Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Summer of Broken Stuff

It doesn't matter what the calendar might say; for myself and many other educators, today is the last day of summer. Since the public schools were required to start no earlier than tomorrow by the Legislature, both the schools and my college start on the same day--no more buffer week, where the former started before the latter. I haven't been able to do too much with the Dread Sked yet, as everyone's loads are still being solidified at the college, so I'm just taking each day as it comes, knowing that it will all be settled soon.

It's really been quite an enjoyable summer--lots of time to relax and hang with friends--but there has been an unusual underlying theme from almost the beginning: This has truly been the Summer of Broken Stuff. Never can I remember a time when so many things have fallen into disrepair. Here's the list as I can remember it at the moment:
  • The main entrance to my neighborhood has been closed since mid-June. They're widening the main road next to us, so some downtime was not unexpected, but they closed it with little notice, requiring me to scramble and email all the students for the rest of the week to give them alternate directions. (Some people missed the email or got lost anyway.) Despite the fact that another street farther down in the project (to a neighborhood which has many more options for ingress and egress*) was only closed for a month or so, we remain blocked off and seemingly forgotten-about. An email to the city yielded not even a response; my council member is the next one to hear from me.

  • Kevmobile 1.2 broke down on two different occasions over the summer. It really got to the point for a while there where I wasn't sure I could trust it, but, after an uneventful month and a half (and last weekend's roadtrip to Austin), things are finally back to normal for a while. *knocks wood*

  • My cable went out at pretty much the exact moment that Dad and I completed the contstruction of a new entertainment cabinet in my living room; it would be out for over two weeks. The repair to the outlet was quick and easy, and my Internet wasn't affected, but the bill would get messed up; that's just now getting resolved.

  • The heavy rains we had in June and July made the ground so saturated at my house that it messed up my underground power lines, and I started having brownouts. After a call to the city, the lines had to be rerouted to above-ground, encased in something that looked like a vacuum-cleaner hose (with special plastic barriers across the driveways of my house and the one next door). They didn't get returned to their underground location for nearly a month.

  • My alto case was already broken and basically being held together by the custom-fit case cover that goes over top of it. During the summer, the zipper on that case cover broke as well.

  • About a month or so ago, I developed a small crack in the corner of my windshield. Thankfully, it hasn't gotten any bigger for a few weeks now.

  • And finally, my washer hasn't been agitating or spinning for several weeks now. It appears to still get clothes clean, but it's definitely not working right.
The latter three things aren't fixed yet due to the diminished finances of summer. The ironic part is that, now that I'll have money to fix everything, it'll be tricky finding time to do it while I'm teaching in schools all day. I'm betting that a windshield-repair place might do weekends, but I'm less confident that a washer could get fixed in that time frame. At any rate, I hope that all my stuff will be considerate enough to not break down quite so much at once in the future.

*I love using words like those because of the "exotic" factor; they just sound fancier than "entrance" and "exit." But I still say that "egress" could also be the name for a female egret.

This guy took the "Boomer" part of "Boomer Sooner" a bit too seriously: An Oklahoma University fan became verbally and then physically abusive to a guy who committed the egregious "offense" of walking into an Oklahoma CIty bar wearing a Texas Longhorns T-shirt.

When Grandpa goes bad: William Tinnen was charged with cocaine trafficking this week, which wouldn't be all that unusual except for the fact that the North Carolina man is 93 years old.

Unfortunate criminal of the week: A guy who was already on probation for drugs was set to be arrested for questioning in a new case. When officers arrived to take him in, he asked if he could put his pants on first; they obliged and followed him to his room. Unfortunately, the dresser drawer where he kept his pants also contained his bag of pot.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Check out Grip, a live video with professional trampoline gymnasts who simulate various computer effects.


James said...

You've had heaps of rain in June/July? Has it been drought breaking rain for you?

We've had some awesome rain for the last three months too and are well and truly on the way to breaking the drought... it's good stuff!

Kev said...

Yeah, I think they officially considered it a drought-buster; they even lifted the watering restrictions we'd had for over a year now. (It was down to two days a week, and only between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. But some areas near me were down to one day a week, so it could have been worse.)

It's been drier for a couple of weeks now, but we still get a little rain every now and then.