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, March 29, 2009

"Anyone who would buy a house on the same street as a chlorine factory is an idiot. Except you, of course." - Red Green, The Red Green Show


Even Bigfoot knows to wear his safety glasses when adding chlorine to the pool.

I don’t know about you, but I seem to write much better with Brian Johnson asking me to stand up and be counted, for what I’m about to receive. As long as Brian remembered to put the e before the i in receive, well, it all works out.

I apologize that The Boy had to write last week’s missive, but it seemed like that he was the better person to tell the tale. Thankfully, that was a one week thing. Because today I’m not sure that he could even see the monitor from a two-inch distance.

Let me explain . . .

We have a pool down in Texas. I think even homeless illegal immigrants named Darth Vader from the Planet Vulcan in Betelgeuse-B have pools down in Texas. I IM’d him. He does. From the Second Book of Supertramp (King James Brown Edition): “Yea, verily mother, they must havest them in Texas, for there all art millionaires.”


Saturday morning afternoon I went outside with The Boy and saw that the pool was essentially a Petri-dish of whatever lived in the atmosphere in Houston (meaning it was a bright emerald-green that Dorothy would have thought meant that a Wizard lived there). I decided to administer that caustic poison that algae so love – wonderful, easily administered granular chlorine. (Side note: chlorine is our friend. It has killed literally zillions of bacteria. Bacteria are evil creatures that cut in line when you’re at the carnival. So, chlorine is our friend. Except when it ruins your afternoon.)

I grabbed my trusty knife and slashed open a bag of granulated chlorine. I began to dump same into the pool. The Boy popped up behind me, like some evil Lord of the Rings™ reference that I can’t really recall since I’m not twelve anymore. The Boy said, “Can I help?”

Evil, evil The Boy.

I had a second bag of sweet, sweet chlorine that I gave The Boy after slashing it open with my knife. He began broadcasting the sweet, sweet chlorine along the edge of the pool. No problem, right?

Occasionally (really, really occasionally) there is a gust of wind in Houston. One of the aforesaid mentioned gusts showed up. Right then. Flicked a granule of chlorine in The Boy’s direction. Specifically? Right into his eye. He whined. In my day, we loved having chlorine in our eyes. It was the fashion of the day. That and an onion tied to our belts. Because Grover Cleveland always did it. Don’t ask. I told him to get into the shower to get the chlorine out of his eye. As I walked in, I saw him standing with his back to the shower head, washing his hiney.


As most people know, taking a shower to get chlorine out of your eye involves very little butt-washing. We worked together (after various threats on my part) to get the actual eye under the water. After I got The Boy to actually start flushing his own eye with water, I went to fess up to The Mrs. . . . who was also in the shower. The Mrs. was less than pleased, but I think The Mrs. gives me slack sometimes because The Mrs. loves me.

“Umm, The Boy might have gotten a chlorine granule into his eye. I might have opened the bag for him. We may go to the doctor.”

We did. At the doctor’s we found we’d done it all right, and then they went to check one of The Boy’s eyes against the other they found that both of them were 20/50.

I lent him my glasses on the way home. He said he could see Mars in HD.

“Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t see?”

“I didn’t know.”

I would have given him more abuse, but I recalled seeing a crisp mountain on a spring day with my first pair of glasses. I hadn’t heard the term before, but HD is right.

Who knew that trees had leaves???
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Note to self: never vacation on an active volcano." - Crooow, MST3K


The cats. On vacation. Is there a better place for that than a basket of warm clothes? Didn’t think so.

What I Did On My Spring Break
The Boy

This Spring Break was good and it wasn’t. The good parts were when The Dad and The Mom took me and Pugsley down to see Grandma and Grandpa. We had fun. I got to shoot a BB gun and didn’t put my eye out! The Dad yelled at me when I pointed it at him. Parents are funny sometimes. I like the way his face gets all red when he yells.

Grandpa made cookies, which I ate. They were very good. Grandma and Grandpa are nice, because they listen to us, even Pugsley, who mainly just grunts and stuff. When you write on Grandma’s wall, you don’t have to stand in a corner. And Pugsley and I ate ALL the cookies and nobody said a thing.

We ate at fast food places, which The Dad usually complains about. When we travel, though, it’s easier to get a Happy Meal™, since he doesn’t say “there’s water at home, if you’re thirsty.” I get tired of that.

Bathroom stops are the bad side. The Dad says that “nobody has died in the continental United States of a ruptured bladder because of a car trip since 1932.” I think he’s making that up. The Mom then tells The Dad to stop the car, and when The Mom says it, well, that’s what we do.

We came home, and then the family got to work!

We painted the kitchen, and then The Dad decided to power wash outside. I asked if I could run the power washer, and The Dad said, “OK.” He didn’t tell me that once I started (it was fun at first) that I’d have to power wash all the driveway. It gets boring after a while. At first I pretended I was a Jedi™ but there are only so many times you can blast Darth Vader™ before you get kinda bored.

I helped paint the hall, too! We painted the hall, and I got to use a brush, even though I wanted to use the roller. The Dad got upset (red face again!) when he figured out that the paint he bought was “semi-gross” and what he really needed was made of eggshells. I think. Anyhow, he and The Mom decided to just buy more paint and finish it up with semi-gross.

This morning The Mom said we were “spring cleaning.” The Dad said he’d go finish up something instead of working in the front room, and The Mom said no way – you helped make this mess and you’re going to help clean it up. That’s just what The Dad did!

Oh, yeah, on Saturday I ate half a bag of cookies instead of dinner. Boy, was The Mom angry when she found out! I think I need to hide the bag better next time.

I read like six books this spring break. It’s a lot better than listening to the boring radio that The Mom and The Dad listen to. I get to read about Harry Potter™, while they listen to stuff about the economy, whatever that is. It sure sounds like it’s not good. Maybe all the adults need more cookies. Cookies sure work for me when I’m sad.

We went swimming! The Dad and The Mom were cleaning the pool and I said I wanted to get in. They looked at me like I was crazy, but I went and put on my trunks and came back out. It was great. Pugsley got in, too! He can’t swim and The Dad told The Mom that she’d have to get Pugsley if he slipped out of his swim ring, because he didn’t want to get his wallet wet. The Mom didn’t look real happy about that.

This was a good spring break.

OK. I’m done now.
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Sunday, March 08, 2009

"You mundane noodle!" - Ralphie's Dad, A Christmas Story


A storage tank, heading towards the San Jacinto Monument. If you were wondering which way to go, this gentleman (I think it’s either Dennis Quaid or Randy Quaid) is telling you where to go. And that’s toward the monument. I don’t know about you, but I trust the Quaid brothers. Except when it comes to automotive maintenance. They don’t know much about that.

It’s been a beehive of activity at the Wilder house recently. The Boy, Pugsley, The Mrs. and I have been working at doing . . . well, stuff. The Mrs. notes that, although it was activity, it was not interesting activity. Well, to quote Samuel L. Jackson, “Please allow me to retort.”

Oh, I’m sure that when normal folk end up with clogs in the drains of their swimming pools, they do something lame like call the swimming pool guys, or Roto-Rooter®. Not us. If Dran-o™ will dissolve the most stubborn substance known to man, i.e., girl hair in a drain, do palm fronds stand a chance against its caustic onslaught? They did not. After our pool pump spent hours sucking at a metaphorical milkshake in a Fairbanks winter, it slid the offending organic matter through it with the greatest of ease.

Besides that, I had The Boy and Pugsley fighting for my attention as I mowed the lawn. Yes. You read that right. As I started mowing, I asked Pugsley if he’d like to sit up on the riding mower, in exchange for his services picking up and throwing away the various detritus that litters a lawn unmowed for a month. In that lyrical language that Pugsley shares only with the underwear gnomes that live in his room, he said yes.

The Boy, who had previously been the only denizen of the lap on mowing expeditions, was doing, well, The Boy things. When he spied his younger brother sitting on my lap . . . “Let me ride.”

For awhile, I could only go 175’ (that’s 25.4 millimeters, for you communists) or so without one or the other of them wanting their turn. Finally as darkness descended, I put down my foot – The Boy could ride no more, since the last thing I wanted to explain to The Mrs. was how I had let a three-year-old unburdened by any sort of a) fear or b) common sense go on some sort of night-time raid on the neighbor’s fridge. Which is exactly what Pugsley would do – there would be no chocolate chip cookie safe for a thousand miles. Either that or one of my neighbors would find Pugsley in their garage, fighting the raccoons. I put my money on Pugsley.

The Mrs. shaved our elderly poodle, as well. I’m sure this is much to the relief of the poodle, since he looked like he was covered in fiberglass insulation. After being shaved? The dog looked like he had barely escaped from some sort of super-secret government testing program. Not the one that produces a super strong, super smart agent dog. The other one – the one that produces a dog with facial tics and total loss of bladder control. And, he’s all ours.

The Boy and Pugsley then helped me when I went and replaced some old tile flooring with all new sheet-vinyl. By “helped me” I mean they wandered around poking through stuff in an a manner I would describe as “non-productive” if the word “non-productive” meant that they were actually working for the forces of chaos rather than just being neutral. Eventually I stuck the vinyl down to the floor, and The Boy and Pugsley wandered over and thoroughly congratulated themselves for their hard labor. Then they went back to frolicking.

I also painted today. I’m not sure exactly how Pugsley does it, but he is the only human I’ve ever met who can touch a surface that was painted (within thirty seconds of painting) and manage to not get any on him. I think (if this talent works elsewhere) I’m going to try to convince him to go into politics. Seems to work for some of them . . . .

So, it was a day full of fun mundanity here at Casa Wilder, even though The Mrs. and I had a very short disagreement about whether or not “mundanity” is the noun form of “mundane.” Turns out it is. Ha.
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(I'll finish this tomorrow - thanks Lynn!)

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

"The Oilers moved to Tennessee where there is no oil. The Jazz moved to Salt Lake City where they don't allow music." - Baseketball


The bell of the USS Texas. I would have hated to be the guy who knocked the first chunk off the bottom. I mean, what exactly do you tell the Captain? “Dude, I broke the ship’s bell?” just doesn’t seem to convey the sense of trouble that you’d be in. I get the same thing with Pugsley after he uses a fork to create an impromptu three-year-old welding rig in his bedroom, the better to weld Legos™ then. “Dude, I seem to have tripped the breaker?”

The Boy, Pugsley, and I have been working recently. Mainly on things like competing on extraneous gas production, but beyond that, we also have been working around the house. Seems like I’ve been ignoring minor maintenance on the house for a few years, and now my list is down to 186 63 items now.

Working with them is, well, interesting. The Boy has some ability to help, but I’m not quite ready to turn him loose with a chainsaw. Yet. He can fetch most things that I ask for, even if they’re in extremely odd places. “Dad, I found the Vice-Grips®, underneath your underwear in the drawer.” Oh, sure, Internet, laugh, but I’m betting that there have been times you wished you had a nice pair of Vice-Grips™ in your shorts.

Pugsley? More difficult. Getting productive labor out of him is akin to getting productive labor out of a kitten. Oh, sure, the kitten appears to be willing to help you, and will try its darndest to figure out what you want, but as soon as somebody tosses a ball of yarn at it, it’ll lose attention faster than a Republicrat when confronted with a pile of taxpayer money. I apologize for the multi-layered metaphor, but let’s get to the point – three-year-olds aren’t really a lot of help. And never have been. But they’re cute and fun to have around, and can occasionally figure out what it is you’re wanting, even when you ask for a hammer and he brings an alarm clock and a banana.

Today I was replacing some old floor covering (changing from vinyl tiles to vinyl sheet flooring) and it looked like (I’m sure, since I had a saber saw and an evil gleam in my eye) that I was going to start ripping into the subfloor pretty soon to look for Jimmy Hoffa (note to the Internet – he wasn’t there). The Boy sauntered in and said, “Wow."

Eventually he got bored and attempted to hook up an Atari® to a television set originally assembled (I’m not kidding) when Lyndon Johnson was president. (I can imagine Pop Wilder, skeptically purchasing a “Sony®,” unsure that the Japanese could at all figure out a high-tech task like how to put a television together.) I think Pugsley spent his time figuring out what he might not get in trouble for breaking.

I must take a minute and discuss that Pop Wilder purchased aforesaid television back when people were walking on the moon, and brought it home. It was notable in our house for being the first color television that we ever owned, and probably cost as much as (in inflation-adjusted terms) as Citibank© stock. I mean, well, all of the Citibank™ stock. Pop Wilder brought the television home, and I watched many an episode of Lost in Space and Hogan’s Heroes on it, but one day it stopped producing sound of any form.

Pop Wilder took it back to the dealer, and I’m sure had quite a conversation indicating that he never should have purchased such a piece of Japanese junk as this. The dealer opened it up, called him (long distance, which must have cost enough to replace a kidney in those days) and asked him to come in.

The dealer wordlessly held up the speaker from the television, which had been cut to ribbons.



Duh. I had a pen knife that Grandpa McWilder gave me, and it made a really cool sound when I put it into the slot on the front of the TV. Eventually I ran out of slots. The next time I turned on the TV? No “Danger, Will Robinson.” No. Just silence.

So, I understand the destructive impulses of the little Wilders, and it’s my job to paint, patch, and repair the damage done by the wee beasties as they attempt to burn, break, discolor, and smash our house and the things in here. I’m okay with that.

Heck, Pop Wilder never even spanked me. Thankfully, he was okay when I poured all of his motor oil into Mason© jars. I don’t think I spilled too much onto the carpet. Heck, if the Clampett family could be rich from some crude, we must be gazillionaires, since the oil was already refined.

What the heck was Pop Wilder doing in keeping all that valuable oil in the garage?
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