Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wrinkles in the Wainscoting



When I bought my house a few years back, I moved in with the expectant anticipation of converting the domicile into our dream home, just the sort of self-contained paradise that mature Americans shape in hopes of someday morphing into a life of dignified retirement.

Nothing could have prepared me for the secret the dwelling harbors—it is haunted. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Bob has flipped his trolley. Honestly, at first I might have agreed with you. Throughout my life, I have practiced a form of pragmatism that tends to discard outlandish reports of anything that couldn’t be proven scientifically.

Be that as it may, we have a ghost, a spirit, a spooky wraith. And if that isn’t bad enough, he’s one of the most boring individuals I’ve ever encountered. He doesn’t really do very much; once in a while we come home to find the dog’s dish turned upside down or junk mail spread out all over the dining room table or the refrigerator door slightly ajar.

Recently, I found out that he rips coupons out of the stack of old newspapers we keep stacked in the basement. I went downstairs to check the furnace filter and found coupons for mushroom soup and air freshener lying on top of the water heater. Every single one of the coupons had expired, so either he can’t read the fine print or he has no concept of time. Just once I’d like to go down there and find that he’d selected a coupon for a quart of Johnny Walker or a two-for-one advertisement for Trojan condoms.

We first knew that we had a haunt last winter when we couldn’t keep the temperature in the house above 64 degrees Fahrenheit. We’d set the thermostat for 72 and come back an hour later, after feeling a chill, and find the dial back on 64. After this went on five or six times, we just left it and my wife started wearing a heavy sweater or coat inside the house. I’m as green as the next guy, but 64? In January?

Convinced that we were losing our minds, we decided to hold a séance. We bought a Ouija board at the Dollar Store and lit some candles on the dining room table one evening. Spooky as hell… the dog wouldn’t even come into the room. We’d been advised to ask yes or no questions, so we constructed all our inquiries in that fashion, but invariably, when we made contact he’d blather on and on about the declining quality of the lunch buffet at Golden Dragon or the virtue of paper rather than plastic or how kids don’t really need recess. After twenty minutes or so, I think he lost interest because he stopped answering our questions. In the den we heard the TV come on and the channel change to The Food Network, with Chef Emeril Lagasse detailing his latest culinary creation, Butter Bean Ragoût.

I wish that just once he’d leave us a cryptic message on a steamed-up bathroom mirror or offer up a plaintive moan capable of scaring the bejesus out of the kids during Halloween trick-or-treat activities. Instead, we get an improperly recoiled garden hose or the cap being left off the toothpaste or my hand tools taken off their hooks in the garage and strewn on my workshop countertop.

It’s embarrassing, really… I haven’t even called a psychic for help. I’m afraid any self-respecting parapsychologist would laugh at us.



So, up until now, I’ve just kept my trap shut about him. Do me a favor and keep this to yourself, if you don’t mind. I wouldn’t want anyone to think me strange.

26 comments:

Shirley said...

Your secret is safe with us Bob. I actually have a ghost myself. Whatever I do, he undoes it. Especially housework. Whenever I swear I'm going to knock myself out doing housework all day it's never done when my husband gets home. I don't think he believes me either so I know how lonely it can be having a ghost. Hang in there! :)

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

mayonnaise. that's what mine mumbles about. mayonnaise and transubstantiation.
Try coming down the stairs in the middle of the night when some fool going on about crusty mayonnaise and Hoc est enim corpus meum... shiiiiiit.

Go ahead. Don't be shy. Try it.

( I'll trade ya six expired cream of mushroom coupons against one 3.785 ltrs jar of heavy duty Real Mayonnaise. Deal?)

Bubba said...

Shirley-- Yea, the worst part is the fact that one's spouse could fail to believe in the specter's existence, isn't it? Take my advice and just refuse to do any housework whatsoever...

Lee-- Latin-speaking spirits (especially those predisposed toward canonical litany) can be problematic, to be sure... I highly recommend that you douse every surface of your house with liberal dollops of Hellman's (the burning of incense during the ceremony is optional) while intoning Gregorian chant, for a period not to exceed six hours. Accípite, et manducáte ex hoc omnes.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

vivet in aeternum, bubba. I'll let you know how it works out.

thefork said...

i had a ghost... apparently he was also a feng shui expert because he said i didn't know how to use color to strengthen and balance my environment or have enough yellow in the south for happy gatherings and good times...

no wonder i live alone...

Jo Janoski said...

I wish I had a ghost, but one who would behave more like a personal slave. It seems to me yours is so boring you should charge him rent...

Jo Janoski said...

Whoa! I love your new iconic image! Awesome!

Scot said...

ok bob--it is here forever--google the way back machine

Bubba said...

fork-- I know the problem (the feng shui, I mean). I tried to make my home earth-friendly and the waterfall fiasco caused me to have to look for a new insurance company. I no longer try to feng anyone's shui.

Jo-- That's what I'm trying to tell you! He makes vanilla look absolutely exotic. And I'm not exactly sure that 'iconic' was the look I was going for.

Uh...Scot? Anyone who remembers the Wayback Machine doesn't need a ghost.

amuirin said...

Is this true? In parts I suspected you were being ironic/sarcastic, but other places, I was totally buying it.

Do you really have a ghost?

I only have one supernatural story, but it lasted a whole school year, so... that's somethin'.

Nan J said...

Sure. Blame everything on the ghost. No wonder the poor, misunderstood things eventually go polter.

paisley said...

this is so damn unfair... i have been trying to get a ghost to live with me my whole life... nada... even a dull one would do at this point....

kaylee said...

I so do not have a ghost
and I feel so left out.
But I loved reading about
yours.

klk

Bubba said...

Amuirin-- I have to admit that I am a sham of a scam of an imposter of a pretender. I have no such ghost, either. He is a fig newton of my rather poor imagination... I couldn't even make up a ghost with any personality. Tell me about *your* year-long tale of the supernatural... not that's worthy of ink.

Nan-- Go *polter*?? Hey, lady, how about laying off the creative stuff on *my* blog! (He said, jealous as hell that he didn't think of it)

Kaylee and Paisley-- Just do what I do and make one up. As you can see, all your friends will want one, too, and they'll even waste their time reading your blog. heh heh heh

Tina Trivett said...

Did you ask the ouija for lottery numbers?

Bubba said...

Tiny-- Hell, no (he said, pounding his head on the table repeatedly), I didn't think about it!

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