Of Hinge Pins and Customer Service

This is a redacted version of an actual conversation I had last evening with a Home Depot employee. At least, I think he was an employee. He could have just been a man in an orange apron.

PLEASE NOTE: I have shortened this to a readable length. It is vital to bear in mind that the actual conversation was 248,000 times longer and shortened the usable minutes of my life considerably.

SCENE: Chad is looking for a hinge-pin doorstop that will work with a 4″ x 4″ hinge having just returned the one that only works with 3.5″ hinges. The shame…

Disembodied Voice From Behind Chad While He Rummages Through Home Depot Bins In Search Of A Doorstop: Can I help you?

Chad: Do you have any hinge-pin doorstops that work with this hinge-pin? (holds up actual hinge-pin made of actual hinge-pin metal and shaped exactly like an actual hinge-pin)

Home Depot Guy: What?

C: I bought a hinge-pin doorstop that was too small. I need a bigger one that will fit this hinge-pin. (Holds up actual hinge-pin that looks exactly like a hinge-pin)

HDG: What’s that?

C: Hinge-pin.

HDG: Hinge-pin?

C: Yes.

HDG: Hmmmm…. Well, you should get a hinge-pin doorstop, not the other kind.

C: The other kind?

HDG: (Holds up giant spring-based doorstop that would be perfect for keeping airplane hanger doors from slamming). Don’t get this.

C: Thanks. I know. I want this (holds up hinge-pin doorstop). But I want a bigger one that fits this (holds up actual hinge-pin in the exact size of actual hinge-pin because it is the actual hinge-pin in question)

HDG: Can I see that? (Takes actual hinge-pin and examines it carefully). You need this. (Hands me the same size hinge-pin that I have already determined is too small by trying desperately to attach it to the actual door in my actual house).

C: No, I tried that. It’s too small. See? (I demonstrate that I cannot fit the actual hinge-pin through the hole in the doorstop that was created expressly to receive the hinge-pin of the hinge of the door requiring stopping)

HDG: (Takes hinge-pin back) Oh…one second. (Our friend, The Home Depot Guy, now rummages through the same doorstop bins I had been quietly be-rummaging when this conversation started) No, not that. Um…maybe. Uh…no. (This continues for minutes, which are the same things as hours in Home Depot years)

C: It’s ok. I’ll try someplace else.

HDG: No, wait. I think I know what you need. (More of my life is wasted while rummaging continues)

C: I need to go.

HDG: (holding my hinge-pin hostage) No…Um…Maybe…Huh?…No…

C: Seriously, I need to leave. Can I…?

HDG: Here we go! You need one of these! (Hands me my actual hinge-pin. The one I handed him. The one I brought with me. The one from my actual house that has my actual house molecules all over it) I think this works with a 4″ x 4″.

C: That’s wonderful! Thanks! (I actually have no idea what I said. I may have just grabbed my hinge-pin and run)

Burping professionally

The guy in the next office belches. A lot. Not polite, little expellations of excess gastro-intestinal gas. Great Big Belly Burps. Sometimes he’ll get out a belch and follow it up with an even bigger belch. As if to say, “Hey, office mates! Here’s a bonus for y’all!”

I don’t even know what I want to say about it. It’s gross, yes. It’s annoying, true. But it’s also a profound mystery. How could any human being in America in 2015 think this is a valid form of communication? Is he trying to mark his territory with Gut Gas? It’s working.

Before you accuse me of being insensitive to someone who clearly has a medical condition. What if he has a disease that could cause him to expand like a water balloon and eventually pop, leaving Burping Man goo on all the walls. Admittedly, this would be worse. Bu fear not, he has no such condition. I checked with his boss. I’ve checked several times. I’ve checked by saying, “He burps all day long. Stop laughing. It’s true. No, stop laughing. Why is he doing this? Stop laughing.” The answer has come back that a) he claims to have no medical condition that would require constant burping and b) “Sure, I burp sometimes. Is that really bothering anyone?”

I have colleagues who won’t have meetings in my office because the Man of Thunder sits on the other side of a 3/4 wall and is always lying in wait to disrupt. Or do I mean erupt?

What is one to do? I could burp back, but I just don’t generate the sheer volume of dietary gas required to compete. I could answer with any of a variety of other bodily noises. But, believe it or not, I consider myself above that.

No, seriously. Stop laughing.

Water spurting from the walls

Flash Flood Warning.

The National Weather Service seems to issue them about every 12 minutes. I ignore them. Because everyone does. Because things get wet and we stay inside and hope our basements don’t fill with water. What else can we do?

Our new house has survived several big rains and a fairly robust spring thaw. No water. Not even a tiny, teensy drop. We heaved a sigh of relief because that’s the thing you most worry about when you buy a house around here — how long before I sign my life away to PermaSeal?

It rained yesterday. I rained a lot. It rained like God was drooling over a Lou Malnotti’s sausage deep dish. I went to the basement and discovered that there was a drainage pipe with a mysterious hole in it spewing water. The hole looked like someone had cut a gash into the PVC on purpose. Like the previous owners were wreaking havoc upon us for getting a really good price on the house. I spent an hour or so trying to plug the hole enough to keep the basement as dry as possible.

Then the flash flood flashed. And flooded. Our front yard was underwater. Cars were stuck in the street because the drivers seemed to think it was a great idea to plow forward through an intersection that was under so much water that none of the curbs were visible. Our backyard became a cataract of evil. All of the water from the hill behind our house plunged forth and formed a violent rapid over the raised flower beds, plunging several feet to the unsuspecting grass below. The River of Doom then flowed around the corner onto the patio. Our patio is apparently also a wading pool.

When I went back to the basement, water was not trickling down the walls. It was shooting out of the walls. Spurting, like an angry ketchup bottle. From every wall. Every wall. Every single wall. All walls. Walls to north. Walls to the south. Big walls. Little walls. Walls in a boat. Walls on a goat. Every. Single. Wall.

Spurting. Shooting. Sallying forth with gusto. Emerging forcefully. Pouring horizontally.

So, I left. Escaped, really. I went upstairs to see how bad the damage to the rest of the house would be. As I walked from room to room, the sounds of pouring water from the basement got louder and louder. By the time I got upstairs, it was so loud that the entire house sounded like it was situated under a waterfall. When I went back downstairs, there was about three inches of water in my basement.

At least nothing else around the house leaked.

Good news: The sump pump worked great. Once it stopped raining it only took about 45 minutes for it to spew all of Satan’s brew out of my basement.

Good news: Our windows are watertight. So is the roof. So are my rubber boots.

Good news: We figured we’d get some water, so we had everything in plastic bins or up on blocks.

Bad news: My basement is watertight from the floor to about three feet from the ceiling. Beyond that, it’s a free-for-all.

The dog

I grew up in a menagerie. At one point we had two dogs, five puppies, three cats, five kittens, two ferrets, a rabbit, various fish, a snake (garter, cardboard box), several birds and a horse.

Yes. We had a horse. We did not live on a farm. The horse was in the backyard. It was, admittedly, a large backyard. But his little barn was big enough for him and someone (me) to stand next to him with a shovel. When it go too cold, my mom used to let him into the garage.

I know quite a lot about pets. Our dogs were always house trained. I don’t remember ever having to chase them outside because they slunk behind the couch with a guilty look on their faces. It’s possible that I just don’t remember. Maybe my parents did all the canine discipline. But the only fecal matter I remember dealing with was the horse, the litter box, and the raisin-like bunny turds that I had to vacuum out of the couch.

We currently have a very smart dog. He obeys very well. He doesn’t lurch out the door every time it’s opened (any more). He never barks. He stays out of the dining room while we’re eating. He stays just outside the dining room. One paw usually sneaks across the threshold in a bid to say “I could disobey if I wanted to, but I won’t.”

He’s adorable and very sweet. Everyone loves him. And he poops all over the house.

That’s not fair. About every three months he suddenly decides that it’s time to start leaving little piles of disobedience in various corners. It’s not that he’s not house trained. He is. He will absolutely wait to go outside before he voids himself. Except when the moon and his bowels are in some kind of rare alignment. When it’s a Poo Moon, all the well-trained rules are meaningless. For several days, he performs his pagan ritual in the living room, in the bedrooms, in the bathrooms.

And then, as suddenly as it starts, it’s over.

Several months ago, I was looking out the window to the backyard. Our backyard (notably horse-less) is fenced in. And there’s a fully functional doggy door for him to use. I saw him sniffing around in the intense fashion of a dog looking for the specific two square inches on the planet worthy of his excrement. Thought nothing of it.

About a minute later, I saw him coming in through the dog door. Thought nothing of it.

About a minute later, I found a pile in the bathroom. It was pungently fresh.

Ruminating back over the previous five minutes, I realized that THE DOG CAME INSIDE TO GO POOP. It’s not that he couldn’t hold it. It’s that he actively decided that the backyard wasn’t good enough for his feces and he brought them back in through the doggie door and deposited them in the guest bathroom.

How do you point how ridiculous that is to a creature that spends hours every day licking himself? You don’t. You clean it up and hope the moon shifts very, very soon.

In closing, I’d like to say that I think the phrase “Poo Moon” is really funny.

Forgive them Father

Today at church, the lady who got up to do the prayers of the people started with the following liturgical request:

“Forgive me for the raincoat.”

That would have seemed an unusual confession, except that she was indeed wearing a green raincoat. It was a lovely sort of grass-that’s-too-wet-to-mow green with bold flowery blobs peeking through from the lining.

I seriously doubt that anyone in the church would have given the coat a second thought. It was the correct liturgical color, after all. (Although I’m not sure what the current color for lining blobs is.) But she drew our attention to it. More importantly, she drew God’s attention to it and begged for his forgiveness. And I think that was an act of true humility.

There was no word from the clergy as to whether or not the Lord pardoned her for standing at the pulpit in a plastic jacket. It may have been the right color, but is there a liturgical fabric? It’s true that I’ve never seen plastic vestments, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t available, does it? I would imagine that churches in Northern Scandinavia have Goretex vestments. But I don’t really know.

Either way, I think liturgical raincoats will be the next big thing. Fashionable AND functional. When that holy water starts to fly, you really don’t want to be caught in a delicate silk.

What I heard today while eating an over-priced burrito

What a lovely day to escape the office for a bit and go sit in the warm sunshine of the out-building in the Target parking lot. I’m a fan of Chipotle. And so is everyone else.

Chipotle is new Great American Melting Pot.

You meet all kinds there. And at mine you sit at long, high-stooled bars with six to eight people you’ve never met. Watching strangers drop sour cream-covered blobs of carnitas into their laps is the most fun you can have for $7.95.

Today I got a special treat. I overheard a yuppy couple openly announce why their generation was responsible for “Falcon Crest”. They were in their mid-to-late 60’s. Professionally dressed. From their conversation, I guessed they were related. Join me on the adventure that is their mid-day logic.

 

Man: Well, he was in rehab a bunch of times. The doctors said that the alcohol did permanent damage to his liver.

Woman: His liver!? That’s ridiculous.

Man (sighs knowingly): I know, but that’s what I said. His liver was damaged. I could see if it was his kidneys, maybe. But the doctor said that his liver trouble now is because of all the alcohol back then.

Woman: Well he just needs to find a better doctor. I agree about the kidneys — they clean all the blood, right? So that’s the only thing that could be affected. And he doesn’t even need both of them. Besides, even if the alcohol did damage his liver, it makes no sense that it would be a problem now. After all those times working through rehab, his liver must have gotten really strong. I mean, coming back that many times — his liver must be super strong! That doctor is an idiot.

 

And that is when I lost a bit of carnitas to my pants.