Tip for the day

Isn't it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humor? When you think about it, it's weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it's funny. Don't you think it odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does that benefit us? I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense we couldn't react to a lot of life. I can't tell if that's funny or really scary. Calvin

Don’t struggle to change. Struggle strengthens what you are trying to change.
- Cheri Huber

A day without laughter is a day wasted.
- Charlie Chaplin

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Saturday, May 12, 2012


older article
I was going to write about how Obamacare will affect you but, quite frankly I have no Idea and don't want to do the research, so I decided I don't really care how it affects you.

If you have a watch or a cell phone you'll realize that autumn is almost upon us. For most people here in Colorado that means that the aspen turn spectacular colors. 

Did you know that an aspen forest is the largest organism on earth? All the tree roots connect and it is one plant. My favorite activity Is wandering through large aspen groves in the fall, but this year my knees are going to prevent that, but once again, who cares, so I have yet another less pleasant back up story.

To me fall also means I have to relight my furnace and change the filters. I think it's my least favorite honey-do. I'd rather be scrubbed with a Brillo pad and rolled in salt.
My crawl space is two feet high, dark and infested with spiders. Spiders are disgusting. The average person swallows eight spiders while sleeping in his life. Brrrr.  (I heard it was national trivia day.) I hate spiders and other insects. Before all you Middle school science teachers get your panties in a bunch, I know that entomologists claim spiders aren't insects and that they're technically classified as arachnids because they have eight legs. I couldn't care less what entomologists think. They study bugs for crying out loud. As far as I'm concerned, all little creatures you want to smash with a baseball bat are insects. (except short politicians and lawyers, which are in the rodent family.)
It's about this time of year well meaning friends will send me emails with encouraging pictures of people who have been bitten by brown recluse spiders. They consist of pussy, red, gaping wounds that look like infected axe injuries.  I'll spare you the revolting pictures.
Brown Recluse Spider
Macho plumbers, cable repairmen, and electricians seem to be able to go into my crawl space with impunity. I am relatively sure they steel themselves every morning with strong narcotics, alcohol and anti-anxiety medicines. Most of them look like they participated in those activities before they were hired. Their employers must send out head hunters to look for people who put narcotics as a hobby in their resume. They still make me feel like a wuss.
We have an exterminator come every year and spray poison all over the house to kill the spiders. I think it's just liquid spider cocktails. I hear little chittering howls of laughter coming from the heat registers shortly after he leaves.
I would be content to heat the house with the oven and some hibachis but Hon tells me there is a fire danger and we could die of carbon monoxide poisoning, which in my personal opinion is a much less painful way to go than a spider bite but I have to take the family into consideration, so I grudgingly take a small back pack and put two flash lights, a dustbuster several screw drivers, pliers, a toilet brush, two long barbecue lighters and a small club in case there are snakes, scorpions, centipedes,or large hairy, mutant desert tarantulas visiting their cousins all of which I've seen down there. Reluctantly I don my spider suit which consists of knee high rubber hunting boots, coveralls with rubber bands around the cuffs, gloves, a ski mask, a dust mask, a head band flashlight and goggles. 
With any luck the spiders will die laughing. My son almost peed his pants trying not to.
I tie the pack on my foot with a rope to leave my hands free.
Lifting the lid to the crawl space is usually when I am the most inclined to abandon this project. There all kinds of little round white cottony balls of spider webs that indicate the presence of black widows infesting every nook and cranny underneath it. They contain eggs for next year.
black widow
It may as well say "Abandon ye all hope who enter here." If I didn't think it would burn the house down I'd spray it with a flame thrower.  Later, I'll use a lighter instead,  which is a lengthier process. It's kind of like frying ants with a magnifying glass with my youngest, only more fun.(I never grew out of puberty.)
Girding my loins I descend into the bowels of my house. I have to lay flat and drag my self along through two inches of dust.  My head  bangs the 2x6 spider infested boards supporting the floor above me regularly. To avoid all the structural impediments, pipes and ducts, I have to take a circuitous route that is about twice as long as my house. If I visited a phrenologist. He would probably say something like "Mr. Curmudgeon, I conclude from these lumps that your brain cavity is filled with dead insects or you are an unskilled wannabe home repairman.. or both." 
I have to awkwardly toss the filter ahead of me frisbee-like so I don't crush it, catch up to it and throw it again. I have yet to get the right size filter and it sticks out the side of the filter slot. There are tons of filters all over the ground around the furnace from my previous forays into spider city.
Arriving at the furnace I struggle with the cover which is supposed to swing open but naturally doesn't. It's apparently designed by the same people who created the doors at Fort Knox. After removing it with the screw driver and almost losing a finger on the sharp edges I proceed by vacuuming out the dust and brushing the webs off the fan. (The next part of this sounds a little like an instruction manual but bear with me.) Then comes the hard part. It wouldn't be much more difficult if the furnace were above ground. I twist the knob to the raised arrow and hold it down for two minutes then twist it to another arrow and extend my lighter to the almost inaccessible pilot light. The flame leaps to life. Ha ha, just kidding. It never lights the first few times. That's why I brought two lighters. There are abandoned empty lighters and tools from previous years scattered all over due to a panicked need to get out of there. 
After repeating this procedure about five times the pilot light reluctantly ignites. The button has to be depressed for five minutes for the pilot to stay lit. I have to switch hands several times and God help me if I prematurely let the button go. After the alloted five minutes I let up on the button and turn the knob to the arrow labeled furnace to ignite it. It's pretty fool proof at this stage so of course it goes out. I bought an expensive pair of goggles that are guaranteed not to fog up until you put them on, so some times I imagine I can see spiders back there carrying little buckets of sand and throwing them on the flames. 
The first time I did this about twenty years ago I remember actually weeping and beating on the furnace, which is the real reason the door no longer opens. I wanted to sell the house there and then, but we had qualified for some special loan and paid next to nothing as it was a bank repo and it was all we could afford. As you can see my methods have evolved considerably from the first time I came down here fifteen times in one day. My loathing of this perilous pit has forced me to be prepared.

Finally after repeating this entire furnace lighting procedure about another four times, all the while feeling spiders crawling all over me even if they're not, the furnace roars to life and I reach up and flip the fan motor switch. 
I feel like Elijah calling down fire from heaven and I laugh madly thinking of any remaining spiders in the furnace incinerated by the flames. (I'm delusional by that time.) I'd like to see this as an event in Fear Factor with contestants sans my spider suit. I crawl out three times as fast as I crawled in and escape the fiery depths of hell and the giant spiders to the blessed sunlight of day. I am greeted by cheering... well my wife ready to beat the dust and any spider cooties off me with a broom till I feel safe enough to shed my spider suit. If early cavemen had to go through this to get fire we would have perished as a species. 
Shaking and soaked with sweat your hero retires to the house to drink a couple beers, take four Excedrine Migraines and flop on his bed trying to remember to forget this terrifying spelunking adventure. I wish I had some of those amnesiacs they give for minor embarrassing surgeries in the hospital.
The next time you see a spider remember: A sudden jerky move can result in serious injury. Drop a rock on them instead. 
Join us next week for more spiderman adventures. In the mean time I will continue to fight for truth, justice and electric heating in my secret guise as Anti-Spiderman. 

Grins out


  1. I don't think my spider was a black widow as the red mark on my spider's belly was just a dot, not this odd hour-glass shape.

  2. Spiders are one of those instinctual creepies. We should trust our instincts.

    1. My son says spiders are our friends. I told him to go live in the crawl space for a week. I guess they're not friendly enough for him to do that.