Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Still snowing every day.

A friend offered me a new (very old) refrigerator. I called Matt, my personal chiropractor, to help me get the refrigerator which was perched on a dock directly across the lake from the cabin. Second to its beauty, the most distinguishing characteristic of this refrigerator is its extreme weight. It must weigh 100 pounds more than the one we already own. The water is still low which means that the inside of the boat is farther away from the surface of the dock than usual. We circled the beast a few times while we thought about how to get it from the dock and down into the boat. Eventually we got the thing on the dolly and started to lower it, with me in the boat to help ease it’s decent. Fortunately I realized it was too heavy and got out of the boat. We pondered what would happen if we let the wheels of the dolly hang over the edge of the dock. Pondering got us nowhere, so we simply let the wheels of the dolly hang over the edge of the dock. The refrigerator dropped, freely into the boat. For a brief moment I thought it was a successful drop - a happy accident if you will. Then it toppled over and landed on the outboard motor. At that moment I thought that perhaps I had just ruin both the refrigerator and the motor. We both got into the boat and water poured over the transom. We both got out of the boat. We gingerly got back in the boat and tried to move the giant appliance. If we moved it a few inches one direction it would have slipped and broken the handle (the throttle) off the motor. After many failed attempts, the chiropractor put boards under the monster fridge and we were able to slide it onto the front and middle seats of the 14 foot Gregor aluminum boat that leaks, without damaging the 15 horse power Evinrude, four stroke, outboard motor. We made it safely back to the cabin and even managed to get Moby Fridge (it’s white) out of the boat and into the cabin. This was very difficult but much easier with the help of the artist Alice Shaw. I hooked it to the gas (yes, a gas refrigerator) and it lit! But it did not draw which means it would not chill. I would have asked, "why can't you just chill?" if I didn't already know. I spent a few hours this fine, cold day cleaning out the flue, replacing the burner, and replacing the orifice – the tiny hole that allows just the right amount of gas to the burner. The good news (also the bad news): it works as well as it did before I "fixed" it. Not well. The other bad news is I ripped my thumbnail halfway off, from the side, and it hurt quite a bit. In spite of the unworky condition of the refrigerator, I put the fridge in place between the wall and stove with the help of Chicago based photographer Greg Stimac. It fit! But the door would not open. And so on…

You might want to take a break before part 2. I’ll wait.

The same night as the fridge delivery, Dr. Matt and I had also scheduled stove disposal. The stove seemed like a piece of cake (a huge piece of cast iron cake) after moving the leviathan. It went so smoothly in fact that I decided to throw in a last minute challenge. When we got to the end of the lake where Matt’s truck was waiting, I neglected to tie the bowline. When we lifted the stove and pushed it against the dock, naturally the boat drifted away. Eventually the gap was too big and the stove fell into the lake. Laughter ensued. Stove parts spilled into the lake. An oil slick emanated from the derelict appliance. Matt heroically entered the recently thawed lake and put the stove on the dolly. Fortunately for the (sort of) doc, we had (sort of) docked in a shallow location.

I think that’s enough for now.

The fridge below looks like Moby Fridge but Moby Fridge is cleaner and much bigger. I borrowed the photo from the Internet.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Snow in the Sierra

I missed my normal Nampa exit on my way to California from Boise so I decided to take the second Nampa exit. Three hours later I was right on track. Three hours is normally 1/3 of the way to my California destination. In fairness I did stop to look for birds and to escort a rattlesnake across the road. I was very happy that I had a camera when I saw the snake and as you can see I took some pictures.

I need a new camera.
Another highlight – besides getting lost and seeing a rattler – was knocking my bicycle of the roof of my car while entering a drive-thru. Miraculously, it was not hurt and neither was my rack or car. The woman on the intercom kept asking if I was ok though. Happily, I was not on the roof when it happened so I was fine.
Now I am in an undisclosed location in the Sierra Nevada. I drove to town to get some plumbing parts and check my Email.
It has been snowing all day and much of yesterday.
I am covered in mud from crawling under the cabin.
The water lines are under snow so I have no running water at this point.
I disconnected the gas in an attempt to get to the bottom of a nagging propane leak so I have no gas for cooking, but I should soon.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Racist Haircut

The problem with going to an 8 dollar barber is you end up getting an 8 dollar haircut.
Would that that were the only problem with the 8 dollar barber who just cut my hair. A student told me that he is known as, “the drunk barber,” but now that I’ve met him I call him “Vince the Racist Barber.”
First, the hair cut: I asked him to cut it short and with space between my fingers I indicated how much I wanted left on my head. Vince in turn showed me a length between his thumb and forefinger and asked, “this much?” “Yes,” I said, and then he picked a different length and again asked, “this much?” This went on for quite a while. I said yes to every option. When I was finally asked to sit he simply said, while running his fingers through my hair, “cut it off?” “Yes.” Then he asked if I was from Boise. “No, I moved from Chicago,” I said. “Too many blacks,” he said disapprovingly - as you might expect from a racist barber. He seemed to want a response, so I said, “there are a lot of them.” “50%,” said Vince the racist barber. He told me that Boise is a good place to grow a family. He also told me that Chicago has too many nationalities. “Chicago has too many Mexicans and Chinese and Mexicans” (he said Mexicans twice). Vince the Racist Barber is from Spain. “…not so many Mexicans in Boise but Nampa – lots. They’re bad. They’re thiefs!” With my short hair and long beard, I am starting to look rather Muslimish. As I listened to the sound of his straight razor sharpening on the leather strop, I hoped Muslims weren’t another group Vince had a problem with.

I am writing this in an open and affirming cafe with two homosexuals at my table. One of them told me that he likes Vince but he doesn’t think that Vince cleans his hair cutting equipment. That would explain why Vince the Racist (and xenophobic) Foreign Barber was covered with hair at 8:30 in the morning.