Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The F Word

I've decided to just go ahead and say it out loud...

I'm ready for Fall.

There! It's out! I can't put it back in the horse! I hate horses!


To celebrate this moment that Bubba has been taunting out of me since July (the man is solidly off his nut) I present to you, the many times aforementioned, Ugly Librarian Sweater:

Like they say to the ugly kids, it's what's on the inside that counts.

Now, notice I'm not modeling it for you and instead it is hanging over this chair here. That is with good reason because this sweater is in no way flattering and I don't need photographic proof to tell me that. I also like to live in a fantasy world where no matter what I'm wearing, I look totally hot.

Funny since I'm fairly certain that 99% of the time I'm at home I look nowhere near hot but whatever, in my head, things look good.

For the record, however, I have not worn the Ugly Librarian Sweater yet THIS FALL (gotta say it loud so I can get used to its sound) because I've had other semi-ugly-yet-warm things to wrap around my shivering bod during those brief moments when NorCal has gone from sweltering to vaguely cool.

Like yesterday morning when I walked the dog at 6:30am and it was, I do believe, a full 53 degrees out. WOWZA. I didn't even unzip my sweatshirt the whole time and, I'll tell you, I was liking it.

I KNOW! Just shoot me now because I'm actually looking forward to FALL and I'm sort of not afraid to admit it.

What I'm not looking forward to is having to fire up the furnace because WHOA that shit is scary. And now I will tell you the embarrassing story that I didn't tell before because I wasn't ready to admit that I almost blew my face off and brought down our wee house all with one match.

Here goes:

Once upon a time I was working from home in the early months of fall. Perhaps it was October or November, I don't really recall exactly.

Anyway, I had on The Ugly Librarian Sweater (tm) and socks and leg warmers (yes, they're hot pink - awesomeness) and jeans and a long sleever top and fingerless gloves and slippers. To put it mildly, I was cold. And when I got sick of shivering despite all my clothes and layers, I decided it was high time to face my fear of the furnace and just turn that bitch on already.

Then I reflected briefly on the times I'd watched over the rim of my G&T while Bubba was doing it. And then I removed the grate (floor furnace people, you have to remove things to start them, it's scary) and used the key (remember: old house) to turn the pilot on.

Then I capped the access for the pilot light and went on a hunt for a long match.

Let me repeat that last part: Then I capped the access for the pilot light and went on a hunt for a long match.

See, this was where things began to go horribly awry in a very death defying way. It would seem that when I was so carefully watching Bubba light the furnace as I finished my cocktail, I neglected to recall that moment when he turned on the pilot and then immediately stuck the match down through the very open access shaft to light the pilot.

For some reason (drunkenness? Who's to say?) I thought that one should cap the pilot access, turn the gas on and then walk around the house and garage for twenty minutes looking for matches so that the gas has plenty of time to build up to Nuclear Holocaust Level in the access shaft.

When I returned triumphantly to the furnace with my handy dandy match and struck it on the top of the grate (it was one of those Strike Anywhere kinds) I should have known something was afoot because I'm sure the precarious Uh-Oh Something Awful is About to Happen music from Bugs Bunny was surely playing nearby.


I then lifted the cap off the pilot access shaft and before I could say OH SHIT (which, believe me, was the least this occasion called for) the lit match combusted with a sound and resonance much like that of a dumptruck falling through the floor of my house.


And then silence. And then me realizing I've jumped (been blown back?) down the hallway toward the bedroom door and WHOOPSY have no eyelashes, am missing half my eyebrows and have lost all the baby hairs around the crown of my forehead.

Plus it smells like gas, burnt hair and FEAR.

I sat silently for a full 10 minutes, unmoving, while I contemplated the severity of the situation.

I then let out a low, "Oh Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" and went off to look for Rocket, who was outside sleeping in the dirt. Totally unscathed, but wondering who this eyelashless freak was approaching her with shaky hands.

Yes, people. I tried to blow up our house by collecting gas in the furnace and then lighting it with a match because I'm retarded.

Thankfully Bubba, when arriving home and evacuating us all due to the remnant gas floating around the house, was kind and helpful when presented with the story of how I tried to blow up our house (and my face - that's important, too) instead of rightfully alarmed and angry with my stupidity.

Yes, instead of beating me with the furnace grate or sending me to live in a tent in the backyard, he instead walked me over to the furnace (after all the gas cleared, this is important) and showed me, step by step, how one goes about SAFELY lighting the pilot and managing the heat flow.

Oh. It's really not that hard.

I mean, it's not easy like Sunday morning or anything. Like pressing a button on a wall thermostat, which is all I think I should have to do, but it's not too bad given that this heater is 100+ years old and still works like a fucking champ. Also, we're never going to get the permits to fix it and we aren't putting in central heat, so it's going to have to work. Thankfully, I now know how to make it work without taking our household out in the process.

And so, with that, I welcome fall.



  1. Ok, that story was amazing. It reminded me of my best friend's mom.. she goes on these cooking/baking kicks, where she will bake/cook one thing 5 million times and give it to everyone she knows. WELL... one time the item was rum cake. Now this was years ago, so I don't exactly remember the details, but she put the cake in the oven (or took it out) or tried to flambe it or something, and suddenly her eyebrows were gone. I'll have to ask again to get the full details...

    Your ugly librarian sweater looks so warm and cozy!

  2. OK, that's one pretty scary story. And I will be the last to make fun because all I have to do is push a button on the wall. And every once in awhile the pilot on the water heat er goes out and no way do I mess with it.

  3. I would like your sweater, please. Long enough so no awful drafts creep in at the butt when sitting, a nice high collar to keep out drafts at the neck--I need this sweater.

    And I must say that we have nothing like your furnace even here at Blackrock, where everything is old, hard, and dangerous. The woodstove may be a bitch to start, but it will never blow me up. I hope.

    Please be careful. If you blow yourself up, who will admire my garden and appreciate all the work that goes into it? Because it's all about ME. :-)

  4. I have to slide this little thingy over til the furnace still doesn't come on and then go out to my even colder garage where the furnace lives and get a hefty sized tool and drop the access door on the furnace and hit some little round thing in there til the flame starts. It is somewhat like puching a button but different.
    Maybe like having central heating in the covered wagon days. Landlady (me) will not spring for a newer furnace or even a repair on this one... I hate her sometimes!

  5. O M G...I think you just made me cry from laughing so hard, pee my pants and spit out my drink, all at the same time! But, I'm glad you are safe!

  6. "easy like Sunday morning ..." you are toooooo funny. you must have married a very good man.

  7. I love your humor! I am laughing so hard I nearly woke my kids up and my side aches!

    I too am ready for the F word! Bring it on !!!!!

  8. First of all, I have lived in homes almost 200 years old and the phrase "light the furnace" is completely foreign to me. Jesus H!

    Second of all, read my own post from Aug. 26 in which I detail my own eyelash singing, eyebrow melting fun at work--the only difference is that mine went BOOM instead of BAM.

  9. Shit, no wonder you hate fall! I'd be terrified of cold weather if I had to face lighting that thing.

    And I've found a crucial difference between the two of us... not only would I have taken a picture of myself in the ugly sweater (unsurprisingly, I have a similar one, so maybe I just will), but I'd totally include an eyebrowless picture too.

    'Cause I know I'm not hot.

  10. one word, students. They'll do anything for money, including lighting 100-year old furnaces.

    Just a thought for next time.

  11. I hereby nominate this post for the Nobel prize in comedy writing. I laughed out loud no less than three times, which, frankly, is pretty much a miracle for cynical old me.

    BTW, light that bitch before I come visit next weekend, will ya?

    And get the G&T big gulp cuz it's gonna be a very long weekend!! (In a good way)

  12. I'd rather blow my eyelashes off than wear an ugly librarian sweater too. I used to be a librarian even. Those were the days! I got paid to read and tell people to shut up. It was great.

  13. Thank you for brightening up my rainy day with that story. And even though it was funny, I'm glad all that was lost was a couple eyelashes and not a life.


  14. That's the best thing you've written.

  15. Oh my gosh, that's crazy..
    BTW, I sent you another email yesterday with my address--did you get it

  16. The things we do for heat.... But honestly? I'd rather vote Republican than be cold.

  17. That is a great story. It could have been mine, except that when I figured out where to put the key, the stupid thing wouldn't turn! I had babies home at the time (well, 6 and 10) and I'm afraid they learned some new, un-baby words! Nowadays I LOVE pushing a button on the wall. So glad you weren't hurt and I think the ULS looks really warm & comfy.

  18. I love Fall! Sweater weather is my favorite season!

  19. Oh lordy, I tried not to laugh at you practically EXPLODING the house down around you. But I failed and laugh I did. I'm so glad you didn't become a recipient of a Darwin Award.
    What are you trying to do ... explode one of my favourite blogs ???

  20. Lynn - I want to know every detail of that story because it sounds hilarious, I'm glad she lived and also it will make me feel better about myself. The sweater also thanks you.

    rohan - You are living the life with your push buttonness.

    Kristin - I wish they still had them because I got that ugly fucker for $20 at Old Navy about 8 years ago, and at the time I wasn't even sure I needed it.

    Old, hard and dangerous - that is a great way to describe someone's living environment.

    I'm glad I'll be around to admire your freaky corn for another year ;)

    Claudia - Your landlady sounds like mine! (which is to say, me)

    Caliconurse - I'm glad my horror could bring you joy. I frankly laugh at it from time to time to keep from crying with fear.

    Lera - You know that I married the very best one, for me anyway. Imagine if he had a low tolerance for bullshit and stupid behavior? That'd be bad. He's a saint.

    Jeanette - I appreciate your enthusiasm for fall and will look to you for guidance as I'm crying into my fourth cup of hot tea as it rains for weeks on end.

    Jen - Your post is not right. That is sad. You could have died! So scary.

    Wendy - We are all hot, if only in our minds. I'm just a little more delusional and vain than others. Like, I know I look like a hot sack of potatoes in that sweater and still, I prance around like I'm Jennifer Aniston or something. DELUSIONAL.

    Dawn - And where do you find these students you speak of? I've heard that casing schoolyards is frowned upon.

    Shelley - You're too kind. I guess that would be a nice reward for almost dying a stupid death and then writing about it. G&Ts are ready, too!

    sahm I am - THAT IS THE DREAM! To tell people to shut the F up and get paid for it. WOW. You're my new hero.

    Yellowpansy - here here

    Anonymous Jenny - Thank ya! And I didn't even have to die for it :)

    Betsy - Yes! Thank you! Your Pickle Visitor is on his way!

    Decca - You and me both, sister.

    Liz - It's OK, this is how kids grow up. I think I learned most of my no-no words when my dad fixed the sink in the kitchen.

    Nell - Well, I certainly have the sweater for it!

    Anonymous - I'm glad you're here to revel in my stupidity. It's nice that I didn't die. Those Darwin awards are my favorite things to make fun of. How ironic that would be.

  21. LMAO Ok, THIS is why I shouldn't read your blog at work... I'm sure folks are wondering what the freaky perhaps-it's-just-stifled-laughter noises are coming from my office! AND I'm coughing from the non-laughing as well...LOL

    I burned off eyelashes and some eyebrow hairs when trying to light the gas grill outside once. I don't know how many hundreds of times I'd done it successfully, but this particular day the click-starter built into the grill wasn't working the first time (it gets that way occasionally), AND I don't know why - but I'd put the lid down so the gas could build up inside. WHOOSH!

    Burnt hair stinks. I guess you would know! ;-)


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.