Shameful Confession

Several years ago when I was working from home completely, I decided I needed a really good chair. I did a bit of research and bought a chair that was advertising how much they customize it and how ergonomic it was and all that. It cost more than a Herman Miller Aeron Chair, even if you didn’t buy it from a 90s era startup that had gone bust, but I thought if it saved my back it would be worth it.

Ok, first problem was their amazing customization was basically asking you three questions and then picking either a small, medium or large lumbar pad. I was expecting bespoke and I basically got off the rack. And it wasn’t very adjustable after it was delivered. I was lead to believe there would be a call with a consultant on how to set it up or a comprehensive manual, and I got none of that.

Second problem was that they insisted it had to be delivered via an 18 wheeler, like this was a major selling point or something. This chair was no bigger than any other office chair and it could have been delivered by a panel van, but they insisted. And so I get a phone call from a delivery driver who doesn’t know how he’s getting his gigantic rig down our tree covered residential neighborhood streets. I tell him to deliver it with a panel van, he says he can’t and suggests I come out to meet him somewhere and he can give it to me. I say there’s no f-ing way I’m going to do his job for him. So lo and behold a little while later this truck comes down the street, slapping tree branches all the way, and delivers this package that’s no bigger than other things UPS has delivered in the past.

So anybody, I spent way too much on a not very comfortable chair, and I was embarrassed to admit it, so I’ve kept this chair for about 8 years. And if this lockdown continues for much longer, I’m not sure if my back can take it. And I’m not sure I want to order a chair without trying it, and that’s not going to be possible.

Browncroft Neighborhood Garage Sale

Every two years, the Browncroft Neighborhood holds its world famous garage sale. This year, after nearly 6 years in this neighborhood, we finally got our shit together enough to sell some of our junk.

It also happened to be the day when we had company coming over for dinner, as well as a previous occupant of the house coming by during the day, so I got to spend the entire day out minding the store while Vicki dealt with all that stuff.

It was a beautiful day. Widget likes to be outside with me when I’m out sitting out front, so he came along to keep me company. I swear we had more people stopping to pet Widget and tell me about their Shih t’zu or Lhasa than we did looking at the merchandise. A couple of times I noticed Widget trembling when a dog was sniffing him, but I didn’t pay any attention to it.

The most important item we had to sell was my old bed. It had been my queen size water bed in Ottawa, then Vicki and I used it with a special spring mattress insert designed to go into waterbeds, then it was Laura’s. It went to a girl about Laura’s age who had just moved into her own apartment, so that was nice. When I was taking it apart I realized it was all Robertson screws, and nobody in the US uses Robertson screws, so I had to throw in the screw driver with it.

I managed to sell my old Series 2 TiVo to a guy who was really only interested in the hard drive inside it (since I’d upgraded it to 180Gb). I found another 250Gb IDE drive in my office and sold that to him too. I’m 99% sure I’d wiped it already, but even if I haven’t, I use my laptop to pay bills and log into bank accounts and the like, so I don’t think he’d be able to find anything useful on it. I totally forgot to offer him my broken Humax TiVo, since it has an upgraded hard drive as well. I also forgot to keep the remote control since he wasn’t going to use it. Oh well.

I managed to get away for a few minutes and scored a circular saw that was in its original box with no sawdust on it for $15. I can finally ditch Vicki’s dad’s old circular saw with the electrical tape around the cord and the screaming bearings. I didn’t want the guilt of handing that thing to anybody, so I left it at the end of the driveway, and pretended not to notice when somebody grabbed it.

The sale was more than half over when I realized I was probably getting some sun, so I went and got a hat. But it wasn’t until it was all over just had badly sun burned I got. I’m going to be using a lot of aloe today.

But there was a sadder story. Soon after I’d packed up the remaining books and came in, Widget suddenly fell down on the floor. First I thought he’d just lost his footing on the slick wooden floor, but he started trembling uncontrollably. He continued to have motor control problems for a good 10 minutes or more afterwards. He wasn’t totally out of it, and he could sort of look at you if you called his name. If you’re a facebook friend of mine, you can see a video.

He had a couple of similar seizures last summer, but none since September. I suspect he got overheated and possibly dehydrated from being out in the sun all day. He looks and acts fine today, so there doesn’t appear to be any lasting damage. We’ll have to be more careful with him.


Vicki asked me to stay home this morning because the furnace guy was coming to do one of the inspections on the hideously expensive maintenance contract we signed up for due to a hard sell sales pitch. She wanted me to stay because she says the furnace guy gives her a real hard sell every time for something that we absolutely must replace or we’re killing babies and torturing puppies. I’m not sure where she’s been for the last 11 years, but by now you’d think she’d realize that I’m no better at resisting those sorts of sales pitches either. But hey, this spreads the blame around for the stupid stuff we get talked into and takes the pressure off her, so I’m willing to do it for her sake.

The guy came, did the usual poking around in the basement, and came up and said “Your ignitor unit is testing at 99 ohms and we recommend replacing it any time it gets to 100 ohms, so you’re due”. I asked for a price, and he showed me it woud be $160 now, or $280 if it was an off-hours call. So I thought I’d outsmart him and ask if he had one in stock, and he said no, he’d checked the truck and he didn’t have one. I figured that would mean that if it *did* fail in middle of the night, we’d have to wait for a day or more while they ordered the part, and we’d risk the birds dying if that happened, so I said to go ahead and order it. A few minutes later, as he’s leaving, I asked when they were coming to install the part, and he said “I had another look around the truck, and found one, so it’s installed already”.

Dammit, he played me for a chump. He must have known that if he’d said they had one in the truck that I would figure they’re easy to come by and so I could afford to wait until it failed, but if they didn’t I’d want to replace it pre-emptively. I’m such a sucker.

Q. Why is Frosty the Snowman smiling?

A. Because he heard we’re getting a snow blower.

Today’s large snow fall was the last straw – we have in and bought a snow blower. Home Despot had them for 30% off, and an additional 10% off if you got their credit card. We got a 5.5hp 2 stage Ariens with electric start and multiple forward and reverse speeds, and with the discount it was less than the list price for the Yard Machines 5.5hp one I was originally looking at that didn’t have electric start and only one forward speed.

It’s still hard work to push through the snow, but it’s got to be better than shoveling another plow hump.