Saturday, July 2, 2011


Wear a boilersuit and people will automatically presume you know what you're doing. By wearing this while fiddling with my bikes, and my neighbors' bikes (pictured), I am asked for advice on all kinds of interesting stuff. And by by realizing I have somehow become that guy with the tool box and the boiler suit, I need to solve the problems I am presented with in order not to loose face. So now those pumps that adjust how fast the doors close around here are all fixed. It just took some trial and error.

But those plumbing-related issues... . I just can't build up enough enthusiasm about them. Running water is the source of so many ills.

Distinguishing between work clothes and lounge wear became second nature those years out in the woods. Washing clothes was such a big, horrid drama, it had to be kept at a minimum. Being a smelly, unkempt hermit for so long made me really fussy about stuff like this. Now I dislike doing even the smallest physical chore unless I am properly dressed.


Oldfool said...

Civilization appears to be wearing on you.
I have running water and occasionally I run out and revert to a bucket and a dipper. It's so easy that I forget to get more running water. My wife has hot running water I do not. For me to have hot water requires a conscious effort but it is easy and I don't ever have to repair a boiler.
I am finding more and more that modern conveniences are not only often not convenient but a nuisance as well.

Northmark said...

Ha! I've lost hair, gained weight, started using glasses. Rough life, the civilized one.

I just read this:
"When I look down from aeroplane windows at the complex urban landscapes below it is in slack-jawed admiration for the people who create and maintain them, with a parallel gut-punching terror at the thought of the cack-handed, jerry-built anarchy that would reign if I myself had been involved at anything approaching an executive level."
(Tim Moore: French Revolutions, Cycling the Tour de France, 2001.)

dogsled_stacie said...

"Work clothes"?!?! What are those?! :)

I'm torn... I want running water, but don't want to pay the extravagant costs for it and to maintain it... yet I want things to be a bit easier - can only haul around buckets for so long before the back gives out. Then again, I like things simple, but where to draw the line!??

Northmark said...

Ah, that never-ending dilemma. I remember a piece in MushingMagazine about "Log Cabin Hippies" who start off with ideas about creating a gravity-fed water system, with the auther concluding "no one ever ends up doing this".

I've thought about using an IBC as an underground (and frost free) rainwater container. And then use some kind of pump. But I always end up overplanning and underperforming.

I really do recommend rainwater catchment, though, if you don't already have it. It doesn't have to be complicated at all. That way you have easily accessible water, at least during summer.

Eileen A. Brodie said...

There is something about being "suited" for the task. Even if the task demands effort that is a stretch. I have always admired the blue honesty and strange credibility that work clothes give to the workman. The "coveralls" as we call them in North America seem to have more technische and flair when worn in France, or Amsterdam, Italy or Denmark. On our soil, folks tend to think first of an auto mechanic, and there is no glamour there.
I bought a floor length blue working smock from France at a surplus store years ago, and when I button it over my regular clothes, I just feel ready. Burn holes from welding, grease from bikes, sawdust from woodworking, epoxy from boatbuilding. Nothing daunts it. It lends a focus even to a task I am masquerading about. I didn't know anyone else felt this until recently a friend showed up at our property, wearing Ford official coveralls we had given him years ago, almost as a joke. He arrived with a truck full of implements and helped us conquer wild brush that had taken over our property. And he looked every bit the professional. (A good friend, too, to do that on his day off.)