How to Save a Drowning Kindle

Few things in life are more delicious than, after a stressful day/week/month/year, drawing a hot bath, pouring a glass of seltzer water on ice, grabbing your Kindle (or other, inferior e-reader device), and settling in for a relaxing soak of the tub.

Until that relaxing soak turns deadly. Your across-the-tub caddy fails, dumping everything good in your life into the piping hot bath water. When this happens, you grab for the Kindle first, realizing after there probably was a risk of electrocution, but whatever.

Once on dry land, your Kindle will still be full of water. If your Kindle is under warranty, now is the time to play coroner and call the time of death. If it’s not under warranty, prepare for CPR.


Cry. Cry like a baby. Bawl your eyes out. You were already stressed to start out with, and now you have to deal with this. So let it all go. You’re not just crying over your water-logged literature; you’re crying over all the stuff you didn’t cry over earlier.


Pry. Pry off the back plastic piece of your Kindle very carefully, using something like the weird nail file/curvy thing that’s attached to your fingernail clippers. Be careful to not scratch the plastic to all hell because there’s a chance your Kindle will be alive after this trauma. And as with people who’ve been in traumatic, injurious accidents, doctors don’t want to make them any worse. Be a good doctor. Who are we kidding? Be a good nurse. Nurses do all the work anyway.


Rice. If the back of your Kindle is open, do not shove your device straight into the rice. You’ll gunk up the motherboard and other shiny things and wires in it. No, instead, get a flat baking dish or even a cookie sheet, and line that puppy with rice. Then, lay a thing piece of fabric over top of that — something cotton, or a very thin, non-terry towel. Your Kindle goes on that, motherboard down, for two days. Do not power on. Do not touch. Do not even look at. Your patient needs rest.

(If your Kindle is under warranty, you can shove the whole thing in a bag of rice, leaving the back on, to see if it’ll survive. A warranteed Kindle is a surgery-free Kindle.)

The odds are not good in this situation.

But, if you’re lucky, you won’t have to send Amazon hundreds of dollars for a replacement, and your Kindle will, like magic, turn on its home screen after a while and be like, “Hey, I’m alive. Read me.” And you can. And you will. I hope that’s how your story ends.

The Sound Life’s Kindle survived an attempted drowning with no cosmetic damage, but the Bathtub Warrior thinks a little slower than before. This humorous (I hope it is anyway) blog post is not intended to be sound advice on what to do in a situation in which an electronic device meets water. Water and electricity do not mix. Rescue your wet electronic devices at your own risk. Use good, solid judgment. And may the odds be ever in your favor, or something.

“The only thing moss needs is time.”

Last week, something incredible happened.


There I was, just minding my own business, when I received an invitation to attend “Weird, Wild, & Wonderful: An Evening of Women, Art, & Botany” at The New York Botanical Garden.

This was no run-of-the-mill lecture. It also included a meet-and-greet and book signing with Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Plants, Wicked Bugs, Flower Confidential, and her most recent best-seller, The Drunken Botanist. Joining Amy was Elizabeth Gilbert, acclaimed author of Eat, Pray, Love, and The Signature of All Things. Barbara Thiers, NYBG scientist and vice president of science administration/director of the herbarium, started off the evening with an overview of several famous women in botany and science, including Jeanne Baret, Agnes Chase, and Barbara McClintock, as well as a couple NYBG employees making a big impact in the botany world both locally and globally.


Robin Jess and Carol Woodin of the American Society of Botanical Artists also spoke about the history of botanical art (this type of art is a key component of Gilbert’s novel, The Signature of All Things), pointing out that botanical artists are curious explorers of the microworlds that are plants. Imagine that — your job as an artist — someone who’s creative and skilled with a paintbrush or pencil — is actually to be a bit of a scientist!


When Amy Stewart and Elizabeth Gilbert took the stage, it became more of a conversation between the two women, with audience interaction thrown in. They shared information about their lives (both run successful retail businesses; Liz is selling her house), their inspiration for their literature, and much more. I wrote down a few quotes from the evening, which you can read at the end of this post.


I got my books signed and got to take a photo with Liz Gilbert herself. She called me “sweetie.”

Elizabeth Gilbert and me at The New York Botanical Garden!

Elizabeth Gilbert and me at The New York Botanical Garden!


And so, here are some memorable quotes from the night:

“Virtually health foods, both of them.” – Amy Stewart, regarding the two cocktails with all-natural and vegetable ingredients she created for the event

“Science is us trying to tell a story about the world we live in, so we can make sense of it.” – Amy Stewart

“If you’re writing, make sure you know who you’re talking to.” – Elizabeth Gilbert (She said she always has someone in mind to whom she’s writing when she sits down to start a book. She wrote The Signature of All Things to her fourth-grade teacher.)

“The plants we’re depicting today are at risk of going extinct in the next 100 years.” – Robin Jess of ASBA

“Forget about passion, and follow curiosity.” – Liz Gilbert (Curiosity leads you to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing….)

“Nothing is beyond criticism, and perfection is an unattainable goal. …Perfectionism is a trap and a trick.” – Liz Gilbert (She credits her mom, Carole (who I met, who is a delight!) for helping her become stronger, and less of a “candy-ass wimp.” (Liz’s words, not mine.)

Moving Advice

The Mister and I are moving up the Sound just a little bit to our new apartment this week! In case you missed it, our landlord decided to sell our apartment, and after some very confusing communications between us and the management company, we were able to get out of the lease a month early in order to secure our new digs. In case you’re unfamiliar with the rental market, it’s unheard of for a landlord or management company to agree to let you break the lease without penalty. We’re very grateful.

Since this is our second move in ten months and our third move in a year and a half, we’re getting really good at moving we’ve picked up a few tricks to save money and time in the moving process. Our first move within the past year was halfway across country from Nebraska. This move is literally a few miles up the road. There are some key differences between these two types of moves:

  • You don’t have to pack as carefully for local moves. It’s true! Your stuff won’t get jostled around for HOURS in a moving van. Instead, it’s only for minutes.
  • You don’t have to pack as well for local moves. Got a few extra boxes that didn’t fit in your moving van because you decided to not be very discerning and just throw stuff into boxes? That’s cool.  You can always make an extra trip.
  • Your costs are much cheaper than a cross-country move.

These moves are also similar in that:

  • Moving is literally (seriously, literally) one of the worst things to have to do.
  • Moving will make you want to cry, scream, and then die.
  • So. Much. Work.

We’re no moving experts, even though we’ve moved apartments as many times as Two Men and Truck. However, we do offer these tips to those of you who also are forced to embark on this experience of living hell incredibly rewarding adventure while sticking to a budget of almost free.

  1. Steal boxes from your job (the ones they’re just going to throw away anyway). I recommend checking corporate policies, first, though. Certain businesses, like retailers, can be weird about it.

    Check out this Dell box that a computer I didn't buy came in!

    Check out this Dell box that a computer I didn’t buy came in! Also, this puppy is so sturdy, it’s been used for THREE moves.

  2. Keep small boxes designed for things like drinking glasses stowed away in a closet, especially if you know you’ll be moving again. Their specialty dividers or other features will protect your breakable items. (Just don’t be like Mister and want to keep every box that everything ever came in.)

    The box your drinking glasses came in is your best friend.

    The box your drinking glasses came in is your best friend.

  3. Use your underbed storage boxes (if you have them) to pack up breakable items, or items that need to stay flat. I pack things like ceramic trays and baking dishes in mine.
  4. Use towels and bedsheets to wrap up your breakables. These can be used in your underbed storage boxes, or in a regular ol’ cardboard number. This saves you money on bubble wrap, which is freakishly expensive.

    Underbed box + towels for cushion = arriving intact!

    Underbed box + towels for cushion = arriving intact!

  5. Doing it yourself, via a company like UHaul or Penske, will always be way cheaper than hiring a moving company, regardless of what they tell you on the phone when they give you an estimate, site-unseen.
  6. Recruit helpers. Pay for their gas, and feed them a delicious lunch and/or dinner.

What tips do you have for moving on a budget? Share them in the comments section!