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, April 26, 2009

“They’re coming to get you rent from you, Barbara.” – Johnny, Night of the Living Dead


Lookz into ourz eyez. Lookz deeply in2 themz! We’s own you!!!

The Mrs. and I have a standing argument. Actually we have about 457 standing arguments, but who’s counting? Anyhow, this particular argument can’t really be solved by Google®, though Google© does certainly put to rest most of the arguments that we have, such as who played first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 1934 season. Strangely, we couldn’t find any records of that. (Hint: In 1934, the Los Angeles Dodgers started as a group of drunken athletic nuns in Cleveland who eschewed first base on religious reasons, deeming it “a base form of idolatry.”)

No, this is an argument that revolves around that great unknowable beast, human nature. I have long argued that the average accountant, after missing three square meals with no prospect of another in the foreseeable future will take off the wing tips, slip the surly bonds of civilization, shave his head into a Mohawk and slip into steel spike-studded-shoulder pads and begin chasing Mel Gibson because he wanted to gnaw on Mel’s spleen. The Mrs. disagrees, and thinks that the average accountant would just be a very hungry (but only slightly less polite) person, still civilized, still able to be polite and share.

After Hurricane Ike, The Mrs. claimed that the neighbors banding together and helping each other proved her point. “Nobody even glanced twice at your spleen,” The Mrs. said, “but then again, you’re no Mel Gibson.”

This week, I had a little experience that bolsters my point . . .

I travel on occasion for work, and when I get to my destination I rent a car. It’s much easier than walking. Mostly, picking up a rental car is like attracting a politician using dangling wads of cash as bait – easy. Delay in the airline schedule? Sure. Delay in airport security thanks to TSA? A given. Delay on a rental car? Nope.

This particular day, however, a car rental company whose name rhymes with “Mational” had my reservation. As I checked in for my rental, the clerk said there might be a delay. Oh, sure, I expected that delay might mean five minutes of me standing in the airport parking garage while I paced over chewing-gum encrusted concrete.


I arrived at the lower rental area booth – the one where elite (definition: not me) travelers whisk through the airport, not even stopping (somehow these elites manage to go to the bathroom without stopping on their way – I have this working theory that if you make enough money you never ever have to poop again), nay, merely pausing while the clerk tosses them their keys on the way to their car.

I arrived at a desolate wasteland, a garage meant to be stocked with cars, meant to be filled with people being whisked on their way, even non-elites like me. Now, you might think that from the term “wasteland” that the garage was empty. No. There were throngs of zombie-travelers milling about the counter, bumping into each other, groaning, looking for all the world like they expected the cars to spring from the ground like paparazzi when Obama’s (note: my spell check does not recognize this name) thong slips a bit at the beach.

This, I guess, is what you get when you rent virtual cars rather than real cars.

Finally it got uglier than a Hollywood divorce. One customer shook himself awake. “Listen, Miss, I’ve been waiting here an hour.”

The (young) clerk made the first mistake that people under stress make – she clammed up. It did make since, since she was busy ripping apart the furniture in the rental booth to nail across the windows in case the Living Dead (theoretical) rental customers began to clamor for brains. Or drinking water. Or, heaven forbid, cars.

The previously mentioned and now quite belligerent customer began again, “Miss, I will summon the evil powers of the CEO – you have no idea who I am . . .”

The clerk and the (theoretical) customer began circling each other. Somehow the customer had fashioned his toothbrush into a crude shiv, and the clerk prepared to defend herself with a stapler.

“Listen, mister, I don’t know who you are outside,” she gestured at the streams of sunlight pouring in through the parking garage exit with her stapler, “but you’re in my world now.”

Then a car arrived. Belligerence dropped from the face of the customer as if unexpected doughnuts were available at a corporate meeting.

Funny, but he got that car.

More and more zombies arrived, there were probably about seventeen (theoretical) customers milling about when my car arrived.

So, I stand by my statement. If people get utterly out of sorts when they can’t get a car for an hour, well, we’re about three meals away from kindergarten teachers abandoning their classes and naming themselves “Grongar, Duke Of Elm Street (1400 block).”

I am fearful for my spleen.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Historically cemeteries were thought to be a haven for vampires as are castles and swamps. Sadly you don't have any of those."- Mulder X-Files


Yet another alligator. Doing whatever it is that alligators do, which I think includes swimming, sunning themselves while lazing in limpid pools of murky water, and mutating into gigantic creatures that eat European cars. Which is okay, because European cars are made entirely of sheep intestines. And kitten tears.

Yesterday was fun. We went off to the Houston Area Boy Scout Fair. This event is held annually at Reliant© Area, which is near where the NFL™’s designated victim team, the Houston Oilers Texans ®, play. So, instead of going to the Bridal Fair (who in their right mind would brave the hideous shrieking of a bridal fair – it would be like being forced to stay in a puppy-torture room) or Disney© on Ice™ (I think this would be interesting if it were Walt’s body, but instead I hear it consists of skating puppets).

The Scout Fair is an exemplar of everything that’s right about America. Admission fees? Nah, the Scouts have that covered. We went to a booth where you could (in The Boy’s case, poorly) throw darts at balloons. A Boy Scout was manning the booth, and offer The Boy a strawberry-ish drink. I think it was strawberry. The Boy didn’t have any. Pugsley did. Since Pugsley cannot talk, I can’t say if it did taste like strawberry. Pugsley had two glasses, so it was good, even if it was puréed marmot spleen or some such. Heck, Pugsley will drink nearly anything if there’s enough sugar in it, so it might have been marmot spleen.

We travelled up and down the aisles – none of the Scouting booths were looking for money – these were Scouts and Scout parents looking to help young Scouts learn something. There were also groups that deal with Scouts and Scouting values that were there – people from the Battleship Texas, a company that brought surveying equipment to teach Scouts about surveying. Everyone was there to teach Scouts. Or help Scouts have fun. Or give them puréed marmot spleen to drink.

The rain was pouring down, like, well, I can’t think of a marmot spleen analogy here, but you can imagine that I tried. We decided to go out to eat. The Boy exclaimed, “I don’t want to go out to eat, I already had m’lunch.”

The Mrs. and I concluded The Boy felt that he was about 80. When we got to the restaurant, I gallantly ran to hold the restaurant door (located conveniently under the awning) open while The Mrs. was drenched getting The Boy and Pugsley out of the car. Thankfully The Mrs. didn’t have to wait a second when they arrived at the door of Chili’s.

Thankfully, The Mrs. loves me even when she’s been drenched.

That night I introduced The Boy to vampire movies, watching a Vincent Price film called, The Last Man on Earth. At one point, I looked at The Boy and he was covering his ears with his eyes tightly shut. Which is entirely explainable because THE DOORKNOB WAS TURNING AND VINCENT PRICE’S WIFE WAS CLEARLY ON THE OTHER SIDE EVEN THOUGH HE JUST BURIED HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If only Vincent Price had been a Cub Scout. I think he could have tied her up better before he buried her.
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Desperate ducks commit desperate acts!" - Howard, Howard The Duck


When I was out hiking with Pugsley and The Boy, we happened upon Paris Hilton! She didn’t have much to say, but you could tell that whole tanning thing was working out for her. Then she ate a small dog.

Sorry, Internet. I took last week off.

Let me explain – I wasn’t out with another Internet. I was just too tired to make it. Last Saturday I went Cub Scout camping. The Mrs. generally doesn’t let me take Pugsley on overnight camping trips – The Mrs. is generally concerned that I will have forgotten I brought two boys, and only bring one home. That would be an evening of explaining. Normally The Mrs. forgets that stuff the next day, so I figure I’d only be in trouble for the night.

Anyhow, The Boy, Pugsley, and I left late, and had to put up our tent just as dusk was doing whatever it is that dusk does. Night falls, morning breaks, but dusk? I think it creeps up on you, unannounced, like Arbor Day. Or Christmas.

We finally managed to get the tent up, the sleeping bags in, and had hot dogs that were raw on the inside and burned on the outside to the consistency of Rosanne Barr’s thighs after she ran a marathon. Wearing corduroy. The Boy and Pugsley didn’t seem to notice – camping drastically lowers your quality standards as it relates to food. I myself once ate my shoe on a picnic, just because it looked mildly appetizing.

That night we settled into our bedrolls and slept soundly. Except for the fighting, the whining, and the 1:30AM run to the bathroom with a rather panicked Pugsley (just had to go a lot, like most three-year-olds he’s not used to walking a quarter-mile to go to the bathroom).

The next morning we had a stellar breakfast of badly burned (but yet teasingly raw in the middle) pancakes. Non-stick is really not a guarantee, more of a tantalizing promise. Pugsley ate a bite or two, and then indicated that he would eat no more. I got to pull my “Dad” line out – “It’s a long time until lunch, son.”

Strangely, at home it’s NEVER a long time until lunch, because it’s always a short walk to the pantry, filled with Snacky-Cakes® that can be pilfered and Oreos™ that can be absconded with. This morning was different, however, since the morning Cub Scout program included Orienteering – which involves a LOT of walking with a compass. Since The Boy was navigating, I was concerned that we might actually leave Texas at some point, and end up slightly off course in, say, Nebraska. But his aim was (pretty) true, except for the time when he wanted to take us 180° off course (that’s like 560π° off course in metric). We had a knee-slapper of a conversation about the Sumerians picking a weird number like 360° in a circle, and then Pugsley came up lame with a blister on his big left toe.

Oh, sure, I thought about doing the Darwinian thing and making him catch up or get lost, but then the spectre of a night spent explaining how I was just conducting a eugenics experiment with our youngest son descended on me. I then decided to do the Dad-thing and plop him up on my shoulders and carry his heiney around that way. He lovingly patted and petted my jowls, stretching them like they were a part of Jim Carrey’s face.

Upon dismount, Pugsley then began to make bleating sounds, pointing at the pain that was in his Snacky-Cake©-free stomach. I said to him, “For the first time in your life, Pugsley, you might be mildly hungry. Eat lunch. In two hours.”

We finally made it back to the tent, did some more hiking, and finally settled down for a (mostly) fight free night, if you don’t count the incident at 3AM when Pugsley pushed The Boy off of the air mattress and I had to rearrange children. In a tent. At 3AM.

So, this week we had a good week. The biggest thing we did was go on a picnic. We’d hit Target™ beforehand, so everyone had picked something to eat. I picked some Target© fried chicken, and we grabbed a table at a local park.

Immediately the ducks began to congregate near our table, begging for bread crumbs.

Internet, I admit that I had a truly horrible and despicable thought.

I would feed chicken to the ducks, making them nearly cannibals. Of course the ramifications of this immediately ran like a fever-dream through my head: wave after wave of bird-eating ducks finally realizing how good meat tastes spreading throughout the country, finally turning on themselves in an orgy of zombie avian genocide.

The next day I was driving with the family in the car. I said to The Mrs., “You know, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I thought about feeding some of my chicken to the ducks the other day. That would almost make them cannibals.”

The Mrs. nonchalantly replied, “Yeah, me too.”

Sometimes you find the right person. Then you marry her. Then you don’t lose your kids camping. Then you find out that you’re both similarly evil.

Ain’t life grand?
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