Huffman Coding

… with a bunch of Family Stuff too

Mediocrity pays off

This afternoon I attempted to file my daughters’ 529 statements in my filing cabinet.  I failed as the file drawer had gotten too full.  Since my taxes are done, I took it as a sign that I should clear out my statements.  On the master bed, I separated the old ones from the new and the pile of bills and statements to be discarded was huge.

I brought up the shredder stick and laid it across our tall utility room trash can.  The stick is a mediocre shredder and is easily overwhelmed. Although it says it can handle more, you have to feed it one sheet at a time if you want the paper shredded.  If you feed it the stated capacity of three pages, the shredder will change pitch and merely annoy the paper passing through it with creases.  My wife’s paycheck is printed on one of those envelopes where you have to fold and tear three of the edges.  You can tell when it goes through the shredder because it changes pitch as the various thicknesses reach the gears: eee-ooooo-uu-eeeeeeeee.  The shredder opening is only 9 inches and it bunches up an 8.5×11 inch page instead of cutting it if fed in crooked.

When I started shredding, Claire came running and wanted to “help.”  I unfolded the narrow bills that couldn’t jam if improperly fed and Claire put the papers in.  Her fingers were safely much bigger that the narrow paper opening.

Marissa came into the room and I handed her the full-size statements which she could feed exactly square.  Katie then joined us and Marissa moved over to unfolding duties.  Marissa made a comment that an awful lot of them had “College” written on them.  I took the opportunity to tell her that I was saving for her education, but I don’t think the guilt I threw her way stuck.  Every once and awhile, between my page separating duties, I would mash down the paper confetti in the trash can.

Claire did try to put one folded bill in the shredder and it promptly changed pitch to a low growl and went into paper creasing mode.  We reversed the shredder and unfolded it and re-fed it.  It really is a wimpy shredder.

A few minutes later, I heard the low growl again.  3 and half foot tall Katie had reached into the two foot tall trash can to mash down the confetti herself.   She had managed to flip some of her hair into the shredder.  Ack! I quickly reached for the power switch and unplugged the transformer.  About two inches of her thick hair on the left side of her face was sticking out the bottom of the shredder.  Slowly I pulled her hair back out a few strands at a time.  Chris came running and assisted holding the stick.  A few minutes later, the crisis was over.

Surprisingly, very little of Katie’s hair was lost.  It was merely annoyed.  I have never been so happy to have a wimpy paper shredder in my life.

Comments are currently closed.

One thought on “Mediocrity pays off