Another Day, Another Bloody Sump Pump And A Handbrake

So!! How’s your new year so far? If someone were to ask hubby and myself right now we’d respond “Crappy, thank-you”. At first we thought it was going pretty good. Our New Year’s day was quiet and nice. Nat’s birthday was nice. This morning started off nice. Our plumber called while Nat was out clearing the driveway of the snow that had fallen overnight, and wanted to know if we’d be available within the next hour. He was going to drop by and install that new sump pump that arrived prior to Christmas and we’d have a new back-up ready to go again. Nat was thrilled. He was finally going to get this whole affair finalized.

As soon as Bart arrived, the two men trotted downstairs and got to work immediately. Within twenty minutes or so, Bart was trotting back upstairs – guess he needed something from his truck. Back down he went and within another twenty minutes he was back up again. Believing very faithfully that things were going okay, I started to fix lunch for Nat and myself. No sooner had I finished and was in the office waiting for the final word “Your bill is in the mail”, Nat was soon pacing back and forth behind my chair. “What are you looking for?”, I asked. “The serial number for that new sump pump”, he replied. Not wanting to actually say those words “Yeah, I’ve got it right here“, knowing Nat was obviously not in the joking mood, I went for the “Major Receipts” box where I store all of those papers, receipts, etc. that contain vital information should it ever be needed. I grabbed the “Heating, Air-Conditioning & Sump Pump” file (having added the words “Sump Pump” after that last episode). I found the receipt and shipping information from the latest sump pump that was shipped to us in December. No serial number. “Why do you need the serial number?”, I asked (knowing full well what was coming). “That new sump pump isn’t working”, replied Nat. Those infamous words that come back to bite us. We knew the events that happened in December – wherein the Ridgid folks sent us a new sump pump instead of a possible broken switch – were too good to be true. Apparently once installed Bart couldn’t get the new pump to work; it could only drain the water very slowly and was starting to get warm. Not a good sign, apparently. He was asking if we could get in touch with the Ridgid people again to see how we could resolve this whole affair.

What were the odds that getting in touch with Ridgid again would be easy. Well, it wasn’t. We called the toll-free number and it rang, and it rang, and it rang. Thinking it was lunch time and the boys broke to grab a bite, we tried again later. Same result – continuous ringing or a message that put us on hold for an eternity. At this point I told Nat to give up. I’m now thinking they weren’t open and that we’d have to try again tomorrow. In the meantime, I had managed to find this company’s web site and left a message on the “Contact Us” portion hoping that we’d get a response.

While all of this was going on, Bart was on his way out the door to see about other jobs, but took the old switch with him from the original sump pump that broke. He knew of a plumbing guy that stored parts and was going to check to see if he had some sort of replacement. When we called Bart to let him know that we weren’t having any luck getting a hold of the boys in Ohio, he returned with a replacement switch and repaired and re-installed the previous sump pump. Now thinking that we’d be home free for a day or two, we soon settled in for what was left of our afternoon. Nat worked on some crosswords and I hung out in the office playing with a program I knew about and finally had the chance to try – Handbrake. My success in that department is noted below.

With supper over and Nat now settling in to watch the news, he was listening for any noises coming from the sump pump room. This has become a habit of his ever since moving into this old house. It will come to no surprise when I tell you he’s a bit of a worry-wart. I can’t blame him, actually, with what’s gone on in this house, and the troubles we’ve had!! I’m not sure what made him very aware of something, but suddenly he’s running back down to the sump pump room and within several minutes was back upstairs explaining that the pump with the replacement switch wasn’t working very efficiently. He managed to make an adjustment to at least get it running a little better. It was very evident by the look of his new sweater and now dirt-covered blue jeans, that he was mucking about in that bloody sump pump hole! Guess who’s coming to our house tomorrow, again!!!! This is getting to be one saga I wish would just end!!!

As for my day – well it was going pretty good, despite what was happening downstairs. A long time ago I had heard about Handbrake but have never had a chance to try it out, until today. Since there was nothing else for me to do upstairs while the men were down, and since I’m having such success with Apple TV I thought this would be a good time to convert some of our home movies. I had already converted them from VHS format to DVD – using our VHS/DVD player/recorder – but thought to myself “Hmmmm, why not put them onto the computer where we could watch them through Apple TV??” You may ask “Why not just play them through your DVD player”?  Well, I might replay “What’s the fun in that? With the touch of a couple of buttons we can watch our home movies without leaving our chairs to put the DVD disc into the DVD player”. Besides I’m looking for any excuse to use this program wherein it converts any video format to any Windows or Mac format. If you care to know the technical lingo – it’s an open source, multiplatform, multithread video transcoder for MAC OS X, Linux and Windows.

Once downloaded, along with the VLC program, I popped in our home movie DVD, launched the program, selected the DVD, pressed “Start” and voila, I was on my way to having our movies converted to the MAC OS X format, wherein it would be played through iTunes and then I could pick it up on the Apple TV. It was pretty simple and ran like a charm. I ran to the living room, turned on the Apple TV and there it was “On The Road …” (the title I gave it) and within loading time Nat and I were going down memory lane while watching the videos we took on our Scotland trip in 2001, and our cross Canada trip in 2002. What a treat. Now, the old brain is wondering what else it can get it’s grubby little hands on to convert!!


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