Sunday, August 29, 2010


My mother visited this morning, notwithstanding the Lovely Bride was out of town with my oldest and youngest.

"Hello!" she called as she came through the door.

"Hi Grandma," the middle kid called from the basement, where he was fighting Nazis or space aliens or God knows what.

"I need you to help me with something," she said to me.

"If you need someone killed, you're better off going to that bar you were at last night," I told her.

"I was at a play last night," she said.

"Sure you were," I said.

"I'll kill someone for you Grandma," the middle boy yelled.

"I don't need anyone killed," said my mother.

"Good," I said. "My own list is already too long."

"Stop being silly. I need your help."

"Fine. With what?"

"I want to say something negative about someone on the internet."

"That will certainly stand out," I said.

"I am very unhappy with the company that ran my tour to Norway."

"Not enough lutefisk?" I asked.

"The food was fine," she said. "The problem was the air conditioning on the bus. It didn't work."

"Why don't you just get a handful of carbon dioxide and use it to beat your grandchildren?" I asked.

"Are you going to help me or not?"

"Of course I'll help you," I said. "You're the best mom ever. That's why I'm the best dad ever."

She rolled her eyes.

"Am I the best dad ever?" I yelled to the middle kid.

"Can I have $10?" he asked.

"Okay," I said.

"You're the best dad ever," he yelled.

"See?" I beamed at my mother. "Now, what do you want me to do?"

She handed me a typewritten sheet laying out a complete timeline of the air conditioning issue on the bus, as well as her failed attempts to get the situation remedied on the trip and afterward.

"You spent five days on a bus without air conditioning, with the temperatures in the 80s, and they only sent you a check for $50?" I asked her when I finished reading.

"That's right," she said.

"What happened to you?" I asked. My mother's relatives in other cities used to save up their store returns for her visits. I think it was her way to fight the corporate system. That, and League of Women Voters.

"They're based in North Dakota," she said. "I can't visit their office, I don't know the Attorney General in that state, but people should know they don't take care of their customers."

"Yes they should," I agreed, posting her comments about Brekke Tours.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Monday, August 23, 2010


"I hear you're the guy I should talk to about lunch," said one of my coworkers.

"Really?" I asked, touched in a sad sort of way.

"Yeah," he said. "I heard you'll eat almost anything."

"True," I said. "It's also true I'll eat anything."

He thought about that for a minute.

"Sometimes I'm not even sure if I'm eating food," I added helpfully.

"Huh," he finally said.

"I'll schedule lunch for us," I said.

"I'm pretty busy the next few weeks," he said.

"No rush," I said.

"Oh," he said. "Good."

Breaking News!

Minneapolis will pay $165,000 to zombies

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Close To The Tree

"Is that a black eye?"

"No," said my youngest.

"Yes it is," I said. "How'd you do that?"

"Remember when I slept over at M.'s house two nights ago? You drove us over there and on the way you were asking him about basketball and then we were talking about the time a couple years ago we played that one team and he tried to make a shot from the corner and his dad yelled at him and then he said he could have made it anyway and then his dad yelled at him some more?"

I already regretted this conversation. "What are you talking about?" I demanded.

"After you dropped us at his house we ate dinner and played with the dogs for a while."

"The dogs gave you a black eye?" I asked.


"Then why are you telling me about them?"

"Don't be stupid," said the boy.

"Sorry," I said.

"After we played with the dogs we went outside to play baseball."

"You got hit with a baseball?"

"I told you to stop being stupid," he said.

"Sorry," I repeated.

"We couldn't find a baseball. So we were going to play with a tennis ball. But we couldn't find one of those either."

"What did you do instead?" I asked, long past the point of actually caring.

"We used a basketball."

"Oh, you got hit with the basketball."

"No, M. pitched the basketball to me," he continued. "When I swung at it, the bat bounced back and hit me in the eye."

"You hit yourself in the head with a baseball bat?" I asked.

"Sort of," he said.

"And I'm stupid?"

"Yes," he said.

"Okay, then," I said.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Busy Bee

Lots to do the next couple of weeks. In the quiet times, amuse yourself.

Hyperbole and a Half

Sunday, August 15, 2010


"Where are they?" I muttered as I rummaged through my friend's kitchen cabinet.

My friend's daughter was watching. "What are you looking for?" she asked.

"A bourbon glass."

"They should be in there."

"I can't find them," I said. "Maybe I should use a cereal bowl instead."

"Whatever stops the tears," she said.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Poor Kid

It's off to California tomorrow. The oldest is flying in from Auckland and we're making a quick college visit in Los Angeles on Friday. I only wish I'd known how ugly New Zealand is before I'd let him go.

Monday, August 2, 2010


"Fuck you, bitch!" I heard as I parked at the office this morning. The man was leaning out the window of an old Jeep.

"Fuck you," the woman yelled back. She started to walk away.

The Jeep did a Y-turn. The man got out and hit the woman. She screamed. He pushed her in the Jeep.

"911, is this an emergency?" asked the operator.

"Yes," I said.