Monthly Archives: December 2012

In With The New

Watch out for flying washing machines!  Out with the old, in with the new.  That’s the way of New Years and some people take it literally.  I had to occasionally look skyward that New Year’s eve in Rome.  Not that I really expected to see all sorts of appliances coming out of apartment windows, but just in case.  I had heard stories.  Never did see anything although I did hear a few loud bangs during the night.

A lot of people just recite the in, out philosophy to make themselves feel better.  Things are going to change.  Me, well, I’m more likely to say in with the new, add to the old!  For Christmas I got three new pairs of shoes.  Not that I need them.  I just like shoes.  And I have a hard time getting rid of any. 

Last time I organized the closet I had to put a few pairs into an ancillary closet.  They are on the floor, on shelves and in an over the door rack.  How many pairs of shoes does this chick have I hear you asking?  Something like forty in total.  On the Imelda Marcos scale of shoe ownership, that number barely even registers.  But for a man, and yes, I’m a man, it’s a goodly number. 

There are several pairs I don’t even wear.  They just sit there so I can look at them once in a while. They have sentimental value.  Each pair of shoes I ran one of my three marathons wearing is safely tucked away as a shrine to that accomplishment.  Well done faithful servant.  Now rest.  Kind of a cross between wine cellar and mausoleum I guess.

Others are daily wearers.  Plain old utilitarian.  Like the sneakers I wear to work.  Only to work.  Now that I think about it, those are probably the only pair of shoes I have that are purely utilitarian.

Several pairs of my shoes are on the old side.  Like I said, hard to get rid of.  There is a pair of boat shoes that I’ve had for twenty something years.  Those have been resoled at least three times.  Wingtips that are twenty-five.  Loafers hitting twenty.  Hiking boots past ten or twelve.  There is even a pair I wrote a story about.  That was when I had plantar fasciitis and had to break down and buy old man shoes.  My first pair.  But the very stylish Italian loafers I was used to just didn’t have the support I needed then.  And I’ve kept those frumpy things around.  Sentimental.

Technically I’m more of a collector than a hoarder.  I have thrown out some shoes. Only because my toes were sticking out.  And the shoes weren’t sandals.  Or when the sole of my foot had replaced the sole of the shoe.  Or if it turned out that some pair was actually too small. 

Like the moccasins I had to have.  Just had to.  But the store only had one pair left.  And it wasn’t the right size.  I wore them a few times.  And kept them a long time.  But eventually I came to my senses and they had to go.  Not sure where they went, but I don’t have them any more.

When I started running I wore an 11 and a half.  It didn’t take long for my feet to demand a thirteen EEEE.  Missing toenails, blisters and curling digits served as a clue that I was in the wrong size. I used to say I was buying shoes to wear the boxes rather than the shoes.  Big feet.  The majority of my shoes are a size twelve though.

The weirdest thing was when I was in the Navy.  Maybe you’ve seen the movies where the guy goes into the service and into the uniform line.  He asks for a size nine shoe and they give him a twelve.  Or a size 40 pant when he asks for a 32.  In my case, I got a size 10 shoe when I need a twelve.  Nice leather shoes.  But too damn small.  Somehow I crammed my feet into those things for several months.  But they made me have a huge bunion on my right foot that exists to this day.  When I figured out the size issue, I got some “nice” shoes from the navy.  Including a pair of flight boots that were awesome!  Had to give them back when I left.

Boots.  Loafers.  Lace-ups.  Athletic and aquatic.  Specialized and generalized.  I just like shoes.  To me they are an art form.  Some are even a statement in craftsmanship.  But mostly they are something that catches my eye.  Jumping out at me to say, “Dude, I’ll look great on you.  And you’ll look good wearing me!”  Not always in line with any fashion trend.  Except my own.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?


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Deer Buds

On Dasher.  On Dancer.  On Leroy.  On Cupid.  On Donner and Blitzen…  Leroy was visiting from Detroit and Cupid was just confused.  But hey were all there.  Standing, four on each side of the road.  Just staring. Like deer in the headlights.  I was amazed to see them all together, just there in the middle of suburbia.  I had to wonder where Santa and his sleigh were.  Maybe they had escaped.  Or more likely, they were making a practice run without the sleigh.  Christmas was still two days away.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Sana Claus, but no Miss Ginny, the herd of deer in your front yard are not his.  These guys had wandered up from the nearby creek and were busily nibbling on the carefully manicured lawn and shrubbery on Miss Virginia’s property. 

Deer can be very cute.  But my beef with them is that they are so unpredictable.  Just standing there, then suddenly dashing out into the street in front of your car.  On several occasions, that dashing turned more into smashing. 

Going over the river and through the woods one night a big one appeared out of nowhere and bounced off the front of the car, skittering across the road.  He looked pretty dead until I got out of the car to go check on him.  That was when he jumped up and ran off, apparently no worse for the wear.  My car, on the other hand, had a definitely dented front end.  Hood wouldn’t close, but it seemed not to open either.  I took it on a five hundred mile trip, the whole time waiting for the hood to fly up into the windshield, blocking my view and causing a major highway catastrophe.  But it didn’t.

Another time I was running down the road and I saw something move on my right.   I slowed and looked and sure enough there he was.  While I was staring at him, another one jumped from the other side and bounced right off the hood.  He too flew off the side of the road and into a ditch.  I didn’t get out.  He didn’t come back to the road.  My hood and grill were both toast.  I later tried to use a pair of pliers to reshape the mangled hood.  Believe it or not, that made it look even worse.

There have been many other close calls, but my personal favorite was when we were down near the lake and these two big bucks came across the road.  These two were big.  How big?  Big enough so that they just jumped right over the car.  That was cool.  If they’d been much smaller they would have come in through the driver’s window, and gone out through the passenger’s window.  Small car.  Would have been messy in between.

Those plastic little deer horns you can buy to put on the car don’t seem to work for me.  They are supposed to make a whistling sound that keeps the deer away.  But the deer just kind of stare at you.  Like you’re whistling a catchy tune as you drive past them.  But they don’t run out in front of you.  Too busy tapping their toes to the beat.  The horns seem to fall off easily.  They are just plastic.  Held on with some double-sided tape.  Somebody invent a better one, please!

I’m glad that Santa has a good use for deer.  And that the Laplanders are able to do something with them.  For me, they look pretty, but only from a distance.  And I don’t want them in my yard.  Or near my car!  That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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Home for the Holidays!

Everybody is home!  My nest is full again.  Both kids came home from college this week.  Holiday break between semesters.  I know they are glad to be finished with school for a while.  And I’m pretty sure that they are glad to be home.  I mean, here.  They call their college places home now.  But this is the family home.  With mom and dad and the faithful dog.

We had the house all decorated for Christmas, but with the kids not here it was kind of quiet.  Forget that now!  There is laughing, and singing, and music.  Stories of school and friends.  For the oldest, there is only one semester more.  For the younger, this marks the end of the first.  My how they’ve grown.

The bills will all jump for the next several weeks.  More showers, laundry and water.  More electricity.  More food.  Oh, the food we can eat!  And of course it’s Christmas so there is all of the shopping.  And the special events to go to, like the choir and orchestra concert tomorrow evening.  But it’s ok.  I don’t mind spending the extra money.  Everybody is home!

I’m still struggling with the idea of going back to my family home.  It’s far away.  And it takes a long time to get there.  Doesn’t matter how we go.  We’ve tried it all.  Drive in one day.  Drive in two days.  Overnight on the train.  An all day adventure if we fly.  It costs a lot of money.  And it’s hard to get a long enough block of time off from work to make it worthwhile.  Should four of us fly up and spend two nights there?

My parents aren’t young anymore.  I base that on the fact that I ma not young anymore.  They have been talking about moving.  They’ve lived in that house for thirty-two years.  We only get to see them once a year or so.   My kids need to know their grandparents.

Sounds like I’m going.  How can I not?  Start planning!  I know my mother will have to scramble to prepare the house.  This is pretty short notice.  But I’m thinking she might also say “my son is home for Christmas!”  That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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Sick Sucks

Sick sucks.  Yes, I’ll say it again.  Being sick really sucks.  I have some long-term health issues that I have learned to pretty much deal with, but for the last two weeks I’ve had some new ailment that is kicking my tail. 

After two weeks of two different anti-biotics, steroids, cough syrup, two types of inhaler and various forms of decongestants, I am still battling a cough and some respiratory issues.  I even spent seven days at home, lying on the couch.  Doing my best to sleep and rest.  Turns out I was pretty good at that, but it didn’t help a whole lot.  But when I went back to work, my boss at least thought my color was better.  The blue tint was gone, and so was the uber paleness.  They fluctuated.  I felt awful, and do feel a little better, but …  Well, I’m glad to be getting better, even if it is a slow process.

When I was young I had pneumonia twice, and every winter I would get bronchitis.  I’m sure that’s what this is.  The doctor kept listening to my lungs and said they were clear.  He did say something about staving off another bout with pneumonia.  I had a flu shot in October, and he ruled that out by sticking something up my nose.  That was a bit uncomfortable.

The worst part, other than feeling lousy, was not being able to do anything.  You’d think a couple of days off from work might be nice, but man, all I could do was lay on the couch.  Couldn’t go out to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.  Missed the Christmas parade.  And the choir cantata.  Great way to spend the holiday season.

It occurs tome, on a reasonably frequent basis, that if this were the olden days I wouldn’t have made it very long.  You pick the time period; I just wouldn’t have made it.  Need glasses to see the wooly mammoth and sabre toothed tiger attacking you.  Broken down body would have kept me from being a Roman soldier, or a feudal serf.  The respiratory issues would have put me down as late as the mid twentieth century.  I’m glad I live in an age of modern medicine.

I don’t like being sick.  You might have guessed.  And I try really hard to fight whatever I might be suffering from.  Part of it’s because I just don’t want to give in to the darn thing.  And part of it’s because I know that there are other people who are a lot worse off than me.  And I see myself as fortunate. 

To those of you who are suffering from serious illness I offer my prayers for your healing.  And a suggestion that works for me:  Keep fighting!  Sick sucks.  That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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