Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"Snakes Spiders, why'd it have to be snakes spiders?" Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark

Pugsley, showing some Christmas cheer. Note the belly like a bowl full of jelly.

Major note and plug for Wilder Global Domination, Inc.:

The Mrs.’ book is online and available at Amazon.com at this link. We've decided to up the ante. If you buy a copy and want a signed bookplate, e-mail your address and we'll shoot one out to you with a big slingshot that I've been building in the backyard. Warn your neighbors. We'll even personalize it and thank you for all of your help. We're not above lying to move som books.

Okay, okay, I’ve spent some time complaining (whining, The Mrs. would say) about what apartment life is like. We’re in a house now, and, well, it’s time to start whining about that.

We didn’t buy a new house. The Mrs. has a thing for older fixer-uppers, which is why, I think, she married me. For whatever reason, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, electrical problems seem to proliferate in the Casa Wilder South.

“The bathroom light doesn’t work,” The Mrs. noted, as she in her kerchief (and I in my cap) had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When what did my wandering mind did think? The GFCI must be on the blink.

Away to the bathroom I flew like a flash, tore open the cabinets and moved the powder for rash.

The light from the bedroom on the opened medicine gave the threadbare towels a . . .

Okay, you come up with a rhyme for medicine, tough guy.

In truth, I ignored The Mrs. until the next morning when she complained that her hair drier was likewise nonfunctional. I looked high and low, near and far, in the bathroom. I couldn’t locate the switch for the GFCI. (A GFCI is a magical box, mounted near the sink. It is filled with Electricity Fairies that pluck stray electrons from the current flow when you decide that making toast while taking a bubble bath is a good idea, and the toaster and your hair drier fall into the tub with you. Also, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Electricity Fairies have a union contract negotiation and go on strike, taking down all of your bathroom outlets. GFCI stands for Good Fairy Circuit Interrupter.)

I went to the circuit breaker, thinking that maybe the solution might be in there. No good.

The only solution . . . the attic.

The attic of my house is, well, very attic-y. It is attic-y in that it is dark, foreboding, cramped, and is devoid of life except for spiders. What the spiders eat is anyone’s guess. I’m guessing stray electricity fairies. Oh, and husbands.

I got up into the attic. A house or two ago, I was in an attic and stepped right through the drywall roof onto . . . nothing. I was stopped at my, ahem, hip, ahem, (this is a family column) by the joist. Which was better than falling onto the garage concrete, but only marginally. I attempted to do better this time. I walked from joist to joist (sideways, between an inner false wall and the outer sheathing), wearing a geeky headlamp for light, brushing away the carcasses of spiders that had been young when Reagan was president. And saying, “ewwww” every once in a while.

I cocked the fedora on my hat at a jaunty angle, retrieved my trusty bullwhip from my side, and, at least in my dreams, pretended that instead of attempting to figure out how some electrician had wired the house the night after watching “Urban Cowboy” at the drive-in, that instead I was attempting to retrieve a lost Incan golden idol, and then have to run out of the attic while nail guns shot poisoned roofing nails at me. All while being chased by a big ball of fiberglass insulation. Hey, John Wilder and the Raiders of the Lost Wiring . . . it has a ring to it . . .

It’s better than reality.

During the next six hours (six hours) I went back up into the twice more, went to Home Despot™ to pick up various parts and things, and sorted out every circuit breaker in the house, marking same, and then verifying that all of the circuit breakers were active (kids: don’t try this at home) through the use of a multimeter, I was stumped.

It was like a video game. My shoulders slumped. I walked back into the now-dim bathroom, electrical outlets and switches hanging out of their outlet covers like badges of my failure, six hours of hot, sweaty frustrating work behind me.

I thought (really) to myself . . . “This is like some sort of video game. I just know the answer is in this room.” I started back at the beginning. “Outlet here. Outlet there. Switch there. Power comes in here. Only other spot is this cabinet. Surely no one could be fool enough to put one in there. “ I opened it up, moved the powder for rash, and sure enough, there was a GFCI, fairies intact, taunting me with its thereness. I pushed the switch, and was amazed that the light above the mirror gave a lovely glow, and gave the luster of mid-day to the hair drier below.

Exhausted, I went to The Mrs. I was thankful for finding the problem, but, perhaps, I was even more thankful than that for one other thing: her loving patience, her devotion to a man who would become obsessed with finding a circuit, to the point that it chewed up an entire day.

I said, “Thank you, The Mrs. Why do you do it? Why do you put up with these obsessive jags that I have?”

She smiled, then sighed. “John, I’ve given up long ago expecting you to pay someone competent to do it.”

See? She loves me.

*Note: New look coming soon, when I’m not being chased by spiders in the attic.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edison rhymes with medicine.. as in the Edison Company.. concidentally they make electricity..

9:51 PM  
Blogger shawnkielty said...


There. That was quite funny John. My neighbors called the apartment manager to complain that I was laughing too loud and my pal the security guy showed up and read it; he laughed a lot louder than I did.

So my neighbor ...

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Reticent" would be another possible (approximate) rhyme. Or maybe "Oedipus." Or "venison." Or - hmm... Great, now I'm going to be spending all day thinking of rhymes.

Rhymes... limes... Frank Grimes... AAAGH!

5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Reticent" would be another possible (approximate) rhyme. Or maybe "Oedipus." Or "venison." Or - hmm... Great, now I'm going to be spending all day thinking of rhymes.

Rhymes... limes... Frank Grimes... AAAGH!

5:37 AM  
Blogger Al said...

In Virginia, medicine rhymes with jettison. I don't know exactly how to work it into you story though.

Also, the phrase "let us in" rhymes with medicine...in Virginia.

5:53 PM  
Blogger shawnkielty said...

In all fairness -- none of what I said in my earlier comment actually happened -- except the part about my laughing heartily.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

"Geeky Headlight", no sir. I wear one of those headlights about once a month. Always proud. My family, not so much.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woohoo. Got the book. Was up till midnight reading. Not done yet but thats a good sign. :)

4:10 AM  
Blogger John said...

Arrrgh . . . where were you when I was writing!

Oh, sure, laughing as I fight the spiders!

Heh heh. Medicine.

In Houston, too. The Mrs. asks . . . what else would they rhyme with. :)

In truth, well, I stretch a fact here and there. Until it screams.

duck hunter,
Ditto! The Boy loves 'em, too.

YAY!!!! Hope you enjoyed!! (You did make The Mrs.' day!)

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to do the taxes isn't allowing for as much free time to read but about half way through and it is intriguing to me. Oddly though, I swear I see some typos. :)

Will report more later, when finished.

6:47 PM  

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