The #1 son had the most scathingly brilliant idea. To him. For Farmer H's Christmas present.
Let the record show that Farmer H was not going to be bereft of presents. He had more than anyone else. But the gift that #1 took upon himself to pick out and install was a flat-screen TV for the living room. Right in front of the La-Z-Boy. We had an old 29-inch cube-shaped TV with a cathode ray tube. In fact, that tube had been through the wringer, what with #1 himself, as a youngster, taking a large donut-shaped magnet Farmer H brought home from work and pressing it to the screen. Which kind of messed up the color scheme in that area, until Farmer H took that magnet and rubbed it all around the screen to desensitize something or other.
So #1 went off to The Devil's Playground on Tuesday with a back-pocket full of cash, pooh-poohing my instructions to put the moolah in his FRONT pocket to deter pickpockets (Mrs. HM is a fan of the 1968 Best Picture winner, "Oliver!"), and found a bargain 39-inch or some such size, for only $20 more that a 29-inch. I don't know much about the sizes flat-screen TVs come in, only that they are measured on the diagonal.
Before his buying excursion, #1 had measured that corner cabinet that houses the TV seven ways to Sunday, like any good engineering-college degree-seeker. He knew exactly how much room he had side-to-side and front-to-back and top-to-bottom. He called me about his find, reasoning on what a shame it would be to pass up such a bargain, even though it might mean modifications to the cabinet.
Last night, we returned home from my sister the ex-mayor's wife's Christmas Eve festivities at 10:30 p.m. The #1 son knew that he could not put in the TV as a surprise until after Farmer H went to bed. Alas, I needed Farmer H to help wrap the presents that were neglected as I took my mom to a doctor appointment that morning. So I compromised. If I could have Farmer H for 30 minutes, then he would go to bed with the door closed, I would finish wrapping on my own, and #1 and his assistant The Pony (a duo much like Pinky and The Brain) would set up the new TV and get rid of the old one.
No sooner had Farmer H gone off to slumberland than I heard #1 ordering The Pony hither and thither. "Sweet Gummi Mary!" I thought to myself. "That noise could wake the dead-sleep of a breather-wearing quilt-tunneler." Then as if to tempt fate even further, #1 clumped down the steps while The Pony trotted across the kitchen as if he had no hooves on the end of his fetlocks. And furthermore, #1 went into the basement workshop and grabbed a coping say (some calls it a coping saw, I calls it a hacksaw, mmm hmm). Then I heard the sound of two championship lumberjacks competing for a record in the two-man saw event. How Farmer H slept through that racket is beeyooooond me!
And this morning, when Farmer H was released from captivity to begin the trek downstairs for present-opening...#1, The Pony, and I waited with bated breath for Farmer H to spy his new flat-screen TV, all installed, tuned to Channel 2 News, the rough edge of the sawed-off cabinet staring him in the face until a piece of trim board can be stained.
I wish those boys had timed him, or recorded him, on their fancy-schmancy smart-phones. I'll wager it took Farmer H a good five minutes to notice the different TV. And that was AFTER he had looked all around the living room, and taken off his glasses.
Farmer H is the kind of guy criminals want for a night watchman.