One: Next to the Witch House, there was a Les Schwab billboard, supposedly the oldest billboard in Olympia. Sadly, in the intervening years, it was finally replaced. When we first moved in, the previous tenants, who were friends of mine, warned me in no uncertain terms that, "while it might seem like a good idea at the time, don't drink on the sign." They had learned this from personal experience. Apparently, they had been drinking on the sign with some girls one evening, and the cops came by (because you can't just sit there drinking on the sign). The girls decided to do the smart thing and run from the cops -- right into the house. The house with a giant bong in the living room. Somehow, they managed not to get in trouble for the bong, as I recall, but the whole incident went badly.
The whole time I lived there, we religiously avoided drinking on the sign.
Two: One day, we were sitting around drinking, smoking, etc. Standard Witch House activities. Unfortunately, once we'd gotten good and liquored up, my roommate Crazy Tom, who is actually schizophrenic, although we didn't know it at the time, decided to bring out this 9,000 volt transformer and show off how you could make a Jacob's Ladder with it.
It was pretty cool, and we all said so. We sat around talking about how "Oh my God! If you touched that, you'd totally die!" Then we started lighting our cigarettes with it. For several months after that, until Tom moved out, we used it as the house lighter. If you needed a light, you'd just plug it in, light your cigarette off the electricity, and smoke away. I don't know how we didn't kill ourselves.
Three: In the living room, there was some trim that was about four inches below the ceiling. Why, I have no idea. Perhaps it was all the rage in the 1910's, when the house was built. The kitchen even still had an ice box (like you put ice in to keep things cool with a vent to the outside) and the original circuit breaker. It was longer active and had been painted over many times, but it was still on the wall above the refrigerator. The refrigerator, interestingly enough, was not actually in the kitchen, but an entirely different room. When I first moved in, I got confused and somehow thought there were two refrigerators. I thought that was great, because then we could have one fridge for food, and one for beer. Alas, it was not to be. Instead, we just had one fridge for beer.
One day, someone figured out that you could stick cigarette packs in the ceiling trim if you rolled up newspaper and put in between the ceiling and the cigarette pack. We worked on this project for quite a while, and had most of the perimeter of the ceiling framed with cigarette packs. It was quite a sight.
Future installment: If you're all very good and eat your oatmeal, I'll tell you about the time that something that seemed like a good idea at the time almost caused the ceiling to collapse!
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