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Showing posts from September, 2015

I Can Even Use a Power Saw

Erik is traveling this week, and is out of the office. We are reprinting an old column about his old house.

Ever since we moved into our house 11 years ago, I've enjoyed working on it. Building and insulating the walls, putting up drywall, and watching my wife paint.

We finished off the upstairs and the basement with her parents' help, and I learned the manly art of bashing my own thumb with a hammer. In fact, I got so good at it that I find I enjoy working with my hands, beyond just typing on the computer with eight useful fingers.

Some days, I even fancy myself capable of doing this on a daily basis. I can imagine trying to earn a living, doing what I do on the weekends: drinking beer, puttering around in the garage, drinking more beer, and watching football on TV.

Sadly, there is more to being a contractor than that. It's not as much football watching, which is bad, but a lot more beer drinking, which is good, unless you're using a power nailer.


The problem with doin…

A One-Sided Conversation About Moving

"Remember, Buddy, lift with your legs, not with your back."

"That's still not funny."

"Because it wasn't funny the first fifty times it."

"Because you're already lifting with your hands. Saying it 49 more times doesn't make it funnier, it just means I'm making you carry more stuff."

"Because you could injure your back and end up with chronic back pain."

"I wouldn't have to repeat myself if you would just do it right the first time."

"I do not! I lift with my legs just like — blurg! I can't squat down that low."

"Forty-eight."

"I don't care how old he is, Michael Jordan isn't here to help us move, is he?"

"I'll bet he can't squat that low either. The guy's so tall, he probably gets the bends if he stands up too quick."

"What's he going to do, dunk it onto the truck?"

"Just lift it up."

"Turn left. No, left. I wan…

Life Lessons for My Children

As my children get older and enter young adulthood, or as I like to think of it, "*sob* I don't want you to go away to college!! *sniff*," I've tried to impart important life lessons to each of them.

However, since I never pay attention to anything I say — no one else does either — I'm not sure what I've said to which child. So I've compiled it all into one easy-to-lose guide that none of them will actually read.

1) Don't put your money and energy into possessions. You'll spend your money on things you never really needed or wanted, and you'll end up throwing half of them away in three years.

Instead, spend your money on things that make memories, like an HD TV and satellite subscription, with a Major League Baseball game package. Oh, and a nice recliner. I remember the recliner my parents had when I was a kid. It was so comfortable, I could take deep, satisfying naps in it during baseball games.

See, nice memories.

2) The best things in life …

Peter and the Disembodied Voice

"Do you ever wonder about The Voice?" asked Peter.

"The TV Show?" asked Peter's grandfather.

"No, Grandfather, The Voice," said Peter

"What voice? Is someone talking to you?"

"No, The Voice that tells us what's happening. I can hear him sometimes, when I'm out playing."

"Are you sure it's not one of the neighbors?"

"No, no. It sounds like God. He talks about what I'm doing, as if he's explaining it to someone else."

Peter's grandfather studied him. The boy had never been quite right, not after his parents had died, and Peter had been sent to live with him. Grandfather petted Cat sleeping in his lap. Cat had worn himself out, chasing Duck and Bird again, but hadn't had any luck. He reached across the table for Peter's hand.

"Peter, do these voices tell you to do things?"

Peter pulled his hand away. "Grandfather, I'm not crazy," he huffed. "There aren'…