December 28, 2003

Anti-Social Grinch

Went out for a ride the other day and stopped over to visit a friend for an unannounced visit. I find those are usually the best kind, as the target of my social call doesn't have a chance to leave or hide. The weather was incredible for December, the roads were clear and dry even though the snow was mounded high, I hadn't been on two wheels for a bit, and I had some shiny new chrome I wanted to show off. Nobody home. Walking back to the bike from the door, I couldn't help but admiring the gigantic 20 foot tall light up Grinch in Santa drag in the front yard. At that point, some evil power possessed me, and it occurred to me that turning the Grinch around to face the house would be much more visible than my usual calling card.

Seemed simple enough - pop the elastic cords off four ground stakes, pick it up and rotate, right? Well, got the cords off, and that allowed the big guy to bend a bit and reveal the series of ground stakes embedded around his inflated heinie ho ho. Got those out, but somewhere in the process, the Grinch started to deflate and collapse around me.

At this point, that leaves me encased in several layers of Grinch, wondering just how much breathable air was trapped there with me, how flammable the fabric was, and just how hot the light bulbs inside the body that gave him his cheery glow in fact were. Finally popping out from under his plastic posterior, I noticed the lights were out. My eye now spyed a large fan in the base, which lit a dim bulb in my head. No fan, no big bouncy body - no lights + no fan = no power? Diving into the sagging sacks of Santa once more to look for a power switch proved fruitless.

Tracing the cord back across the lawn, I came across a connection that when wiggled produced a subdued fart from the general direction of the Grinch, and looking back, I was pleased to see him begin to rise majestically from the ashes and stand erect once more. Another wiggle of the cord, and he once again lost vitality and pooped his precious air. Yet another wiggle, and a jolt of electricity up my arm revealed an issue with grounding in the extension cord. Once feeling returned to my hand, I bravely disconnected the cord, tracked the problem back to a loose plug in the wall socket, reconnected the cord firmly, and one last wiggle and a bit of black tape from my tool kit met with success. Big G was once again able to get it up, and yes, even keep it up!

It was then I found the ground had frozen a lot harder than I had previously thought. Ever try to push light gauge metal spikes into ice? The solution was to heat the spikes with my trusty heirloom lighter as I pushed them in, which allowed me to once again affix Santa Grinch to the ground with only slight burns to my fingers and the surrounding fabric.

I had originally thought leaving the spikes for the elastic cords that held him upright in the ground to be a good idea. Assuming my little practical joke would not become quite so involved when I embarked on my adventure, it hadn't occurred to me just how difficult it would be to locate the teenie tiny rings at the end of the spikes protruding from trampled snow when the light is failing due to the fast approaching dusk. That left me on my hands and knees, presenting my best side to the world, feeling around for the little loops. It was about then I heard a cough from the street - apparently at some point I had attracted the neighborhood's attention and gathered quite the crowd, maybe drawn to the event by their curiosity to see who would win, me or the Grinch. The couple across the street were the exception - they resolutely guarded THEIR inflatable Santa in case it was my next target. In for an ounce, in for a pound, and I groped around until I finally found all the spikes and attached all the cords, completing my little project.

That left just one thing ... took a little bow to a smattering of subdued applause, waved to the couple across the street bravely brandishing their snow shovels as weapons to fend me off if necessary, saddled up, and rode off. A glance in the rear view mirrors seemed to suggest Santa Grinch was a bit shorter as I got to the end of the driveway. At that point, I convinced myself I had imagined the whole thing and resolutely decided to ignore my mirrors until I had turned another corner and my visit was just another memory.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 09:19 PM

September 17, 2002

I Can Do That !!

Do It Yourself! Save a bundle and have fun doing it! The enticing allure of not having to pay someone else to build your dream home is hard to resist. Ask any home supply department or lumber retailer, and they'll tell you it's a walk in the park. These guys didn't just fall off the turnip truck; they know a major part of their profit comes from yahoo's like you who haven't a clue.

I made the great exodus from the big city some time ago, and figured on coming out ahead buying a run down dump with a good frame and rebuilding it in my own image. The electric was bad - but how complicated can electricity be, I thought (Bzzzzzzzzzt! - thank you lord for an almost adequate health plan). The plumbing was pitiful, but having tested my skills on a piece of copper pipe, some fittings, a blowtorch, and one short visit to the emergency room later, I didn't figure it was anything I couldn't handle. It needed some extra space ( OK, it was a converted chicken coop for Christ's sake, and it needed a lot of extra space), but I'd watched real builders work, and how hard can it be to drive a coupla nails anyway? One board, several nails, a cheap saw, and one more visit to the emergency room, and hell, I was ready for anything.

First things first - let's take care of those leaky faucets. Ya say they're not leaking any more? OK, first things first, let's get a contractor to get that new well in. Now for the faucets. They're still not leaking? But the basement is flooded? OK, first things first, better get some new pipes in - the old ones couldn't handle the pressure from a well that actually worked. And now for the faucets. What do you mean, they're not leaking? And the basement's full again? Why's it so cold in here? The new pipes froze because the furnace went out? First things first I guess but this is really starting to honk me off! Give me that contractor's number again, dammit! That done,back to the faucet. Huh? What's that smell? Seems the septic system hadn't seen water for a while and didn't really know what to do with it. OK, first things first, shut the water off and find that contractor's number. He can be over next week? How much is a PortaJohn for a week? You say make that a month? OK, that done, back to the leaky faucet. The damn thing better still be leaking ! What the hell was that?? Why is the roof so much shorter than it used to be? But the guy said something about a good frame?

And so it goes. Twenty years later, and the faucet still leaks. I plan on getting to it tomorrow, if nothing else comes up. It's amazing what you can get used to after a while...

Good news is, I've still got most of my fingers.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:06 PM

February 26, 2002

A Week in the Life

February 26
I realized today that under the couch, there's a whole other section of floor, and all sorts of stuff is there, like the T.V. clicker, and the pizza I lost last week. However, I can't get to any of it, because there's a couch above it. What bozo came up with that system? I wanted to make a mental note to work on the problem later, but I couldn't find a pen. Frustration, thy name is couch.

February 27
Today was a good day. I woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head, did all that other stuff, then somebody spoke and I fell into a dream. A new record for how long I was able to remain non-divergent at one time. Yeah me.

February 28
Today was a long day. I watched the clock for almost an hour at one point, and only fifty-four minutes passed by during that whole time. I don't know how much more I can take at that rate. Shortly after that, my watch beeped, and I fell into a dream. Damn.

A thought: If love is blind, and dog is love, is there really much point in having a seeing-eye god? I'll have to bring that up with my congressperson. There should be a law or something.

February 29
I saw a purple cow today, I never hoped to see one...but there it was, standing in the middle of the shopping mall, wandering around, entertaining the children in front of FAO Schwartz. The ditty he sang, I think I shall never forget: I love you, you love me, we're a happy family...it was only then that I realized how much I missed my own family. So long ago, it was so long ago. I can still remember my mother, seeing me off, waving goodbye, a tear in her eye, as I gazed out the window at her, and saw her fade into the distance. I remember, I tried to wave back, but the strait jacket was on too tight.

A ponderance: Why do they tell you not to wear plaid with stripes? What the hell do they think plaid is made of, anyways? Miss Manners must be destroyed at all costs.

February 30
Today I had potato salad.

February 31
Today I had potato salad. Or was that yesterday?

February 32
I discovered at work today that just because people put something in a refrigerator does not mean that it is edible. Such is the case for baking soda. Chalk that one up to experience.

February 33
That music, that haunting music, it torments me. The melody, so beautiful, yet so fleeting...it enters my head, and it is as if I have been touched by an angel. It lifts my prayer to heaven, and carries me on its wings of memory...and then, just as suddenly, it's gone, and the screaming of the thousand black voids re-enters my psyche. Oh, how I wish, just once, I could capture the peace of that melody, and hold on to it. I don't know where the music comes from, and I suspect I probably never will.

That big white truck with 'Good Humor' written on the side came by today, too.


March 1
Maybe it's all right after all. For so long now, I've been struggling to find inner peace, amid the hurly burly of the modern world, and the mish mash of sights and sounds, and I never needed to. Every day, I wake up, and pray to whatever's out there that hears prayer that I will remain here, remain here, stay in the place that bids me to leave, and for what? I think it's all right.

I fell into a dream today, and did not wake up. They'll come looking for me, I'm sure, but I don't think they'll find me. I've run away, to a place where the plaid and the stripes and the screaming babies and the thousand black voids can't come, it's a sanctuary I found, in my own home. I fell into a dream today, and that's all right. I'm all right...well, all right, except for one thing: It's a little dusty here under the couch.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:46 PM