This is actually the second time I’m trying to write this out, because I
got about halfway done the first time and hit something - I don’t know
what - and magically the browser refreshed and lost all of my text. This
is pretty typical of how Saturday went for me, so it only stands to
Saturday was an interesting day, if at a minimum for the amount of bad
karma I think I worked off.
The morning found Jenn and I outside working in the yard, catching up
on the gardening. Illig men only know one kind of gardening, which is
the professional application of Roundup weed
and grass killer. It’s almost as though we are genetically predisposed
to only be able to kill plants, yet we are extraordinarily adept at it.
I promise you - I can kill any plant out there. I learned from the
At the same time I moved into my house, my parents moved into their
condo so I inherited all of the groundskeeping tools they had collected
over the years. The prize possession, of course, is the
Sears stainless steel sprayer, circa 1978. Still
in mint condition, this sprayer served my father for many good years
destroying weeds and plants of any and all natures, and it was my turn
to take on the mantle of Chief Plant Killer and continue the legacy.
I pulled the sprayer, like a sword from its sheath, out of the original
cardboard box with the receipt still inside. I got out the concentrated
Roundup and mixed up a gallon of the stuff. While I was doing that, I
realized that, in all the years my father used that sprayer, we kids
were never allowed to touch it. When I say “never allowed to touch it,”
I don’t mean “never allowed to use it.” I mean, never allowed to touch
it. Dad put the Fear of God in us about that sprayer - assumedly due to
the weed killer that was used so often in it, but I can’t recall exactly
- as though VX gas would erupt from its bowels and melt us to the ground
if we so much as looked at it sideways.
I finished mixing the Roundup, latched down the lid, and started
pumping to build up the pressure.
The pressure never built up.
That’s when I remembered Dad throwing a small plastic bag in the box
with the sprayer and saying some “leather” thing needed to be replaced,
and the item he just threw in was the replacement.
The replacement item was hard plastic, so I didn’t get the “leather”
reference. I took the pump out of the sprayer and took it apart.
You’ve probably never taken a sprayer pump apart before. I know I
hadn’t. There’s a lot of grease in there. I reckon there was close to
three gallons of unrefined petroleum in that pump, and right there in
the middle was a ragged gasket, ripe for replacing. I’m not sure how to
describe what it was that I was dealing with, so here’s a diagram:
That gasket is supposed to push the air around in there when you pump
on the handle, so it needs to be air-tight. Presumably the grease is in
there to help with that, and with the actual sliding of the handle up
and down. I removed the old gasket and fit the new one on… but putting
that menagerie back in the pump cylinder was a little less than easy.
About 10 minutes later I had grease up both arms to the elbows, on my
pants, and all over the sidewalk… my right thumbnail was bent
backwards in half… but the pump was back together and ready to go.
I washed up and took the sprayer out back to start doing the duty. I
got probably two-thirds of the way around the back yard when a bird
shit in my face.
Not on my shirt, not down my back, not on my head… in my face.
I didn’t see any bird anywhere, so I started thinking: there are a lot
of vectors that have to come together just so for something like that
to happen. I had to be facing the right direction, the bird had to be
flying towards me and release the turd at just the right time… while I
wiped the crap from my nose and glasses, I started thinking about where
the bird must have been.
Taking some general figures - the bird traveling at 72kph (the high end
of average for a pigeon) and flying around 150m high (not uncommon for
the height of a migratory songbird formation) - and ignoring stuff that
makes the math a pain (wind resistance, my [negligible] height from the
ground in relation to the bird, etc.) - I applied some basic
figured the bird was 1100m away from me when it actually released its
filth and it took about 5.5 seconds to fall and hit me. While I’m in a
diagramming mood, here’s one of that, too:
I washed up [again] and finished killing off plants in the yard without
too much event, though it was really hot out so it wasn’t a whole lot of
Later that afternoon, Jenn and I went out and about doing errands.
Merging from I-5 south to I-205 north, I got pulled over by a state
I’ve never been pulled over before. I was surprised it was me, too,
because I checked and double-checked my speed to see if I was speeding
and - surprise, surprise - I wasn’t.
Turns out my rear license plate cover was dirty and he wanted me to
clean it when I got home.
Whew. Crisis averted.
After all that, I figured nothing else bad could go wrong, so I bought
a lottery ticket. I mean, hey - if all that can come together in a
ridiculous menagerie of impossibility, I could win the lottery, right?
Didn’t even get one number. So at least things are back to status quo.
Sunday I bought new license plate covers (they were all scratched up so
I couldn’t clean them) and we watched 13 Going On
maybe we watched the movie on Saturday….) which was a cute, if
movie. Enjoyable, if anything, for the Jennifer Garner factor. Plus a
And now I’m at work, and I’ve marked off another weekend I’ll never
reclaim. Maybe some of the bad karma points I used on Saturday will help
me out this week. Of course, I’ve got daily team meetings every morning
for the project I’m working on, which serve only to waste my time and
everyone else’s on the project, so maybe I still have some bad luck to