Weekend ruminations

December 8, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
Dec. 8, 2019

One night this week, I parked by my house and started picking my way across the yard to the front porch. In the dark, I put my left foot down on something that was neither flat nor stable. (It was a little chunk of concrete, I found the next morning.) My left ankle rolled sharply, and I yelped in pain. It’s been slightly tender ever since.


On Wednesday morning, I woke to a text from someone who works for my landlord:

Hello! Lowes has called and said they will be delivering the new machines today between 12pm-2pm. We’ll be meeting them there to install it.

This was welcome news. I’d reported a problem with the combination washing machine and dryer some time in early November, after the washer failed to drain. The rental management agency took a look at it and, after receiving the needed parts, dispatched workers to fix the appliance on Nov. 20.

When I got home that evening, however, I found a notice saying company employees had been unable to access the house, which made no sense, especially because the property is near the agency’s offices. On the 22nd, I got this text:

We came to fix the machine yesterday but found that the transmission is shot and that part is no longer available. We are going to replace the machine. I’m trying to have it picked up and installed today (may not be possible) but wanted to check with you first. Do you prefer we get it in today?

Yes, I answered. Later that day:

I just heard from the maintenance supervisor. They don’t have a similar machine in stock so it has to be ordered. We’ve ordered it and will reach out as soon as we have a delivery date.

And there things rested for about 10 days.

This Wednesday evening, I found a brand new combination washer-dryer. I have yet to try it out — that’s probably on the agenda for tonight. (Yes, I’ve got a rocking Saturday evening in store.)


President Very Stable Genius! dropped these pearls of wisdom on Friday:

We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms where you turn the faucet on — in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it — and you don’t get any water. You turn on the faucet; you don’t get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. It’s dripping out — very quietly dripping out. People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So, EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion.

You go into a new building or a new house or a new home, and they have standards, “Oh, you don’t get water.” You can’t wash your hands, practically, there’s so little water comes out of the faucet. And the end result is you leave the faucet on and it takes you much longer to wash your hands. You end up using the same amount of water.

So we’re looking at, very seriously, at opening up the standard. And there may be some areas where we’ll go the other route — desert areas. But for the most part, you have many states where they have so much water that it comes down — it’s called rain — (laughter) — that they don’t know — they don’t know what to do with it.

So we’re going to be opening up that, I believe. And we’re looking at changing the standards very soon. And that’s a little bit like the lightbulb, where you get a bulb that’s better for much less money. We go back — but you have the other alternative. And you’ll keep the other alternative with sinks and showers, et cetera, too. But that’s been a big problem.

The part that the Internet picked up on, naturally, was — well, this afternoon, #ToiletTrump was trending on Twitter.

I ran across this whole to-do early on Saturday morning. It wasn’t until hours later that I discovered that Trump had made his remarks at a White House event meant to tout the administration’s “small business and red tape reduction accomplishments.”

The president’s rambling monologue… sort of make sense in this context. But it’s not amusing to contemplate the damage the administration could do by reopening the way to make and sell wasteful faucets, plumbing fixtures and lightbulbs.

The best #ToiletTrump tweet I saw summed things up nicely:

In the same set of remarks, it’s worth noting, Trump talks about the federal government’s battle with California in an effort to override the state’s stringent fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles.

Everything here is of a piece with Republicans’ longstanding indifference if not outright hostility to the environment. The recklessness is terrifying, given that the United Nations warned this week that the planet may be approaching a point of no return on climate change — a phenomenon, incidentally, that conservatives strenuously attempted to deny for years before they began claiming that it isn’t caused and/or can’t be ameliorated by human activities.

As long as the economy keeps growing, Trump and his enablers seem to think, we don’t have to worry about low-lying coastal areas being rendered permanently uninhabitable due to rising seas. What a smart approach for us to take with the only inhabitable planet in the universe!

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