MI-6, or Edgar Allen Poe Day

photo by my Paul 2012

Giving "hangover" a whole new meaning . . .

This week, we purchased a washer and dryer.

I know, I know–you wanted to hear about the honeymoon. Here: We went to Montreal, it was great, we spoke fake French in response to real French, we ate a lot, we created a lot of private jokes, then we came home. I may regale you with some stories about it sometime (or maybe I’ll let my Paul, who has the telling of the honeymoon stories down to an art–the tell-able ones, I mean), but I think what you really wanted, without knowing it, was to hear how life after the honeymoon is going so far. So here’s a pericope of it. (Look it up. I just made myself feel 1000 times smarter using that word, even though I’m taking liberties with its usage.) It’s also two such quintessential Jenn Stories so intertwined that I can’t not write about it.

So anyway, this week we got a washer and dryer.

We already had a washer and dryer, but sometime last weekend we realised that the spin-cycle in the washer no longer worked at all. The dryer, in turn, could not handle the excess moisture of the unspun clothing, and so we were left with damp and stinky and dubiously-cleaned laundry. Since we both had a hankering ultimately to get stackable, front-loading versions of these appliances anyway, we decided now was the time. After some internet searching, Paul discovered a set on Craigslist for less than half of what we’d have spent to get something comparable on sale, and we decided this was an excellent use of some of our wedding gift money (thanks, generous wedding-gift-givers!). On Wednesday, my Paul somehow extracted the old appliances and put them on the deck while I was at a Now Church Lenten dinner, and on Thursday we took a ride in the truck (it never ceases to astonish me that I married a man with a pick-up truck–but it does come in handy) to a Neighbouring Town and picked up the new appliances.

Here’s the thing: space-wise, our house is the equivalent of a European car. (Maybe I mean a “whole rest of the world” car. The only vehicles I remember distinctly from India are autorikshaws (yes–extra compact!) and those big bulky, brightly-painted dump-truck-looking things. And do people in Saudi Arabia drive gas-guzzlers? I just don’t know.) So, after moving every piece of furniture in the kitchen just to get the appliances inside, we had to figure out how we were going to get them into the laundry room (read: “closet”) and hook them up without one of us getting walled in behind them for all eternity. Poe’s story “The Cask of Amontillado” came immediately to both of our minds. Fortunately, we trust each other, but the fact that we both thought of that story was maybe a little unsettling.

In the morning, we hooked up the washing machine. I had to climb back and forth over the top of it a couple of times to get it all set up. We did a load of laundry and hung the damp clothes up all over the house. Daughter-by-Marriage came over and was somewhat agog at the appliance-instigated disarray.

“Hey,” I asked her, as we were all kibitzing about this, “can you call my cell phone? I can’t find it.”

Obligingly, she did so. We could hear it vibrating, but, to our dismay, it sounded like it was somehow inside the washing machine. Well, that was impossible, since if it had been, it would no longer be working, considering the inaugural laundry we had just run through it. But maybe it was behind it. Maybe it had fallen out of a pocket one of the times I was climbing back and forth. I didn’t remember having had it in my pocket, but . . . I also didn’t remember where it was at all. So we pulled the machine forward. I climbed back there. Nothing. We shone a flashlight on either side of it. Nothing. We tipped it forward and back to see if the phone had somehow gotten underneath. Nothing. Daughter kept calling it, and it kept vibrating like the tell-tale heart,

We looked in the kitchen cupboards on the other side of the wall. Nothing. Really? Was it in the wall? Because that’s seriously what it sounded like. Eleven Daughter phone calls later, she suddenly said, “What if it’s upstairs?” She and her dad went tearing up the stairs to see who could get to it first. Sure enough. There it was. On the window sill, in a direct line to the wall of the laundry room. Playing its Dr. Who ring tone. I might have felt less stupid if I hadn’t “lost” the phone in pretty much the same place last week . . . Thus words like pericope and stuff like that, to make up for it, I guess.

photo by Jennwith2ns 2012

A thing of beauty is a joy forever . . . or at least hopefully for a really long time.

Anyway. Now I had my phone back, but we were still going to have to set up the dryer at some point.

We couldn’t do that, however, until Paul had cut a hole in the wall of the house for the dryer exhaust, because the old spot was not in the right place for a dryer now stacked on top of the washer. It was sometime after supper that we were ready actually to install the dryer itself. After we heaved the dryer through the door and up on top of the washing machine, I had to climb up a step-ladder and worm my way up over the top of the dryer. Once there, my Paul hung onto my legs and I bent at the waist and tried to attach the vent-duct hose, upside down. No cask of Amontillado entrapment here–I mean, he was holding my ankles and everything–but have you ever tried to install ductwork hanging upside down? I felt like I was on some sort of Mission Impossible, and my Paul observed that he had no idea he was married to someone in Cirque du Soleil. The short version of the story is that eventually I successfully got the dryer hooked up, and we’ve been doing laundry ever since, but it must have taken 45 minutes to an hour to get everything situated. And a pretty terrible headache. Still, Poe-type disasters were averted, and this washer and dryer? Are things of beauty.

They work really well, too.


A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven?

Well, that’s what Qoheleth (whom some think King Solomon and others decidedly don’t) said, in the book that has come to be known as Ecclesiastes.

He couldn’t have included “a time to hack and a time to be hacked” (and a time to be hacked off?) in his little list of things that there is a time for, because as far as we know, the internet had not been invented yet. (If it had, those guys did a great job of keeping it a secret! Oh Atlantis . . . ) But evidently, those activities, passive and active, could have been included, because in all my days of emailing and blogging and facebooking, my accounts have never been hacked. Until yesterday. I should’ve known I wasn’t immune.

I found out about this from more alert members of The Readership. (Man. You guys are working overtime these days!) I also found out the identities of more individuals included in The Readership. Which was pretty cool. Finding out I had been hacked, however, was not. Finding out the hacking involved my blog linking to unsavoury, exploitative sites was even less so. Some of my friends described what was happening when they tried to read the post about my mother (really? This had to happen with a post about my mother??), and others discussed that apparently this is a problem for which WordPress is (recently?) notorious.

The good thing about WordPress, though? Is that you can send their support team an email, and they actually have live people in their support team who get back to you really quickly and speak regular colloquial English that non-computer-nerds-using-computers can understand. (Note: I’m not saying I’m not a nerd. Oh, I am so a nerd. Just . . . I don’t really know anything about computers.) I sent them a concerned email. I also changed some of my login stuff. I got an email back. It was from a guy named Anthony. He basically said, “Uh–what’s the problem? I can’t find anything.”

I basically said, “My friends who are trying to access my blog through their cell phones are being dropped into the dregs of internet yuckness.” (Okay, that’s not really what I said, but that was the basic idea.)

This morning he sent me this email back:

Hi Jennifer,

This terrible problem should now be resolved. After further investigation, this appears to have been linked to a mobile advertising provider that has now been completely disabled and removed. Your readers will have no further problems reading your site via any mobile platforms, and I’d like to express our sincerest apologies for this mess. This was entirely inappropriate, and it will not happen again.

Thank you for letting us know about this, and we hope you have a fantastic rest of the week. 🙂


Aww. What a nice support tech. And look what happens when everybody works together: problem cited, alerted, passed to the appropriate people, and fixed. Yay! I suppose some might call it a stretch to say there was a time for this purpose . . . but maybe there was.

Photo by Vera Kratochvil, who kindly posted it as public domain.

Go Team!

Righting the Wrongs

Every so often, I make an error so glaring I wish I could just hide in a cave for a little while. One of the alert Readership pointed out this morning that, though I mention Mom in my wedding-description post, somehow I did not provide a photo illustration. Which is really a shame, because she looked great. (The other day my Paul said that he had heard a man should look at his mother-in-law when he wants to know how her daughter–his wife–will age, and based on his mother-in-law, I’m likely to look good for a good long time. I sure hope he’s right!)

So here we have it–a post dedicated solely to my wonderful–and beautiful–mother.

photo by nicole.aline.photography