Sunday blog: Sometimes, you have a bad day

by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — It started with a shower.  I fiddled with the water temperature lever until I had it set just to my liking.  Have you noticed that a minute-turn of adjustment can turn very hot water to too cold, or vice versa?  Confidently, I stepped into the shower, feeling smug that I had the adjustment at just the right temperature. 

Robert Escandon

Then my wife decided to run some water for the washing machine at which point the pressure-imbalance caused only freezing cold water to erupt from the shower head. Shocked, I stepped back and extended an arm into the cold torrent and fiddled again with the heat-control lever until the temperature felt good again.  Of course, that was the signal for the washing machine to stop drawing water and now the shower suddenly became scalding hot!.

Deciding I couldn’t win, I stepped out of the bath tub and managed to rip the shower curtain off its support rail.  Feeling for the nearest towel, I discovered there were none, because the towels were in the darn washing machine and I hadn’t noticed. 

After the dripping slowed down, I recalled there was a towel in the bedroom, so I made a quick dash trying not to drop too much water on the carpets while en route.  Into the bedroom I ran, only to stub my toes hard against one of the square metal legs that support the bed!

Have you ever done that?  Rammed your toes into something hard and sharp?  The pain is out of all proportion to the visible damage and lasts for ages.  This having not been the first time I have stubbed my unprotected toes I knew what to expect.  Firstly, there is a kind of “thud” noise which gives you a fleeting moment to realize what you have done.  Then you know that all your pain receptors are firing off and you have about five seconds before the pain explodes in your head.  You know the pain is coming and it is going to be bad.

Hopping about on one leg, I tried to clutch my damaged toes with my right hand.  There is this futile belief that, if you squeeze hard enough, you will block at least some of the pain.  It didn’t work!

Of course, someone had put a chair in a position that I didn’t recall, so I fell backwards over it.  My wife heard all the noise and found her wet and naked husband writhing around on the bedroom floor in (I might add) a most undignified fashion!  It was not a pretty sight.

Later in the day, I decided to replace the worn rubber drive belt in my wood lathe.  This as a necessarily tight fit over the pulleys and is not the easiest job to change-out.  Summoning all my strength, and using a makeshift wooden lever, I started to ease the belt off the biggest pulley.  There was a “cracking” noise and the wooden lever gave up the struggle leaving my index finger trapped between the belt and outer rim of the pulley.  I freed it by manually rotating the pulley and examined an impressive blood-blister that was forming just below the root of the nail.

My wife gave me a hard time, stating unwanted, but correct facts, including  “You must be more careful, you’re not as young as you used to be.”  And then, the remark that no man wants to hear, “Why don’t you find someone who knows what they are doing?”

It was already NOT a good day and it wasn’t even yet 10 a.m.

I didn’t think any other mishap would befall me, so decided to manage the rest of the day on “low-risk” endeavors.   A safe job (I reasoned) would be to vacuum out my car and get rid of the bits of grass and stuff that had accumulated on the mats.  To get some air in the vehicle, and to cool the interior, I pushed the appropriate buttons to bring the windows to their lowest position. 

The driver’s side window went all the way down and obediently closed all the way to the top again when I was done.  The passenger window had other ideas.  It wound fully down, albeit with reluctance grinding noises, but refused to wind up again.  So now I had one window fully open.  Not a huge deal, I was confident I could take the interior panel off and lubricate whatever mechanism was seized up —– after all, did I not spend a large chunk of my life as an engineer?

Feeling smug once more I left it for a while to go get some lunch.  This was a signal to the “Weather-Controller to change from sunshine to heavy rain.  I don’t know how much water found its way into the car, via the open window, but it was a lot.  All over the leather seats too. 

Of course, strong gusts of wind had accompanied the rain and those gusts had come from the necessary direction to allow the maximum amount of rainwater to enter through the open window. The next hour was a marathon of drying , with an increasing mountain of wet kitchen towels to mark the activity.

OK, I reasoned it was “give-up” time for any constructive activities for the day.  Sometimes, you just can’t win and need to accept defeat.  I figured this was one of those days.

Later in the afternoon, feeling renewed and calm, I decided I needed a quiet couple of hours fishing down at Hargis Creek.  This would create no stress, or so I thought.  I found a spot on the far side, away from anyone else and set up my fishing tackle plus a comfy garden chair and looked to bait the hook — this led to the realization that I hadn’t bought any bait.  I dismantled all my fishing tackle , drove to Walmart and bought worms.

Back at the lake, my fist cast got stuck in a submerged tree and I had to break-off the gear.

I haven’t invented any of this.  It was simply one of those crazy days when everything turned to disaster. 

Is it just me or do others have similar episodes when everything that can go wrong does go wrong?  Maybe it is a cascade-effect from the initial failed shower and damaged toes?  Maybe my concentration was broken and subsequent failures occurred because I wasn’t paying attention.

Or maybe it something else out of my control. Who knows?

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