Sunday, July 03, 2011

Finally Here...

Those of you who went looking for today's post early this morning (or at the equivalent time in Brisbane, the UK, or other locations) were no doubt distressed to find nothing new in this space. I'm sorry. For once, I managed to sleep late, and once I got up I embarked on The Day of the Endless Chores and - sadly - missed my usual posting time.

You'll forgive me, won't you?

Most of today was taken up with hauling a large load of junk to the landfill (nothing like having a son-in-law with a borrowable truck!), power-washing the siding and the deck behind the house, and constructing The Swing From Hell.

Agnes has been salivating for some months now over a large, canopied swing she'd spotted at Costco that she thought would be just right for our deck. Yesterday, she finally succeeded in getting me to borrow Vin's (our son-in-law) truck and getting the swing for her.

And then the fun began...

The swing came unassembled (of course) in a box about 47 feet long, weighing eight tons and requiring a Bucyrus Erie crane to get it onto the truck. It features all steel construction (except for the cushions, of course), is held together by 17,682,957 screws, bolts, nuts, washers, spacers, and grommets, and comes complete with 97 pages of assembly instructions translated from the original Urdu into English by a native speaker of Xhosa.

The unwritten laws governing the construction of large objects out of many small parts on a deck apparently specify that a certain percentage of the small parts (generally those most crucial to the eventual safe operation of the object) will roll off the deck and disappear into the dense underbrush behind the house. I am in full compliance with those laws.

The swing is not yet finished. The frame is up ... twice ... (because I put it together backwards the first time), and I was trying to figure out the instructions on how to assemble the canopy when it started to rain. Thus, I get to look forward to part deux of the assembly of the Swing From Hell tomorrow.

I can hardly wait. I'll post a picture once it's done ... assuming it looks something like the picture on that 47-foot, 8 ton box.

Turning to other topics, today is the anniversary of the birthday (in 1883) of novelist Franz Kafka, whose stories of ordinary people caught up in bizarre and nightmarish situations (The Trial and The Metamorphosis are two of his most famous works) have given us the adjective kafkaesque - referring to situations characterized by a nighmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality. Republican economic policies, for instance.

Today also marks the day on which the Battle of Gettysburg ended in 1863. It may have been the largest military engagement ever fought in North America, involving more than 160,000 combatants, of whom some 8,000 were killed, along with more than 3,000 horses. Michael Shaara's novel The Killer Angels remains one of the best works of historical fiction dealing with the battle.

And now it's 10:15 PM, and time to try to coax Nessa out for a last walk before bed. This usually doesn't require any coaxing, but because every ass clown in Northern Virginia with a box of fireworks is shooting them off in preparation for tomorrow's Independence Day celebrations, she's cowering under the desk.

Have a good evening. More thoughts coming tomorrow. Happy Fourth of July!



Mike said...

'For once, I managed to sleep late'

You're starting to get ready for retirement. Good work.

Amanda said...

It'll be worth it once you have that swing up the right way.

KathyA said...

How very talented you are!! Putting a swing together backwards takes real skill! I know this because Dick installed our new kitchen faucet backwards yesterday. Maybe the two of you could start a home improvement company! :)