Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jonah and Old Man Coyote

We're learning a lot about electricity, our electrical system in the Airstream and ourselves. As an Ensign, to earn my surface warfare qualification, I was required to learn all about my ship to include its electrical systems. I sat down with the Electrical Officer, his Chief, the Chief Engineer. I memorized diagrams. I took color-coded notes. And then I bluffed my way through my board because I never understood a shred of it. Today, in just this afternoon, I've learned everything about electrical systems I should have learned on the ship.

Now I understand current and voltage and amperage and resistance and how it all relates to our non-functioning air conditioner. You want me to draw you a diagram of our 120 and 12 volt systems? No problem, just hand me pen and paper...and a candle.

Here's the story. Our new landlord, George, is totally Old Man Coyote--throwing a tomahawk in our tire when we divert from our destiny. He's the big fish that swallows us up when we should be on our way to Nineveh. There's something Lauren and I need to learn about humility, about patience, about ourselves and each other, and about amperage apparently.

Returning from Boston this morning, we grabbed some enchiladas and came over to scope the site where we'd be living, a lovely shaded spot on George's property in South Austin. Reaching our pad, however, required backing down a long driveway around a boat, a car, two lawn mowers, a tree, through a narrow gate, around another tree and then, like a glove, just drop the hitch. Lauren, being a gold-blue introvert, was naturally concerned. I only saw my blog getting more interesting.

When we returned with the Airstream, there was some work to be done. We needed to clear some tree branches, widen the gate, buy extensions for our power cord and water hose. We got to work. I put on my gloves, Lauren asked Socratic questions and George trimmed tree limbs with a chainsaw atop a shaky latter in his barefeet. Classic Old Man Coyote. Only six hours later, we're all set: our home is tilted, our sewage hose is so serpentine it's offering apples, our air conditioner isn't cooling so much as reminiscing like Willy Loman, and our power cord looks like we tried to plug a space heater into a USB port.

Old Man Coyote is unphased, is optimistic. Tomorrow we're buying the wiring and breakers for his new 30-amp system. Installation is going to require crawling through the attic and tracing wires through the insulation. Onus is on the man with Willy Loman for an air conditioner.

Lauren and I are starting to realize how big a game we've been talking since...we got married. It's like Shaq just checked me the ball. I hold it for a quick second to give Lauren and me time to pump up our hightops. Lauren's covering Detlef Schrempf; she winks at him. I chest-pass it back to Shaq: game on Stretch.