The Way Things Are



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I live in the land of 82 degrees
2005-12-28, 11:15 a.m.

Some time early Tuesday afternoon, I realized that our air conditioning wasnít working in the office. Yes, I said air conditioning. I live in the land of 82 degrees on December 27th. Wonít you join me?

Anyway, the a/c was supposed to be running, and while something was blowing, it was blowing hot air, and my delicate hands with their tapered fingers and smooth white skin were getting all red and puffy. Look how delicate:

Where delicate means ďstubbyĒ.

So the a/c repairman came out, and he figured out that our air conditioning AND the heat were coming on at the same time, and all hell was breaking loose, and cats were sleeping with dogs, and things were just WRONG.

He got it working properly, but while he was up in the attic tinkering with things, something let loose with some kind of stink that brought people to MY office to find out what it was. Right! Yeah, yíall suspect me first. Thanks!

So the a/c guy makes his way into my office, and I mentioned the smell to him, and we had the following disturbing exchange:

Me: Everyone is asking me what that smell is. I told them itís burning dust from the heating unit, or stale Freon or something.

Him: It smells like cheese.

Me: Kind of. Kind of rancid. Heating and air conditioning sometimes make weird smells. If it keeps up, weíll call you back. But I bet itíll be gone tomorrow.

Him: Itís making me hungry. It smells like parmesan cheese.

Me: ?!

Him: Itís actually making my mouth water. I love parmesan cheese.

Me: (thinking, you must love your job. It smells like the business end of a rancid laundry hamper) (but not saying this)

Him: Maybe somebody heated up some spaghetti with some parmesan cheese on it in the break room.

Me: I think itís the HVAC.

Him: Well, I did notice some droppings up in the attic, so Iíve suggested to the owner that an exterminator be called out.

Me: (wondering, what happened to the cheese?) Itís stale air. Itís the smell of air finally coming through the right part of the HVAC system or something, and blowing out some really stale, rancid stuff with it.

Him: I think you have mice.

And as you see, we have come full circle, because the mice are clearly where the smell of cheese was coming from.

I do have to say that despite my harping yesterday about my slight anxiety, um, CHALLENGE, it was a buttload of fun to have all my HI-larry-us siblings in the house with me for Christmas, and I even didnít mind my dad so much. Of course, heís recuperating from surgery, but weíre all hopeful that the doctors might find something else to cut out of him for the next time we all get together. We parked him in front of the TV and he watched movie after movie after movie. Even that Napoleon movie, which I think probably wasnít quite what he was expecting, but he seemed to enjoy it anyway.

There were quite a few times that I laughed until I cried, particularly when we got into a drawn-out discussion of the possibilities of a Christmas Snail and all that would entail, and my little big house did a good job of containing all of us, grubby handprints notwithstanding.

Lil Guy did get a trampoline, and Santa did devise a scavenger hunt for him, and it was really fun to see the little cousins trailing LG, followed closely by my brother with the video camera, and a parade of the rest of us grownups. Hereís a hint: those trampolines are not terribly expensive, and itís a good activity for all the guys, and all the mannish women, too, to get outside on a spring-like Christmas Day to assemble the trampoline. No, YOUíRE WELCOME.

My sister and I have decided that next Christmas, EVERYONEíS gifts will be given via scavenger hunt. Itíll be freaking awesome and chaotic.

In other news, I have been eating so many rich, butter-infused foods, I have got a bad case of the you-know-whats. The giant vat of mashed potatoes I made Christmas Day? Two sticks of butter. The Secret Agent Josephine shortbread cookies? Four sticks of butter. The sweet potatoes my littlest brother was in charge of on C-mas Day? So rich, nobody could eat them. Yep, a stick of butter, some heavy cream, and bourbonÖitís too much. Iím craving chicken noodle soup. Iíll feed the leftover sweet taters to the dog, and give her a raging case of the you-know-whats.

Is that too much information? Iím just telling you this in case you see me making a face and walking funny down the hall toward the facilities, youíll know what is going on. Please do not mock or judge me Ė I ask for your kindness and understanding in my time of need. Yeah, YOU.

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