Random Blog Clay Feet: 2009-10
Feel free to leave your own comments or questions. If you would like to be in contact with me without having it published let me know in your comment and leave your email address and I will not publish that comment.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Back From the (near) Dead

I can hardly believe it. But it is still working yet today. After months of great frustration and seriously considering throwing in the towel and buying a new one to replace one that has not been used very much at all, I finally got my printer to begin working properly.

For months I have had a problem with my printer just fading out of black (instead of fading to black like in video production). When it would print, which was never predictable, it might just as suddenly quite printing in a very few minutes. On top of that I also began to have problems with it spreading great pools of ink around the corners and along the edges of the sheets of paper. It seemed that my nice new multifunction printer was not such a great investment after all.

About a year or two ago I had installed a continuous-feed ink supply to this printer. At first it seemed to work quite nicely. But then I had problems keeping the hoses attached firmly out of the way in the routing. When they came loose the print carriage would jam inside and make awful noises which made one believe that the whole printer might be self-destructing. I tried several methods of attaching the hose inside the printer after the original double-sided tape from the supplier failed and finally ended up sawing a hole in the plastic to allow the plastic retainer tab to sit flat up under the top of the inside.

That seemed to solve that problem but then I started having this more serious issue of ink fading out completely more and more often. I tried everything I could think of. I raised the print bottles higher, I cleaned the heads repeatedly, I readjusted the routing of the hoses – nothing seemed to have much effect.

I called the people I bought the ink system from and the lady told me the ink bottles absolutely had to be on the same plane as the printer or they would not work right. I figured out that was what was causing the flooding over the paper but it did nothing to get it printing like it was supposed to. I did hook up a hose to the internal dumping system however and routed the output of the head cleaning process to drain into an external bottle instead of dumping into the bottom of the printer like the default factory setup did.

I decided to try again yesterday to see if I could do anything to make it start working again. I filled up the black ink reservoir. I put the printer through repeated head cleaning cycles but with no effect. I even tried putting some ink directly down into the carriage to see if maybe it had dried up somewhere along the way. As I was doing all of this my cat jumped up on the desk and demanded attention. As I tried to pick him up and move him out of the way he swatted the whole set of ink containers off the desk with his tail and they hung down beside the desk by the hoses connecting them to the printer. I dropped the cat on the floor and grabbed the hose to fish up the bottles which all had their vent caps open. There were various colors of ink splattered all over the sides of the printer, the desk, the wall and dripping onto the carpet underneath. What a mess! Of course that cat was totally unconcerned.

I finally decided to call the supplier again and see if I could talk with the man there who always seemed much more knowledgeable about their systems. He seems to have invented most of their processes and is very familiar inside and out with these printers and usually has much better insights for solving difficult problems if I can actually talk to him directly.

Fortunately he was the one who answered the phone yesterday and I explained to him my problem. I was nearly at the point of getting rid of this printer altogether and buying another one but I really didn't like that idea and don't have the money now besides. I had been so frustrated for so long and just felt impressed to call him today which may have been a suggestion from higher Wisdom anyway.

When he heard my description of the problem he told me to prime the cartridges. He said that it sounded like they were starved and needed to get ink flowing from the bottles again. He told me just how to get it primed and so I hung up and proceeded to try it. On the second attempt I began to notice that while trying to suck ink out from the bottom of the cartridge with a syringe it seemed that even with a great amount of vacuum placed on the outlet there was almost no ink coming out.

I thought that was a bit strange since there shouldn't be anything preventing the ink to flow from an open bottle full of ink to the top of the cartridges where the hose entered. As I thought about it more I examined a pinch point where the hose entered the printer from the side. The lid sits down very snugly at that point and the hose always looked very restricted there. But I simply could see no other way of getting the hose to where it had to go inside the printer. I had installed it exactly per instructions that came with the system, but as I looked very closely I realized that this very well might be the very problem that has plagued me all this time.

I took time to massage the hose to try to unrestrict it as much as possible and then decided to take a pocket knife and cut a relief cavity into the side of the printer cover to let the hose have some free room to squeeze through. Since I have no plans to return the printer to the manufacturer I can do whatever I need to do to it to make it work right no matter how hacked up it might look.

After putting some slack in the hose and getting a good notch cut into the printer cover, I put everything back together and tried to prime the cartridge again. This time the ink flowed very freely and I knew I might have solved the problem. I tried another print job and this time it printed fully and completely without any problems whatsoever.

At that point I decided to catch up on a whole bunch of print jobs that I had been needing to do for the past week or two. As each page came out perfectly I could hardly believe my eyes. After all the ideas and crazy notions that I had tried to solve this problem, the real issue all along had likely been this one little pinch point. And to think that I was ready to throw away the whole expensive printer when the only problem was just to give the hose a little relief in the right spot.

I have been thinking about that a lot lately. How many times have I been so sure that I knew what was causing some problem, maybe in someone else's life even, only to spend a lot of time judging, second-guessing or criticizing what was not the real issue at all. Then later I might find out what the real problem was, and maybe the real issue was far more simple or less offensive than the things I was so tempted to accuse, at least in my own mind.

I could hear God pressing home the warning in this experience with my printer. Don't throw out valuable things and especially people and relationships just because you are so sure you know how worthless they are. You simply don't have the wisdom needed to know what is really going on. You must learn to listen to outside insights, to defer to those who do have more experience and seek to see things from heaven's perspective and not be so ready to give up easily. When the real truth comes out you might be very glad that you did not give up too soon.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Post Op

Well, I did it. Or more accurately I should say they did it. They stuffed my sausages back in and sewed and glued me back shut on both sides all without letting me watch them at work. Well, that's just as well I suppose. I have a weak stomach when it comes to getting stung or getting cut open and they would not have liked that in their nice clean operating room.

I went in this morning at 6:45 and by 8:45 I assume they were hard at it. My surgeon is a very gentle and king man who is fairly new to this hospital. He moved here from a small town in the middle of nowhere but from the same state and I overheard him telling someone that he grew up in North Dakota. Most people I have met from North Dakota are really nice people. I am very impressed with the job that he has done on me. It not only looks very neat but if I sit just right I actually do not feel any pain at all. Of course, that is likely at least in part to the nice Vicodin they gave me about 6 hours ago as well as the possible anesthesia left over in my system.

I left the hospital around 3 PM but didn't get home until about 6:30. It's really hard to push the pedals and keep your concentration while your brain is feeling so good. I'M KIDDING, really! Of course I didn't try that, though I felt good enough that I might have been able to do it. It is true that I did pull that stunt many years ago driving from this same town back to this same house when I was 18 and on strong pain medication. It was such a terrifying experience that it cured me of ever considering trying that again. My subconscious driving skills were completely absent and I had to utilize all of my left brain memory and focus only my conscious brain to carry out every little detail of driving. I was so exhausted from expending that much nervous energy that by the time I was almost finished driving through downtown I had to get myself into a parking space without hitting any cars and collapsed in the seat until I recovered enough to finish driving home through the countryside where there was less traffic. That was a couple days after having all four wisdom teeth extracted under sedation, some of which were impacted. Not a good idea at all.

This time I am married a wonderful wife who took off work today to chauffeur me around while I enjoyed the ride. She even slowed down carefully the closer we got to home on these back country roads to avoid the many dips and bumps from making themselves known in my gut. She's a wonderful lady and we have been happily married for 32 years this November. We stopped by a coffee shop on the way home to look at some things on the Internet using their high speed connection that I can't get at home. After awhile I suddenly started feeling nausea and we had to leave and get on home.

I do have to say that the discomfort level is maybe five times less than what I expected. I don't know if I overestimated what would happen or if I had an exceptionally excellent doctor or if the pain pills work really well (they don't make me feel strange like some medications). But if it gets only better from here I will be very happy with how this is turning out – much better than the extended discomfort from the deep leg cut I inflicted on myself a few years ago with my circular saw.

Well, I am starting to feel a bit silly just talking about myself so much here. But that is how my day has unfolded so far. Hopefully I can maybe get back to working again in the next couple of weeks. Of course I am going to have to learn to be cautious about how much I lift for some time. I asked the doctor on my first visit about this surgery and wondered if I would be able to lift three times what I normally could before. He assured me that hernia repair surgery does not impart supernatural strength to a person, it only restores your body back close to what you could do before. Oh well, I tried.

I just talked with my daughter and told her how good I felt today. She warned me that tomorrow might be quite different possibly. I hope not, but I guess I will find out soon enough.

Thanks to all of you who have called to check up on me. It is times like this that one can sense a little better the people who feel bonds of friendship a little above the average. I only pray that I can become more that way myself toward others who are passing through their own times of suffering or even joy.