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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Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Yeah, and big chainsaw hands!" - Captain Murphy, Sealab 2021


As far as power tools go, the one we saw on a flatbed a few months ago is a doozy, and, (I imagine) very good for trimming trees.

I went to the store the other weekend and bought a Pole Saw. Yes, the name would either indicate it was a misspelling of a side dish for a bratwurst (as in, “You want Slaw wid dat?”) or perhaps a saw best used for sawing up Polish people.

It is neither, though you could use it to saw up Polish people in a pinch.

It is an electric chainsaw. On a stick.

Yes, I know that the lawyers for Homelite® must have gone nuts when they saw that their product development engineers (who get PAID to make chainsaws) had decided to put one on the end of a ten-foot stick.

“Are you crazy? They’ll sue us.”

“Nah. It’s a chainsaw on a stick. How cool is that? Have a beer and throttle down, Mr. Wet-Blanket-on-our-Chainsaw-on-a-Stick.”

Apparently they had enough beers to get really, really incriminating pictures of the Homelite© lawyers, and so, I have and electric chainsaw. On a stick. It has a warning label that indicates that I shouldn’t take chainsaw on a stick closer than some specified distance to a power line. I think. It’s in metric, and the Olympics™ are over, so I guess I can just ignore anything in metric safely for another four years.

I took said chainsaw and began cutting at all the dead palm fronds from the palm trees out back. Thirty minutes and five trashbags of palm fronds later, well, The Boy and I were out of trash bags.

The Mrs. had quite the opposite experience last week. It seems that, while I can have a myriad of specialized tools for doing almost anything I can think of (router, band saw, grinder, table saw, about a zillion electric hand-held saws, electric caulk gun, drill press, hand held cordless drills) that the high-tech toys that you can buy to help clean a kitchen include a . . .


Really. Oh, sure, there’s scrungie-backed-sponge, but that’s never good for anything besides being stinky on the back of the sink.

The Mrs. had spent hours scrubbing the grout on our tiles in the kitchen with that super-duper high-powered, er, hand brush. It looked good, what she had done.

Meanwhile, I’d taken a toilet brush, used my bandsaw to cut off most of the handle, and used it to give the toilet a nice, high-powered scrub that made it nice and porcelain shiny. It gave off that new toilet smell.

The Mrs. suggested I similarly modify a handled brush she had in the kitchen. Viola! In just three minutes (and a trip to the bandsaw and grinder) she was using my cordless drill to move at warp speed along the grout.

If the Soviets Chinese are going to defeat us, it’s because they give our women insufficient power tools for kitchen and housecleaning. Or, it’s because they begin to package cases of beer with each Pole Saw sold.

Note to statistics freaks: This is the 47th post wherein I mention chainsaws.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

"We can't tell Rose or Sun, not yet. We've got to keep moving. I promised Sayid we'd keep moving." - Jack, Lost


The Boy, after a dive, er, jump into the pool. At night. From underwater. Oh, sure, you say, this is a crappy picture. And, you would be right. But, I took it underwater.

There are several sad Wilders today, but we are sad in the way that the Germans would call Obersaddenbenfronchslich, which would mean that we are saddened, but happy since Alia S. Wilder has left us to go off to college to get some highfalutin’ knowledge.

The degree of difficulty still remains that Alia S. has no idea whatsoever as to what she’s going to study, except that it’s either astrophysics, early Sumerian dance techniques (gotta love that one that celebrates Ur), or creative kitten knitting. I’m not sure if you have to knit an actual kitten or just spin its fur into wool. Dunno.

Regardless, it was time to kick the kitten out of the nest, or the poodle out of the gilded cage. I got home from work on Friday. The Mrs. and I went shopping, and bought some steaks.

Let me put it to you straight: Texans love steak. And, at an average of $3.21 a pound for t-bones or ribeyes, it might sound expensive, but Texans still love it. I know that might sound high, especially with gas all the way up to $0.79 a gallon here in Texas, but we decided to splurge anyhow.

I burned some ribeyes and T-bones on the grill, The Mrs. sautéed some mushrooms, and, well, what more do you need for dinner if you have that? Oh, beer. Check.

So, after finishing dinner at 8PM, it was time to load up Alia’s stuff in the truck. Alia has odd things that she wanted to take, like couches and beds (silly girl) so we loaded those up first. Then, well, then there was all the stuff. Fuzzy girl things, like slippers. Swords made of wood. Cats. Her Perry Mason® poster (apparently, that Raymond Burr fellow is still quite the hotty with the young girls).

You’d think that at night it would cool down, so that we made the right decision to load her stuff up at night. You’d be wrong. It was a hot, muggy night, so muggy that if you took just two and a half steps outside the door, your cotton t-shirt proclaiming your love of Battlestar Galactica© would be saturated enough with water that you just gained ten pounds. Fun moving a couch in that? No, not really. In retrospect, we probably would have had an easier time loading her waterbed had we taken the water out first. Live and learn.

At about 2am we were in that weird part of moving where we’d loaded most of the stuff, but the end required Alia S. to pack it all up and put the finishing touches on it. You’ve been there, with the lingering questions of where, exactly, did you want to put those cinderblocks . . . ?

I think Alia S. finished loading her things about 5am. Dunno, I was asleep. I talked to her briefly in the morning, and she was off.

Thankfully, she took her cats, and her wooden sword. Because, really, the it takes a lot of time to care for wooden swords.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

"No, I'm not! I'm condiments! I've been promoted!" - Murdock, The A-Team


Sweet, sweet beer kegs. They’re off at an NFL® stadium where I went on a tour – turns out that there is plumbing that’s turned on every Sunday that only carries sweet, sweet (cold!) beer to the taps throughout the stadium. I took the picture to see how to fix up my future house. Mmmm. Beer.

I suppose it started as The Mrs. was reading “The Hobbit™” to The Boy that we realized The Boy is dangerous. The Mrs. related The Boy’s assessment of Gollum©’s personality, “It’s like the nice part of him is gone, and might never come back.”

Since that’s a major subplot that Tolkien spends 14,342 pages developing as hobbits and dwarves walk, sing, and complain at each other in “The Lord of the Rings©” series, looks like old J.R.R. (who has three initials?) could have skipped writing the next three books if a seven-year-old can see that one coming.

Anyhow, lat on Friday night (say, midnight) we decided we’d go see the NFL preseason game on Saturday. Since the only choice for purchasing tickets for all of us online seemed to be oriented around $190 tickets, I passed on that. I figured we could get some the next day, since it was preseason.

We paid for a parking decal to the nice lot, parked, and walked to the box office. After I had taken The Boy and Pugsley through security, I went to the ticket booth to order five tickets. The ticket lady behind the glass was getting through telling a truculent drunk man that, “no, I won’t buy your ticket back,” when I got there. I ordered the five tickets. The Mrs. and Alia S. then showed up, waving two tickets.

“Where’d you get those?”

“We were going through security when a guy came up to us. He pointed at you and asked if we were together, then handed us two tickets.”

Huh? Well, thank you, guy.

I then panicked. I had just ordered five tickets. Now, using higher math, I realized I only needed two.

“Umm, could I only get two tickets?”

The nice lady told me that it would be more paperwork for her, but since I had done this before I got drunk and started being truculent, that it would be okay.

This left us with a mathematically-based problem. We could split into a group of three and a group of two. Alia S. and The Mrs. could sit together, but that would leave me in charge of The Boy and Pugsley. No. Too much work.

The Mrs. and I could sit together, but that would leave Alia S. in charge of the hooligans. Scary, for her, I mean. We could leave the hooligans together, but that would be dangerous because it’s preseason. Given that it was preseason, the hooligans might break out onto the field and get a contract with an NFL© team.

We picked the better of the two sets of seats. There were two empties next to the two we had tickets for. We sat down. Thirty seconds later, two people showed up. I tried to explain that I wasn’t quite ready for my three year old to be starting quarterback for the Texans®, but that seemed to fall on deaf ears.

The second set of tickets were located somewhere in southern Oklahoma, at an altitude of about 13,322 feet in elevation. We made our way there, losing only one Sherpa in the process.
The game was good, for preseason. Heck, it’s football. The Mrs. wanted me to drive, so I saved tons of money on the beer I didn’t drink.

My personal highlight? When The Boy indicated he wanted a hotdog, I took him down to the snack bar. I ordered it, and he motioned the cashier close.

“I don’t want any condiments on my hotdog, please.”
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Monday, August 04, 2008

"It's coming right for us!" - Jimbo, South Park


Oh, sure, Mother Nature looks all nice and pretty now, but Mother Nature is no lady, she’s an anthropomorphic construct, who really got mad if you fooled her with margarine that she thought was butter.

On Sunday The Mrs. and I were enjoying a quiet dinner out in a nice (I sprung for one where you actually have to wear shoes, which is upscale for me) restaurant in celebration of our fifteen-thousandth anniversary (the fifteen-thousandth is the Fermian Anniversary, so if you’re buying us gifts, make sure that they’re made of elements less stable than Christian Slater). The Boy and Pugsley, having been secured to a closet door with duct tape put in the care of Alia S. Wilder, allowed us to do something that we never do – linger over dinner, slowly quaffing (if one can slowly quaff) the nice wine with dinner while the waiter brought us things we couldn’t even pronounce, and in some cases, recognize.

I chomped on a delicious bit of something green. I thought to myself, that I owed a debt of thanks to all those ancient dudes who did all the tough leg work in that ancient gameshow “Poison or Not.” The Mrs. and I had some good stuff. (I originally wrote “Hey, thanks to all those ancestors, but I think that Darwin removed the losers.)

Anyhow, I’d promised to take The Mrs. to dinner and a movie. The dinner part was okay, but The Mrs. didn’t really want to take in the movie: “I can’t see, I can’t pause it, and they get upset when you drink inside the theater.”

Hard logic to refute, so I didn’t. We were enjoying a rare pleasant summer evening (pleasant temperatures in Houston equate to not feeling like a well-cooked pot-roast after five minutes outside) and The Mrs. suggested we go buy some champagne (it’s not pronounced at all like it’s spelled, by the way, and I got caught on that once) and head home to play violent video games wherein you kill alien attackers, watch a horror movie about a Mayan temple, and then watch a cartoon about Johnny Quest™ gone bad (Venture Brothers®, on Cartoon Network – recommended if you wondered what happens when super-science is in the hands of failures).

This explains why I didn’t post last night. The Mrs. demanded me all to herself.

Wow. How did I get lucky and snag The Mrs.? More duct tape.

Anyhow, as we got home, I pulled up the Intarwebs and found that Houston is straight in the path of a tropical storm, named Edouard. I don't know why the meteorologists named it Edouard, probably had some extra vowels lying about. Prior to moving here, I thought of tropical storms as nice fuzzy things that were gentle breezes and light rains. No. It turns out that tropical storms are embryonic hurricanes.

Now, having lived through all manner of natural weather (-55°F to 115°F, shark-hail, tornados, 90 mph sustained straight-line wind, raining zebra spleens, etc.) but I’ve never been through a hurricane.

I immediately panicked

Did we have enough food or would we have to eat the dogs?

Did we have enough water, or would we have to resort to cutting down trees to drink their sap?

Could I turn the pickup into an electrical generator so we could watch TV?

Most chillingly I pondered the biggest question: did we have enough beer?

I got online and looked to see what people were doing. Short answer: nothing. Most locals expect we’ll get some wind and rain.
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Now, when I look on the graph above, and see that my house will be exposed to 50 mph wind (same as a car!) for up to five hours, I get a bit worried. My house isn’t a car, and frankly I wonder what kind of mileage it’ll get.

I also purchased some extra gasoline, putting my kidney up as a deposit. The gasoline will be good to escape Houston with, should a volcano show up at the same time as the hurricane (a hurricano) and, unless that’s coupled with an earthquake and a zombie attack (a hurrizomicano-quake), we should be just spiffy.
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