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 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

The neighborhood deer didn’t have anything to do with election day but I still have a fence to mend because of one

I gave some serious thought to attempting to write something smart about this week’s election, to setting something down that might ring true across both sides of the divide the presidential campaign exposed.

And I suppose I could have started with my experience in a crowded newsroom.

I’m used to busy newsrooms. However, on Tuesday night, I was surrounded by many more people than usual. They ranged from interns who were experiencing the excitement of their first election night, to the more seasoned reporters and editors, many of whom have probably run out of fingers and toes to count for all the election nights they’ve covered.

So many people were around, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see my wife walking our dog Rodney through the newsroom.

She didn’t, of course. At least, I didn’t see her. But while there is nothing like a busy newsroom to pump up the adrenaline, you couldn’t turn around without bumping into somebody.

The crowd was jarring, but whining about it is hardly what I set out to write this week. I was going to write something smart about the election.

The problem is, you don’t have to look far for informed opinions on the outcome. For example, my Twitter feed is full of election news and analysis from the pros on both sides. And for more of an armchair reaction, all I have to do is open Facebook and scroll through what my friends are posting.

In any case, I’m not so enamored by my own powers of observation to think that I have anything fresh to add, so I’m probably better off sticking to my usual silliness.

And that brings me to why I’ve got a fence to mend.

A couple of days after the election, a neighbor whose driveway parallels our backyard showed up at my front door asking what happened to the chain link fence that keeps Rodney from roaming around town with his canine pal from across the street.

I didn’t know what he was talking about until we went to have a look. Sure enough, a portion of it was torn down.

At first, we thought somebody rammed it with a car, but then my neighbor pointed out that his flower bed would have been damaged, too.

As we set about putting the fence back into some semblance of order in lieu of a more permanent fix, the most likely explanation occurred to me.

Earlier that afternoon, there had been a big commotion in the backyard. I’m used to Rodney barking out there, but this was different. He was growling and putting up such a fuss that I sprang from my favorite chair to see what in the world was going on.

While I was shooing Rodney back indoors, I saw one of the neighborhood deer, a big buck scampering down my neighbor’s driveway.

We figure Rodney must have surprised it while it was making an afternoon snack of my neighbor’s flower bed, gotten its antlers caught in the chain link and tore down the fence as it escaped in a panic.

I was so focused on Rodney and the deer, that the damaged fence escaped my notice until my neighbor stopped by.

As far as what I planned to write this weekend, the obvious thing would have been to draw an analogy between the backyard fence mending I have to do and this week’s election protests in major cities across the country.

But that would be too easy, even though fence mending seems to be the order of the day.

The neighborhood deer didn’t have anything to do with election day but I still have a fence to mend because of one