Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A Broken Step

My friend the robin was back yesterday. When I was cleaning out closets not too long ago, I threw away the box that this bird feeder came in, and I found this little feeding tray that I left behind when I first put up the pole. I thought, why not use that too? So I attached it and the sociable robin was, of course, the first to investigate.

Seen straight-on, robins are rather comical looking. They have such bizarrely narrow heads. Not much of a brain pan, there, but I guess it works for them.

I got some sad news the night before last. Remember Maybelline, the crazy black mutt my dad and stepmother adopted back in 2012? She is no longer with us. Basically she got ill and had to be put to sleep. I was looking forward to seeing her on my trip in February. Even though we saw each other infrequently she always remembered me and got so excited when I'd come to play with her and throw her Jolly Egg. My brother-in-law buried the egg with her, much like ancient cultures used to bury their dead with their possessions.

stray library book turned up in the school book drop yesterday! This one wasn't even from a public library -- it was from another school down in Bloomsbury. I toyed with taking it back, but that would have involved a special trip on the tube which seemed insane, so I just put it in the mail.

We've had a minor household disaster. Remember Olga's pet steps, the ones I found discarded outside another house and brought home to allow her to climb up on the bed? Well, Dave was doing something in the bedroom the other day -- I want to say making the bed, but he never does that, so that couldn't be right! Anyway, he stood on the lower step, with predictable results given that the steps are particle-board and he weighs about six times as much as Olga.

(I'm trying not to allow my annoyance to creep into my writing, but I'm sure you can sense it.)

This is my first attempt at a repair, using a discarded bit of wood I found outside a house down the street. (You'd think the Russians would have some, wouldn't you? Apparently not at the moment, so I had to scavenge elsewhere.) I glued it to the back of the broken step with some Gorilla Glue, and I'll try to put the whole thing back together this evening. I'm not at all sure it's going to work. It wasn't the freshest Gorilla Glue in the world.

To make things worse, when I sawed the bit of salvaged wood with our hand saw, I tore the outer thigh of my pants! (Long story, and I wasn't injured. It wasn't a power saw.) I was in my librarian clothes, which was stupid. So I bought a little iron-on patch from eBay that says "I Love Books," or something like that, and I'm going to patch the pants and keep wearing them, at least for the rest of the school year. That should amuse/perplex/horrify the kids.


Frances said...

Sounds like your DIY skills need a bit of honing! Good it was only your trousers ( pants to you!!)

Moving with Mitchell said...

That feeding tray on the pole is charming (or maybe it's the robin). I miss feeding the birds, but doing so on a terrace along two cats makes that a very bad idea.

Ouch, the steps. Put that in the category of “What was he thinking?”

Yorkshire Pudding said...

A more appropriate patch might have read, "I Love Sawing" or even "I Love Schoolkids" though upon reflection the second one might be of some interest to the school management. "DIY With Steve" could be a popular TV show.

Colette said...

Your creativity is showing!

Bob said...

I'd have made Dave repair the steps, and saved my pants from rips and tears.
Or have Dave lift Olga onto, and off, the bed, each and every time it's called for.

Boud said...

This is how chair rungs get broken, too! Someone steps on to reach higher, finds chair rungs aren't designed to take weight.. At least the steps weren't an expensive item.

Weird about all these books coming to the wrong libraries. I wonder if any of the ones you're missing at year's end are in the local public library? They may be slower to repatriate them.

Ms. Moon said...

Perhaps new steps are called for.

The Bug said...

Well that definitely sounds like something I would do - I'm forever standing on things I shouldn't because I'm so short. So oops to Dave - and glad you didn't do more damage to yourself with the repair!

Ellen D. said...

The step may be sturdier now with that strong brace glued on. Good idea, Steve.

NewRobin13 said...

I think the steps for Olga will be fine after the repair, as long as Dave doesn't try to use them again.
I love seeing that robin there. She must be so happy on that new feeder.
I hope you'll photograph the patched pants.

Sharon said...

You are the most resourceful person I've ever met. I'm betting all your fix-ups work well.
I love that cute little robin and the feeding tray.

Red said...

Interesting how that step was put together originally.

Pam J. said...

I never knew there was a European robin. So cute and entirely different from our American robins. The older I get the more I know I don't know.

Allison said...

I admire your commitment to repairing the steps. Olga would miss them, especially as she ages. Here's hoping the repair holds.

Ed said...

I would think the patch, on the dog stairs, would hold. Gorilla glue is pretty good stuff and doesn't require pressure like wood glue to get a good bond. Most of the weight should transfer to the board. Might even hold up Dave the next time too.

jenny_o said...

My life lately is a series of things gone wrong, a combination of Dave-type and Steve-type disasters from breaking things and then trying to fix them. So, know at least that I chuckled in wry solidarity with both of you :D

Margaret said...

It's so easy to break things yet so difficult to repair them. Ugh! Sorry about the pants but the patch will be a conversation starter. :) That's a shame about Maybelline.

Pixie said...

I'm guessing there were f-bombs floating about in your house last night. Make the bed is probably the only thing my husband does, and empty the dish washer. Dave cooks though, doesn't he?

The robin is beautiful.

ellen abbott said...

That little pin head on the big round fluffy body is funny.

Here's something I discovered about glue. I used wood glue to glue the little pieces on the board on which my bird feeder sits and guess what, it's water soluble which I found out yesterday after it rained and hailed. I glued them back on today with a different glue. Your repair ought to work fine as long as Dave doesn't stand on it again.

Kelly said...

I'm sorry to hear about Maybelline. Too many dog deaths these days. 😔

At least you cheered me up and left me laughing with the dog-step story. Thank you for that.

Jeanie said...

Oh, that's too bad about Maybelline. I'm so sorry.

And about the steps. Poor Dave. I'm sure he was embarrassed about that! Well done on the repair -- I hope it all works out as well as I think it will!

Andrew said...

There is always one roughie per household, and it isn't you.

I don't know why but I've always imagined robins to more red that those you've photographed.

John Going Gently said...

Robins feisty little fuckers

sparklingmerlot said...

I wonder if the book returnee is the same person. I am intrigued now.
I can understand your annoyance at the breaking of the step. I am fed up with hearing "it was an accident" usually from my 6 year old granddaughter. My reply is that if it wasn't an accident I would be very angry but if you watched what you were doing it wouldn't have happened at all. But he is a good cook so we shall forgive him.

Catalyst said...

Your eccentricity knows no bounds.

jenny_o said...

I was so caught up in your steps/glue/saw/pants story, I forgot everything else you wrote about when I commented earlier. Now I remember your news on Maybelline and just want to say I'm sorry, to all who loved her. I'm sorry you, personally, didn't get to see her one more time. But you did a good thing every time you poured your affection on her doggy self, and that counts.

Debby said...

Sorry about poor Maybelline. That's the hard part of pet ownership, isn't it.

The story about the steps made me laugh. Today must be the day to be annoyed with our spouses.

River said...

I have found that iron on patches begin to curl off at the edges after a few washes so when that happened I stitched around them. You could do the same in a contrasting colour if you want it to stand out. If not, the patch could be on the inside of the tear, but then of course the tear would show. What the heck, applique a flower over it!

Steve Reed said...

Frances: It has more to do with our poor-quality saw than anything else, but I'll admit I am not the most skilled DIYer!

Mitchell: Unfortunately we haven't seen much else on that feeding tray. Not yet, anyway.

YP: It would be a very short-lived TV show, since my DIY skills could be summed up in about ten minutes.

Colette: Or desperation?!

Bob: If Dave repaired the steps I would feel that he didn't do it right and then THAT would bug me. Which says more about my control issues than about Dave.

Boud: I don't know. I should ask over there if they stack up incorrect returns somewhere.

Ms Moon: But because I paid NOTHING for these I am obsessed with keeping them going!

Bug: Ha! Yeah, it could have been worse. I'm actually not damaged at all -- just my clothes!

Ellen D: It's holding so far. Fingers crossed!

Robin: I will absolutely photograph the patched pants, though I realized after I ordered the patch that we don't have an iron! So I'm not sure how that's going to work.

Sharon: I love making use of discarded stuff. Our society discards so much that still has a use.

Red: Badly, you mean? :)

Pam: I didn't know it either until I moved to England! American robins are actually a type of thrush. European goldfinches are also completely different from American ones.

Allison: So far, so good. She's so used to the steps now I think it would freak her out to have them disappear!

Ed: Well, let's not try Dave on it again! I love Gorilla glue but I was concerned about this bottle because it's so old it had separated. I had to stir it together again to use it.

Jenny-O: Thanks for your solidarity! And thanks also for the good wishes re. Maybelline. She was such a spirited girl it's hard to imagine she's gone.

Margaret: I think the patch will be good for a laugh!

Pixie: Yeah, I can't complain too much because Dave handles ALL the food stuff -- the shopping and the cooking. I do the cleanup, though!

Ellen: I wonder if all wood glue is like that? I thought Gorilla Glue was water-resistant, but in this case it doesn't matter because if these steps get wet they'll be toast anyway. (Being made of particle-board.)

Kelly: Yeah, sorry to mention a dog death when you've so recently had your own.

Jeanie: I'm not sure he was embarrassed, honestly. I think he was bewildered by my need to repair them so quickly. But I was afraid Olga would try to use them and hurt herself.

Andrew: The American ones can be quite red, but not a REAL red like a cardinal. I like the word "roughie." I think Dave would enjoy being called that!

John: They are quite bold! But not annoying like starlings.

Caro: There's a lot to be said for a good cook! I don't think there's any way for me to track who's returning these books from other libraries, unfortunately.

Catalyst: I take that as a challenge!

Debby: I suppose a certain level of annoyance is inevitable when we live with another person, right?

River: Thanks for the tip. I was thinking I'd sew it around the edges in at least a few places just to keep it secure.