Tag Archives: bozo

This Old House

You know that scene in horror movies where the idiot family who moved into the weirdly perfect house that inexplicably wouldn’t sell for years realizes officially that their place is damned? I don’t because I can’t watch horror movies and ever sleep again. But I assume that’s how it goes because I accidentally see the occasional preview. That’s what happens, right?

Well, on the anniversary of our moving into our very first house, that’s how it’s looking for us.

Except that I suspected something was wrong with the house – you know: on principle – before we bought it, so I haven’t been caught off guard like the Idiot Family. (Let’s hear it for paranoid low expectations!)

And it’s not haunted. And all in all it’s a pretty nice house.

But it does have

  • A 100% half-assed heating system (if that’s mathematically and physiologically possible)
  • A stove that was a.) mysteriously not updated when the rest of the kitchen was, and b.) periodically and without provocation stops working in a non-reproducible way.
  • Something in or around it that causes our eyes to itch and water most days.

So it’s not really like those horror houses at all. Except that it’s a house. And that last thing about our eyes. That’s weird, right?

It’s not like, “Aargh, I have a knife and live in your wall!” homicidal weird, but it is creeping weird. Like, “How can I need eye drops when I’m not allergic to anything and this never happened at our old place fourteen blocks over?” weird. Which is a pretty specialized category of weird. But then your walls melting in one of those horror movies is also a pretty special category of weird, right? So here we are:  the “something sinister and eye-irritating lives in our air” thing + my totally normal, not at all paranoid suspicions = SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS HOUSE.

I wonder if we live on a radon fountain or if the ducts are lined with asbestos or if the place was built on some werewolf burial ground. I wonder if the previous family moved because they knew all these things and they stopped emailing me not because I wouldn’t quit asking very, very politely worded things about what the hell became of the keys to the back door if there ever were any, please? but because they knew about the radon fountain. I wonder these things OFTEN.

If there were a WebMD for houses, I would be on there all the time. I think our house has rickets. That’s a thing, right?

A New Low?

I know it doesn’t mean much to your day, but getting our pot rack hooked up to our ceiling has meant a lot to the OCD gnome on my shoulder who has been breathing heavily every time he sees the pots and pans stacked on top of each other’s non-stick surfaces because they have nowhere else to go. I know my gnome could be spending his energy elsewhere – like on reorganizing the dryer lint – but there was no convincing him, so we finally put up the pot rack.

In the process of hanging it, we uncovered further evidence that our house’s skeleton was put together by a crack addict. There is no clear pattern of studs in the walls or ceilings: the stud finders we’ve used (all three of them) indicate that the “crossbeams” start and stop at random. Which means the house might come down at any moment. I either try not to think about this threat, or, when I do, I channel my anxiety into getting excited about the quirky and unknown nature of the future. Ha ha. Ha. Hmmm.

Anyway, tracking down the half-beams to sink the pot rack’s screws into meant making a lot of pencil marks on the ceiling. The gnome, pleased as he is about the rack, is a little irritated by the marks. Erasing them however required a.) an eraser which might or might not be somewhere in R’s very cluttered office upstairs, and b.) some time standing on a stool.

Two steps seemed like a lot.

I know. Don’t even. I have a small child and a lot of competition for my time so just back up on off me. We’re not even at the worst part yet, so save some energy.

I didn’t erase the marks.

Instead, a few days later, when I was in a 5&10 type store, get this: I bought an eraser. Yes, I was that daunted by the prospect of possibly fruitlessly climbing a flight of stairs and spending two and a half minutes tracking down the eraser we probably already have, that I paid a bored clerk 99 cents to give me another one.

And you know what? I think that was a brilliant solution to my problem. It was worth every one of those 99 pennies.

Well, until it didn’t work on the pencil marks at all, that is.

I can feel you and the gnome judging me for my $1 solution to my tiny problem, but I’m still not ashamed.

So now we’re back to square one of the new, not-at-all improved process: a.) drive back to the 5&10 and find a different eraser which might or might not work, b.) give them money for it, and c.) spend some more time on a stool.

No, it hasn’t occurred to me to go upstairs and find that eraser we already have. Just be quiet.

I don’t know if this is going to happen. I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Maybe you and the gnome should go get a stiff drink and check back later.