Sunday, April 5, 2009

Simple machines

If you were to ask a marriage therapist what is one thing that every couple should have in their “couple’s problem-solving kit”, I’ll bet that the answer would not be “simple machines.” It is the (strong!) opinion of this woman, that knowledge of simple machines is a must-have.

Now, I’m guessing that most readers are thinking, “What the hell is she talking about? Simple machines?? What, like, egg-beaters, screwdrivers, wrenches? Not exactly.

Think back to your high school physics class—remember the units on levers, pulleys, and, fulcrums? If you utilize them with just a modicum of skill, you really can move virtually anything regardless of your size. “It’s all about simple machines, Lizzie,” my dad used to, and still continues to, preach. For those who know my dad, you can probably hear the serious-as-a-heart-attack inflection of his voice. There’s nothing funny about science.

Small tangent (I promise it’ll be short, but amusing)

The summer between third and fourth grades, my dad and I spent three months hammering away at dozens of gargantuan hunks of limestone that had been deposited in our backyard by the local quarry. Our objective was to fashion them into somewhat uniform slabs, which we would then have to move nearly a football field’s distance away from where we were. Why? To build an in-ground roasting spit in our backyard, of course! “But Dad,” I pleaded, “How am I, a 90-pound third grader, going to move these several hundred pound rocks?!” Answer: you guessed it, simple machines. That was my first physics lesson. And in case you’re wondering about the spit… no, we never used it.

Anyway, let’s get back to the topic of marriage. As I mentioned in my earlier post, it is rare that updating anything in our house is easy; updates are always coupled with the burden of making “adjustments” to bring the forties era house up to 2009 building codes. In today's chapter of our house upgrades saga, the appliance guys wouldn’t hook up the stove because the gas piping was not up to code, so they left the stove in its box in the garage. All of this meant that we’d have to call a plumber to install a valve in the kitchen, call back the appliance guys to hook up everything, and sure, we’d have our new stove in a good two weeks, plus an additional couple hundred bucks for the plumber. As far as Joe was concerned, no deal. We were going to do it ourselves—install the valve, and move two stoves around. Really? Ourselves?

I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I am fairly confident that ours is not the only relationship in which moving heavy objects causes considerable strife. I admit that I freaked out when Joe dropped the news that it was up to us to move out the old stove and bring in the new (behemoth!) one. The mere thought of moving anything heavy catapults my blood pressure. It always seems to hurt my back and my weak little fingers that can seemingly never get purchase on anything, and it ends with arguing and tension. Now, I might have a little extra baggage than other women, due to the “re-creation of Stonehenge” experience as a third grader, but I bet other women feel the same way. If only someone had reminded us earlier—like about 10 years ago, when we met—about simple machines.

I have no idea how much this weighs, but several hundred pounds, I'd guess.

Fortunately, it came to mind right away, this time, and boy, did it pay off. The moving and installation of the stoves might be our greatest teamwork effort yet, except for Jonas’ birth. I came up with a brilliant moving strategy. Load stove on hand-truck, wheel through dining and living rooms, and out through front door. If we could just get it on the truck, we’d be golden. My idea was met with skepticism--this should be a no-brainer, Mr. Engineer!--but we were desperate, so we agreed to give it a shot. Everything went perfectly! No pain, no panic, no yelling, no fighting. I was incredibly proud of us. While we’ve moved some metaphorical mountains in our history together, this was by far the most physical challenging event, and the most rewarding.

Getting things ready for the hook-up.

Yay! All done. Just putting on the burners and grilles.

1 comment:

Marlena said...

liz, I really have to hand it to you and joe... I would have called some kind of service the minute those guys dropped that off in my garage! wow....