Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On Presidents and Plumbing

With Barack Obama’s inauguration today comes the intersection of 1928 and 2008 at Foxcroft. I have mentioned Obama here several times as he came into the sphere of our daily living, notably the first time I heard him speak. That was before he officially announced his candidacy, here:
Take A Look at This!

A slightly tongue in cheek rant about the pre-caucus attention Iowans were getting here:
I like Hillary Well Enough...

Our precinct caucus here:
Caucus Report

Perhaps the only political group I’ve been really excited about for quite some time (Banjos for Barack?) here:
And Now a Word From Ralph Stanley

Now for the 1928 part. That was the year Foxcroft was built. Undoubtedly Bess voted in that election, presumably for Herbert Hoover, a native Iowan and generally recognized hero at the time. If you’re not familiar with his legacy prior to the White House, he was regarded as the man who nearly single handedly saved our allies Belgium, France, and Russia, and later our enemy, Germany, from starving to death during and after World War I. Hoover’s life is really interesting.

The girls and I visited the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, ten miles away, last Friday. We went to see the “Rooster Flour Sack” an amazingly embroidered 100 lb. food relief sack that was part of the thank you gifts sent to Hoover from grateful, but still extremely poor, Belgians.

This sack has not been on exhibit for over 15 years. The photo does not even begin to do it justice.

The visit to the museum was my first in quite a while. I was NOT familiar with his time as secretary of commerce in the Harding/Coolidge administration. Hoover was the person who created the system of radio band frequency rights, was the subject of the first television broadcast in the U.S. and was tireless in his drive to improve the lives of common Americans, including the standardization of all industrial machinery parts.

Here’s where the plumbing comes in. On Saturday morning our kitchen hot water faucet gave out. This is in our original wall mount sink. I took out the stem and figured it was probably a washer. I completely stripped the set screw trying to remove it from the bottom of the stem to take the washer out. I bundled up and went to 3 hardware stores and our local plumbing supply store only to find that not only did none of them have a stem that would be a suitable replacement, no one even carried washers any more. I drove home dreaming of Hoover’s goal of standardized, interchangeable parts.

To add insult to injury when I looked up the online plumbing place I’d gotten the faucet from, they didn’t even carry that model any more.

Here's to greater regulation in the future! Mr. President, once the banking thing is straightened out, let's go for plumbing!


StuccoHouse said...

I had to chuckle at this post. My job is dealing w/ regulators. All day, every day. I've spent a particularly fruitless morning dealing with idiotic runarounds courtesy of bureaucrats. Be careful what you wish for. You may get that that washer, but it will cost you $750.99 ;-)

Mike said...

I know, I know.

I was hoping for a better picture of the rooster, I know you have a lot of embroidered items, it is stunning.

Also, you were the first person to comment on my original post mentioning Obama!