Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another Night In Paradise

Mrs Stevie greeted me as I came in the door last night1 with the demand I "do something" about the smell in the basement which was "worse than ever".

I had relocated two of the three plywood boards of not-being-big-or-thick-enough to the basement, placing them next to the furnace so that any remaining volatiles would be driven off the wood and this was playing havoc with the washing of the clothes.

"Did you open a window?" I asked2 as I climbed out of my coat and dumped my bag. I was assured by Mrs Stevie and the Stevieling that they hadn't tampered with the settings of any of the windows, so I went downstairs to open a window and deploy a fan to vent the admittedly thick fumes back out into the neighbourhood where they belonged.


I could not reach the rear window for the wall of crap Mrs Stevie had artfully erected in front of it. Hearing the happy sounds of my comments on this sitiuation (one I've remarked on several times in the past three years) and the crashing of "valuable stuff" being moved with less care than one might typically use for relocating such treasures as collections of shoes that no longer fit or cases of rock-hard stage makeup Mrs Stevie immediately abandoned the elaborate brewing of some Espresso Muy Forta and came down to help out. Unfortunately I had wandered around to the other side of the basement at that point, and was almost frightened out of my skin when I came back, looked up and saw her crouched on a pile of boxes, positioned up into the rafters of the basement like some hideous predatory vampire recently risen from the grave and on the hunt for human sacrifice. Stupid tricks like that really get on my nerves, and I began plotting some elaborate revenge straightway.

Of course, the screen on the other side window was not in place so I had to improvise lest the basement fill with itinerant cats, racoons and other freeloading wildlife on the hunt for a comfy place to doss down for the winter. This I did by propping a large broken screen over the hole from the inside. Then I ran a fan for a couple of hours to drag cool air through the place, took the boards up into Bog and the problem was largely solved.

Fortunately, the Stevieling had used the weekend to not do some due-tomorrow homework which involved an elaborate photo-shoot and a box of Playmobil characters, so any chance that peace might break out was nipped in the bud. She finally got everything ready for school at around Ten thirty and went to bed, having produced a display about AIDS in Africa.

This she researched entirely on the web with entirely predictable results in the quality of the information she got (did you know that Zimbabwe was "an average African city"? I didn't). I corrected that one but felt that she should find out what happens when you put your trust in the internet as your sole sources so didn't make her change anything else, other than to cite her sources.

Maybe when she gets her mark she'll get the message I've tried drumming into her for years: that without peer review the material on the web is best regarded as suspect and for safety's sake should never be used as the sole source of any "fact"3. Since I'm only her father and couldn't possibly understand what the demands of a modern life are she naturally treats my advice as complete hogwash of the first order4. I love the girl more than life itself5 but she can be very trying at times.

Now what to do about acheiving vengeance on Mrs Stevie?

  1. Late, missed train necessitating trip to Penn delaying arrival at The Steviemanse by an hour
  2. A crazy plan, but I felt it might just work
  3. Except this site, which is the truest depository of facts ever invented. Trust everything you read here. It has the Stevie Seal of Approval
  4. I once tried to correct her technique on the recorder. She let me know in no uncertain terms that her technique was teacher sanctioned. I said I didn't think so. She disrespectfully disagreed. I halted her in mid dis by commenting "Before you say anything more, you might consider that on the shelf behind you there are four recorders that belong to me, and that I was playing in a recorder band when I was two years younger than you are now." This sudden confrontation with unhelpful facts drove her into a rage. I gave up. She, of course, gave up the recorder since she couldn't seem to make hers sound like the ones on my recordings of them. Go figger
  5. I'm speaking of someone else's life here obviously

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