Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Up To Speed

I'm sorry I've been away. Just stuff, getting busy, etc. I've accumulated a few stories I'd like to share but I don't have them written yet and I can't do a video blog without a lot of cue cards. I hope the video stuff isn't too overblown as I enjoy telling you my stories, and a couple of buddies of mine have encouraged me to do more, as my writing seems so-so to them to read but to have me tell my own story always gets the biggest laughs. I'll look into it. Right now I have my hands full, such as:

  • I have been busy with the house and the yard like mad. The yard has become such a task I almost feel like I'm cheating on my wife with my new wet, green mistress. I have mowed, weeded, planted flowers, pumpkins, hot peppers, watermelon, and stained the deck. I have erected a trampoline, a 13' pool, a swing set, and two sandboxes. Yes, I have labored long and hard to create the ultimate kid-friendly summer backyard so all of the neighborhood kids could come and play at my house. I threw my back out doing it.
  • Actually I threw my back out when I took a bad fall recently. I was trying to break a piece of wood for the fire by stomping on it. Unfortunately my shoe was wet at the time and slid off rather quickly leaving me with no balance, no fire wood, and no choice but to strike the ground. I struck it hard and badly. I fell into the basement window well of the guy's house next door. I quickly regained my feet and composure with the reassurance that no one had seen me make this horrendous blunder. I brushed the dirt from my bright orange bathrobe and returned to the party with my unbusted stick. (I was fully clothed under the robe in blue jeans, a T-shirt, and boots. This sounds odd I'm sure, but I was trying to land a new job and you just had to be there) The next day the large purple bruises I found all over my body confirmed that I had once again been an ass.
  • I have found a great new beer called Stegmaier out of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and they make an excellent porter for $6. The fun part is the pictogram under the bottle caps. The hardest one was Panama Canal. They showed a picture of a pan + a ham + AH, then what looked like a sack of tomatoes and an owl. It took me forever to realize the sack was a CAN of tomatoes! After that, all became clear. Also, I've been drinking a lot of Stroh's as it's Flannery's new favorite. It is much easier to justify buying beer if it is a beer she likes as she has had it with my ol' Pabst.
  • We've taken in a lodger. One of my good friends found himself between addresses, so we offered to put him up. He has made himself comfortable in our lodge despite repeated offers to sleep in the guest room. Honestly, I can't blame him. The couch in our lodge is perhaps the very best investment we have ever made. It is long, very deep, deep enough for two, and has an ottoman almost as big. It is the Queen size of couches and is truly nap-worthy. Not to mention that our old, surly cat has made a new friend and insists on sleeping with my buddy every night, and he makes good coffee.
  • I have built a swamp. Not just any swamp, "The Swamp", like the one from M*A*S*H. The previous owners of our house went to great trouble to build a nice deck next to their hot tub, but they never bothered to put any kind of roof on it, so that meant sitting in the hot sun, squinting and sweating at each other as we sat watching the kids play in the pool and the backyard. "Not this year," I decided. I was just going to set up some kind of simple rain-fly to deflect the water and the sun. I would have been content with bed sheets stitched together but cooler heads prevailed. Some major design and decorative ideas were haggled over, but in the end, Flannery won out and I'm delighted that I had enough good sense to listen to her. After $140 some odd dollars were spent and less than three hours labor we have created a reasonable facsimile of "The Swamp" and the best place to relax in the neighborhood besides the Tiki. (The only thing missing is the gin mill) All the mom's agree that my place is "The Place" to hang out this summer. If you notice a small amount of pride in that statement, you'd be right. Pictures to follow.
  • My uncle died this morning. His health hasn't been good for many years and his death probably comes as a surprise to no one, but it still hurts. I choked up today and I had to try to explain to Riley why. The explanation wasn't as good as I would have liked, but who has a ready-made speech to explain grief to their kids? I tried to explain that Uncle Warren had been very good to me and to a lot of other people in his life. For lack of a better explanation, I told her my favorite story about him. As a child, he got the family beach umbrella and jumped off the roof of the barn. Predictably, the umbrella folded and he took a bad fall. While this makes for a cute story, it doesn't quite tell the tale. When WW II came around, he signed up to be a paratrooper and jumped from a plane on D-Day. What I didn't tell her was how he rigged the fancy pistol that Grandpa had sent him to war with to a grenade and blew up a German Lieutenant when he was captured. I didn't tell her how at night a paved road looks like a river and how paratroopers can break both of their legs when they land. I didn't tell her of the agonizing months that he spent in a prison camp starving to death amongst the groans of the dying, and how he came home as 98 lbs of skin and bones. I didn't tell her those stories. I told her of the years he spent on the school board, the Deacon's board, of the high school that he helped build that I attended, and all the cows he milked over the years so growing kids could get their vitamins. I told her these stories, as that is all that I know.

I hope you know more than I do,



  1. This was written in the swamp in a huge thunderstorm. It makes no diffence, but I thought I'd mention it.


  2. Thanks for the update, Doc. Sorry about the loss of your uncle.

  3. It sounds like there's a few good stories about this uncle. If you think of any more, I'd love to hear 'em.

    I gotta stop by soon and see this masterwork you've created. Sounds grand.

    What was that about a job and how did you wind up in your robe?

  4. Holy crap you've got a lot going on. No wonder you've been absent from the interwebs. Sorry to hear about your back and your uncle.

  5. That's a haunting thought -- that paved roads look like rivers... Sorry for your loss, Doc.

    On a lighter note, I went to college in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Wilkes University). Oddly, we never really drank the local brew, though it was always there. In fact, there were a few larger breweries in the area. I used to live next door to one & always loved the hoppy smell (or whatever beer ingredient that smell is). There was also a huge-ass abandoned brewery there that we used to break into from time to time & just hang out inside. It was really creepy in there, but also fascinating. Maybe I'll do a blog post on that someday.

  6. Thanks for the update on what has been going on. Sorry about your back, I can sympathize as I have no disk left between my two lower (L4-L5) vertebra.

    I am very sorry on the loss of your Uncle, You did the man proud by remembering those facts.

  7. some notes in no particular order:

    ** loosing your wood is never any fun

    ** "this was written in the swamp". ain't THAT th' trvth?? That's where I think I write all o' me stuff. At least mentally.

    ** A quote re: Riley: "The walks and talks we have with our two-year olds in red boots have a great deal to do with the values they will cherish as adults."

    ---Edith Beth Hunter

  8. I'm sorry about the loss of your uncle, your back and the customer from Hell. At the very least, you've found a good beer and made your abode even more of a paradise.


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