A while back, I had an interesting day, marked by some significant but mundane events.
Event #1: I went out and bought my wife an expensive birthday present. The romance is still alive. The present was a new freezer. It wasn’t planned. The compressor on our current 35-year-old one was still working fine, but we discovered that the insulation had gone to the point that one corner was badly rusted and leaking condensation water onto the new laminate floor. Three stores had the exact same freezer on sale, two for $798 and one for $799. We bought the more expensive one. On the assumption it might be a better freezer. Or maybe because the store is owned by a Canadian company that we have used before, that has been in business longer, and that we hope might be around long enough to honour the warranty. We made some concessions to our advancing age—it is a 17-cubic-foot, upright, frost-free machine, so we don’t have to bend over, lean in, and unload the whole freezer whenever we want to find a piece of meat or defrost the freezer. The old freezer lasted thirty-five years. Due to advances in technology, the new one is expected to last ten years. The salesman explained that this is because the new one was manufactured overseas, endured a long sea voyage, is made of cheaper materials, and has a computer. There is no reason to add a computer to a simple piece of proven technology that has worked fine for decades. But any system is only as strong as its weakest link, and in many cases that weakest link is now a fragile computer.
Event #2: To make the day even more interesting, I touched up the paint on our newly painted house. Apparently if you paint your house white, it is not a good idea to let the grandchildren play outside with a black marking pen.
Event #3: Our daughter is cleaning stuff out of her condo. Among the items she decided to get rid of was a top-of-the-line food processor that doesn’t work anymore. Maybe the computer in it crashed. She had brought that over to me a few days earlier so I could take it to the recycling facility along with some other stuff. But then she opened another cupboard and found the accessories for the processor. They included an attachment with razor-sharp blades. Her three-year-old son picked it up and asked, “What’s this?” She immediately took it from him—and cut her thumb badly on the blade. So, on the interesting day, when she brought some more stuff over to my house, she brought over the processor attachments, which she didn’t think it was safe to leave in her house. (I am not sure why decluttering her place means cluttering up mine, but I digress.) I very carefully lifted the blade attachment out of the back of her car and then reached back in to get a black plastic attachment. It apparently also had a blade on it, and I sliced a one-inch-by-half-inch flap off my middle finger. It bled profusely and throbbed painfully. I am thinking of disinheriting her. All of the grandchildren came rushing over to me—but not to offer sympathy or help; they just wanted to see the cut. I don’t know whether I am glad or embarrassed that of the three of us who picked up the attachment, the only one who didn’t cut himself badly was the three-year-old.