Apr 21

Easing into a springtime weekend

Here are the sports shows from last night. First, the highlights from Sports Nite. Big stories are about postseason play in soccer. And basketball. Always basketball. Basketball never ends here. The sport needs a shot clock.

And here’s The Toss Up, which is where they talked about The Masters. A fun time was had by all.

Today I gave two tours. First time I’ve had guests in the building since, I don’t know, maybe February of last year. The first was for a young man who’ll be joining us as a freshman in the fall. The other is a guy who’ll be joining us for grad school. He is also from Alabama. Two new people from home in the same week.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the barbecue situation.

I have made a new look for the front page. I rather like it, and I think you will too. Just click the image below and, via the magic technology of hyperlinks, you will be effortlessly transported to it. Tell me what you think.

And then effortlessly transport yourself to the weekend. I’m starting mine relaxing on the deck. How you are beginning your weekend? You’ve earned it, after all. Enjoy it!

Apr 21

Getting a little fancy with my gifs

In the studio again this evening, this time for the sports shows, in keeping with the Thursday routine. I decided to do a little something extra with the opportunity. It looks like I’m threatening to one day I’m going to add real production values into my off-the-cuff gif making.

Will has a great Major League Baseball internship lined up this summer. He was telling me about it this evening. He was supposed to have it last year, but, you know. The summer prior he was calling games in the Cape Cod League. I have known this guy for four years now, since he was in my class as a freshmen. None of this surprises me.

I just met Noah this week. She’s from Alabama!

First time in front of our cameras tonight, and she did a great job.

They got a golf guy and a golf guy from Georgia in for the talk show. They made for a great trio.

I’m not a huge golf guy by any means, but I was very much interested in their conversation. It was golf, but lifestyle, serious, but fun. After the show I tried to talk them into doing a daily digest of each round on their Instagram page. We’ll see.

More on my Twitter. Check me out on Instagram and find more On Topic with IU podcasts as well.

Apr 21

And some two hours later … the job was done

Drip, drip, drip into the sink. And so I replaced the little bit of rubber inside the kitchen faucet. And then, later, drip, drip, drip again. I replaced that little washer. And again. Now, the first time it seemed like user error. And then, after that, maybe just bad water. Or bad water and user error. I suppose it could be a faulty bit of rubber. But when the dripping started for a fourth time I knew it was definitely anything but user error.

Which was when I stripped the little screw that holds the whole faucet together. And, after a day of trying to overcome that difficulty, decided to hang the whole thing and start anew.

So my lovely bride bought a new faucet this week, which she’s been hoping to do for some time.

Home ownership, by the way, is just an exercise in doing something you are asked, and learning some skill that gives you a bit of confidence, but really genuinely sincerely hope you never have to use again.

This is where I was this evening, going through the stages of self-confidence and doubt. And, honestly, I figured it out because of sheer spite for people handier than I am.

She picked up the faucet on Monday. We did outdoors work that day. Last night I didn’t get in until late. All of this, and the paragraphs above, have left me plenty of time to psyche myself up for the chore. And so, this evening, when I got to the house at a regular hour, I was ready to take on the task.

Super excited! Pep rally ready! Let’s rip out the old! Drop in the new! Make it appear as if nothing ever happened here!

That’s the self-confidence part.

Getting the old faucet out was the hard part. Well, maybe just reaching it. This is the kind of space I’m working in.

Oh that’s pretty standard, you say. Two sinks, sure, one larger than the other and both a fair size. Sure. Nothing but the best, right? And also the garbage disposal, who’s inner workings are in no way inconvenient to the cause. To say nothing of that random PVC vent in the center, which is precisely where I need to go.

And if you think I pondering trying to remove one of the sink tubs or uncoupling the disposal, you’re right.

The thing about the countertop is that the hole cut out of it is precisely as large as it needs to be and not a micron wider. The thing about the old faucet is that there are some copper components to it. And the thing about that vent in the back is that it took some considerable and destructive ingenuity to get out the old stuff. And the old equipment
is starting to get a bit of rust to it.

And somewhere in there, in that already tiny and almost unworkable space, is where the doubt part starts crowding in.

Well, it was all going away anyway, so things got destroyed. That was the point of no return, really, but it was the old stuff. The new stuff was just fine. So long as it worked when it got installed.

And if you’ve ever worked on more than any one thing on a house before you’ve come to realize that there is nothing standard about standard sizes or techniques or anything. I mean, this plumber could have been having a bad day the day he was in this house. And seeing some of the other stuff in here, it wouldn’t surprise.

Well, the old stuff got out, and once you get into the cabinet, under the sink and immediately beneath the not-at-all obstructive disposal unit and reminded yourself that you don’t have claustrophobia issues, it looks like this.

Seriously, what’s up with that vent. Does anyone here know what that does?

That bit of orange is from the new faucet install. It dropped in without a problem because the new sink uses rubber components and not copper. Once it was in place there was just the matter of reaching two hands, a screwdriver and a custom spanner into a space big enough for precisely one hand to tighten it down to the counter. And then you connect the supply lines, and pet the cat.

Poseidon was an excellent helper. And we are a safety first house.

Here he is looking over the tools and instructions.

Connect the faucet head. Imagine in your head the part of the instructions that Moen just got too lazy to write and figure out the final parts with some trial and error.

And congratulate the cat on being very helpful.

Now, because of the difficulty of removing the old one, and the time that took, both cats were interested in the box and the plastic inside. But it took so long they both lost interest in the plastic and the box. They went somewhere else. And then Poseidon remembered it anew.

Really, looking back on it even now I’m not sure why it took so long. It’s a fairly simple procedure, a faucet installation. A faucet extraction, however, might be its own specialty.

Anyway, we have a new faucet:

And it works and everything! Water comes out of it! Hot and cold! And it stops coming out when you ask it to stop! We better love this faucet for a long time.

Most importantly, no injuries, save the wrench I dropped on my face. No wicked oaths utter under my breath. Times I had to move a cat out of the way, uncountable. A successful new skill learned. Basic plumber 101 skill achieved. Hopefully I won’t have to do this again for a good long while.

Apr 21

Almost everything but

I have two blisters on my hand and one less tree in the yard. These two things are related.

The tree was an Eastern black walnut, and some really thoughtful person planted it right next to the house. Well, this tree grew, as trees do, and it was crowded to the edge of the house and the porch and, after we spent the evening wrenching it from the earth, perhaps growing directly into the foundation.

Also some of the hedges got trimmed. Not all of them, because of that tree. It took longer than it should have, that tree. And now a flowering shrubbery of some sort will eventually go in its place.

You know the joke we’ve all shared this year about hand sanitizer finding all the new cuts on your hands? I remembered that when I made it to the office this morning.

That shovel was mean to me, is what I’m saying.

I sat in my little office and worked and then I went to the television studio. Speaking of the studio, here are two recent shows students produced that I haven’t shared with you. First, the evening show, from the growing-familiar-to-us-now bar set.

The drinks are stage props, and most definitely not for people in that establishment.

And here’s the morning show produced a new episode in the other studio, because that’s what morning shows do.

Tonight I watched crews do anchor practice in the same space. A lot of freshmen and sophomores came in for a few reads and, most importantly, feedback. The news directors, graduating seniors, ran the thing and they gave all the younger students great notes. That was a lot of fun to see. It wasn’t the changing of the guard, but it was a rehearsal. We’re getting ready to send more great young graduates into the world, and they are getting the underclassmen ready to start running the joint. It’s a great moment, if almost bittersweet.

I could tell you everything else about the day, but I know you really want to hear about the kitchen sink. And you’re going to hear all about that. You’re going to hear all about it tomorrow, because I got a reprieve tonight. So be sure you come back for that.

Apr 21

Welcome to the new week

Well, Easter was lovely, and quiet. The weather was perfect and we spent the afternoon in the backyard, relaxing in the shade. We had lasagna for dinner, which was delicious. And it was all very calm and productive in it’s own way.

On Saturday we went for a bike ride in the wind.

Not pictured: the wind.

The gusts were gusty, and could push you around. There were two hills and a lot of wind. Did I mention the breeze? I did set eight PRs over the 25 Strava segments on the day’s route. Even my shadow was tired.

We saw this beautiful bit of scenery somewhere between here and there.

I was only able to manage that composition because of the headwind.

The cats were unimpressed by the breeze, housed as they are. They probably slept through it all.

Phoebe was doubly insulated in her little box fortress. (If the cats don’t take over the joint their boxes surely will.)

Poseidon was sitting on my lap the other night and stuck his head through the side of the rocking chair for some reason and it makes sense because you see him staring at the camera, but that’s the wrong takeaway. My phone wasn’t there when he put his head through the rails. The phone was a reaction to his more spontaneous action. The real conclusion, then, is that he’s a weirdo.

And here you can see the rare moment where they are getting along nicely.

That’s how serious naps are around here.