Monday, August 22, 2011

I will never drink V8 again

It was the child.

We know this now. At least, I know this now.

The child #2 was to blame.

She was helping.

We were camping and had been raided by evil denizens of the dark, furry masked marauders.


Every night. they had decimated our food supply and even scattered empty beer cans all over the campsite in their silent semi-drunken debauch.

So #2 took matters into her own hands.

She made a trap.

A coon trap.

None of us saw what she had constructed. From what I have ascertained after long hours of interrogating it was made of a white plastic grocery sack, pieces of chicken, cheese, chicken in a biscuit and two used paper plates. A stick and some string attached with my amazing flame duct tape (SERIOUSLY HOW COOL IS THAT! FLAMED DUCT TAPE!) completed and triggered the mechanism.

We were in the girls tent.

Laying about on cots, making our nighttime noises before sleep.

Mine and wife's tent a few feet away.

Suddenly, a noise outside. A growling thrashing sound.

Some weird squeaking.

Ever alert (right) Mr. Dog jumped up and bolted outside to see what the disturbance was.

#2 Sat upright in her layers of sleepy bags and laughed, like a small deranged tyrant. In the midst of her laugh she said, "It worked! IT ACTUALLY WORKED!"

We sat confused.

The thrashing got louder and the MIL and I ventured from the tent to see what was amiss.

That was when the dog, went from growling to gagging. Really gagging.

Then the little dumb ass furryhead ran back into the tent. And puked. (my favorite part) Right on the MILs sleepy bags.

This is a glimpse of what the MIL saw.

I ran into the tent.

The numbers screaming.

Because now Dog was foaming.

and still retching.

So I collared him.

and dragged him outside.

and he coughed and sneezed and gagged the foam right into my face.

and I joined him in retching.

If you have ever had this experience. I am sorry.

Truly I am.

Smelling a skunk that you pass on the freeway is pleasant.

Compared to this.

bratwurst, covered in sauerkraut, laced with mustard and raw onions, then put into a covered container and baked under a sunlamp for three days.

Doesn't even touch the acrid, chemical, vile, choking effluvium that a skunk sprays.

Dog was Gagging, I was Gagging, the numbers the wife and the MIL were all choking and gasping.

It was awful.

So I dragged Dog over to the communal hose and started to spray him.

The smell got worse.

Other campers started to come out of their tents, and duck back in.

Instant pariahs.

Wife came over carrying all of the cleaning stuff we had.

I dosed the Dog with all of it.

Rinsed him off.

Now he smelled like skunk ass, that had been wiped with a dirty rag.

We argued, what to do?

We discussed myths and legends and facts and killing the dog.........

amazingly, when we agreed on tomato juice as the best alternative.

we were stuck. I mean, Who the hell has tomato juice camping? At o dark o clock?

Insomniac Italians?

The MIL (Mother in law) gets this weird look. I imagine the oracle at Delphi had a similar look when she spoke.

"I don't know what came over me, I just had this feeling, when i was shopping for this trip, I saw it, I hate it, I never drink it, but. I . Bought . A . Whole case............."

At this point I should interject that I had no patience left for the oracular voice.

so i swore, and asked her to please say whatever it was she had bought that she thought might help.


Praise to the bargain shopping gods!

So the case was fetched. And dog was covered in three bottles of spicy V8. I even made him drink a bunch, and snort it and for holy hells sake I covered him in it.

It worked.

It actually killed the smell.


Then I smelled me. I smelled wife.

and I gagged all over again.

We got a bottle each.

i washed my whole self with spicy V8.

i almost wish someone would have taken a picture.

I looked just like


I will never be able to drink spicy V8 again.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This story was told to me tonight.
It made me smile.
“Where did you Get those Boots? I really like them”
I was on my way from one little southern hothouse to another, the truck was running good and I was feeling great. The South was feeling mighty fine just then. I realized that I needed to stop, drop some water off, and pick up some water for me, and some Gas for the truck .It was a needful  situation and one in which I approved. The convenience store that I pulled in to seemed to be  just the spot, I walked in to pay for my gas and realized two things. One, it was a mite bigger on the inside than the out, 2, it was not just a convenience store, it was a CASINO/convenience store!
I walked right on over to the fun part of the store knowing that may truck was parked just in front. Safe as could be.
 I guess.
I stuck 5 dollars in a spinning wheel poker machine, placed the max bet and spun that little bandits arm.
Straight flush.
The lights started to flashing and the whistles and bells to a ringing. Little lady ran right out of the back room, unplugged the machine and opened a door to reveal its guts. She pulled a little printed ticket out from its innards and I walked up to the payout and then out the door.
750.00 dollars richer than when I had a walked in.
Hopped in my truck and started off down the road.
15 miles later I remembered that I had forgotten water, gas and pissing.
So I took the very next exit and pulled into the first place I figured would have a usable toilet.
It was Carlos’s Boot Hacienda, which makes no damn sense in Louisiana but the bathroom seemed fit.
I decided while I was there to treat myself to a new pair of boots, figured a hundred dollars ought to do the trick.
Then I saw these.
I had to have them and they was only ½ of the money the CASINO had just givin me.
Then I got emptied out, filled up the truck and me and sashayed right on out of there.
That was, at least my intent.
I remembered that I was heading to my sister’s house to cook some food and light some fireworks with her children for the fourth of July.
So I pulled into the fireworks store and unloaded my over-full wallet on them for half my winnings worth of fireworks.
Watching those kids, light them fireworks, running around with the lit punks trailing embers and smoke with my new boots on the table in front of me.
Best damn fourth of my whole life.
I guess.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pet Day Part 2

Its taken a month.
26 days or so.
No matter how hard I try I just cant make the rest of pet day sound funny.
It was just too tragical.
The hamster was funny. Especially when Jack started purring and it projectile peed on its owner.
Jacks purr sounds like a broken chainsaw.
The pet little brother was hilarious.
He even had a good repertoire of tricks.
The pretty little cat named Noodle was slightly humorous. Slightly. Very very slightly.
Jack did not care for Noodle. Noodle pretended Jack was a Tasmanian devil.
I felt a little bad when perfect purebred little noodle left a bloody trail of claw marks to the top of its owners head.
Jack laughed.
Really though.
I cant make it sound funny, or happy.
Because it wasn't.
I don't often quote the Bible.
I find it trite.
But this seems apt.
What manner of man among you, when his son asks you for a fish? Gives him a stone?
The last child.
Told us all a very long and sad story about how all she ever wanted was a pet.
She listed them all, Horse down to Cockroach.
She also listed all of her parents reasoning, all of which involved money.
Every single reason was money.
Looking at this parent.
All 400 plus pounds of her balanced on a creaking stool.
Money was not really the issue.
The kid was a natural brightsider though.
She ended her lists of woes with a triumphant, "AND THEN! AFTER MANY YEARS, I FINALLY GOT A PET!"
Proudly then, her parent thing flourished from a sack.
A robot.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pet Day part 1

How do you begin to tell a story that you know without a moments doubt, that no one will believe?
Do you just jump right in and pretend it is some sort of warholish like fiction? Or, do you ease in, like you would into a really hot bath. One toe at a time?
Its a tough call.
Plug your nose kids, its jumping time.
Pet day. SHAZAM! Whomever the genius is that thought up the brilliant idea of a group of 7 year olds bringing their pets to school needs to seek help. Quickly.
I was there, with the Fat Jack. He had gotten heavy so I had placed his bulk on top of the cubby shelf and was busy restraining him.
See, Jack is a rather large cat. Or a stunted cougar. Tough to say. He thinks he can take any canine that breathes. 
For the most part, seeing the various rodents masquerading as dogs being bundled into the class I would agree. There is not the Chihuahua or Pekingese or Toy Poodle alive that could take Jack. However, when the hound of the Baskervilles started roaring inside the classroom I saw Jack look a wee nervous.
When the skinny little white boy with his pretty collection of prison tats dragged a slavering pit bull out of the room even Jack was a bit taken aback. It seemed a bit, shall we say, NOT FAMILY FRIENDLY to bring an obvious fighting dog to pet day. The owner of the Great Pyrenees that it was fighting looked almost angry.
 If the veins traveling down his forehead and neck were any indication, he was near to an aneurysm.
I couldn't say I blamed him, honestly, here he was with his 200 plus pound puppy getting its ass kicked by an 60 pound Pitt. I would have been embarrassed too.
They were fighting around my ankles and legs by now and Jack was asking if I would care to wager on the outcome. It was looking bad for the pyrnees. So, very calmly, I kicked the pit in its swinging sack as hard as i could. I followed that with a stiff push to the chest of meth-boy and another calm kick to the head of the pitt.
My calmness prevailed.
After a few sweet muttered words meth-boy and his loyal canine companion left. Jack flipped a nonchalant paw in their direction, and I sped them along with a calm smile.
Leaving us alone in the hall. Jack, myself, the great prnyese and the blushing owner of said puppy.
200 pounds of goofy dog chose this moment to make friends with The Fat Jack.
It was turning into, bring your too dumb to live animal to school day.
Puppy lurched up on its hind legs to stick a friendly nose in The Fat Jacks general direction. Jack hissed, popped and with a casual swipe, split the damn dogs nose.
As the owner was being dragged into an inglorious retreat he asked me if I had trapped a damn Bobcat.
I sighed.
He really is a rather large kitty.
I was watching the retreat when my eye was trapped by something weird. A back pack, down the hall, hanging by its hook under the cubby shelf was moving. It was swinging back and forth in a very curious way.
A small gap appeared in the zipper area of the pack. This gap was then filled by the snout of a very large rat. Or, at least, thats what it appeared to be.
Until it unzipped the backpack all the way and jumped down. Tail wagging and its giant buggy eyes burning with a self satisfied glint. It was Pepe! The Chiuaha.
 He looked confused.
I was confused.
The school nurse, walking down the hall was confused.
Jack was Bored.
The school nurse looked at me, quizzically. 
At this point her guess was as good as mine. Pepe chose this moment to pee.
I am positive that it actually peed more water then it weighed.
I was impressed.
School nurse was not impressed.
Jack was amused. 
She snatched up the dog mid-shake and marched into the nearest classroom.
And marched right out again when she was met by a chorus of howls, barks, caterwauls and one or two squeaks.
Than on to the next classroom. 
Moments later, she reappeared dragging the recalcitrant owner of the grande escape artiste Pepe to the Principals lounge.
Several very tense minutes passed.
Jack Farted.
The principal came out of the lounge, leading Little girl by the hand. Little girl in turn on her very grubby little hands firmly clenched on the bright pink string she had used for the fat jack.
Justice of a sort.
All this. Before Jack and I had even left the hall.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our furry friends


Except me.
As you may, or may not know, I have a cat. His name is Fat Jack and for the most part.
 He is a bad ass.
He was the first Feline to be Issued a man card.
He likes his women and his food ready and waiting for him.
He sounds like Barry White. (But I am the only one that can hear him)
He had a staring contest with Chuck Norris and not only did He win, he went to Chuck's house after and peed on all of his sunglasses.
Fat Jack is a pretty cool dude.
He got his name because, well, he is fat. 25 pounds of lean mean sleeping machine.
A few weeks ago he Jumped a full size Raccoon.
From the sounds of things it was apparent that Jack had been leisurely eating his midnight snack out on the front porch and Vladimir the coon came sauntering over.

Thats when Jack jumped him.

Thats when the coon got a hold of Fat Jack and bit a coon sized mouthful right out of his ass.

Thats when Tom shot Vladimir.

You get the Picture?

Cause now a couple of weeks have gone by and Fat Jack is all but healed. He lives outside so I haven't worried too much about the blood clots and dried yuck and coon spittle all over his fur.
At least.
Not till yesterday.
That was when Child #2 informed me that Friday is the "GREATEST DAY EBER!!!!!"
Pet Day.
and she was going to be taking Fat Jack cause he is the coolest most famous cat eber.


He needs a bath.
I had never bathed a cat before.
I have seen movies of lions swimming rivers with little lionets in their mouths, and I have seen the sister in laws Russian Van Kitty happily playing under a running faucet, so I figured it would be simple. Easier than the dog anyway.
I mean, geez, he may be THE FAT JACK, but he is still just a little kitty.
I should have a theme song. Something like "Tom is dumb, he is just dumb, he is really really dumb" and just insert it into the soundtrack during these moments.

I filled the tub up with about four inches of warm water and had #2 standing by with the Johnsons baby soap, perfect for babys and kitties.
Then I grabbed Fat Jack and
pay attention here it goes pretty fast
I tried to set him in the water but those ten, inch long razor tipped weapons of death started spinning at mach 8 or so and his 25 pound body proved to have not an ounce of fat on him as he turned and yowled and spit and snarled and twisted and turned and somehow jammed his paws, all four of them, onto the side of the tub as I pushed him towards the water.
At this point he began to scream for help and his Buddy, my yellow-bellied neurotic IBS afflicted Mr. Dog ran in and bit me on the leg.
Then Jack gave me a little love bite on the wrist.
So he earned a moments grace while I slammed the door of the bathroom with the dog in the hall and me and Jack and #2 in the bathroom. She is still standing ready, holding the soap, giant tears running down the sides of her face.
I was hurting her Kitty.
Here I thought that the damn cat was kicking my ass, silly me.
So I manned up, looked at the spot where Jacks used to be, and dunked him.
then I held him while #2 dumped the entire bottle of soap on him. I figured, why stint?
I was holding him still with one hand and soaping the gross of off him, all was well.
Then he started crying.
Not soft manly sobs either.
he was wailing, sobbing, heart broken and letting the entire world know it.
#2 joined in, then Mr. Dog, never one to pass the chance, chorused in with Howling from the hall.
This went on. Through the soaping and the rinsing of the cat.
He even continued as I lifted him up out of the water and wrapped him in a dry towel.
At which point he did three things.
Bit me, farted and then started purring.
He lost his man card.
The women are gonna make him do some chasing for a while.
and worst of all.
Late late last night.
Chuck Norris called.
He wants a rematch.
                                                                                love taps

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

And the wall, wins.

Whats the worst pain you have ever felt?
Mommies, no fair bringing up the whole birth thing. That's a hands down winner.
Give the rest of us non-mommies a chance and think of the NEXT worst pain you have ever felt?

Whats the silly little law? The one that states something to the effect of  "an object in motion will stay in motion unless it pisses a bigger object off who then stops its motion with a well placed forearm?" Anyone? Bueller?
I forget the law, in fact, the immutable laws of physics have always seem to stretch a little bit for me.
But not always.
I was once running away from this really big scary person with white blonde curly hair. I am pretty sure it was female, either that or a guy with very high estrogen level wearing a sheepskin hat, and I know that whatever it was chasing me for was more than likely well deserved.
Actually. It was going rather well.
I was 10 or so and fleet of foot, especially when terrified. The sheep-thing was screaming at me and looked really scary so I was making  good time towards home. I had just about hit 88 miles an hour and turned around to see if my feet were kicking up flames when a giant brick wall jumped out of nowhere and smacked me in the head.
It was extraordinary. One second I was moving at light-speed through the sir, my feet barely touching the ground and the next.

The sky looks really pretty when it spins.
The sheep was nice enough to let bygones be bygones and carried me home.
Sheep must have known about my parents aversion to livestock because it left me on the front porch in a pile of Tom and doorbell ditched.
That wall kicked my ass.
Fast forward. I am a grown-up man. Married, with children and a dog.
My dad calls and says "Hey! Your Uncle Bill's water heater went out. Go and stick a new one in for him."
He was The Boss at this point, so I hopped to it and bustled over to Uncle Bill's.
I know just enough about a lot of things to get really hurt.
Keep that in mind.
I had cut the old heater out, schlepped it outside, grunted the new one in and was just in the process of soldering all the joints together.
Quick plumbing tutorial. Back in Ye Olde days before PEX we used to have to use flux and solder and propane or mapp gas torches to stick the copper plumbing pipes together. New construction was fairly quick and painless but remove and replace was always an adventure.
Now, the Solder is a mixture of two metals (Antimony and Tin) that both have a fairly low melting point, the heat combined with the flux you spread on the joints creates a vacuum and pulls the molten solder inside the joint.
Did you catch the word MOLTEN, as in HOT!

So, I was working on the last joint, it was above my head but being a safety conscious young fellow I had safety glasses on. Well, safety conscious and still paying for the surgery to remove metal splinters from my eye...... Another story.
The glasses were kinda fogged up so I did not see the large drop of MOLTEN solder that dripped off of the pipe and landed on my lip. My upper lip. Just to the right of the little divot thingy I have.
I screamed.
 Like ten little girls all at once. High and piercing, shattering glass for miles, Dolphins around the world heard me and wondered who had just gone to the big glass bowl in the sky, Millions of bats were blinded forever and I have  unconfirmed report of two submarines colliding with a giant underwater spaceship sent by future us back in time.
It hurt.
Living the life I have led developed two things, a fear of water and a high pain tolerance.
This hurt.
 I can honestly say that it was the most concentrated single spot of pain I have ever experienced. This from a man who as a wee boy zipped his wee-wee into his corduroys.
Solder melts fairly fast, it also cools fairly fast. But not fast enough. I was screaming and laughing and the glasses were fogged and I could not really think. It was more of instinct. Running really fast upstairs to the sink, hoping for an ice cube, hoping for a fairy freaking godmother, anything. I was blazing up the stairs as fast as I could, screaming in gasps now but still at a very high pitch.
I reached for the door handle just as my Uncle Bill opened it from the other side.
I didn't even slow down.
That wall jumped out and hit me right on the head.
Even after the ice cube melted and Uncle Bill kindly picked the now solid solder out of my lip with a needle, I  really had only one thought.
That wall kicked my ass.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh hell

In some countries, by the calendar, I am considered an "Adult"
In a few more days or so I think I can safely say that I have lived more of my life than I have left.
Neither of which is a very comforting thought.
I am a Father.
I have two children that I refer too variously as 1 and 2, and "the NUMBERS' and I realize that I should be mindful of this and act appropriately.
Bull pucky says I.
If I feel the need to Juggle fruit in the grocery store, have a skipping or spitting contest or impromptu wrestle or sword-fight in the toy store.
I will.
By age only.
Cultural definitions be dammed straight to Sheol.
That being said I had a very uncomfortable deep thought today.
Trust me, it was not on purpose.
#1, who is 13 and in middle school said Something to the Wife today.
"You and Dad may have crappy Jobs and think they are stressful, but you should really try middle school. Its MUCH worse"
My first reaction, on hearing this was to scoff, what does she know about bills and jobs and kids and car payments and children and spouses and all the other innumerable bullshit that is part and parcel of being a "Grown up".
Pshaw said I.
Then I had one of those highly damming spells of realization.
And memory.
I remembered middle school.
Really remembered it.
The fears and Pain and Heartache and Puberty and not being invited to the party and not quite knowing what to do and having a girlfriend and best-friends and fighting and My Grandpa dying and my Uncle Ron dying and Jamin dying and grades and math and wood-shop and ..........
All of it.
I sat still and remembered all of it.
Then I had another realization.
This one was far more painful.
All of those stresses I deal with?
Now, as an Adult.
So do 1 and 2.
As children.
They are not deaf and Dumb, nor are they Blind or obtuse.
They know whats going on.
They hear the fights and see the anger. They feel the sadness and the pain of Adult life by watching the two they love the most go through it all.
They not only have all of their stresses, they have all of ours too.
My typical response?
"I dealt with it, so can they"
Why? I asked myself today. Is this some sort of bizarre hazing ritual that we all consciously and unconsciously practice?
I had to do it, so should they?
Maybe some of it is unavoidable.
People are shit for the most part.
But as a parent of a wee human should not my Job be to see that they have it better and easier than I?
So that they can grow up to be a better and more complete person than I?

I hope so.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Apple Tree

It started simply. The very best stories always do.
I wanted money.
When you are twelve and want money your options are pretty limited.
I already worked for my dad, Mowing lawns and pulling weeds and cutting fence slats with a hacksaw, but I wanted a desk job.
So I checked out a book from the library "101 ways to make money"
That book was FULL of useful information.
Rolling your own fire logs, selling them door to door. Window cleaning, Puppy poop pickup, sawdust collection, resale candy bought in bulk.
That book was full of something all right.
It did teach me a valuable lesson. If you want to make a lot of money, write a book on how to do something, Like.........
"How to make a lot of money!!!"
What a pile of steaming green road apples.
So I looked about, to find a less physically demanding job and I came across a sign "Bart’s Big Worms" . He sold them to fishermen who were too lazy to catch their own.
So back to the library I went.
How to grow earthworms at home for fun and profit.
Just what I needed.
I read the book, and in a frenzy of activity made my earthworm habitat and breeding ground, I knew when I buried that five gallon bucket and filled it with a mixture of dirt and sphagnum moss that I was on my way to trump-like millions.
I spent a long and muddy night catching as many crawlers as I could. At the end of which I released all 8 of them into their brand new custom made climate controlled delicious tasting guaranteed to breed worms of prodigious even by Australian standards earthworm habitat.
I watched them all burrow into their new home and imagined I could hear the sound of contented sod busters chewing themselves into a food induced breeding frenzy.
AND THEN......
I forgot all about it.
For a couple of months.
Work was too much of a drain on my time.
That and Basketball, Baseball and Thinking of new ways to torment Justin and or his sisters.
This took more time than you would think. He had A LOT of sisters.
My Mom brought it to my attention.
It stank. Badly.
Just as advertised the decomposing moss and lose dirt had degraded into a vitamin rich mulch like substance and settled into the bottom foot of the Five gallon bucket, Unlike the poster however my prime wriggly habitat had collected a foot or so of scummy brownish water.
It stank.
So I bent closer to see if perhaps it was just as bad up close.
It was. It was also alive with little tiny wiggly things.
Sea Monkeys?
Nope. (the water tasted different.)
So my budding young mad scientist mind did the only thing possible. I looked them up in my Mutual of Omaha wild kingdom guide to insects placed on individually printed glossy color photographic note cards and discovered two things.
1) That they were Mosquito larvae
2) That they possibly carried diseases and should be eradicated.
After a visit to the dictionary and an encyclopedia I discovered that I was supposed to kill them, and that the best way was to pour a petroleum Product on top of the water.
Gasoline is a petroleum Product.
I topped off the bucket with the can from the garage, and since the encyclopedia had been a little vague as to how the petroleum was supposed to actually KILL the little malaria carries I hove-to about twenty feet and started chucking lit matches at it. (I was not completely stupid!)
 (OK, maybe I was)
Did you know that when 2 gallons of gas (2 1/2 or so) sitting in a bucket 1/2 full of water and decomposing moss, 3 billion mosquito larvae, and a handful of soggy matches, encounters a flaming match the AIR above it.......
It explodes.
I felt Like Moses.
There was a 20 foot high pillar of freaking fire.
Running about, bumping into trees and tripping over bushes and howling a little bit, come to think of it, I bet Moses did EXACTLY the same thing.
He probably even peed a little.
Salt did not put it out (out of baking soda) and when I threw a shovelful of dirt on it, flaming blobs of stickier than boogers and  1/2 rotted flaming moss splashed unto the apple tree, and the fence.
This Bush Burned.
And it was consumed.
So was the fence.
Luckily for me Uncle Buck (His Real name) lived next door, seeing flames leaping grandly into the air he heroically stuck his head over the fence "HOLY SHIT TOMMY" was followed by a mighty leap and a quick dousing of the conflagration.
I told my mom and dad the whole story.
Beginning to end.
George Washington and his lame cherry tree has got nothing on me.
Besides, I had to tell them before Uncle Wally (That’s Buck) did, then I would have been in deep shit.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I am a PIRATE!

I really am.
I can prove it.
I have pictures and everything.

Its goes like this.
My parents own a pontoon boat, and really, for being nothing more than a floating floor it is a lot of fun.
we would go up and tow it to one of the lakes, float around a bit, splash, fish and get sunburned.
Fun time for all.
It was a floating floor with a motor.
The motor was sporadic.
My family believes in the buddy system.
If something is broke, or someone is hurt you call around to all your buddies to seek advice.
Invariably someone knows someone or your buddy goes green when he sees that your thumb is actually split in half and you get to get something fixed, or go to the ER.
I absolutely despise the buddy system.
Hate it.
Nothing ever gets fixed right when its a buddy doing the fixing, and a buddy of a buddy? Even worse. They always cut corners.
And waiting 6 hours with a split in half thumb to go to the ER, sucks.
So the tooners motor was a bit sporadic, sometimes it works, sometimes it dont.
This is how I became a Pirate, so I cant really complain.
It makes a fun story.
As a side note, its an odd thing how the things that make me the maddest are what make others laugh the hardest? Its a flaw in me.
The wife and I had it down to a science, the unloading of the boat. I would back it in, she would hop in the tooner, I would chuck in the kids and the victuals and then push off the boat, jump into the truck and park the truck and the trailer.
Wife would motor around to the dock and I would step on and off we would go.
Putting the tooner away after a bright day was the reverse, motor to the dock, Tom (thats me) steps off and runs to get truck and trailer while wife motors around to pull the boat in as I back the trailer into the water.
Today we had the nephews with us, good toe heads both of them. spent the whole day out getting sunburned, swearing (just me) at the lack of fish and splashing around.
It was a fantastic day.
A day of good memories.

But, storm clouds gathered and it was time to go.
So we started the routine.
Motor to dock, Tom jumps off, runs to get the truck and waits in line with all the other uber efficient types waiting to get their boats out of the rapidly roughening lake.
I get the trailer in the water and, no tooner. No wife and kids, no nephews.
So I looked, and looked, and grabbed the binoculars from some lame fat dude and looked.
And found them.
Halfway across the damn lake.
No other boats around.
(this is my favorite part)
I Parked the truck and the trailer and went running down to the dock, I ran to the end of the dock just as a young kid in a brand new boat was stepping on to the dock to tie his boat off.
I grabbed the rope, pushed the kid back on to the boat and hopped on after him.
"Hi, You arrrrgh going to take me out to that boat (point at the tooner) and tow it in for me."
I said this with my biggest most friendly smile
the kid and his five kid passengers sort of froze.
the kid I had gently led back on to the boat said "a a a a a are you stealing our boat?"
he stuttered, poor kid.
I said
"Oh HELL NO! I am just commandeering it"
Maybe my rollicking laughter at this point was a bit of overkill, but Hey, its what we pirates do.
By the time we got out to the tooner my hostages (ride) were getting into the spirit of the thing. The wee little boys were huddled protectively around the wee little female and casting mutinous glances in my direction. I was standing on the point of the boat, if I had had boobs I would have made a kick ass hood ornament thingy.
The wife and kids were valiantly trying to start the tooner, the toe heads were ? Paddling ? but the paddles did not quite reach the water, so really they were just splashing.
But they felt good about themselves.
The captain, the stuttering boy wonder, hollered, "AHOY THE BOAT" and I stepped gracefully on to the floating floor.
Oh the cleverness of me.
I still had his rope, which was tied to his boat.
and they were fresh out of boarding axes.
So they towed us back.
Arrrgh. I sang sea chanteys all the way home.
Pirate hat arrrgh

Friday, March 25, 2011


I cant cook.
I failed Home economics remember?
The last time I made breakfast for the #s I used powdered something instead of powdered the other.
Then I made them eat it.
After I had screamed and yelled and forced them to eat three bites each, I sat down and took a bite.
It made me gag, which made #2 throw up, which made #1 spew, which made a mess for me to clean up.
In lieu of an actual apology, I took them to Marie Calendars.
I suck.
So when I decided to cook dinner I tried to keep it a secret.
I figured I could always tell them a neighbor brought it over and feed it to the dog if it was too bad.
But what to make?
Something simple obviously.
With Jam?
I could always garnish (food channel word) it with canned corn.
It was a conundrum. So I Googled it.
I was directed to millions of  blogs, all about cooking. Most of them displaying food porn in abundance.
All of the recipes sounded intricate and complex.
What in the Hell is plating? Braise? Glaze?
Not in my vocabulary these words.
At least not for food.
So I looked on my phone. And found this thing called "BIG OVEN" simple recipes for families.
Under "Easy" I found a recipe for Chicken Enchiladas.
Win win.
Of to the store to buy the ingredients. (thats the food stuff)
I found it all, but I was starting to think that whomever wrote the recipe was an idiot.
oh, wait.
Whoever wrote the recipe was WRITING it for idiots! That actually just occurred to me.
So I got all the stuff and headed home.
Then I destroyed the kitchen.
It started when I had to boil the chicken boobs.
Boiling chicken boobs is boring as Hell.
So I decided to skip to the next step whilst the mammary's were marinading.
Open the can of Cream of Mushroom and plop it into a pot, a small pot.
Open up the can Of Cream of Chicken and plop it into a pot. a big pot.
Then cover the bottom of a pan, a really big pan, with olive oil and turn it on high to cook the raw tortilla things.
Are you keeping track?
My stove thing has four burner things on top, each  of these was now occupied with a kitchen vessel full of water,fowl tits, mush,mush and oil.
Did you know that when the steam from the water and mush evaporates and drops into the boiling oil it splatters?
And it HURTS!
So, i quickly chucked  a tortilla on the oil, and started stirring the mush.
Then the boobs started boiling.
It was at this point I forgot the instructions and just started making stuff up.
Hot salsa, quickly stirred into grey mush.
Mild salsa quickly stirred into brown mush.
Flip Tortilla.
Half a can of boiling breast water into each can of mush.
Flip tortilla.
Swear break to run burned fingers under cold water.
Flip tortilla.
Colby jack cheese,  two small handfuls stirred into mushes.
Flip tortilla
Grab hot boobies, scream, drop them back into boiling cauldron of death and then grab tong things.
flip tortillas
use tongs to grab mams, shred them up
mix them into mush. 1 1/2 boobs per pot.
Throw burnt tortilla to the ground for dog.
Flip tortilla.
Find glass dish. Discard for size. Find bigger glass dish.
Turn on oven to 200.
Flip Tortilla.
Put done tortillas into dish.
Find spoon
Flip tortilla

Fill up done tortillas with mush, roll them up and put them in dish
five with hot salsa mush
five with mild salsa mush
(brown and grey)
Dump steaming water down sink.
Through the cloud of steam see lonely forgotten can of enchilada sauce.
Full Stop.
Now what?
The instructions were no help at all.
I had left them behind long ago.
Dump can of enchilada Sauce into what is left of brown mush, bring it to a boil.
Dump it over the top of enchilada things and then cover them with shredded mexican four cheese blend bag you find in the fridge.
Turn to discover #1 and #2 staring with wide eyes at the destruction of a clean kitchen.
Forget about blaming neighbors.
Pop whole damn thing in the oven.
After 15 minutes turn oven to broil to melt stubborn cheese on top.
Take out of oven.
Take a deep breath.
Serve it to the three pickiest eaters on the planet.
They Loved it.
Had seconds.
And nobody got sick.
I rock.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To Fly

I dropped my children off at school this day.
Finally a beautiful spring day after a long and droopy winter.
#1 walked to the door of her school, looking so very grown up.
Breaks my heart into tiny little pieces to see her so Beautiful. Happy little pieces yes, but shattered nonetheless.

#2 starts school a little later, and gets out a little later. She explained to me yesterday that starting later is fair, "#1 has a lot more to learn there at the big school, my little school just teaches little things"
She has a point. I guess.
In true #2 fashion she also added "But we should get out of schools at the same times, Dont they knows we needs to plays together?"
She has a point.
I shall be informing the school board post-haste.
She really does talk like that, by the way. #1 talks like an adult, actually better then most adults. She far surpasses me.
#2 surpasses everyone, she speaks her own language.

I watched her this morning.
There is a small hill that slopes down to her school yard.
An asphalt track runs down it on a gentle angle, most kids just walk down the path.
Not so, #2.
I watched her today. Backlit by the rising sun.
She stood at the top of the path, saying nothing to any one. She adjusted her school bag and unzipped her coat.
Very deliberatly then, she stepped off the asphalt path.
Put her hands in her pockets, spread her wings and flew straight down the hill.
I could see her swooping and gliding, the wind blowing hard today giving her that extra height she needed to clear the curb. She used her momentum from the flight to glide in and out of the other children. Whriling and diving in and out of the cliuques and the single children, she flew circles around them all.
I saw her land perfectly at the end of a line, knees slightly bent to take the gentle shock of returning to earth.
She smiled in disdain as she slowly took her hands from her pockets and zipped her wings away.
Silly Humans.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I try to keep this blogthing fun.
Or at least entertaining.
I got to thinking last night.
About going faster.

The weekend after I got the motorcycle I have now, I went on a ride with my Cousins.
Just a short little jaunt.
I still had the salesman's admonition to "Take it Easy until She is broken in" which meant nothing over 80ish for the first 100 miles or so, ringing in my head.
So I was taking it easy.
We got to a gas station, 78 miles from home.
Not too far, about 1/2 way on our little journey.
I checked my phone.
1215 PM.
There were three missed calls from the wife.
So I called.
The reception was horrible.
I heard "Has  gone into anaphalactic shock and the ambulance is on its way" I caught number 1s name a few times so I knew it was her.
42 minutes later I walked into the Hospital and was Holding their hands when the Doc gave #1 an epi shot.
Last night I got thinking about speed. Not just the speed at which we travel, but the speed in which we live.
SO many crises, so many things.
Just a random little thought.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Alligators are FUN

Nothing ever turns out the way I expected. I suspect that this is either because I expect the impossible and/or I am Gods designated one man comedy show.
A short example would be spray foam insulation.
Everyone else in the world presses the top and the foam comes out.
I had a can explode in my face and almost kill me.
This is irony.
It was also hilarious.
I just remembered something.
It is a little Irony and a lot of stupidity.
You see, I lived in the south for a few years. They have alligators there. I have since learned that to alligators, we (You, humans) are nothing more or less then food.
I knew this then, but I don’t think you ever really KNOW this until some animal has tried to eat you.
Its humbling.
A friend of mine and his father owned an alligator farm.  The theory was, to raise alligators for their skins and meat. The practice was, they couldint get the right permits to sell the hides and steaks so they were just feeding them until they did.
They asked me  ”ifn I warnted to gos and feed them gators”
Of COURSE I did. Shazam! Feeding Gators! How cool is that?
It sucked.
I had no idea that in order to feed the Gators we would first have to get the gator-chow.
It comes prepackaged with feathers.
Dead Chickens.
I drove a 1 ton dump truck to 20 different farms, Egg farms, to gather up and load all of the chickens that had died that week.
A one week dead chicken that has been steaming in Alabama July for a week is an olfactory joy. If you are a rabid mentally unstable red tick coon hound.
To all other sentinent creatures it smells.
Then off to the gator farm to feed the livestock.
Simple process, you dump the chickens and chuck them to the gators.
Did you know that when Gators get fed a lot they get big? I mean like really big? I guess an average gator is right around 8-9 feet long, these old boys were pushing twelve. They would hiss and snap and pop those chickens the way you or I would pop a grape. It was something I should probably tell my therapist about. If I had one.
Once the frenzy was over the owner, smiling wide enough that I could see his tooth, asked me If I would do just one more thing, since I was already there?
Sure. I mean, no problem Cleetus! Or whatever his name was.
He asked me ifn (is that really a word?) I would drive round the whole 12 acres and see ifn (crap) I could spot any dead gators. You gots to gets the skins offn em pretty gol-durned quick. I guess.
So, me and the kid (thats what they all called him, I am not sure ifn his name was “Kid” or he was just the youngest? he was about 45)
drove off to seek dead gators. I really wanted to find one. I had seen live gators, now I wanted to see a dead one.
Truth be told, I really wanted to touch one. I dont know why, I was very curious in my 20s.
And lo….. WE FOUND ONE! I was so excited! The kid was too, even though he didnt even blink, or smile, or move, or even glance at the dead Gator. I KNEW he was excited. Who wouldint be?!?!?
I knew it was dead because its fore legs and head were under water and its rear legs and tail were stretched up on the bank.
I watched it for 15 minutes. It didnt move, no bubbles, not a twitch. It was dead.
So I went to touch its tail.
Perfect chance, and every boys dream, touch a dead gator tail.
Just one second, what in the HELL was wrong with me?
Like I was saying, perfect chance.
I had it all planned out, I was going to saunter on down, bend, touch its tail, have the Kid snap a picture for proof and saunter back.
easy peasy.
this is the ironic part.
That stupid chicken eating reptilian ass-dodger was faking.
Faking. as in, not dead.
I bent down to touch its tail and a very small part of my brain screamed “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!!!!”
That part of my brain picked up a rock and threw it at the Gators head.
We, that part of my Brain and I, were watching the rock slowly drift through the swamp water to the gators head
Its jaws snapped one inch from my face.
That fast.
I jumped straight back and straight up and landed on the hood of the car.
The Gator threw itself into the water and began to thrash and roll in a circle.
I think it thought it had got me.
I sat, very quietly and contemplated the irony of the situation.
The Kid, laconic and stoic, and I thought;  Mute.
Laughed so Hard I think he did himself an injury.
Tis ironic.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A bit Chilly

THIS is my brother.
He kicks ass.
We are only 14 or so days apart and we don't look anything at all alike, I cant figure out if my Dad is his Dad or his Dad is my Dad? Since both of our Dads would Kick my ass I am not going to ask.
Neither will Shane.
We went on the Polar Bear Ride today.
For those of youse who don't indulge in freedom,aka, motorcycle riding. I shall explain.
The PBR is when a bunch of Motor Cycles and their Riders get together in the early spring and ride their motorcycles, try to keep warm, and show the world just how freaking awesome they are.
Cows around the world dread this Day.
(think about it)
Its a bit chilly.
My Genius wife kindly informed me right before we left this morning that with wind chill added in we would be riding in approximatively -2.
My other brother Darrell has been riding this ride with me for 6 years, but he was in Canada for work.
I bet he was sad.
Although Canada does have those cool loonies and toonies......
We left early and Shane forgot the cardinal rule about riding with Tom.
Dont Follow Tom.
NOT if you have a specific destination you want to arrive at.
I have the direction sense of a spoiled mango, I can barely feel gravity.
So we (I) got lost and we were late for the start.
Essentially we pulled up at the starting point just as the biggest group (3-400) was leaving. We had to pull in with the second group.
The second group was lame.
They were actually going the speed limit.
So when the DEMON DAMSELS passed us on the left I just tagged along.
I dont know if that was the name of their group, but they all had spiffy back patches that had a kneeling topless women on them.
They were all a bit on the large side.
One of them had a purse flying straight out behind her like a cape, she was my personal favorite.
The leader, a strapping lass, had about 6 inches of angry frozen red ass-crack showing.
She also had these weird hand signals, If I did not know any better I could have sworn she was calling to circle the wagons. Pretty sure it meant "EVIL MEN IN OUR MIDST" cause they took off.
Really Fast.
So I passed them with a cheery one finger wave and ventured ahead.
Shane pulled up next to me at this point.
He is a good brother.
We got to the Midway Point.
We got mauled by a mascot.
I did anyway.
This stuffed eagle in a leather Jacket ran up and Hugged me.
I don't know.
But the evil characters at Disneyland want to hug me as well.
There is a pattern here.

So Shane and I pow wowed and decided to go back to my house and play rock-band.
We couldn't feel our hands or faces anyways.

So we left.
and rode back.

It was a lot more fun then that.
We were riding back, Just us.
we got passed by a Corvette. acceptable.

we got passed by a mini-van. bearable

we got passed by a chevy aveo. HELL NO!

and as the driver of the cute little aveo passed us he gave me this look, the look I have always interpreted as "Please sir, I am in need of someone smashing my face with their fist, are you available?"
So we passed him. Then the mini-van.
I saw the vette.
and he saw me.
I will spare my wife any worry by avoiding telling you, dear reader, how fast 120 feels like.
Its so cool.
The wind blowing the other direction actually made it very difficult to hold my "I am a Bad ASS" pose as I passed the vette. But hey. It hurts to be cool. :)
Then Shane pulled up next to me.
Its good to have brothers that kick ass.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Licence to Practice

I hate going to the Doctor.
All they are going to give me is bad news, or at the very least soften the blow of bad news with a little good news.
"Yes Tom. you are broken but you have remarkable bone density for a man in his 50s"
Yeah?.? Its too bad I am 37.
It started when I dislocated my elbow. I had been on an arm wrestling binge and finished it out by loading concrete bags into a truck. Midway through a throw my elbow popped and my arm flopped uselessly on the end of a stab of pain.
Followed by more pain from laughing.
I promise, when you are throwing a 90 pound bag of concrete and completely by accident knock a fellow co-worker ass-over teakettle when it thumps him in the back, the look on his face is FUNNY!
When I recovered enough to apologize I flopped my arm in the direction of the car and had Franz drive Jared and I to the Clinic. Me, I was hoping he could just re-joint my elbow. Jared, well. Lets just say that as funny as it was, I was hoping for permanent brain damage. Sadly, he was completely OK. Which really was too bad.
 Cause I owed him money and I was hoping for at least some memory loss.
The Wife got there to sit with me and drive me home after the Doc fixed my floppy arm. It was taking a long time. Once the Doc found out that I was injured at work he discovered 3 new and previously unused machines that he just had to try.
Practicing his Medicine no doubt.
After the third life sucking torture device had been applied he came into the room and using the newest and most refined techniques on the cutting edge of medical practice, grabbed my hand and yanked.
I didn't pee myself. Just barely.
When I had recovered my composure to the point where I was able to wipe the drool off of my chin my very own self, he explained.
Doctor: Sorry about the pain, but I find its easier to just go for it. Too much talk and people have a tendency to tense up.
Me: mmmmphgahhhh
Wife: Thats ok, he is Tough. Is his elbow back into place?
Me: ackkk ackkk pthllbbbb
Doctor: Is he Ok?
Did I mention that I was drooling? From the Pain?
Dislocating was bad, relocating was 10 times worse.
The doctor did as Doctors do and pulled out a wad of test results and X-rays.
explain, explain, explain, blah blah blah blah and then the punch line....
"You know, when you construction worker types get into your 40s you really need to slow down,"
Wife:  um?
Me: achk achkkk acckhh I am 27 Asshole"
Doctor: Oh. oh my.
I guess I should not have expected much. I do look old, I realize this. Even then I did have access to a mirror. But it still stung a wee bit.
I hate going to the Doctor, they never have good news.
This past couple of years I have been developing pain. Cultivating it in my spare time. I was waiting for it to get huge enough to stand a chance of winning at the annual "Idiot Fair" Held in Des Moines.
Before I could even fill out the entry form the wife had made an appointment for me to see the Doc.
Oh well.
So I went in and gave him the litany.
It hurts here and here and here. But it really hurts here.
So, I guess they still haven't paid off the machines since I was here ten years ago. Cause they put me through all of them again. This time I got a full body deal.
Maybe there was a special?
Sitting in the waiting room with The Wife, waiting for the Doctor.
No doubt he was in the hall, practicing.
After an hour or six of waiting he comes in with enough paperwork and X rays that he apparently needed three assistants to help him carry it.

The Doc and Larry, Moe and Shemp crowded around the room and looked at me.
Waiting for Curly.
Curly arrived with a tray.
The music switched from calming new age to an ominous techno beat.
Before any one could say anything I blurted into the semi-silence
 "I am only 37"
The Doc and the stooges appeared flummoxed.
The Doc Cleared his adenoids and began...
"Did you play pro-football?"
um, no.
"Do you play competitive Rugby?"
HAH! no.
"Have you been in a high speed motorcycle or car accident in which you were ejected from the vehicle?"
um, not that I remember.
and they all looked at each other. Glances of concern from the stoodges and a worried little crease appearing on the doctors botoxed brow...
"You appear to be very healthy. Its just that."
and a very long pause.
"Well, to put it bluntly, You have the body of a retired rodeo clown."
I hate Doctors.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Black Irish

The title is misleading.
Tough tittie schmitty said the kitty.

This is actually an excerpt from a book I scribbled called "My Life as an Apron"
about my 10 years in Retail.

Things got boring pretty quick.
We had managed to hide pretty much all the evidence at this point and nothing was left to do except work.
Work, as all of us know, is to be avoided at all costs. So I started teaching the boys some Man Games.
My Uncle Hack invented Man Games, and I will glady kick the ass of anyone who says different.
His favorite was a manly feat of strength with a 20 lb sledge hammer and a beer.
It goes like this.
You hold the Beer in your Left hand.
With your right your grab the very end of the handle on a 20 pound sledge. (15 lb min)
You hoist the hammer up to shoulder height and hold your arm straight out from your body.
Without bending your arm or dropping it from below shoulder level you lower the head of the hammer down until it touches your nose.
Without bending your arm or lowering it at all you raise the hammer back up to starting position.
Then you drink the Beer.
Hack could do this all night. Sitting down.
I could do it three times.
Just enough to show the kids, then repeat. Then the "oh Yeah!"
Kelly tried first.
It was not a catostophic failure, but it was a near thing.
After his first try I made them hold their left hand in front of their faces to catch the Hammer when they dropped it.
We didnt have any Beer anyways.
Our Boss, Eric the Black irish came up and saw what we were doing.
Notably not impressed he growled at me to "Put the Hammer back and the rest of you monkeys get back to work".
He walked with me to the end of the store to put the Hammer back.
As soon as we were out of sight of the boys he asked me to show him how to do it. Then he demanded to know the trick.
The trick?
Try a lifetime of manuel labor.
Some trick.
So he had to give it a whril.
I really did try and talk him out of it. Eric the Black Irish was my favorite boss of all save one, and I still felt bad about beating him in the arm-wrestle.
Oh well.
I talked him into going down to the 15 lb from the 20.
This was a very good thing.
He refused to put his hand in front of his face and when his arm gave out he was not as Fast or as lucky as Kelly.
15 pounds of hammer dropped from two feet right between the eyes.
His head bouncing of the concrete floor would have hurt too.
had he been concious.
I thought it had killed him.
So I wiped my prints from the hammer and re-racked it
A demonstration, by me :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Making Loud noises

Ever blown anything up?
I am not talking about firecrackers.
For those of you that have known me for a long time, you were probably aware of this. For those of you who are just meeting me here ya go.
I like to blow stuff up.
Or as I shall refer to it henceforth "make really loud noises" to avoid being put on any sort of watch list.
Let me re-phrase.
To be put on ANY MORE watch lists.
I love Dry Ice.
It makes the best loud noises.
I even have a special recipe, after years (kid time, one summer) of testing I came up with three things.
1: Powder the Dry ice
2: Use cold water
3: Two liter bottles work, BUT, Listerine bottles are EXCEPTIONAL.
I won’t go into the details of the process of obtaining the un-obtanium on this list.
Watch list.
We used to make them at night after church activities in the summer. Praise God and blow stuff up.
Its an age old practice.
We launched a 50 gallon drum around 1/2 a minute high. It was dark and the drum was black and we couldn’t see it. It was in the air 1/2 a minute.
We had a pound of dry ice and a whole bunch of bottles. We had yet to figure out how perfectly they fit inside a mailbox, that was the next summer.
For this summer we were content to set them on the street or throw them in the air.
They are near as loud as Dynamite.

The group of us were making them and laughing and running and just being kids.
Every time a car would pull into the neighborhood we would scatter to shouts of "it’s a cop!" but it was all in fun. Never did any of us for a second think it actually was a cop.
We had just enough dry ice for two more noises but only one bottle, so we doubled up everything and screwed the lid down extra tight. We were in the road, two houses away from mine. We set the bottle down and ran across the street, the bottle rolled to the curb and just sat there.
wai..... Car coming into the neighborhood, shouts of "its a cop" accompanied by the sound of Air Jordan knockoffs (except for Darren, his were real) running away from the scene of the soon to be crime.
Our giggles and laughter turned to silence. It was a cop.

Hiding became paramount.
Its amazing how many kids can fit into a window well, especially when someone whose name I will not mentions runs into his house and LOCKS THE FREAKING DOOR!
Shit, Danny.
Leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves as the killer of fun pulled slowly up to the curb.
Directly over the as of yet un-exploded noise maker.
we collectively whispered "oh shit"
The guardian of the peace flipped on his little spotlight and began to shine it hither and yon, looking for, no doubt, the source of the whispered scatological reference.
Remember in the Fire swamp?
You know, when Buttercup and Wesley are escaping from Prince Humperdinck?
The popping that comes right before the flames?
Seconds before a dry ice b..........
Sorry. Slip.
Seconds before the noise maker detonates it clicks.
It was clicking in the silence.
As the cop found us in his light, opened his door, started to put his foot on the ground....
It was loud.
Really really loud.
Its amazing how fast kids can get out of a window well.
Even more amazing is how many police and fire trucks and unmarked black helicopters responded.
It took me three hours to get home.
Every single back yard in the neighborhood felt my feet that night.
It was.


Not us, some other morons