A morning off from work

If there is a time of day that is consistently more peaceful than any other, it is the morning. Everything seems more optimistic as our neighborhood gets going.

I had the morning off from work today, so I took the opportunity to brew some coffee and settle myself on our front stoop to watch as the world around me woke from its slumber. A couple of our neighbors walked by on their morning constitutionals. The kid next door dashed to his car, started it up and drove away. The birds happily chirped and the dew glistened on the weeds in our yard.

The weeds. It briefly crossed my mind that I should probably make my wife happy and do something about them. I took a sip of coffee from the mug in my hand and dismissed that chore as something best left for another day. My thoughts then turned to our son.

The kid doesn’t start classes again at West Virginia University until the fall semester, but I took him back to Morgantown last week. He’s back months early because the new wallet I wrote about the last time I posted here made him go. The lease he signed on the house we moved him into started June 1st. My wallet strenuously objected to shelling out rent money while he lived in our basement for the summer. Besides, he’s got a job in Morgantown slinging deli sandwiches for hungry, lunchtime customers. He can make his own money there instead of relying on hand-outs from me if he remained home.

I suspect the days of our son sleeping deep into the afternoon and then wandering around our house in his boxer shorts looking for a snack at all hours are over. His roommates will have to put up with that now. His life is with them – in Morgantown – not here at home in Martinsburg. I suppose that’s as it should be, but I’m still coming to terms with his absence.

As I was ruminating about our son and the “Circle of Life,” I heard something rattling above my head. I looked up to see that a Blue Jay had alighted on the gutter that runs the length of our house. I watched as it skipped along for a second and then it made a short hop over to the Bradford Pear tree that stands in the front yard several feet from our dining room window.

It must be wonderful to be a bird in the morning. They seem so cheery as the sun comes up. But then that Blue Jay took a dump right in front of me and flew off.

The spell was broken.

I tossed the dregs of my coffee into the yard and went back inside the house.

I’m still trying to figure out if that bird was trying to send me a message about the “Circle of Life” and how shitty it can be.

A morning off from work

The morning chirp

Woke up this morning to the birds outside my open bedroom window.

They were happily carrying on quite a conversation.

I don’t speak bird, but I gleaned this much from all their avian chirping: their enthusiasm for the day ahead.

It was infectious.

Their joy almost motivated me to throw my pole in the car and set out for the fishing hole I scouted yesterday.

I settled for a cup of coffee on our front stoop.

I’m terrible at catching fish.

Already proved it once this week.

No use ruining an otherwise peaceful morning by getting fired up about the prospect of reeling in something other than a waterlogged stick.

 

The morning chirp

From the “never works the first time” file

The garage door opener I keep in my car actually worked the first time I clicked it this morning.

That never happens.

Usually, I have to press the button on the remote at least a couple dozen times before I get any sort of satisfaction. It’s infuriating, especially when you’re running late.

Even more annoying?

Over-clicking.

Over-clicking happens when you look away momentarily only to have the doors begin moving. Or when you click so fast and so furious it’s hard to stop in time.

Just one extra click brings the whole process to a halt and the garage door apparatus goes back to “ignore” mode. It’s as if one of our cats has somehow seized control and is deciding at random on when to allow the doors to move.

I’ve sat in my car time and again and over-clicked. My index finger hurts just thinking about it.

The problem is with the remote control. It’s decrepit. When it’s not falling apart in my hand, it’s not signaling the doors to open properly.

Replacing it is the obvious thing to do. But that would require I spend a little money and I’m too cheap for that.

So at least for now, if you see me sitting in my car outside my house for no apparent reason, you know why. And keep your fingers crossed that I don’t over-click.

 

From the “never works the first time” file

Car update

In case you were wondering – yes, I did the happy dance Friday evening.

My car is parked in its customary spot in the garage.

Knowing it’s there waiting for me to take it out for a spin completes me. I’m back to being able to go anywhere I want, when I want – a welcome change after driving a rental that made me feel as if I needed to keep it as pristine as my wife keeps the house just before her parents come over for a visit.

It’s hard to believe my car spent much of last week at the body shop. Our college son came home for the holidays, wrecked it and then fled back to school leaving me to deal with the aftermath.

But that’s in the past.

My wheels are mine again.

There’s just one catch.

My car has a new odor.

I’d like to report that the body shop guys restored that “new car” smell while they were installing a new front bumper and fixing the crinkle in the hood.

But I can’t.

It’s more like that “new paint” smell.

I doubt the fumes are strong enough to get me arrested for driving under the influence, but for the time being, I’m driving around with the windows cracked.

It may be cold outside, but I just got my car back. The last thing I need is my driver’s license taken away.

 

 

Car update

I want my car back

This afternoon, I’m anxiously   patiently waiting for news about my car.

If you’re following along, you know that my son wrecked it before Christmas. If not, you can read about it here, on my wife’s blog.

Word of warning: while the above link is hardly NSFW, the accident DID catch me with my pants down, a fact my wife clearly reveled in recounting.

Anyway, I dropped off my car at the body shop on Monday and have been driving a rental this week. It’s a Hyundai Sonata.

The Sonata is a decent car, but it’s not mine.

Mine is a Kia Forte and it’s supposed to be ready this afternoon. At least, that’s what John at the body shop told me yesterday.

He also assured me he’d call when he was ready for me to fetch it.

But he hasn’t … yet.

And now I’m anxious – as anxious as our dog Rodney gets when my wife leaves for work. He carries on so much, you’d think the fate of the universe hinges on her return.

My car isn’t that integral to the survival of the species, but you can bet I’ll make like Rodney and do the welcome home dance when I finally get it back.

I want my car back

Belated New Year Post

This may come as a jaw-dropper, but I’ve finally decided to put down the remote to the new Smart TV my wife got me for Christmas.

Don’t worry – there’s no need to rush me to the emergency room or anything remotely like that.

I just need a break.

Since Christmas, I’ve binge watched everything from Netflix’s “The Crown” to Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle,” to Syfy’s “The Expanse.” Just yesterday, I finished the last several episodes of AMC’s “Hell on Wheels.” They were finally made available on Netflix this week.

But now that we are nearly two weeks into 2017, it’s time I step away from the TV and see to what I’ve been neglecting.

Take this blog, for instance.

When I fired up my laptop this morning, I discovered that I hadn’t posted since before Christmas. And even then it was to reblog a post by my wife on the milestone our college son crossed while he was home for the holidays.

He wrecked my car.

The accident was his first. And again, no need to worry – no one was injured, not even bruised – unless you count the cars involved. The guys at the body shop are putting a new bumper on mine and fixing a crinkled hood.

The point is, I have not been diligent when it comes to blogging. So when I got up this morning, I resolved not to turn on the TV today and set about revamping this space on the internet.

I’ve changed themes and gotten rid of some of the clutter to make my home on the web more readable.

Maybe my efforts will motivate me to post more often in 2017.

Or maybe not.

My new Smart TV is looking forlorn.

 

Belated New Year Post

Christmas trees mean never having to set an alarm in the morning

Maybe it’s the excitement of the holidays.

Maybe it’s the crazy hours radio people keep.

Or maybe my body clock is simply shifting as I get older.

For whatever reason, twice this week I rolled out of bed at 4:00 a.m.

That’s actually not so unusual when you take into account my 1:00 a.m. workday wake-up call. But I’m whining about it because it happened ON. MY. DAYS. OFF!

The first time, I shrugged it off as an anomaly, flipped on the coffee pot and complained about the hour on Facebook.

I did the same thing the second time.

If it happens again next week, I may go see my doctor.

Then again, my inability to sleep like a teenager lately may not turn out to be a medical condition. Age and work hours notwithstanding, I suspect it may have something more to do with our Christmas tree.

We’ve been cutting down our tree at the same farm for years and this year was no different. The annual trip out there is a pleasant family tradition. It helps mark the start of the season for us.

Other families apparently feel the same way.

The farm was a popular place to be on the day we drove out there. It was crowded with people choosing from among the spruce, fir and pine trees arranged in long rows on the hillsides of the spacious farm. Others had already made their choices and were tying down their trees on top their cars or securing them in the bed of their pickups.

After we finally found a spot to park, I grabbed our saw and set off  with my wife and our daughter. We walked to the same general area we seem to go every year while casting a critical eye over the available trees.

There were skinny ones and plump ones, trees that were too short and trees that were too tall and, to make like Dr. Seuss, others that would not do at all. A few were found wanting because they had a gap in their foliage. Others because they leaned too far to one side or the top didn’t meet our preference.

In the end, we chose what we believed to be a nice looking tree. And if you won’t take my word for it, ask the neighbor who walked by when I was hauling it into the house.

After he complimented our choice, I thanked him. But then I joked that it wouldn’t be such a great tree if it refused to stand up.

We both had a good laugh, but I was being serious. I’ve had all sorts of trouble over the years with Christmas trees falling down and others that made my right eye twitch because they would not stop leaning precariously as if they were wavering on the edge of a cliff.

For now, this year’s tree seems solid enough. It’s standing tall in our living room, fully decked out in the decorations we’ve accumulated over the years.

But I can’t escape the fear of another Christmas tree calamity. And, it’s apparently such a worry that it’s jerking me awake before my time.

Christmas trees make me THAT paranoid, so I guess I’ll just have to get used to rising early this holiday season — whether I want to or not.

Christmas trees mean never having to set an alarm in the morning