Entries Tagged 'Family' ↓

The Great ShamWow Experiment

I’ve been getting water in the basement now, on and off, for several years.  It’s a rather annoying problem, as I cannot point to any single location where it comes in.  There’s a crack in the foundation wall which we have Drylok-patched multiple times, that sometimes springs a new leak.  Lately it’s come in, dripping, down a water pipe.  But what I can’t live with is the stuff that must be coming up from the bottom, because some mornings after a rain storm, even after doing my best to block/trap the known leaks at the wall, I’ll have a puddle running across my basement, all the way to the wall.  So either it leaked so badly from those spots, around my blockades, that it crossed the basement, or else it’s coming up from the floor.  But at this point there’s too much water to identify where it might have started.

Over the last few days in this area we’ve had some serious flooding issues, and I knew I was in for an uphill battle.  I was keeping the water contained, but slowly losing ground – it was now seeping under the stairs for the first time.  And though I had a bucket under the known drip, and had thrown my work towel down in another spot I knew to be pooling, I knew that to be inefficient as I’d have to go swap it out periodically.  The more towels I used, now moving the wife’s stash of real bath towels, the more I’d potentially ruin.

So off I go to the hardware store with the plan being to score a some kitty litter as a last defense against the water going under the stairs.  While there I figure I’ll grab some more work towels to throw around.  Know what I find?  A box of “ShamWow” towels, those little miracle thingies that are supposed to be oh so super absorbent.  “What the heck,” I think, eyeing a box of 8, “I’ll give it a shot.  They’ll take up less space when I’m not using them.”

Got home, set up kitty litter barricade, then set to work laying ShamWows out on all the known pooling areas.   Posted on Twitter and Facebook about what I was up to, and had somebody tell me that ShamWows are actually “soaked in dehydrated water to make it look like the guy is squeezing more out”.  I don’t even know what that means.

The results?  Came down a few hours later and it was clear that some of them were completely saturated, some were almost completely dry.  So I moved the dry ones to more unsure locations, and wrung out the wet ones.  Those things wring out great!  One or two good twists and all the water comes right out of them – can’t do that with a bath towel, you can wring those out a dozen times and you’ve still got a mostly wet towel in your hands.  I wrung these things out three times over the span of the evening, and each time they returned to doing their job.  They didn’t seem to lose their absorbancy or become super saturated or anything.

Next morning? Water safely contained.  No new flooding.  One or two ShamWows saturated, wrung out, set down again. Area under the stairs safely drying out.

It dawns on me now, with time to think, that should there be a next time I’ll be ready for it — Get everything up off the floor, and line floor with ShamWows.  By watching to see which towels saturate first, I’ll be able to identify my leaks.  Sure you could do it with paper towels – but they’d saturate too fast, and if you missed the start of things you could come downstairs to nothing but mushy paper.  Similarly you could do it with regular bath towels, but they’re the opposite problem, they won’t show the leak fast enough and you’d have to be peaking under them to see which are getting wet.  These ShamWow thingies do a good job of reflecting their status in color, and at least in theory the one that shows a change in color the fastest would be the source of my biggest leak.

Then again that’s just the scientist in me talking — I’ve got the experts coming it on Monday to tell me how to fix the damned leaks in the first place, as there’s much greater peace of mind in “no water” than in “I know where the water is coming from”.

Oh, sure, *now* all 3 of them want to play

Went ice skating yesterday at the Frog Pond.  Was going to be an interesting experience given that I haven’t been on skates in 20+ years,  and Kerry does not skate.  K, the 6 yr old, has been roller skating, so I expect her to do what she always does, stay on her feet and be pulled around.  E, the 4yr old, I expect to be terrified and not want to do it.  No idea what B, the 2yr old, will do.

At first it was as expected – K went all around the rink with frequent stops along the boards, while E screamed from the minute her skates touched the ice and sat back down 30 seconds later saying “I want to go home.”

B, however, was a surprise.  “My turn!  Me next!” he screamed, trying to run for the ice on skates.  Well, at first I tried holding his hand and towing him – no good, he doesn’t have nearly the balance.  Then I try putting him up along the rail to pull himself along.  Still no good, he’s too short.  

Then I did one of those silly Dad things.  (A long time ago, when we only had K, I once put her on my shoulders while we tried to fly a kite.  At the beach, in the sand.  Yeah, you try running in the sand with a small child on your shoulders and not dying.)    This time I bent over, held my son up by his armpits, and then began skating.  He went bananas. Good  bananas, that is.  His skates were going every which way, I’m not even sure they were on the ice at all points, but he didn’t care, he was flying.  With frequent stops at the boards (for Daddy this time), we made it all the way around.  

So when it was E’s turn again, I decided to try the same thing.  Luckily she’s taller so I wasn’t bent over quite so bad.  But guess what?  She loved it too!  So now here’s dad, first time on skates in 20+ years, skating laps bent over 90 degrees like something out of the Olympic speedskating trials, carrying 40lbs of weight in front of him.

I can’t move at all today, but who cares, it was a great time.  I would never have imagined that all three of them would love it (gotta love when  you tell the 2yr old boy it’s his turn and he says “Yay!” and jumps off the bench).  Looking forward to finding some time to go again.

[BlogEntry] Is anybody still reading?

I realize I haven't kept this blog up, that's mostly because FIOS blocks on port 80 which means I lose the primary "www.morinfamily.com" url. I keep saying I'll move this over to a real host and get it out of the basement but I never seem to have the attention span — my mail still goes through this domain and when I do it I want to do it quickly so I don't lose mail.

So I'm curious, is anybody actually subscribed and wondering what happened? Or do I just get the occasional search engine traffic?

[BlogEntry] Everybody Happy

So Katherine understands things, and she explains to me on the way in to Disney: "Now Daddy, I know that this is mostly people dressed up in character suits. How will we know which one is the real Mickey Mouse?"

I explain to her that, like Santa Claus, Mickey will likely be wandering around the park dressed just like the others, so we'll have to keep an eye out.

Well, Friday night we go to one of the live shows, and it is a very impressive magic and special effects extravaganza that involves Mickey in his sorcerer's apprentice costume doing any number of very cool illusions, including appearing on the other side of a mountain. After the show I say to Katherine, "You know, I bet that was the real Mickey doing the show. You think?"

With an exasperated sigh she tells me, "Daddy, of *course* that was the real Mickey Mouse. There's no way somebody dressed up in a costume could have done all those tricks!"

She's right, of course. 😉

[BlogEntry] Disney Stuff

At Disney with the kids for their first visit. Having a great time. Whenever you come back to the hotel they always say "Welcome home", like you never left. I wonder if it dawned on anybody that that gives a very weird Hotel-California sort of vibe.

Your meal plan comes as a fixed set of "quick service" points (think fast food) and a fixed set of "table service" points (sit down, be waited on). Today at lunch, at a quick service place, I saw a manager come over to a cashier with a customer and explain, "She can use her table service points if she wants to. Micky actually prefers that." Those were his exact words. Of course Micky prefers that, because the average cost of a table service point is probably about $25, and a quick service point is maybe $9, so if this lady wants to waste her table service points at a place where you take your own food back to your seat, they're not going to stop her.

The level of indoctrination among the staff is amazing. They gave Kerry and I "Happy Anniversary" pins, and I swear, every cast member said "Happy Anniversary!" When one didn't, and another cast member came up behind her to say it, she got this "oh crap" look on her face and actually said, "I am such a bad cast member!" It really gave the impression of a Mickey Mouse with a whip somewhere in the back room watching them all on video so he can dole out the beatings later.

Kids are loving every minute of it. Saw Magic Kingdom, had dinner with the princesses. Just got back from the Electric Parade, which is no longer called that.

I'll try to post more as I'm able. Quite a few pictures taken.

[BlogEntry] So much for that engineering degree

So the other day while mowing the lawn, I knock over one of the lights that goes up my walkway. You know the kind, drive a stake into the ground every few feet.

So I stand it back up, take my hand away, and the light goes off. Rats. I straighten it back up again, light goes on. Take my hand away, light goes off.

Damnit, I've gone and broken the thing, something is loose.

I touch it again, light goes on, then I very slowly move my hand away. No good, as soon as I pull my hand back, it goes out again.

I went through this process maybe half a dozen times, getting frustrated that I've broken the thing.

Until I remember that these lights are solar, light-activated lights, and that every time I grab it, I am covering the sensor and thus causing the light to turn on. When I pull my hand away I uncover the sensor, and since the sun is still up, the light goes back off. I look up and realize that the other 8 lights are off, and have been right along.

[BlogEntry] Welcome to Boston, Sweetie

"Daddy? I just realized something. When we say 'potty', it sounds like we're saying 'party.'"

"Yeah, that's called living in Boston. You're gonna want to get used to that, it's going to come up a lot."

– the 6yr old discovers her accent

[BlogEntry] Don't you dangle your participles at me young lady!

"Daddy? What was that game you were playing while I was asleep on your ipod?"


Just got back from taking the kids to their first Shakespeare show. At 6, 4 and 2, that's not too bad. I'm not sure how much they understood – unlike a video that they can play over and over again, if you miss something in live theatre, it's gone. You can't rewind or watch it again.

Details up at the Shakespeare site

[BlogEntry] Oh no, my daughter has "Grey's Anatomy" disease

Explained over the weekend, by the 6yr old:

"Daddy? You know how on tv sometimes, something will happen, and then the people will repeat it? I think I have that. I think that's why I like to talk so much."

It dawns on me that she must be referring to the "summing up" that occurs in the last 5 minutes of so many shows these days.

[BlogEntry] My Shakespeare Kids

All the Shakespeare stuff goes on the other blog, so when it involves my kids I have to remember to come back and link here.

Here's one

And another

Last one

Those all took place on the same morning, and are shown in chronological order.