Mr. and Mrs. House Hunter thought they were through with home ownership. For a few years, they lived in rented, fully furnished places and enjoyed the lack of responsibility of it all. Using someone else’s stuff provides a subtle sense of adventure. Maybe hermit crabs feel the same thing.

Now the Hunters have bought a house here in Santa Barbara and are remembering what it’s like to be homeowners again. On the plus side, there’s a sense of pride in having a piece of the planet to call their own. There’s also the joy of knowing they won’t have to pack up the multitude of boxes and move again. All to the good.

But then came the other side of the story — the part about Mr. Hunter not being the greatest homeowner in the world. Memories came clawing back, such as the time the electrician came to fix an outdoor light and determined the problem to be not terribly difficult: a burned-out bulb. Mr. Hunter could have sworn he checked that, but whatever.

Worse is the return of an affliction he had almost forgotten about in his nomad years: “chronic laziness.”

As a renter, when the water tank would erupt or the roof would collapse, Mr. Hunter would simply call the owner, and the cavalry would come a-runnin’. Same for the myriad other upkeep issues, such as plumbing, painting, yard work, roofing, etc., and (yikes) etc. Now those things fall to Mr. and Mrs. Hunter, only one of whom is gung ho about such efforts. (Hint: not Mr. Hunter.)

The symptoms of chronic laziness all came crashing back recently as Mr. Hunter was carrying tools to a backyard project. Instead of wisely making two or even three trips, he chose the “lazy man’s carry,” which involves piling everything in one monstrous, tippy armload, including a hammer in one hand and a saw in the other. Despite all that, things were proceeding well enough until, roughly mid-journey, a mosquito chose to land on his nose.

First of all, how do mosquitoes know when a human’s defense mechanisms are otherwise occupied? When the target is unfettered, they choose guerilla attacks on remote sectors, usually ankles, but once the hands and arms are full, it’s banzai, for the face! A mystery.

Ordinarily, a sane home improver faced with this problem would put down his burden and prudently dispose of the bug. But not a chronic lazy man. Instead, he will find himself giving serious thought to the idea of smacking himself in the face with a hammer. He will realize that this could result in serious pain and possibly lasting disfiguration, and he will briefly give up the notion. But then a fleeting thought will cross his brain, (zika!) and the hammer will swing.

Mr. Hunter is expected to make a full recovery.

Another aspect, also involving bugs, is “lazy man painting.” The other day, Mr. Hunter was perched atop a ladder, reaching deeply into a crevice with a paintbrush, when a daddy longlegs chose to make a permanent settlement right in his paint path. Hmm. Mr. Hunter quickly considered his options: Stop, put down the brush, shoo the creature away and resume, or …

Mr. Hunter apologizes to the Arachnids.


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