This weekend I finally returned to the vending machine task that was overtaken by a myriad of plumbing and wiring jobs.
This is one of those challenges that the engineers amongst us love. Essentially we have a set of components and no idea how the programmer has coded the application. First defect was a dodgy joint on the pcb, a small link wire had failed and was promptly replaced. At this point I have a machine which doesn’t vend, it takes the credit and the order but then cancels both without action.
Logic dictates that after verifying the credit the machine should motor the screw on the appropriate stack until either the light beam is broken or a timer expires and the stack is declared empty. That I am not motoring at all tells me that the code is too simple to realise that the beam is broken before the process commences and instead believes that the vend has completed. Removing the IR sender and locating it atop the receiver confirms this by giving me a continuous vend. Some tweaking of brackets resolves the issue and the machine is re-commissioned.
The thing to note here is that at no point did I mention frustration, anger or despair and that is because there was none. Engineers are comfortable that fixing anything is possible so see no need for frivolous emotions such as frustration.
In other news it would seem that sales staff are not as well trained as they once were. In comparing energy costs I have found most suppliers to be sensible and noted absently that only one was chasing me. With a bit of help from excel yesterday I confirmed what I had expected, he was significantly more expensive than the rest!
I thought basic sales training was not to pursue the overpriced deal for risk of showing your hand. In fact I am certain that this is fairground 101! A suitably worded email has advised this supplier that he is far from the ‘preferred supplier’ list and should not contact me with anything less than a significantly improved price point.
On the subject of energy costs it’s interesting to note that the FIT costs, the money that funds free energy improvement, comes from a levy on business as does the climate charge levy. When the government announces that such things as free loft insulation will be funded by a “levy on business” remember that they aren’t just talking about supermarkets and the like that levy is being paid by your local pub as well.
Finally I leave you with an excellent response to the customer who asks why his beer has not reduced to reflect the penny a pint reduction in duty announced in the budget. Since there was a twelve pence increase from the brewery this year, before the budget, the gentleman was told that the business was more than happy to more accurately reflect the variation in prices with an eleven pence rise, just for him!
This post phrases a question to which I now know the answer, if you had never asked the question then I apologise in advance. My apartment has a small kitchen and as such has a separate oven and hob out of necessity. One of the things that I have had to learn to do since moving into rented accommodation is to limit my aspirations. There are so many things that I look at and think “I could change that” but when I reflect upon the task the actual change invariably involves so much more than it first appears. As far as I am concerned the property is simply a stop-gap, albeit for significantly longer than I ever intended and as such I have no desire to increase its asset value.
The arrangement between the landlord and myself is purely commercial and my aim remains to return the property when I have finished and reclaim my deposit. There is no agreement, tacit or otherwise, to improve the property and there has never been any enthusiasm from the landlord to improve or maintain their asset. So it is that I live in a make do and mend type arrangement despite the means to change this, stubbornness is a trait that runs deep after all.
I return to the cooking appliance which has this week had its regular clean. In fairness the oven is rarely used, as a single man the Star Trek style all in one microwave achieves most of my needs. I armed myself with one of those clever caustic in the bag approaches and set about the oven with vigour but then you have to wait and, well, I’ve never been good at waiting. I concluded that I should remove the oven door and clean that separately which was reasonable but then the battery drill came out and I dismantled the door. At this stage I would like to point out this was perfectly reasonable after all how else could I get the muck out from behind the hinges. Before I knew where I was my kitchen looked like an F1 pit-stop with bolts and screws littered amongst the power tools.
Having cleaned the door with an attention to detail that the cleaner packaging did not ask for I paused again. Then I hit the question, I am sure you have all asked the same at some point, should I remove the oven? I checked the packaging and no mention was made of removing the oven from its enclosure, perhaps that was overkill. But the more I thought about it the more I was sure that a quick wipe underneath was a good idea and after all they are not hard to remove are they. Now if you are thinking that removing the oven is excessive for a clean then I suggest that you pause here and have a quick look at your oven after all you will need to know what screwdriver you need!
4 screws released the oven unit and it slid out with ominous ease. The sight that met my eyes was beyond merely disgusting and quickly explained the silent extraction. The oven unit sits in a standard carcase with a base board, there is a couple of inches between the base of the oven and the board for air circulation and to prevent a fire. Let me be clear here, it is not only air that circulates! I had to use a paint scraper to remove half a pound of festering grease before I could actually scrub the board. I will be honest, this is the first time that I have removed the oven in 8 years but then I use it rarely. Why did nobody tell me that I was meant to extract the whole oven and clean around it? there was food stuff in that void that I have never actually cooked!
My guess is that you will either read this and think “bloody idiot, of course you have to dismantle the whole thing” or you have stopped reading and are currently dismantling your kitchen in search of that oven chip that you lost last year. If it is the latter then I can only say that I did already apologise and this post was not sponsored by any domestic cleaning products, if it’s the former then what other secrets are you keeping from me?