Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Not Finished Line

The month of November draws to a close and here I am with my thirtieth post. Actually, I posted more than that. I got eight up over at The Mister so I don't feel bad about the two lame cell phone posts that I stuck in.

Actually, I feel like a lot of the posting I did this month was pretty lame. November is a pretty busy month for me and I feel like a lot of days all I did was tap out what I did at work or how much there was still to be done.

Still, it was a good exercise. A few days ago I was totally out of ideas and totally fed up with the sub-par content I had been posting so I turned to fiction. My pretend cousin Jill (of Daniels 5 fame) keeps writing rave reviews and my brother-in-law That alone is enough reason to continue the pursuit. If I can crank out enough short stories I may even get a few of them bound at the copy shop and give them away for Christmas.

So, all in all, many lame posts lead to a new outlet for creativity that I actually have time to pursue. Unlike ham radio, graphic art, or any number of other things I like to do in my (airquotes) spare time, writing fiction doesn't cost anything and if it's not a success the worst outcome will be booing from the peanut gallery. (Not that my dear cuz or my BIL would ever be so rude.) Pretty sweet.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Take It Easy

While I was out mixing a gig tonight I got a text message from The Missus. She said she was tired and going to bed. She said some other things too that lead me to believe that she is feeling less than good about herself.

The thing is, she takes care of three wiley, often obnoxious children full time and also keeps our house relatively clean and also still volunteers to do tons of things. All this while half way through cookin' up a new youngun.

I can understand how the repetitiveness of the daily tasks she's faced with can wear down someone of her intelligence. I also understand why she has stuff planned so much of the time when I'm not at work. While I'm dying just to be at home, she's dying just to get out of it.

I just wish she could reach way down deep inside herself and harness some of her nearly endless drive and use it to force herself to chill out. I have a hard time doing that myself, but there comes a time when I just have to waste an evening or a Saturday afternoon not accomplishing anything. You have to take that time and count it as productive because you're using it to replenish your store of energy. If we need to have mental health time listed as an official activity on the family calendar then I think we should go ahead and do that.

Take a rest Babe. I'll talk you through the feelings of guilt. I'll try and get more rest myself so I can pick up more of the slack and spend more energy diverting the kids. But you have to get to a place where you can just kill some time on the couch and not beat yourself up over it. Love you, Babe... let's take a nap.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Smile For The Birdie

LinkTwo of the comments on my last post were: The Missus reminding me that she is not loud (one more reason why we're married) and our friend V wanted to know if the new baby has a "bird" or a "koochie". Well, dear V, at the ultrasound appointment on Wednesday...

We got flipped the bird.

And how.

There was absolutely do doubt about it. So much so that even the non-ultrasound-technician type people in the room could spot it without help.

So yeah, two girls and four boys in our house, effective in April. Except for Miss O being royally ticked that it's not a girl we're in pretty good shape I think. All our offspring tend to be on the high strung side to some extent, but the Y chromosome crowd is a lot more easily distracted than the ladies are, so at least I'm good in the strategy department.

As for the rest of it. We're good at feeding em, free clothes show up by the bagful periodically, and the big ones like to help out with the littler ones. The only real problem is how to get another bedroom on the house by next summer. Looks like overtime is in order. Forward my mail to the hospital (where I do the overtime, not where I expect to recuperate from the overtime)

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Thursday, November 27, 2008


My life is so loud. My truck is loud. Work is loud enough that I should probably be wearing hearing protection. Gigs are loud. The kids are loud. I'm loud. I don't often remember this, but the quietest place that I know of is right here in my house. It's the kitchen closet.

When the house belonged to my grandparents I used to love going in there to fetch out the chess set. The light comes on when you open the door and you can close it almost all the way and it will stay on. It's full of shelves and coats and there's just enough room for a person to stand in the middle. As long as none of the other people in the house are yelling you don't know they're there. You can't hear the fridge running or traffic. It's a little room full of quiet.

There's a lot left to do tonight. Thanksgiving dinner to finish cleaning up and the ever present laundry situation. But when I'm done I'm going in there. I might even take a chair and just spend some time in there soaking up the quiet.

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Fiction - The Swimmer

Randy stood behind the starting block, flipping one foot and then the other. He adjusted his goggles again and again. The team might have been ahead, or maybe the other team was ahead. He didn't know. He never knew. It didn't matter or help to know. All he needed to know was that he was warmed up, stretched out and ready.

He didn't really like water that much, or being cold. Not being cold at all. Just get in, swim hard and get dried off as fast as possible. He was far from the model athlete. He didn't pay any attention to the meet. He spent all his time screwing around and flirting, with the other team if at all possible. (Co-ed swim teams were a really good idea in his opinion.) But when he got in the water he was fast, not the fastest, but usually fast enough to score some good points for the team.

Swimmers up.

Step, step. Up on to the block. Gritty, wet surface under his bare feet. Adjust goggles. Flip left foot, flip right foot. There were people in the room. They were making noise, last minute encouragements. Randy didn't get that at all. He didn't cheer unless it was really close, because that was the only time it was helpful.

Swimmers... take your marks.

Twelve hands gripped the fronts of the blocks. They all hit within the same half of a second, sounding like applause that was suddenly aborted. The pool was quiet. Pumps. Drips. Murmurs. It was in this moment that Randy understood what authors meant when they wrote about time ceasing to exist. It just wasn't there anymore.

Slip, SPLASH! The starter had held back just a few hundredths of a second and lane two jumped the gun. Lane three baubled on his block but hung on. The other team was grumbling, nobody saying, "That's alright". That told Randy that the score was close, but it still didn't matter. Lane two hauled himself up out of the pool and slapped back to the visitors bench, goggles dangling from his right ring finger.

Adjust goggles. Flip left foot, flip right foot, shake left leg, shake right leg.

Lane two, false start. Swimmers.... take your marks.

Only people who thought about time false started. So stupid to psyche yourself out on the block like tha-


SNAP! Before the starter let off his button Randy was in the air. He felt his legs lock and the muscles jiggle as he planed toward the water. The familiar mental image of an old fashioned carpenter's ruler slid into his mind as it always did for the brief period that he was airborne.

SPLASH! (silencewithbubblesinit) kick, kick, kick, SURFACE! Three powerful dolphin kicks were all he had to go on to get started. Butterfly was his weak stroke. Despite having the torpedo shape, big hands and feet, and over six feet of wingspan, Randy just didn't have the strength in his shoulders to make much time in that stroke. It messed with his breathing too. He never felt like he could get his head in the right position to get a good breath in.

As he walloped down the lane he could easily see the other swimmers from lane five. Three and four were both half a body length ahead of him as he approached the turn. He was holding out against the poor slobs in one and six who may as well have just been practicing. It wouldn't have been any consolation to know that the freshman and sophomore in those lanes had trembled a little bit inside when they saw him standing at the block, all arms and concentration.

At the turn his chest was already on fire. It was just a matter of damage control at this point. Despite being in terrific shape, the second length of the fly was always hell. All he had to do was make it back to the blocks and he could get a rest in. Nobody understood what he meant when he spoke about it that way. It's a RACE! You've got to PUSH! Nope.

SLAP! LAUNCH!! He hit the gutter with both hands, brought his feet up and kicked back. An image of a lawn chair was in his mind as he flung his arms back and hit the water coasting. The first length he didn't even worry about his stroke, it was all about air. He still made decent time, but it drove the coaches nuts. That was fine with him. As he passed under the flags and started counting strokes to the turn he was briefly aware of the crowd noise... two, three, breath, FLIP!

Backstroke turns were a real son of a bitch, but after he worked on his a little he had started picking up over a second on his time. The thought snapped Randy back to the race and he began to pour it on. Three and four were still nearly a full body length ahead and he knew he had to make most of that up. As he pushed off the wall he slid out of the mental lawn chair and put his long arms to work. The ceiling picked up its pace as it slid by him. Flags... two, three, breath, FLIP! TWIST!

He was right side up again and kicked off three hard dolphins, then opened up and began his breast stoke before he surfaced. He almost grinned. For some reason, a back turn into a right-side-up stroke was no problem and he had actually passed three and four with that little maneuver. Breast stroke was another weak spot. No matter what he did, he couldn't get his right leg to frog kick properly. He was pretty sure his right foot was at least partly responsible for some of the coaches' grey hair. Whatever, it was just part of the drama.

At the turn it was the fly all over again. Three and four were half a length ahead. Three didn't matter so much. It was his teammate, a textbook example of how to do the breast stroke. It didn't matter which of them won, as long as the other took second. Big points if it went down that way, and a shutout for the other team. With two out of the race, that made it a little easier, but four wasn't going to just roll over for them, he was leading in fact.

Randy became aware of the crowd again when he was three pulls away from the turn. They were going nuts. They probably had good reason, (three) with the lead changing hands and himself falling back and making it up, (two) there was a lot of drama in the water right then, (duck).

TURN! If Randy had been an egotist he would have mouthed the word, "SHOWTIME!" as he double tapped the gutter and flung himself sideways. He wasn't though, it was his stroke and it was time to go to work. It wasn't that he was all that good at the freestyle, it was just that he saved it all for the last lap. He was a distance man and his muscles were only just warmed up from his previous exertions.

He pounded out of the turn for three strokes then settled down into his resting rhythm. He was taking two strokes every three seconds while all the rest were pulling nearly twice that fast. But not moving twice as fast. Breathing every third stroke he kept an eye on the others until he was even with his teammate but still more than half a length behind four. The crowd was out of their minds but he still wasn't really aware. He had pulled completely into himself for the last three pulls into the turn.

SNAP! And he was back off the wall in an instant. Flipturns... he could do. Now was the moment where the secret strategy came into play. Lane three was a distance man too. While most swimmers could give it all they had in the last ten yards while their bodies were screaming for oxygen, Randy and his teammate could push the whole length and then kick it up a notch at the end.

He started pounding out his cadence for the home stretch. Four strokes to three seconds, lane three was doing the same. Randy was now fully aware of the crowd yelling their heads off. Now, was the time that it was helpful. At the half he was even with lane four. He couldn't see it in the kid's face, but read the panic in his stroke. He went into his push with twenty yards to go and effectively ran himself out of gas.

Randy pounded three more strokes and was half a length ahead of him. Lane three had caught him up too. Three more strokes and he was under the flags, a full body length ahead of four and still pulling away. The last three strokes he didn't breathe and pounded all the way to the gutter. He popped up in time to see lane three take his last two strokes and they both hauled themselves out of the water and spun around, arms in twin V's, as lane four flopped his last, spent strokes into the wall.

He gaped up at them, fish mouth gasping for air. Panting in disbelief. The home team was positively loosing their heads. The visitors continued to cheer in the slowpokes in the outside lanes. Among the dejected faces was the face of the cute diver. She was looking right at Randy. Yeah buddy.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How To Be A Good Teacher

At the hospital we're renovating the labor and delivery section of the fourth floor. I got assigned to the electrical contractor (and the framer, but that's another story) and it's been quite the learning experience. I've been wiring houses for almost twenty years and while I'm pretty good at that I'm a little out of the loop for commercial work. I'm not saying that working with the contractor has been a bad experience, but it's opened my eyes as to what it's like working with me.

It's been a while since I've been the novice in training. When I'm out on a gig I'm the boss and people are looking to me for answers. I'm also a perfectionist when it comes to setting up my rig, and nobody knows the methods like I do. I know I'm a perfectionist and a lot of the things I do are for good reasons, however opaque they may be at the time. I've tried to do a lot of things to make my nitpicking bearable to the people who are working with me.

To the poor schlub wading into things for the first time, "Whup, hold on a sec, that goes like this." goes down a lot easier than, "HEY! What are you doing?!" Maybe I'm just particularly sensitive to it because I mostly get volunteers for assistants and you just can't be the least bit nasty to volunteers... ev-er. It just won't do. The other thing I do is to put the irritation on myself, "Yeah, I know... I'm really picky about it. Just take your time, anything you do right is a big help and I'll get the rest." That's the only paycheck those people are going to get, and it doesn't cost me anything.

I also went through another bout of wanting to tie somebody in a knot and stuff them in a hole. But really, it was just because I was fed up with the things in them that I find most annoying about myself. It's always such a pain in the ass to point the finger at yourself, but it's such good medicine.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fiction - The Priest

My first attempt at fiction was met with rave review (yeah, just one, but I'll take it where I can get it. P.S. Thanks Cuz it's good to have a fan). So here's another little one I dreamed up in the truck on the way home from work today.

The old priest stood silent and still by the communion rail. His gaze passed slowly over the pews and rested on the candles flickering by the door. He would check them later to make sure there were enough fresh ones and empty the few coins from the box.

The church would have seemed silent to the average person but not to him. Quiet, certainly, but the building spoke to him like an old friend relating the news of the day. The radiators made an occasional bump and tick, the almost inaudible hiss of the steam like a reassuring whisper of comfort and warmth. He could hear snow skirling on the stained glass window at the back, it only did that when the wind was over ten miles an hour and under twenty. Above all the faint sounds of an old stone building bracing itself against winter was the rush hour traffic, steadily building outside the massive, iron bound timbers of the front doors.

The whoosh of tires was suddenly inside with him. Someone had opened a side door. Likely it was a student or two from the Catholic school next door, cutting through the church to save a few frigid footsteps on the journey home. He didn't mind. All were welcome. He greeted them all the same way, the elderly faithful, the rowdy school boys, the homeless, with whatever expression could most convey God's' love. He told people of it every day, on Sundays he used words. Every person that had ever crossed those thresholds was met with a silent greeting, but a greeting nonetheless. The worn creases of his face could speak many things, welcome, joy, concern, once in a while even anger, but above all, love.

He kept quite still as the boys, three of them, made their way along the first pew. As they passed by his left shoulder, turned slightly away from them they slowed but continued their noisy exchange. A quarter turn of his white head accomplished that, God's house is to be respected. He smiled though, remembering his own days in a school uniform, he could still remember youthful exuberance and was not irked in the slightest.

As he watched the boys make their way up the aisle he noticed the two in the lead were doing all the talking, arms waving. The third followed along, keeping up the quick pace but was silent. There was something about his walk that suggested a certain heaviness, a slump in the shoulders, a slight down turn of the head. Likely nothing more than the result of a scolding from one of the Sisters, a slight inner grin as his mind strayed back to playing tricks on Sister Mary Dolores nearly seventy years past.

The front door swung open and closed, letting in a brief swish of tires. The priest's gaze came back into focus a moment later when the curl of cold air reached the altar. He turned then to see who was there. He knew he was not alone yet, something he could sense in the not quite stillness of the air. Someone must have slipped in when the boys went out. His eyebrows raised just a tick in surprise at seeing the third, silent boy standing in the center of the aisle.

The boy stood looking at the crucifix with something that was somehow both anger and wonder, almost longing. The boy's gaze fell on him then and changed slightly. He had it now, loss. In front of him stood a young man who had lost someone dear, perhaps even a parent. His poor heart strained not to break as he questioned the reality of Heaven and a God who could let this happen. They locked eyes. The old priest barely moved a muscle, but the boy somehow saw the change. In the old man's face was his message.

"You have lost, my son. I know. I have lost too. I don't know how God let this happen but I still find my comfort in Him."

The boy's eyes went wide though he didn't realize it. In his face the priest read the words of his boiling heart and troubled mind. He had expected merely cold comfort, if anything from the wizened figure in the robes. He had received no empty words, he wasn't sure what he had received. The priest let just the glimmer of a smile spread to one side of his face. The boy's face mirrored his. Inside he was digesting one tiny drop of healing elixir. He was feeling better. How long would it last? Who could say. The priest merely loved everyone who passed through his door, as often and as much as they needed.

The boy turned slowly and padded to the front door. The hinges whispered their familiar words into the silent sanctuary, like the last line of a favorite poem. Bummm. The sound of their closing. Tick, tick, tick, curl... the cold air reached him. He would check the candles in a moment. He stood. Still. And bowed his head in prayer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fiction - The Hunt

Three boys crouched in the trees at the edge of Gerard Beckwith's yard. The last few leaves of autumn drifted fitfully across the grass. They had been watching for what they had thought to be long enough, roughly two minutes actual time.

"Come on!" Jamie was agitated. He wanted to get on with the plan. It was so frickin simple a second grader could do it, and the two pansies crouching in front of him were acting like a couple old ladies. "We're just takin' a walk you girls. We're gonna grab some of the old bastards stuff, and walk home. It's not like it's Mission Impossible."

Jamie had talked George and Greg into it. Utterly bored with life in a small town in the hills of Pennsylvania, he was craving excitement. More importantly, he was craving a better game console to while away the hours with. A robbery was going to get some attention, but if it was the only one and they waited before they did anything with the loot it was foolproof. It had sounded just like a movie to the two other boys. Until of course, they were faced with the actual task.

With a grunt and a shove, Jamie got things moving. His two suddenly reluctant partners spilled out into the open lawn, looked at Jamie and started walking to the house, crouched over. A truck came down the road and spilled its headlights on the trees out by the mail box. The three boys made a run for it. Crouched behind the house they panted, wide eyed and looked at each other. "We better wait." "Hell naw Greg! Whoever that was is either driving home stuffed full of fish fry or headin' out to get plastered." Jamie had a point, who on a Friday night could care less what was going on in Old Gerry's yard.


"Oh what the..." Gerrard spat the driver's side window. He had just happened to glance at his house on the way in to town from a job. Gerry ran the heating and cooling business in town and had been working a bunch of extra hours lately, getting everybody ready for the coming winter. One too many nights of tuna sandwiches had pushed him to head in to town after the last tune up to grab a fish fry at the Hotel. Gerry wasn't rich but after forty years in the business, with the kids grown and his dear Mary gone on from breast cancer he wasn't going to live out the rest of his days in a dump feeling sorry for himself. The house was fixed up pretty nice, he had a big TV, some pretty nice hunting rifles and a bass boat that was the envy of every man in three townships. Damned if he was going to spend his Saturday morning cleaning up toilet paper because some ignorant redneck runts didn't realize Halloween was last month. He pitched his cigarette out the window and pulled in to a driveway to turn ground. Hell.


The boys had waited, crouched on cramped legs behind the old man's bass boat, tarped and awaiting winter behind his house. Jamie caught his breath first. Rising, he grabbed a brick from under the boat trailer's tire. "Time to rock" The other boys held their breath as Jamie walked up on the back deck and pitched the brick through the sliding door as casually as if he was throwing his dog a stick.

At the sound George and Greg scrambled under the boat. "C'mon ladies, let's frickin GO!" They looked at each other with saucer eyes and somehow found the balls to crawl back out and join Jamie on the deck. He stepped into the house through the gaping hole in the slider. "If you're gonna puss out at least let me hand you the old fart's DVD player before you run back home." The boys shared one more nervous look, George swallowed had stepped in. He froze and Greg had to shove him to follow.

Jamie was already in the next room rattling around. C'mere and grab this. Greg found his courage now that he was sure there were no dogs or alarms and padded into the living room. Jamie already had the DVD player unhooked, it was sitting on the coffee table. He had a piece of the stereo between his knees and was unhooking another as Greg picked it up. "Hey George! If you're done wettin' yer pants why doncha go see where he keeps his guns."

Greg marveled at how cool Jamie was under the circumstances. He had really thought this out. Everybody had guns. Even the poorest of the trailer trash at least had some old .22 handed down over the years. Old George had to have some beauties in his gun cabinet, he was about as close to rich as you could get around here. Rich.

"Hey Jame, you think he's got any money in here?" Jamie stopped what he was doing and put on his proud pappa face. "Weeeeell, turns out you got a brain in there after all. George! Come grab this shit, Greggie's got a hot idea. Go check his office." George edged into the room like he thought something might explode if he touched it. Greg, brimming with new confidence, slapped him on the shoulder on the way by. "C'mon dude, we'll be sittin' in your basement in twenty minutes." George managed a grunt and looked at the growing pile of electronics on the coffee table.


Gerrard drove past the house again, still at full speed so he didn't scare the little pukes off. Nobody in the yard where he could see, either gone or out back messin' with Proud Mary. The back of his neck burned at the thought of some teenage weenie desecrating his wife's namesake. He rounded the corner and pulled into the lane by the first corn field.

Shutting the truck off his hand went behind him and then stopped. There was a shotgun jammed between the seat and the bulkhead of his work truck. Better left behind. If anybody was taking a ride with the cops tonight it was going to be those kids for trespassing, not him for assault with a deadly. He grabbed the 4D Mag-Lite from the console instead and jumped out.

He didn't bother with sneaking. Figuring they'd be out behind the house still he walked right down the shoulder a quarter mile, turned at the mailbox and strutted right up the driveway. At the edge of the house he slowed his step until he was just around the corner from where the boys had crouched a few moments before.

His nerves were steadier now. No sense charging around the corner and scaring them off. Better get a good look at 'em at least before he called the cops. He waited another moment and was surprised to hear nothing at all. Shit. All worked up over nothing. Probably just some kids scrambling to get home so they didn't get whalloped by their fathers. His eyes were good and used to the dark now. With a chuckle he rounded the corner to check on Proud Mary just in case, flashlight jammed in the pocket of his Carhartt.

She was fine. No toilet paper, no eggs and, thank God, no damned paint balls. He stepped around the hitch on the trailer and walked along her port side, absently trailing his fingers over his wife's name on the fiberglass hull. He brushed a few stray leaves off the tarp and with another chuckle headed for the back step. He froze.

"Oh shit...." he breathed. This was a fucking situation. Without a sound he ducked down next to the deck. At sixty-six he was a little worse for wear, but he was still a hundred and eighty pounds of stringy muscle. Forty hears of humping furnaces and water heaters in and out of basements had kept him tough. Shotgun still in the truck though. Hell.

All thoughts of the police gone he crept toward the outside door to the basement. It would open silently, he knew. Not two weeks ago he had oiled the hinges after he had dragged the lawn furniture down there. Just get inside and three quick steps would have him in front of the bench where he reloaded shells. A Winchester twelve gauge lay on that bench, freshly cleaned and oiled for the first day of deer season next week. As long as they weren't in the basement he could slide around down there and listen for footsteps upstairs. And if they were in the basement... Hell.

In the space of three seconds all that had run through his mind and his hand was on the slope of the basement doors. He pulled out his house key and turned the cylinder, with a smile he swung the door up without a sound. Four, five, six steps down and he was at the inner door. Not a sound. He stepped inside and made for the bench. Not in my house.


Greg had walked through the kitchen and down the long hall of the little ranch house. The first door was the bathroom, the next was the office. He peeked in and saw what he was hoping to see. A glass fronted gun cabinet, three feet wide and crammed with enough wood and blue steel to buy out the game section at Wal-Mart. Except, he thought, who the hell is going to buy twenty guns from three kids who weren't even old enough to drive yet? Good thinking. He was just as cool as Jamie. With a few more good ideas they could hit three or four houses next year and forget about getting jobs. Who the hell wants to stock shelves at Wal-Mart anyway?

He walked to the desk and started shuffling the papers. The first drawer on the right had a check book on top. He picked it up and tossed it aside, writing bad checks would be a sure way to get busted. "I'm a frickin professional!" Greg mumbled to himself. Three envelopes down the stack he found it. A thick one with no writing on it. He took a quick look inside. The top bill was a twenty. He looked at the back of the stack, there were hundreds in there! "Hey Jamie!" he shouted as he ran down the hall, "forget that shit! We're frickin' rich!"

Two steps into the kitchen there was a huge boom behind him. He hunched his shoulders and squinched his eyes shut. "NOBODY MOVE!" came a shout from behind him. He didn't hear the sound of the Winchester being racked as he scrambled for the back door. He bumped smack into George doing the same thing. George slid sideways and pushed off the refrigerator. Greg knocked over a chair and raked his shin but somehow didn't fall. The two boys nearly flew out the back, sending shards of glass all the way into the living room behind them


Gerrard thought of five places he could fire a warning shot without wrecking anything more than drywall as he crept up the stairs. Silently, he turned the knob. Awright Gerry. He gave the door a hard shove and a big grin spread across his face at the sound it made when it smacked the wall. With a shout he hopped up the last step. He was already in the hall, racking the gun when the door swung back and hit him in the rump.

Holy shit! One of 'em was right there! Before he could do anything else though another one came thumping out of the living room and he drew a bead on them as they tore his kitchen apart trying to get out. Chest heaving, he swung the gun around toward the living room door. He heard the chain drop and a second later the screen door pound open. He lowered the gun and bumped the door behind him.

He spun around to cover the hall behind him. Oh boy, how the hell do cops do this? They think is what they do. Damn good thing he hadn't popped out a second earlier or there would have been one behind him. He was shaking like a leaf but he hustled down the hall to make sure there was nobody else in the house.

Half a minute later he was standing at his ruined back door. They hadn't touched his guns, the desk was a mess though. Bedroom, empty. The living room was fine except that his entertainment system was sitting on the coffee table. Two of 'em went that way, into his woods. Still shaking he propped the gun up against the counter. He was still breathing hard but he had collected his thoughts. No need for anybody to get hurt, but damned if they were going to get away with this.


Greg and George cleared the back yard in what felt like about four steps. They both plowed into the woods, not caring that the first six feet of it was raspberry bushes. The scratches didn't even penetrate the terror. Greg was following George now, his heavy frame was plowing right over saplings and his boots were pounding on the ground, despite the blanket of leaves. Greg looked over his shoulder and the world was upside down. He slid down the bank of a stream and landed on his knees in an inch of water, right against George who was laying sideways in it.

"SHIT!" hissed Greg. "What the hell happened to Jamie?!" George was up and cursing loudly. "Shut the hell up stupid! The guy had a gun! I heard it!" George stopped for a moment, stomped across the stream and was already scrambling up the other bank before Greg could say anything. "Dude! Go down the frickin' creek! There won't be any footprints!" Even a little kid knew that. Shit, how many movies did you have to watch to know that. "Whatever dude." George was pissed but he lead the way downstream.


"They're gonna freeze their nuts off." Gerard said out loud as he listened from his deck. Chuckling again he loped down the steps and walked to where the raspberry bushes had been trampled down. "Scratched all to shit too." He turned and walked twenty feet to the edge of the patch. He stepped into the woods at the head of the trail that lead to his tree stand. He could stroll up past his hunting spot, walk down the edge of a corn field and sight 'em where the stream went under the road. They'd be twenty minutes, splashing their way down there. He could walk it in five. With a broad grin he shoved his hands in his pockets and padded down the trail. Like shootin' fish in a barrel.


Greg was freezing. It felt like he had been walking forever. The water was low but it had cut pretty deep and they couldn't keep to dry land the whole time. He was wet to his pockets, shivering from cold and cursing from fright. George was soaked up to his wallet in back and completely drenched in front from his first spill down the bank. A steady stream of four letter words had been the only thing to leave his mouth. The adrenaline had worn off, this sucked.

"Dude. Dude! George! What the hell happened to Jamie?" There hadn't been anything in the plan about getting split up, or even about getting caught for that matter. "He got us into this he can damn well get his own ass out of it!" Geore Spat. He wasn't the brightest but he was right. George went on, "If we're lucky that old fart didn't see shit. I'm gonna walk my ass home, hide my clothes and stay in the basement till frickin Christmas! Jamie musta gone out the front. He's not gonna walk down the road and get picked up by the cops. He's probably freezin' his nuts off just like we are, sneakin' back home. You can ask him tomorrow."

"For once you're right stupid!" The boys jumped as Jamie came sliding down the bank. "I'm not as cold as you assholes. Geez, what the hell are you two thinking? I've been walking through the woods for ten minutes watchin' you stooges splash around."

"What the hell dude? You scared the shit out of us!" George poked Jamie in the chest. "Shut up stupid! You're gonna get us caught!" "You are too, leaving footprints like that. At least we were makin' a smart getaway." Greg found his voice. "Whatever dude. Even if there was a cop right in the neighborhood he's gonna be half an hour talking to that old fart. We can get on the road at the bridge and cut down behind school. We'll be back in the basement before we got anything to worry about." Jamie thought a moment, "OK brains." and turned to walk down the stream, apparently worried about foot prints after all.


"Oh you've got plenty to worry about." Said Gerrard as he slid down the opposite bank. The boys jumped for a second time. Jamie cursed. "Cops haven't been called yet. I'd like to invite you back to my place to get warmed up while we wait for 'em." He stood, feet apart, glaring at them in the moonlight.

He stood there silent, with his hands in his jacket pockets. He was surprised when the littlest one sighed and started toward him. The big one did the same a second later. Shit. He had expected them to bolt. He was just looking for the satisfaction of watching them crap their pants and go splashing off in the night. He had a good look at 'em, enough to give the cops, but this was even better!

"What the hell are you guys doing!?" Said the one farthest away. The other two had stopped in front off Gerard and turned to look, sheepish resignation all they could muster. Hiding his mirth, he called out, "You come along with ol' Gerry if you know what's good for ya. I seen yer face and this town's not big enough for you to hide long. Besides, your buddies'll probably give you up to the cops as soon as they get here."

With another loud curse the last one kicked a rock into the stream and made his way to follow. "You go up where I came down. Turn left and head down the edge of the field. I'll tell ya when to turn." One by one the boys scrambled up the bank and made their miserable way off to the field.

Three minutes later Gerard turned them down the trail and followed them past his stand. In two more minutes they were picking their way across the broken glass for the second time that night. Gerard flipped the kitchen light on and the boys stood blinking in the glare of the four flourescent tubes. It was possible that those boys were going to pop their eyes right out on his kitchen floor. Just a little too soon to let the pressure off though.

"Welp, I see you didn't make off with my TV or any of that junk. Guns are all still there too. So... just what exactly is it that you would like to tell me about your little adventure tonight." He had paced over to the end of the counter and stood by where the shotgun stood propped. Without a word, the skinny one reached in his back pocket and slapped the envelope on the table. His hands were visibly trembling.

"Anything else?" Silence.

He went to the phone and dialed the State Police. He knew the dispatcher, serviced his Lennox every October like clockwork. He explained the situation with a chuckle and hung up. Gerard went to the fridge and grabbed a Coke. He pulled the top and took a sip with his back to the boys. Bunch of scared little pups. Must've filled their britches three times over. Tracking them through the woods he had heard every splash and curse. He turned for a good look at his catch in the light. This was even better than nailing that twelve pointer last year. "You boys make yourselves comfortable. I'm starved, been chasin' you all over the North Country when I shoulda been eatin' a fish fry. I'm gonna make a sandwich." No response. Let 'em sweat. Hell.


Twenty minutes later the police cruiser pulled into Gerard's driveway. "Hey Ger" said the officer as he came through the door, "Heard you got some varmint trouble." "Yep" said the old fart, "Busted the hell outa by back door. Hey, how's that new A.O. Smith workin' for ya?" "Oh just great. I still got water for a hot shower even if both the girls go first." "Good, good. Welp, they're right here in the kitchen, at least they are if they didn't decide to go for another dip."

Jamie had found some courage by this point. Sitting there scared as shit for God knows how long was bad enough. No way was he going to let the old fart get away with this just cause he was buddies with the cop. "Hey! He's holding us hostage! He had a gun!"

Unmoved by the outburst the trooper turned to Gerard. "You pulled a gun on 'em Ger?" "Yeah, I thought it was just some kids gonna toilet paper the joint. I went out back to check on the boat and saw they'd broke in. I snuck downstairs and came up with the twelve. Unloaded it and left it here when I went after 'em though." He picked up the Winchester and racked it twice. Nothing came out of the breach, it was empty.

"That's bullshit!" Shouted Jamie "He chased us through the woods and made us come back here! How did we know he didn't have a pistol on him?!"

The trooper raised his eyebrows and turned back to Gerard without saying anything. "I didn't force you to do shit son!" Gerard barked "I had your asses cold in that creek, heh." He couldn't help but chuckle, "Then I IN-vited you back here and you pansies trotted off like Mary's little lamb!"

"Well now, I don't see anything wrong with that. Boys, this man could have shot each of you dead in this room and been within his rights. What the hell is the matter with you?! They get anything that you know of Ger?"

"Nope" said Gerard, rocking back on his heels, "Got my little stash of emergency cash but they were polite enough to give it back." Jamie slumped in his chair, miserable. The other two boys hadn't even looked up.

In a few more minutes the trooper had filled out his report and cuffed the boys. As he was herding them toward the front door he turned and said goodnight to Gerard. "Shit! I tell ya, best hunt I've ever had." the old man said "Is that wrong?" The trooper laughed out loud. "Naw Ger, a little screwed up maybe but you handled it fine."

Gerard chuckled one last time as he shut the door and turned to go clean up the glass. In another week there'd be three more trophies on his living room wall. Mug shots from the police blotter. Hell.

©2008 Jonathan Dayton - All Rights Reserved

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thinking About Fiction

Having a few more days this month where I'm required to post once a day I'm looking in a new direction. Fiction. I've decided that the details of my day to day life are just not cutting it as blog fodder and I'm just not finding the time to come up with good, well thought out posts every day.

So, I was going to write a short story, spur of the moment tonight. But then my old best bud The Phat Marshmellow called up and we got to jawin' so I'm out of time to write a story. But tomorrow, I'm going to sit down, with nothing in particular in mind and crank out a five paragraph short story just to see what happens.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blessed Sleep

Today... I slept. Man, did I sleep. I got back from the gig at 3 AM instead of 5 AM and was just ascending the stairs to the comfort of the Royal Bed when... the phone rang. It was work. Snow removal. So I went back in and plowed till six and then finally, collapsed.

Two and a half hours later, H-Bomb woke me up. I spent a groggy couple hours feeding the short people various forms of breakfast and regulating their TV viewing experience. Just after noon, H-Bomb had a breakdown and I asked him if he just wanted to sit in his crib for a bit with his favorite stuffed guy and a bink. He did, and that is where he stayed for the rest of the afternoon. Poor little fella was spent.

I remember sitting down on the couch, but then nothing until I heard The Missus bellowing encouraging the kids to help get the place cleaned up. I haven't napped with such forcefulness since college. We used to have spontaneous, violent napping sessions back then. NAP! And everyone else would smile wistfully and keep an eye on you to make sure nobody disturbed your blessed slumber.

Now... the house is sort of clean and so are the short people. The Missus is tucking the last one into bed right at this moment. I will be ordering some Chinese food and stopping by the liquor store. That's right true believers... it's Grownup Time! (!) Somebody TESTIFY! People in the back shout AMEN! Can I get a HALLELUJAH! Or maybe just some General Tso's and a nice Riesling?

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Mobile Post

Forgot to bring the laptop to the gig so I'm slipping in another cell phone post. Lame I know... But it counts!

Big shout out to my pretend cousing at The Daniels 5 for being too busy to comment lately but being the only one to make my lame cell phone post feel special.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Madness Draws To A Close

OK, last post about my marathon work situation. I mostly wanted to put it all down here so I can read it in a few years when I've figured out how to cram even more stuff into my schedule and think, "What a wimp!"

But really, it wasn't that bad. I could have easily crammed in a few other things. I just like to see my darling wife and my short people. Things go better for everyone.

Here are the stats as they will stand at 5 AM on Saturday when I finally get home from my gig.

Last day off: November 1
Days without a day off: 20
Days when I worked a double: 6
Shows during time span: 2 theatre, 2 rock, 2 rentals
Checks deposited: Over $5k
Debt status: Still Fupped Duck
Average sleep per night: Less than 6 hours

And that's the end of it, for now. After this week is finally over maybe my brain will be in good enough shape to put up a decent post over here and get back to writing about "How I Got To Be The Mister" over there.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nice To Meet You

Please pardon the interruption for a spot of bitching...

Last post I mentioned how I go to more meetings than a guy who wears a tool belt should reasonably be expected to go to. So, today the Royal Slumber was interrupted by a phone call.

Mister: ...'lo

Phone: It's Bryant from work. Snow Removal.

Mister: I'll be right there.

Time warp past several hours of time and a half and we find The Mister in a Post Snow Removal Wrap Up Meeting. Ya know... talk about what went well, what didn't go well, what broke, who's pecker froze and fell off, and so on. Without rising from his chair The Mister found himself sitting in the Weekly Shop Meeting and also talking about himself in the third person, like Bossy. After the second full hour of meetings The Mister had to hustle to get seated for four more hours of Customer Service Training. A brief leg stretch and the lunch hour had arrived. And that is how The Mister made it from 3 AM until noon, spending a total of five (frickin) hours in meetings.

But... when I got home tonight, it was time to pack the short people off to church for the community dinner. The entre was my very own dearly departed Grandma's meatloaf! I haven't had the pleasure since I was living at home. My revelry increased when The Missus informed me that the recipe had been published in the church cookbook and she'd be happy to make it for me. Joy!

That's about all the sauce I got for right now. Tune in tomorrow for my 20th straight post and 19th straight day of work. I'm comin after the record Super Jew, am I even close?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Agony of Meetings

My job as a maintenance mechanic has me going to a lot more meetings than a guy who wears a tool belt to work should reasonably have to attend. At least they're mostly productive. When there's one blow-hard from administration in the room and a dozen guys who've got shit to do, it had better be a productive meeting.

Not so, for the meeting at church tonight. I've been blessed to be called upon to help out a neighboring church by preaching every so often. There's a dozen or so people from my church that help out at two other churches in the neighborhood. Tonight there was a meeting so that the District Superintendant (hereafter referred to as DS) could get a feel for what we're doing.

The first twenty minutes we just went around the table, introducing ourselves and giving our thoughts on how things were working out. The consensus seemed to be that everyone was happy and any glitches were getting worked out in the aisle on Sunday or with a quick phone call. Then we spent the rest of the first hour beating that horse until it was abundantly obvious that it was good and fricking dead.

The last half hour (actually, the last half hour that I was there for) was just abysmal. The topic wasn't really appropriate to bring it up at the meeting so I won't bring it up here. But the DS droned on about it until all of the people I could see from where I was sitting looked slightly queasy. When she finally got ready to move on I got up to go to the bathroom. I realized on the way that I was just going to decide to go home so I went back for my coat and left. Turns out that most of the rest of the folks would have left too, but my sense of propriety and decorum is distinctly underdeveloped (I'm rude). I did manage not to say, "This sucks! I got stuff I gotta do."

I went home and got ready to take a shower, not just because I was pretty funky from work, but because, as always... (sigh) dealing with church administrators makes me feel like I need to wash! I'm pretty blessed to go to a church where people just love each other and act like they love each other and the preacher says things that are worth remembering. The only way I'm going to any more meetings to facilitate that is if the DS is present so that I can have the pleasure of walking out.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Wish They Weren't Called Memes

Meme is one of those words that I just hate. There's not any good reason for this word to suffer my wrath, but it does. I hate it with a passion that burns within me like the fires of the sun. I hate it the same way I hated the word "Houston" in the fourth grade. And the way I hated the word "Abercrombie" when I was five (somewhat prescient if I do say so myself).

Anyway, The Missus got tapped for an interesting meme. I didn't get tapped so I'm starting it off myself. Grab the nearest book, turn to page 56, and write the fifth sentence. Then write the two that follow it. Tag five friends to do it too and you're done.

Here's mine. It's from a book called After Thought that I read (for fun) when I was in college. It's about science, physics, God, faith, computers and society. I liked it so much that I gave it to my very well educated Grandfather (his nickname was Prof) and now that he's gone on, it rests in a special spot in my shop.

They were swept away, leaving physics and theology to defend the status quo. (Thus, the scientists chartered by Pope Gregory to reform the calendar based their work on Copernican tables because they were the most accurate. All the while, they insisted that the heliocentric formulation itself was false and blasphemous.)

Those bastards! Now that I've tagged myself, on to the tag-ees. Please add one more step and post a comment that you finished so everyone can click over to your blog and see what a well rounded reader you are.

Green Panda

Super Jew

Uncle Benna


Cousin Jill

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Sunday, November 16, 2008


It's been a whole week since Singin In The Rain wrapped and I've only just begun the hell that is Post-Show Decompression. Every time I mix a theatre production I invariably leave with at least one obnoxious song stuck in my head. It's part of the reason I charge so much for theatre gigs. It's never a good one either, it's always the soppy love ballad from the top of Act II or the silly comedy bit from the middle of the first act. eeesh.

Now, there are two scientifically proven methods for getting a tune out of your head. Since your brain is on a mission to have complete thoughts, a song that you don't know all the words to will pretty much loop endlessly until you actively do something to stop it. (Or, as my own research into PSD indicates, about six weeks.) The first thing that will make your brain happy is to listen to the song in its entirety. That seems to satisfy the little bugger as having completed the thought and you can move on. The other thing is to do math, which makes you use the other side of your brain.

In the age of the iPod it's becoming ever more convenient to employ the first option. The only downside to this is that if you're an engineer who does a lot of rock shows, it's a little embarrassing to have random show tunes come blasting out of your sound system. The downside to the math option is that my brain is really, really good at holding on to a song. Since I was in about fourth grade it's been a constant pass time of mine to go over and over a song in my head, picking apart the production. When it's a Foo Fighters tune with impeccable song writing and pristine production, yay brain... when it's Brush Up Your Shakespeare from Kiss Me Kate... not so much. The fact is, I have to do so much math to get my brain to stop cycling the song that it's just not worth it.

So, my usual practice is simply to blast other, less objectionable material whenever I'm in the truck. There are a few songs that if I play them once I have an obsessive-compulsive obligation to play them at least seven times. Surprise! You're Dead by Faith No More is at the top of the list. So, for the next little bit I'll be washing the dishes with my iPod on my hip and the cans clamped tightly on my noggin in the hopes that the blissful sounds of Mike Patten coming unhinged can purge me of my show tune demons.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Running Out Topics?

WARNING: If blogging about blogging offends you... go get a stiff drink and read this post anyway. Then go get another and read about my boozy adventures at the Proto-Mister on my other blog.

I'm not really sure why I signed up to do NaBloBlahBlah. The first reason is that I wanted to to NaNoBlahBlah but with nineteen days of work in a row, Thanksgiving and a child's birthday this month a novel just wasn't going to get written. I have to admit that I didn't think getting a post up every day would be that much of a challenge. The Missus posts at least once a day, and I've got three blogs up with a total of nearly two hundred posts on them since the first of the year. How hard could it be to up the ante the tiniest bit?

Well, pretty tough apparently. While I seem to have a lot to say and it also seems that a few people think it's worth reading... posting every day is really cramping my style. On a number of nights I basically turned in a log book style post of the events of the day. No witty commentary or anything.

So, while I'm not going to give up on the challenge, I have to say that I'm looking forward to going back to the method of quality driving quantity. And you, are going to have to sit through a few more boring, space filler posts because I'm not so much into the idea of not having my name on the list of people who win at the end of this thing.

(Just tuning in? Click on the picture in this post to find out what I'm NaBloBlahBlah-ing about.)

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh What A Night

Additional Note: I wrote this post last night before the deadline and never hit submit. So now, here it is, late and on time at the same time. I Should re-name it the Schroedinger's Cat post. I'll spare you the geek factor and let you read about thought experiments and quantum mechanics only if you want to. And now back to your regularly scheduled post.

What a night tonight. I had to work late and got the annoyed phone call that goes along with that. A few minutes later I walked in the door with Kung Fu Panda under my arm. The Missus made pizza and a few minutes later we were munching, and laughing, and hi-YAH-ing in a most pleasant fashion.

It was somewhere along in there that The Missus asked me what I wanted for dinner. "?" I said. Turns out that Miss O was scheduled to spend the night with Grandma M and the boys were doing the same at Grandma D's house. We discussed everything from Mexican, locally to sushi in the Big City. After a bit, the movie was over, bellies were full and we began to pack.

I dropped Miss O off at her destination and jokingly told my Mom that The Missus and I were going to Target for our Anniversary date. That was what we did last year and I thought it might be a repeat. Turns out I was right. We couldn't think of where to go once we were free from the Short People and we weren't that hungry, so we just went to Target.

It was actually a pretty nice trip. I had my first drink from Fourbucks (Starbucks) and we picked up a couple Christmas presents. I ran into a few folks that I know from work and shows. We had a time of it. Then we ambled on down to O'Lacy's Pub for a pint of the Black Stuff (Guinness for you clear-beer wimps) and some fine dining. I had a corned beef on rye that was fit to make the angels weep and The Missus got the fish and chips which is the best we've ever had outside of Jolly Ol' England. (Yes, we have had fish and chips on the other side of the pond, read all about it when I get to posting about it on The Mister. I'm posting a miniseries about how we got together and it'll end with the honeymoon.)

So, with full bellies we retired to our humble abode. She was already in bed and I was in the shower when Grandma M called up to say that Miss O was having a hard time falling asleep, what with all the excitement of a new location and a big trip to the Corning Museum of Glass in the morning. So I walked down the street and found my beauty curled up in a nest she had built for herself outside my parent's room. (She didn't want to be downstairs, too far away.)

I snuggled up beside her and we were soon both fast asleep. I arose shortly before midnight with nearly two hours of blissful sleep under my belt and now here I am. Rested, well fed, and groggily basking in the pleasant afterglow of an unexpected date with my lovely wife. Ahh.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

there is no crying in baseball

It's The Missus, here, filling in for The Mister. He's having a rough time of it, and by having a rough time of it, let's just imagine that he cleaned up the kitchen, and discovered that I had been to the cheese store today. We call it the cheese store because pretty much all they sell is cheese. Also large meat sticks, apples, maple products, crackers (because, well, duh, of course they have crackers, it's a cheese store, for flip's sake), honey, and other weird things they call cheese, but are just too gross for words. Like Smoked Stilton with Cranberries and Blueberries. There's no need for smoking stilton, it already tastes like the bastard child of FEET and ASS. And fruity? With the feet and ass? It's just a mistake, that's all I'm saying.

Anyway, The Mister is a complete girl-child for cheese curds. Are you imagining clapping hands and doing the happy dance? Because I did not plant that idea in your heads, thankyouverymuch, you came up with that ON.YOUR.OWN.

And his Major Discovery? A medium-sized meat stick (pepperoni, if you must know, you pervs, it's pizza and a movie night tomorrow), and hot pepper flake cheese curds. And because I love that guy so stinking much, I got the chive flavoured curds, too. Do not mistake that for chive flavoured Kurds, as that will cause you to become involved in some serious international incident. Because, if I understand correctly, Kurds are religiously bound to remain chive-flavour-free after puberty.

Not really. I'm just making stuff up now, because I'm pretty tired, but even tired, I'm an overachiever, and I want you to have fun here, while The Mister is out in the "shop", reading what I'm typing in real time, and editing out the crap he doesn't want you to know about. Which will most likely include the entire paragraph that contains the phrase GIRL-CHILD.

So, as I was saying, he Majorly Discovered and Devoured most of a medium-sized meat stick, and most of two eight-ounce bags of curds. (We avoid Kurd bags at all cost, and you should, too.) This Majorly Devouring business has caused The Mister to be in need of some serious digestive enzyme action, along with a generous helping of probiotics, you know, as if our bodies are designed to actually digest pepperoni, and the grease it's bathed in.

I felt it was necessary to take matters into my own hands, and also take the liberty to hijack, er, guest post over here to insure that The Mister does not lose his game of NaBloBlahBlah, and that you, his loyal readers, have something to entertain you tomorrow.

Think of us, his loving wife and adorable children, while we sit freezing in our home, with the doors and windows open, and the fans blowing. Why would you do that in the middle of November? you ask kindly.

Super spicy cheese curds and a big honking meat stick.

That's all I'm saying.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I was on my own to wrastle the short people into bed tonight. The Missus had a class to attend. The boys were just too tired for words. So they mostly screamed. But they ate their dinners and took their baths and by seven they were off in dream land.

I got to spend an hour with just Miss O. I haven't had any time just for her since we used to go on dates, Saturday mornings. We talked and went through the routine. We read and drew and prayed and snuggled. Then I went downstairs and sat at the kitchen table reading a novel. My brief period of escapism and corn chips was interrupted by Her Royal Sweetness sneaking down the stairs.

I knew there was somebody coming down but it wasn't sneaky enough to be one of the boys. It didn't seem like a big emergency until I asked her what was wrong and she burst into tears. She had been just laying in bed, sugared up on Halloween candy and thinking, singing to herself quietly. Then she had a thought about me being dead. I hugged her and said some soft thing to her. Looking back I'm surprised I wasn't having, "What the hell do I do?" thoughts at the time.

When she calmed down she asked if there was any spaghetti left from dinner and we sat at the table munching for a while. She told me she has dreams sometimes about me being in the army and dying. And then she sees me again, even though she knows she really can't, but it's like I'm not really there. The terror seemed to have passed though and I tucked her back into bed with another prayer and a few extra I Love Yous.

Then I stood staring in the kitchen for most of an hour.

The thought that finally jogged loose was of a moment I had one night when it was just Miss O and me. The Missus was out of town and the boys weren't around yet. Miss O was all snug in her bed and I had the paralyzing thought, "What if I die in my bed tonight?" I spent five tearful minutes in my dining room imagining what she would do in the morning before I finally shook it.

The Missus is home now. I'm happily laying down this train of thought.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not Quite

After a week of work and show on top of it I was feeling pretty good about myself. During a show week this summer I was teetering on the edge of a break down. This time I couldn't even see over the edge from where I was sitting. I had two whole days where I felt pretty good about myself after that.

Then The Missus asked how much I had in outstanding invoices at dinner tonight. Apparently not nearly enough to get us out of the proverbial woods. Dang, just when I was starting to look forward to buying some nice Christmas gifts for people this year. And the kids were a wreck, and the house is a mess, and she had a meeting she forgot about. I also pretty much forgot how to deal with my kids while I was gone last week. So now I'm feeling like a gigantic shit.

And to all that I assign a big WHATEVER!

Things have been bleaker, I've been shittier, the kids have been crazier and we've been broker... more broke, sorry. And that's all within the last calendar year. Eventually I manage to remind myself that there's a God around here who is interested in my welfare and has not once in thirty-two years let me down.

The good news is I can have all the overtime I want at work. I can pretty much move in there if I want to. In fact, the trend of wanting me to be in multiple roles at once seems to be sticking. I can do preventive maintenance all morning, work with the framers and drywallers all afternoon and stay all night to get the electricians caught up. Then they want to send me to school for building automation. (And the coffee's free if nobody's lookin!)

I just stared at that last paragraph for twenty minutes. I think I'm out of juice. Anyway, there's dishes, and the living room's a mess, and 5:30 is just around the corner. See you on pay-day.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Good To Know

So the other night, I'm driving to the gig and there's this truck behind me. Honking. Geez dude, can't you see that there's like fourteen people going slower than me up here?! The night after that a car whizzed past while I was waiting to turn left and I heard, "Get a real job!" Today that same truck passed by while I was outside at work and the driver called me a lazy bastard. Then The Viking called me to let me know he still loved me.

"Geez" I said, "I'm glad that turned out to be you. I was kinda worried about you living in this neighborhood. The motorists around here are so aggressive lately... and critical!"

The Viking and I have a long tradition of vehicular animosity in the name of fun. It all started one day with him parked on the street and shouting a "Hello!" when I was driving the other way. I flipped him off just for fun and it was hilarious! After a while it got so we'd just flip each other off whenever we saw each other on the road. There was one fine instance where I was ahead of him, turning left, and had to reach way out so he'd see my salute. Four other drivers came screeching to a halt.

That probably would have signaled a good time to stop for most people but we decided it was high time we enlist more people in the fun. So we got our friend Chris in on the game. He picked up on it right away. One Saturday morning I was out running errands with Miss O. I was at a light and he turned left across my port bow and raised the flag. Now... the guy's a frickin marshwiggle! (see: Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair) I mean he's got fingers like cornstalks! It was like getting poked in the eye with a telephone pole!

Not that I'm condoning random acts of birdflipping against strangers here, but your friends are a different story. The next time you see someone down in the dumps coming toward you (and you know they can handle it) give em part of a wave (as our old plumber used to call it) and a big grin and see if they don't crack up laughing.

P.S. Checking in on my dashboard just now I see that I'm up to six followers! I never thought I'd see the day. Big love goin' out to Ree at Hotfessional and one of our favorite former babysitters, Danae at Beauty In Distress.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Back To My Regularly Scheduled Program

At last my week of theatre is at an end and I can rotate back to the world. Shows are good but when they're not great it's kind of a chore. Not that this years cast didn't do a good job, but the bar is set kind of high for them by previous efforts. Singin' In The Rain is pretty much a fluff piece, even when the male lead is channeling Fred Astaire and the comic relief is world class. Last year had me in front of The Pirates of Penzance and for a goof like me it's hard to top a farce. That and when a cast of sixty belts out "Hail Poetry" in Act II I'm not ashamed to admit that a real tear forms in the corner of my eye.

Working on drama for drama's sake has gotten me to thinking about all the drama of my daily life. Everybody at my house is a bit of a chronic over-reactor. I'm thinking we gave the children the double recessive gene for that. The guys I work for aren't union but have a similar mentality, there's a lot of nitpicking about everything that goes on. I guess that's why it's nice to do some drama once in a while because for me at least, the drama goes away for a week.

As the Sound Guy I have a measure of authority. The director, stage crew, technicians and actors all more or less pay attention to what I have to say. The theatre is also one place where my own modus operandi has some sort of real influence on people. Because I've built up a reputation for overcoming obstacles and getting the job done I can get people to chill out.

A simple, "Yup, sorry" at notes instead of a drawn out excuse goes a long way toward pacifying a director and showing other people how things get done. Saying things like, "I'm not sure if I can do that but let me look in to it" helps get my cohorts in the right frame of mind. I'm not blowing my own horn here, the musical director, choreographer and stage crew all operate the same way. We're all pulling together and making allowances for one another's shortcomings. As a result, the actors feel very comfortable and can get on with the business of perfecting their parts. It's a nice way to operate for a week.

And as much as shows are challenging and work is irritating and both are fulfilling at the same time, the real treasure in my life is a wife that really loves me, kids that adore me and a handful of real friends. I know it sounds like something from a greeting card but that's the fact. I'm a wealthy man.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Moment Of Silence

I have been home with the kids all day and that is pretty sweet. Miss O left around ten for a birthday party so it was just me and the boys. They were content to watch Mary Poppins despite the plethora of viewing options on a Saturday morning... weirdos. Apart for their happy viewing the only disturbance was when one of them hit the other on the head. So I was free to lay on the couch and feel wretched. Show weeks are hell on the digestive system.

We shared a lunch of "biggedie ohs" and Mountain Dew, after which we all promptly fell asleep. Lil H-Bomb gave a sigh of relief as I set him in the bottom bunk, and J-Man didn't even have the sauce to put up a fight. I fell asleep next to him and only awoke because I had Buzz Witeyeaw in my eye.

Padding downstairs I was coLinknfronted by utter silence. It was so encompassing and soft that it was almost violent. SILENCE!!! I drank some water and it was quiet. I made some coffee and ate some crackers and it was quiet.

It's the kind of quiet that you only get on winter mornings with the pillow fluffed up over your ears and the blankets up to your nose and my house is full of it. It's so thick I want to cut off a chunk and eat it, maybe on toast. I hope The Missus gets back from shopping in time to enjoy some of it.

P.S. I am also feeling particularly happy because two of my favorite bloggers that I know IRL are coming to the show tonight. GreenPanda419 and SuperJew. Oh yeah! And SJ is bringing me and The Missus some serious sandwiches from Jim's Steak Out. Life is good!

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