Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Lunch

When I was in elementary school I always brought a packed lunch from home.  Being in a big family we rarely purchased our lunches at school.  Most times our lunches were put together assembly line style and was a mix of various plastic bags filled with sandwiches, fruit and or vegetables, pretzel bits or other snack like pieces. We never had the prepackaged snack packs or name brand munchies in our bags. The one thing that was usually in the lunch bag that made our lunch better than any one elses was a note from my mom. That note always made our lunch the best.

In my household Lauren and I take turns making our kid's lunch. When it is my turn I always try to remember to include a note. My notes are often different. I will write a joke or words of encouragement for whatever they have scheduled for the day. I never tell the kids that I am leaving a note. I just slide it into their their book bag or lunch bag and hope that they read it. Wyatt really enjoys the notes and often times he will bring them up during our dinner time conversations. Last week I was speaking with his kindergarten teacher, she told me one of the first things Wyatt does when he gets into class is look for a note. If there is one he immediately brings it to her to read.

Every morning before I leave for work I throw my back pack, filled with work-out clothes, lunch, and paperwork over my shoulder and kiss everyone good bye. This morning as I was kissing Wyatt he whispered in my ear.

"Dad, do not look in your bag until you get to work."

I smiled. "Okay. I won't."

I had one of the best lunches today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Every now and then a friend, family member or neighbor will tell me they like reading Poop and Boogies. Sometimes I will ask them if they remember any specific post or story. The one post that comes up the most is this one from a few years ago.


My mom hosts, on average, about 35 people a year for Thanksgiving. Nine kids, plus spouses, plus 22 25 or do grand kids, it is a lot of people. Each family brings a dish of some sort but my mom does the cooking of the turkey and the stuffing.

Many years back she started to cook more than one bird for the dinner. Since the larger turkey took up all the space in her main oven she bought a medium sized rotisserie oven to cook a smaller, second turkey.

A few years ago the rotisserie oven broke. A couple of weeks prior to Thanksgiving my mom was giving the (now old) rotisserie oven a test run to make sure it was ready. Well, she found out that the mechanism that turned the fowl was not working properly. She asked my dad to take a look at it to see if he could fix it. She did not want to have to spend the money to buy a new oven. She left the oven on a table in the laundry room/back office so my dad could tinker with it.

My dad traveled a bit with his job but he would go in and out of his office almost every day. Every night for three weeks my mom would ask my dad if he fixed the rotisserie. Every night my dad would say he did not get around to it. My mom explained that rotisseries were expensive and if she had to, she would get a new one. My dad would then tell her that he would fix it and not to waste the time or money.

The rotisserie just sat on the table.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving my dad came home early from work and saw the rotisserie sitting on the table. With only 48 hours left until Thanksgiving he grabbed a screw driver and decided to take the oven apart. Later that evening, when my mom and dad were talking he told her that he disassembled the oven but could not see anything wrong with it. He also told her that the he was having a hard time putting the pieces back together. My mom freaked out.

The day prior, that Monday, my mom went out and bought a new rotisserie oven and threw the old one away.

My dad took apart a brand new oven.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Act of God

"I am sorry Mr. Meakim." The woman on the other end of the phone call, from the insurance company,  apologized. "But this is considered an Act of God. There was no property damage so we will not cover the cost of the tree removal."

"But if there was damage to my house, or shed or other property, it is not considered an Act of God?" I asked.

I had already explained to her that the freak late October snow storm caused my neighbor's tree to fall and crash over the fence into my yard. I was annoyed that the insurance company was telling me it was my responsibility to remove the fallen tree. They did not care it was my neighbor's tree. I had already talked to my neighbor from behind us, who is not that great of a neighbor, and he did not care his tree fell into my property. He knew it would be my responsibility and almost laughed it off.

"Again I am sorry Mr. Meakim. This is an Act of God which is not covered." she said.

"But if a Tornado, which is an Act of God, hell it is even called the Finger of God, destroyed my house, it would be covered? I don't get it." I was just annoyed and wanted to argue. What was their definition of an Act of God?

The insurance company representative then started to discuss actuarial stuff and underwriting and deductibles and I knew I was done. I thanked them and hung up. I was miffed by the "Act of God". I  knew that I was going to have to take care of the fallen tree myself.

I started by using loppers to trim off all the smaller leaf covered branches.
The process was slow going and somewhat tedious. I found myself mumbling, cursing under my breath,  irked at this Act of God.

I made tidy little piles of sticks, which would make bundling them easier later on.
With a  borrowed a chainsaw I went about cutting and dismantling the the rest of the tree. Power tools that are used in movies as a murder weapon or means of torture always make me nervous. This Act of God was now making me jittery and sweaty. Jittery and sweaty are not a good combination when operating a chainsaw.

I stacked the large branches in one pile to be used as future kindling. I stacked the larger  portions of the cut heavy trunk to be split and used for future firewood. The Act of God was causing my back to ache and knees hurt.

I went in the house for a few minutes to take a break trying to catch a second wind. This Act of God made me feel old. I was not happy about that. I was a mumbly, jittery, sweaty, achey, cranky old man. When I went back outside I saw that Maxfield, Wyatt and their friend G were moving all of the neatly stacked branches and pieces of wood all over the back yard. It was a mess. I was even more annoyed.

The three boys, who would usually rather be playing video games, were using their imagination and creativity to build forts with the branches. They made the sticks into pretend swords and guns. They moved the stumps to make walls and then drums and then seats. They moved every branch looking for just the right ones to use for their creative purposes.

The three boys worked together building an entire imaginary play world. They did not argue or fight. They played. They helped each other. They mumbled under their breath expressing their ideas for a fort. They were jittery with excitement from finding perfectly gun and  rifle shaped sticks. They were sweaty from all the hard playing.

They took a break to drink some water and catch their breath. I found myself seeking out the right types of branches, cutting them down into the perfect size for a sling shots. I trimmed a few sticks to give them the curve of a long bow. I didn't feel so old any more. When they were done they went right back to their adventures with the fallen tree undoing all of my hard work. I didn't mind.

I was watching the three boys, three friends, having fun and laughing. Boys bonding without a care in the world was another Act of God. It was an Act of God I enjoyed.