Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Things You Can Find...

So. You might be wondering what I've been up to lately.

Or not.

But if you were, I've been off and on helping my husband replace the roof on our pump house. The pump house is this little brick building that houses, oddly enough, our well pump. Imagine. Like most of the other buildings on the property, it is sorely in need of some attention and we have finally gotten 'round to it.

Now, as I've mentioned before, our home rennovation projects seldom turn out to be weekend things. No. They are more like...month long things. Partly because of our wacky schedules which allow us to work uninterrupted on something for only 28 minutes at a time every three weeks. Ok, so I exaggerate at bit, but only a smidge. The other reason is because everything is such a MAJOR project. There is no such thing as a simple thing around here.

So here's the scoop. The pump house needed a new roof. It's a relatively small building, something like 20 x 10 - easy enough, right? Wrong. Because "new roof" doesn't just mean new shingles. It means shingle, tar paper, decking, stringers, trim, mind and soul. New EVERYTHING.

Now throw into the mix the fact that the only pieces of scaffolding owned by the extended family are in another state, involved in another roofing project. Thus leaving my hubby to now have to BUILD scaffolding before he can start on the roof.

You can kind of see where things are headed.


Whilst my dear hubby was building the scaffolding, I was given the unenviable task of "cleaning out the pump house and making some room in there".


You have no idea. None, what so ever.

You see, back when we bought this place, oh, about 10 years ago, there was a lot of weird stuff left in the house. The kind of stuff that you know you don't need to have on hand but you really should sit down and take a good look at it before you throw it away. Lots of that kind of stuff. And guess where it went? Go on, you'll never. IN THE PUMP HOUSE!

That's right. And now it was my task to sort through it all and make some sense of it.


Well, for the most part, it was just a lot of sorting into three categories - garbage, scrap metal and what the...? I was in the thick of it the one day, kind of in an akward straddle over several boxes of pipe fittings and hinges, when my son walked in.

Son: Whaterya doing?
Me: Trying to sort through all this crap.
Son: ...

So I went back to my sorting while he puttered about, looking at odd things. Finally, he spoke up again. "What's this?"

He was holding a black box that looked kind of like an old purse. Curiosity got the better of me and I stepped over my boxes to have a better look. He opened the box and I could see something that looked like a chrome hand-held hairdryer. There was an odd assortment of what I guessed were attachements and two golf balls.

Me: I don't know. A golf ball polisher?

That seemed to satisfy both of us and he closed the box and put it on a shelf. I went back to my fittings and hinges. My son eventually got bored and left and I didn't think any more about the black box.

At least until I cleaned my way to the shelf.

Now I was presented with the black box yet again. This item definitely fell into the "what the...?" category. I thought I had better have another look and maybe I can decide what exactly to do with it.

I opened the box again. Again I saw the chrome hair-dryer-ish thing and the attachments and golf balls. But this time I noticed a piece of paper at the bottom of the box, under everything else. Ah...something I didn't notice the first time. Maybe it would answer the question of what exactly this thing was.

I carefully picked out the golf balls and attachements with one hand and then lifted the hairdryer/golf ball polisher out with the other. And there on the bottom of the box was the answer to my question. The operating manual for the item.


I blinked once and read it again.


I looked at the hairdryer/golf ball polisher/vibrator. I looked at the golf balls and attachements. I looked at the hiardryer/golf ball polisher/vibrator. I looked at the golf balls and attachements. In my hand. All of a sudden a light bulb went on somewhere in my brain and I dropped the golf balls and attachments in horror.

Me: GLACK!!!!!

I wiped my hand on my pants. Several times. I think I might have stuck it in an old coffee can of acid too...I'm not sure.

A vibrator??!!!

I set it down and gingerly took the manual out of the box. And immediately lost 45 minutes. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

As it turns out, this thing is a turn of the century, variable speed vibrator, used for treating a number of ailments, not the least of which is the female disorder "hysteria", or, as I am now wont to say, dingy golf balls.

And what is even more amazing is that it works!


I mean...

Well, see it's this way...


Ok, I plugged it in. That's it, I swear! Just to see if it would do anything. And, boy, did it ever! I didn't even turn up the speed. As soon as I plugged it in it was happily buzzing away, vibrating my arm, shoulder, neck, head, back and oh, oh, oh...AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!


No, really, it actually vibrated like a small pneumatic drill. I can't even imagine putting it on my... golf balls. Not even!

So then I unplugged it. And put it back in the box. And put it up on a shelf in our library for... For what? I don't know. I guess to bring out at dinner parties and say "Hey, look what I have! A crazy old vibrator!"

So there you go.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Say Hello to Another Holiday Icon

Hi folks.

I know, I know...long time, no post. I have no excuse. But I do have some good stories.

But you won't read any of them today.

No, today I want to discuss something entirely different: The Commercialization of Holidays.

Yes, it is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

There is no such thing as a holiday being just about the day anymore, is there? I mean, I saw the Christmas decorations out by the end of August this year. August? No wonder people get cranky about it by the time it gets here.

Thanksgiving? What? What's that? You mean there's another holiday in between Halloween and Christmas? Really? And it's about what? Oh, giving thanks? You mean it's not about adding up the bonus points at the grocery store to get the free turkey? No? Well, whaddaya know!

And it's not just Christmas either. It's even infested Easter. Now, we Christians had enough trouble stealing the holidays from the pagans you would think the capitalists would just leave well enough alone. But no, they had to take Easter too.

And this, people, this is nothing compared to what I've seen today. Nothing. I can almost understand getting all wrapped up in Christmas, Halloween and Easter. Heck, I can even look past the big hoopla about Valentine's Day and the 4th of July. But this tkaes the cake, folks. I mean it really and truly does.

They have gone and commercialized Election Day.

Oh! the horror! I couldn't believe it either. And I know it may seem small to some people but I am more than certain it is going to take off across the country. Pretty soon we are all going to be inundated with this new holiday icon. Yes, you heard me right. They now have a mascot for Election Day. Pretty soon you'll see the Hallmark greeting cards with it's cute little picture on the front. Pretty soon you will see plush look-alikes in the toy department. Pretty soon you will hear the Election Day carols on the radio featuring the latest antics of this new character to grace our sick and twisted holiday celebrations. Pretty soon you will see lines of voters waiting to have a chat with our new cultural icon, whispering who they want to win the election.

What is it, you ask? You've seen the signs for Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. You've seen the signs for Breakfast with Santa Claus. Well, today I was driving past our local fire company - which just so happens to be a polling place - and saw this sign. Get a load of this...

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You read it right. Breakfast with Mackerel. Never mind that it's spelled wrong. Who is this Mackerel and, what I really want to know is, who decided it was going to be the election day mascot? Hmm? Who? And why, why oh why, did they pick a mackerel?

I can just see it all now. The night before Election Day, all the registered voters will put out their coolers and creels hoping The Mackerel will swim up the drain pipe during the night and fill them with treats and wise decisions. that I think of it, some wise decisions might not be such a bad thing.

But a Mackerel?