Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mysteries and Vexations

God willin' and the creek don't rise, I'm going to Mclellanville, SC next weekend for a big old party featuring barbecue, oysters and a whole bunch of my old friends from way, way back in the day. (We interrupt this post for a cryptic special personal message: Hy, call or email me. My brother N is looking for you too.) To this end, I have finally pulled out all my camping gear for the first time in a long time. Too long of a time, since the tents and the poles and everything else had all become more or less inextricably entangled. I went into this venture thinking I had two tents, or possibly three, or really, two good tents and a small crap tent referred to disdainfully as the Dog Tent or actually, maybe two small crap tents. Okay, clearly I had no idea what I really had in the tent line. Still, I was absolutely certain that I owned an old Eureka tetragon tent that I love and have had since M was a baby and a large Eddie Bauer tent that I bought off Ebay in a fit of misguided enthusiasm a few years ago when I momentarily forgot that M was rapidly outgrowing the family camping trip. That tent is a royal pain to put up and take down and thus has barely ever been used.

Well. It turns out that I seem to own six tents. The Eureka is there, but not, apparently, its poles. The large Eddie Bauer hobbit tent (the doors and windows are totally round) is there and so are what I devoutly hope are its poles - I'm about 90% certain that they are its poles and I just duct taped up the mysterious melted looking hole in the tent itself. There are the two small cheapass dog tents. And then - mystery! - there are two fair sized apparently relatively decent no brand dark blue tents which I guess either grew in the camping box in the garage or materialized from another plane. Here's where the math comes in: that makes five tents, each of which needs two poles, making a necessary total of ten poles, yet I seem to own only four more poles. Two of them are too long for any of these tents and two of them I swear I remember using on the Eureka, since they're gray and duct-taped, but they don't fit either and the ends are wrong. I am hopelessly confused and there are tents all over the deck which are no doubt about to be pissed on and/or eaten by the dogs. This job would be a whole lot more bearable if there was someone else here to help me curse and set up tents and the chances of me stuffing all the fucking tents back into a big plastic box and taking the giant hobbit overkill tent to Mclellanville are rising rapidly. But I love my Eureka and this is pissing me off.

In other home mysteries, my bedside lamp, which is a milk glass unvaluable antique once owned by my grandmother, has become possessed by small electricity demons and it's kind of miraculous that it hasn't killed me yet. It started by shutting itself off randomly; the first few times that happened I could fix it by screwing the lightbulb in harder. That didn't work forever - lightbulbs only go in so far - and then it started hissing, crackling and spitting a bit, as well as turning itself off and on randomly. Even though I know how dangerous this must be, I can't really get worked up about it. Instead, while I'm lying in bed, I reach over and push it around a bit until it works, even though every single time I say to myself, "Hey, self! Don't touch that hissing, spitting, crackling tower of deadly electric voltage! You could die! Just get rid of it!" Yet I do not put in a new lamp. Death wish, or simple stubbornness?


rainbaby said...

You are on your own with your mad camping proclivites, but plese get rid of that bedside lamp. Please? Seriously.

PA_Lady said...

Sounds like the "fun with camping" experience I had last year, though with less tents (2) and more poles (15). Apparently my poles breed in dark, musty spaces.

As for the lamp - sounds like the lamp socket and/or the cord has gone bad. There's kinda-easy fixes to either one. (Not easy, but not so difficult you'd want to hurl the lamp across the room.) Replacing the socket and cord takes about an hour. Good directions with pictures here.

Unplug the lamp until you've done it though. Fiery death - very bad.

mygothlaundry said...

Okay, okay, I unplugged the lamp and put a "temporary" clip light in the bedroom. Thanks for the directions! They look a lot easier than the ones I found, that said the job was "challenging" and proceeded to spell it out in directions using many words I have never, ever heard before. The lamp goes on the to-do list. So it should be fixed by 2020 or thereabouts. And I ordered new tent poles for my tent, thus all is happiness and light in the world. More or less.

PA_Lady said...

You're welcome. I used them to rewire an antique lamp I found at a flea market. The wiring was so antique it had cardboard insulation and a cloth cover. I'm sure it was made the same year Edison figured out the lightbulb.

Just don't let your friends see you do it and be sure to complain long and loud about how hard it was. Otherwise, you'll have friends like mine who say, "Can you help me put up the new ceiling fan?" "Can you rewire my outlets?" :)

zen said...

LOL! I hadda laugh about the tents and pole ratio. I think my camping box generates poles, but none of which match any tents i've ever owned.