Baffled, bobbled, and birds

Solutions present themselves free of charge when we forget to worry about the problem in the middle of the night. Last night I forgot to wake up and fret about the broken birdfeeder at school. The birdfeeder is a tube. At the feeder holes with their little perches, the sunflower seeds are deterred from spilling out by little curved plastic pieces inside the tube. Imagine the front door bubble awning outside a chic miniature French boutique or hotel. Now imagine the awning inside the door of the boutique instead of outside. The missing parts of the birdfeeder are the awnings inside the tube. That's why the sunflower seeds are pouring out unimpeded from the broken feeder.

I'm baffled. How can I fix the feeder? It would be a shame to spend money on a new feeder, as this one is autographed by the students from a few years back.

Maybe I need to think like a guy. My ex believed anything worth fixing could be fixed with duct tape, WD-40 or SuperGlue, including, but not limited to, cars, briefcases, relationships and winter Army surplus coats. My sons believed in the restorative power of hot glue and clear packing tape even on eyeglasses. My dad tends toward a lengthy mental approach to problems:

  1. Deny the existence of a problem until evidence is overwhelming.

  2. Cogitate the nature of the problem once acknowledged over a geologic period of time.

  3. Devise the lowest cost, lowest tech solution.

  4. Make something out of nothing.

  5. Remain oblivious to criticism of aesthetic aspects in #3 and #4.

Dad would manage to eventually repair a nuclear submarine with rubber bands, one-by-twos, cardboard toilet paper tubes, and empty three pound coffee cans saved from the late-Sixties. The sub would work, no question. It would probably keep lying off the coast of Newfoundland for another forty years while making the occasional Crazy Ivan turn. Still, it would never quite be the submarine of your dreams.

Baffled on the birdfeeder front, and wishing for a gelid North Atlantic mental escape to beat the reality of mid-nineties on the playground. Hunt for Red October. Submarines. Fred Thompson with the theory of dumping Ruskies. Running silent? But what about baffles:

Baffles are the place in the water directly behind a submarine's propeller where conventional sonar cannot see. The blade's motion through the water creates acoustic distortions and noise which an enemy ship can follow and not be detected. Baffles can be cleared by executing a Crazy Ivan. Shadowing Soviet submarines, in their baffles, was a popular technique used by U.S. Navy submarines during the Cold War.

A little late afternoon daydreaming about Sean Connery and the frigid waters off the coast of Newfoundland. Solutions percolate from the cold North Atlantic. Could new baffle awnings be devised from plastic Easter eggs or the lid from a cottage cheese container? It won't look great, but it will regulate the flow of sunflower seeds. The price is right.

tr.v. baf·fled, baf·fling, baf·fles
1. To frustrate or check (a person) as by confusing or perplexing; stymie.
2. To impede the force or movement of.
1. A usually static device that regulates the flow of a fluid or light.
2. A partition that prevents interference between sound waves in a loudspeaker.

Baffled isn't Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, a Pal Joey song by Rodgers and Hart. It's not Baubles, Bangles, and Beads from Kismet.

My baffle device didn't fix the birdfeeder. It will be time for a new one this winter--when it is very cold off the coast of Newfoundland. See you then, Sean.

© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder

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