Functionality

Vacation! Time to take a trip. I do not define the term “vacation” like most people. Not surprising! I do not see the world quite the same as most people. I’d guess most folk would enjoy “relaxation” on a vacation. I can relax at home. Why travel hundreds of miles to relax?

Sight seeing is high up on most definitions of vacation activities. I do enjoy that aspect often. However, our current “vacation” journey did not include any site seeing..unless the sight of seeing 5 miles of motionless vehicles with a rarely visited Columbus Water Tower in the background is a something you never previously pondered…for over an hour.

The plan was to visit to granddaughter, Chelsea, as she prepared for a gala celebration of her son’s first birthday. Categorically, this adventure soon became more like a “Work Mission Trip” than a vacation.

On day one after our arrival, Sue first mission was to cut out “cute little number 1’s” and stab them onto toothpicks for the cupcake decorations. First of all, “cute” is definitely not my forte. Furthermore, I rejected the offer to help mostly because I saw no functional purpose. Everybody knows it’s Xavier’s first birthday…it’s insulting to remind them with such a sign on their piece of cake.

And what’s with the toothpick? I’ve never had a cake crumb get lodged between my teeth. Admittedly, my mustache always sweeps up great gobs of frosting. However, even broadside, a toothpick is worthless as a squeegee to scrape icing back onto the cupcake. Forget the painstaking trimming. Save the toothpicks for spearing grapes from the salad. They serve no really beneficial function on the cupcake.

As you might surmise, I rarely am asked for my opinion regarding party decorations. Functional is one of my high priorities. At least functional is a goal even if I do not always succeed according to a dictionary definition. So, to fend off boredom, I inquired if there were some odd jobs that I could do that would actually have functional purpose.

Chelsea alibied the tall grass in her yard was because “the lawn mower won’t start”. She did admit that she had replaced a punctured primer bulb, but it still wouldn’t start. WOW, that is most certainly a functional challenge.

I first checked for fuel delivery from the primer bulb. One press squirted as much gas out as into the cylinder chamber. A slight adjustment of the bulb installation and pulling the spark plug, confirmed that gas was indeed present in the combustion chamber.

With the spark plug still out, I went to behind the mower handle intending to pull the starter cord to see if more gas would spit out of the plug hole. At that location, it was readily apparent the safety lever was attached to nothing. Not only was it unattached, it was mangled so severely, the safety cable would not slide within the plastic cable sleeve, One of Chelsea’s dogs hates the noise the mower makes, so devoured the cable in protest.

I needed a functional alternative. From a coat hanger, I constructed a make-shift “clamp” to hold the safety switch closed, instead if using the lever on the handle to pull the switch closed. Before you start thinking I am a genius, consider the normal function of the safety switch.

To start the engine, the operator must pull the safety handle to the mower handle…thus pulling the safety cable which in turn pulls the safety switch closed enabling electricity to flow to the spark plug. THEN a few pulls of the pull the starter cord and the motor will roar to life. With my abnormal “system”, the operator must clamp the switch closed BEFORE attempting to start the engine. While mowing, if the operator was to stumble, and let go of the mower handle, the coincident release of the safety lever, would enable the spring loaded safety switch to open and shut off electric impulses to the spark plug and the engine would stop immediately.

Did I mention this mower is self propelled? With my makeshift safety clamp ignoring the stumble, and the self-propel mechanism still engaged (I also had to recreate that chewed up cable too), the mowed path through the grass will surely wander just a bit. At least it will until the mower reaches the fence, house, or neighbor’s car whichever comes sooner.

In order to complete today’s project, I must Create a sticker to put along side of the safety warning about whirring blades and the discomfort the operator will experience if toes are thrust under the mower deck. I think my safety sticker will read:
DO NOT STUMBLE   All safety features functionally bypassed”.

Ed
? of the day: Before Edison, what did  a cartoonist used for a bright idea?  (Not that I’ve had any lately)

Friday Frivolity – July 8

I do not want to start a rumor that I am a chauvinist.  It’s no rumor.  Maybe not a Webster defined “males are superior” fool.  I don’t open doors for them because I think they are less capable.  However, I do subscribe to the thinking that men and women view the world about them much differently.  Considering my experiences, I conclude that a women’s viewpoint is…ahh…shall we say…inferior due to cloudy perspective. The male-female divergence of perception is distinctly observable in social situations.

At a wedding reception a while back, Kim, who was in the wedding party, came to the table where the rest our family was seated.  “Mom, will you come to the bathroom with me.  I need your help.”

Every female at the table perceived a clandestine, secret agent type, message.  While the men processed the message as a simple request for assistance, all the women, regardless of age, perceived a call to duty.  In unison, almost synchronized, they all rose and convoyed to the ladies room.

What causes that?  It must be an innate, reflex, reaction.  Sometimes it’s hardly verbalized.  One woman rises with a muted “ahem”, and 3 others at the table get up and leave with her.  The guys all look at each other wondering if someone farted.  The women know it’s a matter of urgency, though not always physical in nature.

If I were to rise and make a similar throaty sound, the nearest guy would jump up and perform the Heimlich Maneuver.

When Sue returned to the table, she exclaimed; “I thought I’d stopped helping her in the bathroom a loooong time ago.”  Whoa!  My dad stopped helping me in the bathroom after one lesson concerning the zipper and NEVER perceived a need to assist with that again.  Of course, the designer of men’s wear saw fit to put the zipper where it could be manipulated by its owner.  Apparently the designers of fine dresses did not perceive the need for a woman do accomplish this task alone.

Sue’s explanation for her accompanying her daughter to the bathroom gave me a segue I could not help but take advantage of.  I looked across the table, “Hey, Bubba…, you want to go to the bathroom with me.  My zipper has been giving me fits lately.”  Two women at the next table fainted.

It’s a matter of perspective.