Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Household Systems Analysis

Homes are complex systems like bread mold or UPS.  I’ve got the results of the in-depth Systems Analysis that was recently completed on my home.  I did it myself without relying on the Federal Government for assistance.  Costco sells a Home Systems Analysis Kit.  I purchased a three pack but couldn’t figure out how to open the blister wrap. 

That’s where I began my analysis, looking at Incoming Stuff, or, more to the point, Stuff packaged so thoroughly it can never be free.  Like Johnny Cash in Folsum Prison.  My backyard shed is the primary repository of this sort of stuff.  The shed isn’t weather tight but it hardly matters.  The stuff inside is contained within materials impervious to the elements.   It’s as if the International Space Station was woven from sea grass and the astronauts inside were sheathed in fifty gauge polystyrene and slick cardboard that cannot be cut with the dull scissors we keep in the silverware drawer. 

In the interest of efficiency, I analyzed the big systems first.  Fresh Water In Flow, check, as long as you don’t mind a slight chlorine tang.  Grey Water Out Flow and Brown Water Out Flow, check and double check.  These are euphemisms engineers stole from the art world to describe a certain type of water.  Water you would cross the street to avoid stepping in.  Grey water comes from washing machines.  Brown water comes from toilets.  Greyish brown water indicates someone had a bowel movement in your Lady Kenmore.   All the more amazing if it’s a front loader. 

HVAC, check!  This is an acronym that has something to do with the furnace and the maze of filthy air ducts connected to it.  This system maintains a continuous cycle of flowing air, insuring that every corner of the house is contaminated with a rich stew of viruses and bacteria.  The V in HVAC stands for vector, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control. 

Magical Mystery Humours, check!   Houses are connected to something called the Power and Entertainment Grid by mysterious underground cables that can be easily severed with a shovel.  Once that happens the house becomes a soulless, blackened, dead hulk.   The house can only be resuscitated by a Utility Technician.  One simple phone call sets off a complex series of events leading to a repair two or three weeks later.  The tech can usually remedy the trouble by triangulating invisible rays between the orange cone placed behind his van, the aluminum ladder extending into the birds nest of wires on the power pole and your Visa card. 

Gas, check!  Gas and oil are fossil fuels made from dead dinosaurs, coconut trees and the Rolling Stones.  Burning them in our houses allows us to run our juicers without connecting them to the stationary bike tucked behind the furnace.  It also releases something called carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  To illustrate, I’ll provide a visual example.  Let’s say you’re vacationing in the Greek Isles and, while walking down the beach, stumble on what looks to be a manatee.  Closer inspection reveals that it’s not a manatee at all but a nude and glistening Newt Gingrich.  He’s back in Greece with his creepy, current wife Callista, recovering from his failed coup attempt and conducting further studies of the Greek financial meltdown.  Every exhalation from his liver lips, every yawning pore on his corpulent body, every auxiliary orifice is dumping tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Al Gore approaches from the other direction.  Together, using block and tackle and sturdy maritime ropes, you hoist Newt into the sea where Italian divers siphon off the remainder of his grandiose ideas and scuttle him to the bottom. 

Structural Integrity, check!  This is the umbrella term used to describe everything else.  Houses are essentially poorly fabricated versions of the packaging I described earlier.  If packaging was made to the same specifications as houses, it could be opened by premature babies. 

Miscellaneous, check!  Covered here are: 
·        The clock radio too complex to operate, the one with absolutely no FM reception.  
·        The spider egg hatching system in the walk-in shower.
·        The vanishing Tupperwear lid paradox.
·        Skyrocketing squirrel fertility rates in the backyard.
·        Alarming wine cork accumulation rates.

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