Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Feeling in the Dark

I have a couple of night-related imponderables.
1) Why is daytime weather described as "sunny", but nighttime weather isn't called "moony"?
2) Why do we tell people (usually our children) "nighty-night" when we put them to bed, but, when they wake, we don't say "morningy-morning"?

Saturday, January 05, 2019

A Hypothesis

This week, my garage door opener got finicky.  Again.  I'm on my way to a solution, though.

I finally have enough data points to ponder that it acts up (opens but doesn't close) only in the winter.  I searched online to see if other people have the same problem, or how to fix it.  They do, but I'm not sure they thought of the right way to fix it.

Suggestion one was to check the sensors to see if anything is blocking them.  Duh.  No, nothing fell between the sensors in the 30 seconds since I opened the door and backed the car out.

Suggestion two was to check the battery in the opener.  Duh.  The battery works; that's how the door got the signal to start down in the first place.  It just went right back up again.

Suggestion three was to use the hard-wired push button on the garage wall.  Duh.  That's how I opened the door.  (This is how I've been dealing with it.  I pull my car out of the garage, go back in to use the button on the wall, then exit the house through the front door.)

Then, my moment of random genius hit.  I've been having a similar problem with the remote car unlock button on my key fob.  I thought it might be the fob battery giving out after nearly 10 years.  (I like saying "fob" almost as much as Hobbes liked saying "smock".)  Sometimes, it works with one press of the button.  Sometimes, I have to try two or three times.  Here is the moment of genius:  when do these problems occur?

Incidentally, this post might seem long, but my mother was enchanted once when I wrote her a letter which included my use of the scientific method to test whether the problem was with the light bulb or the lamp, so you should enjoy this.  (It was the bulb.)

The garage door opener always works with the button but sometimes doesn't with the remote.  The remote malfunctions when I'm leaving the garage but not when I'm arriving home.  The fob always works when I unlock the car but sometimes malfuctions when I want to lock it.  What difference is there?  My hypothesis is this:  the battery is cold.

When does my remote not work?  When the car has been sitting in the garage overnight or other long period.  When does it work?  When I've been driving home from work with the heater on, or when it's not winter.

When does the fob not work?  When I've been driving to or from work with the heater on low.  When does it work?  When it has been in the house or my pants pocket (near body heat), or when it's not winter.

I'm going to start experimenting.  I'm going to keep my remote in the house, which is much warmer than the garage, and take it out to see if it works properly even when the garage and car are cold.  I can test the key fob by running my car heater at a higher temperature.  (I'm not sure I can test the variable of why the same car temperature is warm enough for the remote to work but not warm enough for the fob.)

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Oh, the Weather Outside Is Frightful

I have shoveled snow three times in the last week. I think it has been a week.  I've rather lost track of time.

I was off from work on Mon. Dec.  24 (my usual day off in the winter) and Tue. Dec. 25 (for the Christmas holiday).   I worked Wed. Dec. 26, although it snowed most of the day.  My boss kept saying he wanted us to go home early, but the phone kept ringing (several of the calls were from him), so I left at the usual time.  Roads were okay enough to drive, and fellow drivers were fairly sensible.

When I got home that evening, it had just started snowing in my neighborhood.  When I got up the next morning (Thu. Dec. 27), I discovered that most of Albuquerque had missed out.  I texted my boss that I could give the roads a couple of hours to melt (or at least soften) then head to Santa Fe.  He told me not to bother, as the internet was down.  In fact, I could take off the next day (Fri. Dec. 28) as well.  Since I had a couple of vacation days left (in reserve for events such as this), I did so.  (Note:  I can't really say how much snow fell, as the wind was so bad that had drifted from 1/2" in some places to 4" or more in others.)

The weekend wasn't bad.  City streets were clear, although my neighborhood roads were nothing but compacted snow & ice.  I really wanted to go to the grocery store, but my paycheck was at work, so I stayed home.

I had Mon. Dec. 31 off as my usual day off and Tue. Jan. 1 off as the New Year holiday.  There was another blizzard overnight Mon./Tue., with the same result of drifting snow in variable depths.  Still, to be a good neighbor and do my due diligence to please the insurance company*, I shoveled my walks.  I shouldn't have bothered.

Yesterday, it snowed lightly but constantly for about ten hours.  We got two inches this time.  (No wind -- yay!)  I texted my boss to ask what the weather was like in Santa Fe.  He told me to stay home again on Wed. Jan. 2.

Then came the dilemma, "Do I shovel now, or wait until the morning in case more falls overnight?"  Laziness won out, and we didn't get any more snow.  I shoveled this morning.  It was light and fluffy.  Still, I wasn't going to push it, so I shoveled the sidewalks, enough of my driveway that I can get my car out of the garage (if I ever go back to work), and a path from the front door to the mailbox.

As I type this, the sun has come out, and the compacted bits of snow on the sidewalk (from the numerous dog-walkers in my neighborhood) are melting.  The areas I shoveled might even dry before evening!

Mind you, the road will never be plowed, so getting out to the connector streets and the highways, which are always plowed, will be iffy.

* No one else on my street shovels their walks, but I don't want to be the one guy who gets sued by someone who slips & falls.