Friday, August 28, 2009

Henderson's Most Haunted

I think there may be some kookiness afoot here at Casa de Mikey. I seem to be having issues with my electrical gizmos.

First of all, my coffee pot mysteriously sprung a leak, which is odd because those glass decanters are damn near indestructible, and for all these years I've been drinking coffee, I've never broken one. And just out of the blue, it started leaking. Hmmm...

Then, the other day I heard a strange noise--it totally sounded like a Geiger counter. There's plenty of ambient noise here in the apartment--I usually have some music going in the background, or if I'm reading, the only sound I hear is the noise from the air conditioner or the oscillating fans I have running. So it puzzled me for a few days because I couldn't track down the source of the noise. Finally, late one night it was cool enough to turn off the fan in my bedroom, and while I was lying there asleep, I heard the 'Geiger counter' starting to chirp again. I sat up, turned on the light and listened intently, waiting for it to happen again. Eventually, I learned that it was my clock radio.

Now, this clock radio has been possessed ever since I got it. No matter what I did, no matter how many times I read and re-read the instructions, it was impossible to turn the alarm off. Once it went off, it went into perpetual 'snooze' mode, and would turn itself back on every nine minutes. No--that's not the least bit irritating. Back when Falcon Rob and I were living together, I was gone somewhere for a couple of days and the beeping alarm went off, not just the music. Well, Rob couldn't get it to turn off, either, so he unplugged it from the wall. But, it had a battery backup, so it sat there beeping constantly for another day or so until I returned. Rob had buried it under a bunch of towels to avoid the noise, but after that, I just took the batteries out and refused to use it as an alarm clock. It just sat on the nightstand, functioning as a clock only. It was useless as an alarm.

Anyhow, even though I wasn't setting the alarm or listening to the radio with it, it decided to start making random noises throughout the day, like my leg-lamp that it was sitting next to was emitting radiation or something. So I had enough--I unplugged it and tossed it in the trash. It may be the Christine of clock radios, but it's terrorizing the landfill now, and doesn't bother me any more.

But then, I discovered a ghost in a different machine--my DVD player. Ever since I moved in here, I've had issues with my DVD player. It would randomly shut off during the middle of a movie, or 'hiccup' and give me the blue screen of death for a few seconds and then continue playing like nothing happened. It was quite annoying. But then, it was only like $35 at WalMart, so I figured I'd get by with it until I coughed up the cash for a new home-theatre system. And no, it wasn't one of those Chinese-made models that catches on fire and is under recall--this one is actually a fairly decent Phillips model.

So the other night, I broke out my Horatio Hornblower boxed set and started to watch the first episode. It was acting up right at the beginning. So I just reset the movie back to the menu page and started over. But then I reached over to turn on the ceiling fan, and the DVD player immediately just shut off--I got nothing but a screen full of gray static. Hmmm. So I 'rebooted' the movie, and then switched the ceiling fan off and on again. Same thing. I was getting somewhere. So I tried again, but this time had the ceiling fan already on--no problem at all. But then I realized the blue-screen-of-death hiccup happened every time the air conditioner kicked on.

Apparently, whenever there's an instantaneous load on my electrical system, it creates a small surge, and my DVD player is especially sensitive to it. Now, I have all of my electronics in the living room hooked up to a power strip, but it's not a beefy surge protector like I have my computer and such hooked up to. So the next item on the agenda is a new high-quality surge protector for the living room.

But that's gonna have to wait. Just this morning I emptied out the contents of my piggy-bank coffee can and went furniture shopping. It's been another lean week at work, and it seemed like I'd never round up enough scratch to buy the new sectional I've been wanting. But I finally had enough cash on hand this morning to do so.

So around 11:30 or so, I got dressed and headed over to Costco, ready to buy a new set of living room furniture. And wouldn't you know it--they were sold out. The had no decent furniture for sale at all--a couple of ugly leather couches and an overpriced futon that looked like it was built out of railroad ties. I was pissed. I really wanted that sectional--it was just like the one I saw at Ashley Furniture a couple of months back, but it was a hundred bucks less and included an ottoman. And I could pick it up and take it home--apparently, if you buy stuff at Ashley, you gotta wait several weeks to get it.

Instead of buying furniture, or anything else for that matter, I just turned around and left, pissed off. I was in no mood to go furniture shopping, but I was also sick of watching TV while sitting in my camp chair, or on the floor, leaning up against the wall like I was hitting the pipe in a crack house.

So I drove around for a bit, hitting a few places I hadn't been before. I eventually made it over to a showroom on the west side, not far from the Orleans. The had a really nice left-handed sectional available, and it was bigger and sturdier than the one I'd been looking at. The color was a little darker, too, but I didn't mind that at all. Unfortunately, the price tag showed the cost to be the exact same amount I had in cash on me--to the dollar. And there were sales tax and delivery charges to take into account, too.

The salesman saw me hesitating--I figured I could go another week if I had to, so he upped the ante by cutting the delivery charge in half if I were to 'take this baby home today'. Well, that was figurative, because even though I bought it today, it won't be delivered until tomorrow morning. So I emptied my wallet and paid cash for the furniture itself, but then put the other charges on my debit card.

Yep, I'm now the proud owner of a new set of living room furniture, and I can't wait for it to get here. And I've done a lot of furniture shopping this summer, but this was by far the easiest and quickest experience yet. Everywhere else was kind of a pain in the ass, and although I would've liked to save a few bucks and gotten my new stuff from Costco, well, I'd still have to load it, unload it, and move it all by myself. And it's 108 degrees here today. F*ck that. I may be paying a few more bucks, but this stuff has a lifetime warranty and instead of me sweating my ass off trying to move more furniture with Linda's flat-tired furniture dolly, I've got two able-bodied Korean fellas to do the heavy lifting for me, and they'll drop it off in my living room at 9:00 am tomorrow morning. That seems like a fair trade-off to me, even though I'm flat broke again for the next few days (all my hundies are gone). Oh well, it's the weekend--I'll probably get called in to work again, and I'll replenish the coffee can soon enough.

That's the news from here--it'll be a dull weekend until I pick up another shift. I'm not taking any money out of the bank to finance any buffoonery, so I'm gonna stick around here at the house, reading, playing the guitar, and watching a few movies, waiting for the phone to ring.

But at least I'll be doing it from the comfort of a new couch.


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