Considering Attachments

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: attach/attachment. It can be about love or anything else!

I’m going to approach this from the “anything else” angle. Not that I have anything against love, I’m all for love, but other kinds of attachment are on my mind this week.

Actually, the first thing that popped in my head when I read the prompt was the accident in the Fort Point Channel tunnel in Boston where large concrete panels fell from the ceiling, killing a passenger and injuring the driver of a vehicle. I know, the prompt is about “love” and I immediately drift toward a catastrophic accident. That’s because I remember that the accident was caused by the fact that the panels weren’t properly attached to the roof of the tunnel. I will always remember that story because something wasn’t properly attached and a person died as a result. Attachments, physical mechanical attachments, matter.

The other thing that makes me remember that event is the fact that shortly before that accident, my wife and drove through that tunnel to pick up a friend from England at Logan Airport. My wife is no fan of tunnels, she’s a terra-firma-beneath-my-feet kind of girl. I love tunnels. I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Pittsburgh and if you don’t love tunnels, you don’t get to Pittsburgh from the southwest.

One of my life goals is to take a train that travels through the Cascade Tunnel in Washington. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be making that trip without my wife, but it’s nice to have goals.

Anyway, I told my wife that tunnels are safe and that we had nothing to worry about in driving through the Big Dig tunnels in Boston. Shortly before one of our trips through those tunnels, she stepped in the room as I was watching a documentary on the Big Dig on the Discovery Channel. She came in just as they were talking about how many gallons per minute were being pumped out of the tunnel system to keep the Atlantic Ocean from spilling into the construction site. It’s hard enough to convince her that tunnels are safe without stories like those two.

The other reason attachments are on my mind today is that I’ve spent the past two evenings on a ladder trying to dislodge some rather large ice dams from the gutters on the southeast corner of our house.

I’m not worried much about damage. I built the roof(s) that connect at that corner, and I knew that ice would be a problem. One roof is over our family room and the chimney from our wood stove penetrates the roof about four feet up from the gutter. According to the building code, you can’t place insulation up against the chimney pipe, so I knew we would have snow melting when a fire is burning. The snow melts, but when the temperature outside is in single digits (as it has been lately) it freezes again before it gets to the gutter. For that reason, I put Ice & Water Shield on the roof well above the level of the chimney penetration.

Ice attaches to the surfaces on which it forms pretty well. You can work to get it lose, but you should expect some collateral damage. Trust me, having worked in the home improvement contracting industry for a while, I can tell you that water may enter your house as it backs up under your shingles. On the other hand, water will definitely enter your house through the hole you put in the roof with a chisel. I chip away some of the ice on/over the gutter, but only to create a flat surface on which I can apply Calcium Chloride pellets. The pellets do all the work, but they are difficult to attach to the ice.

Shelf Diagram
Both methods start out happy but screwing into the side might eventually end badly.

On Saturday, I promised to help my daughter install a microwave above her sink. This will involve attaching shelf support brackets to the sides of the cabinets on either side of the sink. I will attach solid wood brackets by screwing into the brackets from the inside of the cabinets. She’s in an apartment, and I’m pretty sure the cabinet sides are made of particle board. Screwing into particle board will not result in a reliable attachment. The microwave falling into the sink isn’t likely to kill anyone, but it would make for a bad day.

The last attachment I’ll talk about is also one that occurred this week. MiMi, the smaller of our two Tuxedo girls, attached herself to my chest in an effort to avoid our dog. MiMi has surgically sharp claws which penetrate skin easily. It’s like my chest was the fuzzy side of a Velcro strap. I was able to get her off quickly, but I have a series of little scabs over my right lung today.

47 thoughts on “Considering Attachments

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  1. Note: After writing this post, we discovered that we wouldn’t be able to install the microwave over the sink. In keeping with the spirit of SoCS, I resisted the urge to edit the post. Also, I had already made the illustration. I’m not sure, but I hope that gathering photos and preparing an illustration aren’t somehow violating the SoCS theme. It says we shouldn’t edit. Is embellishing editing?

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  2. this was so great! I immediately thought geek Dan would be talking about attaching files to some….computer thing. The tunnel thing cracked me up because every time we go through one (I am not a fan, either), I think of Michael Keaton in Night Shift driving through a tunnel and asking the guys he was driving if one of those little tiles didn’t look like it was loose. Every darn time–makes me laugh.

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  3. I have a cat named Stella who likes to kneed my belly. I look like I have scabies most of the time. Thanks for the ice dam reminder. I used to have that struggle when in the Midwest. Glad I only have to worry about hurricanes now.

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  4. I can’t say this post is very romantic , Dan . I’ll have to wander around my house today ( Valentine’s Day , no less ! ) checking out all the attachments . Maybe my can opener attached to the bottom of the kitchen cabinet could use adjustment . :)

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  5. Interesting about the ice dams. I saw on the news, they were throwing stockings filled with calcium chloride up on roofs. Since my husband once worked residential claims, he had criterion for what our roof would be like and I’m guessing there are no troubles. The occasional icicle over the back door, and to be honest, I’ve never looked at how or why they form, and can’t even envision what the roof looks like over there…I’m curious now, and may look at it later, but the wind is literally howling right now…But he knocks em off so no one is stabbed. We haven’t even had proper snow or ice this season.
    That Mimi is adorable! Just precious! (Claw-marks aside!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We have used the stocking method. It works pretty well but you have to remember to take the stockings out before spring. I forgot once and one got snagged in the downspout and everything imaginable got stuck on it. It’s snowing here, again and it’s heading to the other side of zero. Knowing what you need under that roof is important – you sound like you’re in good hands. We do like MiMi, she’s nuts, but we love her.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan, I’m with your wife about the tunnels! On my first ever trip through the Channel Tunnel between France and England I was coping quite well until a guide, for a party I was not travelling with, announced in a very loud voice that we were now fifty metres beneath the sea bed. She went on to advise the amount of water and the pressure that was bearing down on us. It was way too much information for me and from then on I was plagued by worries about what could happen if something, anything in the system failed. The second time through I fortified myself with french pastries and I coped much better.
    I especially enjoyed your photo of the last icicle dangling precariously. I didn’t realise there was so much involved in managing snow and ice on a roof.
    Your post is an informative, witty, and novel interpretation of the theme.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s funny Jill. My wife and I toured the Pacific Northwest on our honeymoon. I talked her into touring Coulee Dam. Midway through the tour, at the point where we were deep inside the structure, our guide told us exactly how much water was behind the wall of the dam. My wife couldn’t get out of that dam fast enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Had I to install that microwave, I would use a stick of harder wood, placed vertically, screwed by its two extremes to the cabinet’s particle board. This way you would have a far more resistent way to hold the shelf support brackets. The main problem with particle boards is that you cannot assume an ability to take bending moments, but if you have two points, in any event it is more likely that you will have a traction and the other will be compressed, which the board will probably take better. This was to: a) show you are not the only geek here, albeit I’m probably from another tribe, b) demonstrate that I first saw your diagrams, and later on I read your comment on the fact that you won’t be able to install the microwave oven, and c) I like the image of that “front door” in Pittsburgh. According to everything I have read, it seems to be a rather scenic city.

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    1. You make a good point. If the back wall wasn’t tile, i would have put up a strip from side to side. I did end up hanging to microwave, it didnt stick out as far as she thought it might. Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, I’m glad you liked that picture. I would always have a “wow” moment exiting that tunnel. Thanks for the comment (not that i needed proof you were a geek :)


  8. I’m with your wife . . . Hate tunnels. Part of this is from knowing what happens on constructions sites. Guys come to work hungover, loaded, et all and I just do not trust human nature . . . eeek. They are safe when you are out of them. I expected a Valentines post, and you surprised me!

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    1. I still get my daughter candy for Valentines day but that is pretty much it for me and that holiday. I am usually in too much of a sense of aw the consider the danger in a tunnel. I know that you havd a good point, i just can’t think about it. Thanks for the comment Katie.


  9. Well, I don’t like tunnels either or any confined places for that matter. But for reasons that result from odd imaginations.
    I must say I thought you were going to talk about emotional attachments when I saw this post on Feb 14th. But the geek in you just came out.
    The guy with whom I share my house–I call him Mr. Hyde–the cat. I used to put him on my shoulder when he was little. So one day he climbed on my back when I was lying down. Although he wasn’t so little anymore. The phone rang and I got up without thinking. That guy dug into my flesh with his claws, hurting me where I couldn’t scratch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ouch. Mimi is little enough still to ride on my wife’s shoulder, but she digs in. I did have an image of your tunnel when i wrote this post Peter. Fortunately, I have so many successful transits under my belt to worry about the creatures living inside.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. No tunnels, caves or anything smacking of crushing smother potential, thank you very much.

    As for SOCS … When I first learned of Linda’s Sat. prompts, I thought it’d be a great way to practice writing without obsessive editing or WP machinations. Just sit down and ‘stream’. But then I saw more and more people add photos and videos to their SOCS posts. Linda addressed it for someone who asked, and she said she’s ok with it.

    So I guess it’s a personal interpretation. For me, choosing, searching and loading photos or other embellishments leads to thinking, formatting and inevitable editing that interrupt my SOCS. So I lost interest in participating myself, only because it’s no different than what I do for regular posts.

    For others like you, that process might all fit in your personal SOCS and of course, I enjoy reading either way😊 bottom line – do what you like; I like what you do!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sammy. Part of me feels like it’s cheating but part of me says “dude, that’s how your mind works.” As I write the post, I jot down photos I remember and I sketch the crude illustration. I do rework the illustration once to get it “perfect” but I stick with the original scribble. I never edit the text or search for photos I didn’t think of while writing, but sometime I feel I should use the tag IbSoCS (inspired by SoCS). In any case, I’m glad you like it. I enjoy the other responses to the post. Many make me think that my thought process is inherently too complicated. Thanks for this comment.


      1. Yes, that tunnel is a wonder, and it truly is amazing to come out the other side where streams suddenly flow the opposite direction!

        We’re only about 45 minutes from it depending on traffic. It’s old enough that they are doing massive renovation. Fortunately I’ve never been stuck in traffic inside the tunnel.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When I was in graduate school the Liberty Tubes, the older and longer (over a mile) tunnel into Pittsburgh was under re-construction the entire time. While they worked on one side (tube) they had bi-directional traffic in the other. The ventilation system relied on traffic moving to aid the air movement so with 2-way traffic, they had to add huge noisy fans at each end. Of course, I traveled during rush hour. I frequently spent up to 30 minutes in that tunnel.


          1. Oh Lord. I would have died of panic attacks! I can only take ‘shut-in’ feeling for a couple minutes.

            Meant to say I enjoyed your attachments, but I got sidetracked by your SOCS questions and then by claustrophobia !!

            Liked by 1 person

  11. Dan, I totally enjoyed this post!!! I am with your wife, I do not like tunnels either. The thought of all that weight on them, makes me nervous. We have driven down to NC several times and going through the mountains in Virginia, I believe, there are several very long tunnels that I actually found myself holding my breath in until we passed through. And for the cat. I laughed out loud. How I KNOW those claws bite, hurt, sting, OW, when sunk in skin! My sympathies are totally with you! I have learned to wear thick jeans and a heavy shirt or sweatshirt just in case those claws come my way. LOL Gets pretty tricky in the warmer months …. hehehehehehe. Take care of those injuries! And as for the rest of this attachment post, I LOVED every word! (((HUGS))) Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I would have the exact same reaction if my office were in that location, and an ice monster dislodged itself and fell next to me. Although, I laughed when I thought about that being you. For some reason, it’s funnier when it’s someone else. I didn’t laugh about the cat using your chest for velcro demonstration. That hurts to read about no matter how far from the action you are.

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    1. I’ve had this office for several years Deborah, you would think I’d be used to it by now, but it comes totally without warning. Sometimes, huge icicles fall like a spear and end up sticking out of the snow. Always makes me wonder about a person being on the patio. Of course, we can’t even open the doors with the snow. As for MiMi’s little claws, yeah, that’s a pain that every cat owner knows all too well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a pretty severe form of security against people trying to interrupt your work from the outside. Speared with an icicle. By the way, if dealing with something for several years made a difference, there’d be a lot of us doing things differently. ;-)

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Great write up today!
    Winter sure is a lot of work for you! I never quite grasped that having never lived in a place that snowed all winter since I was an infant.

    Tunnels- The longest tunnel I driven through was the Tunnel going into Zion National Park. It’s long! At the time I wished I wasn’t driving so I could look out the cut out windows and get a better look at the passing scenery. The cut out windows are quite large…larger than normal I guess. :)

    The tunnel that gives me little pangs of apprehension is the TransBay Tube. It’s a railway tunnel that carries our Bart trains. Bay Area Rapid Transit. The tunnel lays under San Francisco Bay.
    Being in Earthquake country I think of the Big One every time I am in that tunnel on the way to the city=San Francisco. Of course having ridden the old ride at Universal Studios of a simulated BIG ONE hitting while riding a Bart train in the tunnel at the precise moment the BIG ONE hits. The tube broke open in several spots; the sea was pouring in. The lights were hissing, spitting, and going on and off. The sound track was terrifying! It hit too close to home. It was so real! I never rode that ride again. I think it’s been replaced now.

    My favorite tunnel is the Southbound Waldo Tunnel in Saucalito, CA. Exiting the tunnel you see my FAVORITE view of San Francisco. I would love to make a photograph from there one day. It’s on my list of things to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Poor MiMi. I’ve yet to own a cat that DIDN’T have “surgically sharp claws,” though. Imagine how MiMi would react if you were going through the Cascade Tunnel with her, or if she was there when your daughter’s microwave dropped into the sink. #Ouch

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually Paul, MiMi is adventurous. When I am working in the house and run a power tool, her sister MuMu runs and hides but MiMi runs toward the noise. I think she might like the tunnel but I’m sure she would be anchored to my shoulder (since my wife won’t be there).


  15. I’ve been so busy with my own writing that I must have missed this post. But I’m commenting for the cats. They are my most favorite animals. MiMi and MuMu may not like to have their pictures taken, they are still very photogenic. Cats’ eyes are always fascinating to me. So mysterious. Wild and yet filled with lots of thoughts. MiMi and MuMu’s green eyes are gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mimi certainly knows how to enjoy being a kitty. Thanks for the info on her name. I have always said that if there is reincarnation, I would like to return as my wife’s cat. Surrounded by warm soft places, well fed, well cared for and allowed to be nuts whenever I’d feel the urge. How great would that be?


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