Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Watch that first step
It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning crashed as the terrified family huddled together for safety and warmth. The door harshly creaked as it swung open. Light threw itself across the rough hewn floor, illuminating the burly figure wrapped in a ragged, thread-bare cloak standing beyond the threshold. Hmmm... No, no. That's not right. Well, it was dark and stormy though. Later on. And I don't wear a cloak. Oh well, let's stick to the facts and pass over the cheesy theatrics. It was swim night and I made the decision to do a snatch-n-grab ... err, a Search and Recovery mission, early. Give the Tyrannical Twins a few minutes of splash time before the lesson began. You see, there is a new sheriff in town and Alexis is mortified that a man (boy) with facial hair would ever be allowed into her personal space. Now granted, this swim instructor has enough facial hair to keep the back of my hand warm ... on a spring day. The quantity and quality matter not to Alexis though. The transgression is perceived and thusly, acknowledged. So they swim for a good half hour before the lesson begins. Then the Mrs promptly shows up at 1800 hours and we spend about 10 minutes convincing Alexis that she can still swim with one of the girl instructors and need not stand in stark horror at the edge of the pool, gnawing away at her fingers. She had a choice: the frumpy blonde with a gregarious personality or the Double D Bean Pole (who should not be seen by fathers) who rarely speaks but seems to have a secret power to attenuate resistance on the part of the pupils. Must be in the sophisticated way she says so little that at the moment you detect forthcoming communication, attention is submitted. I will learn her powers, and use it to defuse the destructive powers of the Tyrants. Yesss....
After we got back to the manor, I noticed that Gus's van had been moved out of the driveway. Well, it looks like he is back from Greece with Irene and I have yet to clean out his van. Crud. I rush about to collect the shop-vac and push-broom so that I can get the job done after I apologize profusely to Gus for not fabricating time to "get 'er done". In the end, he insists that leave it as it since he uses it once every 6 months or so. Ummm, ok. It will still be a mess then. When I revealed that I filled his tank, he got rather disturbed that I spent all that money when I only used a few gallons. I insisted that it was fraction of the price considering how much I would have spent if I had to rent a truck. We split the difference and called it even. Dirty van, full tank. In the end he told me that in the 10 years he owned the thing, he has driven it a total of 10K miles. Since he spent about 2.5K on it, he felt good that I actually got some benefit out of it. Funny thing, he parks it on the street and it acts as a 'traffic calming device' on the cars taking a short cut through the development. Heh, I get more use out of it than he knows. Quid Pro Quo.
Later on in the evening, I run up to the top floors of the manor to lay out the clothing for the kids. Performing the simple task of preparation makes life unbelievably more tolerable. Laying out towels, tooth-brushes, clothing and so forth. It seems trivial, but when you are trying to run down two kids who just had baby oil slathered on them you realize just how important it can be. But yet again, I digress from my point that I had yet to reveal. Within moments of me flicking on the bathroom lights, they began to flash, dim and wink out. All the lights along one particularly troublesome circuit were exhibiting the same ADD type behavior. This particular line has always been a burr under my saddle. The breaker is grossly underrated for the draw on the line. I've even taken a few sinks off the line in question. One of them being the attic fan (replaced by solar) in a feeble attempt to save money and sorrow. Indeed, after I had shut off the breaker and disassembled the ceiling light fixture where we had a problem 3 years ago, I could find no problem. Well, no problem till I inadvertently grabbed the hot line and a ground only to be alerted to the fact that I had NOT shut down the correct circuit. Ow. After setting the CORRECT breaker, I did a bit of twiddling and found that if I took the hot line and applied it to a ground, all the other lights and outlets would function. If I applied it to the double-switched line, I would get nothing. This, I deduced, was probably something to do with the switches or a line within the wall. I can deal with the double switched line if it were not in the interior walls of the manor. Crud. I just don't have time to deal with this aspect of paradise. I called my electrician at 1930 and left a message. He, like my other two necessary trades-men (plumber, mechanic), lives just up the street. Of course he was out, as expected, but I was certain that my previous favorable dealing with him will guarantee a callback within a reasonable timeframe. Unlike my firewood experiences.
The next morning brought with it rain and gusty winds. Later followed by sunlight with thin sheets of ragged clouds. Perfect weather to be out and about, but I would have no more than 30 seconds of exposure. QED, my minty green complexion. While in the car, I was about to pass the location where my transmission did a little jig upon the grim reapers sithe when the phone rang. It's 0720 and the only people who call me at THAT hour is the ever conscientious Mrs when something is horribly wrong or my Buddy Pete to let me know that I just cut him off AGAIN on the Turnpike. Wrong on both accounts this time. It was the Punctual Electrician asking when I could be available. Indeed, if he had called me 10 minutes earlier I would have been in the position to grant him access to the manor by turning off the defense grid and chaining the cybernetic attack mammoths. Rats. We arranged to meet at 1530. Hopefully, I can do a little lumberjacking while he untangles the mess that we lovingly call our 'infernal electric grid'. I'll let you all know when the tingling in my hands subsides.
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