Sunday, November 2, 2014

Time for a change

No, this is not a call to arms for revolutionaries.  It is a commentary of the command that we, to whomever it applies, should ‘set our clocks back one hour at 2:00 a.m. today’.

That is easy for ‘them’ to say, but NOT so easy for (some of) us to comply. First, I never have any intention of staying awake until, or waking up at, 2:00 a.m. on the day which my calendar declares: ‘Daylight Saving Time Ends’.  I usually go through the ritual just before retiring for the night - which is usually about 11:30 p.m. - on the eve of that day. I say ‘I go through’, but that is not strictly correct. I ‘begin’ the ordeal at my retirement hour and complete the task at various times during the day on which ‘DSTE’.

You may have noted that I used the word ‘ordeal’. “Why?” you may ask - if you are curious – or if still a child and not yet divorced from that most common word of childhood lines of inquiry. “Heaven forbid that setting your clock back is ‘an ordeal’”, I can hear my grandmother (more likely your great-grandmothers) saying. Sure - they probably only had ONE clock in the darned house!  So, not meaning to be rude, but screw you, granny – I have 43 clocks / timing devices that need to be adjusted! 

You think I lie, but nay! Whilst it is true that 14 of those do need any action on MY part, adjusted (by the magic of technology) they are. To wit:

5 cable TV clocks
4 ‘satellite’ phone clocks
2 desk-top computer clocks
2 i-Phone clocks
1 lap-top computer clock

. . . and NO, the partridge in the pear tree is ‘sans clock’. Now, if that pear tree had a cuckoo init instead of a partridge, we just might have a different story!   

How was your arithmetic when you were in school – pre ‘New Math’ or ‘Common Core’?  I can tell you, that under this old geezer’s system, you would be able to deduce, in a nano-second, that 43 minus 14 still leaves an unbelievable 29 time-pieces to be adjusted!  Take this lot, and assume only 7 do NOT need adjusting: 

Where to begin to enumerate those 29?  As that famous poet, Dylan Thomas, (born 100 years last Tuesday in my home town of Swansea, Wales) once said, “To begin at the beginning”. Sharp buggers, we Welsh, aren’t we? Maybe a list and location is the best place:

Top floor of the house:

Master bedroom:

2 radios, each with digital a clock – ‘digital’ - that means, LED – no big hand & little hand nonsense, see?

Though infrequently used since I retired, 1 ‘Fax’ (that’s a modern term for ‘facsimile’ – just go to a dictionary) machine. If you are still of that childhood mentality, you may ask, “Why is your ‘Fax’ machine in your bedroom?”  Aren’t children cute?  There was a reason, but I have long forgotten it – something to do with available phone-jacks, I think

Master Bathroom – 1 battery operated ornamental clock with Roman Numerals. For the annoying child:  Because when my youngest son lived in our house, it was a subliminal reminder of just how L-O-N-G he had spent in the shower – or worse, ‘on the throne’!

The ‘Orange’ Bedroom – a ‘queen-sized’ bedroom now little used, but reserved for out of town family and guests – 1 of those clock-radios

The ‘Red’ Bedroom – another rarely used ‘queen-sized’ bedroom - the darkest on the floor, so good for sleeping off a ‘night on the town’. Has no radio, but does have an alarm clock – it can be unplugged!
The ‘Green’ Bedroom – regrettably, has NO clock (yet) – but does have two ‘single’ beds

Upstairs bathroom – Nope, no clock (yet) – but if my son comes back home, I may install one!

Main (Ground) Floor

Kitchen / breakfast Room – the most clock-infested room in all of Christendom!  There are 5 digital clocks winking their uncoordinated numerals at us. The one on the cooker is red, and looks up at the white display on an ‘under-counter radio/CD player’ that usually it tends to misplace a minute every week or two. To its right, is a blue (equally independent time piece) embedded in a coffee maker. The ‘sink area’ portrays a veritably patriotic, yet un-unified display of time! On the other side of the kitchen is another red-eyed clock – on that black box that emits sparks when foil or forks are inadvertently left on the plate within. On top of it, sits the best thing since sliced bread – the land-line telephone’s Caller ID and answering machine; the device that affords me to ignore every annoying telemarketer and ‘robot-caller’ and when they do DO ‘Leave a message after the tone’ - which they rarely do – allows me to see the time at which the annoying bastards placed their call. Thank God for the Irish – excuse the poor and unintended juxtaposition of nouns there (honestly, honey!) – but, on the ‘breakfast room’ wall is an analog, battery operated, 12” dish resplendent with a map of Ireland and a quiet sweep-second hand – just to remind me, as my wife always does when I beg haste, that “The Man who made time, made plenty of it!”

The ‘Family Room – next to the kitchen is where we gather to waste hours upon hours in front of that accursed invention, that the British affably call the ‘tele’. Just to be sure we are aware of the quantity of our collected wasted livelihood, on the mantle above the fireplace, sits a 100+-year old ‘chimes-on-the-quarter-with-one-of-three-selections-for-on-the-hour-melodies’ family heirloom ‘8-day’ clock.

The Living Room – doesn’t everybody have one of those rooms that nobody ‘lives’ in? We do!  Ours houses a hideous sofa, two large bookcases and – yes, a grandfather clock! Resplendent with three large ‘dangly things’, a tennis-racket sized pendulum, an illuminated celestial scene and Roman numerals, it too delicately chimes every 15-minutes and thunders manfully ‘on the hour’. As with the mantle clock, at this time of year, the preferred method of ‘setting it back’ one hour, is NOT to turn the hands counter-clockwise, but to halt the pendulum for an hour. [In Springtime, a 23-hour hiatus is required.] The Living Room has one other ‘time piece’ – an electric timer set to turn on / off the illumination of the celestial scene atop the grandfather’s face. No point burning a bulb after we have gone to bed, is there?      

The Dining Room – yes, another rarely used room – for dining that is. Its chairs often serve as coat hooks as guests come past it. It does get used at Thanksgiving and Christmas when it seems we have that crowd who once feasted on five small fishes and two loaves – aka, our kids and grand-kids all at once. The room contains other important items – hidden behind each of two glass cabinets housing Beleek China, Waterford Crystal and other delicate items waiting to be shattered by tiny inquisitive hands of tiny grandchildren is an electric timer to turn on/off the low wattage bulbs that illuminate the quaking items.

Main Hall – that stone-tiled passage from the front door to the kitchen and Family Room, the only function for which (aside from housing a clothes closet) is to provide a place for the HVAC’s programmable humidity-thermostat. Of course, it has a digital clock that had to be adjusted – in case my comfort level was not attained at the correct hour of the day.

Other main floor rooms - this would include the ‘half-bath’; for non-Americans, this simply means it is a ‘bathroom’ with no bath; a ‘loo’ (commode) and a sink; except that ours also has – yes, you’ve guessed it - a battery operated, complete with ‘Roman numerals, clock seated atop the flush-tank.

Also in this area – sandwiched between the ‘breakfast room’ and the garage – is the ‘laundry room’. Washer, dryer, storage shelves, plumbed-in sink – but no clock!   

Garage – ah yes, the place wherein nice automobiles are supposed to reside. Not ours; I leave ours outside where the neighbors have to suffer the site of the ugly, hail-dented, paint-peeling, fluid-dripping, rusting carcasses. Besides, the place is filled with trash cans, lawn-tending equipment, a dart board, tool-bench, junk my kids deposited and failed to remove - and an old refrigerator for excess beer storage – which I do my daily best to keep close to emptied. Plus one more item – yes, battery operated – just to remind me of when it is ‘Beer-30’!   


This is the dungeon from which most of my musings emerge. It houses scores of books, two desk-top computers (not exactly labeled ‘His’ and ‘Hers’, but somewhat so), a lap-top and three battery operated clocks – a large one with a pendulum and Roman numerals,

a small one with a porcelain lout leaning on a lamp-post

and a medium sized one with a Guinness logo on it.

There is also a bathroom complete with shower-stall - but alas, that bathroom has no clock.   


If you had been keeping count, would have taken off your socks long ago – we are now up to 22 of the 29 that need human tending. Put those socks back on and venture outside. There, and just inside the garage door, I have four timers set to illuminate, the trees, shrubs and other landscape paraphernalia from dusk till midnight. Not only do these need the bi-annual ‘Saving Time’ adjustments, but also the constant changes in sunset time. Mercifully, I do have one additional set that is ‘photo-cell’ activated – so it doesn’t count!

Lastly, the 27th, 28th and 29th clocks / timers that need adjustment are those within our three aforementioned vehicles. My pick-up truck and my wife’s car each have ‘compliant’ radios – that is, the dials work when pushed or turned and so their clocks are easily adjusted. On the other hand, MY car is the one that Adam Sandler had in mind when he penned that famous ‘P.O.S. car’ song of his! Actually, though it looks to every bit a hail-pocked P.O.S. car, it runs well and was well worth the $500 I spent for it 4 years ago. Its only problem – aside from the side-to-side cracked windshield, the non-functioning condenser, and the sticking ignition key is the damned clock!  I succeeded only once in 6 or 7 attempts to adjust the hour on it. I gave up – I accept that is it right for 6 months of the year; the other 6 months I put masking tape over it so I don’t get confused!  Today, I took the tape off. I now know what time it really is. I have a new plan for next year – if I still own it. In Springtime – when it needs adjusting ahead 1 hour. I’ll disconnect the battery cable for 23 hours; in the Fall, I’ll disconnect it 1 hour. I told you we Welsh are smart buggers, didn’t I?   

But not as smart as the Roman who owned this clock. I guess not only 'tempus', but 'manus' also did the 'fugit' thing! 
Maybe I'll move to Arizona, or back to central Indiana, or one of those other places here in the US where they do NOT change their clocks twice a year.