Monday, April 30, 2012


There's less than a week to weigh in on my poll! It's just to the right, and all it takes is two clicks to give me some reader feedback about how often I should be blogging. Please, I'd love to hear what you think on the matter!

...and on with the blog!

Handsome informed me over the weekend that he was starting to do chores for an allowance again.

“Uh-huh,” I said.

The last time we tried this, it was my idea, and it didn’t go very well. They weren’t huge chores, just keeping his room and the TV room clean, and emptying out the dishwasher every once in a while. No taking out the trash, no walking the dog, not even any vacuuming the house — just keeping it ready for me to vacuum. Nothing outside the house, either, like cutting the grass, although at the time he negotiated with his mother to get a little cash for raking the yard. That didn’t work out too well for him. In less than a week I was back to raking the yard myself, his chores fell through, and we were making him get up and do most of them anyway. That’s the way we told him it was: if he kept up on them on his own, or mostly on his own, they were his chores and he was earning his allowance. If, however, we had to track him down and ask him again and again to get things done, it wouldn’t count.

So for a while now we’ve been making him do these things anyway, with no cash involved. This time, he’s come to us (his mother, really) with the idea, and once again is looking for extra things to do for ‘overtime’. He claims he’s all kinds of gung-ho about it this time, and here I was, getting all ready to give him a dig about it. Just because he’s him and I’m me. Something along the lines of “Okay, let’s see how long this will last,” or “Let’s see if you can make it a whole week this time.”

And then he looks at me with those big blue eyes and says he really needs the money.

“Why? What are you looking to get?”

“My friend, MM, I know he just had his birthday, and it’s like nine months ‘til his birthday comes around again, but what I want to get him is really expensive.”

Selflessness? Darn it! 

Those big blue eyes, that sweet sentiment… I can’t make fun of him now!

Curses! Foiled again!

But he’s so sweet!

Talk to you later!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Monitored Phrase

There's less than a week to weigh in on my poll! It's just to the right, and all it takes is two clicks to give me some reader feedback about how often I should be blogging. Please, I'd love to hear what you think on the matter!

... and now, on with the blog!

Recently, Handsome has been playing some on line games on his laptop. Like he’s addicted to them. Now when he got the laptop, me, trying to be a good parent, put some parental control software on there. I made no secret about it; in fact, I sat down and had a discussion with him about it. He was very aware that it was on there. That’s why I was so surprised when I started getting email alerts from the website running the program. Here’s an example message:

“Handsome on 'HANDSOME-PC' typed "monitored phrase" on 4/29/2012 at 11:52AM”

He was apparently typing something that was tripping the built-in alerts in the system. I have to admit, it made me wonder. It made me wonder when, in the middle of writing in the morning before work I’d get a half-dozed emails with this message between 6:10 and 6:45 am. And when I get out of work and there are 20 of them, all stacked up in my inbox. And while I’m at the house visiting him after work and he’s in the other room on his game and I get 15-20 of them in a row. It did make me wonder. What the hell was going on?

So I talked to him about it. I showed him the messages, and asked him about the chatting that goes on while he’s playing these games. I didn’t ask what he was typing, specifically, I just made him aware that the computer was warning me that he was using less than savory language. I know he knows most of the words — in all honesty he probably heard them from me first. He claimed to have no idea what the warnings might be about. He theorized that it might be picking up on him saying ‘crap’, as that is the curse word we have allowed him, and he does use it quite often. I asked him to try to tone it down a bit, and he agreed.

The number of email warnings I was receiving, however, dropped off not at all. I pointed the warnings out to him occasionally, but he had no explanation, and offered to stop playing the games if it was bothering me. I decided to trust him, and he’s continued to play his games.

Then came this morning. While I was writing for a while this morning, he was out in the office next to my room playing one of his games. I could clearly hear his computer, and he was obviously playing a running-and-shooting game, with no time for an in-game chat to be running. He was in there running and shooting, running and shooting, and I got a warning email.

Then another.

Then two more.

All -in-all I got 13 new warning messages while he was playing a game where it was impossible for him to have been indulging in any kind of blue-language chat. I sat there, staring at the keyboard in front of me, and thought about the run-and-shoot games I have played before. The room was suddenly flooded with light as an honest-to-goodness light bulb appeared above my head! I raced out to the office.

“Handsome! That game you were just playing! What keys do you use to play it? No, better yet — what keys do you use to move?”

He showed me, and it was as I suspected. In the game he was playing you use the mouse to target and shoot, but to move you use these:

W = Forward
A = Turn Left          S = Back          D = Turn Right


Move left, then back up. It would look like this: asssssssssss

He wasn’t swearing. He was moving. Son of a gun.

I told him what I thought was going on, and how I solved the mystery.

“I’ll bet you’re right,” he said. “That has to be it!” Then he started to leave.

“Hey!” I called him back. “Aren’t you impressed at all? I solved the whole thing just by thinking about it, I didn’t have to watch you playing a game or anything! Don’t you think I’m smart?”

He smiled a little sheepishly and looked away.

“Uh… do I have to answer that?”

Ouch. Only 9, and already so harsh… wow.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just a Moment...

There's less than a week to weigh in on my poll! It's just to the right, and all it takes is two clicks to give me some reader feedback about how often I should be blogging. Please, I'd love to hear what you think on the matter!

So I wrote these two stories this month, and I'm a little-

-hang on, I'll be right back.

Okay, back. I had to check my email and FaceBook.  So I have these two stories submitted with their respective anthologies, and-

-be right back, checking again.

Okay, back. So they're submitted, one to a horror anthology the other to a horse-based charitable anthology, the proceeds from which will go to help support a horse rehab facility. I'm anxio-

-sorry, 1 second.

Okay, back. The horror story is important to me because if it sells for the amount they were talking about then I'll be able to join the Horror Writers Association-

- just a sec.

Okay, back. The other one, though, the horse story, is for charity, so I really hope that gets accepted as well. The problem is that the publisher for the-

-I am sorry, be back in one second.

Back. The problem is the publisher for  the horse anthology said that they'd be posting an acceptance list this weekend, so I can't seem to go 10 seconds without-

-be back momentarily....

Back. I can't seem to go 10 seconds now without checking my email and their FaceBook page to see if I got  in. It's making it hard to get anything done while-

-just one moment, let me-

-you know what? I guess I'll just talk to you later...

Talk to you later!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cutting Edge

Yesterday, 9:00 am Workforce Service Talk at the Post office:

         Management:  "Just to let you guys know, they've implemented an updated tracking system for everything we scan: express mail, certified, registered, everything. It's cutting edge, and at the end of the day the computer will tell us if anyone has missed scanning a piece out there. We'll get a picture of the item in question, as well as a scan log so we'll know exactly which route it was scanned to in the office. We'll know where every piece goes, all the time, so any missed scans will show up immediately. You guys have been doing a terrific job at hitting all the delivery scans, we just need you to keep up the good work and not trip any bells with this new tracking system."

Today, 8:30 am, same office:

Boss is walking about looking at a piece of paper on which he has a lengthy number scrawled in pencil.
Boss: "Were you here yesterday?"
Me: "Yes."
Boss: "Did you have an express piece yesterday?"
Me: "Nope."
Boss: "Okay, thanks."
Boss moves to the rack next to mine. 
Boss: "Were you here yesterday?"
My Coworker: "Yeah."
Boss: "Did you have this express piece?"
My Coworker: "No."
Boss moves on to the next rack in line, and then the next, carrying his paper and asking his questions.
Coworker 1: "I like their new tracking system."
Coworker 2: "Yeah. Cutting edge."
Coworker 1: "Impressive."

I was too busy laughing to join in the conversation.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

So Good

One foot on the gas, the other lifted a bit, allowing the knee to maintain contact with the lower curve of the steering wheel. There's a bump in the road, a pothole, and the Jeep tries to swerve slightly, maybe even more than slightly, but the knee at the wheel is an experienced helmsman, and the course remains true. The hands, thus freed, savagely tear at the plastic wrapping the plate.

The crumpled plastic wrap finds the trash bag as the foot shifts from the gas to the brake, and the Jeep glides to a gentle stop. In the red glow of the traffic light one of the hands releases the plate and reaches out, stretching toward the cup holder, where it finds no cup.

A fork.

The fork goes to work with energy, with gusto even, tearing off a golden chunk, icing clinging to its side. The motion is not dainty, but workmanlike, shoveling the delicious cargo toward a mouth waiting in smiling anticipation. The golden, frosted chunk is crammed into the mouth and as it chews the smile widens at the taste.

The fork returns to the plate, then to the mouth. And again. The eyes above the mouth close in an ecstasy of sugary appreciation, fork shoveling, teeth chewing, tongue probing the masticated mess for any missed bits of icing. A sound escapes around the fork during yet another moist and delicious delivery, low and fluid, almost musical.


Another sound, a sudden, harsh counterpoint to the musical moan of culinary appreciation.


The eyes pop open. The light is green. The foot shifts back from the brake to the gas and the Jeep begins to move as the fork-wielding hand rises in a wave directed at the car behind me. The mouth opens, and an unintelligible sound falls out, barely making it past the sugary mass filling the maw, sticking to teeth and tongue.

"Soghee, doo," which, of course, means 'Sorry, dude!'

Yes, I am eating leftover birthday cake while driving, and it is so good.

So good.

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy birthday to me!


I had a pretty good day. I had the day off (just lucky in the rotation) and I wrote in the morning, then worked on figuring out how to make an Ebook in the early afternoon. Picked up Handsome after school, brought him to his house, and there I got the best present of the day.

Knowing that I'm a Milk Dud addict (admitting your addiction is the 1st step on the road to recovery!), the little man got me a box of candy, but that wasn't enough. He whipped out a marker and altered the box, renaming and thus creating a new candy just for me!

That's right, the little so-and-so created "Milk Dads", for me, on my birthday. His first pun.

I am so proud! Good thing I already admitted to being a word-geek. This would have outed me for sure!

I have to go, I have Milk Dads to eat!

Happy birthday to me!

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

All Thumbs

Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  my post explaining the whole thing by clicking  HERE., on with the blog!

I've been having a little trouble with one of my feet. The left one seems to have decided it wants to twist the muscles in the sole into a knot. A painful knot, especially since I'm just going to go out and walk on it all day. Now, a couple of years ago, when I was going to physical therapy for one of my feet, I learned a technique for breaking these knots up and allowing the muscles in my feet and legs to relax.

I get a hard ball, not quite a baseball, something with at least a little give to it, more like a lacrosse or field hockey ball, and I stand on it. I roll it a little, using the ball to massage the sole of my foot and my own body weight to provide the pressure for a deep massage. And FYI - it hurts. A lot. But it does get the knotted muscle to relax, and the pain does go away, and the area becomes much easier to stretch and work on without pain, so it's a good thing.

Well, last night I was limping a bit due to the pain in the sole of my foot, and Handsome asked me about it. I explained what was going on with my foot, and he offered to try to break the knot up for me. I figured 'what the heck, it might feel good to have him poking around my foot some, kind of like a little massage.' So I said sure, and when story time rolled around before bed I grabbed his book and he grabbed my foot.

Now here's the thing. Somewhere along the way my little boy appears to have studied some old-fashioned kung-fu, like you'd see in 70's martial arts movies, like "The Five Deadly Venoms", or "Spiritual Kung-Fu". Specifically, he's mastered the Iron Thumbs technique. I didn't get a lot of reading done as I writhed about in pain while he repeatedly found the knot and stabbed it unmercifully with his unyielding thumbs.

It was okay with him that I wasn't reading to him, since he wouldn't have been able to hear me anyway, what with the maniacal laughter he was shelling out every time he managed to hurt me even more than he had before. He kept at it until his arms were tired from holding on to me and providing all the pressure, and until I had no more tears to shed. Once I'd cried myself dry he let me go and I actually did read to him for a little bit.

Now here's the kicker: he actually managed to break up the knot in my foot to the point that today I was able to walk all day without pain. So this evening I volunteered for another 'treatment'. It went better this time, since so much work had been done on it the night before. It's like having my own 120 lb athletic trainer!

My boy's got magic hands. With iron thumbs.


Talk to you later!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cool... SO Cool....

Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  my post explaining the whole thing by clicking  HERE. on with the blog!

I was walking up the left side of the street this afternoon, head down and sorting the mail for delivery, when I heard a voice calling out to my right, on the far side of the hedges that line that side of the street.

"No! I said no!"

I looked in that direction, curious. I mean, wouldn't you be? If you were there, and you heard that cry, you'd have been just as curious as I was. You too would have looked in the direction of the voice.

You too would have seen the good-sized dog come bursting through the hedges at a dead  run, angling across the street and coming straight for you, mouth open and showing a lot of teeth.

The voice came again, as the dog halved the distance between us in the blink of an eye.

"Dave! I said no!"

At the sound of the name what I saw as a vicious dog on an attack intercept course resolved in my mind into Dave, an old white boxer with a face that looks a lot like that old man who plays chess against himself in the beginning of that Pixar movie. Just without the huge nose.

So the friendly old dog with the old man's face sprinted up to me, his mouth hanging open so his tongue could loll, teeth completely incidental, skidded to a halt to collect his pat and a "Hi, Dave!" Pat collected, he turned and trotted off back the way he had come. His owner, who had seen the entire interaction through the hedge though there had been no way he could have caught the dog, said "See, Dave? You're lucky we have a cool mailman, or you could have been in trouble for that."

I gave them a wave and a "No worries, I like Dave!"

Cool mailman. Yup, that's me.

You think he still would have thought I was cool if I confessed to him that, though I'm not sure, I might have wet my pants just a little when Dave came through the hedges at me?

Just a little.

Still cool?

I didn't think so.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Splash... Goooooaaaaallll!

Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  my post explaining the whole thing by clicking  HERE.  

...and on with the blog!

You've all been to kids' soccer games, right? And if not, you've seen them on television or in the movies. They've become such a staple of all our lives here in America that we even have the phrase 'soccer mom'. So we all know what a children's soccer game looks like: happy,smiling kids, all of them athletically inclined (with the possible exception of one heavy kid, who always plays goalie, right?) running about on an emerald-green, sun-drenched field, while excited parents, other family members and friends all either line the fields or fill the stands, cheering happily, applauding excitedly, everyone involved just having the time of their lives.


That's in TV and movies. Today was Handsome's first game of the new season, his first time out with his new team, and my first time meeting his new coaches. I got him ready, in the car and on the way by 1:30 this afternoon -- the game was scheduled to start at 2:15.

Unfortunately, God is on the team's mailing list, so he knew the game was scheduled for 2:15.  That's why he scheduled the rain to start at 1:45.

Ha! That Celestial Practical Joker! He cracks me up every time! I was just slapping my thigh and wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes when the game began as scheduled. Or was that rainwater in my eyes? it was so hard to tell...
So there we were. Cold, wet kids, some of them athletically inclined (the kids playing goal were just as athletically inclined as anyone else out there - they just looked a little chubby since they were all layered up with extra sweatshirts and jackets trying to keep warm out there) slogging about on a rain-slick, just-plain-drenched field, while umbrella'd parents and rain-coated family members and friends all lined the field, cheering somewhat listlessly, applauding to keep their hands warm, everyone involved constantly checking their watches and wondering when they were going to call this thing off.

This was not a time that Life was imitating Art. Art had apparently taken the weekend off, and Life was throwing a tantrum about it, and it was taking us along for the ride.


On the plus side, Handsome had a great game, scoring two if his team's five goals (yes, they won) and making some serious defensive plays as well. He was soaked the whole time, and his wet shoelaces would not stay tied. He might have had an even better game if he hadn't spent nearly one-third of his time in the game crouching down to retie his shoes! I think I'll tie his shoes with some really tight knots and then hose him down with cold water right before next week's game, see if I can get a streak going.

Of course... I'm not going to tell him about the hose idea.  Do me a favor, would you? Keep it under your hat...

Talk to you later!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  my post explaining the whole thing by clicking  HERE., on with the blog!

The other evening while the family was at my grandparent's house to visit my visiting aunt (that sentence does make sense, no matter what it looks like 1st time through), my father asked me if I'd ever thought about acupuncture as a treatment for my anhidrosis (the loss of the ability to sweat - see "No Sweat, No Problem - Not Really" for the full details on that score). I had to admit that I had not. I'm pretty sure that if I had, those thoughts would have run along the lines of well, if they start sticking needles into me I'll definitely get a trickling sensation, though I think it more likely to be either urine or blood, not sweat.

Everyone in the room was of the opinion I should give it a try. I actually started to think Oh, what the heck, it's not like I have anything to lose. Even my doctor can't look at me and say 'That's silly, it'll never work,' because we really have no idea what does work.

Then I started to think about the comedian Bill Engvall. He has a routine where he talks about going to the acupuncturist, and I find the routine hysterical, but something he says at the end of it now sprang to my mind. When he left the office and had gotten all the way home he found, humorously of course, that he still had a needle embedded in his flesh.


I was about to tell this little story, heard from a comedian during a routine, to the assembled family, but they had continued to discuss the idea while I was thinking of a famous funnyman.

“Mum,” said my aunt to my grandmother. “You remember that time you went to the acupuncturist and when you came home you kept feeling like there was something in your shoe? And when you finally took your sock off you found one of the needles still in your foot?”

“Yes,” nodded Grammy. “They’re just tiny little things…”


I didn’t tell the Bill Engvall story. It would have been anticlimactic.

So I’m actually thinking about trying an acupuncturist for my anhidrosis.

Does anyone out there know of a good one? Preferably one that can count!

Talk to you later!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Hi Auntie!

Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  my post explaining the whole thing by clicking  HERE. 

...and on with the blog!
Okay. I have an aunt who is currently visiting from out of town for a week. Last night my grandparents hosted a dinner to celebrate my grandfather's birthday, celebrate my grandparent's anniversary, and get us all together in one place to visit with my aunt, their daughter.

She also happens to read this blog. Hi Auntie! :D

So, after work I had to jump on the bicycle, pedal home, take a fast shower and shave, dress in some decent clothes, throw on my helmet and leather jacket and head out on my motorcycle, all with the intention of being as not-so-late as possible. Late is kind of a given with me, but I was trying to get there as quickly as possible. I got all this stuff done with quite a bit of zip, and I was on schedule (according to the Garmin GPS system I had pulled out of my Jeep and attached to my motorcycle with rubber bands - I frequently try for McGyver, but generally wind up more Mickey Mouse) to be just 10 minutes late. That's not bad for me, and I was hoping to make up a little time once I got on the highway.

So this is how I found myself running north on Rt. 95 at 85 mph, keeping one eye on the "estimated arrival time" on the Garmin's screen and another on the rubber bands I had holding the unit to the handlebars. There were two of them doing the job, and I was on the lookout for one of them to snap so I could grab the unit and put it in my pocket before the second one snapped and sent the GPS skipping down the highway like a stone skipping across a tarmac pond at 85 mph.

I think that would void the warranty.

So it was while I had one eye on the GPS, one eye on the elastics, and both eyes on the road (have to add that in - Mom reads this too! Luckily I wear glasses, so I have 4 eyes...), zipping right along and actually making up a little time for once, that I noticed the fog light.

I have a pair of fog lights, one mounted to either side of the headlight, and they're usually both aimed straight ahead. The right one, however, was aimed almost directly to my left. I watched as I hit a slight bump in the road. For those of you who don't live in or near Boston, picture a huge pothole. It's all what you're used to. Anyway, the bike went over the slight bump and that light jiggled in its mounting like Michael J. Fox on a bad day.

Yes, I hear some of you booing at that. But you got the image I was throwing out there, so neener neener.

Thus I found myself pulled over in the breakdown lane with a wrench set repairing the loose light before the vibration of the bike running at speed loosened it further, and sent my fog light skipping down the highway like a stone skipping across a tarmac pond at 85 mph. It was a little nerve-wracking, since every time I had my back to the traffic I kept remembering all those videos that hit TV and the internet a few years ago showing police officers performing routine traffic stops on a highway and getting accidentally hammered by a passing car.

So you can see how it was not my fault that I pulled into my grandparent's driveway a little over 20 minutes late. I had an emergency roadside repair job - something completely unforseen and out of my control.

There. My last two posts had me accidentally almost hanging myself with my mail bag, then running from hornets while screaming like a little girl; not the most manly of scenes, either of them. This one has leather, a motorcycle, speed, danger, and I'm working  with tools. How much more macho can you get? Can I have my Man Card back yet?


Talk to you later!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quick Turnaround!

Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  my post explaining the whole thing by clicking  HERE.

I made my way over the customer’s sun-drenched front lawn. They don’t have a walkway; they don’t even have that thing people do where they set some flagstones down on or in the grass and call it a walkway. You just stroll up over the thick, green grass until you get to the house.

I was folding the mail to fit into their mailbox as I hit the bottom step. They have a small mailbox, one of those horizontal ones, but it’s quite shallow and won’t really hold a lot. I roll the bundle of letters and one magazine a little tighter, hoping to get it all to fit in there in one shot. As I reach the top of the stairs, I reached out with the hand holding the rolled mail. What I planned to do was flip the box open with my fingertips, then slip the mail down into the box, all in one smooth movement.

In the next moment the mail was dropping through the air to land on the porch in a jumbled pile. My mail satchel was slapping hard against my hip again and again as I high-stepped back across the lawn toward the street. There was a strange, high sound emanating from my throat that a less discerning listener might have classified as something of a ‘shriek’, or possibly a ‘girlish scream’. I however, having heard the sound quite clearly (as I was its source) would hasten to correct them with the phrase ‘manly cry of surprise and alarm’.

Anyway, when I was done running and screaming I turned back to survey the porch, abandoned mail and all, with my hands on my knees as I caught my breath. Above the discarded letters and magazine a half-dozen or so sleek black and yellow bodies hung in the air, bobbing this way and that, and angry hum reaching my ears all the way out in the street.

Yup. There’s a hornet’s nest in that mailbox.

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stupid Bag!

Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  my post explaining the whole thing by clicking  HERE.  

...and on with the blog!

As I approached I saw the inner door was open, to allow the breeze passing through the outer screen door to flow unimpeded the apartment.  I smiled and folded the mail in my hand into a sort of flattened tube. Pulling the screen door open I said "Mailman!" as I slipped inside the sweep of the outer door to hold it open with my hip, the door-closer doing its job admirably, pulling the door tight to my backside. I leaned into the apartment to push the folded tube of mail through the slot in the open door, intending to leave it sticking half-way through. Better that than leave it splashed across the floor right in front of the door, right?

"I'll take that from you," said one of the women inside.

I handed the mail over with a “have a nice day” attached and a smile along for the ride. She accepted all three with a smile and wave of her own, then turned back into the depths of the apartment. I, for my part, having done my duty — better yet done it in a personable and cheerful manner— also turned from the door to be on my way.

And that’s as far as I got.

A half-step into my first manly stride off in a different direction I was brought up short, like a small aggressive dog at the end of his leash, lead foot hanging an inch or so above the ground. Something had a hold of my mail bag, and the strap over my shoulder had a hold of me, and I was quickly losing control of the situation. Surprised at being brought up short like that, I said the first thing that came to mind.


I tried to twist around to see what I was hooked on, or possibly even release myself. I immediately found the bag to be too filled with mail to give me a lot of slack; with my head through the strap, set up to carry it cross-wise as I do, I had no chance of turning around while still wearing the bag. I could twist just enough to catch a glimpse of the problem.

Mail bags are designed to have detachable shoulder straps. Each bag has a pair of hard-points sewn on, each with a large metal D-ring run through it. Each end of the shoulder strap has a clip that you simply attach to the D-ring. From the corner of my eye I could make out that one of those D-rings had caught on the long, thin, curving inner door handle, and was now nestled right down onto the base of the handle, the entire curved handle holding me back.

I was trapped.

I looked around, checking to see if anyone was out side catching some sun or working in the yard, hoping to walk away with my dignity intact, though this was a pretty foolish predicament. Seeing no one, I tried wiggling the bag a bit, which required me to do a little wiggly jiggly dance on the stoop. I was wiggling pretty well, and had just started to bump the bag upward a bit with some rump-thrusts, when I heard the voice from inside the apartment again.

"S'matter, you stuck?"

Shame, thy name is Robert. I stopped jiggling about like I was hanging on to an electric fence and slumped, defeated, leaning back on the bag which was still stuck firmly in place.

"Yes, Ma'am, I believe I am."

She reached in between the bag and the door and, with a grunt, wrenched the D-ring, and thus me, free.

"Thank you."

"Good thing I was here," she said with a smile. "You might have been stuck there all day!"

I smiled back, but it felt a little wooden. I couldn't help thinking that being stuck there all day did have some appeal...


Talk to you later!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have You Ever Noticed?

Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  yesterday's post by clicking HERE. 

...and on with the blog!

Have you ever noticed that proximity to bees, hornets or wasps turns us into karate masters?

Have you ever noticed that music that seems perfectly fine when we complete a trip and turn the car off sounds unbelievably loud when we get back in the car for the trip home?

Have you ever noticed that our first reflex when we bite into some food object that we think has 'turned', or gone bad, is to turn to the person next to us and ask "Does this taste/smell off to you?"; like if they tell us it smells fine we'll just continue eating whatever it is?

Have you ever noticed that while your own children are 'expressive and know what they want', other people's children are 'obnoxious little @#$%s'?

Have you ever noticed that while other people's FaceBook photos are 'obviously at least ten years old, who do they think they're kidding?', ours are 'the only clear shot I can find of myself, and I really haven't changed all that much since then anyway...'?

Have you ever noticed that other people's vacation stories are terrifically boring, while ours are 'a hilarious anecdote you just won't belie- hey, where are you going?'?

Have you ever noticed that (for most of us) your ability to sing is directly proportional to the distance between you and anyone who might hear you? (and yes, this is affected by the car windows being rolled up!)

Have you ever noticed that walking through an unexpected spiderweb can turn even the mildest of us into somewhat threatening figures as we leap about and prove to the world that we are unafraid of repeatedly whacking ourselves in the face?

Have you ever noticed that (for men, at least) the further back the story goes in our lives, the greater an athlete we were at the time?

Have you ever noticed that everyone's dogs are either 'just fine, he won't hurt you', or 'just loves people', which translates into 'he'll only bite you if he can catch you', and 'why is this poodle humping my leg?'?

Have you ever noticed how simple most explanations are for things... once someone else has thought of them?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes I just babble stuff in here off the top of my head and hope you'll think it's either profound or funny?

Have you noticed that this has been one of those times?

Talk to you later!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Long Time No See!

Note: Please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  yesterday's post by clicking HERE.

And on to today....

I think mostly the women will get a kick out of this one.

So yesterday morning, Handsome wanted to go to the Moose for breakfast. If you read yesterday’s blog, you know we went, and he got to run about playing with the other kids who had only gone there to eat bacon and play. He did, however, get bored early.

“Can we go?”

“You mean go home?”


“Missing your computer game?”


“Okay, we can go. Hey!”

I had to call him back since he had already taken off for the door.


“Let’s go say goodbye to your grandfather first, okay?”

So we went over to the omelet station in the food line where my dad was chucking eggs and things into pans to order. As my father came around the station to collect a hug from the boy, the man who was standing there waiting for his omelet turned to me and stuck out a hand.

“Hey, Tang Soo! Long time no see!”

“Holy crap!” I shouted. “No kidding! Long time!”

The handshake became a hug.

Tang Soo is the school cry of the karate style I studied for about 14 years, Tang Soo Do. The guy in line was someone I hadn’t seen in about 10 years, but that I used to work with on a pretty regular basis when I was studying the martial art. I practiced self-defense with this guy, studied Forms with him, and sparred against him for years.

We did the whole ‘catching up’ thing: he told me what he had been up to for the past decade, I told him what I’d been doing (both in the really short form, of course). We both outlined why we’d gotten out of karate, citing physical ailments, exchanged news we had on mutual acquaintances, and how we had either maintained or reestablished touch with former schoolmates through FaceBook. Strangely, we hadn’t kept in touch with any of the same people.

After almost ten minutes of reminiscing and catching up, Handsome cruised by.

“I’ll be waiting outside, Dad,” he said, then headed for the door.

“Is that your boy?” my friend said, pointing toward the retreating figure.

“Yup,” I said. “That’s my son, and this is my dad.”

And this was my downfall.

“This is your father?” he said, and stepped forward to shake my dad’s hand.

And now I had to admit that, after ten minutes of conversation, I wasn’t sure I could remember this guy’s name.

“Dad, this is a friend of mine from karate, a long time ago.”

I looked at the guy, squinting apologetically.

“…and I have to admit that I’ve been trying to remember… and I want to say… Bill?”

“Yes,” he said, looking relieved, then also squinting at me uncertainly.

“And you’re … Rob? Right?”

“Yes!” I said, relieved as hell that he had a memory as unreliable as mine.

So there we were. Two guys, who had known each other for years and then lost touch for years, standing there getting all caught up with each other for ten minutes, neither one wanting to be the first to ask the simple question “Uh… what was your name again?”

It might be a guy thing. Like not stopping to ask for directions.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where The Wild Things Are

This morning as I was lying there, slowly rising to full wakefulness, I heard my father talking to Handsome for a second.

"There's breakfast today."


"At the Moose. There's a breakfast today."

And that was it. Kind of a long conversation, if you know my dad. So Handsome wanted to go to the Moose for breakfast.

So I'm sitting at the Moose now, my belly full of french toast and home-fries, watching Handsome doing what he really came here for: playing with the other children.

You can tell my child from all the rest, and for once it's not simply his size. There are one or two other kids here who are about his size. He's also, for once, not the only one running, jumping and making noise.

It's his thick hair, grown slightly long and shaggy, and at the moment unbrushed, wild and upthrust in multiple places and in multiple directions, like a haystack in a high wind. he didn't bring a brush with him when he came to visit me last night, and it's not like I own one. I haven't needed a brush or comb in over 12 years.

It's his sneakers, tied, but only roughly. The laces flop about, long enough to be tripped on, the knots loose and hanging from the sides of his feet - like they were tied by someone who did not know how, but modeled their attempt after seeing someone else's shoes.

It's his pants, which, if you look closely, you an see he is wearing backwards.

Yup. Pants on backwards. He says they're more comfortable that way.

When you add all this together - the hair a mess, shoes all screwy, pants on backwards - and then include the milk currently riding his upper lip and the food clinging with steely desperation from his chin, and my boy sort of gives you the impression that he has no parents but was raised in the wild by wolves, or possibly squirrels, and has snuck into civilization and is trying to pass for the day.

But not trying too hard.

That's my boy.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Whitewashing is Fun!

"Dad? I need your help."
My chest puffed up with pride at his words.
You see that? I thought, never mind all that time he spends playing Minecraft now. When the chips are down and he needs help with something, he comes to dear old Dad!
I got up from my desk, here, where I was sitting, and headed out to see what the problem was.
Yeah, I thought. It's not always all about Minecraft!
"What's the problem, Handsome?"
"I can't figure out how to make a Minecraft server, so I can host a game."
Oh.  Nuts.
Oh well,  I thought loudly, more loudly then the sound of Life laughing at me which had begun to fill my head. I can spend time with him working on this, I guess. Yup... the two of us, working side-by-side... yeah. Could be worse...
"Okay," I said, motioning for him to surrender the chair in front of his computer to me. "Let's see what you've got so far."
We got to work.
Ten minutes later I looked up from the screen. I was going to ask Handsome a question -I can't remember exactly what, now, - to see that the boy was gone.
I heard noise coming from my room, where handsome had gone to do... something. Whatever he was doing, it was less boring than trying to figure out how to create a Minecraft server.
Son of a gun! He 'Tom Sawyered' me! 
Well that thought made me laugh out loud, one quick barking sound. At the happy noise, he popped back into the room.
"Are we done?" he asked, then looked puzzled as I laughed some more.

Talk to you later!

P.S. - please don't forget about my Reader's Poll up there in the upper right corner of this web page. For more information about the poll, the 'why' of it, so to speak, please read  yesterday's post by clicking HERE.

Thank you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's Coming to the End... Sort of?

Three weeks from today it will be Friday, May 4th. It will also be the 365th day in a row that I'll have blogged without missing a single day.


It will also be the last day that I'll be blogging without missing a single day.

When I started this blog my intent was to give myself a place to write some of the more funny, light-hearted things I'm capable of writing, since I seem to have fallen into the habit of writing Horror stories.  I am comfortable writing Horror, and I've managed to get a few things published in the genre, but that's not all I can do. I have a story that will be in an anthology of Christmas stories that's coming out this December that proves it, but I needed to remind myself more often.

So I started coming here and reminding myself every day.

Don't get me wrong, for the most part this blog has been a lot of fun. I have some anectotes in here that, with a little polish, I might submit somewhere as short stories. I have done some writing in here that I like very much, and I think I was, at times, pretty entertaining, and that was a good portion of the fun.

Also, I have some people who have become my constant audience, and that has been great too. Every writer loves to have his stuff read, and most want to have it liked. The fact that I had a returning audience, however small, was like a vitamin shot in the arm for me on a pretty much daily basis.

The problem is that this blog takes time. I have a few projects going where I am trying to get more of my writing published - the only way to make a name for myself out there is to get my name out there. I have stories I'm writing for magazines and e-zines, as well as some books simmering on the back burners of my writing stove, some short story collections as well as a possible future novel. Well, two novels. And a couple of novellas... Okay, I have a lot of stuff to do, and I think I'm going to need some of the time this blog has been taking, both in the writing part and the thinking part.

That's another thing. It's hard to come up with something to write about every day that you, my readers, might find funny. Sometimes I dropped the ball, and when I go back and read some of my entries I can always tell when it was one of those days. Mixed in with some pretty funny stories and some not bad writing, there are quite a few stinkers; days where I was stuck for something and just wrote anything I could think of, funny or not. When I read those posts, I'm embarrassed by them; If you all were good enough to take the time to read this stuff, the least I should have done is the best I could for you. Sometimes I didn't. All I can do is tell you all "sorry about that."

So, this May 4th will bring me to the end of my daily blog.... but not of blogging entirely.

I have too much fun here to quit this thing entirely, but I do think I need to cut it back a bit. I need to free up some more of my time so I can finish my projects and get my name out there, as best I can. I'm 42 people, and I'll be 43 by the time May 4th rolls around. With regards to writing - I think I have to get a wiggle on. But I still want this reminder that I can write things that might make people laugh from time to time, and I want to keep practicing at doing just that.

Also, I do like having an audience, however small.

Oh, and so you know: Though I can see from day to day that blog pages are read, and which blog pages are read, I can not see anything about the people doing the reading. If I register 40 page reads in a day, I have no way of knowing if that was 40 individuals logging in and reading a page each, or if there were 5 people reading 8 pages each, or if it was simply a single visitor, bored out of their mind and with time to kill, flipping along and reading 40 pages in a day. When I say I have no idea how large my audience is, and that I'm not sure, for the most part, who makes it up, I'm not kidding.

Now - on to the pitch for votes!
I have 3 weeks to decide how often I will be blogging after the 4th. I see some writers who blog once a week, some once a month, and some just whenever the mood strikes them and they feel like sticking some words together. I was thinking about once a week, but then I was thinking about once a month... Hell, I can't make up my mind, so I decided to ask for your opinion.

In the upper right corner of the page you'll find a poll asking you how often you think I should blog: once a month, once a week, and whenever I feel like it. Please, weigh in and let me know what you want. You all are my very first audience, and I'd love it if you all had a say. So please don't just read all this, shrug and move on to do something else. Take a second to vote up above there. The more votes I get the better I'll feel about whatever decision is made, and I'm leaving the poll up there right until the 4th, so everyone has time to vote, including people who only read me once a week.

Whatever the outcome, I'll have both more time for my fiction as well as time to give you all the best work I can, hopefully entertaining you with every post.

Looking forward to your votes!

Talk to you later!

                   -Thank you for your time, every bit of it.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Power of Music

Today I'm not even going to try to be funny, not in the least. Yesterday morning, as I was checking the weather before shutting my computer down to leave for work, something caught my eye. When I pulled my web browser to the front (it was hidden behind the document I was writing in that morning) it was showing the last thing I'd looked at: my FaceBook page. While I was writing, a writer friend of mine had posted a video, and it was now in my news feed, sitting right there in the center of my screen. Almost like it was waiting for me to find it. The title of the video was "Old Man in Nursing Home Reacts to Hearing Music From His Era". My friend's comment was a single, elegant word: "Amazing."

I clicked into the video, which is six and a half minutes long. I had intended to quickly scroll through and find the man's reaction, then click over to check the weather, shut this machine down and go to work. Instead, I sat here for six and a half minutes, watching the whole video.  By the end of the video I had tears in my eyes.

So I watched it again.

I never did check the weather.

If you've already seen this video on your own, or if you caught it when I re-posted it on FaceBook, then I apologize for wasting your time here. Step away from my blog and go about your business.

But for those of you who haven't seen it yet, and maybe those of you who just want to see it again, here is the most amazing six and a half minutes of video I've seen in a long, long time.

I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Terrible Hunger!

Some of you may have been reading my blog for a while. If you have, then you may have a feel for some of the ‘recurring characters’ that appear here. Handsome, Boss, Dad… You may even know one or two of my customers, if not by name then by action. This morning one of my co-workers told a story concerning one of my customers because he knew I’d find it funny. Let’s see if you can guess who he told me about.

“Yesterday, I went to the Little Store for lunch. I was waiting to place my order, and the lady was behind the deli counter, talking on the phone. I didn’t mind waiting, because it was obviously a business call, not personal.

‘We don’t deliver,’ she said. ‘And even if we did, I can’t leave the store right now. I’m the only one here. No. No. No, I’m the only one here. I guess you’re just going to have to come down and get it. Look, even if I wanted to, like I said, I’m the only one here, so I can’t leave the store. I’d have to close. It’s the beginning of lunch. No. No. I’m the only one here.’

Well this went on for like 10 minutes. It was brutal. Eventually the lady behind the counted said ‘Fine, fine, I’ll bring it. I’ll be there in about 15 minutes.’ She confirmed the street the caller was on, then asked the number. I thought I know that street! I bet I know who that is!

She slammed the phone down and looked at me and said ‘What can I get’cha?’

So I said ‘So, what does the Terror want for lunch?’

She looked all surprised and said ‘Oh my God, how did you know?’

So I said ‘It’s the terror. We all know.’”

Yup, that’s right, my favorite customer, the Terror was looking for a little lunch and getting delivery from a place that doesn’t deliver. Is it any wonder I sneak in and out of her hall way so quietly?

For those of you unfamiliar with the Terror, or just wanting a refresher course in ‘Terrible Old Women’, please see my entries titled: "Introducing... the Terror!" and "The Inspector and the Terror"

I’m just happy I wasn’t the one who had to deal with her!

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Teen Tropes

There are things about Handsome growing up that I'm not looking forward to, and quite a few of them are usually associated with teen-agers. We see TV and movies pointing these things out all the time, so we've all seen them, whether we have kids or not.

 They are things like the kid wanting to do anything in the world besides spending time with the parents; deciding vocally and publicly that adults are doddering old wrecks who never actually did know their asses  from their elbows; and that old teen standby of monopolizing the phone to the point of screaming 'Don't get it! I've got it!' every time the thing rings.

Recently my boy's discovered an online game called Minecraft, and he'd become just slightly addicted. What this game has done, I've noticed, is speed up the growing up process in my son. Here are some recent conversations we've had while he was sitting, glassy-eyed in front of the computer screen.

"You want to go out and play catch?"
"No thanks."

"I'm cutting down that tree in the yard, you want to see it come down?"
"No thanks."

(Now for the one he normally would have jumped at even if he was in a coma)
"I'm running that tree I took down through the chimenea in the back yard, a chunk at a time. It's really blazing back there. Want to help keep the fire going?"
"No thanks."

And then tonight.
"You want to go for a little ride? I just got the motorcycle back on the road, we still have some time before the sun goes down and it rains..."
"No thanks."

It's like having a teen-ager already! And it happened so fast it's freaking me out! And, as if to drive the point home for me, he's started exchanging phone numbers with other kids in his school who also play Minecraft so they can get a little organized and play at the same time, hooking up with each other in the game. Thus, twice last night I heard:

Ring... ring...ri- "I got it! Don't pick it up, I got it! I got- Hello? Yeah, it's me...",

Then the sound of the door closing.

My boy. 9 going on 19. It brings a tear to my eye.

If anybody wants me, I'll be the doddering old wreck over here in the corner trying to figure out which one's my elbow.

Talk to you later!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Checklist: Check!

Safety Goggles: Check.

Face Shield: Check.

Leather Throat Cover: Check.

Catcher’s Chest Protector: Check
Padded Coveralls: Check.

Leather Apron: Check.

Athletic Cup: Check.

Heavy Duty Leather Work Gloves: Check.

Clippers, Snippers, Bolt Cutters, Coping Saw, Hand-held Power Planer, and Orbital Sander with 50 Grit Paper: Check.

1- 80 oz Powerade Sports Drink, with Replenishing Electrolytes: Check.

We are go.

Okay. Time to cut Handsome’s toenails before he ruins yet another pair of shoes.
Honestly, the kid’s like some mutant from the movies or a comic book!

I’m going in!

Talk to you later!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Easter, according to Wikipedia, the easiest and fastest source of information on the Net, is "is a Christian feast and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament."

Easter is also, according to what happened today, the day I try to eat enough to actually weigh as much as the stone Christ is said to have rolled aside upon His resurrection.

Rollo caramel candy and chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, followed by some leftover shepherd's pie from the refrigerator. More cookies. More Rollos. Just a few more Rollos before going to the in-law's for an early dinner.

Ham. Stuffed shells. More ham. Mashed potatoes. More stuffed shells. Chocolate silk pie. Chocolate mint pie. More chocolate silk pie. More chocolate mint pie. Just a touch more ham.

The drive back to the house where Handsome lives, all the while taking shallow breaths because there's not enough room left inside me to draw a deep one.

More Rollos. More stuffed shells. 

Take a test breath: no nausea.


More stuffed shells. 

I'm paused right now, breathing very shallowly, wondering what else I'll eat before I go to bed tonight.

I plan, on my way home tonight after tucking Handsome into bed for the night, to stop at the 24 hour CVS down the street. There I will buy the biggest bottle of antacid tablets I can carry, and I will take it home to snuggle with in my bed tonight. 

It might be the only thing that keeps me alive.

Happy Easter!

Talk to you later!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In the News!

This is just a little story to let you in on the kind of things that go through my head on a fairly regular basis.
Sometimes it’s not pretty in there. This one might not be for everyone.

You were warned.

Last night my mother and I saw a news item on television. The headline was “Shrewsbury Man Accused of Killing Wife.”

The voice-over was a reporter who sounded so happy to be covering the story it was downright creepy. He gave his warning about the gruesomeness of the story, but finished the warning with the word ‘cannibalism’ delivered in tones that said he could not believe his luck.

You may have seen the story on the news. I’ll spare you the details here, but I’ll nutshell the pertinent points for you.

A Cambodian man went to his parent’s apartment to find that his 79 year old father had killed and partially dismembered his 73 year old wife, and had been chewing on the limbs he had removed. The story was told as they rolled video of the accused murderer in court. Now, for those of you who didn’t see the video, I can tell you that this is not an ancient looking man. This is no George Takei, who at 74 looks like he could kick my butt in a fight, even if I fought dirty. This man is (according to the police report) 5’2” tall, weighing in at 75 lbs. The whole time he’s in the box there is a bailiff there holding him up because he’s too frail to remain standing for long enough to have the charges read out. He looks confused, and keeps blinking; not little quick blinks, but long, squeezing his eyes shut for a second or two blinks, like he’s trying to wake from a bad dream, or maybe make this world go away and get back to his happy place. Or he was just swimming in a pool with too much chlorine in the water. Who knows.

The voice-over reports that the man may be suffering from advancing dementia and possibly Alzheimer’s.

What a surprise.

Yes, this is a completely terrible story, but there is a bright little twist at the end.

The old man apparently muttered something to his son about it being ‘self-defense.’


My mother, upon hearing that, said “Oh, sure, it was self defense! What’s he going to say? ‘Oh, she attacked me, so I had to eat her limbs?’”

That’s when I looked over.

“Well sure,” I said. “He was only trying to dis-arm her…”

Yes, I know. I’m a terrible person.

And that was a loooong way to go for a pun.

Talk to you later!