Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mr. Jones and Me

Mr. Jones is my next-door neighbor. He is probably in his late fifties and he is good natured and an all around nice guy. I have talked to him numerous times and him and I seem to have clicked. He is a good neighbor to have next door.

His garage is converted into a wood shop and he has all kinds of cool tools and gadgets. He keeps himself busy building garden railways, tracks, and trestles out of wood. Last week I needed some precision cuts on a piece wood and I asked him if I could use his table saw.

“No problem.” He said and he offered to do the cuts for me.

As he was lining up his saw and adjusting the height levers we started talking about all of his tools. He was telling me what saw does what and the finer points of changing the thickness of the blade to make more accurate cuts. He talked about a few other tools as well and then he stopped in mid sentence and he said, “But the most important thing a man needs in his garage, above all else, is a good vice.”

And me, being me, could not help myself. I tried. I really did. But I could not stop myself. And I said, “You’re not talking about hookers or drugs are you Mr. Jones?”

He stopped fiddling with the saw and turned towards me with a puzzled look. There was an awkward pause. He pointed over to his workbench at the table vice. Then something in his head clicked and a big smile crept across his face. He shook his head and chuckled.

“I just got that. You’re funny.” He said.

I like Mr. Jones.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Religous Moment

Maxfield has been learning about Christmas in his pre-school. Yesterday, at dinner, he talked about how his teacher read him the story of baby Jesus.

Last year for Christmas, Max’s Godfather, Mr. Miyagi, gave him a PlayMobil Nativity set. I figured I would continue Max’s education and dig out the playset and set it all up.

The cardboard manger background and all the little pieces gave me some serious trouble.

I must have said “Jesus Christ” and “Damn it” under my breath at least a dozen times.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving story.

I may have told this story before, here on Poop and Boogies, and if so, my apologies. But I laugh every time I think about it.

My mom hosts, on average, about 35 people a year for Thanksgiving. Nine kids, plus spouses, plus 22 or so grandkids, 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.

A few 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 couple of years ago, or maybe it was last year, the rotisserie oven broke. My mom was given it a test run a couple of weeks prior to Thanksgiving to make sure it was ready. Well, she found out that the mechanism that turned the fowl or maybe it was the fetzer valve or the by-pass line, I am not sure, was not working properly. She asked my dad to take a look at it to see if he could fix it. Otherwise she would not have to buy a new one and she did not want to spend the money. She left the oven on a table in the laundry room/back office so my dad could tinker with it.

My dad travels a bit a with his job but he goes in and out of his office almost everyday. 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 counter with the fact that he would fix it. The rotisserie just sat on the table.

The Tueday before Thanksgiving my dad came home early from working 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.

Here, she went out the day before and bought a new rotisserie oven and threw the old one away. My dad took apart a brand new oven.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Call Me Bob

I have written in the past how I sometimes play around with my signature on the electronic signature pads in various stores. See the full post here.

Yesterday I went to Lowes (which has become a daily trip with all the projects we are doing) to return some "L" brackets I bought. The guy behind the return counter took my receipt and processed my return. He handed me back my reciept and said "Thanks Bob."

I don't think he was trying to be funny. I think he thought that Bob was really my name.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I am not a big fan of small town parades. They never really have done anything for me. You have your local cub scout and boy scout troops marching, followed by the local fire engines, followed by the area high school marching bands, followed by more fire engines, followed by local politicians in convertibles, followed by a float or two. If you have seen one, you have seen them all. When I was growing up, I am sure I attended at least 30 or so, small town parades between the Glenside July 4th Parade and the Hatboro Thanksgiving Parade. Out of those 30 I only have three distinct memories.

Memory 1. 1976 July 4th parade. I walked the whole parade route with my Godmother, Aunt Michele, as she tried to explain to me the significance of the Liberty Bell. A few weeks later she took me to Independence Hall to see the Liberty Bell.

Memory 2. Sometime in the late 70’s I watched my brother Pat shake hands with Don Tollefson. Don was (and still is) a local Sportscaster in the Philadelphia area. He was famous because he was on TV. He skipped right over me and shook my brother’s hand. I still can’t watch Don because of this.

Memory 3. “The Fat Lady and the Skinny Man” incident of the late 70’s. The story is complicated but this has affected my parade appreciation for a long time.

See? Only three out of 30. Parades are not the big of a deal.

Yesterday I took Maxfield to the Hatboro Thanksgiving Parade. Wyatt was napping and Lauren stayed home to work on the kitchen. It was cold, windy and raining. I thought Max would last a half hour. I thought wrong.

A local cub-scout troop led the parade. The kids in the procession had bags filled with lollipops. They were handing the candy out to the children lining the streets. Max took one and thought it was the greatest thing in the world. The next group to come by was a local church group of some kind. They were giving candy canes to the kids. Of course, Maxfield took one. Every other group in the parade handed out candy of some sort. I don’t remember ever getting candy at a parade. It was like a buffet line of candy, only the buffet “table” moved and not us. We stood there as people handed candy to Max. There was no way Max was leaving the parade early. He expected every group to hand out candy.

There were participants in the parade that were also handing out flyers and pamphlets for their causes(The last time I was handed this many flyers was when I was in Vegas, but the ones in Vegas were much more interesting). A group of people, walking with their Greyhounds, were handing out candy canes with information about saving racing dogs. I tried to explain to the lady I did not feel right about taking their candy because I have been to a few dog tracks in my life. She then handed the flyer and candy to Max. I tried to explain that Max, too, had been to some dog tracks as well. She started to give me her spiel about the mistreatment of animals but then a fire truck behind her blew it’s horn and she raced ahead so not to hold up the line.

I laughed as one local councilperson drove in a convertible that had car dealer paint on the windshield that read, “Buy Now for $1,999.” I thought that was appropriate.

About an hour into it, Max started to get cold. I taught him how to keep his limbs moving to help keep warm. We waved with both hands at the trucks and cheerleaders and dance squads and we stomped our feet to fight off the chill. We both looked silly and we laughed at ourselves over and over again. We sipped hot chocolate and ate soft pretzels we bought from a vendor.

The last float of the Hatboro Thanksgiving Parade, as is the tradition, is Santa. I didn’t really see Santa. I was too busy watching Maxfield’s beaming smile and his eyes light up as he waved to Santa and as Santa waved back to him.

I now have a fourth distinct memory of a parade and I hope to make many more.

I am, now, a fan of small town parades.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Begats Round two.

I may be missing in action for a bit. There is some "Begatting" going on.

Look at the following pictures. Tell me, at what point do you think, that I thought, I was in over my head?

Our Kitchen (note the old looking floor)
Lauren has been working on the new floor.
Begats a remodel. Plumbing and stove top removed.
Umm...This was....uuhhh..
Then...I ...removed the....the...uhhmm....
Then...all the...ummm..... floor cabinets. They....uhhh.. they fell.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Getting Old.

The girl at the checkout counter kept looking over my right shoulder as she scanned my items at the Comp USA store. When I looked at her she quickly turned her eyes back to the register. She did this a few times. Not looking at me but not really looking past me either.

The last time her eyes drifted to my right shoulder I made a big display of looking at her and then looking over my shoulder. She blushed, knowing she was caught.

She gave me a nervous laugh and said "I'm sorry sir. You just have a fuzzy on your ear."

"Oh." I said as I reached up to grab it away. "It must be from this sweatshirt. Thanks."

I brushed my hand against my ear. I pulled my hand away but there was nothing there.

"It's still there.", she said.

I reached up and grabbed the top of my ear. Using my thumb and forefinger I gently pinched the edge of my ear and I slid my hand down towards my earlobe. I felt the fuzzy in my grasp and I pulled it away from my ear. As I pulled I could feel the skin on my ear get tight. I stopped pulling.

"You didn't get it." She said.

My face became beet red. I reached up again and pulled at the fuzzy. As I pulled my hand away I could feel my entire ear being pulled from the side of my head. The checkout girl's face contorted and she grimmaced as if she just bit into something really sour.

I was even more embarrassed. What she thought was fuzzy was actually a really long, really grey piece of ear hair. Still attached to my ear.

I did not know what to say. She did not know what to say. We were silent for the rest of the transaction.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Lauren got her hair cut last week. It is a big change for her. I only have two words to describe her and her new hair: Blazing Hot.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Lauren controls the finances in our house. And let me just say I would not have it any other way. If it were not for Lauren I would be “friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless and unemployed in Greenland.”

She taught me how to save money and be responsible with money. She didn’t really teach me, I knew how, I just chose not to. If it weren’t for Lauren being so good with money, I would most likely be homeless but I would have the best comic book collection in the world.

During our engagement was when I first realized how well Lauren could manage money. I don’t mean stock market and investments but more of the day-to-day paying bills and saving that was required for our future together. She would actually pay bills on time (who would have thought of that?) and budget, and put money into a savings account each week.

After we were married and we joined our bank accounts I was amazed that she would actually balance the checkbook. I was also shocked that if I took money out of the ATM she knew about it. She convinced me that using plastic was better for purchases because if I had the cash in my pocket I would piss it away on silly things. It was better that the money stayed in the account. It took me a while to get used to it. When we planned to buy our first house I was impressed by her skill because she managed to raise my credit score by 50 some odd points in a matter of months.

Her banking slowly became an addiction. Shortly after Maxfield was born, she asked me to run to the store for formula and diapers. I was gone for 30 minutes. When I walked in the door she called to me from upstairs.

“What else did you buy?” She asked

“Nothing.” I lied.

“Well you spent $40.57. Diapers and formula only would cost about 35.”

“How do you know how much I spent?” I asked.

“It’s on-line banking.”

“Do you mean to tell me that it only took 30 minutes for the charge to go through?”

“No. It only took about 15 minutes. I knew before you left the store’s parking lot. So what else did you buy?”

“Ice Cream.”

When I told my brother, the LawnWhisperer, about the ice cream incident he understood completely. He calls his wife, Vicki, The Auditor.

“My wife knows all of our bank account numbers and credit cards numbers by heart. Including the expiration dates and security codes. I barely know what my social security number is but the Auditor knows hers, mine, the kids. She knows I am going to the ATM before I even know that I am going to the ATM.” He told me.

Last week, Lauren and I were discussing some bank transactions. She knew them off the top of her head. I joked with her and called her the Auditor.

“No.” She said. “That’s Vicki. I am the Bank Whisperer.”

Who handles the finances in your house?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Phone Home

I called Lauren from work. I dialed our new home number from my desk phone.

“Hello.” Lauren answered.

It did not sound like her, but she is getting a cold.

“Lauren?” I asked.

“Yes.” She said in a way that was unfamiliar to me.

“It’s me.”

“Me who?” She responded.

“It’s…” I paused. “…me?”


I grabbed my cell phone and flipped through the address book to look up my own phone number.

“Is this Lauren?” I asked thinking Lauren was playing a joke.


I looked at the number on the cell phone and the number that appeared on my desk phone’s display. The cell phone read 555-555-4655. The display on my desk read 555-555-6455. I flipped two numbers.

“Who is this?” Lauren asked.

“This is ummm..” I was now questioning who I was. “This is, who I thought, was your husband.”


“I am sorry I dialed the wrong number and I am just shocked that a Lauren answered the phone.”

"Well not only do you have the wrong number but you have the wrong Lauren."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Winning the neighbors over one door at a time

“Trick or Treat?” Maxfield said as the lady opened the door.

“Well don’t you look cute.” The lady said as she handed him some candy.

The lady was in her mid to late-something's.

“Hi.” I said. “I’m Bill. I just moved in four houses down. This is Max.”

“Oh, new neighbors, how nice.” She stepped out onto the porch and I shook her hand.

“Yes we live in the house with the blue shutters.”

“Okay. Next to the Jones’?”


“Welcome to the neighborhood.” She rested the candy bowl against her hip and appeared to settle-in for a conversation. “I was wondering who moved in. You should really like it here. It is a great location. Where are you from?”

Just then the woman’s dogs came to door and I could see them through the glass door. I recognized the dogs from numerous walks through the neighborhood.

“I grew up in this area, but we moved out of town and now we moved back.”

“Oh where did you live before?” She asked as one of the dogs started barking. “Casey, quiet down.” She scolded the dog.

“I recognize your dogs. I met them last week while your husband was out walking them.”

She was silent for a moment.

“Uh….That was my Father.” She said quietly.


“Goodnight.” She said.