And I’m back
I am sad to report that Tactical Tennis Ball Launcher met an untimely demise. Had my nephew over (first mistake, right?) and he witnessed it in action. Trouble was, this time it only shot about 15 feet. He set about to make it shoot further. He noticed that the seams where the Pringles cans met had separated. Easily remedied with duct tape. He then noticed that there was a a bit of space around the ball and the pringles can. And he correctly figured that was causing the gasses to escape around the ball. So, he used some old wrapping paper to make wadding (smart kid).
Then, we got to work. There was an earth shattering kaboom and we all watched in amazement as the tennis ball traveled about 150 yards. It was pretty sweet. But the force of the blast destroyed the Tactical Tennis Ball Launcher, as it separated into three pieces. Of which my nephew said “well, it’s a proof of concept”.
Man, I wish I had that on video.
For Christmas, my son got Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices. So, we first made a tennis ball launcher, because we had all the stuff laying around. It wasn’t tactical enough so we put an angled forward grip on it. And we used bacon duct tape:
Before the Mrs. and I got married, we did the honorable thing and lived in sin for a while. I highly recommend it. But this isn’t a post about that, this is a post about this:
Men aren’t big on decorating. I never was. My old condo had white walls in every room, Berber carpet, and black furniture. Oh, the dining room was oak. One thing noticeably absent (I know this because people came in and said I notice that absent is . . .) from my condo was wall art (no pictures or paintings) and knickknacks (you know, little things that sit on your end tables). All that was on my furniture was lamps, coasters, and the occasional glass. My condo was, to use the phrase of a friend, very Spartan.
Then the soon-to-be Mrs. moves in. Suddenly, my natural habitat was disturbed. I now had on my furniture many knickknacks, such as various framed pictures of people I didn’t know, a basket for remote controls (I stored them in seat cushions), and various ceramic/glass/porcelain things strewn about the house in a seemingly random (though entirely purposeful) fashion. Also, I had wall art: pictures of flowers, more pictures of people I didn’t know, and a painting of this solemn looking boy staring out into the sea. And candles. Lots of candles. Single men don’t have candles, they like to use Mag-Lites and other gizmos when the power goes out. The candles were scented too.
Then the painting started. We spent an entire month painting every room in the condo but one, which we left white. It was my toy room/office. The wife said the white walls made it look like a hotel room. At the time, I was working in public accounting and traveled a lot. So, I found the hotel room look familiar and comfortable.
After the placement of various knickknacks around what was formerly my bachelor pad, me and the soon-to-be Mrs. were watching television. It was winter. I was laying on my black leather couch and the Mrs. was on the matching love seat. I started getting hot. So, I shifted my blanket a bit. Then I was still getting hot, particularly my feet were really warm. I shifted my feet again.
That did the trick, I was comfortable. A minute or two passes and my feet feel as though they are on fire. I re-situated my feet again and all of a sudden from under the blanket erupts a giant fireball. I, understandably shocked that a fireball had just come from my blanket and having watched one too many Discovery Channel specials on spontaneous human combustion, was a bit alarmed. I leapt to my feet (bad move, my socks were on fire), grabbed the blanket and threw it on the floor. Then I jumped up and down like a mad man on the blanket in an effort to extinguish the fire on the blanket and my feet. I then grabbed the blanket, used it to extinguish my feet, and rolled it up with the fire in the middle. The fire was out. By the way, I doubt stop, drop and roll works on feet.
You would think that the love of your life would notice that her soon-to-be husband was on fire. No, she intently watched Friends while I was trying to put myself out. Then I started cussing. She, concerned now, asks What’s wrong?.
I was shocked. She missed the fireball, missed me extinguishing myself, and missed the smell that burning blankets make because she was watching some tired, old repeated joke on Friends.
I instruct her (and by instruct mean yell loudly) that I was on fire. I show her my socks (which are burnt black), I show her the blanket (which was burnt black), and I showed her the armrest of the leather couch which was singed in such a way that the mark looked remarkably like a Christmas tree. Then, she starts laughing hysterically.
You’re probably wondering how my feet caught fire. Actually, you’re also probably wondering why my feet exploded into a fireball. It puzzled me too so I put on my arson investigator’s hat and determined that:
I was laying under a blanket that had little, frilly threads on the end. One of the newly acquired candles mentioned above (an item only recently introduced into the SayUncle habitat) was on the end table by my feet. I had apparently re-arranged my feet and, while shifting, the candle ignited the frilly threads. Then when I noticed my feet were a bit warm, I rearranged in such a fashion to place the end of the blanket under my feet where it smoldered for a bit, burnt my couch, and ignited my socks. When the heat was unbearable, I arranged my feet again at which point the oxygen hit the smoldering cloth and ignited a fireball.
The moral of this story: your future wife may or may not notice that you’re presently on fire. And if she does notice, she may find it funny.
I have a few pet names for my lovely wife, such as sweetie and honey. I also refer to her, at least weekly, as the light nazi. My wife has this superpower to detect wasted electricity almost instantaneously. For example, if I leave a light on and exit the room, she immediately hones in on the room using her bizarre extrasensory capabilities (seriously, the Department of Homeland Security could probably use her to detect unusual electrical fluctuations). Upon her discovery that I am heating the neighborhood or letting the flies out, Im in for a quick reminder to turn out lights and shut doors.
One problem I have with her ability is the fanatical zeal in which she enforces her duties as the sworn protector of home electrical efficiency. Another example: when I am in our office and have the lights on then decide Id like a refreshing beverage, by the time I return from the kitchen the lights are off in the office. Also, in her zeal, she has turned lights off on me while Im still in the room reading. She seems so obsessed with saving that quarter that she occasionally fails to notice that someone is actually benefiting from the use of the electricity in question.
My wife apparently has been saving up all this electricity usage for the holidays. Every year, me and the wife also get into an argument over Christmas decorations. The argument stems from the fact she wants to put the decorations up right after Labor Day. Whereas, I prefer them to be put up about the second week of December. This past weekend, satisfied that she had saved up enough electricity to warrant decorating for the holidays, yours truly wound up doing a lot of work in preparation for the upcoming holidays. Until this past week, the wife and I were the only ones living in our subdivision. We just got a new neighbor so I suppose the new neighbor was the cause of the tackiness that is holiday decorations. Since, other than us, hell be the only one to see them. Unless of course people start driving down a new subdivision to look at houses in the dark.
On Saturday, the wife and I pulled all the holiday knickknacks out of the attic and started decorating the house. I argued about it less this year than ever. I basically said honey, its not even Thanksgiving yet? and she replied with but Thanksgiving is late this year. I shrugged and said Oh. Learned helplessness has finally set in. I can just agree and do it quicker than I can disagree, argue, and wind up doing it anyway. Ah, the holiday spirit.
We put out our Frosty the Snowman salt and pepper shakers, put up our Christmas tree, put a Nativity scene on the mantle, and put out all the other stuff from the eight boxes that were in our attic labeled Christmas. This took up half our day.
Sunday rolls around, and I find out the wife had bought about nine boxes of icicle lights. Yours truly was then taken to task to take said nine boxes of lights (at 300 lights per box) and trim the house with them. A friend came by to help. Fortunately for me, my friend had done this before. I hadnt.
Your average SayUncle is about six feet, one inch tall and weighs about 170 pounds. Your average SayUncle is also lethargic on the weekends. And your average SayUncles natural habitat is some primitive, oblong, leather bedding (commonly referred to as a couch) where the SayUncle stalks its prey, the elusive Sam Adams and the only slightly less-elusive rum and Coke. Your average SayUncle is also poorly equipped for climbing steep inclines, which is a required skill when hanging 2,700 icicle lights. The reason the average SayUncle is so poorly equipped for climbing is because the largely sedentary SayUncle often catches several Sam Adams or rum and Cokes per day on the weekends, in between naps of course. Mind you, the only known SayUncle in existence hasnt lived in its natural habitat since it wed the SayAuntie, who is hell bent on destroying the SayUncles natural habitat.
The friend shows up. We put the ladder up to the house and he climbs up. Then I climb up. I realize in about five seconds that my boots are poorly equipped for walking on the roof. You need something that allows you to bend your ankles. It was also at this point that I realized Id never really used a ladder to climb on a roof before. And that I didnt really know how to get from the roof to the ladder, and subsequently to the ground, safely. After my friends instruction, I figured the whole ladder thing out, climbed down, and put on some sneakers. Then its back up the ladder to discover my friend had already placed one box of lights. Then, I cut myself on the gutters. I refuse to climb down and am content to finish the job while bleeding on the hangers. We then develop a system in which I place the hangers and my friend inserts the icicle lights into the hangers. About three hours later (when its dark, but were working with lights so . . ) were done.
I call the wife. The friend calls his wife. And we all stand around outside looking out over our icicle lights and the lighted garland on the porch. My wife looks me lovingly in the eyes and smiles, shes happy. I look at her and smile. The whole time thinking that we will waste more electricity on these Christmas lights this year than I will waste by leaving lights on for the rest of my life. Also, I hope our only neighbor appreciates the holiday display because I dont think anyone else is going to be driving by our subdivision to look at our lights. I put my arm around my wife and smile again because I know that I’m bleeding on her holiday sweater.
With the light nazi appeased, the SayUncle was allowed briefly to return to his natural habitat before bedtime.
There are a few things my loyal readers should know. One of which is that I have a penis. This is not a post about me having a particularly extraordinary penis but a report on how the penis affects thinking and cognition. Penis-bearing beings have several deficiencies but Im only discussing one of those deficiencies today. Apparently, a penis affects visual capabilities, particularly color recognition. A human being with a penis can only distinguish about eight or so colors, even though according to Windows 2000 there are at least 24 million colors (all of which are distinguishable to entities that do not have penises). More interesting is the fact that the amount of time devoted to the penis is inversely proportionate to the number of colors distinguishable. For example, my pup spends a great deal of his time engaging in the following activities:
Showing his penis to our other dog.
Showing his penis to me and the wife.
Sniffing his penis.
Showing his penis to any strangers that may be near.
Licking his penis.
Pointing his penis in the direction of the Sun.
The result of all this attention to his penis is that he only sees in black and white. My conclusion is not based on any scientific evidence but merely the fact that he seems not at all impressed by my 60 inch color television. A friend of mine used to have a Labrador. This Labrador was not particularly smart as he could do only one trick. The command for this trick was Show me your dude and Ill let you guess what followed. Later this Labrador was hit by a car and Im convinced that the reason he was hit by a car was because he was completely blind from showing people his dude all the time (even the neighborhood kids picked up on it).
This past weekend, the wife and I cancelled our vacation (damn SARS!) and decided to spend our time painting the master bedroom and the master bath. I hate painting for two reasons: 1) I dont enjoy it and 2) I suck at it. If youre marriage can survive the painting experience, you will enjoy a long life together. If not, one of you will be dead.
Prior to this weekend, our master bedroom was a color called China Doll. Now, every penis-bearing person reading this is thinking China Doll is not a color, its an oriental figurine or the name of a porn star. See, China Doll is a very, very light shade of brown or possibly a dark shade of white. There is some debate in the scientific world of color evaluation as to what color it really is. We (and by we, I mean the wife) decided that we needed to change from China Doll to Apple Butter. Again, penis-bearing individuals are thinking that Apple Butter is something you put on biscuits or the name of a porn star. Apple Butter is a slightly darker shade of brown (or possibly white, were still not sure) than China Doll.
Also confusing to penis-laden individuals is why there is a need to change one shade of brown (or possibly white) to a slightly different shade of brown (or possibly white). The reason for this is only known to non-penis-laden individuals. After the wife made the first stroke with the roller, I said I cant see the difference and her response was Youre blind.
This time, the wife and I managed to paint two rooms without getting divorced or killing each other. The last time we painted, we were at each others throats the entire time. It got so bad that I pondered whether or not a psychiatrist could convincingly testify in court to the fact that inhalation of paint fumes combined with indistinguishable shades of brown (or possibly white) could cause temporary insanity in particular penis-bearing individuals.
Next up was the bathroom (which was China Doll as well). The new color for the bathroom is Savannah Moss, which again penis-bearing individuals are thinking Thats not a color, thats a fungus in Georgia or a porn star. Savannah Moss is light shade of green (or possibly white). This time, however, I could distinctly see the difference between Savannah Moss and China Doll.
Next weekend, the wife and I need two new porn stars to do the guest rooms.
So simple kids get it
Couple of weekends ago, our neighborhood had a garage sale. We set out to rid our home of various useless crap. Being neighborhood wide, we had hundreds of people come through. Junior gets the brilliant idea that, since these shoppers are in the hood for a long time, some of them must be thirsty and they’ll buy lemonade. She makes up a pitcher and sells out quick at a $1 a pop. On her second pitcher, I introduce some reality:
Me: So, for every lemonade you sell, you know I get fifty cents, right?
Me: Well, you’re using my water, my lemonade, my cups, my sugar, my table, my chair and you’re on my driveway.
Junior: But I’m doing the work!
Me: With my stuff.
Wife: Oh stop it.
Me: I’m just trying to teach her something.
Me: And you’ve got to pay taxes. I’d figure if you’re selling it for an even dollar 8 cents or so should cover sales tax. Then F&E taxes. And income taxes. Plus you probably need a permit and an inspection to make sure there are no cooties in your lemonade. And you’ll probably have to buy some sort of approved device for maintaining the lemonade at a safe temperature.
Junior: It’s called ICE.
Me: Yeah, but it melts.
Junior: That’s stupid. I’m keeping the money.
Me: Good girl! But you’re still paying me.
Junior: *evil stare*
The kids were, as they often do, having one of their nonsensical arguments. I forgot what it was about but it probably involved stop touching me, get on your side of the couch or some other thing kids have fought about for just about ever. I tell them to knock it off and then, thinking I thought it, I instead said I can’t believe you guys argue about the dumbest crap. Junior then pipes up: You argue about dumb crap too. Thinking she may have heard about my blog, I say Oh do I?
Her: Yes, you argue about dumb crap too.
Me: No I don’t. And don’t say crap.
Her: Oh, yes, you do.
Me: When have I argued about dumb stuff?
Me: I do not.
Her: Uh huh.
Me: Oh please.
Her: You’re arguing about dumb stuff right now.
Me: Well played, Sparky.
And I laughed hard. I was both taken aback and proud that I was outsmarted by my 7 year-old daughter. Still brings a smile to my face.
It’s often joked that alcohol, tobacco and firearms should be a convenience store and not a government agency. I call my basement the bureau because it’s where I keep my beer fridge, humidor, ammo locker and gun safe. Anyhoo, spent the last couple of days getting organized:
After my safe bleg, I settled on a Browning. I like it. Two things, first being I should have spent the extra $500 for the next size up. Everything fits but it’s snug. Second, they make rifle racks or the door with a cut out for scopes. These are not set up for 16 inch ARs. I had to move the rack because I mostly have AR-15s.
Picked the safe up at The Knoxville Safe House. Good people and do recommend. They answered my questions on fire ratings and explained the pros and cons of interior and exterior hinges.
Speaking of mostly having ARs, if one is none and two is one then this is some number. Math is hard:
Top to bottom: Colt 6920 FDE, Colt 6920 Gray, Junior’s Gun, the 12 incher, and a 7 inch dedicated 22LR suppressed.
So, this is our nightly routine. Whines to get me to play:
Those that saw me at the NRA convention noticed and made fun of my long hair. But, I had a plan. I was donating it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, which makes wigs for cancer patients. So, here I am before the festivities (with some help from Junior):
And the final result.
Junior is also going to donate but she wants to have long hair after, so she’s growing it a bit longer. I told her I’d race her.
Hey, Junior, you’re famous on the internet again!
But that’s an old picture. I really need some new ones.
This is one of my favorite times of year. Sure, the weather is hotter than the flames of Heck, where Fluffy went. But it’s that time when one of East Tennessee’s greatest foods is in season. Grainger County tomatoes:
Most of the local and, even, chain stores carry them. I just put salt and pepper on them. If you’re ever in this area, try them.
From Savannah. Cool looking castle:
Some sort of critter:
Jabba the cat:
Except for the occasional McStore, the downtown is quite lovely. And lively. I guess local people want Panera and a Starbucks.
I had a Sazerac. It was delicious. Note to self: get some absinthe.
The kids loved the Pedicabs:
He doesn’t look mad at all:
The house we rented had a sundial that was accurate:
There were lighthouses:
Every picture of a dolphin anyone ever takes:
The kids posing in front of George Washington’s cannon:
3 dozen oysters. Challenge accepted:
With the kids out of school due to icemageddon, we had a lot of down time. And the kids got bored. So, I was showing them things to do with cards, like building a house of cards, throwing cards, and tossing cards into a hat. After a couple of attempts at house building that ended in collapse, my son went and got tape to put them together. Then, I showed them tossing cards into a box. My daughter tried it. But my son grabbed the entire deck and tossed all the cards right in the box.
At first, I was disappointed he was cheating. Then I realized it was also pretty smart.
He is a little rules lawyer.
I’m trying to figure out why they come with eye protection.
Me: If you don’t get your homework done, I’m going to crack you upside the head.
Junior: THAT’S CHILD ABUSE!
Me: No, that’s hyperbole, which you should be learning about right now.
My dad came by to grab some homemade kimchi and Junior was doing her homework:
Poppa: What kind of homework are you doing?
Junior: I need to do a limerick.
Poppa: Want some help?
Me: It better not involve a man from Nantucket.
Well, through it, mostly.
But he came here to push free college for everyone, which is a myth. Because someone has to pay. And he celebrated manufacturing innovations. He pushed education and manufacturing while shutting down a couple of schools and a couple of manufacturers for the day.
As he left, the plane flew over our house. The Mrs. got the kids so they could see Air Force One fly over. Junior looks up and says: “Why are you so excited. We didn’t vote for him”
My nephew let me shoot his BOOMco. Rapid Madness Blaster:
Man, how toy guns have evolved. And fun.
It’s kind of bittersweet. My daughter, who no longer believes in Santa, is helping me play Santa.
So, last weekend, my dad gave a little piece of rolled up foil. In it was the first tooth I lost as a kid. Today, more than a week later, my son, out of the blue, says “So, how did Papa get your tooth from the tooth fairy?”
I told him to call Papa.
At Oriental Cuisine:
My son: Do you have an extra mouse?
Me: It’s in the office, by the desktop computer, under the monitor.
Son: What’s a desktop computer?
Son: What’s a monitor?
Spent part of the weekend loading with a helper:
Got that work done, I mentioned. And more.
One of my neighbors likes to let her chihuahua run loose. It charges other leashed dogs with seeming regularity, based on the complaints I’ve heard since finding out I was getting sued by her, and a number of other neighbors asking about me about getting sued. Anyhoo, apparently her dog running loose is my fault because, it turns out, the new dog doesn’t care for Mexican, when it’s growling.
But Junior turned a decade today. Kind of a big deal. Busy. Talk amongst yourselves.
Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.
Uncle Pays the Bills