Hard-Headed Women

Here’s to our youngest daughter, Karalyn the Seattleite, for hands-on replacing the battery in her car just now.
O’Reilly Auto Parts didn’t want to install it due to its placement below the engine’s computer, so she did it her damned self.

If you’ve ever replaced a car battery, you know how tough it can be getting the terminal clamps loose, but I listened to her muscle through, cajoling it where I would be cursing. Reset the computer, and now she’s back on the road.

This is what comes from raising independent, strong-minded women. (Not that I’d have had much choice, given the one I married. But I like to think I had some hand in it, maybe as a cheerleader.) Good on you, Karly!

About Exposing 2nd Graders to Our History of White Brutality

About exposing 2nd graders to our history of white brutality:

Hearing that worry from Florida parents, my 1st thought was, “You have a point. It’s an awfully young age to face horrors.”

My 2nd thought was, “WTF, Lester? What about all the 2nd graders who aren’t white? Who live with that history daily?”

I like to think of myself as a woke ally. But that 1st thought reveals how deeply racism and classism are embedded in our society.

Last year, when I started monthly donations to Equal Justice Initiative, I also became aware of PushBlack, and subscribed to their Messenger updates.

My resultant awareness of unending cruelty toward American minorities is almost unbearable. I flinch with each new story. But once aware, how can you look away?

That we’ve gone more than 3 centuries without that brutality erupting into a race war and ethnic genocide says much about how carefully our government, often through the FBI, has managed to suppress or destroy minority leaders.

“Mene, mene, tekel upharsin.” The handwriting is on the wall.

Woke is about simple human decency.

But a byproduct, for those not yet ready to care about total strangers, is stability and peace.

Today It Was Plumbing

Today it was plumbing.

Our water has been off since the big freeze, and when Christopher, my son-in-law, replaced the cracked filter housing under the home yesterday, I discovered this plastic nut behind the tub had split, spraying water back there. So we went without water another day until I could get to the hardware store & try to find something to replace that elbow.

The guys at both hardware stores weren’t much help in this case. After pointing out the plumbing section, they had no clue as to what to do. But when I spotted this copper to PVC connector, *click*, the PVC to PVC connector on a line under the floor came to mind, and here we go, fixed.

I post these little repairs, things normally outside my bailiwick, not so much to say, “Look what I can do!” But instead because each reminds me of the time and love people have poured into teaching me things.

As a kid, I was often told, “You’re smart, but you have no common sense.”

But tightening that copper elbow, I heard the voice of my departed stepfather saying, “You’ll probably want to twist it one more time around. Hmm, another. Okay, it can probably go another, just to make sure it’s sealed. I know you worry that you’ll end up with it too tight to get it turned back to the bottom, but if so, you can always take it off and try again.” This is the guy who taught me simple things like not to block my own light. And something about auto and small appliance repair.

Then there’s my son-in-law, who introduced me to the quick connectors in the first place. While hacksawing the old elbow off, and then trimming it even with a knife, I could imagine him saying, “Hey, there’s something inside that pipe that you should probably fish out.” (It was an interior piece of the old connector.) But mainly, “You’ve got this, Dad.”

And my daughter, Christine, who’s the real plumber, and who’s can-do attitude rubs off. I’m not too proud to be instructed by my own children.

So there you go. the elbow’s fixed. There’s a simple satisfaction in restoring water for my family. That Jennifer is proud of “her man” feels good, too.

But mainly I’m just thankful for those teachers. For everyone who ever taught me anything. You’ve turned a kid with no common sense into a fairly commonsensical one. You’ve set me up to succeed. And investing that time and patience into me is the very definition of love.

Thank you. I’ll try to pass it on.

Peppermint Has a Bite!

Peppermint movie poster

We all know the old trope: “When bad guys killed his family, he set out for revenge!”

Except in this case the “he” is “she”; Jennifer Garner plays the lead; and the plot is more multifaceted than you might expect.

Don’t get me wrong. This is absolutely a formulaic, violent, bloody shoot-em-up. But I enjoyed every minute.

Garner’s presence, in this plot, puts Stallone to shame. Only Jason Statham or Matt Damon could have played the role as engagingly. Maybe Liam Neeson. (Note that the director did Taken.) Possibly Eastwood or Bronson in their prime—assuming their script was this well written.

Time for me to go looking for more Garner films in this vein.