I Fixed That Pipe

Remember a few days ago when I replaced our upstairs faucet, and the new drain pipe was too short to reconnect to the P-trap, and I swore a little and mused briefly on the nature of plumbing?

I bought an extension piece of PVC, cut it to size with a Dremel (because my old hacksaw broke*), and wha-la.

Then I cracked an old plastic nut reattaching the cold water connection. That whole connection was dodgy anyway, so I bought a replacement for that, too.

Faucet done! I stuck a bowl under the whole shebang to test for slow leaks and there hasn’t been a single rogue drop. I have successfully controlled one of the five classical elements, like Poseidon before me.

Now I’ll replace the other bathroom faucet with the right strategy and parts upfront.

* I also bought a good new hacksaw. The label says it’s a 5-in-1 tool. The fifth use is “cutting through baleful existential entanglements”, so money well spent.

Year of Ties

Last January 1st, I declared a Year of Ties.

I work at home and have no special reason not to dress ultracasual. I could get away with tracksuits and Crocs and all kinds of sartorial sins.

Back when I had cubicle jobs, I was that guy who wore oversized dress shirts, $40 shoes, and ill-fitting Khakis. Such slovenliness was a juvenile rebellion against a corporate world I felt compelled to reject. This was feckless of me. The corporate world didn’t care about my outfits and I looked like a man who couldn’t dress himself.

Now that I’m proud of my writing career, I need to dress according to my personal idiom, much as Sir Lancelot needed to exit the castle via rope-swing because it was right for his idiom.

What is my idiom? That’s hard to pinpoint, and part of what I’m trying to discover by writing this blog: what exactly is my WHY? (Follow that “WHY” link, by the way. It’s life-bending.)

My best idiom guess: I like creating meaning in my world, sometimes out of nothing, and then sharing it with a little fun, a little style, and a little mock-heroism.

Because the meaning I create is life-or-death for me — literally the difference between wholeheartedness and withering despair — and if I’m going to share that heavy-duty meaning with others, I don’t want to be a self-righteous blowhard about it.

An amusing, stylish, mock-heroic uniform, then. An ardently worn necktie.

Much as simply lacing up sneakers can activate my enthusiasm for exercise, wearing a tie gets me ready to write. It’s also easy. Most days I wear dark jeans, an Oxford shirt, leather shoes, a necktie, and maybe a blazer. I don’t need to think about it. I just get dressed and feel natural.

The Year of Ties worked for me. Another Year of Ties begins.