Tag Archives: life

Geek-Speak

I’ve been a geek all my life.

I’d like to clarify that I’m referring to the current definition of ‘geek’, as in “a socially awkward oddball who thinks too much”; not “a sideshow performer who bites the head off live chickens” (which was what the word meant when I was young).

I have never bitten, and with any luck will never bite, the head off a live animal of any sort.  Chocolate animals?  Oh hell yes!  Cooked animals?  Maybe… though I’d likely use a knife or cleaver or some other suitable implement instead of my teeth…

Oops.

There I go again.  Over-thinking.  Over-clarifying.

Even as a child, I couldn’t grasp why people didn’t simply say what they meant.  When the teacher asked, “Does anyone know the answer?”, I never understood why she apparently stopped being able to see my wildly-waving hand after I’d answered the first few questions correctly.

When the other girls assured me, “Of course we’re still friends!” and then never spoke to me again, I just… didn’t get it.  There’s something to be said for being completely oblivious to social cues.  I thought I had lots of friends, and it was sheer coincidence that I never got invited to anything.

The rest of the world doesn’t understand that geeks take words at face value.  A classic geek joke goes like this:  A software engineer was found dead of starvation in his shower.  Preliminary investigation suggests that he was following the instructions on the shampoo bottle:  “Lather, rinse, repeat.”

This joke is funny and sad on two levels:  1) You have to be a bit of geek to get it; and 2) If you are a bit of a geek, there’s probably some small part of you that’s thinking, “You know, that makes perfect sense…”

Another diabolical geek trap is the phrase casually bandied about by normal human beings:  “Suggestions are welcome”.

Hint for the geeks in the audience:  No.  No, they’re not.  One suggestion is welcome.  Maybe two, tops.  If it’s your personal responsibility to resolve the issues, you might be allowed three suggestions.  Presenting twenty pages of closely-spaced bullet points will only end in annoyance for you when you realize that your listeners’ eyes glazed over after the first two points and their minds are now fully occupied by desperate escape plans.

Another hint for geeks:  If your listener is gripping a letter opener with whitening knuckles, it’s time for you to leave.  Lingering to make sure they grasped the subtle nuances of item 20.1.5.3(b) will only result in bloodshed; and that gets awkward for everybody.  For one thing, stab wounds hurt.  For another, if your listener decides to commit hara-kiri instead of attacking you, it’s very difficult to explain to the police.  (Don’t ask how I know these things.)

Anyway, after 50-odd… okay; very odd years, I honestly thought I had this stuff all figured out.  (Note:  All geeks think this.  They’re always wrong.)

But then I went for physiotherapy a few years ago.  The physiotherapist said, “Keep your legs straight and touch your toes.”  So I did.  It hurt like a bitch.  But she hadn’t said, “… and tell me if it hurts”, so I didn’t mention it.  I threw away a lot of money on physiotherapy before I grasped that little detail.

But I’ve got it all figured out now.  Really, I do…

* * *

P.S. Book 13, “Once Burned, Twice Spy” is now available for pre-order at all retailers (click here for links)… except, for some unknown reason, the Amazon international sites.  Amazon.com is up, but none of the other countries are showing the listing.  Grrr!  I’ve submitted a trouble ticket to Amazon and hope to have the problem resolved shortly.  To everyone who received the pre-order announcement and can’t buy from the Amazon of their choice:  I’m sorry about this.  I’ll send an updated announcement as soon as the pre-orders are up in all countries.

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Filed under Geekery, Humour, Life

It’s Baaaack…

For years my friends have teased me about wearing a waist pouch, and with good reason.  Whether you call it a fanny pack (Canada and the United States), bumbag (UK), belly bag (Germany), or banana bag (France); the sad truth is that it was in style for about ten minutes in the 90s and ever since then it’s been a visible indicator of my defective fashion sense.

But I love my waist pouch.  I’ve got everything but the kitchen sink crammed in there.  It’s comfortable, practical, and hands-free; and I got over any self-consciousness about wearing it long ago.

I also got over calling it a ‘fanny pack’ after I discovered that while ‘fanny’ may mean ‘bum’ here, across the pond it refers to an entirely different portion of the female anatomy.  In my case ‘fanny pack’ would still be an accurate description since I wear my waist pouch front and centre, but I’d rather not be unintentionally vulgar.  (Intentionally vulgar, yes; frequently.  But I like to choose my times.)

Back in 2014 I was thrilled to discover that waist pouches seemed to be making a comeback, but when I didn’t see anyone else wearing one in public I simply assumed that (as usual) the fashion industry hadn’t come to its senses.  But that was only another example of my cluelessness, because apparently waist pouches have sneaked back onto the fashion scene.

My friends are much more observant than I.  Whenever they notice some celebrity rockin’ a waist pouch, they’re sure to let me know.  Last week my step-mom got into the act by mentioning she’d seen a pink sequined number on the Shopping Channel that would give me the ultimate in high-fashion panache.

Enlightened, I searched the shopping sites and voilà!  A plethora of packs, from $6.95 cheapies to $300 designer duds.  I was amazed to find materials ranging from my good old black leather to the aforementioned pink sequins, and everything in between including camo and floral patterns… plus the quintessential Dad bag from Walmart that made me laugh out loud:  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Dad-Bag-Waist-Zipper-Packs-Unisex-Fake-Belly-Traveling-Fanny-Bags/920778025.

Just in case the fashion industry forsakes me again (which it undoubtedly will) I’d like to point out that waist pouches have a long and distinguished history:  They started off five thousand years ago as belt-pouches, detoured to Scotland as sporrans, and appeared in Native American history as medicine pouches.

So not only am I honouring tradition by wearing a waist pouch, it turns out that I’ve also been a trendsetter all along:  a bleeding-edge fashionista who spotted a ‘thing’ decades before it arrived!  (And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell, too.)

Anyway…

In keeping with their fresh new look, fanny packs have risen above their original vulgar nomenclature with sophisticated new names like sling bags, waist packs, hip packs, hip sacks, and crossbody packs.  I showed off my updated vocabulary (and my ancient waist pouch) to my friends the other night, and as usual I came in for some lively teasing.  One friend suggested that ‘colostomy bag’ would be an appropriate moniker for smaller pouches worn off-centre.

I had to agree.  ‘Colostomy bag’ would be a perfect name for my waist pouch – after all, it’s where I carry all my shit.

So I know I’m probably a freakish minority, but… would you ever wear a waist pouch?  Have your say in this poll!

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Brain Food

I’m SOOOO close to finishing the draft of Book 13!

Each time I start a new book, I promise myself that I’ll write steadily within a realistic timeframe.  And each time, I end up writing day and night to finish in time for some self-imposed deadline.  In my quest for energy and inspiration this week, I’ve uncovered new FactsTM (see footnote below) about brain food.

Earlier civilizations believed that foods resembling a particular portion of the anatomy provided special nourishment to that anatomy.  So cauliflower, lumpy and brain-shaped, was ‘brain food’.  (This theory also explains the popularity of bananas and cucumbers; but I digress.)

Modern medicine informs us that ‘brain food’ doesn’t, in fact, resemble the brain; instead, the secret to smarts comes from complicated things like omega-3s, antioxidants, and flavonoids.

But after extensive research (a couple of hours at least) I’ve discovered that both ancient and modern beliefs are wrong.  Brain food isn’t brainish-looking.  It’s not complicated or difficult to obtain.

It’s…

*suspenseful drumroll*

Junk food!  And I have FactsTM to support my conclusion!

When I’m plotting a book, I usually pace; although I may also stand stock-still staring into space or drape myself over the furniture in odd positions.  (I bet you thought you were supposed to sit with your butt on the sofa cushions and your feet flat on the floor.  Pshaw.  The correct position is:  Belly on the cushions, arms draped over the sofa back, toes on the floor.)

Pacing is my favourite creativity stimulant; but even better is Pacing With Brain Food.

I can think better when I’m chewing; probably because jaw muscle contractions stimulate my brain.  My research supports this, because I’ve found that crunchy foods provide much more inspiration than soft foods.

I love gooey goodies like cheese and ice cream, but they offer no inspiration at all.  Likewise, chocolate (while ever-so-yummy) doesn’t help me.  In fact, the more chocolate I eat, the less I can think; until my entire mind is subsumed by four words:  MUST… HAVE… MORE… CHOCOLATE!

Tradition holds that booze is a veritable fount of inspiration; but not so.  A moderate amount of booze completely drains my brain; and too much booze fills it up again with ideas that seem brilliant at the time but when reviewed the next day make me say, “What the everloving f…?”

So once again, the FactsTM bear me out:  It’s gotta be crunchy.  You can’t chew booze.

Fruits and veggies?  Meh.  They’re better than nothing.  But…

Popcorn.  Chips.  Beer nuts.  Pretzels.  Cheezies.  OMG!!!!

My brain goes into overdrive.  I pace frenetically, gobbling handful upon handful of crunchy brain-stirring goodness.  Ideas flow, like belly fat breaching the waistband of too-tight jeans.

It’s a good system; but it’s not really sustainable unless I want to buy a whole new wardrobe to accommodate my… *ahem* expanding creative process for each subsequent book.

So in a few more days I’ll be back to my usual sensible diet; but just remember, you heard it here first:  Junk food is the ultimate brain food.  It’s a FactTM!

*

1 FactsTM is a trademark of The Fake News Generation Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bullshit Consortium.  FactsTM is defined as “any random statement, however ridiculous, which is shouted loudly enough to be reported by the media”.

P.S. I’m travelling today, so I’ll be checking in later – ‘talk’ to you soon!

P.P.S. It’s spring on the Island!  Hooray!

 

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The Pitter-Patter Of Tiny Feet

The other day I was reaching for a towel after my shower, and I thought, “It’s nice that there aren’t so many spiders in the house anymore.”

Spiders were an unexpected consequence of moving into a newly constructed home.  While it stood vacant, the open soffits and myriad gaps in the foundation made our new house an arachnid haven.  For months after we moved in, spiders were a frequent sight; so much so that Hubby began to consider some kind of scheme to extract rent payments from our many squatters.

We’re not particularly bothered by spiders, so when we found one we’d usually usher it out the door unharmed; although if it was a particularly inconvenient time or location it sometimes got squished instead.

Which brings me back to the shower.  Shortly after we had moved in, I’d finished my morning shower and grabbed the towel off the towel bar.  I was drying off when an odd sensation made me look down… in time to see a largish black spider crawling up my stomach, apparently making a play for my left boob.

I’m don’t shriek or spaz out over spiders.   After you’ve had a spider crawling on your tongue, you tend to be a little less excitable about those sorts of things; but nevertheless I moved quite… *ahem*… briskly to rid myself of my unwanted suitor.  He didn’t survive the experience.

And that very day, I developed a new habit of vigorously shaking out my towel before using it.  Even though I haven’t seen a spider in the bathroom for months, I still do it.  And it’ll probably be a lifelong habit since BC is home to black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders, and I have a healthy respect for both.

But not a phobia.  I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I find humour in the reactions of the poor folks who do suffer from arachnophobia… like a guy I used to know.

It was a hot day and we were working outside.  I went in to get a glass of water and brought one out for him, too.  He accepted it with thanks, took a sip… and then flung it at me.  I dodged, the glass flew across the yard and rolled down the sidewalk, and I demanded, “WHAT THE…????

Pale-faced and wide-eyed, he stammered, “A spider.  There was a spider on the bottom.”

Miraculously, the glass hadn’t broken.  When I retrieved it and pointed out the harmless piece of detritus stuck to the bottom, he was sheepish but unrepentant.  “It looked like a spider when I saw it through the bottom of the glass.  I’d do the same again.  Spiders, brrrr!”

Arachnophobes would heartily endorse his reaction, but even they would have to laugh at this story that actually made the news:  A father walks through a spiderweb and the whole family freaks out at the fact that the spider is now in the house… only to discover that they’ve inadvertently captured the whole show on video.

I’m actually feeling sorry for the guy, but my sympathy might be a bit difficult to discern behind my tears of laughter…

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The Wisdom of Trees

We’ve had a difficult and emotionally draining week relocating Hubby’s elderly mom, who has early dementia.  My sense of humour suffered a slight sprain in the process, so I didn’t feel up to spewing my usual nonsense this week.

I created this video instead – I hope you enjoy it.

The Wisdom of Trees

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Getting Stoned

It’s a standing joke that residents of British Columbia are more or less permanently blissed out on the marijuana that reputedly flourishes here.  But since Hubby and I aren’t into ‘herbal’ remedies, we never guessed that we’d end up getting stoned.

Sadly, it wasn’t as pleasant as we had hoped.  We didn’t realize it would involve actual stones.

I’ve mentioned before that our yard is basically a gravel pit:  The rocks range from the size of a breadbox down to pebbles, and it’s all so tightly interlocked that the only way to “dig” is by scraping the surface with a hoe so the larger rocks can be hooked out and tossed aside.  A shovel won’t travel more than half an inch without stopping dead.

So with that in mind, consider this:  We have a rototiller.

It’s an ancient Honda that we bought second-hand years ago.  The original owner assured us that it was only a few years old, and we didn’t discover that he’d lied through his teeth until we attempted repairs for the first time.

The Honda turned out to be much older than advertised; but other than the difficulty of finding drive belts in a size that’s no longer manufactured, that turned out to be a good thing.  Unlike today’s flimsy machines, this one’s mechanical parts were made to last forever.  It has gotten uglier as superfluous parts rust and/or fall off, but it still works.  Hard.

That tiller has chewed through everything from prairie sod to half-rotted stumps to our current rock collection, aided by the fact that Hubby replaced the worn-out 8 HP engine with a 13 HP model a couple of years ago.  The clutch doesn’t work anymore but it’s still possible to engage and disengage the drive wheels and tines with a lever, so it’s all good.

Or, to be more precise, it’s grossly over-powered and positively lethal in rocky soil.

The first time Hubby attempted to till our newly-created veggie garden last year, he came indoors looking as though he’d received a persuasive visit from Guido and Luigi with their baseball bats.  His shins were black and blue where they weren’t oozing red.  Turns out those heavy-duty tines can unearth rocks larger than softballs and hurl them with such force that they crash right through the protective shroud and into whatever is immediately behind the tiller… AKA the operator’s legs.

Hubby’s a quick learner:  Now he wears knee-high neoprene boots with kneepads and shin guards strapped over top.  I wandered over to the garden a few days ago as he was girding his shins for battle.  He looked up, spotted me about ten feet away, and said, “You’d better stand back.”

When he started tilling, it was like those science-fiction movies where giant malevolent critters attack from below the earth’s surface.  The tiller bucked and kicked and actually took air once or twice while rocks and sticks flew everywhere, accompanied by a deafening clatter.  At one point a rock the size of my head bounced out from behind the machine, but fortunately it was too heavy to fly very far.

So all in all, this ‘getting stoned’ thing has turned out to be a more, um… energetic process than we’d anticipated.

Are we having fun yet…?

The Beast. (That’s our tilled garden in the middleground; with the original “soil” in the background still waiting to be attacked. Or to attack us.)

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Crazy Plant Lady

’Tis the season when I expend massive amounts of energy on my garden.

“Oh, is it planting time there already?” you ask.

Well… kinda, but not really.  I’ve planted a few seeds, but it’s too early for most things.

“Oh; then you’re digging and preparing your garden?  I could see where that would be a lot of work.”

Well, no; not yet.  It’s still too wet.

“So exactly what is taking so much energy…?”

Well… um… my own idiocy.

Every day I hurry out to eagerly examine the garden.  Are any new crocuses blooming?  Are the cherry buds maybe just a bit fatter than yesterday?  Why are my poor rhododendrons looking so yellow?

I rush off to the Rhododendron Society and pick the brains of every member who doesn’t flee as soon as they realize I’m vectoring toward them.  I pore over obscure sites on the internet.  Organic fertilizer tailored to acid-loving plants:  applied.  Bark mulch:  check.  Could it be a magnesium deficiency?  I sprinkle on some Epsom salts.  Maybe the soil pH is too high.  Sulphur to the rescue!  It can’t be iron deficiency; our soil is red with iron oxide.  But maybe a little foliar feeding of ferrous sulphate would help…

Then I hover.  Maybe they look a bit better today.

But no.  It’s only a trick of the light.  *sigh*

The next day, same thing.  Maybe they’re a little greener now?

I don’t know why I do it.  I’ve been gardening all my life, and I know better.  I have NEVER seen a plant respond to fertilizer overnight.  But that’s not from a lack of effort on my part.  With all the emotional energy I’ve been pouring into these plants, they should be surging toward the sky like Jack’s beanstalk.

I try equally hard to alter the climate through sheer psychic (or is that ‘psycho’?) effort.  I stare at the sky, fists clenched by my sides, willing spring to arrive.  Snow is not allowed!  The clouds must dissipate!  The sun must come out!

Our tomato and pepper seedlings have just emerged indoors, and I’m equally obsessed.  The light in the south window isn’t bright enough – they need to be outside.  But it’s only 5 degrees Celsius, and that’s not warm enough for tomatoes and peppers.  So they can go outside in the afternoon when it’s warm, as long as I remember to bring them in at sunset.  And when will they get their second set of leaves?  Tomorrow?  This evening?  NOW?!?

It’s lucky I never had children.  The poor kids would be scarred for life when they awakened in the middle of the night to find me leaning over their cribs with a measuring tape, checking to see whether they’d grown since I’d put them to bed a few hours ago.

Fortunately plants are oblivious to my antics; and in another month I’ll have so much garden work I’ll be far too tired to obsess over a rhododendron’s precise shade of green.

But until then… maybe I should check that rhodo one more time this afternoon.

Just in case…

It’s spring, hooray! Must… obsess… over… garden… now…

My poor yellowing rhododendron. Maybe I’m giving it performance anxiety.

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Stupidly Smart

When I checked my email a couple of days ago, I discovered a message that began, “Don’t mind on my English, I am from India.”  I would have trashed it on the spot, but before I could get to the delete button I had already skimmed the next couple of sentences.  Then I started to giggle, and slowed down to read the whole thing.

Apparently this enterprising soul had “thiefted all my personal data” by installing malware on my computer while I was visiting a porn site.  S/he had all my work and social contacts, and what’s more… (wait for the horror of it all)… s/he had also hacked into my forward-facing webcam while I was on the porn site and captured a video of me masturbating!  Unless I paid the ransom, my shameful secrets would be revealed to everyone I know.

Well, I’ve never visited a porn site; I don’t have a webcam; and the research I do on my computer is more likely to inspire snores than sweaty ardour.  I’m not exactly trembling in my boots.

But I wonder… does this person actually make money?  Are there really that many people visiting porn sites and whacking off in front of their computers…

Don’t answer that.  On second thought, I don’t want to know.

But the whole thing got me thinking about all the “smart” devices that are monitoring us without our knowledge.  Webcams can be remotely activated.  Our cell phones can be hacked to secretly relay audio and/or video.  And those are just the beginning.

The other day I noticed a red light blinking on our thermostat.  On its screen was a polite reminder to change the furnace filter.  Our fridge tells us when it’s time to change its water filter.  My car monitors its tire pressure.  But we drew the line at a septic pump that would monitor our waste output.  There are some things I just don’t need to know; although apparently somebody does, or they wouldn’t have bothered making the thing.

And the smarter my devices become, the dumber I get.  (I prefer to blame the devices for this, not advancing age.)

Before I had a smartphone, I used to know my friends’ phone numbers by heart.  Now they’re all at my fingertips; and I’m lucky if I remember my own.

Same with special dates.  I had them all in my head, and every time I went to the store I’d check my mental list of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries and buy the appropriate cards.  Now my smartphone’s calendar reminds me two weeks in advance, and I still forget to buy the damn cards.

Smart devices are teaching us to be helpless.  It’s only a matter of time before we’re slumped drooling in antigravity chairs while robots ferry our bloated carcasses from bed to dinner table to toilet and back again.  Our fridges will order groceries; our toilet seats will monitor our health; and if we’re plugged into virtual reality we can experience any adventure we desire without even leaving the house.

And when all human contact has been eliminated and our only intimate relationships are with computers, that enterprising soul in India will really make a killing.

Or maybe s/he’ll be too busy watching porn and getting frisky with Rosy Palm and her five daughters…

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What Have I Been Smoking?!?

Lately I’ve had reason to question my own sanity…

Okay; so ‘sanity’ might be a bit of a stretch for me.  Let’s just say that lately I’ve been wondering if I’m crazier than I realized.

Here’s why:

A couple of weeks ago I stopped off at the lumber store.  I was in there for about two minutes, and as I walked back to my vehicle I thought, “Shit, did I forget to lock the doors?”  (I’m having a hard time adjusting to power locks after decades of locking my old car manually.)

So I walked up to the driver’s door and pulled on the handle; and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had actually locked the car.  So I unlocked it, got in, and drove away… for about ten feet, when the overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke nearly made me gag.

I thought somebody must have walked by with a cigarette and the smoke had been momentarily sucked into the fresh air intake, so I kept driving.

A block down the street, the smell was getting stronger.

What the hell?  Had somebody flicked a live butt into my front grille?

I got out, popped the hood, and examined the front grille from top to bottom.  Nothing.

By the time I got back in the vehicle the smell had dissipated, but as soon as I drove forward again the reek was back, just as strong as if somebody had gotten into the car and lit up.

I stopped again.  Got out and checked the entire vehicle inside and out.  I even looked under the floor mats in case some diabolical smoker had seized the scant moments while I’d been inside the store to open a door (which I might have forgotten to lock after all), hide a butt somewhere, lock the car just to mess with my mind, and then flee.

But nope.  Nada.

I made several more stops where I repeatedly checked the vehicle from nose to tail and even checked the treads of my hiking boots to make sure I hadn’t stepped on a butt and carried it into the car with me.   I drove to the dealer and asked them where the secret cigarette-butt hiding place was; but they were as mystified as I.  Finally, I resigned myself to the knowledge that I was being haunted by the malevolent ghost of chainsmoker who only lit up when my car was in forward motion.

The smell is gone now and I never did find the source, so who knows?  Maybe a butt got stuck in the tire tread.  Or maybe it really was a ghost.

And speaking of ghosts in the machine, my TurboTax program is haunted, too.  Only a few days after the car debacle I was confronted by this:

TurboTax says that a Total Federal Tax of zero, minus tax credits totalling zero, equals $214.04 tax owing. I haven’t even entered my income yet.

I won’t get into the tooth-grinding frustration and unending support calls this has produced; but ultimately the TurboTax no-help-whatsoever-desk decided that it’s my fault1 their software subtracts zero from zero and gets two hundred and fourteen, and they’ve closed my so-called “support” ticket.

I’m not surprised; because clearly, I’m nuts.

Or at least, I am now

* * *

1 Transcript of the call, after the first hour of futility:

TurboTax HelpDesk:  “You’ve done something wrong.  Our software is infallible.”

Me:  “Okay.  What have I done wrong?”

TTHD:  “I don’t know.  You’ll have to enter something somewhere on a form.  Make sure you fill in all the fields.”

Me:  “Okay, which form?”

TTHD:  “I don’t know.  We don’t give tax advice.”

Me:  “I’m not asking for tax advice.  Your software is subtracting zero from zero and getting two hundred and fourteen.”

TTHD:  “Yes, because you’ve done something wrong2.”

*repeat loop*

2 Clearly, I did do something wrong.  I bought TurboTax.

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Inventive Issues

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but curiosity is its indulgent grandparent.  You know; the grandparent who feeds their grandchild as much candy as s/he can hold and then returns the child to its parents ten seconds before the kid spews technicolor vomit all over the new rug.

(For the record, I thought my mom was remarkably heartless when I stumbled in the back door many decades ago and announced, “I don’t feel good.”  I was looking for a hug and some sympathy, not a bellow of, “GET OUTSIDE!”  I didn’t make it in time, of course.  This is one of the many reasons why I never had kids.)

Anyhow…

Hubby and I are both inventors.  We’re blessed (or cursed) with the kind of rampant curiosity that frequently leads to… *ahem* …interesting results.

The problem with inventing stuff is that you usually don’t get it right the first time.  Or the second.  Or sometimes even the tenth.  Our house is like a cross between Hogwarts School of Magic and a lunatic asylum: a place of sudden loud noises, unidentifiable odours, and shouts of triumph or chagrin.

Most of my experimentation is culinary, so it’s generally pretty unthreatening (unless you’re Hubby, who has an automatic gag reaction to garlic and curry).  I love to create new recipes, which is wonderful when I perfect the new dish; but not so wonderful when I end up with three saggy, soggy gluten-free cakes that taste fine but have the texture of shredded paper marinated in half-set wallpaper paste.  (I did finally get that recipe right, though!)

But I’ve never actually risked our health or safety.  Unlike Hubby.

He’s an electronics genius; but if one of his inventions goes wrong there could be showers of sparks, the resounding SNAP! of an electrical breaker tripping, and/or the throat-closing reek of scorched insulation.

Which is why, when I was upstairs sewing the other day, I only had a momentary thought of, “Gee, this serger is starting to smell a little hot” before I bolted up from my chair and dashed down the stairs, following the ever-increasing stench of burnt plastic and yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?”

Surrounded by a faint miasma of smoke, Hubby gave me a sheepish grin.  “Don’t worry, my power supply just tripped the breaker.”

He carried the carcass outside and we opened some windows and turned on the fans.  But the smell didn’t seem to be dissipating.

We prowled through the mancave and inspected the surge suppressor and outlet that had been connected to the offending device.  Nada.  But the smell wouldn’t quit.

After sniff-testing the mancave several times over the next few hours (and I can’t recommend that as a pleasant Sunday-afternoon pastime) I finally discovered that the culprit wasn’t one of Hubby’s inventions at all.  One of his PC fans had seized, and it was crouching there smouldering quietly and waiting for night to fall so it could kill us in our sleep.

We banished it outdoors in disgrace, but I didn’t sleep easily that night.  I kept imagining the firefighters questioning us while we huddled outside our burning asylum house:  “But didn’t you smell smoke?”

“Well, yes; but that’s normal…”

Any inventors in your house?

* * *

P.S. Just hit 75% on Book 13, and I hope to announce a release date soon.  Woohoo!

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