August 2012 Issue

It has lately occurred to us here at TWD World Headquarters, and I’m being only slightly facetious, that our house, which was built during the Civil War and is verifiably haunted, may actually be trying to get rid of us by manipulating space, time, the weather, and various public utilities companies. As I write this, for example, we have no natural gas service (thus no stove or hot water) for the third time in as many months. Columbia Gas is yet again “fixing” the ginormous interstate gas pipeline that runs about 1/4 mile from our house, which seems to spring a leak with every full moon. A few months ago they “blew out” the yard-wide pipe one morning to clean it, creating a giant cloud of natural gas that predictably drifted down the road and settled suffocatingly on our house, leading to a brisk run for the car and an afternoon wandering through Walmart.

This morning I put water on to boil for coffee, got in the shower, and, upon walking through the kitchen ten minutes later, noticed the water wasn’t boiling. Weird. But the kettle was hot. Weirder. And the burner control was on. Weirdorama. But there was no flame. That ain’t right. Since I had, by definition, not yet had my morning coffee, I stood there for a full minute before I realized that this is what passes for advance notice from the utility companies around here. Or maybe they did call to notify us, but the house erased their message.

Anyway, I think I’ve definitely earned the right to say It’s always something. So here’s this issue, and I hope to get back on schedule next month, because that will mean that (knock some termite-ridden wood) at least most things around here are working.

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3 comments on this post.
  1. Sam Long:

    Wow, those derechos can be dangerous, can’t they? I would find them interesting–I’m a meteorologist by training–but I’m glad I haven’t experienced one like you did. You might enjoy the magazine WEATHERWISE for more information about phenomena like derechos.

  2. Laney:

    The saying we use is “If it ain’t one thing… it’s two.” Along with “Let’s burn that bridge when we come to it.” Here’s hoping for some good luck – you’re overdue for some!

  3. Ron Eggleston:

    Dear Word Detective,
    I have two comments on your Aug 20-31 posting.
    First, the discussion of Papa, Dad, etc. In our family, which is very much a WASP family, Papa is used for grandfather. Additionally, my brother-in-law, who is from the hill country in SW Pennsylvania, near W. Va, refers to himself as grandfather as Pap-pap.
    Second, the definition of diverse as separate or different (I had always just thought of it as “multiplicity”) made me realize why so many conservatives are emotionally distraught by liberals advocating diversity. I think of my 98 year-old mother who sees Obama as “unAmerican” because he does not fit her idea of what a President should be (a 60 something white guy).

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