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Thursday, June 9, 2011

What? The Curling Iron AND the TV? Are You Insane, Man?

SCREEEEK*!

I am startled awake.

It is 3:46.

But I’m ahead of myself already. For the tale of the inadequate fuse box begins on the previous day, a day in which no egg is safe from a weatherman’s sidewalk.

On Tuesday, it was 103 degrees Fahrenheit in Minneapolis. That’s 39.4, for those of you of the Celsius persuasion. Some say it was really 105 (40.6), but let’s say it was 103, just for fun.

Those two degrees will not save you.

In the time I stagger the three blocks between the bus stop and home, my coloring moves from freckled white woman to what could accurately be described as “crimson”, perhaps leaning toward “magenta”. My ancestry overwhelmingly Northern European, my blood cries for deciduous trees, for lefse…

For air conditioning.

I stagger into the house, climb the stairs to the second floor, thighs chafing, throw wide the door –

And am greeted with a 300-degree blast of heat.

Maybe 100 degrees.

The window air-conditioning unit – mostly sufficient for a 1300-square-foot abode – has proved too much for our 100-and-something-year-old electrical wiring. The fuse has been tripped, and who knows how long ago this happened.

I look down.

Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) and Dolly Gee Squeakers (formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers) have stretched themselves out on the hardwood floor, directly under a ceiling fan apparently not on the same fuse.

Liza Bean opens one eye, shoots me a look that says “Expect a little something in your shoe later”, rises, and trots into the kitchen, where she stares at me, then the fridge, then me, then the fridge...

I open the refrigerator door, pull out the can of cat food and serve her a third of it on a garage-sale china saucer.

She doesn’t thank me.

I pick up my phone, text George, live-in artist and attic dweller. “Please trip fuse?”

She has received this request before.

SCREEEEEEK!

The electricity is on.

Or so the Russians would have you believe, because not more than 20 minutes later, I turn on the TV and –

SCREEEEEEEK! The electricity is off.

I grab my phone. “So sorry, George. Do again?”

SCREEEEEEEK!

We repeat this process a few more times, once as a result of me being so audacious as to attempt to iron my clothes while the aquarium light is on.

I sit in a cold bath in the dark and ponder the frailty of the human condition.

And pumice my feet.

Eventually I find myself in the bedroom with a book. I’ve shut down everything in the house but the fridge, the air conditioner, and the 40 watt bulb in the lamp on the nightstand. I read until tired, then spend the rest of the night tossing and turning, visions of $75-dollar-an-hour electricians dancing just behind my eyes…

At 3:46 a.m., the fuse is mysteriously blown, again; and I decide that my day has started…

And I suddenly recall complaining about the cold...


* We get a high-pitched SCREEEEEEK when the fuse blows/returns. Might be the fire alarm.

57 comments:

Sioux said...

I've had a week + without electricity in the summer and a week + without electricity in the dead of winter...both from terrible storms and downed trees. Bundling up, and layering is much easier than stripping and still not cool enough.

powdergirl said...

I don't know haw you can be funny about this. Thats yoga studio hot! I hate when the temps suddenly shoot up like that, you get no time to acclimate. Ugh.
I don't have air conditioning, I do the classic tin foil on the East facing windows, but I do it very tastefully : )

Audubon Ron said...

I would assert – be it ever so gently, SCREEEEK*! is far more acceptable than KABOOM!

Pearl said...

Sioux, I agree. As long as there are walls, rooves, and cats, you can always get warmer. You can only get so naked...

powdergirl, tastefully. :-) We rarely bother with the air, but Mpls can get unbearably hot. Usually, that's in August... It's a weird place. 103 two days ago and today's temp? 55. Seriously. 55. International Falls (up toward Canada) recorded 32 degrees (freezing) last night. It's enough to make ya drink.

Audubon Ron, that made me laugh. You are spot on, my friend!

Leenie said...

Not the curling iron!

That's gotta be a shock for MN and any other place where the weather was snow-up-to-the-eves just a few weeks ago! WHAT HAPPENED? Wish we could send you some of our dreary wet. We've got WA coast weather here. Sending cool vibes your way.

Leenie said...

Oh, your back to 55! I had no idea my cool vibes worked so well!

Pearl said...

Leenie, I've had people wonder to me why Minnesotans talk about the weather so much. It's because it changes so rapidly. And tries to kill us. And because you hardly ever see Prince on the streets...

Anonymous said...

Central NH is expected to reach 98 degrees today. This means the native population will be flopping around and gasping like guppies within a few hours. And dontcha just hate it when the "snowbirds" (those sinister souls who have the gall to escape south every winter) look around and say "Hot? Ha! This is nothing!"

Oh - and let me know if you find a good electrician. All of ours have moved south.

Camille

mybabyjohn said...

You don't talk about weather any more than Canadians do. Trust me. We are up and down and all over the place this season...not fun. Hang in there, you'll be shovelling before you know it. Oh yes, and don't forget to check your shoes before you put them on.

Pearl said...

Camille, oh, you hit that on the head. :-)

mybabyjohn, you didn't just use the "S" word, did you?! :-) This morning, so cool and windy, actually smelled like autumn...

Eva Gallant said...

We have a mobile home and one big ass airconditioner that pretty much cools the whole place....but we do have to be careful how many electrical appliances are on at the same time, because we've been known to trip the circuit-breaker, too. But I don't think the temp here has ever gone over 100!

Pearl said...

Eva, you're in Maine, aren't you? We don't normally hit 100 until August, but it's not unusual for us. I don't think people who have not been here realize the wild temperature fluctuations we experience.

lisleman said...

You write about the weather much better than most. I wonder if I could turn our struggling AC into a post. I did write about a washing machine once.
“Expect a little something in your shoe later” - nothing like a cat threat to make your day.

Susan in the Boonies said...

My favorite line: "Liza Bean opens one eye, shoots me a look that says “Expect a little something in your shoe later”

Now, on to the appalling topic of heat.

My dear, dear Pearl, how simply awful for you! Yes, I do remember a few small whines about the cold, but really, 105ยบ IS something to whine about.

The only thing worse than the summer heat, is going through the summer heat with hot flashes. This is why I, the gentle, kind-hearted Susan in the Boonies, almost murdered someone last summer. They subsided for many months....and now....they're baaaaaaaaaaaaack.

Please, Pearl, will you bail me out if I do commit homicide?

Beth M. Wood said...

Found your blog via Linda O'Connell's...funny stuff! As U2 sang (back in the late 80s, i think), I will...follow!

www.bethmwood.blogspot.com

jenny_o said...

You have my complete and utter compassion.

I try my hardest not to complain about the cold in the winter in hopes that Mother Nature might see fit not to inflict the summertime heat on us. It never works. Here's hoping your cooler temperature sticks around for your serving gig this weekend.

Pearl said...

lisleman, I'm thinking of installing a webcam in my home. I suspect the cat of rifling through my belongings...

Susan, I was told that heat can trigger a hot flash. Isn't that delightful? :-) We'll see how the bail money holds up after the electrician, but you can count on me writing to you, should you be forced into violence...

Hi, Beth! Glad to see you! Oooh, and I've been to Linda's site SEVERAL times in the last week and cannot leave a comment! And she doesn't allow anonymous comments! And I don't recall there being an e-mail address to reach her! (Whew. That was exhausting, all those exclamation points...) If you talk to Linda, please let her know I've been by and cannot comment...

jenny-o, you know it, baby. I have TWO serving gigs this weekend: Friday AND Saturday night, both from 5 to 10. Outdoors. In black pants. My fear of poverty is really cutting into my non-sweating hours.

KSK said...

Jerk Face and I just had the cold vs. hot argument... I'm all about the cold: you can add layers--AND BREATHE! Usually, people look down on you when you strip down naked because it's so hot out...

haphazardlife said...

I figure I can complain about the cold or about the heat,but not about both.

The heat I can deal with - even humidity doesn't bother me all that much. I'm lucky that way.

So I bitch the cold with all my might and just revel in the heat.

- Jazz

Berowne said...

I have to admit it, Poil -- you can write!

Simply Suthern said...

It's been a tad warm here as well and several folks are having AC issues. Hope you get yours resolved.Swamp butt outside is one thing but swamp bed is just wrong.

JUST ME said...

The roommate and I bought a $40 Swamp Cooler at a yard sale and thought we had just gotten the best deal ever. Fast forward to yesterday when it was hot as hell and I come home from work and the thing is blowing HOT AIR into the apartment.

We was robbed, I tell you!! By some old dude.

Tom G. said...

Minnesotans don't just talk about how crappy the weather. We BRAG about how crappy it is, like it is a badge of honor.

Crips and Bloods have to do time in the joint as part of their initiation. In Minnesota, the weather is our MN BLOGGAZ gang initiation.

Oh, and "U B3TCHA"

Mandy_Fish said...

You should teach the cats to fix the fuse.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

I got the giggles at "once as a result of me being so audacious as to attempt to iron my clothes while the aquarium light is on."

You write real good-like, Pearl.

Pearl said...

KSK, I would so love to sit in on an argument between you and someone referred to as “Jerkface”.

Jazz, if I had to lay claim to only one season for bitching purposes, I suppose it would be summer. No. Winter. Hmm. There’s all that humidity in the summer (MN is a swamp) and then there’s the sheer amount of time that winter drags on… I’m going to have to give this some thought.

Berowne, that means a lot to me, coming from you. :-)

Simply, indoor Swamp Butt – also, apparently, called “Mud Butt” – implies some serious heating and cooling issues, doesn’t it?!

Just Me, robbed is right! And by an old dude!!! :-) He’s impugned the integrity of the garage sale. This will not stand.

Tom G., that’s AWESOME. Not only are you absolutely right about our bragging about how awful it is, the “U B3TCHA” tag is perfect. I gotta talk to George about making us a tag…

Mandy, you can teach a cat to fix a fuse, but you can’t make her take a credit card. That’s where the difficulty lies. :-)

Pearl said...

Steam Me Up, Kid -- and a compliment from you is almost as good as one from Berowne. :-) Thank you!

Douglas said...

Some sage advice from those of us (meaning me) who live here in Paradise (aka "swelterland"). Our temperatures are running in the low 90's currently. Fairly normal. Along with the 90+% humidity. Since heat is a constant here, we have separate fusing/breakers for the (massive) central AC systems we require. This prevents those little problems you have been experiencing. Window units just cannot handle this kind of heat. We found that out down here in the early 60's. Since you do not get 6 months (or more) of this oppressive heat, it is not cost effective for you to put in that central air and heat systems.

So, when this happens again, try one of the old methods we used growing up:

1. Stand in front of the open fridge door in your underwear until the temperature drops down to tolerable or you collapse from exhaustion.

2. Fill a washtub with ice (Dry Ice is preferred, it lasts longer), place a large box fan so that it blows across the ice and onto you barely covered by clothes body.

There is a third option which entails filling a bathtub with ice and lying on it but I found that to be impractical.

Hilary said...

It's been pretty hot here too.. not quite that hot though. So are your shoes still empty?

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

It's pretty warm here. 99 yesterday. No blown fuses as of yet. Hang in there Pearl! I still like the heat better than snow up to my ass.
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Joshua said...

Ugh, good luck. Hopefully it's nothing too terrible. We kept tripping our house's breaker box last summer when the heat started to peak. Had to spend a couple hundred having the outside breaker replaced. Wasps had used it as a nice little place to live.

Doubting Thomas said...

Dang. I thought us Texans had the lock on all the crazy weather. Although we're already in the 100's, we've been there for a while and have no plans of leaving...

Oh, and if you find some rain, send it our way, please!!

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! This sounds exactly like the problem I have when I sneeze and fart at the same time. It never ends well. Indigo x

The Jules said...

You Minnesotans sound almost Brtish when it comes to complaining about the weather.

Another couple of years and you'll be having crooked teeth, learning BOTH sexual positions and absent-mindedly establishing an empire. It's a slippery slope!

Pearl said...

Douglas, I sincerely believe I may have to try that dry ice trick. Plus it looks so cool when "melting"...

Hilary, :-) She's a clever one. I suspect she SAID "shoe" but MEANS "pocket". I'll be hyper-vigilant for a while, I'm guessing...

Noe Noe, now that snow is but a memory, it looks all fluffy and charming...

Joshua, wasps! Had those little bastards last year!

Doubting Thomas, we're expecting rain tonight into tomorrow. Right now, the temperature can't be more then mid 70s. :-) Will send some your way!

Indigo, frighteningly visual. :-)

Mamma has spoken said...

Oh my, reading this has made me sweat! Think I'll go kiss my AC and then go lay on the vent just like the dogs do.

Julia said...

True story...I once started the propaine bbq and blew the livingroom fuse... So I called in the electrician and told him to get to work... he tried to tell me they were not related but I know how much people hate to take responsibility for stuff so I called his manager and complained!

Pearl said...

Jules, you are almost perfect, do you know that?

Mamma, it's the wisest course of action. :-)

Julia, you are a delightfully silly woman.

Eva Gallant said...

Hey, Pearl, I just tried to buy your book on Paypal, and it said "this merchant is no longer accepting payments." or something like that. What's up?

Kara said...

We Canadians like to talk about the weather too - and for the same reasons. One day the furnace is on, the next the A/C. It's often the biggest drama we get!

Julia said...

Ha I thought your last comment was completely for me... I couldn't figure out the Momma part for like 5 minutes...no joke...You can't preface with Jules and End with Julia and not make me think the whole comment belongs to me!! bhahahahaha (I am the smarts SMRT)

Beth said...

I actually dared to complain about the winter (and I'm in friction south Georgia). What an idiot I am! That 103 degree temperature? Just a typical summer day in Georgia. Gah!

Belle said...

I have noticed there is a area of 10 degrees when I don't bitch about the weather, from 70-80 degrees.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Oh, the does help us to figure out the true necessities of life.....the fridge, a/c, and a light. Don't need nuthin' else!

And to Susan in the Boonies above----hot flashes in the heat can't be as bad as being nine and 1/2 mos. pregnant in the heat. I'm just thankful that I'm not suffering with either.

Anonymous said...

Electric is fried, but it surely did not short-circuit your brain. Wonderful account of a miserable experience. --vanilla

Oilfield Trash said...

I love stories with Liza Bean.

HermanTurnip said...

Reminds me of Vegas in the summer time. 'Tis not a place for man nor beast when the thermometer starts begging for forgiveness. Ugh...

Crystal Pistol said...

I hate it when the weather ties to kill me and I think it's sad that you hardly ever see Prince. That's a damn shame.

Cloudia said...

can you get a hamster wheel generator?



Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral

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River said...

Note to self; don't move to Minnesota.

I used to trip the circuit breaker here (very rarely), by attempting to boil the elctric kettle for coffee while the clothes dryer was running. Of course once I had that figured out I got smart and made my coffee first. Luckily I only use the dryer once or twice a year.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Fortunately summer is over. It is 42 degrees on my porch right now.

Tempo said...

Oh, I do hate that... my house was much like that for 15 years until I gave up and called the sparky in to fix it. Thousands of dollars later, hundreds of metres of wire and many new thingamajigs and my house is rewired and no longer refuses to allow me to waste energy...damnit!

the walking man said...

Pearl...Pearl...Pearl, knowest thou not that life and love are lived best in the hot?

Brian Miller said...

ugh...it was 103 yesterday...101 the day before...today the gods were merciful, it is raining...and luckily not boiling water...bet that cold bath felt good...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

And summer's only heating up--oh dear.

Bushman said...

I thought everyone knew about aquarium lights and irons.....pumice stones and candles are very sensual in those nordic countries you say you might be from. Starting to make sense now!

On My Soapbox said...

105?! Wow. I will not complain about our cold/wet weather. Well, not for awhile.