Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Great Door Knob Incident of 2019

Sometimes it seems as if the world is divided into two types of people and generally speaking you fall into one camp or the another. Take for instance the subject of housing. There are those who rent and those who own their homes. At first, I was a renter, a happy-go-lucky type who called the mystical magical "super" whenever anything went wrong. Ah yes, those were the days (the "good ole days" as they say.) Once you purchase and go the ownership route, oh my how things change. After you buy a house you find yourself doing things you might never have imagined yourself doing. It's a wild, wild world you live in now, let me be the first to tell you, if you haven't figured that out on your lonesome. 

Picture it. The other day I was working from home. It was a nice day. The sun was shining, the birds chirping, Chase was even being quiet...ah, the joy of it all. Life was good. (I should have known ...this is usually a sign that the bowels of Hell are about to open up yet again but, heck, what can I say? I'm an eternal optimist to a fault.) I decided to open the back door to, I don't know, maybe it was to let the dog outside. Heck, I forgot what I was even doing that set this chain of events off, but I was doing something that started with me opening the back door or trying to and that's when it happened. The back door knob you see would not turn. When I say, "would not turn," I mean it actually would not budge. It was as if somebody glued it in place and it was just not going anywhere. I've seen garden slugs more mobile, let me assure you. Nope, this thing was not turning, not one bit.

Now, not to toot my own horn, but I'm a little bit, shall we say, generally speaking "handy" about these things. OK, I'll confess. I'm no stranger to power tools. So, being the power woman that I think I'm all cracked up to be, I decided I was going to take this task on myself because, well, because I wanted to go back into the yard again someday and, frankly speaking, who else was going to do it? I grabbed the tool box and, to quote the great philosopher Shawn Colvin, decided it was time for, "a few small repairs." How was I supposed to know it would end up this way? Ah yes, the joys of home ownership rear their ugly head yet again.

It started when I took the door knob off because, well, there were screws attached and, surely I thought this had to be where one starts when one wants to take something apart and fix it, yes? No. No. Not just no, but, "HELL NO, DON'T TOUCH THIS." (Seriously, if you ever, and I do mean ever, think it's a good idea to unscrew your door knob, just think of MC Hammer and go all, "you can't touch this!" on it. Trust me. You'll be happier, OK maybe just more sane, in the end.) I unscrewed the door knob and figured out (rightly so, I found out later. Um...much later but rightly so nevertheless) that the knob itself was attached to this thing and that thing was attached to this little thing and that thing was attached to this other thing that goes "chuk chuk" when you turn it and that little "chuk chuk" turnie thing was, in fact, broken. (Did you get all that? Good.) My first thought here was, "no problemo!" I can just run down to Home Depot and get a replacement. Great idea, right?

Um. Couple of problems here. For starters, I had taken the door knob off completely. It was on the floor (not a good look for a door knob if you ask me but, heck, there it was!) and then there was the other little problem of the "chuk chuk" thingie. I could not unscrew that out of the door easily. Because I could not unscrew it, and I didn't know what it was called, even if I had made it down to Home Depot, what was I supposed to do when I got down there? How was I supposed to ask for this thing? 
"Hi, Um, you don't know me, and I'm not usually this stupid but, you see, my door knob wouldn't turn. It sort of broke so I unscrewed it but then I could not get it back on or get it off again or...well, let's just say it's home on the floor now...but, was once attached to this thing and that thing was attached to this other little thing and that other little thing was attached to this other thing that goes "chuk chuk" when you turn it and that little "chuk chuk" thing? Yeah, that's the part that I need. You have one of *those* right? Because, like I need one of those. Oh, and I need it in a hurry because, well, the back door isn't shut right now and as we speak somebody is probably breaking into my house because the door knob is on the floor. If I don't hurry home, it might just mate with the door mat and then what would I have? Some kind of mutant ninja Franken-backporch going on and, why, the thought of *that* just scares me, OK?" 

Yes, I'm sure I'd get lots of help after that one, right?

The door knob was on the floor. The back door was open. I tried to just screw the door knob back onto the door and I could not make that happen. It just wouldn't go. Even if I got close to screwing it in, the pieces didn't quite fit and I could tell the little "chuk chuk" thing was still broken. Oh the humanity! What I would not give for a mythical magical "super" at this point. I had inadvertently created the great door knob incident of 2019. I was never going to live this one down. LeSigh.

I broke down and decided I needed a professional. I called a locksmith. He asked me a couple of questions and told me he could come over that evening after six. Of course, as you can imagine, he fixed the door knob in what amounted to all of about fifteen minutes of work. The little "chuk chuk" thing? Yes, it was the part that was broken. Yes, I needed a new one. Yes, I was right about the entire thing. It even has a name. It's called a....wait for it....a latch. (Now you know.)

The locksmith wasn't too expensive and was actually pretty nice. He put some oil on a few other doors while he was here and fixed the "latch" on the other door as well (to keep it know.) In the end, everything worked out OK although, in hindsight, I probably should have called the locksmith in the first place. I even told him, I had to confess, "Yeah, I tried to repair it myself and then the knob would not go back on, would not come off, just wound up sort of stuck where it is." Thankfully, it's no longer on the floor. I guess you can chalk this one up to experience. There you have it. Carol: sometimes good with mechanical things, always good with Bourbon.

It's working now no thanks to me and the great door knob incident of 2019 has now turned into something we shall never speak of again. Well, maybe by "never" I mean actually as soon as you stop laughing at me. You are going to stop laughing at me sometime soon, aren't you? (Eh, you must be a renter. Lucky slob. Enjoy it while you can, believe me, enjoy it while you can.)

Until next time...

Opportunity Weekend - March 31, 2019

Image of a deep forest, off the beaten path, somewhere in Texas
This weekend I took a walk in a deep forest. I was lost. Sadly, I found my way back home again, but I am all the better for having escaped. Enough about getting lost, it's time I found you some opportunities. Here they are:
That's a long walk into the woods of opportunity for you. I hope you enjoy the journey.

Until next time...

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - March 24, 2019

This is my vision for "Something About Trees" for the Scavenger Hunt of Sorts and, in case you could not figure it out from the image, I've started playing around with the concept of "trees: real or imagined" in an odd way too. Enough about me, it's time to get some great opportunities for you. Here they are for this week:
 That's over 22 opportunities, some even have trees, for you. Good luck!

Until next time...

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Scavenger Hunt of Sorts

It's time for a Scavenger Hunt of sorts. Now, this is not going to be an ordinary Scavenger Hunt, no. I'm not going to go out and ask you to do stuff like find a mailbox. Nope. This is going to be a Carol style Scavenger Hunt. By that I mean, I'm going to make you think for it. OK, so maybe there will be a couple of obvious ones. I can't help myself for that. And maybe you'll see a few familiar items in the list too, stuff relating to "feathers" and perhaps my current employer. There will be crazy items on the list for sure, and stuff that will just make your scratch your head because, well, we're all about head scratching here at Carol's Little World. But, for the most part, I wanted this to be fun, and quirky, a bit odd, did I mention quirky? Yeah, that.

So, the rules. Let's see. Any media (you can paint if you want to, up to you!) I am encouraging you to do one or more items from the list. Making the list long so you don't have to do all of them and can choose, pick your poison as it were. The compositions should be new but can incorporate older work if necessary. If there is enough interest, I will kick in a gift card to the "winner" of sorts. If you email me one or more of your entries (2000 pixels on the longest side please, JPEG format, thank you very much) you could get featured on the little old blog and have bragging rights for the ages. Deadline sometime in May or when I just get sick of getting weird images filling up my inbox.

That's it. That's all there is too it. Good luck, get started, get going, and have fun!

Carol's Unofficial Scavenger Hunt List
  1. Crisis and Paranoia 
  2. Not What I Had In Mind
  3. Caught a Ghost
  4. Cry Me a River
  5. Look Sharp
  6. Silently Raging
  7. Not big, AMAZON
  8. Something About Trees
  9. All This and a Bag of Chips
  10. I was One Once
  11. Not My Real Work 
  12. Poets are Mysteriously Silent on the Subject of...
  13. Purity, Parity, What's the Difference Really?
  14. An Audience of One
  15. My Kingdom of Saints Fell Silent When...
  16. Chocolate 
  17. A Nocturnal Event of Sorts
  18. I Didn't Think it Would Actually Move
  19. Like Snow on the Sahara
  20. A Buzz
  21. As Pleasing As Light Itself
  22. Some Kind of Marvelous
  23. The One Thing We've Got 
  24. Doors are Portals too, Aren't They?
  25. A Tight Squeeze of Sorts
  26. I Never Knew Red Lipstick Could...
  27. Blasphemy!
  28. Vision, Insight, or Luck Perhaps
  29. You Animal! 
  30. Gone but not Forgotten 
  31. To Get to the Other Side
  32. Stars
  33. Don't Touch That!
  34. I was Never Fond of the Color Red
  35. Little Talks
  36. Love Letters to No One In Particular
  37. Why Me?
  38. The Number Eight
  39. It Passes for Transportation 
  40. Light as a Feather
Happy hunting!

Until next time...

Opportunity Weekend - March 10, 2019

Spring is in the air and it's daylight savings time again. Yippie! One of the things I love about the post daylight savings time days is that they bring lots of opportunity for us to shoot in that wonderful golden light. It seems to last all the way from about four or five o'clock at night until the sun sets which, these days anyway, is now around seven (and growing later each and every night.) I love that. Even if we don't get a cool sunset, we usually get somewhat of a blue hour this time of year. Oh, be still my heart, how I love me a good blue hour. I live for blue hours, really I do, and that golden light is why I became a photographer in the first place.

Talk of light aside, it's time for another opportunity weekend. Here are some opportunities for you this week:
Don't forget to set your clocks back and get some opportunities this weekend.

Until next time...

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Sleeping with Electronics

Detail of electrical components
By now you know about my current obsession with FitBit. Actually, part of the reason I'm so enamored with FitBit is because the electronics help monitor my sleep. Those of you who know me in person (*waves*) probably know I'm a chronic insomniac. On a good night (let's face it, most aren't good) I get just under six hours of sleep, with barely enough deep sleep for my aching bones. It's true, I have trouble sleeping, and technology helps by monitoring how well I'm sleeping, how much time I spend in each stage of sleep, how many times I wake up in the night, and a whole lot more. It's actually pretty helpful, considering I wear what's really just a wrist watch in disguise. One of the down sides of this is that, well, if you want electronics to monitor your sleep activities, you have to wear something while you are sleeping, and lots of electronics and a groggy Carol don't always mix all too well.

Now, I've gotten somewhat used to sleeping with electronics. The model I have is one that, when you turn your wrist or move your arm, the clock turns on and you can see what time it is, otherwise it remains dark or is supposed to anyway. One of the little "quirks" about this is that sometimes when your turn your arm, the clock does not come on like it should. As you can imagine, sometimes while I'm sleeping and my arms are flailing about, the clock wakes up and I'm blinded by the light from the display. It's quite piercing in my darkened room and this little "feature" has woken me up several times now but I try to take it in stride. The technology is not quite there yet and so the clock comes on when it's not supposed to and remains off at times you want to turn it on. Groggy Carol soldiers on.

Since I am a chronic insomniac, I try to actively take steps to help my sleep. Technology has some gifts here too. I'm supposed to sleep in a dark room, just the right temperature, avoid screen time, caffeine and alcohol before bed, exercise regularly (and also not just before bed) listen to soft music, and do things like read before bedtime (rather than watching TV.) There are a host of others but you get the idea here. I'm also supposed to kick Chase off the bed but he's a regular fixture, so much so he often takes up more than his share of the bed, leaving me uncomfortably curled up in a little ball, but he won't budge so I'm pretty much stuck. I do try some of the other things on the list as they do seem to help out, if only for a little bit, and I use things like a smart thermostat to help the temperature in the room remain suitable for sleeping.

Light itself can be a problem. For a while, I had an alarm clock that was blindingly bright, shining in my eyes, and keeping me awake. Now replaced with an Alexa device, I can talk to Alexa and it allows me to select a face for the clock that is not glaringly bright. This little Echo Spot is actually very nice as I can tell it to play music too. I've even selected music to help, classical music mostly, stuff like Brahms, Fur Elise, Itzhak Perlman, Debussy, and Yo-Yo Ma. Alexa has trouble with classical music sometimes, as my New York pronunciation of Itzhak Perlman does not usually yield good results. Still, it's better than the glaringly bright alarm clock. Technology is not perfect but I find it often gets more closer than nothing at all so I tend to stay the course.

I've been thinking about getting a new mattress as well. I currently have a sleep number bed and have been toying with the idea of getting a newer one. An interesting thing about the sleep number is that they are adjustable and also feature electronics to monitor your sleep. The beds actually monitor you and adjust the bed while you are sleeping in order to, so the theory goes, get a better night's rest. The idea being the bed can raise and lower you, as you are actually sleeping, in order to put you into a better position. Frankly, I'm not too sure how I feel about a bed thrusting me around in the dark as I sleep but it's supposed to work so I may give it a try.

While I love the idea of having all these electronics, as you can imagine there are some gaps here. Since FitBit, Alexa, and Sleep Number are all made by different manufacturers, they weren't designed to work together. That is, FitBit would not know Sleep Number is also monitoring my sleep and Alexa knows nothing about sleep at all, she just purrs music at me upon request. Technology is wonderful when it all works. It's actually great to be able to monitor my sleep and these devices really do help make me more comfortable but my brain can't help but jump to some worst case scenarios here.

Picture it. I'm in bed, trying to sleep. Chase has hogged the bed and I'm curled up into some sorry little fetal ball in the corner, helplessly trying to get some shut eye. It's two in the morning and I can't sleep so I start tossing and turning, finally drifting off just a little bit when I move my arm slightly, maybe to keep it from cramping or some such thing. The FitBit kicks into gear, shooting a laser like high beam into my eyes, waking me up instantly. The sleep number bed, thinking I'm restless suddenly catapults me into a new sleep position, actually hurling me across the room. Flying through the air, I crash land into the wall but now I'm thinking no problem, I got this. "Alexa, call an ambulance!" I cry out, only to have her respond.

"I can't find Itzhak Perlman 'Ambulance' playing 'Ambulance' by My Chemical Romance instead."

As I'm sitting there, slouched in a ball in the corner of my room now completely unable to sleep, with music blaring, Chase looks at me the way he always does, with that half poodle stare, and that judgemental look on his doggie face. I know what he's thinking, he doesn't even have to bark at me. "More than 14 billion opposable thumbs on this planet and that's the best you can do? Really? Man's best friend, my ass. I should have hitched my wagon to another species. I wonder if it's still not too late. Maybe I could shave my curls off and take my chances with a pod of dolphins. You humans are too stupid for words!"

Sleeping with electronics. "You don't know a thing about this life," indeed.

Until next time...

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Opportunity Weekend - March 2, 2019

A macro detail of a dandelion puff with dew drops on it, Cedar Park, Texas, USA

OK, so I must confess. I am a sucker for dandelion puffs. I just love them and, quite frankly, the way I tend garden, why, they become downright plentiful this time of year. Weed work aside, here are some opportunities for you this weekend:
That's a lot of puff in the wind for you this week.

Until next time...