April 03, 2006

Part Two

Frog fixed--what next?

Well, how about this--how’s about I get the long box that had our new tent awning in it and get it assembled! YEA ME!

Got the box, opened her up, and looked for the instructions. Good--it has some. And they weren’t even written in Chinese! Got the bundle of thin tubing out, got the plastic fittings out, got the fabric out. All laid out in front of me as I sat on the stone bench, Boy patiently waiting instructions on how to help his dear old Dad.

The pictogram said I needed (4) Part A. Got it. Those were the corner pieces of plastic into which everything else clicked. Now, I should have (8) Tube 7. One #7, click into Part A; two #7, click into Part A. Get another Part A, click a #7, then click another #7. Third Part A, and…hmm. I need another Tube 7. They all had nice little number stickers on them. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. I should have (8) Tube 7s, right? Uhm, yeah, need 8. But--but I only have FOUR! “Jonathan! Go through that sack full of tubes and all those other ones you’ve pulled out and see if you can find the other four tubes that have a number 7 on them!”

We looked and looked. Nope, no other #7s. BUT, we had four too many #2s! Not that it helped. Well, crap.

All that promise, all that WASTED EFFORT! Bundled everything back up and ran it back over to Winn-Dixie and got my money back, and when I got back sometime after 1:00, I learned that two of Oldest’s invitees had decided to come to the party at 2:00 instead of 3:00. I’m still not sure why. ::sigh:: Like it matters.

AND THEN, as I was scurrying around trying to set up lawn chairs in the yard and fill up the lamps with oil, there was the phone call from the telephone repair guy.

You see, my DSL service I was SOOOO bragging on last week? Well, it worked fine Tuesday, but Wednesday night I tried to use it, and it was MIA. Couldn’t get the modem to synch, and I tried everything, INCLUDING calling customer “service.” Went through the usual routine of turning things off and turning them back on again, plugged the modem directly to the wall without the filter, plugged the phone into the modem, did every conceivable unplugging and plugging thing the guy could think of, and then he gave up and said he’d put in a service request. Thursday, maybe, or more likely, Friday. GRRRR!

Friday came and went, and I called and they said they’d have someone out on Saturday. “Well, can it be the morning? My daughter’s having a party in the afternoon and we need to be able to do that.” “No problem!”

Which brings us back again to Saturday afternoon, 1:00 pm, with party preparations about three hours behind, and two kids showing up an hour early, when Rebecca comes out the door and tells me I need to go around to the front of the house to help the telephone guy find the right wire. Huh!?

I walk around there, and there’s no one there.

What the!?

Walk back inside and Reba is hanging up on him--“Where is he? I thought he was in the front yard!”

“He pulled up to the wrong house--he’s at 3112, and I told him we’re at 3121. He sounded really embarrassed.”

Yeah, well, he should be! Not nearly so much as someone who’d been giving a two-ended liplock to a plastic spitting frog, but still maybe a little bit.

I went back outside and then noticed the big white boom truck up and across the street, with a burly fellow taking up yellow cones and placing them on his truck. He finally got turned around and made it back down the street to the front of Casa de Possum. Took out his yellow cones and put them in the street. He looked a lot like Larry the Cable Guy, except with sleeves.

All kinds of cool equipment, including his lineman’s handset, which I’ve always wanted, and he got hooked up, plugged up a minimodem, annnnd--nothing. “Well, I can’t get it to synch.” Amazing, I couldn’t either! He figured it was something at the main office, which he’d have to go check, but he couldn’t do one part of it, and if the trouble was in that part, I’d have to wait until Monday for them to fix it. ::sigh:: Stupid DSL.

He called after he got back to the office--it was going to be Monday. Grr.

(And, in an odd coincidence, Barry just called at 10:35 and said he was there at the house, and the DSL was working just fine now. It better be when I get home tonight, Barry, or I shall taunt you mercilessly. Of course, Barry didn’t sound nearly as big as Sammy, which is the guy who came out Saturday.)

Oh, well--bigger fish to fry at the moment. The girls had managed to get a lot done in the kitchen--there was a huge pile of fruit they’d put on skewers, and the junk in the den had been mostly cleaned up, and the meat kebobs were just about finished, and the punch bowl had nothing in it except punch.

I went back outside to fill up the torches. And discovered that there might just be a reason that a company is able to make a profit on something even at the ridiculously low price of $2.97. Well, you figure the bamboo is basically free, since it grows like kudzu over there. But you do have to have a little labor added to split it just so, and tie some stuff around it to hold the oil cans. But those oil cans--now THOSE are marvels of ingenuity. They looked like old brake fluid cans, painted yellow. And not good old brake fluid cans, but brake fluid cans that were probably reclaimed from a giant burning trash dump on the outskirts of some Chinese industrial gulag. The yellow paint, it seems, not only was intended to add a festive touch, but also was intended to cover over tiny imperfections in the cans where they had rusted through.

I didn’t realize this until I was filling up one particular lamp and kept getting a tiny stream of lamp oil running down my hand. I though I was missing the spout, but upon closer examination, there was an open rusty seam near the top of the can that was allowing the oil to dribble out. Such wacky pranksters!

Eh. Whatever. I figure they’d fit right in with the blasting caps and the cool set of lawn darts we were going to let the guests play with.

Planted the lamps strategically around the patio and the chairs, and the kids started arriving. Cranked up the grille, and got to cooking.

NEXT: Party, dude!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 3, 2006 09:50 AM

I used a tiki torch oil lamp outside once. I set up a nice dinner on the back patio for two, drug the mattress off the sleeper sofa outside and covered it with a thick mattress pad and white sheets for a romantic interlude with my husband cause we'd shipped the kids off to his parents for the night. Made an awesome dinner. Lit the torches and 20 minutes later had black soot all over those perty white sheets. Grrr! So much for the perfect romantic evening under the stars.

Posted by: Tex at April 3, 2006 09:59 AM

Your day sounds like one of those "if it can go wrong it will go wrong" kind of days. You poor guy!

Posted by: Tex at April 3, 2006 10:02 AM

Nah, it wasn't so bad--at least from the point of view of opening up a source of rich comedic blog fodder.

And sorry to hear about the sheets, but at least you didn't get chiggers all over you.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 3, 2006 10:07 AM