Saturday, December 31, 2011


This year I decided to make my New Year's resolution something special.

At first I was going to decide to stop procrastinating, but I kept putting it off.

When I realized this morning that I had no set resolution yet, I was going to stop procrastinating right then and there and settle on getting my priorities in order. Before I could set that decision in stone, however, a few things came up. I thought they were pretty important at the time, but it turns out they were not that important after all. Just time consuming.

Time? Maybe that was it! I was about to resolve to be more controlled and have better time management, but then I realized the deadline was upon me and I panicked. Now it's too late.

For a minute I thought about resolving not to be so flighty, but then it passed.

I considered returning to last year's resolution, about being more decisive, but I couldn't make up my mind.

A friend of mine is resolving to be more spontaneous, and that sounded pretty good, but I think I need to look into it a little more first.

Wow, looking back on all that, I can't believe I don't have a resolution yet. That's it! I can't take this any more! This year, I resolve to finish everything that I st

Happy New Year!
Talk to you later!

Friday, December 30, 2011


I don't drink coffee but a few of my customers gave me gift cards for Christmas so I thought I'd give some of the flavored coffees a try figuring that if I could learn to like coffee it would be cheaper than drinking hydrive all the time so I went in to Starbucks (which I happened to have a gift card for, thanks to some of my wonderful customers) and asked "What would you suggest for someone who wants caffeine but doesn't like coffee?" and the guy behind the counter suggested quite a few of their flavored coffees including the Caramel Micchiato and the Peppermint Mocha and I couldn't make up my mind so I simply ordered both figuring that if I didn't like the one then I might like the other and I was surprised that they were $5.00 apiece and there's no way that I would have been paying that much for a drink when I'm trying to learn to like coffee so that I can save a little money by not buying Hydrive all the time but the god news is I think they may have been worth the money since I liked both of them and it wasn't until I got back to the post office that someone told me that espresso is like super coffee in a more concentrated form and has even more caffeine so it's probably a good thing that I didn't get a second one of those but got a giant-sized regular old coffee instead because I drank them both, one after the other, and now I can hear my heart beating (can you hear that 'cuz wow it's really beating to eat the band) and all the people at the post office kind of walked away from me because they said I was talking too fast for them to make any sense of what I was saying even though I was following them around so they would have more time to figure out what I was saying and I came to the house here with Handsome and he's already asked me to stop talking to him so I sat down to write my blog but I can't seem to think of a thing to say so I think I'll just say goodnight to you all and go clean something like maybe the bathroom, or the kitchen, or the bathroom and the kitchen, and maybe the garage because the garage could really use the cleaning and I think I have the time right now so I'll talk to you later!
I'll talk to you later!
I'll talk to you later!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cough... Sniffle...

Tuesday Night:

"There was one. Walking along the highway shoulder, green pack on her back, worn boots scuffing dust as she trudged along, *sniffle*."
Sounds of a mouse clicking.
"She had just passed a sign for a turn-off ahead, someplace called Spreewald, Maine. *sniffle*"
More sounds of a mouse clicking.
"He ignored the sign, *cough-sniff* internal pressure narrowing his focus tightly upon her."
"Son of a bitch!"
Again, the clicking of the mouse. This time for a while. 
And it goes on like this...

Wednesday Night:
"Benny was well aware that she saw a pot-bellied thirty-something man wearing an unfashionable blue *sniff*  spring jacket."
"Oh, for crying out loud."
Mouse sounds, clicking and clicking.
"She saw his teeth, *cough* discolored and crooked from a lifetime of smoking and drinking with not enough brushing and flossing. *sniffle*"
"Oh, for crying out loud!"
Click. Click. Clickety-click, click.
"And she saw the gun that he usually kept concealed in a gym bag on the passenger's seat. *cough* Now it was in Benny's right *cough* hand. *sniffle*"
"Why!? Why!? Why!?"
And it goes on like this...

*Sniffle. Ahem*
"Oh for the love of God!"

...and this is how, during three nights of editing, I decided that it was a really stupid idea to try to record an audio version of one of my stories while I had a cold....

Talk to you later... *cough* *sniffle*

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Assembly Required

Christmas Morning:

"Merry Christmas, Dad!"

"Merry Christmas, Handsome."

"Can you hurry? Please?"

"C'mon, boy, I'm working as fast as I can!"

"I know, but it was on my Christmas list, and I really want to play with it!"

"I understand that, Kiddo, but it needs to be put together. See right there, where it says 'some assembly required'? Do you know what that means?"

"No. What?"

"It's Modernese for 'Handsome needs to have some patience'." 

"No it's not!"

"Yes, it is! Once we finish here I can show you -I'll Google it. You know about my Google-fu."

"Dad! Your Google-fu is not strong! There's no such thing!"

"Ah, Grasshopper, you have no idea."

"C'mon Dad! How much longer? You've been working on this for a half-hour now!"

"Has it been that long? Well, look, Handsome, I only have two hands. Why don't you help me, and maybe if we work together we can get this done more quickly. What do you think?"


"Good. Alright, uh, then hand me that screwdriver there. No, the other one, the flat-head. Thank you. Okay, now, if you could take that adjustable wrench and get a hold of that right there, on the other side..."

"You mean here?"

"Yes, that's it. Got it?"

"Got it."

"Okay, hold that so I can't turn it from over here. Yes... that's the way. Excellent! Alright, grab that hammer. No, wait, you give me that hammer and you take the big one. I'll be hitting this screwdriver like a chisel, so I want to be a little careful. Okay, I need to chisel it here. And here. And here. And, I guess, right here. I think."

"When do I get to hit it?"

"You hit it right now."


"Hit it right there. Good, now there. Good, good. Now the last shot right here, but it has to be a good one. No, I said a good one. Harder than that. Harder. Look, Handsome, I said harder, what are you, some sort of  Nancy  Boy? There you go! Nice shot! And with that, we're done. Now, that didn't take too long, did it?"

"Long enough."

"You're right. But it did go faster once we were working on it as a team, right?"

"I guess so. What now?"

"Well, now that we  got that darn plastic bubble container open, I guess we can start assembling it."

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What the Heck Is a Kirby, Anyway?

I'm cleaning the house this afternoon, and out of nowhere Handsome appears next to me. Okay, not out of nowhere, I mean I knew he was in his room, but he did just pop up awfully fast.

"Dad. I know you're cleaning, but can you help me with my game for a minute?"

His eyes are all round, and his expression is serious, and I know his game is giving him some real trouble.

"Okay," I say, "but just for a minute. I really have to get some cleaning done."

I go into his room where he has some game he calls "Kirby" on the wii. He's been playing it for a couple of hours now, but I think this might be the first time I've actually seen the game.

We sit down and he hands me a controller. We're trying to get past this big Boss Monster at the end of one of his levels. Now, I'm in a hurry, so I don't forget all about asking any questions, like how the controller works for this particular game, and Handsome knows I'm in a hurry so he doesn't mess around with any of that stuff either. We just dive right in.

30 minutes later I am red-faced and bulgy-eyed. If I could sweat, then I would be. We haven't bested the Boss Monster yet, and I haven't gotten back to my cleaning.

Does Handsome care?


He's way too busy trying not to wet his pants as he laughs at me as hard as I've ever seen anyone laugh. He's laughing at my playing technique (or lack thereof), and especially at the words coming out of my mouth.

Do I swear?


I get ... creative.

I use strange made-up phrases, with lots of references to 'monkey butts', and 'hairy nodules'. I have no idea what I'm talking about half the time, but I mean every word I say.

I'm pretty sure that at least half the fun Handsome gets out of playing these games is playing them with me and watching me lose my #@$#ing mind!

Talk to you later!

Monday, December 26, 2011

It's A Bird! It's A Plane!

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a No! Wait! It's a Cameraplane!

Yesterday I told you about the Air Swimmers shark than now floats through the house. I have to tell you, even when no one's playing with that thing, just having it loose in the house, floating gently in whatever air currents exist from the heat, people walking by, etc. is spooky and fun. You leave a room empty only to come back in about 5 minutes to find that -surprise! There's a 5 foot shark floating in the middle of the room now, and it's turned to face the door like it's waiting for you to come back. Silent, surprising, and so much fun!

Today I get to tell you about another flying toy of Handsome's - the Hawk Eye Blue Sky camera Plane, from Air Hogs.   We took it to the park this afternoon to give it a spin. It's a radio controlled stunt plane that has a built in camera capable of taking still shots or video. This is another thing that, if it works half as well as it looks to on the box and the video, is going to be one heck of a fun toy!

In fact, it was very fun! I have the video Handsome took with the plane in my computer right now. It shows the sky, the grass, and then the branches of the tree it was lodged in.
I fished it down, and the video continued.
The grass, the sky, the branches of the second tree it was lodged in.
The branches of the third tree. Then the fourth.
There is a little footage in-between attempted flights that shows my feet walking swiftly across the grass as I attempted to have us launch the thing as far from the trees as possible, and these are times Handsome hit the 'record' button and did not tell me. I'm darn glad there is no sound associated with the plane's recordings, as I'm fairly sure there would have been some muttered curses captured on those little clips.

Perhaps the next time we break the plane out we'll choose a less windy day?

Yes, I think so.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Will the man who invented the Air Swimmers product line please stand up and take a bow - you designed what may well be the coolest present Handsome will ever get! There is a shark swimming about the house now. You'll have to go to the link above and see the product video to believe it. And it's not like a lot of the product videos out there that make the product look terrific and then you get the thing home and find out they were lying through their teeth. Oh no, this video is as true to life as it comes. That thing looks just as cool as cool can be, and it's a blast to play with.
But there is a flip-side.
Will the man who invented the phrase "Some Assembly Required" also stand up please - You invented a phrase that has become, to some people, a horror story in itself, and if I ever catch you I owe you one swift kick. Right between the legs. Hard.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Shopping in a Winter Wonderland

The women stay behind the counter. They sit, stand talk amongst themselves... it's a relaxed atmosphere back there. There are smiles, probably small jokes. I'm not sure, since I'm not actually back there. I can see them though, watching us, trying to keep track of all of us. If any of us seems to become too lost then one of them comes out from behind that counter and renders us aid. They come out singly, never a pair and never all three at once, give us whatever help we need, then return to the other women behind the counter where they go right back to smiling and quietly laughing.
I try to hear their conversation, suspicious that we are the reason for the laughter, that we are the butt of the jokes, but I can't get close enough. Whenever I try, I'm spotted almost immediately and one of the women asks if she can help me. I don't require any aid, though, and I don't know what to say to this, so I do what I always do and say "No, no, I'm good. Thank you."  and move on.
I move on to see the people in front of the counter. There are more of us, and the atmosphere is very different from the one surrounding women behind the counter. Out here there is panic. Out here there is desperation. Out here there are only men. Men with grasping hands, men with the wide open eyes of horses in full panic.. As I watch, one man picks up a box off the shelf, hefts it and puts it back. He hefts another item, a thoughtful expression flickering across his face, momentarily supplanting the panicked look, but it doesn't last. The panic slides back across his face like a Halloween mask being dropped into place. It's the exact same expression on every face I can see. Every face but the three behind the counter, the only three women in the shop.
As I watch, the man returns the second item to the shelf and picks up the first one again. All about the place I see men doing the same thing - hefting and returning things, then coming back to the same things in a kind of frightened daze. I realize that there's no doubt about it.
The women, all finished with their shopping, and probably their wrapping, are  laughing at us as we stupid men try to get all our shopping in on Christmas Eve.

Will we never learn?


Talk to you later!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just A Little Everything

"Oh! Dad! Come here! C'mere, c'mere!! Look! That's it! Look, look, look!"
I rush into the TV room, and I follow his pointing finger, my gaze sliding along his arm (which is, I notice fairly quivering with emotion and longing) until it slips off the tip of his finger and falls smack into the television screen. There I see a commercial.
But it's not just any commercial.
This is a commercial for something Handsome wants!
...and what differentiates this commercial for something Handsome wants from all the other commercials for things Handsome wants?
Why, it happens to be playing on the television right now!
What is it a commercial for, you ask? I know, I can hear you; 'He's going on about this commercial, but what's it about?' Well I'll tell you what it's about.
Handsome wants Everything.
If they can present it well, or even present it poorly but have a good pitchman, or even have no pitchman at all but merely a still photo and a robotic voice-over, he wants it. I'm convinced that if they could get a high enough shine on a dog turd, and present it to him through the medium of television, Handsome would want at least two of them. One for each of them, should his best friend come over to play.

Handsome, if you're reading this: No, you can't have Everything.
To quote George Carlin, "where would you put it?"
I would further ask "who's going to buy the batteries for it?"
I might finish by querying "... and who, pray tell, did you have in mind to clean up, after you have finished playing with Everything?"

That's the one for me, right there, that's the deal-breaker. The cleaning up part.
Tell you what, Handsome: you consistently put your coat away when you come in the house, rather than just dropping it on the floor where ever you happened to take it off, and maybe we'll talk about getting you Everything.

I'm feeling pretty safe here.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"For My Mailman"

The following is a quick list of things that my loving customers have left out for me during the past week and a half that never even made it back to the office at the end of my route, never mind coming all the way home with me at the end of the day. These are also items that I hold responsible for my current expansion, which may be requiring me to purchase some larger work pants by the end of the month.

  • Home Made Christmas Cookies
  • Candy Canes
  • Lindt Truffles
  • Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
  • Chocolate Bells
  • Royal Dansk Luxury Wafers (Vanilla)
  • Milk Chocolate Moose Popcorn Snack
  • Chocolate Covered Oreos
  • Holiday Mints
  • Mixed Mini Chocolate Bars
  • Tootise Rolls - 'Midgees'
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Jelly Beans

The following is a quick list of things that my customers have left out for me during the past week and a half that made it home, no problem, and have absolutely nothing to do with my expanding waistline.

  • 1- Fruitcake

Side note: If my own mailman happens to be reading this, I hope you enjoy the fruitcake!

Happy Holidays!

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blind Dots

I have this story I'm trying to get ready for Christmas. It's not a new story, in fact, I wrote it about eleven months ago. but I'm trying to get it ready to show a few people this Christmas.

I've gone through and edited it two or three times over the past year, but at almost 70 pages it's a little long for me to keep going through again and again. So I put out a call for Beta-readers.

Bets-readers are people writers use to catch errors in longer form works, like novels and novellas. Once we've read something that long three, five, or even seven times, we kind of stop seeing any mistakes. We just gloss over them without thinking, sometimes without even noticing. Beta-readers offer us a fresh pair of eyes when ours are a little burned out on a longer project, and we're hoping to get it publish-ready.

So I got me a Beta-reader, and I sent him the story. I got my feedback from him, and it was a tremendous help. I went through the story one more time this morning, with his comments beside me ... and I noticed something. Beta-reader said he noticed me using a lot of ellipses - that three dot '...' thing I used in the line above. Some people find them a little annoying.

Really? I thought. I guess I'll try to keep track as I read and get an accurate count so I can see if I do use them a lot.

So I read the whole thing, and I kept track as well as I was able, (though I did get caught up in the story once or twice) and I only counted four.

Four? In 69 pages of text? That's a lot?

Well, just to make sure that my Beta-reader was crazy, and it wasn't just me, I pasted the whole document into my Scrivener program. Scrivener allows me to search an entire document for special characters, like '$$', or '@#$^', or even '...'. So I searched the document for ellipses. Scrivener went through and highlighted every use of '...' in the document, and then I went through and counted all the yellow, highlighted swatches in the text.


I counted again, making sure it was actually highlighting ellipses, not just plain old periods.


I blinked.

"Holy $#^%!!"

I started taking out ellipses. Apparently I have a blind spot for dots.

Thank you, Beta-reader!

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All or Nothing

Handsome needs a haircut. This evening, when I got to the house, Wife decided she was gong to try to get him out to get a trim.

"I don't want a haircut!" he said.

"You need one," said Wife. "You're getting one."

He looked to me for help.

"Dad! Can I just not get a haircut?"

I shave my head in the shower every night. He was getting no sympathy from me.

"Go. Get a haircut. I'll see you when you two get back."


As they went out the door I heard him asking if he could say how much came off.

"How much are you going to say?" I heard his mother asking.

"Like... like, a centimeter off the top? No, wait, what's smaller, a centimeter or a millimeter?"

The door closed, and off they went. I started some coffee and took a shower. By the time I got out they were already back. They had been too late, and the place had been closing for the night when they got there.
There had been a new development, however.

"Go ahead, tell him," Wife said as they came in the room. "Tell your father what you want to do with your hair!"

Handsome smiled.

"You want to shave it all off and have it woven into a wig for your old man?" I suggested.

He looked horrified.

"No! I want to get just a little off the top, and then-"
He turned around to show me the back of his head, and ran a finger across the hair there in two crescents, one high, the other lower.
"- I want to have them shave in 'Merry' (the high crescent), 'X-mas' ( the lower crescent).

I stared at him.

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah," he said. "That would be cool!"

Wow. It's all or nothing with this kid!

Talk to you later!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Caroling And Cocoa

Tonight was Handsome's night of caroling with the Cub Scouts.

He, I am told, did not want to go. It was the first time he had to go anywhere wearing the uniform shirt and kerchief, and by the time I got to the house he was walking around all ready to go and complaining that he looked ridiculous.

"You look terrific," we told him. "Everyone else there is going to be wearing the same thing. Even if you did look ridiculous, everyone will look ridiculous together."

So off we went. And we were right, everyone was wearing the same thing, and no one looked ridiculous. They handed out awards (Handsome got his Bobcat Badge), and then the whole pack was off on a short walk to sing Christmas carols at the huge Christmas tree in the center of town. The kids sang, the kids played, the kids sang some more, and then it was back to the church we use as a meeting house for cookies an cocoa.

So there was Handsome, all hyper from his nighttime walk and a sing-a-long, wearing his Cub Scout shirt and carrying a cup of cocoa. Wife looked at me.

"How long do you think it's going to take for him to get that all over that nice shirt?"
"Not long," I said.

I was right.

He spilled it on the floor.

Then on himself.

Then on the floor and himself.

He looked like he'd taken part in a chocolate war. He looked like he'd been on the losing side.

Well, if it was a war, it was a very small war. My boy was the only one to spill anything. But apparently, when he decided he was going to spill his cocoa, he decided to do it up right. No half-measures here!

"Well," I said, as he walked up with chocolate splashes on his chest, stomach, shoulder and sleeve, "remember how  you were worried about looking ridiculous?"

He looked at me warily.


"Mission accomplished!"

Talk to you later!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Can We Watch A Movie?

"Dad, can we watch a movie? I wanna see the Smurfs."
"Sure, Handsome. I happened to get that from RedBox this morning. Just let me get a few things done around here, and we can watch it, okay?"
"Okay Dad."

...time passes...

"Dad? Can we watch the Smurfs now?"
"Just let you and I go to the store to try to find that book you wanted, okay? After that we can."
"Okay, Dad."

...time passes...

"Now, Dad? Can we watch the Smurfs now?"
"Just let me finish cleaning out the garage and starting the snow thrower to make sure it works before we actually need it, okay?"
"Sigh. Okay."

...time passes...

"Are you done yet?"
"I need to get the last of these leaves up before we got snow, okay? Just give me a little longer."

...are you getting the idea about the time thing yet? I just bet you are...

"Dad? What are you doing?"
"All this yard furniture is trash, so I'm getting packing it all in the jeep so I can get rid of it. Of course, first I had to clean out the back of the jeep... sorry it's taking so long."
"I'm hungry."
"Well, you took a nap through lunch, while I was raking the yard. I'm just about done here. Let me get these chairs in the back of the jeep and I'll make dinner, okay?"

...time does its thing...

"Is it movie time yet?"
"Just let me clean the dinner mess in the kitchen. Oh, and put away all my fishing stuff downstairs. Then I'll just organize this big bookcase in the dining room because we're having people over here for Christmas next week, and the case looks a shambles. I don't want to leave this until the last minute like I did last year. I'm almost ready for that movie..."

...time passes out...

"Okay, Handsome! It's movie time."
"Okay, you get settled there while I put this disc in. There we go... now, you scoot over so I can sit and watch this with you. Thanks. So, we're watching the Smurfs? Okay ... Zzzzz...zzzzz....zzzzz....zzzzz.....zzzzz...."
"Dad? Can you snore a little quieter? I can't hear the movie."
"...Zzzz...zzzz....zzzz....zzzz.... "

Talk to you later!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My New Project

So, I've given myself a new little project. I'm recording myself reading a few of my stories, at least the published ones, to put on a CD for myself.

At least, that's the plan.

I tried to record one or two in the house, while Handsome was busy watching television in the other end of the house.

No dice.

It's like he has this special sense, and as soon as you are doing anything that requires the tiniest bit of quiet, he suddenly feels the irrepressible need to make noise. Lots of noise.

When he discovered what I was doing, he went away to leave me some quiet to work in. I, however, am no novice to the psychology of the Handsome, and I waited. I watched. And I caught him trying to sneak back into the dining room so that he could get on the recording somehow.


So I'm working on it in the dead of night, reading my stories off the screen in front of me, dictating them into a headset microphone, just like when I have story time for Handsome.


I have a program that I use to edit my sound files. It gives you the playback, but it also gives you a visual representation of the sound to help you out. It looks a lot like a seismograph. Where the line is flat, that's a silence. Where the line squiggles, that's a sound. It lets you see everything.

Here, I'll show you.

You see this spot where the line squiggles? That's my voice as I'm speaking.
Now, see this part where it's flat? That's a pause between sentences, so it's silent. Oh, wait a minute, there's that tiny little squiggle... oh yes, that's right. Right there is where I sniffled slightly as I was making the recording.

See that set of squiggles after the sniffle-squiggle? I remember that now. That was where I said "Oh, $#!%, I sniffled."

Oh, and you see that bigger squiggle, right after that? That's where I realized I hadn't paused the recording while I pointed out the sniffle.

Oh, and that giant squiggle right there is where I realized that there is a separate pause button, and you don't just hit the 'play' button again. See how tall those squiggles are? Wow... I must have been getting pretty loud right about then. And that squiggle goes on for so long...

Talk to you later!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Yes. I Have Pants.

It's December 16th

9 days 'til Christmas. 

I work outside all day, every day …
...and I'm still wearing shorts.

I'm not even uncomfortable most of the time. I have my shorts, and I have my hooded sweatshirt, and I'm good.

People keep asking me if we have a bet in the Post Office, trying to see which letter carrier in my town can last the longest without putting on long pants. But it's nothing like that. There is no bet, and I personally don't care who wears shorts longer into the winter. 

I'm just still not sweating. That means I can overheat very easily, so I'm looking to manipulate my clothes to help me thermoregulate, and it's much easier to just take down my hood, or even shuck my sweatshirt altogether, than to try to change my pants out here on the road. (If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, please click this link to go to my blog post titled "No Sweat, No Problem...Not Really!" It will explain everything.)

There are still days out here, like today for example, where it is warm enough (50 degrees today!) that I have to take down my hood because I'm starting to overheat. People don't understand that as long as I'm moving, as long as I'm generating internal heat, I'm fine out here!

Until, of course, the sun goes down. It gets a little hard on my shirts when the sun goes down. I keep having to buy new ones. 

You see, when the sun goes down, the temperature drops quite rapidly. Once that happens, and a brisk evening wind whips across my bare legs, my nipples go hard enough to cut glass.

They keep poking holes in my shirts.

I hate it when that happens.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's A Real Buster...

Since we're all enjoying my pain, I thought I'd share a post about another who enjoys my pain, enjoys it very much in fact.

I get frequent sinus infections.

That's not the funny part. Wait for it ...

I get lots of congestion and swollen sinus passages. I actually feel like those people you see on the commercials who have big, swollen balloon heads. It often gets so bad I seriously consider pricking the skin next to my nose so see if my head will deflate semi-explosively, sending me rocketing about the room with a long, drawn out farting noise, like a balloon released by a child.

The only thing that seems to help is nasal spray. It shrinks the tissues in my nasal passages just like it's supposed to, providing blessed relief... for a while. See, that's the thing. Eventually, through over-use, the nasal spray loses its effectiveness, and in the end it's actually exacerbating the problem.

This is not good.

When it gets to this point, I turn to a special kind of nasal spray. It's called Sinus Buster. Sinus Buster is a nasal spray based on capsacian. Yup, that's right. Hot pepper. Like the pepper spray women can use to fight off assailants, and sometimes keep their kids in line. Only with this stuff, you're spraying it directly up your nose.

Oh. My. God.

Now, this does have the effect of constricting the tissues in your sinus cavity, which is exactly what I'm looking for. The problem is that I'm a great big humongous baby when it comes to hot, spicy stuff. Food. Drink. Whatever. I get all weepy, and hate whatever it is. I like bland foods - I prefer English food to French, if that's any indication. And yet here I am spraying capsacian extract directly up onto the extremely sensitive and permeable tissues inside my nose.

Oh. My. God.

So I'll do that. 2-3 quick sprays and deep sniffs in each nostril. I have to do it fast, trying to get the 2nd and 3rd sniff up there before the pain hits, because when it does there will be no more sniffing up that side. I can try, but my body rejects it and I go into a sort of hysterical paralysis, and I can't bring the bottle all the way to my nose until it passes. But I do it all quickly, and I get the 2nd and maybe 3rd sniff up that first nostril. And then the pain hits.

Oh. My. God.

My nose burns, and I wonder if some weirdo has swapped my nasal spray for acid as some stuff, practical joke. But no, it's just pain, not damage. Pain that spreads to the cavity behind my nose and beneath my eye. It fills the cavity to capacity, then more, pressing against the back of the eyeball, sneaking in the back door of that orb and filling it as well. There is too much pain in that eye, not enough room, for all the pain, but the pain isn't going anywhere. Somewhere along the way, the pain talks to the vision in that eye, telling it 'this eye ain't big enough for the both of us'. Vision turns tail and flees, leaving me with one blind, pain-filled eye.

That's all on the inside. On the outside I find I've clapped my hand to my eye, though I'm not sure if I'm trying to hold my eyeball in or simply rip the damn thing out and be done with it. I've started making a strange sound, most of it coming through my nose, a lot like Felix Unger from the Odd Couple television show, like the sound is going to somehow drive the pain out of my nose, allowing it to then drain from my eye. There is a strange, disconnected pain at the back of my head on that side now, like the pain has grown too large for the cavity in there and has pushed out into other tissue, has invaded the base of my skull.

Oh. My. God.

And then it begins to pass, as if the pain has gone all out for too long and has exhausted itself. Punched itself out. Sprinted itself into a huge cramp. I'm usually on my knees by the time this happens, and tears are flowing down my face. Whether the tears are from me crying or simply my eyes watering is immaterial. I think it's both, but I don't really care. I'm just glad the pain is subsiding before I've gone completely mad.

Right about now is when Handsome shows up. He has been watching the whole thing, and he's been laughing like a manic the whole time. Now, though, he's not laughing. He's smiling like a fool, though, and his eyes shine with anticipation. He's holding out the bottle of Sinus Buster to me, the bottle I dropped while I was in extremis.

"You still have to do the other side, don't you?" he says to me, his voice mixed notes of hope and glee.

The terrible part is, he's right. I do.

Oh. My. God.

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

...And I WILL Use It!

I was trying to deliver package after package this afternoon, and I climbed into the back of the mail truck in order to bring some boxes up front with me so I could deliver them more easily. I was trying to collect together all the packages for the area I was currently parked in, when I saw one on the floor, on the far side of a stack of packages right in front of me. I bent over the stack, placing my left hand on the top box for balance and support as I reached down.
Suddenly there was a loud voice in the back of the mail truck with me, shouting at me. I dried out (something unprintable here, I'm certain) and jumped, straightening as I did so. Between the jump and the straightening, I whacked the back of my head a good one against the truck ceiling. The back of my neck struck the taut counterweight cable for the rear rolling door, though luckily it wasn't hard enough to cut the skin.
I fought to clamp down hard on every sphincter currently possessed by my body (since certain fluids were trying to escape my body like rats fleeing from a foundering ship) and I looked around frantically for the source of the voice. I saw no one, and had not made out what it was saying, but as I began to realize the voice had sounded familiar, no matter what it had said, it came again, loud and clear.

"I have a laser, and I will use it!"

It was the voice of Tim Allen, as Buzz Lightyear.
It was coming from the box beneath my left hand.

People, if you're going to ship some kind of a noise-making toy, especially the talking variety, please, I'm asking you please, turn them off. I almost soiled myself, and came close to decapitating myself, all because Pixar had themselves a hit. Or three.

Merry @#$%ing Christmas.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mail Bag! 12-13-2011

It's Christmas mail! Huzzah!

 I'm going to choose 4 items that appeared in my Junk Mail Folder in the past 30 days, and give you my 1st response to them. Off the top of my head. Just from looking at the Subject line, not actually opening them. It is all Junk Mail, after all... and this is going to be a quick one. Most of them have been quick this month - I'm trying to make this a quick little stop for y'all!

  • Handy Toolbox: "Garage Door Opener That's Better Than Caffeine"
    • Nothing. Is. Better. Than. Caffeine.


  • Digital Deals: "How to save more this season - We've Got Deals Galore!"
    • Look, I can save even more than you with all your vaunted 'deals'. It's quick, it's easy, and it's cheaper than cheap. It's called the 'Delete' button. Can't save more than spending nothing.

  • Genie Bra Special Offer:
    • Um... last time I checked I was a guy. This would have to be a very special offer; a lot more special than I think they intended!  I'm a 42 year old man - the places I'm sagging just don't need a bra!

  • Handy Toolbox: "One-Eyed Monster Frees Your Hand"
    • Okay... I thought long and hard about this one... and I just can't do it. No matter how I clean it up, any blog post I write about a One-Eyed Monster that doesn't reference Homer's Odessey is going to be dirty. And my Nana  reads this blog. It's audience participation time! Fill in your own 'One-Eyed Monster' joke here! Sorry folks.

                          Hi Nana!
And here we have a Christmas miracle! Did you see it? Did you notice? I'll bet you didn't. 
Don't worry, I'll tell you.
After months of requesting it, months of complaining about it, finally, oh finally, the AARP has decided to leave me alone!

To celebrate not hearing from the AARP at all this month, here's a random photo of three mangoes! 

Talk to you later!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

18 Again!

    This morning I was in the locker room just prior to taking my route to the road. One of my co-workers, TK, was standing at the sinks looking very closely in the mirror. He, like me, shaves his head every day. Unlike me, he's clean-shaven all the way 'round while I have a bit of a beard. TK is a clerk, and had already been at work for several hours by the time I got there, and his shave was no longer as close at it could have been. When I spotted him he appeared to be inspecting the stubble on his chin.

"Looking for grays?" I laughed, as I stepped up to the sink next to him. I was kidding, but he seemed to take me seriously.

"Yeah, man. Getting old - gotta find them and pluck 'em. Every one."

"You're kidding," I said, looking at my own graying facial hair in the mirror.

"Seriously," he said, gripping one with his fingernails and yanking sharply. "It's the only way to stay young, man!"

"Uh-huh," I said, watching him pluck another bit of stubble from his chin.
"There we go! Done!" he leaned back from the mirror to take in the full effect, a broad smile spreading his face.

"And I'm 18 again! See ya!" And out he went.

"Eighteen... yeah right," I murmured at the mirror, contemplating the spreading forest of gray that's slowly taking over my chin. "That's the silliest thing I've ever heard ... "

I'll be stopping at the pharmacy on my way home tonight and picking up two pair of tweezers so I can get some two-handed action going before I take a shower. Looking at how much work I have ahead of me, I might have to call in sick to work in the morning just from the pain.

Eighteen again....

Talk to you later!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Kind of Grandmama

This afternoon, Handsome came with me to my parent's house to help my mother decorate the Christmas tree. As we were driving over, I started to get a stinger of a sinus headache, so I begged off on the decorating and lay down on the couch as they got started. They were opening the storage totes full of shiny festive baubles as I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.

I was awakened a while later by Handsome trying to sneak a Santa hat onto my head as I slept. I woke, but I didn't get up - I had failed, once again, to take the Excedrin before the nap so that it would be in effect when I woke. The headache was still there, and though the nap hadn't really done me any good, it seemed to have given the headache all the energy of a five-year-old on methamphetamine.


As I lay there and squinted at the light, wondering why the hell light should cause my sinuses to pulse with pain like that, I heard my mother and Handsome continuing with the decorations.

"Be careful with those," I heard my mother say. "They're made of glass, and pretty old."

"Okay," Handsome replied.

And then, quite clearly and calmly, but without the slightest trace of humor in her voice, my mother spoke again.

"And remember: If you break anything I'll have to kill you."

A smile sprang to my lips at the familiar words. I'd heard them directed at me more than once growing up. I forced my eyes open to check out the scene, and saw Handsome holding something in one hand that I could not quite make out, and he was peering at his Grandmama cautiously. I could see him thinking,
She wouldn't really kill me, right? But she sounded so calm, not like she was angry, but not like she was kidding either. Um...

My mother just watched him think, and smiled at him.

Handsome turned, and with exquisite caution moved to place the ornament on the tree as I lay there laughing quietly despite the pain it caused my head.

Some grandmothers bake cookies. Some read bedtime stories. My son's Grandmama does all those kinds of things, but she also keeps him, very sweetly, on his toes.

That's my kind of Grandmama.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Special Thanks

Back in October, if you'll recall, I took part in this little thing called the Coffin Hop, where 100 Horror Authors linked their websites and had a kind of Halloween Carnival for a week. I decided at the time to post a couple of stories from friends of mine on my website, kind of to round out what I myself was putting there, but also to give them a little exposure

 One of the two stories that I posted was a short titled "Snuffbox" from someone in my Writing Group. I had helped her edit it, and I had been quite impressed with the story itself, even in rough form. Snuffbox went on my website for the week, where it was listed as having been submitted to Dark Moon Books. It garnered the most comments of everything I had there.

That was in the last week of October. Tonight, an email came out of my Writer's Group that I'd like to share with you:

I submitted a piece for you guys to critique a few months back The Box (Snuffbox) and it has been accepted into the collection Slices of Flesh by Dark Moon Books.
I know that due to all the wonderful critiques of the group this has been made possible. It will be my first published work in print. Of course I'm ecstatic!
And a special Thanks to Rob for looking it over a couple of times for me. You have a sharp eye and I am grateful for your help.
Thanks again,

Well will you look at that?
Rob: Writer. Editor. Talent-Scout.
Congratulations, E!  Welcome to to the Dark Moon family!
You're welcome for any help I gave, and I thank you for the thanks. It made me go all puffed-up in the chest for a while! Remember though: I helped with the editing, but what they bought was your story. It's a good one.

* * * * *

Was this funny at all?
Nope. But it was one of the best things to happen to me all day, so I thought I'd share.

Talk to you later!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pizza Coma

Today I worked for 11 hours.
Happy Holidays!
I stopped at Walmart on my way home ( I was going straight home for a change - Handsome had a sleep-over, so I wasn't going to visit him)  to do just a little Christmas shopping. I was walking through the store, and my stomach started poking me. It wanted to now what the hell I thought I was doing shopping at nearly 8:00 at night  when it was trying to live on a peanut butter sandwich eaten at around 2:30 in the afternoon.
Well, shopping was the obvious answer, so I gave that one a shot.
Shopping for dinner, it wanted to know?
No, not really, but I was headed to the registers, and looking past them I saw a pair of big freezers. One of them held frozen pizzas. DiGiorno frozen pizzas.
DiGiorno, I asked my stomach?
I got no answer, but was propelled past the registers and straight to the freezer units. I opened the door and saw that, not only did they have the large pizzas, intended to feed a family, but they also had smaller pizzas. Pizzas for one. I reached toward a pizza for one ...right past it and grabbed a family-sized, gripping the frosty cardboard with greedy fingers.
I bought my pizza.
I drove it home. It rode in the back, but up on the seat where I could see it easily. I reached back at a red light and stroked the box lovingly.
You and me, Baby, I thought. We're going places.
I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and placed on the middle rack.
I had 20 minutes, so I took a shower.
I took it out of the oven. I was fresh and clean; the pizza was golden brown.
I sighed with happiness.
My stomach gurgled with anticipation. Or maybe it was telling me to hurry the hell up.
I'm not sure... it's all a golden-brown, cheesy delicious, rising crust blur.
I'd checked the fridge to make sure there was space for any leftovers, thinking of tomorrow's breakfast.
There was no need.
There were no leftovers.
I barely managed to clean the kitchen.
I dragged my swollen stomach up the stairs to my bedroom.
I took a nap. My alarm went off, and I dragged my swollen stomach to the desk, wedging it into the seat with me.
It's midnight now. Kind of early for me, and I can barely keep my eyes open. Every keystroke is a struggle.
I'm not sure what I was intending to write for today. I know I had something, but it's gone for now.
It's taking all my will to stay up long enough to tell you what is on my mind, weighing heavily, pressing out from my stomach, pressing down on my eyelids, urging me toward the bed at my back as I fight to see the keyboard, to type out just one word at a time.
Lots of pizza.
Too much pizza.

Pizza Coma.


Talk to you later.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

I get to work at the Post Office in the morning, and there are a whole lot of packages. There should be, I mean, Christmas is just over 2 weeks away, right? Everyone in the office has a whole lot of packages. So I sort my mail, pull the route down, put everything in a big hamper and wheel it out to load into my mail truck. That's my morning in a nutshell. Pretty standard, at least until I get to the truck.
I push the hamper up to the back of my truck, take out my key and roll up the door. It flies up like the curtain being whisked away from a magician's trick, to reveal ... more packages.
I'd taken my hamper out to the truck before I even started to sort my mail, placing the whole hamper's worth of packages into the truck so they would have more room to sort the rest of my packages.

Which they did.

So I pull all those packages out and put them on the ground about the rear of my truck. I have to put in my trays of mail, you see. Christmas cards, catalogs, sale fliers, bills, pretty much everything you can send through the mail, I have all trayed up and it all has to go in the truck. So I slide the trays into the now empty truck, filling the cargo area floor square. Packing it in. Along one side I stack the trays three high, just because there isn't the room to lay them all in flat.  There, the trays are all in there.
Now, you remember those packages? The ones I just took out?
I have to put them back in.
I have to put them back in plus the new ones that take up the bottom half of my hamper.
I know what you're thinking. It's the same thing I ask myself whenever this happens, and there's too much stuff to fit in the space.

Where am I going to put all this stuff?

Well, there are there brackets built into the sides of the truck, on the inside of the cargo bay. The kind of brackets that one might hang shelves from, but there are no shelves. Just the brackets.
Sometimes I feel like the brackets are mocking me. This is one of those times.

But, since there are no shelves, nor anything else handy back there, I simply separate them and pile them up. I put the packages for he very beginning of the route up front with me, placing them on the floor and along one side of the work-tray I have up there. There are so many that when I finally get to sit up there and try to drive I'm completely ensconced, like a pilot in a fighter jet.  I split the remainder up in the back trying to keep the middle of the route separate from the end. I'm stacking them up on top of the mail I already have in there, but there's nothing else I can do. I try to make my piles up against the walls, covering some trays but not others. I need to be able to get at some of those trays - I have to deliver that stuff!

Finally I have everything set the way I need it. The packages are split up and stacked, and I can get at the trays I'll need to to start out. All I have to do is drive carefully and I should be all set. I Climb into the Rob-sized space I've left for myself in the front of the truck, and head to my first stop - my own Jeep. I need to pick up my lunch bag and laptop case. It's only a 50-60 foot trip, so I just put the truck in gear and take my foot off the brake, letting engine torque alone push me across the parking lot. I feather the brake and gently coast to a stop behind my personal vehicle.

That's when I hear it.

The dry, yet somehow hollow hissing sound of cardboard sliding across cardboard, coming from the cargo area behind me. I hold my breath and start to pray but I don't get any further than God, please no- before the thuds begin. Thuds and thumps, and then more of that creepy hissing sliding sound as the first pile that toppled  lands on the second pile and knocks it over as well.

I twist, as well as I am able in the tight space I've packed myself into, and look through the connecting door to the cargo area. All those packages I carefully segregated and stacked are now sprawled across the back of the truck, completely burying the mail I'll have to get to in a few minutes in a rough-shuffled mess of parcels of all sizes. My held breath comes out in an exasperated puff before I inhale sharply, and then the sound of Christmas at the Post Office begins to roll out across the parking lot for all to hear.

I am cursing loudly, energetically, and with great imagination.

Happy Holidays!

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The United States Postal Circus

When I got to work this morning (5 minutes late) there was a little controversy already going on. There had been an argument on the floor the day before, a pretty vehement one, and the guy who works next to me, SM, had been pulled into the office this morning about it. He hadn't been a part of the actual argument, but when management was looking into it his name had come up as the 'instigator' of the incident. I got there just in time to witness SM returning from his trip to the office. He was telling anyone who would listen that he'd just gotten 2 minutes for instigating.

He's a Hockey fan.

So he was at his rack, and he kept telling people he'd gotten 2 minutes for instigating. He said it again and again, like a hopeful fisherman making cast after cast, a fisherman who just knows the fish he wants is there, and all he has to do is entice one bite. He said it often enough that he attracted the attention of the person who had been a part of the argument the day before, who I'll call JA. Well eventually, JA got tired of hearing the complaint, and he responded with a simple question.

"What are you talking about?"

It was the bite SM had been waiting for.

"I  said that I got 2 minutes for instigating. I was kind of wondering who went in the office and threw me under the bus. You know, like someone got in trouble and then threw my name out there because they were afraid to face the music alone."

The hook was set.

"What do you mean by that? That's not what happened at all! You were the one who..."
JA was on the hook, and SM played him as masterfully as any man you'll ever see hosting a fishing show. JA tried to run hither and yon, tried to spit the hook, but SM kept just enough pressure on the line, and he reeled, and reeled ... and this morning there was another vicious argument on the floor, and it spread out to include five people.

At the end of it all, SM was back in the office.

He was being spoken to about instigating.

Instigating about instigating.

Who needs afternoon Soaps? Or the Springer show?

I work for the United Stated Postal Circus, the Greatest Show on Earth!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Yesterday I set Handsome to practicing his music (which at this point in time means playing a xylophone) for 25 minutes, his allotted time. I went outside and started putting up the Christmas lights to the tune of Jingle Bells being plinked out again and again, the sound drifting out through the front window leading into the TV room. Pretty pleasant - he didn't sound bad at all. I was excited because I'd had a major Christmas miracle this year - when I got the lights out of the shed out back they all worked! Not one of them was causing a dead spot, all 900 lights were burning bright! That's not happened since we bought the house, a decade ago.
So the lights went up in a flash (pardon the pun), and I started to put my stuff away. I went to get the ladder down from the front of the house when I realized I was no longer hearing xylophone music, and I hadn't for a while. I crept up to the window that led into the TV room where Handsome was 'practicing'. I saw him sitting on the couch, easily eight feet away from his xylophone, and he appeared to be writing something.
I banged on the window, and I have to admit my fatherly heart took a great deal of pleasure in the amount of air he got when he jumped. I wish I'd had a stopwatch, I could have checked his hang-time.
"What are you doing?" I shouted through the glass, which only made his guilty expression go even more guilty. He held up his hand. In the palm were some pretty blue designs he'd been studiously working on until I interrupted.
"You're not practicing!"
"I just stopped for a second!"
"But you're not practicing!"
"It was just for a second!"
I left the window and went in the house. I reset the timer, which only had about 4 minutes on it, for 20 minutes.
"That doesn't count," I called out. "I'm resetting the timer!"
"But it was just two seconds!" he shouted from the TV room.
"I'm starting the timer. You have 20 minutes. Go!"
Only silence came from the room.
"I can't."
I went in the TV room and found him sitting behind the xylophone wearing a forlorn expression.
"I said go," I told him.
"I know," he said, "but I can't."
He looked still more sheepish.
"I can't find the sticks."
"Well, let's look for them," I said.
He began to tear the television room apart, but I decided to work smart, not hard. I went to look other places, away from the actual instrument.
I found them in the kitchen. On the table. Under a newspaper.
"Two seconds, huh?" I said when he came out to retrieve them. "Must have been a heck of a long two seconds!"
I walked over to the timer.
"You, my boy, are well and truly busted. You have 20 minutes. Go!"
I pushed "Start".

Talk to you later!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Don't Worry About It

My boss, and for the purposes of this blog I'll simply call him Boss, has many pet phrases. One of them, one of his favorites (and so the one we dread hearing the most) is “Don't worry about it.”

For example:
The rear lift door of my mail truck was starting to break. I filled out a vehicle repair tag and informed Boss.
We'll get it fixed right away. Don't worry about it.”
Time went by. It was not repaired. In fact, through constant use the door broke even more. Eventually the bottom panel of the door was no longer in the tracks the rest of the door was rolling in. Whenever the door was open and I was leaning in to do my work, that loose panel was hanging over me like the Sword of Damocles.
It's not safe,” I said.
Well get it fixed,” Boss replied. “Don't worry about it.”
More time passed, and my truck went in for it's regularly scheduled annual maintenance.
What the heck is this? they said, when they saw the back door.
You were using it like this? This is totally unsafe!”
Good thing I didn't worry about it.

Another time my starter began to fail.
I told Boss.
We'll get that looked at,” he said. “Don't worry about it.”
It wasn't looked at. It got worse and worse until the starter failed entirely, with the truck loaded and full of mail, right there in the postal parking lot. I had to use one of the vans for the day, and my route isn't designed to be done in a van. I had a miserable day.
Good thing I didn't worry about it.

Recently a woman I work with, LR, noticed her oil gauge was reading close to zero.She told Boss about it and that she was going on vacation for a week, so he had that long to handle it. He, of course, told her “Don’t worry about it.”
A week passed.
LR came back to work.
Her oil gauge, she found, now read zero. Flat, dead, zero.
“Just take it down to get some gas and put some oil in it,” Boss said.
“No,” she said. “I’m not supposed to do that, and if anything goes wrong I don;t want you to blame me!”
She was quite correct in what she said. We are not supposed to, are actually forbidden to open the hood of a mail truck. We are not Federally approved mechanics, so for us to do that could be considered ‘tampering with federal property’.

LR used the truck that day, but the next morning she refused.

“It’s been two weeks or more, and you haven’t done anything about it. The gauge says zero, so I’m considering it unsafe, and I refuse to use it.”
“Fine,” Boss said. “I’ll get someone to go down and put oil in it. Don’t worry about it.”
So he talked another of my co-workers, DL, into stopping his own work and taking LR’s truck to the gas station and putting oil in it. DL took the keys and left
He was back about 30 minutes later. He had the keys, but not the truck.
“I got about half-way to the gas station, DL said, dropping the keys into Boss’s palm. “Then the engine seized. It’s done.”
DL went back to work, and Boss was left walking around wht the keys to the dead truck in his hand.
“That’s great!” he said. “We’re already short on vehicles, and now we’re down another one! What am I going to do now?”
“Don’t worry about it,” I said.
Then I went back to sorting my mail.

But I was smiling.

I was smiling big.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Instinct

This afternoon, Handsome and I were in the Jeep on the way to the Roller Rink for three or four hours of fun and exercise. Everyone is on wheels, and turning to the left, and the left, and the left... It's like an extremely poor man's Nascar. They have bigger crashes, but we have lots more of them.
So we were driving along, and Handsome had asked me if I had the Moleskin from the first aid kit. He sometimes needs it for his feet, since the rental skates occasionally give him blisters. I told him I had it, but there wasn't a lot left.
"We have enough to get us through the day of skating, but we have to stop at the pharmacy on the way home afterward and buy some more to be ready for next week when we go skating again. We have to stop and get a card for my Grandpa, since tonight is his birthday party, but we should be able to get it all out of the way at the same place. One-one-stop-shopping. How's that sound?"
He stared straight ahead.
"Handsome? How's that sound?"
His head snapped over, and his eyes focused on me.
"What?" he said. "Sorry, my boredom instinct sensed boredom ahead, and it made me think about something else for a while. What did you say?"
"No, really, what did you say?"
"Dad, I'm serious. What did you say?"
"I... I said... Wow."

Yup. Sometimes it's painful, but he's definitely mine.

Talk to you later!

P.S. - For those who were paying attention last week, and were wondering about his week's trip to the Roller Rink, I made it through this trip intact. No slips, trips or falls.
I do have three massive blisters, though!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's Just Sad

We were in the way home tonight, after I had picked up Handsome so he could spent the night with me. I was going over the schedule for the weekend, telling him what we had to do and where, and how much 'goof-off' time we would have in between. He was drawing and coloring in a small book he had balanced on one knee and watching the headlights and tail lights streak by in the night.
"Now, tomorrow is Grandpa's birthday," I said. "So there's going to be cake and ice cream tomorrow night."
He looked up.
"Does that mean we can't go skating tomorrow?"
I shook my head.
"No. Skating is from 12:30 to 4:00, and the party isn't until 6:00, so we'll have plenty of time."
I was expecting Handsome to be happy at this news, that there would be skating for him, followed by sweets that night, but instead he flapped his hands a bit, and his voice was sarcastic.
"All he's going to do is fall asleep."
"He's going to fall asleep. It's what he does every year."
I laughed. He was probably right, but the offhand, very casual and grown-up way he said something happened "every year" made me laugh. He waited until I was done laughing before he, starting to laugh himself, added "It's just sad," in a more sarcastic voice, indicating that the reverse was actually true.
I laughed harder.
My 9 year-old is turning me into the straight man in this two-man act, and you know what?
I really don't mind a bit.
He's pretty damn good at it.

Talk to you later!

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's The Simple Things...

The other day, as I was driving my mail truck out to my route, I noticed something strange. There was another mail truck ahead of me, and ahead of him was a car with a woman driving. Her driver's side window was down, and her arm was thrust out onto the cold day. Something was hanging from her hand, fluttering in the breeze and the wash of air disturbed by the passage of her car. Now, she was on the left side of her vehicle, of course, and I, being in a mail truck, was on the right side of mine. This made it a little difficult to actually get a good look at what was going on, but through the application of what I'll refer to as 'strategic driving' I managed to see enough to puzzle it out.
She turned off, and the mail truck ahead of me turned off, and I arrived at the beginning of my route. That was when I noticed that I had missed a call to my cell phone, which was clipped to the dashboard. I checked the call, and found it was from my co-worker, JS. He happened to have been driving the mail truck that had been between the me and the woman. Here is the text exchange that followed. It shows just what it's like to work in that small town at times...

From: JS
To: Rob
I was trying to call u ... cuz I was in front of u and the car in front of me the lady was holding a bra out the window. Like she wqs drying it

From: Rob
To: JS
I DID see that. I was laughing.

From: JS
To: Rob
I was so happy u were behind me ... lol

Yep. It's the simple things...

Talk to you later!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The News Today

Though we have a war going on in the Middle East, I still refuse to pay that much attention to the 'news'.
Here is an example of why:

This morning when I got to work my friend SH told me that she saw on the news (I don't know the actual source, whether online, television, radio or newspaper, just that it was from the news) that Kris Humphries will not go along with his estranged wife's proposal to end their marriage.

"Really? You don't say? That was in the news this morning?"
An affirmative answer.
"Okay. Who's Kris Humphries?"
The answer came back. "Kim Kardashian's husband."
"Ah! Well, I see," I said. "Who's Kim Kardashian?"

When I actually have to expend effort and energy not to know about people that I have absolutely no interest in because the media are simply throwing them at me, but the soldiers we have out there are not front page news every day, I feel completely justified in my lack of interest in all forms of media.

...this stance will in no way impact my practice of watching cartoons with my son.

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Beast

I stride around the corner of the house, hands full of mail and moving fast. I'm looking down at what I'm doing, concentrating on just getting the job done, but when I look up what I see stops me in my tracks.

The corpse is sprawled across the bottom stair. The attack occurred just steps from the safety of house and home, so close it breaks my heart to realize. A fan of ... stuff ... spreads out across the sidewalk, arcing out from the base of the stairs; a spray of strands and gobbets that had, until recently, been found on the inside of the victim lying cold upon the stair. The fan shape points like an arrow, backtracking to the source of the fluids and flesh decorating the sidewalk. A great wound torn through the flesh and deep into the secret inner workings of the corpse.

The corpse. The wound. And the Beast that is, even now, pulling forth and eating soft, squishy things with apparent relish.

I freeze, holding my breath. The Beast has not noticed me yet, so intent is it upon its feast. Claws scratch and scrabble at the concrete as it works the wound, thrusting its face deeper into the great, tearing hole; nuzzling in to find greater delicacies.

I'm not prepared for this encounter. I've not taken a full, deep breath. Thus it is mere seconds before the stale, used air within my lungs pushes its way out through my frozen lips with a small puffing sound.

The head snaps up out of the open maw faster than the eye can follow, bits of flesh and guts spraying into the air. Eyes, black and shiny as pools of wet ink, stare unblinking into my own. Paws flex, claws gripping the ground, as the whole body tenses.


The Beast springs away, leaping down the sidewalk in a zig-zag pattern; broken field running in nature.
I watch the squirrel flee before turning back to inspect the terrific mess he has made of the pumpkin sitting on the bottom step, shaking my head as I do so.

""I'm sure glad I don't have to clean all this up."

I deliver the mail and move on through the neighborhood.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fallback Position

Today's Earworm: The Munster's Theme.

I tried to think of something to blog about from today, but I failed miserably. This means I'm going to drop into my 'fallback position'. For those of you who haven't been paying attention, that means a blog about Handsome.

I have to be careful now, since as I sat down to write this I discovered that Handsome has started his own Facebook account. This means that when I post my daily link to WYMOP on my FaceBook wall, Handsome will get the link as well. He might actually start to read these things!
* * * * * * * * * *

Handsome is definitely growing up.

Last year, when we went and got him his football gear he was all excited, and he acted it. He couldn't wait to get home and put on the jersey, and he wanted to wear the helmet to bed. We had to hurry home so he could suit up and walk around the house. He spent the evening after we got him his football equipment sitting on the couch and watching television with his helmet on.

This year it's not football, but wrestling, so I knew it was going to be a little different. I was surprised,  though, at how much more casual Handsome was about it all. I took him out on Sunday to get a pair of wrestling shoes and protective headgear. He tried on the shoes, and he tried on the headgear, but he was completely cool about it. It was no big deal. We tried the headgear until we found some I could adjust down enough to fit him properly, and that was comfortable. And that was that. It all went in the shopping bag, and I heard no more about it as we went food shopping for better than an hour.

When we got home it was the same deal. It was in the bag, and he put the bag on the table and started to walk away. I had to flag him down and ask him to show the new equipment to his mother. He did it with a minimum of protest, but there was protest; it was like he could have cared less. Practically a teen-age attitude. Total cool.

His mother and I put the groceries away, and I set up my laptop on the dining room table as I usually do. Then I went looking for Handsome. I can't remember exactly why I went looking for him, but I did. I strode up to the TV room door, which was closed, opened it on the fly and just walked right in.

There, on the couch watching television, was Handsome.

Wearing his wrestling headgear.

I stopped dead, looking at him with what felt like a huge grin on my face. His eyes eventually left the television and rolled sideways to focus on me. The first thing he noticed was my smile, and he sat up a little straighter.


That's my boy.

Talk to you later!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jamie? Adam?

Last night I pulled into the driveway at Handsome's house with a backseat full, and I mean full, of groceries. There was stuff piled in on top of other stuff until I couldn't see out the rear window. Handsome and I got out of the Jeep and started to load ourselves up for the first of many trips inside with the groceries. As I leaned into the backseat to pull out yet another bag, I saw from the corner of my eye a two-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi slip from the plastic 4-pack holder and slide out the door. I took a breath to shout to Handsome to try to head the bottle off before it rolled down the driveway (which is a pretty steep little hill) and into the busy street beyond, but I never got the chance.
There was a crack as the plastic bottle hit the tarmac, and then a sudden loud Ffssshhhhssssss sound. Fizzing Diet Pepsi sprayed my legs, Handsome's legs, the Jeep, the driveway, and all the way into the garage through the open door. I leapt back, abandoning the bag I was trying to retrieve, and looked at Handsome in surprise. I looked around the driveway, but saw no sign of the bottle. There was Pepsi everywhere, but no bottle.
"Where the hell did it go?"
"Over there," Handsome laughed, pointing down the driveway.
I looked in the direction he was pointing and saw a trail of Diet Pepsi. It led away from us and down the driveway, all the way across the street (which has a breakdown lane on our side, so technically it was across three lanes) to the bottle, which was on the sidewalk over there, easily 50 feet away.
I looked at Handsome, who was a bit drippy with sprayed soda.
"How did it get over there?"
"It just ... went!"
Apparently the short fall from the floor of the Jeep behind the backseat was enough to shock all of the carbonation out of the soda at once. I found the cap beneath the Jeep, and it wasn't even cracked, it had been forced off due to the extreme pressure. The pressure had turned our bottle into a runaway rocket that had jetted across the street. Luckily there had been a break in traffic, or it could have been much worse.

Where the hell are the Mythbusters team when you need them to explain something?

Talk to you later!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This morning, Handsome found some 'tattoo tape' in a bag in my room, something he must have left behind on a previous visit. It's basically a long thin strip of temporary tattoo that looks like a long vine with small flowers curling off it, all in black. You can tear off strips and apply them to yourself anywhere you like.
I was working here at my computer and I heard some odd noises. I turned to  find Handsome standing behind me, the front of his shirt pulled up and tucked beneath his chin. He was tearing off short strips of tattoo and sticking them to his exposed chest and stomach in an odd pattern.

"What are you... are you writing something on yourself?"
"Well, what are you writing?"
"Hello, my name is Handsome," he said.

I buried my face in my hands, remembering a time when the worst I had to worry about him doing was filling his pants when there was nowhere convenient to change him.

Wrestling starts tomorrow.
This should be ... interesting.