Down in a hole…

Down in hole, feelin’ so small… was how Brother & I spent our Tuesday. Not that we’d planned it that way. Sort of fell into it when I was greeted with the sound of many waters… that sound is a really good thing if you’re reading the book of Revelation, but it is decidedly NOT a good thing when one is standing inside a church building, hearing the echoing of running water through the pipes in the walls…

A call to thePlumber brought the desired result – a visit from an expert. Turns out our expert could only confirm that:

  • We have a leak.
  • It seems to be coming from outside where the main water valve meets the building.
  • In order to be 100% sure of this, & in order to repair the leak if it’s down under the ground, is to dig.
  • Digging is something that our expert could do, but it would cost. And since I have a thing about not selling my kids off, or auctioning arms & legs, I decided that I would dig. And so would Brother. And so we did. Even though Monday would have been a better day to dig, considering it was S/O weather, instead of the driving snow, biting wind, & occasional ball of hail falling from the grey skies…

    I know the hole doesn’t look so impressive, especially with the sprinkler box strewn so haphazardly over it to cover the work that we did until our friend Jim-The-Sprinkler-Man-Taylor comes out on Friday, but I have to say that I am proud of the work Brother & I did. It was so easy to dig in the lush Nevada soil. Made me so happy that unlike many other states, Nevada soil has no rocks in it. None. Just lush, rich soil that gives in to the shovel like ice-cream does to a hot ice-cream scoop.

    Actually, I must say, we worked for most of the day, & found that even with the water mains off, we still had a hole that filled with water in approx. 10 minutes. We bailed & bailed but couldn’t keep up with the leak. I got tired after removing about 75 gallons of water (in 5 gallon increments, don’t you know?) & still making no head way.

    That’s when my edu-ma-cation kicked in & I realized that there HAS to be a better Way of doing this… Images of water pumps rolled through my head & after a quick visit to our friends at Ahern Rentals we came away with a 2″ water pump & 50 feet of fire hose to Clear the hole of water in No Time. Turns out the pump worked well, but only kept us at EVEN with the leak… We were stymied, cold, & wet… so we cried out to the LORD. Truly. The ladies intercessory group in the parking lot (so fortuitously meeting on Tuesdays) prayed as well. And the LORD heard our prayers & sent us exactly what we needed: a foreman.

    When I say what we needed was a foreman, that’s just what I mean. Imagine if you will Brother & I, tired & work-worn, leaning on our shovels, resting, pondering what would come next. What I didn’t realize is that we hadn’t met the appropriate “shovels/workers ratio” to finish a given job.

    The arrival of our foreman, aka real NV Energy Superman John-the-Wiser took us up & over the ratio… Plus, he seemed to know a few things about Plumb-age… spotted a few things we’d missed, like an alternate water valve that miraculously turned off the water to the leaky valve, thereby allowing the pump to catch up & even surpass the water in the hole. Brother dug with renewed vigor, & found the source of our problem, that ancient evil known as “the leaky irrigation valve…”

    With the valve now exposed, we were confronted with something that neither Brother nor I had considered… it was suggested by John-The-Wiser that since the valve that was leaking was Good For Nothing, & fed nothing but a previously Vandalized & Broken line itself, that we should cut the valve off & cap it. Ourselves.

    After a few minutes of hemming & hawing, we agreed. In fear & trembling. Brother did the cutting, under the watchful, skillful eye of John-The-Wiser… we purchased a 1 1/4″ Brass Cap & applied it, with a little smidge of plumber’s tape. Tightened it up. Tested our work by actually turning the main water valve on. It held. (It must be noted that Someone said we should probably just fill the hole up with dirt 1st, & THEN test it, but Someone was overruled.)


    I want to give a big shout out of thanks to:

  • Jackie for calling John-The-Wiser to come help us in our time of trouble.
  • Jacqui, Pam, Helen, & Marta – the intercessory prayer group.
  • Brother – for being a good sport & going mudding…
  • John-The-Wiser – for his foreman-ing skills.
  • The LORD – for answering prayers, & for sending all of above people my way today…
  • Ready for too much information?

    At the encouragement of Brintus Maximus… here’s a little pic from the downstairs TPLF WC… & a little story to go with it. I was takin’ care of business after a hard days meetings – the cardboard roll at left in the pic tells the story of the drama I faced. No mas.

    No worries. There was a handy little package of baby-wipes for just such an occasion – as you can see, the package is wholly in German, but the package resembles the one we use, literally, at our house. It even had a cute little puppy dog on the package.

    My first swipe w/the mystery wipes was effective, yet accompanied by a vigorous tingling, & not the good kind, in just the wrong place. My second swipe did the job, yet the tingling grew more intense… into pain.

    Checked w/Johannes on the contents of the mystery package. Turns out they’re BLEACH wipes.

    Duly noted.

    Lies, Damn Lies, & Statistics or Why Christians scare people in this & other countries…

    A snippet:

    Evangelicals Behaving Badly with Statistics
    Mistakes were made.

    by Christian Smith

    American evangelicals, who profess to be committed to Truth, are among the worst abusers of simple descriptive statistics, which claim to represent the truth about reality, of any group I have ever seen. At stake in this misuse are evangelicals’ own integrity, credibility with outsiders, and effectiveness in the world. It is an issue worth making a fuss over. And so I write…


    Why do evangelicals recurrently abuse statistics? My observation is that they are usually trying desperately to attract attention and raise people’s concern in order to mobilize resources and action for some cause. In a world awash in information and burdened by myriad problems, some evangelicals may justify the problematic misuse of statistics to get people to pay attention to what they think are good causes. But this is inexcusable. Such desperation, alarmism, and sloppiness reflect the worst, not the best, in evangelicalism…

    Read the whole article HERE

    You can also revisit what THIS BLOG said about the rampant alarmism last January – if you get lost, read the day one, day two & day three posts.

    I thiink I’ll do a series on this one. Alarmism. Statistical abuse. Christian Marketing. Might be fun.

    Incompetence, Part Deux…

    Yesterday’s post got me to thinking about another area where somehow, someway, people completely miss the boat – and don’t have a clue that they have missed it. What is it I’m speaking of? Thanks for asking.

    Some people are delusional when it comes to describing themselves, or at least qualities & traits that they believe are true about them. Only after observing them for a period of time is it found that in reality, they are as far from how they described themselves as the East is from the West.

    An example, taken from scoey’s life as a PERS employee – a person describes themself as:
    -a person with an eye for detail,
    -a linear, patient, methodical, task oriented thinker
    -great at problem solving

    Sounds like just the kind of person that you’d want to have on a job where lots of information is processed, where accuracy is not only a good idea but is an absolute requirement, & where certain tasks have to be performed over & over, quickly, and with uncanny accuracy… however, the individual turns out to be nothing like they’ve described themself. First, they were dyslexic, (could that be a problem in a job where alphabetizing paper/100K files is the #1 job duty?) Second, they couldn’t figure out WHY a File Clerk 1 would be required to spend all that time filing in the file room; Last, they don’t notice that it could be a problem to take hundreds of files every day & hide them in the supply room. And the coat room. And in big piles behind their desk. Ultimately, their inability to accurately assess themself ends up costing them a state job (which are hard to lose, BTW,) & also creating mounds & mounds of work for everyone around them. The coup d’grat was when they filed a complaint against the supervisor that fired them for wrongful termination.

    I’ve got a mound of other examples to choose from, but for the sake of brevity will stop here to ponder:

    How does one person get so deluded? Is there hope for the lost individual? Can they be brought back from the world of make-believe that they live in? If so, how?

    A study that proves what we’ve suspected all along…

    “Not only do the incompetent reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.”

    –Justin Kruger, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, and David Dunning, professor of psychology at Cornell University, on people who do things badly but think they do them well, New York Times, Jan. 18.

    The Hypothesis:

  • incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
  • incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
  • incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.
  • if they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

    The results:
    Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Meanwhile, people with true knowledge tended to underestimate their competence.

    APA Journal Well worth the read.

    Or, you can take a look at the WIKIPEDIA article.