missus and me with questions:  What happened?   Was he coming down with a stomach virus or some stomach flu that was going around at the time?   Did all the time in the swing just give him motion sickness?   In the week or two previous to the incident, we noticed him opening his mouth and pointing at his tongue.   Did he do that in the moving swing and accidentally trigger his gag reflex?   With apraxia, these questions have no answers.

It had to be either the gag reflex or motion sickness.  He did not throw up again.

Another case in point:  On two different nights in the last few weeks, the Peanut has gotten up three plus times in the middle of the night, come down the hall, and crawled into our bed.   Each time, either the Missus or I would walk him back to his room and he would fall asleep, only to come back 2-3 hours later.

After the second or third time this happens, a parent wants to ask “what’s wrong?”  Are there nightmares?  Is it too hot or cold?  Is something making noise?   Here again, these are questions that the Peanut cannot answer.

More recently, the problem with the Peanut has become not lack of words but loss in translation.

I am very pleased to report that the Peanut is thriving after three weeks in the special ed preschool offered by the local school district.   This meant a small explosion of words from him recently, something the Missus and I hardly dared to hope for, much less expect.  The last three years have, during the best times, been periods of steady gains.   With this, the Peanut is suddenly taking the initiative.   He is either making unsolicited attempts to use words to indicate what he wants, or he is more frequently prompting the Missus and me to identify things with words so he can repeat them.

Now the problem is one of translation.   As one might expect with a child having difficulty learning to speak, words come out too soft, or in a sing-song higher octave, or are just plain indistinct.   At times, it’s like two year old babble all over again, but this time it actually means something.  The Missus and I do not want curb this sudden enthusiasm for language, but we also want to respond and reinforce appropriately.  So, we find that our language translation skills are suddenly taxed more frequently than they have been for some time.

Given where we’ve been, that’s a high class problem to suddenly have.