A big chunk of Saturday was devoted to cleaning my garage. That may sound boring, but you have no idea how good it made me feel.
The space has been somewhat out of control for a long time — but now that I need a place to park my snow blower, enough was enough. Seven hours and two trips to the dump later, the garage was reclaimed. It’s still not perfect, there are some more things that should go in the trash, but the difference is startling.
Don’t get me wrong, a neat freak, I ain’t — but there’s something very satisfying about a clean and orderly space. My theory is that we may not be able to fix this complicated and cluttered world, so we seek to reduce chaos where we can.
Maybe for you it’s your car or the kitchen or your desk at work — a small corner of the world where you set the rules. Or you could be one of those people comfortable with disorder everywhere. That’s fine, I’m OK with that, but please put that shovel away. I will not have your anarchy in my garage.
Good news, everyone: it will not snow this winter!
I can guarantee it. This has nothing to do with long-range forecasts, the Farmer’s Almanac or climate change. I can guarantee it will not snow because I just bought a snow blower.
After years of struggling against winter — and the town plow — I decided it was time to turn to technology. There were two big reasons for taking the plunge. First, my sons no longer live at home, so the source of free labor I long relied on has dried up. The second reason? Chalk it up to this universal principle that governs much human behavior: I’m getting too old for this sh*t.
There was a time when I relished the vigorous workout of shovelling and took great pride in my ability to conquer the elements. Even though my driveway routinely gets two or three times the snow in front of it than my neighbors, I’d simply laugh in their general direction. “Ha, look at you people and your snow blowers! Suckers!”
Well, I’m starting to think that maybe I was the sucker.
So, later in the week I’ll pick up my gently used 8HP two-stage snow blower. It’s a bit more machine than I need, but this is one of those areas where you shouldn’t skimp. Are you going to go out and buy the cheapest parachute?
One note: the no snow guarantee doesn’t start until the machine is in my garage. Until then, all bets are off.
It’s been a glorious summer so far, but thanks to a bum arm, there have been some minor inconveniences.
In June I injured my arm while on ambulance duty when lifting an oxygen tank. If memory serves, when it happened I commented, “Fu*K! Fu*K! Fu*K!” and proceeded to hop cartoon-like around the ambulance bay.
I’m not sure I actually heard my distal bicep tendon tear, but I immediately knew there was trouble and ended up riding in the ambulance as a customer, not an EMT. It’s worth noting that the incident drew everyone within radio distance so they could stand around and watch me writhe in pain.
Lifting an oxygen tank does not make for a very glamorous story, so in order to spice things up I concocted a variety of tales that made my arm more interesting. The top three:
1. I lifted a car off an injured person.
2. Caught a baby tossed from the window of a burning house. No, wait — TWO babies.
3. Wrestled a contaminated needle away from a deranged patient.
The long and short of it is I required surgery to reattach the tendon, a barbaric procedure that involved drilling a hole in my arm bone. This video shows what they did:
After ten days in a soft cast and a month of wearing a sling, I’m starting to get better, but full recovery is still months away.
The lesson here: when there’s something heavy to lift, find someone else to do it.
When it comes to shaving, I go with the cheapest. The cheapest shaving cream, the cheapest blades and no fancy balms or lotions.
But it’s not just about money.
One time my wife brought home a big bag of remarkably elaborate and expensive looking razors. They came from someone who works in R&D for a big razor company; he was hoping me and the boys would try these fancy things and provide feedback. I didn’t touch them. Nope. Just give me my plastic disposable twin blader. You, know, the kind of razor they let prison inmates use. Seems to work just fine!
Being so cheap committed to the basics, I was intrigued by the Dollar Shave Club. It seems that a dollar — and another two dollars for shipping — will get you five blades a month. They even throw in a free handle. Very well, let’s give it a go. This could mean I never have to even think about razors again, and that I like the sound of that.
I’ll let you all know how this goes. In the meantime, watch this tremendous video from Dollar Shave Club. It’s one of the big reasons I signed up.
My toolbox is like the “cap and ball Colt” revolver Steve Earle sings about in Devil’s Right Hand: It can get you into trouble but it can’t get you out.
But friends, never let lack of skill get in the way of doing things. Where would ‘Merica be with that attitude — especially when it comes to projects around the house?
Our most recent home improvement adventure was getting new counter tops installed over our old cabinets, which is not as good as doing the whole kitchen over, but better than nothing. Now the cabinets look like their supposed to be old and quaint, instead of just crappy. My role in the job?
Rip out counter top and sink.
Re-install sink and temporary counter top (plywood) after counter people measure.
Remove sink and temporary counter top before counter installation.
Hook up plumbing under the sink.
Now that sounds reasonably easy– except getting through the cabinet opening under the sink is a chore. There is absolutely no way to work under there in any sort of comfort. First you squeeze in sideways because it’s so narrow, an then rest your weight on the cabinet opening.
My question? How do plumbers do this sh*t?
All I can figure is that the best plumbers are wiry little guys who can wriggle into tight spots, rather than normal sized fellows — like the counter installer who mounted the sink. He slid in and out of that cabinet like a weasel going after whatever weasels go after.
Maybe I should have tried paying him to hook up the water and drain, but I will say this: I was extra careful to do the job right so I’d never have to squeeze in under there again.
It’s Christmas crunch time, and the hours are dwindling. I don’t know about you, but there’s still shopping to be done — and I’m thinking this would all be easier if I were married to another man.
A man, you ask?
Yes, because if I had a husband and not a wife I’d just go out and buy things that I like. For example, I’d start with a trip to Lowes or Home Depot and pick out some tools. Guys like tools. It doesn’t much matter if they won’t be used frequently, because as collectors of tools we just like to know that we have them. Another great things about tools is that there is something for every budget; you can spend just a few bucks and get something interesting — or if you really care about your man, how about a Dewalt 12-in 15-Amp Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. You really care, don’t you?
While you’re at it, stop at the beverage center and get some fancy beer — and if you still need something, get on Stubhub and buy some football tickets.
Oh, I could go on all day like this, but I am not married to a man and I need to figure out what the hell I’m doing.
After the Christmas Blizzard of 2010 crippled New York City Mayor Bloomberg was roundly criticized for botching the emergency preparations. He took no chances as Irene approached in 2011; even though the storm skirted New York and barrelled upstate instead he got high marks. This week, as bad as Sandy was, the emergency planning in New York saved lives.
I poked fun at the obsession with hoarding water before Sandy, but now I admit I was wrong. No, over-preparing beats getting caught with your pants down. I’d rather be stuck with something I don’t need than stuck without something I need.
Which leads me to flashlights. Monday afternoon found me collecting up all the flashlights in the house: big ones, small ones, headlamps, penlights — and the MagLite XL50. It’s no secret that flashlights are on of those things that guys love, and this blindingly bright LED does more than just illuminate, it has several fun features like a strobe mode:
That may look useless, but it’s entertaining to sneak up on someone and shine it in their face when they aren’t expecting it. Ten minutes later, when they can see again, you’ll all have a good laugh.
This must have been the most perfect tailgating spot ever: right up against a wide stretch of sidewalk where we’d have plenty of room to spread out our stuff — and close to a row of sparkling clean portable toilets.
Being next to the toilets brought a steady flow of interesting people to our corner of the parking lot at MetLife Stadium as we got ready for the Jets home opener. Several stopped by to comment on my son’s Bills jersey.
But even though there were five relatively clean toilets right there, the dudes next to us insisted on dashing across the road to pee in the bushes. As the traffic picked up this got more interesting to watch, especially since these guys — and folks, I’m going out on a limb here — may have had a drink or two.
Draw your own conclusions about why men like urinating outside, but meanwhile let us turn to the strange case of Rob Koebel.
Mr. Koebel “resigned” from his job as an investigative reporter at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee after being arrested for public urination. Koebel has not had the best year ever; in July his ex-wife published a book called Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt, which chronicles her abusive first marriage and her ex-husband’s “violent, profanity-laced tirades.”
This did not happen at Sunday’s Packers game, but outside an Apple store. There aren’t enough police in Wisconsin to arrest everyone urinating publicly in the Lambeau Field parking lot.