Tuesday, January 25 2022

minnies birthday, food, and the dishwasher soap dispenser

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Did you know we have a birthday today? It's little Minnie's birthday, and she's turning 1.

A minute ago I rose out of my chair and crept into the living room to sneak a picture of her napping on the living room rug. She wasn't sleeping at all, but instead chewing the skin off of a tennis ball. It doesn't take much to send Minnie into a worried frenzy, and just seeing me enter the living room made her spring to her feet and run over to her brother. She began to clean Ollie's teeth - her go-to strategy for coping with stress. Ollie growled, Ziggy got mad, and Marissa temporarily awoke from her nap on the couch. All I was trying to do was take a picture of Minnie, and as a result I've made a huge mess.


Minnie cleans her brother's teeth in the morning, in the evening, and whenever she is stressed out. Ollie shows his appreciation by snarling.

What kind of birthday do you think Minnie wants? I'd imagine she'd like a long break from the potty training diaper, even if it means a few accidents in the house. And while we're giving her an accident pass for the day, maybe we should break out her favorite poop rug and let her do a full bowel cleanse. Or maybe we'll just settle for letting her pick out a new toy (online shopping, since big pet stores still make her a little nervous).


Happy birthday, little Minnie.

Thinking about Minnie's birthday took me to last spring. A few months after she was born, we'd jump in the car and make the epic drive to Pennsylvania. We stayed in Pittsburgh, and I loved the local food so much my new puppy memories are rivaled by my Pittsburgh food memories. In which of these pictures do I look happier? Here's a shot of me holding our new puppy Minnie.


Here's a picture taken a few seconds later, diving head first into a Primanti Brother's brisket, corned beef, and french fry sandwich.


I think Minnie wins, by a whisker. But Pittsburgh delicacies still visit me in my dreams.

Food food food. All this talk of food is making me hungry, and we're not even close to lunch time. I think it's time to grab another cup of coffee and refocus on the morning.

Sip. Happy Tuesday. How are you holding up in the great deep freeze? The air outside these walls is negative 2 degrees. The air tastes thin and dry. The little cuts on my fingers tingle each time they strike this keyboard.

Yes, I have some cuts on my hands. I don't meant to brag, but I got them last night while I was fixing something - fixing something with real tools. You know that little door inside the dishwasher that holds the soap pod in place? A few months ago, the little plastic latch broke off. Getting ready to sell our house, we're targeting big, valuable fixer projects like this one, and given my expertise with tools, machines, and working with my hands, I stepped up to the plate.

I'm kidding, of course. The only part of this process I was actually comfortable with was ordering the replacement part on Amazon. The new soap dispenser sat undisturbed on the coffee bar for a whole week before I worked up the nerve to break out the tools.

Marissa left for a dog agility class in the evening. It was the perfect time to swoop in and surprise her with a finished project. Replacing the square soap dispenser sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, scanning air tight bevel along the smooth plastic, there wasn't a screw to be found. I had to remove the entire front cover off the door, loosening each of the eight torx screws lining the outside. Rummaging through Marissa's tools, I managed to find a fitting torx screw drillbit, but I couldn't figure out how to attach it to the drill, so I just held it in place with a pair of pliers. It was very tedious. Rather than a real mechanic, I felt more like an inmate secretly chiseling his way out of a jail cell with a stolen drillbit.

I peeled back the plastic from the metal cover. It released a stale whiff of tap water and old soap. Slipping my hand between the plastic and the metal, I felt six more tiny screws holding the dispenser in place. I rummaged through Marissa's tools again and found a socket wrench. Working with my arms shoved inside between the slat in the door, I methodically removed each screw turning the socket wrench an eighth rotation at a time. I cut my hands up in the process. It was a fun time.

Marissa returned home. I squandered my chance to surprise her with a finished product, but she was happy to help. She quickly figured out a way to completely remove the door cover, and she was happy to set up her drill with the torx bit. A good example of working smarter instead of harder, I had the project wrapped up in a few minutes after she stepped in.

A winding road to get there, but just look at how magnificent it looks. Cuss words hung in the air, sweaty torx screws rolled at my feet, and my fingers trickled with blood. I didn't make it look easy, but by God I got it done.


Don't ever say that I didn't fix anything around here. That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a good Tuesday.