humor, Telecommuting, Working from Home

Working from Home ~ ~ Things are just Humming Right Along.

My espresso machine finally arrived!! A vintage beauty, handmade in Zubrovka, you cannot get quality like this anymore. The little dents are where I hit it with a tiny ball peen hammer, which was included, it’s all part of the process.



Well, Day 21 of working from home.  Welcome to the New Frontier, or Brave New World, whatever we’ve got goin’ on these days.

I guess we’re all tech savvies now, addicted to the internet.

I’ve never followed any “advice columns” before, but have been doing a lot of Software Help Forums lately.  In addition to our regular lifestyle coaches & “influencers,”  like Ozzy Osbourne and Rush Limbaugh, I guess most of us are being guided by the DHHS, CDC & WHO.

And lately, I’ve felt like the AKC is running the show – – the continuing orders of Go Home!  Sit!  Stay!

Of course we know, it’s STTS (“Stuff to be taken seriously”).  I just had to curb my frustration, at all the directives from Employer & Media & Government, and not feel like I’m at the end of my rope, or leash.  I’ve resisted the urge to mark my territory as I leave the apartment.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how our surrounding affect our emotions, thoughts, and behavior.

Sometimes our reactions to the environment may be pretty obvious.  If it’s Milwaukee, for example, the reaction is probably shivering, for most of the year.

But often we’re not fully aware of the more subtle, hidden influences that our natural, or man-made habitats exert upon us.  “Surroundings” is exactly the right term – – after weeks of working from home, you do feel surrounded by these walls.

A public space, a building, an apartment—whatever milieu we find ourselves in, it does impact our thoughts.  For example, perhaps it’s a place – a university, coffee bar in an art museum, Québec, etc. – where you can say “milieu” without feeling pretentious.

So.  I decided to analyze my world, figure out what this apartment is doing to me.


Color #1

The beige walls seem to work just fine with me.  There is an affinity.  I am beige myself. Over time, the paint seems to be fading toward “antique white,” and I guess that’ll happen to me too, eventually.

Noise #1

The refrigerator is full, stuffed with provisions, and the compressor kicks in less often, so it hasn’t been producing that high-pitched whine.  I too am full, stuffed with provisions, and am whining less, because I like to eat.

Noise #2

The electric mixer makes a whirring sound, along with a quiet metallic clanging, that’s actually kind of nice.  Like a faint, faraway gong.  And it’s got a beat!  You can dance to it, and your mood lightens!

I just let it keep beating the egg batter, while I dance, it’s like the old Royal Navy saying ~ “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”




YouTube videos have helped me a lot with hooking up all the gear I need for work! I got all this cool stuff on eBay and my home office is now humming with activity.



Noise #3

On a related note, B flat I believe, did you ever notice, if you’ve stayed with friends or relatives overseas,  that their appliances sound different?  Just like the cars in other countries, sound different  – – there’s no mistaking the thin nasal sound of a Peugeot engine, as an insane person chases you down the sidewalk, or the whistling sound made by Tata Nano, as it runs a red light and takes a shortcut through your hotel lobby.

As you’ve come to expect, indeed, demand from this blog, I have a deeply-researched, scientific explanation for the vive la difference – – “Why do American appliances hum at a different pitch than foreign ones?”

It’s a burning issue.  Sometimes literally, if you got a bad lithium battery or travel adapter.  And it’s not your imagination.  Turns out, most of the world isn’t on our wavelength.

We’re the B Flat Boys, but most places overseas, they hear a different drummer, call a different tune ~ ~ the fridges, washers & Euro-trash compactors, etc. are buzzing & humming along in G.

It’s due to each continent’s different electrical systems, 50Hz vs 60Hz.  The Big Four ~ ~ U.S., Canada, Mexico, Palmyra Atoll ~ ~  we’re all in sync at 60Hz.  What’s a Hz?  It’s the unit of frequency, cycle per second.  Yeah, I have no idea, either, sounds like physics, or algebra (existentialism?  definitely one of those forgotten college classes, anyway) something about surfing electromagnetic waves.  (For years, I thought “megahertz” was just a really big car rental place.)

Any questions, please email Herr Professor Doktor Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, although his Facebook status is “Away.”  (He died in 1894, flights of angels hum thee to thy rest.)

Brilliant guy, of course.  But did Hertz, Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse and all those guys, ever think about us, living with these machines, when they chose those waves?!  

It’s a transforming experience – – that hum is everywhere, once you’re aware of it.  After a sleepless night in an unfamiliar hotel, tortured by the sounds from the appliances, I’ve sometimes said to the mini-fridge the next morning, “Listen here, gadget, I can’t say as I care for your tone.”

Samsung it, and so did I.  Endlessly cycling around our brain, listening to the Song of the Whirlpool.   Waking up to your coffee makers, Black & Decker, coughing and gurgling as they imitate Bob Dylan on “One More Cup of Coffee,” except more musically than the original.  Feeling totally buzzed, totally amped, I call the customer complaint lines, demanding sound-proofing, but this Major Pain is outranked by Admiral and General Electric.

We’re used to our own cyclical change of current, and OK, it’s true – Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, all those guys, wrote great pieces in B Flat.  But I don’t think a convection oven humming “B flat” is appropriate for making a souffle, for example.

Well, I hope we’ve all learned a lot, and things are going along healthily & hummingly for all of you.  Good health, Zei gezunt.




36 thoughts on “Working from Home ~ ~ Things are just Humming Right Along.

  1. I recently bought a huge hard drive that came with a bunch of plugs, so if I ever travel with it to other countries I’ll be able to adapt to the current current. Speaking of electricity, Heinrich Hertz’s mother’s maiden name was Pfefferkorn. Too bad she wasn’t also a famous scientist so we could be measuring some quantity or other in Pfefferkorns (abbreviated Pf.) As for musical keys, certain insects have been known to buzz in Bee flat. And regarding the algebra that you mentioned, we’re more likely to encounter b squared than b flat—except in British algebra, where homework is often done in a flat.

    • Thanks Steve, you managed to wring quite a few puns out of an unlikely topic! I combed the internet, and found bees living in hives and skeps, but even in England, no bee flats. Bee Well!

  2. Our fridge occasionally give us an E flat in alt. I guess it want to audition for the Queen of the Night aria! I do hope however that out fridge does not have “hell’s vengeance” boiling in its heart. Well enough of that. I once knew someone with perfect pitch and she could tell you exactly what note something was “humming ” in. Stay well in whatever key suits you best and hum on!

  3. No change for me, Robert, as I have been retiring from home for the past 20 years. My daily routines: yard and garden work, walks along our lakeshore, blogging, reading, playing games have been much the same. Best wishes for your work at home and stay safe.

    • Thank you, Peter. I have learned, that I can absolutely do a good day’s work, from home. And it sounds like you have a very good and enviable daily routine! Best wishes to you and your family, too.

    • Thank you, Denzil, I work in an admissions office at a local university. The office did send me on a recruiting trip to India, which was indeed fascinating, but my usual day is more humdrum, processing applications– even when there isn’t an epidemic going on, I do almost everything by email, and very little face-to-face. I’ve also been working on our webpages, because having a specialist isn’t quite in the budget. I’m taking classes part-time, towards a masters, then we’ll see what direction that leads. 🙂

  4. Darts and Letters says:

    This was a good one! Robert, you have such range as a humorist and essayist, everyone else who’s reading you seems to know a lot of this stuff, it’s fun to hear them add on but I learn a lot of new things in every one of these, it’s like smelling two flowers with one nose.

    How did things go voting, for you? I don’t think I’ll ever again take our mail-in voting system here in WA state for granted after seeing the scenes and stories from Milwaukee in the national news the past few days. It seems like Milwaukee has even otherwise been in the news a lot, lately.

    I’m surprised you’re already at day 21. It doesn’t like it has been that long, to me.My grasp of space and time are a little off.

    • Thanks very much, Jason. I’m sure you know, my scientific explanation may be total nonsense – I really so think the gadgets sound different, but I may be all wet about the hertz! One of my grandfathers loved science stuff, and talked about electricity a lot, but can’t say as much of it sunk in. Voting went OK, didn’t stand in line all day, I wasn’t sure I’d get my mail-in ballot but it arrived last minute. But what chaos, and what a scam – 5 voting places in this city when there’s supposed to be 180. Unbelievable.
      It’s easy right now to lose track of time, isn’t it,

    • That’s another reason I bought this! It’s got lots of attachments like that. And it can roast acorn shells, as a coffee substitute, Zubrovka still doesn’t allow too many things to be imported.

  5. George says:

    Listening to electrical appliances will never be the same!

    Another thoroughly entertaining oblique look at the minutiae of life.

    I wonder if there’s scope for an album of ambient noises played by electrical appliances from around the globe. Do any countries have appliances that hum in D? Along with G and B flat, that would give a G minor chord. Would it count as World Music?

    • Thank you, George, Yeah, definitely feels like shrunken horizons, working from my apartment, this was definitely an All-Trivialities Post! But I really like your idea of roaming the world soundscape, recycling the noise pollution into music! There’s a chord recognition app for iPhones, but I haven’t tried it.
      I’m sure you figured out, that I know nothing about music theory, but am kind of an aficionado of washing machines, they really produce some cool sounds. Vacuum cleaners, not so much, although I just found a tune online “Electrolux” by a band called Hoover, that’s not terrible.
      We’re still getting snow showers here, but when air-conditioning season arrives, it’s usually good for some interesting yodeling/whale song sounds.
      Well, I’m happy to hear from you, George, hope you and everyone there are keeping well!

  6. I got all keyed up, just reading this. Or maybe it’s something else…
    Actually, sometimes I’m not sure if what I’m hearing are electrical cycles or just my tinnitus flaring up. It’s annoying, but it doesn’t hertz.

    • Oh! Dave brings it home with an excellent pun! 😎. When my spring allergies get going, like now, I get some high-pitched ringing, but after a while, I just kind of ignore it and don’t even notice it anymore.

  7. melissabluefineart says:

    This immediately brought to mind a quote I came across this past winter, something about man shaping his home and the home forever after shaping him.
    As to beige, I’m with Lynn! 🙂

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