Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

What I figure is this:

There's a Home Repair Zen, a karmic balance between what works in a house and what doesn't, and by actually fixing the kitchen light I've upset that delicately teetering yin-yang. I've messed with cosmic forces beyond my reckoning. I've tread on ground that man was not meant to walk.

That's the only reason I can find for the counter being broken.

In our kitchen is one of those two-and-a-half gallon jugs of water, y'know, that come complete with a carrying handle and a little push spigot. Normally, it's planted pretty far back on the counter, next to the fridge, because Tom is endlessly fascinated by spigots and will happily pull any that he comes across, marveling at whatever comes pouring out for a few seconds before setting off in search for another.

In my hurry to leave today, I filled Mike's bottles with water and left the jug too close to the edge. So when Tom came by on his regular spigot-discovery rounds, he emptied nearly two gallons of water on the counter, the floor, into the drawers, under the refrigerator.

"Eee!" he said, excitedly. Spigot!

This has happened before, of course, and a couple times in the past I've had to drag out all the rags we keep on the back porch and mop everything up. It's the only time the fridge gets moved to clean behind it, now that I think about it -- it wasn't until we had Tom that I even realized that refrigerators have behinds.

So I grunt and push and pull and yank and strain and the fridge slowly inches out of its spot between the wall and the counter. I need to turn it onto the back porch because there's not enough room between it and the stove to get my ass back there, so I start angling it around, too fast, too hard, and it hits the corner of the counter and instantly cracks off a hunk of the tile.

"Eee!" Tom points out, back from searching the rest of the house for more spigots.

The piece is sharp, a couple of inches on a side, from the corner. The counter top is a sort of light gray, but underneath it's stark white, and the damage stands out like a broken bone protruding from a leg.

But I'll be damned if I'm going to fix it. I've got no idea how to fix tile. I know it involves "grout," somehow, and maybe "effort," and I don't want to be associated with either.

No, oh no. I've learned my lesson. I upset the balance of my house by fixing the light and I'm not going to make that mistake again.

I'm afraid of what would break next.

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic and Buzz Clock), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is I'd love to hear from you!

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