Thursday, April 22, 2004

Sash cord

The windows in our charming old house operate on the rope-and-weight system. I think these are called sash windows. Anyway, we love the house and try to keep it in the original style. We are lucky that the previous owners did so. Anyway, in a couple of places, the rope broke, so the weight detaches and you don't get that smooth action you had before. I have purchased some sash rope and tried to read online about how to do this repair. However, when I approached the job, I realized I still don't have enough knowledge to do it. From previous work on the house I know that things often explain themselves once you get into them. But that often means that, after you realize how to do it right, but you spend lots and lots of time coping with the aftermath of the fact that you did it wrong.

So I went in the back yard and used my reciprocating saw to bevel off one of the outer pieces of the patio framing which had rotted and was sticking up to offer a trip hazard. Then I cut up a bunch of thick tree branches I had previously trimmed. That's called compensating behavior. Fine. I just need to do more research on these windows.

But about a year ago when this problem first came up (you can see, we've been busy!) ... I went to the local home repair supply mega-store and started to explain my problem. The guy nodded knowingly and informed me that the weight had dropped down inside the house and I could replace the entire window with a new vinyl one, and it would have these nice modern twirly devices to open it. When I said I was just looking for rope to repair my window he looked at me like I was an idiot and repeated that the weight had dropped down inside the frame of the house.

Well guess what, they don't design things that way. The weight is snug right beside the window, at about the top of the sill. Because, naturally, there is a stop for it.

Aside from his desire to sell product, this interaction seems to illustrate the First Accepted Explanation principle, practiced principally among dumb people, principally guy people. What you do, in a bizarre and confusing world where you are just trying to fit into the primate hierarchy, is accept the first plausible explanation that comes along, and stick with it. The level of perceived plausibility depends of course on what resources you possess. This approach may have its drawbacks but it will give you a quick and easy response to a broad range of issues.

The cramp in my left calf is almost gone, but I still feel the shadow of it, and it warns me not to attempt too much on that leg. I really do not want to injure myself. Disability begets disability.

My son is in a proto-reading state. I wrote "Put your shoes on" on a piece of paper and showed it to him, and he quickly read it as "Pat your shoes on." I prompted him to decide what the first word should be, given that the others are "...your shoes on." He decided that it must be "Put." Key-reckt! We need to get him some proto-reading challenges at preschool. But I don't know what the best materials or approaches might be.

A friend lent me a couple of CDs.

Last evening I called and left a message for Patrick's parents, suggesting a playdate, but they have not yet called back.
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