Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Vortex of Doom (dum-dum dummmm)

(The song “Remember, O Thou Man,” is available on my Free Christmas Song Each Day page)

A small chunk is missing from the tip of my left middle finger, and the Band-Aid covering it has severely curtailed my typing speed and efficiency. The tingling, for the most part, is gone. It only hurts when I use that finger to hit a key.

I would love to say that I hurt myself trying to stop a car door from slamming on Ben’s little hand, or even that I was playing tug of war with Cassie and she inadvertenly caught my flesh. Either of those, especially in light of the recent dumb van engine killing incident, would have been fine.

Instead, it was pretty much because I lost presence of mind.*

Sir J and Lady J came over to our house for supper, along with their son, O. He’s a year old plus change, and gets around very well. I look forward to when he’s a little older so he and Ben can play together, instead of their current practice of playing separately until Ben decides “tackle baby” is a fun game.

Okay, there are way too many e’s in this post.

After finishing their pizza first, the ladies retreated to Ben’s room with the boys. I mentioned to Sir J that I still wanted to install a cooling fan in our TV stand/entertainment center. It’s a tight space with glass doors on the front, and inside are my surround sound receiver, DVD player, and DishNetwork DVR.

Sir J’s an engineer who gets into both home improvement projects and calculating thermodynamics. I like wiring things and listening to engineers figure out thermodynamics, so this project was perfect for the geek in both of us.

I fetched the fan and the A/C cord from the computer room closet and Sir J confirmed that the voltage ratings on everything matched up. We went to the garage for some wire strippers and electrical tape. Somehow, after installing at least 10 ceiling fans in my lifetime, I had no wire nuts left over. (But I never let any wire strippers near my wire nuts. I swear.)

“If you had a thermometer, you could check the temperature inside there right now,” Sir J said. “Then you could compare it after you put in the fan to see if it’s helping.”

“I do.” I dashed into the master closet to grab it. It’s one of those digital thermometers with a main sensor for indoors and another on the end of a wire for outdoors.

On top of the DVR, the reading rose from a cool 64 degrees (cold closet, eh?) to a balmy 94. On the receiver, the “mercury” hit 103.

In a feat of sheer brainery, Sir J looked at the volume of air per minute that the fan’s box claimed it could move, estimated how much space was inside the TV stand, checked the room’s temperature, and declared, “We can cool it down about 10 degrees in there.”

Other people do cool stuff like that; I just write about it.

He wired up the fan to the A/C cord and I plugged it in. Within a few seconds, the fan was up to speed and running quietly. For a reason I can’t recall, I reached to take it from J’s hand.

Pain shot through my finger before I dropped the fan. I had stuck my finger right in the path of the metal blades, spinning at their rated 2200 rpm. My fingertip tingled and throbbed, blood escaping from underneath the edges of the small skin flap. I rushed over to the sink to rinse it.

I do stupid stuff like that, and I write about it.

Back at the TV, I stood as Sir J and I explained to the ladies, in the kitchen, what had happened. I told him that I had talked to the Radio Shack salesman about a local source for safety mesh to cover the fan.

I saw sparks fly as Sir J snapped his head back.

“What was that?” Shannon asked.

The smell of an electrical burn filled my nostrils.

“The wires touched,” Sir J said.

In our haste to test whether the fan would make much noise, we hadn’t wrapped electrical tape around the connections. When I dropped the fan, the wires must have nearly touched, only to finally meet when Sir J again held it aloft. On one side, they had blown apart; on the other, they had fused together.

A few minutes later, as I applied a Band-Aid to my wound, the J’s gathered up their son and their things. “I wonder if I shattered bone in my fingertip,” I said.

Lady J laughed and rolled her eyes. I do tend to dramatize things for comic effect.

Then I write about it.

* My use of the term “lost presence of mind” can be attributed directly to my childhood memory of a letter posted on a deer camp barracks wall back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. More recently, I found it online, and it still makes me laugh.

13 Responses to Vortex of Doom (dum-dum dummmm)

  1. *chuckling* Sorry for the accident bud.. but it was kinda funny.

    And yeah, we all lose our “presence of mind” once in a while.

    Have a great day…

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  2. “skin flap”
    This seems to be a recurring theme in your posts.

    My husband did the exact thing with a cpu fan, ok it’s plastic but still it brought a tear to his eye, or wait was that mine?

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  3. You are quite dramatic, dear. How you turned a fun evening of having pizza with friends into a blog post of doom, I don’t know. I wish you would hurry up and write one about Benjamin visiting you at work – now that was blog-worthy!

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  4. Dave – Some people get really mad at themselves and let things like that ruin their night/day. Had I *truly* hurt myself… well, then it might have been a different story.

    Pamalamadingdong – I didn’t realize I had used that term a lot. Yikes. That’s kind of gross.

    Wife – Remember some of the events and topics I turned into columns when I reported for The Weekly Vista? Consider this an homage to some of those.

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  5. I get in the habit of cutting the tip of my right thumb off every few months while cutting vegetables. You’d think I’d learn to rest the knife against my finger knuckles intead of taunting the blade with the fleshy tip of my opposable digit, but that’s just not the case.

    And if you think there were too many E’s in this post, you should check out a book called A Void by Georges Perec. It’s a nearly 300-page mystery that’s written ENTIRELY WITHOUT THE LETTER E. Talk about your circuitous prose. (I’ve only ever made it half way through before putting it down — once the novelty wore off. I still want to finish it.)

    Thermodynamics ROX!

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  6. Apon further consideration, (you must ask why someone would do that), I think you should take another reading from somewhere inside the entertainment center that’s not directly on the DVR tuner. Just to get an idea of the air temp throughout the whole thing. That’s the temp you’re gonna bring down, not the high heat coming from the DVR. That will most likely remain high. Mark, you really can tell a story. Glad I was part of this one, even if you did get stung.

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  7. As a fellow fan of melodrama…I loved this post. And it was only made better by The Wife swinging by to roll her eyes at your antics. The eye-rolling has always been my favorite aspect of my own melodrama.

    Although I managed to keep my fingers out of the fan blades, I did install some cooling fans on the back of my similar stereo cabinet. Knowing the likelihood of a finger slicing incident, I opted to go with two, plastic-bladed CPU fans. However, that means I had to use a CPU power supply to convert the power down to to right voltage…and that sucker is far louder than I would have liked. Our cabinet sounds like a jet taking off when it comes on. You’ll have to let me know how your 120v fan does and if it’s worth my effort (and risk to bodily harm) to trade up to “real” fans.

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  8. Simon – Ouch! Stop doing that. The way my dad cuts fruit always makes me nervous. He puts his thumb on one side and the knife, held by his fingers, on the other, then pulls the knife through the fruit toward his thumb. My dad’s knives are always VERY sharp.

    I gotta check out that book without the letter “E.”

    Josh – Yeah, the ambient temperature in there probably isn’t quite that high, but I’m pretty sure when I checked it in the past, it sat at about 85.

    Mokker – Of course our wives’ reactions are half the fun of embellishing a story.

    The fan I have is very quiet (I got it for half price). Dare I say, whisper quiet? Not quite, but once it’s in place, we won’t hear it at all. Don’t worry; I’ll keep you updated.

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  9. Ouch. Bad news…cut your finger. Good news…you didn’t insert it fast enough to do some real damage to a location further up your finger.

    Oh, and the thing regarding dad and knives…remember that he works outside, and has tougher skin than only the blue collarest of workers. I loved using that term…almost makes your skin crawl doesn’t it?

    But…had he been working on your fan, and inserted his left ring finger, it may not have been cut. The direct result of it already being shortened by a previous losing of his mind’s presence. Ooooh…that one was even better. Probably made your stomach turn huh?

    Ben plays “tackle baby.” LOL That reminds me. The other day, as in every other day, LC was talking about Ben. He’s been saying that for Christmas he wants a “whole wide world of Dinosaurs, so I can go play with them at Benjamin’s house.” Well, on one of the 400 times that he has said it, I said, “You sure do mention Benjamin alot LC, you really love him don’t you?” He got a sincere look on his face and said, “Yes…I do. I know he tackles me sometimes, but he doesn’t mean it. He’s my cousin, and we’ll be friends forever.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that he mentions him at least 20 times a day…sometimes much more than that.

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  10. Charles – Yeah, I grabbed it by the housing, and that finger just happened to dangle into the fan.

    Dad’s skin is like leather. I like “blue collarest,” by the way. It’s all playing with words. Some of those considered the master poets did it all the time. That’s where we got some of the words we use today.

    That’s too funny about what LC said. They come up with this stuff out of nowhere, and it seems so out of place for such a tiny body and high voice. Those two definitely will be close always, even if they’re not close (huh?).

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  11. Ditto, the Mokker’s first paragraph. Excellent recountment of episode. I especially enjoyed the stripper/nuts comment. And the “… and then I write about it.” So sorry ’boutcher boo-boo. Forget the book with no ease- I mean- Es; it’s not going to do you any good unless you plan to type it. Even then you’ll get a cramp in your boo-boo finger and it will start to get cold when all the blood (or what there is left in there) runs back into your hand from holding your finger up so long. And then you won’t be able to type D or C. Which means that, not only will you not be able to post about the Capitol of our country, you won’t be able to call the President by name. Get it? If you don’t, let me know so I don’t look i_ioti_. (no d or c) Get it? I’m still on those big fat pink pills in case you’re wondering where my brain is…

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  12. Linda – Reading through your comments, so far it sounds like maybe you’re still on those pink pills. Oh, wait, yep, you are. That explains it. ;-)

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  13. I want some of whatever La La is on. Sounds fun to me.

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