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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It’s getting on toward that time of year when it is pleasant for Ol’ Robbo to sit out on his porch in the quite e’enfall after dins and contemplate Life, The Universe, and Everything.

Or, as in the present instance, compose silly blogposts.

The Port Swiller Manor porch has a pair of security floodlights under the eves at each of its outward corners. I don’t recall whether they were included in its construction due to some kind of local ordinance requirement or just because the builder felt they would be a Good Thing. Whatever the reason, there they are.

Each has a pair of lamps, a motion detector, and, I presume, a light detector as well.

I have noticed, in the six or seven years we’ve had this porch, that while at first the lights functioned predictably, over time they began to become erratic. Sometimes they’d shine for hours. Sometimes they’d go for long periods of deadness. During the latter periods, Ol’ Robbo would begin to wonder: Is the sensor broken? Are the bulbs burned out? Has the power supply been cut? Then I’d start to fret about finding a long ladder and climb up to poke about.

They’d been out all this past winter and I was just about to give up on them permanently, when I noticed a day or two ago that they are suddenly functioning again.


What bothers the Robbo braims is not so much the fact of this in-and-out running as it is the fact that I don’t know why they’re doing so. I’ve always believed a homeowner has a duty to understand what makes his little castle tick and this remains one of the mysteries of Port Swiller Manor.

The situation reminds me of an old Stephen Wright joke: “I have this wall switch in my house that doesn’t seem to do anything. So I started flipping it up and down when I passed by just for the heck of it. A couple weeks later I got a call from some guy in Germany saying cut it out.”

Perhaps the guy in Germany is flipping a wall switch wondering the same thing.


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April 2021