It's not about the house.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Individual Power

When we bought this house, in 2004, the room that is now my office was piled with a load of random shit. Some of it was regular-old shit that actually belongs in a bedroom – or, rather, would belong in a bedroom if said bedroom was located in a house in Broken World. There was a broken bed, a broken dresser, broken bookshelves, all drunkenly regurgitating their respective rightful contents. And I don’t want you to think too hard about what the “rightful contents” of a broken bed might be. Suffice to say there were soiled bedclothes involved. That is all.

Then there was this whole entire other bunch of crap. Fireproof file boxes full of high school diaries (yes, I read them; no, there was nothing juicy). A complete series of fifty or so lithograph prints on really nice paper that I still pretend to hope might turn out to be worth something someday (I haven’t done the necessary research because if I do, and if I find out they’re worth nothing, well, then, what will I have left to hope for after that?). And the rest of the room was a big festering pile of shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings.

No, really, there were ships and sealing wax. They came as part of a motley assortment of sketches and kits; magazines and blueprints; pictures and models and sailboats in jars. Virtually every category of ephemera that could remotely be considered maritime. Dude might as well have painted a great big puffy “I Heart Boats” in day-glo letters on his ceiling.

(I wanted that to have an actual heart instead of the word, but I couldn't find a way to make it happen here. Somehow, it seems a little less insulting to him the way that it came out. So wherever you are, kid, I meant to call you a wingding!)

But my sister helped me (in this room, others helped me elsewhere) and we cleared every last speck of it out. Threw it all in trash bags (or quite possibly yard-waste bags, since the AssVac for some reason came fully stocked with sturdy dozens of the otherwise-useless things) and hauled it to the curb.

Then we promptly, and quite happily, filled the whole dang room back up again.

Well, hell, the house was barely habitable as it was. We couldn’t very well put all our moving boxes in the dining room, now, could we? If we did, where would the extra refrigerator go? Or the litter box? And it’s not like we didn’t already have four sofas, two recliners and a wing chair stacked on top of one another in the living room. So we had to put the boxes in what was then allegedly the second bedroom.

Well. Actually? Officially and technically? It was allegedly the third. But the master was at that point doing its darnedest to evolve new forms of life from it's own brand of primordial black ooze, so – no matter what the assessor of record might have on file – I maintain this master bedroom did not come to exist until January 1, 2006. La la.

(Which doesn’t mean they should tax me any differently, or rescind the Grandfather exemption that lets the bedroom exist now. La la!)

Anyway, so yes: we filled this bedroom/office right back up. Literally, this time: floor to ceiling, wall to wall to wall to wall. Then we shut the door, put our fingers in our ears, and cried and wept and screamed and (some of us) nearly died, in the interest of dealing with the ooze.

We (for which read: I) finally did get around to (for which read: moving to the attic) all those boxes, but only when it was discovered (for which read: Johnny informed me) that we had a Nephew on his way from Dublin to move in (for which read: to move in!). And when the room was finally really empty and being used as an actual functional space, we realized it wasn’t so much “functional” at all.

(Forgive me, Laura Ingalls, but this isn't 1885, and we don't live in a carved-out hole at the side of a river. When i say "functional" -- and I know, I should count my blessings -- I expect a bit more than four walls and a roof. If only so taht somebody else might want to give me money in exchange for this carved-out hole someday. All right, then?)

The light, we’d noticed. By which I mean to say the lack thereof. There were a few (presumably live) wires peeking through the plaster where the fixture used to be, but that was all. Who knows what happened to it? Considering the state of the remainder of this house, I can’t imagine it was so adorable that Mister "I Heart Boats" absconded with it. Did he tear it down and cut the wires, hoping for a spider to brush up and accidentally burn the AssVac down?

At any rate, we’d noticed them. The wires. We'd seen 'em when we stacked the boxes. They are, in fact, a large part of the reason why we closed the door: so the cats wouldn’t scale Mount Carton and electrocute themselves. (That, and so they wouldn’t climb through the gaping hole in the one wall and turn this house into more of a conglomeration of Edgar Allen Poe short stories than it already was.)

The outlets, though? The outlets were a surprise. How do you have a bedroom – a non-Laura-Ingalls-housing bedroom – with just a single cotton-picking plug!? I don’t mean one functional plug, either, like in the living room. And dining room. And kitchen. Hell, even the oozey room had plenty of outlets that were useless duds. But this one -- this cask of amontillado? -- had only, ever, one.

We, however(for which again read: mostly I), continued to soldier on. The Nephew moved in, the Nephew moved out, and I set up my office. (That bedroom is my office now, remember?) When, a year and a half later, the Comcast man came in to set up my broadband service, he had to configure the whole shebang in such a way that everything could reach the single outlet. Or, rather, reach the power strip that I had running from the outlet. Because the outlet itself was now hidden – and half-occupied – by the all-important extra fridge that holds the beer.

Fortunately, the circuit never blew from overloading (which was something of a miracle, considering the entire house was running off just the one). But there were only exactly as many holes on that power strip as I had things plugged in, so if I ever needed to, let’s say, turn on a fan (for any reason, not necessarily a fish or bean-juice related one), I had to turn something else off. Plus you had to lean over and around behind the dresser just in order to turn on the light.


Can you even FIND the light in that picture?


Fast forward a couple years. 

-----pretend these are wavy lines-----

Andy’s been staying over at our house a lot these days. He’s got things to do in the area and it’s easier tofor him to crash here than to go home to the fixer upper he (coughcoughstupidlycoughcough) bought himself waaaay the hell down on the South Shore. And – maybe just because he loves us, maybe as a way of saying thanks for the spare room, or maybe because he needs something to keep the devil away from his idle hands – he’s been doing a lot of neat things for us while he's here.

First, he cleaned out the basement. That was the day Johnny found the snake. Before Johnny got home Andy had been down there for like seven hours, organizing and throwing shit away and building shelves. You should see it now. Alright, alright, I’ll show you.



Yeah, that doesn't look quite so impressive actually. Hang on...

Ta da! Other corner! And also...? 

Ta da! Shelves!

Can you believe it!?

Andy also ran cable to the extra bedroom (the one that's not my office or the master) and hooked up the spare tv. He even managed to program the universal remote, which is something I've never been able to do. That, admittedly, was a bit less altruistic than some of his other acts, considering how much time he spends in there and all. But it doesn’t make it any less appreciated.

(Oh, and you should have seen the stooge-routine around here that day! Andy found the extra cable wire in the basement and couldn’t figure out where it might lead. He kept insisting it had to go somewhere, and I kept insisting there were just the two TVs, so eventually he took the wire off and used the port. Ran the cable, got the guest-room TV working, and programmed the remote. Yahoo! Then, when he was leaving, he asked me to go online for the train schedule -- and I discovered that the "extra" cable he had disconnected was my broadband! He ran back down, put my internet back where it belonged, and -- when he came back the next time -- re-hooked-up the TV.)

And then? The next time after that one? He did this:

Which is here:

In my office!

I haven’t been able to make myself remember to use the goddamn thing, however. I only think of it when my computer’s on -- like now. In which case I am, you know, using it. By the time I shut it down I’m usually so bollocksed that it's all I can do to run screaming from the room. Then the next day I stumble in at 5:00 before my coffee, switch it on, and the entire cycle starts anew.

Andy's coming back on Saturday, though. If I want him to do anything else around here, I'd better get moving on those plugs. Wouldn't want him to think I wasn't grateful!

I am, Andy. I am...


Sashimi said...

Some one ought to have let Monica loose around the Ass Vac..Monica as in u know, Phoebe, Monica, Joey...

And I don't mean now!..nope not at all..all those years ago when furniture was regurgitating stuff, etc

Jenni said...

Wingdings...WHY are they not an option ?
Anyway I learned this..... <3 from a 10 year old. It took me a minute, remember I am blonde.

ege said...

Sashimi -- Phew! Good thing you clarified, because I was thinking of an ENTIRELY different Monica...

Jenni -- I know! So annoying. (I'm blonde, too, and not only did it take me a minute the first time, but I forgot and it took me a minute again the second time as well! That is, assuming I get it now. It is boobies, right? Or a butt?)

Jenni said...

It does look like both boobies and butt, which is what I thought to begin with. Then after my hesitation, I was told it was a heart. sideways.

su said...

Ah yes I remember it well! K was very preggars with
football buddy!

ege said...

Jenni -- Aha! Which explains why you shared it, because I was looking for a heart. Duh.

Su -- Yup, and you were a big help too, but there wasn't room for the three of us in this particular room.

Quoizel said...

I can help you out with your lighting problems. Give me a shout and I will give you a screaming deal.