So, Christmas Eve rolled around and Mrs. Curmudgeon and I needed the vacation like a dying man in the desert needs a canteen of water. I’d already sent my carpenter packing (kindly and will all due respect) and I’d already scheduled some down-time at work. All in the interest of family peace and personal recovery. I really needed a break because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
That evening the family ate out and I just had to have spicy bacon / jalapeño poppers. The intent was to share but when everyone saw the fire coming out of my ears and the blood drain from my face, they deferred. Wimps! I gobbled them all up, and (since I was sweating from the spices) washed it down with several pints of stout. Yum! (In retrospect I shoulda’ stuck with blander food.)
On the ride home, the weather report noted that it was going to hit -20 and maybe colder. I announced that the woodstove wasn’t running so I’d bring the generator in from the garage. If the grid went down the generator can power the furnace. Some time ago I bought a Powerhorse generator. It’s a “pretty sweet at half the price” knockoff of the awesome but massively overpriced Honda EU2000i. My knockoff looks just as sturdy as the Honda but I haven’t fully tested it. Last week I did a half assed pull on the cord when it had spent weeks in sub 10 degrees. It didn’t seem eager to start and I didn’t have time to dink around with it. (Likely I’d have been able to start it if I’d been motivated.) I reasoned that the little critter would start just fine if it was stored in a 50 degree mudroom as opposed to a 10 degree shed. With a cold snap on the way and the woodstove kaput it was time to keep the generator close at hand. I also mentioned my new portable Mr. Buddy propane heater which I’ve hooked to a fresh 30# tank. That’s the backup backup in case the grid croaked and the generator wouldn’t start. I may have whined that I really like sitting by the fire and hadn’t done so for weeks.
Back home I was up late wrapping presents. Then I indulged in one of my favorite late-night snacks. Pickles. I ate the whole goddamn jar.
Don’t judge me! They were fucking delicious. I have no regrets.
But I did have odd dreams. Jalapeno poppers, stout, and pickles. What was I thinking?
I dreamed vividly that I was in Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey. Not what you’re thinking; not the happy funtime dudes in ape suits hitting each other with bones furry parade that everyone remembers. Nope. I was in the weirder scenes that come right at the end. Do you remember it? You should. It’s a bitchin’ movie!
In my jalapeño/pickle fueled dream I was in the extremely white room of life and death after mankind went and fucked with the Monolith. It’s a disturbing scene but what the hell. I love pickles and deserve the ensuing freaky dreams.
So, I’m floating in this unconscious dreamlike state of Kubrick’s symbolism and sporting a stomach that’s a cement mixer when it dawns on me that it’s really cold in space. For fuck’s sake, couldn’t the Monolith have included a nice fireplace in the imaginary symbolic bedroom of Mankind’s development into a new state? Would it have killed an otherworldly intelligence the likes of which we cannot truly comprehend to give me a better electric blanket?
Then I was awake. Suddenly! Something was amiss. My stomach seemed fine but my head was still fuzzy. Was there a Monolith in the yard? Giant floating Kubrikian space babies in the sky? What was up? Why was I so cold?
I started sweeping the house. The house was chillier than it should be. Lights were on that weren’t supposed to be on. Since the lights were on, that meant the power wasn’t out, yet it was way too cold. Everything was silent. The dog was asleep.
I couldn’t make heads nor tails of it. Then I rounded a corner and ran smack dab into our kid who was just entering the house. I about gave him a heart attack.
I’m almost done I promise…