I came home from the hospital just in time for the hottest day ever recorded in France: on Friday 28 June it hit 45.9° C a few kilometres inland from here, a whopping 115° F. And I left a perfectly good air-conditioned hospital. . . but hey, Simon was so glad to see me that he left a big gash on my left forearm that night.

My first tasks were to fill all my new prescriptions, do a little grocery shopping, and start following up on the doctors’ orders: kiné, or physical therapy; in-home help, at least with cleaning; and téléassistance, which means wearing a monitoring device that lets me call for help if needed, or even detect a fall. Because I can’t count on Simon to call 15, the French equivalent of 911.

It’s now Wednesday, and I’ve made progress on all of those fronts, although I have to wonder how people worse off than me manage. I mean, I have most of my cognitive abilities still functioning.

Fun with hifi

One of the things I looked forward to in retirement was a nearly-inexhaustible supply of music, on CD, MP3s, and all those LPs I digitized before selling. I understand the inclination of modern consumers to just subscribe to one or more streaming services, which have admittedly huge libraries. But this is my music, the music that informed my youth, and the music that has since won my favor. So pulling together the pieces of my stereo system is important to me.

Today I received, via Amazon, a small cheap CD player — I had been using my Blu-ray player for CDs after ditching the old non-functional CD player of years long past. But I also ditched the Blu-ray player in the move, as it was several years old and I had my eye on a region-free player to accommodate my growing collection of European DVDs and BRs.

I had already acquired a transformer to change the European 230 volt 50 Hertz electrons to the 120 volt 60 Hertz flavor that most of my equipment required. So today I tried to push all the pieces together to play CDs. If that worked, my next step would be transmitting from the iMac to the stereo.

But first steps were failing me. With all the right pieces connected, no sound was coming from the speakers. What could be wrong?

I first tried connecting my turntable, which happened to come with built-in support for 230 volt service, and tried spinning a Jacques Brel LP I had picked up at the bouquinistes fair. Still no sound.

So I took another approach, plugging the CD player into an old dusty amplifier, on the principle of a process of elimination: If something’s not working, break it down into parts and validate each one. Because the old amp doesn’t have the same speaker connectors as the less-antique amp, I plugged in headphones. And voila, music reached my ears !

Next, I rearranged the pieces and plugged headphones into the suspect amp, and voila, musique ! So maybe it was the speakers. I checked the speaker connections, and come to find that, silly me, I had selected the + side of speaker pair 1 and the + side of speaker 2 (the amp supporting two pairs of speakers) instead of the + and – sides of only one pair.

D’oh !

Time for the final semi-final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, so I’ll be back.