Archive for May, 2013

So I’m getting older. Yeah I know, what are the alternatives? In my head I don’t feel old but my body tells a different tale.

Sure I identify with those posts of Facebook. Yes I was born before we had home computers. I remember Television without a remote. I grew up in a world without a phone attached to my hip. And if you wanted HD you looked out the window.

But none of that is what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about struggling to finish one Big Mac meal never mind chowing down two like I did in the olden days back when a Big Mac was actually big. And what is with salt all of the sudden? Are they making it stronger? If I eat a Pizza I’m up half the night guzzling water and the other half is spent peeing. I used to order whatever I wanted and the more the better, now if the picture on the menu looks like it has too much food I order something else.

Back in the day I was captain of the relay team many years in a row. Now I don’t run. Run? Who am I kidding I don’t even bend. Two weeks ago I threw my back out removing clothes from the dryer.

At work we have bakers racks where we put equipment. There are four sometimes five shelves to a rack. I’ve never put anything on the bottom two shelves lately even that third has become daunting.

Socks! Don’t even get me started. It is not the socks so much as the feet. I’ve never been a huge fan of feet. But who in their right mind put them so far out of reach of my hands? I need a nap after putting on my socks.

And what happened to all the actors and actresses? Growing up all the stars were older than me and I could look up to them. Now all of them are so young, exactly when did the scale tip? But as young as they are, that doesn’t bother me nearly as much as Doctors. Doctors are supposed to be older more experienced wiser people. I really don’t like Doogie Howser telling me how I should live my life. (Google it)

I remember my father who used too, (still may) lie down after a shower while he was still wet. He would tell my mother, “I’m drying” Dad, I understand. I really do. I’ll stay in the shower a little longer to delay the drying process.

There are advantages. Sex for example is wonderful, especially the one in the winter.

I’m 47.

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We went to see the latest Star Trek movie.

We like to sit in the very last row of the theatre. We were the first to arrive and we took our usual seats. We watched as a family of five walked in and sat directly in front of us. Really? There was nobody else in the theatre! They could not sit at least one row in front of us. When dad and teenage daughter leaned back the back if his chair was touching my knees. My wife commented on how rude they were and we got up and re-located a few seats down.

The theatre never filled up.

As the end credits started to roll the five of them left. A few minutes later the two adults came back and were looking on the floor and between the seats, obviously they lost something. We also saw the kids looking threw the trash.

karma is such a wonderful bitch.

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In my last sermon to you we discussed bears. But this week has proved that there are worse beasts out there than the bears. There are wasps. Not the regular run of the mill outdoor wasps. No, we are talking about the dreaded indoor wasps. That’s right we have indoor wasps. The first one I found buzzing around the window. No problem probably followed us through the door when we got home. I trapped him with a paper towel and set him free. The second wasp? eh, he too may have entered when the door was open. He was a little more aggressive and I had to catch him with a cup and show him the door.

The third. well I was watching the television when I heard my wife, whom we know runs yelling barefoot at agitated bears, screaming like a little girl “A Wasp, Another Wasp!” I thought for sure she had been stung to elicit such a response. But no, she was not wearing her contacts and she picked up what she thought was some cat food off the counter but it turned out to be a fuzzy buzzing wasp. Both woman and wasp survived the ordeal. But I started to get the inkling that we had a problem.

The next few wasps were found in our bedroom. At least they are easy to find. Just watch the cats when they start leaping at the walls and ceiling we pretty much know Where to find the wasps. So far nobody has been stung and no wasps have met their end. We have determined that they must be coming from the light fixture in our bathroom.

At least we know what my next project will bee.

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Think you have trouble with mice? We have black bears. Years ago my wife heard the neighbors dog barking in his yard. Max was not much of a barker, but when he did that baritone voice of his rattled windows and shook the doors

My wife looked outside and there was Max on one side of his chain link fence arguing with the bear on the other side. The fence in question is waist high, not exactly an obstacle for dog or bear. Both were posturing waiting for the other to make the first move.

My wife ran outside yelling at the bear. While black bears are not particularly nice, they will back away from people if given the chance. But can we count on that? Do we know what the bear thinks? Max was facing a fight he could not win and my wife was not about to let that happen. So there my wife went out the door, in bare feet, hands waving in the air yelling at the top of her lungs at an already agitated bear. When I heard the story I knew I would put my money on my wife and it appears so would the bear. With an arrogant huff the bear slowly meandered back into the woods.

There was also the bear who raided our bird feeders. We have a cast iron shepherds hook that holds the feeders. Rather than stand up and take the food this lazy bear bent the Shepherds hook in half. I was able to bend it back with an industrial clamp and a lot of cursing. The really annoying part came later when I ventured to the top of the driveway and saw our garbage strewn across the street. Along with the garbage of several neighbors. That was a fun time.

Then there was the time I was washing dishes and glanced out the window only to see a large bear wandering in our yard with two cubs in tow. My wife looked out but couldn’t see the bear. “No, not near the woods, right here under the window” The look on her face was priceless when she looked down and there was the bear looking up at her.

One evening last fall I stepped onto our front porch to find a little bear running up and down tree trunks. We watched him for a while then we heard something much larger rustling in the leaves just behind the garage. With the reminder that momma bear wasn’t far behind we retired back into the house letting the bears do whatever it is bears do.

A few weeks ago I was taking the dog for her final walk of the evening, we got all the way to the end of the porch when we came face to face with the largest bear I’ve yet to come across. We all took a good long look at each other before slowly backing away. The bear headed off into the woods the dog and I slipped back into the house where I told my wife that we were going to hold off on our walk for a little while to give the gigantic bear a few moments to leave the area. At that moment she got a text from our neighbor trying to warn us about the very large bear that just walked through their fence and was heading our way.

And just in case you are wondering we also have mice.

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June 27th 2011 I wrote a post ‘Do You Believe’ it was my first stab at partial fiction and it created quite a bit of chatter on line, in email and at work. The ghost was the only part I made up. I don’t believe in ghosts, or didn’t. Now I am not so sure.  Yes, I had an experience.

A few halloweens ago we purchased two chandeliers one of which hangs in our living room year round.

A few weeks after Katiebug, one of our cats whom had to be put down due to cancer, my wife and I were watching TV  I happen to glance at the chandelier, it was slowly rocking but only slightly like it was about to stop. At first I thought maybe I bumped it when I sat down because that does happen but the chandelier just would not quit. The heavy drapes were covering the window there was no breeze. I sat perfectly still feeling for any vibrations, there were none, yet the chandelier kept it’s slow steady pace.  I looked at the clock and decided I would not look at the chandelier for five minutes, it had already been ten. When the five minutes finally passed I looked up and the chandelier was still rocking steady like a metronome.

Very quietly I said to my wife, “I think we have a ghost” I got the strangest look in return. My wife is a believer but she knows I am not. I pointed at the chandelier.  “It will stop in a moment” she said.  “you probably bumped it and didn’t realize it” her words echoed my thoughts.  “No” I said it has been doing that for at least fifteen minutes. We both fell silent but I watched my wife out of the corner of my eye and she continued to glance at the swinging chandelier.  She seemed to be willing it to stop.  After a few moments she says, “We acknowledge and accept that you are here”  Still the chandelier kept on swinging. I waited a little while longer but eventually I had to physically stop the chandelier.  I freely admit that I had hoped that once I sat down it would start swinging again, it didn’t and it still hasn’t to this day, but I still watch and hope.


My beautiful ghost.

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Philipsburg, including Philipsburg North, South and a little place called Chester Hill boasts a combined population of 4,800 people. If we don’t want to make the run into State College for groceries our only practical option is Philipsburg. This was one of those Sundays, we even splurged and went to McDonalds for breakfast.

We ordered our scrumptious meal, my wife grabbed the drinks and found a seat while I waited for the rest of the food. It was a busy morning at McDonalds, the pimply kid asking if we want fries with that seemed overwhelmed and who could blame him? There had to be at least four other people in line. I got the food and headed over to the table my wife had found. There was a gentleman seated at the table next to us that I had never met before but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was a magician. No he wasn’t holding a bunny or wearing a top hat. He wasn’t practicing a magic trick. To the untrained eye there were absolutely no outward signs that he was a magician. I just knew. Four thousand eight hundred people, the odds of one being a magician are little to none. Is there nowhere I can hide? My wife, of course, unknowing his magic habit had already struck up a conversation with him. My wife talks to all the strays.

As I took my seat my wife says, “Brian look at the cool case he has for his ipad, isn’t that neat?” To which I add, “Not only that, he is a magician!” The look he gave me was nothing short of comical, for a moment I thought he was going to choke on his meal.

In about two minutes the conversation turned to a magic pissing match. He started telling me about all the magicians he knows. About all the tricks he does and how he made improvements. These types of conversations never fail to amuse me. And I usually don’t engage. I nod, I smile, add a few words here and there. Why must it always be a competition? When plumbers meet do they compare tools? Brag about how fast they can remove a valve?

But I’m not writing to tell you about Philipsburg or magic pissing contests. No I’m here to tell you what happened when the Military showed up.

There we sat eating our McBreakfast happily discussing the merits of magnets vs invisible thread in the world of magic when all of the sudden from behind the counter we hear the staff yelling at each other, “We got a bus! We got a bus! Start prepping the food. Do we have enough hashbrowns!” I looked up and sure enough across the way a bus had pulled up the door opened and out stepped a soldier complete with clipboard and camo-fatigues followed by a whole lot of other people who looked exactly like him, and yes, they were heading our way. The shouts from behind the counter still ring in my ears, “Oh My God they are military, do we give them anything free? Do we have enough food?”

The restaurant quickly filled up I could no longer see the counter all I could see was a wall of men and all I could think about was that the camo-gear was a huge fail as I could see them all quite clearly. I heard one soldier at the end of line line quietly say, ‘guys, hold up a minute’ and with that they all took a step back in order to let two old ladies dressed in their Sunday finest to move to the front of the line. And that is what I’m writing about. Good manners, common decency and class.

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