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About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm finally ready to circulate a terrible family secret

Last night, after I zipped Junior up in his fleece footy pajamas, he hugged me and said, “I’m so happy I’m warm! I’m warm, Mommy! I’m so happy!”

Chuck glared at me. “Tonight’s the last night!” Then he looked in the hallway at this:

“Noooooooooooo…” I pleaded.

“No more fans," he said. "In the summer? Fine. Winter? No.”

“What if we just turn the heat up higher?”


I cried right then. Go ahead and call me strange, but you have to understand something: Fans are so valued in my family, they are passed down through generations. I don’t know if we were all aviators in past lives and crave the whir of engines or what, but fans are my family’s crack.

See? Here's my Great Uncle Morty and Aunt Flossie with their loved ones—all four of them:

And my grandfather? He had a metal fan he lovingly called Whirling Death.

I have fond memories as a child of it chasing me across the kitchen floor—the blades spun so fast that it hopped—as it tried to eat my skirt. It’s resting in my dad’s basement but someday it will be mine.

Sniffle, sniffle.

And you know how some fathers try to impart handy wisdom on their daughters so they don’t end up as vacuous princesses who can’t tell a fishing lure from a Muppet? (It’s more common than you think.) Some dads might teach their daughter how to drive stick; others might show them how to use power tools. When I was 16, my dad took away my beloved window fan and stuck a need-to-be assembled fan in front of me and told me to get to it.

My mom’s family is even worse. When we vacation together and unpack our cars, everyone is knee-deep in box fans:

We’re like groupies at a fucking fan convention. The first time Chuck went away with my family he freaked out, mostly because instead of the usual greetings, we sounded like this:

“You have your fan?”

“God, yes.”

“Do you?”

“Yes, of course. Of course. I sat with it between my legs.”

“I was so worried you’d forget it and we'd have to go to the store.”

“Never. I brought two this time.”

“Oh good. Let’s turn them all on right now.”

“Yes! Yes! Let’s go plug them in and have a cup of coffee in front of the fans.”

Out of everyone, my shithead brother has it the worst. He once left my mother’s house in the middle of the night in a snowstorm. He had forgotten to bring his own fan and the noise from my mom's fan wasn’t good enough. She was across the hall—with the door open.

Now look, I don’t want Junior to grow up to be a freak about fans but if it runs in the family, what can I do? I need the noise (and no, sound machines don’t cut it). And I have so few vices. I mean, really, besides self-mutilation and being a raging wino, I am the picture of inner peace. I don’t smoke, I don’t bite my nails, I don’t do whip-its, I don’t need to wean myself off Facebook or Poker.

I am Zen + box fan.

Can’t I just have my fan, Chuck? I promise next time it’ll be different. We can put the fan in the bathroom instead. You won’t even know it’s there.

The other option, honey, is that once I inherit Whirling Death I sick it on you.

Your choice.

(I know everyone out there has a weird familial vice, too. Come clean, what is yours? Subarus? Toilet paper dolls? Crock pots?)


Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I totally have a fan vice, too! Not quite as in depth as yours is, though... :) It's been passed down in our family...I finally got hubby so used to the fan noise that now he can't live without it at night, either. My brother's wife thought he was weird 'needing' the fan noise and having one on in the winter, too - but now she can't live without the sound, either. How is it that you haven't converted Chuck yet? ;)

marybt said...

Maybe poor ol' Chuck wants you to put away the fan because his privates are still right out there in the open! (On your blog header I mean.)

My great grandpa had a cabin at the Lake and he used a jet engine (well not the actual engine, just the fan part) to cool the place.

My family has no weird quirks. True story. Just ask me.

Lindy said...

What the hell is this post about again? Fans? :)

HAHAH, Marybt - I wondered why Mrs. Mullet was covered in the header too...and not Chuck.

Sara said...

I dislike fans. Air moving across me at night bugs me. Jon wanted to put ceiling fans in all the rooms. I just couldn't do it.

We collect cats. Me, my sister and my dad. Between us three we have 18 cats. Dad's number shot up to 24 a while back, but now he is back to 12.

mo.stoneskin said...

I think you should wear one of those beanies with a prop on top. That should be perfect to a fan-addict like yourself right?

Brandy said...

we are a fan family. a shop fan, tower fan, and ceiling fan going all at once every night. poor g.

JW.BW said...

Im totally with you on the fans. I cannot live without my fan. My husband is the same way luckily, or we would be sleeping in seperate rooms. not a problem right now of course, as we are on the opposite sides of the earth

Buggys said...

My hubs is a fan freak! Not for the noise though, it's for the air flow. I'm all about being comfortable, LOVE climate control but he likes the ceiling fans on high 24/7! I think it's a little too much when your hair is whipping your face all night long!

Shana said...

I have to have fans! It is the noise and air movement for me. I feel like I am roasting if I can't feel the air hitting me. Hubby says it is cold enough to hang Blaze likes it too because he is really hot natured like me.

kyooty said...

I've got nothing? I can understand the need for the van though. We rub stuff, like satin ribbons on babyblankets, or fuzzies on blankets, or bald heads with a little bit of want-to-be hair.

Baby News said...

We're a fan family, too. In fact, I have a humidifier on one side of Ethan's dresser and a fan on the other.

Poor kid can't sleep without it!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

For me, it's cookbooks. God only knows why. For my husband, it's -- you guessed it! -- FANS!!

Pricilla said...

Are you from Philadelphia...?

♥georgie♥ said...

I would DIE without my can come stay with me till summer rolls back around if ya want-when it comes to having a fan yr round in my house-i'm the

it stems from growing up without a/c i got so use to the noise of the fan as i slept I can not sleep without one now...

Jenni said...

this is so goddamn funny, i am dying. DYING. funniest thing i've read all day.

i'm weirdly attached to lots of things. like i have every card anyone has ever given me for any occasion. well, that might be a stretch but i have lots of cards. i feel guilty throwing them away. i think i may be one step below becoming a hoarder. good god.

Ms. Salti said...

Definitely a strange vice, but hey, at least it's cheap and legal!

The Mother said...

I have a son who's so attached to his fan, he took it with him to college as a pet.

Then, when the dorm outlawed fans, he mourned for a month.

Anonymous said...

I love my fan. I want one at work. I am so there with you. FANS RULE!

Julia said...

I think you are a little strange... I do own a window fan which my husband hates but I lament not about putting it away for the season. On the other hand I did have approximately 20 flashlights at one time and had to down size with hazing from my husband. And I am not afraid of the dark. Its kinda strange. :)

Leanne said...

Okay. Now you're scaring me. We don't even own a fan. Wanna come visit?

blueviolet said...

No way! It has to be complete silence and total darkness. A fan would send me careening over the edge.

~The Shoebox~ said...

Wait a sec, couldn't read that... Let me just turn down my fan... Much better! Oh, yeah, fans, totally my vice... Hubs is addicted a LOT now as well, could be sub zero with 3 blankets on the bed, I NEED MY FAN!

Lisa said...

My whole family is a bunch of fan freaks too. My mom recently switched to "white sound machines" and sent one for each of the girls pretty much as soon as they popped out of the womb. DEAR GOD WILL WE EVER BREAK THE CYCLE.

Trac~ said...

OMG I thought I was the only one obsessed with fans - WOW! We run our BOX FAN year round when we sleep - we HAVE to have the noise for sure! Tell your hubby that you will turn the fan away from him so he doesn't get cold as long as you can keep it blowing on you! :o)

Anne said...

At least you aren't hurting anyone with your obsession (although once Whirling Death arrives, all bets are off)

Keely said...

Hm. We don't need fans, we have a/c, and the fridge for the noise.

Weird family obsessions...other than the crack cocaine, not much.

Mrsbear said...

I have to sleep with the ceiling fan on because I need to sleep covered up to my chin with a comforter lest the ghouls come and snatch me away. We had a fan thing growing up only because my grandfather who owned the house wouldn't spring for a/c. In Florida. It was fucking hot.

Coincidentally my husband has a whirling death identical to the one in the photo in his garage. I say HIS garage because it's crammed floor to ceiling with HIS stuff. His family hoards.

Your fan thing, that's nothing. Tell Chuck not to complain. ;)

Little Ms Blogger said...

I have to admit, one of my favorite things about the summer is the large humming noise my window air conditioner makes.

For the past 2 weeks, my husband and I have been debating when the units should come out of the window. He wants now and I keep saying Nov 1st, we have to wait till Indian Summer is over.

I don't think he'll understand how I find the large humming noise relaxing. But, I just do.

Junk Drawer Kathy said...

OMG. Hysterical! I especially loved the black and white photo with fans. Seriously, this post killed. I've never heard of such an addiction. Crazy!

Mrs. V said...

Fans are definitely our vice too. We have kept our children sleeping (and us too) peacefully for 13 years with fans. They are the ultimate white noise, and I mourn their passing when they wear out.

Grand Pooba said...

Oh my god, where have you been all my life? I grew up on fans too! You can't even try to seperate the two of us, me and my fan that is.

One time my husband decided that he'd had enough of the fan and said I couldn't turn it on to go to sleep anymore. Oh no, I was NOT havin that! I said, fine then I'm taking my fan and sleeping in the guest room!

He shut up after that and now he's hooked too. Mwahahahaha!

Magpie said...

Wow. At my mother's house - where there is no airconditioning - there are fans galore, and people are always stealing them and moving them around. But it's for the breeze, not the noise.

I want a whole house fan in my attic; still working on the husband though.

Jenni said...

Hello - My name is Jenni and I am a year round fan user.

During the colder months, I point the fan away from the bed so we don't get chilled. I need it on, otherwise my thoughts are too loud. I can not take that screaming in my head. And I agree - sound machines just don't cut it!

Otter Thomas said...

We didn't even own a fan growing up. Now I can't sleep without one even in the winter.

Pop and Ice said...

Still running a fan, here in Michigan, and we've got a projected low of 33 tonight. I need the humming noise, so until we need the tabletop humidifier, the fan STAYS ON!

Sparkling said...

i am cracking up because my sister and i have become addicted to fans. she was addicted a long time ago. my addiction is recent. but i truly cannot sleep without it. just a little fan is all i need. in the winter, i have it on the floor facing the wall. when i went to visit my sister and help her move, the saving grace was that friggin fan in the bedroom or i never would have slept. when we went to see her this november, it was a little too chilly for the big stand up fan, but otherwise, i know what would have happened. it's nice to know there are others out there just as obsessed. and it's really hysterical that we are not alone.