Thursday, September 25, 2014


Do you ever have those days/weeks where you find it difficult to get moving?

I've had this problem for the last couple of weeks now....Hell, I'm struggling to put this blog together as we speak.  (Three sentences down....)

So here is what has been sapping my energy as of late......


There are a lot of things that I love about the fall.  The cooler weather gets me to thinking about a big pot of chili and digging my comfy flannel shirts out of the closet.

What is it about flannel shirts that cause them to just get better with age?  They fade, pick up stains, get holes in them, lose buttons, and eventually, make you look like a slob or a wandering bum.  But, man, when flannel shirts start getting ratty is when they become the most comfy.

With every flannel shirt I've owned, Karla has had to do an intervention.

"Tom, you really need a new flannel shirt."

"But....but why?"

At the mere mention of throwing away a flannel shirt I turn into Linus Van Pelt....."I'm not giving up my blanket (flannel shirt)......

Karla has long since given up trying to get me to throw away a flannel shirt.  I think she's figured out that asking me to dispose of my favorite (their all my favorite) flannel is akin to asking me to sever a limb.

I just go to the closet one day and.....

"HEY, where's my flannel shirt?"

Karla:  "What flannel shirt?"

The conversation dies right there.....I've been married long enough to know when I'm wasting my breath.....Grrrrrr.......

But at least I'm not as bad as my brother Tony is with his hats.  Tony is an Oklahoma and Cubs fan and it is (well, was....) his belief that he should wear his hat until OU wins a national championship and the Cubs wins a world series.

I remember when Karla and I visited him at his college.  Karla told me that she didn't know that OU hats came in brown.  I told her they don't --- the hat was white when Tony bought it.  Karla back pedaled a little.

Years later Oklahoma would win a national championship and Billie, his wife, had a brand new hat that she gave him the very instant time ran off the clock.  The joyous couple celebrated Oklahoma's national championship but, I believe, for two completely different reasons.

And Tony's Cubs hat?  It quite literally rotted off his head.  It was grimy and full of holes, the bill tattered and bent.  But, even the most die hard Cubs fan knows when it's time to call it quits. Sadly, Tony, without that coveted World Series win, disposed of his beloved Cubs hat.

 It was probably for the best. I believe the EPA was getting ready to confiscate the hat anyway.

Wait....I was supposed to be talking about allergies, wasn't I?  My bad -- I will right the ship.

The only gripe I have about the fall is that is when my allergies kick into high gear; and when my allergies kick in to high gear my motivation nose dives.

The lawn has needed mowed for well over a week now but I just can't seem to get myself to do it.  The reason is because I know exactly what's going to happen when I mow.  It'll start with a sneeze, followed by a runny nose, then the eyes will start to itch and, finally, the wheezing of the chest finishes off the whole rotten experience.  Good times.  Good times.

But, in retrospect, I'm thankful that the aforementioned ailments aren't as bad as they used to be.  It only took three years of allergy shots and drugs to transform abject misery into a tolerable inconvenience.

Speaking of drugs......I have to sincerely thank all those meth heads out there who have limited my supply of Allegra D to just one purchase a month.  Karla and I can both buy Allegra D, but with Toby needing allergy meds as well we don't have enough to get us through the month.

I'd gladly knock your rotten teeth out if you had any......Um.....I'm sorry, that was incredibly rude of me.  It's probably the allergy induced headache that's making me surly.

And that's another thing.  I should at least take a couple of shots of whiskey or something to, at least in my warped mind, justify that slightly hung over feeling I get when my head starts to throb.

Anyway, enough bitching......The lawn still isn't mowed and I really need to get it done by this weekend.  Otherwise I will have to get a tractor to swath and bail.

I wonder what the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn in a hazmat suit?  It would almost be worth not feeling miserable.

It's time to paint....
I used to love painting --- and then I bought my first house.

The first house Karla and I bought was a monster; an old farm house built on a stone foundation and standing two and a half stories tall.  This old house taught me a couple of very important lessons:

  1.  When it comes to old houses, you will spend A LOT of money on upkeep and upgrades and

 2.  If you don't know the difference between a flat head and a Phillips screw driver you shouldn't have been stupid enough to buy it in the first place. (I know the difference now... )

In my defense, I tried like hell to convince Karla that our first home should be a simple little ranch style home.  But Karla would have none of that --- she just had to have the old farm house.  Shortly after we bought the house Karla started making plans for all the "projects" that we, oh handy people that we were, could do together.  You know, those happy projects that make a loving couples relationship even stronger than it was before......(cough, cough)

I told her that I didn't have a clue what I was doing and that we should just save the money and contract it out.  It was then that I heard that God awful phrase for the first time.

Karla: "How bad could it possibly be?"

To this day that simple phrase makes me cringe.  "How bad it could possibly be?", uttered several times by my lovely wife, is usually followed up by someone else stepping in to fix the mess we (I) made.

No one had to step in when I painted the house --- but I sure as hell wish someone would have.

Karla, two months into the project became pregnant with our first child and so got a pass on painting the beast after my dad caught her on top of the scaffolding scraping paint off of the second story and had a heart attack. (No, not literally)

  Still I, myself, was actually feeling fairly optimistic about the project.  At that time I liked to paint and was looking forward to a project that didn't involve a butt load of power tools that I had no clue how to operate.  Take it easy dear, I got this.

Then.....she asked.  "How bad could it possibly be?"

Well, let me tell you......

The project started in April.  That year we got a lot of rain and I never got to spend a whole lot of time painting. (Neither did Karla, as she was pregnant by the time summer hit.)  The rains were followed by high humidity which then took the first coat of paint forever to dry.  Actually, back up a second.....

The original color of the house was, I kid you not, Smurf blue.  My only thought was that I sincerely hoped that the previous owners were color blind.  Karla and I chose a very pleasant shade of yellow for the house ----- and even with primer it took a few m@&%@# f$%@#*' coats of paint to get that hideous blue color to quit bleeding through.

And, no, I couldn't scrape a vast majority of the house because of the asbestos tile siding.....I had to paint over  the previous color. Again, and again, and again.........

I began to hate Smurfs.......

The humidity gave way to an intense heat wave, which was good in regards to paint drying, bad if you have to spend hours under the sun while standing on metal scaffolding.

By this time I started using up my vacation trying to finish the house.  One man, one house, one big smoking pile of bullshit........

The heat wave was then followed by an early fall and rain, rain, rain.

Thanks to mother nature, Smurf blood, and a large house it took me nearly four and a half months to finish my do it yourself project.

Technically, I didn't finish.  There was a small strip on the back side of the house that required me to put up at least three layers of scaffolding to reach.

Karla look at it and said, "Wait, you missed a spot."

I wonder if she felt my stare burning a hole through her forehead.  But, I didn't blow up. No, I didn't not want to upset the expectant mother of my first child.  I simply said, "Shit on it....I'm done."

I went into the house, grabbed a beer and went on with my life.

So, years later and with a different house, it is once again time to paint.  I really shouldn't complain because it's only trim but, man, after such a miserable experience I really have no desire to grab a paint brush.

I know what's going to happen.  We have three consecutive weekends of softball tournaments and then I will find myself trying to get the painting finished up before it starts getting too cold.

No. Actually, I need to start painting during the week......As soon as I finish mowing the lawn.

Just not today.......Maybe I'll find my motivation tomorrow.

But for now my head is throbbing.  I believe it's time to take a nap.....