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Leaves me alone


I don't know if it was shame or inspiration, but something from that Home and Garden Show made a circuit inside my homeowner's brain fry. All the things I thought it was okay to put off suddenly seemed slothfully unacceptable. Who waits a year and half to put curtains up in their house? Who leaves a closet door in place that has a hole in it? Who leaves a recessed lighting panel exposed, with one of the fixtures broken, each of its two 48" florescent light bulbs mockingly dim? Who has a yard that is more weed than grass, so much weed in fact, that it causes Snoop Dogg to get his hopes up before he hears that it's just the common yard kind of weed?

I do. Me.

So I busted out the rake and started to rake the shit out of some leaves in my front yard. After an hour of work, of raking and bending and emptying the free-standing canvas bag into the lawn/leaf trash bag, after raking and scooping and raking some more, all I'd done was a tiny swatch about two feet wide along the sidewalk. There were still leaves falling, still leaves all over the driveway, leaves fucking everywhere. And I got mad! At the leaves. I started composing leaf poetry as I angrily raked:

Fucking leaves.
You are many,
I am only one.
What do you want from me?
Fucking leaves.

Last year, I didn't rake after winter (or what passes for winter in this area). I thought that somehow I was above it all, as if the rules of raking just didn't apply to me. By spring, the front and back yards were choking from decomposed, muddy leaves.

So this year, I started raking. And got tired of it after two and a half huge trash bags. I saw that I was making absolutely no progress, except for a little bikini-wax strip of lawn that was relatively leaf-free.

I gave up. Shamed. Defeated. Fucking leaves!

The thing I did do was fix that light fixture with the help of my dad. I went to the Depot of Homes and bought a new lights fixture. Instead of taking the thing down (an operation that even without doing that was going to require two ladders and a lot of patience), we stripped the parts from it and replaced the transformer and wiring up there. It involved flipping breakers, balancing on the ladder, a lot of yelling and cursing and some dexterous, high-altitude screwing (that just reminded me of my mile-high-club friend again).

Ah yes. Children! To do the raking for me! That's what I need!

Turns out that was the easy part. The hard part was replacing this big sheet of hard plastic that goes under the fixtures. It's bendable but only a little. I've broken six of these things on my own. They each cost about $9. Trying to put them up alone is an exercise in folly. I either drop it or bend it too much and break it (it's hard plastic, but breaks and cracks like cheap glass). Then I take it out to dumpster to throw it away, but it won't fit, so I have to break it into smaller pieces, but it acts like glass, so it shatters. One time, I cut my arms and I think I may have even gotten a tiny piece in one of my eyes. Yes, dangerous stuff.

My dad and I broke another one trying to get it to fit up there and there we were, back at the Depot of Homes, getting another plastic sheet. We could barely find an unbroken, unscratched one, which goes to show how flimsy and shitty these things are.

So. One light fixture fixed. One lawn 1/8th of the way raked. That should do it for me and home maintenance for about another four months.



Big pimpin'

No recaps for a while. I'm on vacation until April when there are new episodes!

South by Southwest Film is in full swing. I wrote some short capsule reviews that are running Tuesday, but what you should really read is the piece we did on Bob Odenkirk's new movie.

I link to Penny Arcade all the time for obvious reasons, but one feature they do that I covet like a filthy junkie is The Hook Up. A guy from Monster Cable does a column on home theater, wiring, and all that jazz. If the words "dual component video inputs" make you tingle, you should check it out. Hell, check it out even if you feel no tingle at all.

Last week was my brother's birthday and today is my mom's. We're all spring babies. Think happy thoughts about my momma today, okay?


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