Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Contemplating my retirement

I take back roads on my morning commute to the office. As is often the case, this morning I was behind several big lumbering yellow school buses. They seem to stop every 100 feet these days - so I had alot of time to daydream.

I started to think that driving a school bus might be a great early retirement job for me. I see alot of women in their 50's and 60's driving their routes each morning.
I started to align my strengths with that of the rigors of transporting our youth.

I am an excellent driver with a clean record, and I am very cautious behind the wheel. So I've got that going for me.

But first - you have to be ok dealing with kids of all ages. I like kids well enough. I mean hell... I don't have to raise them, or pay their college tuition. Just keep them behaved well enough for the short jaunt to school. I think I could manage this. I am sure we could come to some compromise between utter chaos and feigned order.

Next, its an early day. Those high school kids need to drag their asses out of bed around 6am I think. Not a problem for weese. My early rising wife could easily give me a nudge out the door.

Finally, there's the schedule. Buses run by the minute. You've seen the printed list of bus stops in the paper - the start times listed as 7:04 for High School; then 7:52for Middle School; 8:33 Elementary School.
This requires stringent attention to detail.
weese excels at this.
weese loves detail and even better appreciates the need for timeliness.

I started to imagine... I would certainly need a new watch - maybe even a small clock that I could mount to the dashboard and set accurately to the correct time. I could practice my route and get it down to perfection even before the school year began. I would be ready. I would never be late.

Then I imagined picking up the kids. Those sleepy slow high school kids, sauntering down the street - while I kept a keen eye on my clock. I suppose I could make up some time in between runs. Surely the middle schoolers would be more peppy.

But then there's the little ones... gathering their strewn belongings because they'd gotten a little distracted waiting for me. Then the long good byes, kisses and waves to mom or dad. Also, of course it takes them longer to load on - their little legs straining on those tall steps. This might make me late. weese would not like to be late. I could see myself at first urging them on ... a little shout out while they are hugging their parents... then maybe a dismissive wave to mom to suggest - its over lets go, let's get crackin.

Then watching as they made their way across the street... now I am getting jittery. Of course, one of them will inevitably drop something, and as we are all taught in kindergarten we need to help - -so now the whole gaggle of them will be floundering about trying to collect themselves as a group and pick up items as they are dropped and fluttering about busstop. It's at this point that I can see myself leaping from by bus drivers seat out the door and begin to lift them one by one by the back of their collars and stuff them into the bus, shrieking and giggling.
I imagine I will have gotten them into such a silly tizzy at this point that I will need to manually plop them each into a seat before being able to resume our route.
A quick check of my new, set to Greenwich Mean Time -5, clock will tell me ... we are now in fact late...

Hmm, maybe I should consider bagging groceries.

Monday, January 28, 2008

TV tonight

Hmm ... writers strike?

Friday, January 25, 2008



We haven't even started to compost yet - but I was so pleased with this tip I decided to publish it even before we put it into practice.

When my environmentally conscience wife and I started discussing composting last week - she explained frankly that she was not thrilled about schlepping kitchen waste out to the pile in the dead of winter every day
(keeping in mind that we plan to compost in a wooded patch over 300 feet away from the house).

I told her about those nifty little buckets that sit on your counter which are purported to be odor free for days - she wrinkled her nose.

Then a friend at work gave me this fabulous idea.
Use the freezer.

We can simply toss our daily kitchen wastes (non-meat) into a tupper' or baggie or some such thing then pop them into the freezer.
It can be added to and stay there as long as needed, and the schlepping can be done at our convenience.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

enough already

I suppose it's a shame that young man Heath died. And I would not be irate right now if it were just a mention on the nightly news the other day.
But enough ...pulleeze.

Personally, I don't really care that he's dead. I didn't know him. I will not be forced to be sad for someone just because their career was in acting. That was his job. That's what he did to pay the bills.

I don't know the other 150,000 people who died that day.
Why do I not mourn for them?

What... is it because this Heath guy was young... or his death was tragic?

Why do I not mourn for the 28 year old who lost his battle with Leukemia, leaving behind his wife and children after they spent all their savings on his health care.
Why is he not on the news? Why are we not interviewing his family?

Remember, 150,000 people die every day - bet you could find several tragic deaths in that number.
Like... say... starvation - is that more tragic than popping some pills and guzzling some booze**? What about death from an elephant stampede? Or how about missing your partners hands on the trapeze? There is tragedy. There is drama.

People... let's put things into perspective -- please.

**This is not intended to be accurate. I don't know how the fellow died. Frankly, I am not really interested in the details.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One man’s garbage

Sometime last year we started on a phased approached to shrinking our environmental footprint.

In Phase I – we tackled energy usage.
You know.. flourescent bulbs, power strips for passive electrical devices...etc.
Getting a new refrigerator was also discussed… but that falls into the major purchase category which would require an addendum to the ‘08 fiscal budge, we would then need to form a committee to get that approved by the board of directors, and if that passed a research team would need to determine energy efficiency guidelines, and our user acceptance group would need to review the different models and options… I mean we had to draw the line somewhere.

This week we begin Phase II – cut down on waste.
First we plan to scrutinize our household garbage.
We want to see how much waste falls into the following categories.
* Paper: recyclable (or burned)
* Plastics: recyclable
* Plastics: non-recyclable
* Food: to compost
* Food: not to compost (meat/bones/grease)
* Misc… this should be an interesting catagory

Then we cut down on what's brought into the house. Less in = less out.

* stop incoming paper
I have already called 17 catalog companies this morning and have stopped the newspaper.

* stop using plastic bags
We already have the reusable bags for the grocery store. But its time to stop accepting them from other stores. In most cases we should be able to carry out our purchases, put them in a large tote, or put them back into the cart to load into the car. If necessary, a paper bag or shopping bag can be used – but must be repurposed.

* purchase items which use less packaging.
For example - meat purchased at the grocery store is set in styrofoam and wrapped in plastic, while meat purchased at the butcher is wrapped in paper.

Composting will be our biggest change. We have never composted kitchen scraps before.
We have always tossed them safely into our drawstring white plastic tall kitchen garbage bags and tightly sealed them so they can be sent to a landfill where they will never decompose because they are so well protected in our drawstring white plastic tall kitchen garbage bags.
How dumb is that.
So instead we will be the bane of our suburban neighborhood with our snazzy new compost bin – sure to be enjoyed by domestic and wild animals alike.
I feel greener already.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Breakfast with friends

Am I the only one who is completely freaked out by talking breakfast cereal?

Have you seen the new ads for Frosted Mini-Wheats?
They feature little talking mini-wheats guys. These little wheats carry on converstations with a kid - usually giving him some wordly advice on why eating a better breakfast is so important.

There is one commercial where the little wheats advise the young adolescent that by having a nutrional breakfast he will perform better at school.
There is another where a group of little wheats are taking a 'bath' of sorts in hot milk. In this commercial the camera pans back as the little wheats saunter away from the cereal bowl clad in towels and flipflops - while the kid devours his breakfast.

Um...hello... he is eating the little wheat guys...

Are we to believe that the remaining wheat guys in the bowl are not animated? That these poor wheats are simply shredded grains with no brains? And that the ones with brains were smart enough to leap from the bowl before being devoured?

How is this not completly horrifying to children?

Friday, January 18, 2008



If you are a woman over say... 35 I want to highly recommend this book to you.

Both my 40-something wife and I started to notice changes in all sorts of physical and emotional ways even as early as our late thirties. Now that we are slipping into the peri-menopausal years things are changing rapidly. This book is not only a wealth of information on those physiological changes but includes natural, holistic, and dietary suggestions to ease many of these symptoms - without the addition of hormones.

Menopause has historically carried such a stigma, shrouded in hushed conversations and harsh treatments. It's was wonderful for me to learn that the things I was experiencing were happening to most women - and even better - that there are simple changes and modifications that can make this phase of our lives filled with peace and joy.

We have already put into practice many of the dietary changes Dr. Northrup suggests with fantastic results.

And guys... if you have gotten this far through the post:
This book can help you too - buy it for your favorite gal.
If you don't have a favorite gal, might I suggest keeping it on your coffee table.
What a great conversation starter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In A Meeting

... all freakin' day


Monday, January 14, 2008

hold me

Do you have nightmares? Ever wake up in the night confused and scared?
I rarely have nightmares. My dreams are usually pleasant and fun; often not rated for family audiences.
My dreams are also generally foggy when I awake, so I only remember small details of last nights bad dreams...

I remember having a feeling of disarray, I was wandering sort of aimlessly. It was as if I had no where to go and that I was all alone. I seem to recall there was destruction around me - perhaps some sort of natural disaster or war... I am unclear.
I don't think I was wounded but I was certainly feeling the affects of the dire situation. My legs felt rubbery and my heart heavy. I am certain my hair was a mess.
It was then that I realized I was carrying something.
I was carrying bulbs.
Light bulbs.
With horror it slowly dawned on me - they were halogen bulbs!!!

You do realize that touching a halogen bulb with your hands GREATLY reduces its bulb life.
Oh the horror of it...!

Friday, January 11, 2008



All this rain here in New England has got me to thinking of water proofing.
We all use water proofing sprays on our suede and leather shoes -but don't stop there. Water proofing works great on canvas sneakers as well. You can also water proof your outdoor chair cushions and market umbrellas. Look in the camping supply section and get water proofers with UV protection. Your outdoor furniture will look as good as ours new.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

o the tangled webs we weave

It's pretty well known that I wear my glasses on a 'string' to keep them handy -- it works for me.
Today I am also listening to my ipod here at my desk.
Then the phone rang.

If I don't blog tomorrow...send help. It means I am still trying to untangle myself.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It's not so important to have nice things.
But you should keep the things you have nice.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Do you have children?

When you first have children you kinda get used to walking around in a daily fog. We learn as parents to sleep in short spurts. Like dogs. Napping when we can, but always keen and alert.
Our babies wake us several times in the night for feedings, diaper changes and sometimes perhaps just to sit in the rocker by the night light – skin to skin, feeling our rhythmic breathing.

As they grow into toddlers their minds start to work in mysterious and sometimes frightening ways. They call out in the night for comfort. As good parents, we go to them, gently rubbing their back and soothing them back to nod. We trudge back to lie in bed… waiting – listening for awhile before sleep will take us for the split second before dawn.

As potty training progresses the middle of the night brings inevitable sheet changes. A now skilled parent can change a full set of sheets - including waterproof padding, wash and re-pj a child in record time.

Even as they begin to sprout, a nightmare can regress a 10 year old by years. Our bed becomes a haven of safety and rest... for them.
When they are sick – they need us to be by their bedsides.
When they reach their teens, they no longer come to us with bad dreams and upset tummies – but there is still the occasion to share an immanent break up or a spat with the bff... at midnight.

Then they drive.
And basically we just lie awake all night.

We then pay an enormous amount of money to an institution of higher learning if they will just let them sleep there.
For the first couple weeks we worry. We don’t sleep well. We hope they are adjusting, and happy and making friends and getting their homework done and changing their sheets (well ok…maybe that’s just me).
And then…. then… we may – just – sleep. Ah … sleep.
All night. Until morning.

We get used to sleep. Every day.

Until they come home on break.
And we learn that they have managed with great finesse and they are happy and well adjusted and made friends and got good grades and … and do this all between the hours of 10pm and dawn.


Friday, January 04, 2008



It' been a little chilly here these past couple days.
Well... if you think 0 is chilly.

When the weather turns like this remember the tips you used during the summer to keep you house cool - just reverse them.
Open your blinds/curtains during the day, especially on the south side to take advantage of the sun. As dusk arrives close the blinds and pull the curtains to retain the heat. Remember, if you have baseboard heat, curtains should not cover them. That kinda defeats the purpose.

If you have a draft under your door - there are plenty of options: install a door sweep, or a new threshold; get one of those draft dodger stuffed things that look like long dogs or cats; or heck... just toss a rolled towel there when it gets this cold.

I would not recommend having a fire unless you have glass doors. While you may feel comfortably warm in front of your sensual flames - most of your dearly paid for hot air in the rest of the house is going up and out your chimney.

And finally - remember the best (and least expensive) way to keep warm is to share body heat.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

All new and shiny

January is often a time for new beginnings. Many people start diets, exercise regimens, or perhaps begin to get their finances in order.
My artistic wife decided to start a blog.
Yes folks. She started a blog. My adorable wife.

Don’t go there expecting stories, anecdotes or a daily thought.
My insightful wife would tell you not to have any expectations.
If you know her… this makes perfect sense.

While she is masterful with words - she is even better with a brush.
So she'll paint her blog... in her own colors.

Stop by.