Biff Rambles On About … the Class Sealing, a Chance of Showers, Plumb Loco, and Failure to Launch

Biff Hiking #4

It has been quite a week here in Biffville (population: knackered).

Don’t get your hopes up. It wasn’t exciting or interesting. No, it was just one of those weeks where it seemed to be one thing after another.

But I’m pretty sure that is the very definition of life: one moment flowing into another, one after another, until, when viewed from afar, they make up less a collection of individual tiles and more of a mosaic.

But I didn’t come here to wax philosophic. (Wax on … wax off … ) You paid the admission fee. You deserve more than my boring admissions. Though, I warn you up front … this is a long post. I apologize in advance. Feel free to download the Cliff’s Notes for tonight’s post.

A Case of the Mondays

Monday was rather nondescript. In fact, I can’t even really remember it.

A Touch of Class

Tuesday and Wednesday I got to spend in class, so that was cool. I got to learn cool new things that, unfortunately, I won’t get to apply to my job in the near future. But I’ve had the training and they can’t take that away from me!

However, my brain’s notoriously bad memory sure can. I am my own worst enemy in that regard.

But Wednesday was interesting for another reason.

My Cup Runneth Over

It all began while I was taking my shower. (Kindly stop thinking of me in the shower! And, not to disappoint you, but I shower fully clothed in an 1800s style men’s striped swimsuit and a handlebar mustache).

No, the shower only got interesting when it was over.

I couldn’t turn off the water!

I have one of those shower knobs you pull out to turn  the water on and push back in to turn the water off. Well, it wouldn’t push back in. Try as I might, it wouldn’t budge.


I got out of the shower, dried off, got dressed, and ran out to the curb to turn off the water to the house. Luckily I have a water mains key. Experience has taught me that this is a very valuable thing to have around. Wednesday proved that to me in spades.

I went to my class and went the entire day without really thinking much about the shower. I have repaired these showers before.

I was not trepidatious in the least … even though I should have been.

Later that evening, after dinner and a quick trip to Home Depot to get the required replacement part and an extractor tool to remove the old faucet cartridge with, I rolled up my sleeves and got busy.

But try as I might, I could not get the old cartridge out. I tugged and pulled and strained and used every bit of muscle I had. It wouldn’t budge. At one point, out of desperation, I was using a pair of pliers to try and tug the thing out. Well, the pliers slipped and since I was putting so much pressure on them, they closed with a great deal of force, pinching the inside of my index finger in the wire-cutter portion of the pliers.

The pain was exquisite! Luckily, it did not bleed much, though it made a very impressive-looking blood blister under the skin.

I struggled a bit more … one handed … try try and remove the recalcitrant faucet cartridge. The innards of the cartridge finally pulled out … but left the brass sheath firmly stuck in the pipe.

I knew what the problem was. The faucet cartridge sheath is a brass cylinder that fits perfectly into the brass pipe leading to the shower. Over time calcium deposits had formed between the cartridge and the pipe, essentially “welding” it in place. So, my recalcitrant cartridge was … well … re-calcified.

I finally admitted defeat and called a plumber.

Plumbing the Depths

If you have never called a plumber to come out to your house after hours for an emergency repair, then, brother, you have missed out on a chance to transfer a large sum of money out of your bank account into the plumbing company’s coffers. But I didn’t mind. I could not bear to think of starting the following day without a shower … or coffee.

The plumber showed up and was a jolly chap and, after showing me the vast array of specialized tools tucked away in his toolbox specifically for extracting uncooperative faucet cartridges, he got to it.

It did my heart good to see how mightily he struggled trying to remove the nearly unremovable cartridge. I did not feel so bad now. His very expensive, professional tools were doing no better than my cheap, flimsy extractor from Home Depot. I wandered off to leave him alone with his Herculean task. He was eventually triumphant after he used some sort of hand auger that looked like a steel ice cream cone (the whirly kind).

Soon all was right in the plumbing department. I showered him with doubloons and sheckels and soon he was on his way.

But the evening was not done with me yet.

A Trip to Boot Hill

In all of this chaos, my laptop decided that it had lived a good and full life and that it now wished to go out on its own terms.

Which it did with dispatch … by dispatching itself. Its dying words were kind of a wheezing, “Cannot . . . . find . . . . boot . . . device.”

If it had been a cowboy computer breathing its last, it might have implored me, “Don’t <cough cough> let me die <wheeze> with my bootable devices on.”

And so it didn’t. It left the world in much the way it had entered it: desperately looking for meaning on the hard drive of life.

I took it apart and gave it a once over. I unplugged and reseated all of the paper-thin, tiny cables. I made sure the memory was seated properly. I unplugged the battery, waited, and plugged it back in. But my resuscitative efforts were in vain. I know it is the hard drive, but it might as well be the flux capacitor. Sure I could go out and buy a new hard drive, but it would be bootless . . . i.e. it would not be bootable.

So, I rummaged around in my closet and produced this ancient computer that I loaded with Ubunto (Linux) a few months ago. At that time I just did it on a lark. I had no idea that one day soon it would become my primary computer due to a battlefield promotion.

I will probably go out and buy a new laptop this weekend. Hey, I like Ubuntu as much as the next nerd, but let’s face it: LibreOffice Writer is MS Word’s poor country bumpkin cousin five times removed.



  1. I’ve had that happen a couple of times on Windows computers. One I was able to fix by messing around with BIOS and the other one I could not boot to save my soul. But there were files I needed…a lot! So I set up a remote connection and pulled the files the old fashioned way…with DOS! Little did I know I would ever have to use DOS again but it came in handy that day. Those computers died as a result of Great Dane abuse. No no, the Great Danes were not abused. The Great Danes abused the computers. Solid State Drives for me from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha! Yes, I don’t believe any laptop could stand up to a great Dane’s attentions. And, wow! I haven’t heard DOS mentioned in quite some time! I loved DOS back in the day. It was very powerful and allowed me to do everything I needed to do. Windows has been steadily making it harder and harder to do the things I want to do.

      When I get my new laptop, I’m going to attach the SATA HD out of my dead laptop as an auxilliary drive and see if I can access the files or not. Hopefully, I can!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Must be that time of year. A couple weeks ago my cell phone died a very similar death. I’m still figuring out all the bells and whistles on the new one. Too much plumbing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha! Yes, too much plumbing no doubt. They always make things so complicated nowadays.

      And don’t even get me started on planned obsolescence! I’m pretty sure that is what is happening to all of our electronic gizmos.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, that certainly was quite a week. Seems like when it rains, it pours, and keeps pouring out of your faucet. Glad you got that all fixed up via the plumber, and also that your computer/laptop woes are over. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Of course I’m impressed that you’re so committed to the striped men’s swimsuit of yore that you’d put on a handlebar mustache each time you shower. Way to stand by your convictions.

    Oh, and all the rest of the post was interesting too . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I’m committed to something, I’m all in! Of course, the warm water in the shower often loosens the adhesive of the handlebar mustache, but I just have to keep reattaching it.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Checking in as probably your only reader who has used the word “Ubuntu” in a non-computer-related context lately. I live in Cape Town, and I’m taking a class in Xhosa, which is the home language of most African people here. (And also of Nelson Mandela.) Ubuntu comes from Xhosa and Zulu, which are closely related, and it means something along the lines of humanity/compassion/community. It’s used frequently in English here as well. We were doing a translation exercise, and our teacher asked us to say (kind of despairingly, I thought), “Where is the humanity?” To which we replied, “Ubuntu buphi?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! I did not know any of that! Thanks for telling me about that. I have wondered a few times where the word “Ubuntu” came from as a Linux variant, but the computer and technical world is full of strange and often “made up” words, that I never really bothered to dig into it. Thanks for enlightening me!


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