We Think We Have it Rough

White rye-type bread

Image via Wikipedia

HOT WATER

My dad walked home from work nearly every day.  He rarely took the car unless it needed work, or he was in a hurry.  When he arrived home, he followed a ritual that very seldom changed.  I remember him coming up from the basement into the kitchen and going directly to the fridge for the slab bacon. He cut off a square chunk, then sliced a slab off the rye bread. The bacon was too big to eat in a chunk, so he sliced it into thin pieces and laid them on the bread. Finally, he cut the bacon-covered bread into small squares.  He ate the squares, one by one. If  I was there, he shared. Hmmm, hmmm, good!

After this snack, Dad went back downstairs to light the fire in the small stove. He had modified the stove to run a pipe through the firebox and  into the water tank.  He kept a box of  kindling to fuel the fire.  The fire heated the water in the tank.  Once the fire was going, he started a project around the house like cutting the grass, or fixing something.

By six o’clock, the water was hot, and Dad went upstairs to take his bath.  When he was squeaky clean, he came down for supper.  Afterwards, Mom still had enough hot water to wash the dishes.

The small wood stove served to heat water during the summer months.  During the winter, the coal furnace heated the water. Another pipe routed water through the furnace into the water tank. Dad opened a valve to switch the water flow from the stove to the furnace.  During the winter we had hot water continuously because  the fire was going in the furnace.

Dad installed a gas-fired  water heater in 1950.  He bought the heater from Sears with instructions for how to do it. After that, he never used the small stove for heating water again.

Greasy Donut Recall

Selfridges has a Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop wh...

Image via Wikipedia

This morning the devil made me eat a greasy Krispy Creme donut. I savored it with great enthusiasm. I know it is bad for me, but how long can one live anyway? Grandma Peggy read the advertising on the box and was surprised to learn that the company has been making donuts since 1937. That means Krispy Creme has been selling heart plugging fat loaded tasty sugary treats one year longer than I have been on this planet.

When Krispy Creme became a rage back in the ninety’s I followed the crowds to a local store to learn what it was all about. I also wanted to buy a dozen of the freshly made donuts. My friends were explaining the automated machine they used to make the donuts right in the store. It is a tradition at the office to bring donuts on your birthday.  I especially loved birthdays when we celebrated with Krispy Cremes. When I bit into my very first one, my brains cells awakened from deep within. The taste brought back childhood memories.

On the day I first walked into the Krispy Creme store in Oak Forest, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There, right in the center of the store, was an automated donut making machine.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of the process. Wait a minute, my brain told me. You’ve seen this machine before.

When I was seven years old, my mom went shopping on 63rd and Halstead. There was a cluster of large stores there, Sears, Wieboldt’s, Goldblatt’s. It was the shopping center of its time. To get there we took the streetcar. Two transfers, and an hour got us to the commercial center of the south-side.  She loved to window shop and never bought anything she didn’t absolutely need. One of her favorite stores was Hillman’s. A large grocery store on the lower level of another large store. Hillman’s was unique, because she got foods there that were not available in our community of Burnside. It was in that store, that I saw my first Krispy Creme donut machine. I was fascinated by the thing. I could spend hours watching the thing spit out raw donut dough and turn the glob into a glazed donut. Mom saw this quickly, and realized that she could shop while I watched the donuts.  The donut machine became my baby sitter.  Every once in a while, Mom bought some donuts to treat us for being good.

The whole memory came alive this morning when I bit into that sumptuous sweet glazed donut.

One Baby Step Closer

The Man-Cave is the recipient of a significant baby step. The cabinet that caused me to blow my table saw is completed. I wasted an afternoon with the router trying to make the elegant solution in wood. I finally ruined the piece after three hours, and shut off the lights in frustration. I was finished, It beat me. Tomorrow is another day. Before I exited the cave, I sat on the throne for a few minutes, and thought. The answer for how to hang the cabinet came to me. It was so simple, I couldn’t believe it. I finished my meditation, and immediately turned the shop lights back on. Within thirty minutes I completed the job.

This morning, I removed the plate on the table saw and looked around with a flash light. I found the reason for yesterday’s giant firework display and ka-pow. I had the saw blade tilted to the most extreme angle it would make. Then, I backed the blade down to make a very shallow cut. What I didn’t see was that the saw blade came to rest against  the cable connecting the motor to the switch. When I turned on the power, the blade sliced through half the wire and  caused a dead short. Twenty amperes were sucked out of the grid in an instant. I am happy to report, that the circuit breaker functioned and killed the circuit.

I will sleep much better tonight.

I think Craftsman (SEARS) deserves to get  a letter detailing this failure of their product.

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