Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Dec. 14, 2004 - 1:04 p.m.



I've been absoultely put through a spiked wringer the past month and a half. With NewWifey(tm) being arrested, on pretty serious charges, things have been kinda tense around DangerHouse. My routine of late: work all night, go home to a court-ordered-confined Redhead, sit through strategy sessions with a barely interested court appointed Public Defender, drink Maker's Mark and curse Karl Rove, play SpikeyBall with Casey til I fall over, then sleep where I fall until the alarm goes off at 1am. Rinse, lather, repeat. When does this leave time for Diaryland and (more importantly) porn? It doesn't, sad to say. I mean, I've watched so little porn lately that my eyesight has even begun to improve.

Ok, so what was NewWifey(tm) arrested for (this time)? Thankfully, I can finally talk about it now that the whole case has been resolved.

She got arrested because she is overflowing with Christmas Spirit. And hatred towards lawn balloons.

Have your neighbors gone as mad with lawn inflatables as mine have? I think it was March of 2002 when I spotted my first one - a 15 foot tall Easter Bunny waving sappily at me as I drove down the hill to Dangerhouse. "Huh!" I thought. "There's a giant bunny on Craig and Diane's lawn, and he's waving at me. Maybe that combination of DayQuil and Maker's Mark for breakfast wasn't the brightest idea...."

But of course, it wasn't my homemade cold remedy causing me to hallucinate. That technicolor rabbit was just the first soldier in a veritable Blitzkreig of monstrous inflatable lawn ornaments. By year's end my neighbors up and down the block had decided to celebrate every holiday, sporting event, birth, death, and celebrity wardrobe malfunction with the matching lawn balloon. For god's sake, on Arbor Day some idiot a block over CHOPPED DOWN A REAL TREE so he could inflate a mammoth, 20 foot high inflatable fir with the words "Plant A Tree!" emblazoned on the bottom.

I pretty much just shrug my shoulders at these clowns, seeing it as yet another example of American Herd Mentality when it comes to anything kitsch.

NewWifey(tm), on the other hand....

NewWifey(tm) is absolutely outraged by the proliferation of these cheery vinyl gargoyles. She's always been a do-it-yourself kinda gal, knitting her own Christmas wreaths from shredded willow bark, chewing seal blubber to make winter earmuffs, that sort of thing. So when she saw every single one of our streetmates taking the easy way out by bringing home a 40 dollar ballon and hyperventilating into it every single holiday, she boiled over. "Those lazy bastards!" she fumed once. "It's bad enough that none of the other housewives around here make their own dresses, but when I come home and see a semi-sized blow-up coffin with the words "R.I.P. Mary Ellen, Aged 3 Months" on Pete and Sue's lawn, it makes me sick. I mean, what should I do? Blow up an inflatable bouquet with "Sorry your daughter died of SIDS" and leave it on their lawn as a memorial? This has gotten out of hand."

Other than shaking her fist and chewing her own bile every time she drove by a lawn full of them (and considering their size, even ONE is a lawn full) she didn't have many other outlets for her rage. She just stewed and fumed, and went about her business.

Up until just about Halloween.

Christmas got started early out here this year. Yeah, I know. It gets started early EVERY year. But this year it was even more so. I couldn't believe it when I saw Macy's in the Willowbrook Mall stringing gold garland up in August. August! One of the big radio stations around here flipped to 24/7 Christmas music the week before Thanksgiving, and two others followed at noon on Thanksgiving itself.

I'm an athiest, and even I'M indignant about the blatant greed.

For NewWifey(tm) it's even worse. I'm not sure what her religous affiliation is - I've never bothered to ask - but whatever it is, she's angst ridden by the belief that the entire year is evolving into one giant season: Shopmas (only briefly punctuated by Halloweek and EasterHour. And of course the Irish and AA refugees will still celebrate the month of St. Patuary also.) I'm not sure if she's incensed because of the ethical abomination of it all, or the fact that 51 weeks of the year it will take her hours to fight the crowds at the mall just to pick up a tampon and a quart of Chunky Monkey (a pairing that seems inevitable in our house for some reason). Either way, she's not happy about what she sees as a devestating eventuality.

So it was then, two days before this past Halloween, that her twin hatreds of Lawn Balloons and Expanding Christmas Pandemic collided.

One of our neighbors put up a Santa lawn ballon on October 29th.

That's a month before Thanksgiving.

A sixth of a year before Christmas.

I knew NewWifey(tm) would have a few choice words about it when she came home that night, since there was no way she could miss it. The offending house is directly in line of sight from the top of our hill all the way to Dangerhouse, and the Santa was the size of a VW Beetle stood on end.

Sure enough, she hadn't even gotten her second foot out of the car when she began screaming up the driveway towards me.

"Did you SEE what those fucking bastards did? I can't believe it - what a couple of dirtwad jerkoff scumbags!" (This couple attended our wedding btw, and gave us a very generous gift check.)

I listened to her rant and froth all the way up the stairs, down the hall, in the bedroom while she changed into sweats, through the bathroom door while she peed, and for a solid hour after she finally planted her butt in the recliner. She hadn't been this mad on 9/11.

I offered moral support, wine, and more wine. It seemed to do the trick. Towards the end of her second bottle of St. Estephe she began to breath less heavily and was able to unclench her fists. A few snorts into the third bottle and the blood vessels in her eyes began to recede so you could see the whites again. She sat up, rubbed her temples a bit, and then actually smiled.

Crisis passed.

"You know, it's such a pretty Fall night I think I'll take the dog for a walk and clear my head a bit. Might be good for me."

"Um...honey, are you ok to walk? You've had an awful lot, even for you...."

"Hey, I'm Irish, remember?"

How could I forget? So she and her Irish hooked the Cogi to his leash, and out the door they went into a quilt of Autumn leaves shimmering under the Harvest Moon.

I settled back, poured myself a dram of The Glenlivet 18 year old, and popped in a tape of The Man Show.

Ah, Highland Malt and Juggies! Is there no trouble you can't assuage when you combine your powers? I think not....

Somewhere around an hour later, deep into a sketch about radio controlled walking Kleenex boxes for the discerning masterbator, I heard police sirens off in the distance. I didn't think anything of it - probably just someone panicking because they found another bear in their garage.


But this time, the sirens didn't stop at the top of the hill where all the new people live. Instead they went ripping down our street, past Dangerhouse, and came skidding to a stop a few houses down.

"Mark must've left his gun cabinet open again." I thought. "I wonder if his wife finally made good on her threat and blew his liver out?" But I didn't dwell on it long because the Girls on Trampolines was just starting.

A few minutes later I was rooting around for the box of Kleenex (god, they really should market that walking model!) when the doorbell rang. I hiked my pants back up and answered it.

There, slouched between two Vernon police officers, mud streaking her face and hair, and in handcuffs, was NewWifey(tm). One of the cops was also leading Casey the Wonder Corgi by his leash. The dog looked absolutely ecstatic.

"Um...hi honey." I said. "How was your walk?"

"Mr. Spouse, we picked your wife up for malicious mischief and public drunkeness. It seems she had a problem with one of your neighbors' lawn ornaments and destroyed it." said the cop holding her by the elbow. "We'll be taking her down to the station and issuing a bench warrant for her to appear in court at a later date. If you could please drop by in an hour or so, we'll let you know what her bail is set at then and release her to you."

And they turned and marched NewWifey(tm) back down the stairs and into one of the squad cars. And off they went....

Well, I had an hour to kill. I went back to hunting for the Kleenex.

Ok, no I didn't. But it was a struggle.

I put my jacket on and walked down to my neighbor's house to see what carnage NewWifey(tm) had wrought.

Here's what I saw:





Gruesome, no?

This was all that remained of my neighbor's 12 foot tall inflatable Santa after NewWifey(tm) and Casey got done with it.

The husband was standing outside surveying the slaughter, while his wife stood on the porch trying to comfort their three children.

"Mommy, that lady KILLED SANTA CLAUS!" one of them wailed.

Now Mark and I get along pretty well - or at least have up until now. He sometimes joins me on his dirtbike in the woods, and we've done BBQ together in the summer. So he didn't come at me swinging his fists like some other guys with now-permanently scarred children might have.

I spoke first.

"Hey Mark, what's up?"

"Nuthin' much. I think your wife might have some anger management issues though. Did the coops talk to you yet?"

"Yeah, they just left. Interrupted The Man Show I had taped last night."

"...Was that the one with the Kleenex box? That was a good one."

"Yeah, it was. I'll have to finish it later though. So...what happened here?"

"I have no idea. We were sitting around having dinner when the dog started yapping his head off, like the UPS guy was coming up the walk or something. I went to the window to check, and I saw your wife just standing at the edge of our driveway, looking at our Santa. I couldn't figure it out - she was just standing there. I was all set to open the door and inviter her in for a bite, when she pulled a knife out of her pocket. Before I could do anything, she rushed to the balloon and started stabbing it! The knife didn't seem to do anything to it for some reason, but your little dog went nuts when he saw your wife attack. And HE managed to sink his teeth in but good, and down Santa went. I never saw anything like it! The kids were terrified. So...I had to call the cops. I mean, she had a knife and all...."

I told him I certainly understood, and would have done exactly the same if a deranged woman and a dwarf dog started attacking one of MY lawn accoutrements. After apologizing profusely and offering to purchase a new - even bigger - Santa, I went to retrieve NewWifey(tm) from the clink.

She was sleeping peacefully in the holding cell the Desk Sergent led me to.

"I think she may have been drinking" he said. "Does she usually get violent when she drinks?"

"...She's Irish."

The Sergent snorted and unlocked the cell.

"Your wife has a warrant to appear before the court on Friday December 10th. She's being released on her own recognizance into your custody. Make sure she appears or there will be severe penalties in addition to the charges she is already facing. And I would get a lawyer - I understand your neighbors will be filing civil charges against for trespassing, destruction of property, and pain and suffering to their children as well."

WHAT?? Mark never mentioned....

Wait...his shrew wife! The one coddling that brood on the porch - I'd bet anything SHE was the one demanding blood! Women have no sense of humor about things that make their precious loinfruit cry.


Jesus. Well, there was one thing I still had to clear up before I carted NewWifey(tm) off and strapped her to the roof rack of the Ford.

"Sergent, my neighbor said that NewWifey(tm) attacked their lawn ballon with a...knife. Did you find one on her? I've never known her to carry anything sharper than a mascera stick."

He reached in his pocked and pulled out a battered grey wand.

"Oh yeah, we found this on her. It's not a knife. It's a tampon applicator. God only knows what she was trying to do to Santa with that thing. Kill him with Toxic Shock Syndrome? But it sure wasn't strong enough to penetrate that anti-tear nylon balloon. We won't be filing a weapons charge against her for this, don't worry. The other charges are serious enough. Good night."

I thanked him and fireman-carried NewWifey(tm) back to the SUV. She snored peacefully all the way back to Dangerhouse.

The next morning I called a lawyer first, Mark second. I won't bore you with the legal jargon spewed at me by the hired gun (since I didn't understand much, and recall less), but the conversation with Mark was illuminating:

"Yo Mark, it's Dangerspouse. What's this about you guys filing civil charges against us for pain and suffering caused to your kids? Are you nuts? It's a fucking ballon! A ballon I told you I'd replace, by the way."

I could tell Mark had been dreading this call. There was a long, uncomfortable silence on the line during which I could hear him swallowing.

Finally, almost sheepishly, he said "Listen, I know you don't have kids, but when they started to cry my wife -"

"AHA! I knew this had to be her doing! Mark, why didn't you put your foot down and stop her? We're buddies!"

"Well you see...she's Irish, and -"

I was sunk.

The next five weeks then were exactly as I described at the beginning: work, conference, booze. Not always in that order.

Then last week we finally reached the Dramatic Climax.

In a nutshell (since I can see your eyes drooping from here) this is what happened:

Our lawyer found that the Lake Community we belong to has a bylaw prohibiting structures - even temporary ones - from being erected on any member's property without a special permit. In addition, all holiday decorations must not be displayed more than three weeks before the actual holiday. Violators were not only fined heavily, but also had their beach and clubhouse badges put in a wood chipper.

Our hired shark then engaged in some legal blackmail, pointing out the fines that Mark and Co. faced for these violations were almost equal to the damages they were seeking. If they would drop their lawsuit, we wouldn't squeal to the Property Owners Association fuzz. Now, or in the future. Their kids still have an awful lot of Christmases ahead of them - it sure would be a shame to have a barren, cheerless lawn at each and every one. Think of the children!

They dropped the suit.

That just left the charges brought by the town: malicious mischief, public drunkeness, and failure to control a pet.

Fortunately the judge went easy on NewWifey(tm). Not only did she clean up nice and made a good impression on him, but it was clear from his remarks that he shared a similar disgust of garish, brobdingnagian, monthlong (or longer) eyesores. Like 12 foot tall Santas erected before Halloween. He even opined that he had fantasized about taking similar actions against one or two of his own neighbors who had committed the similar transgressions.

But of course he didn't act on his fantasy, and that makes all the difference to the Law apparently. So he couldn't just wave his magic gavel and make the charges disappear, poof!

We were fined $180, plus 40 dollars court fees. Most importantly: NewWifey(tm) does not have a record.

(Could you imagine if they'd given her jail time? "Waddaya in for, Red?"..."I stabbed Santa Claus....")

Well it's all over now, and with about the best outcome we could have hoped for. I got Mark his damn monster Santa, and it's already waving in the breeze on his lawn. The kids seem none the worse for the scare, and even their mom called and was able to laugh about the whole thing. Strained laughter, but a laugh nonetheless. And I limit NewWifey(tm) to one bottle of St. Estepher per night now, just in case.

Speaking of NewWifey(tm), she has just left for a weeklong visit to her sister's in Charlotte, North Carolina. She'll be back the Wednesday before Christmas, and I feel like I should do something special for her return....

I wonder how she'd feel about a giant lawn ballon Juggy? Now there's a Ho Ho Ho!

G'night kids. Be nice to your neighbors.




ps. I read all those notes postulating the many and gruesome reasons for my disappearance. You are all a bunch of sick, sick puppies.

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