Category Archives: Humor

A Comedian In The Family

A comedian in the family is something everyone should have the opportunity to experience.  For our family, it’s our younger son, Ben.

This kid will utter all kinds of weird sounds from the bathroom as he takes his daily shower.  And with a huge mirror in the bathroom, he is his own captive audience as he plays out various routines in his head.  Needless to say, this usually gets him in some sort of trouble for taking so long in the bathroom.  I don’t think he really thinks much of it though.  I really wonder if being a comedian might be in his future.

Just yesterday morning, we were sitting around the dining room table eating our breakfast.  For our family, it is a Saturday morning tradition to have fresh donuts from the local bakery.  As William (our older son), Ben, and myself were eating ours, I shared a quick thought.  I mentioned how my wife has found lately that it doesn’t take much for her sweet tooth to get over-loaded and a sugar buzz to set in.  Without missing a beat, Ben piped up with, “Well, us three just power through it.”  A comedian at work….

Ben’s latest trend has been speaking with a California “surfer dude” dialect.  Sometimes it’s done so well that it’s hard to understand what he has just said.  The only word that I can make out clearly every time is when he calls me “Bra”.  As in, “Wassup, Bra?”  Add the goofy facial features that he often accompanies those words with and our family comedian strikes again.  I guess I don’t mind so much being called a piece of women’s clothing.

God’s Word tells us how important humor is.  And since we’re made in His image, that means humor came from Him as well.  Which leads me to wonder:  How much of a comedian is God Himself?  I think we will be pleasantly surprised when we are finally with Him to find out!

 

 

What’s Up, Doc?

“What’s up, Doc?”  These are words that my generation loved to hear.  It is probably the most common phrase ever remembered from a cartoon character.  The now famous words of Bugs Bunny.

This brings to mind something my wife and I were just talking about.  As kids, we lived for Saturday morning cartoons!  Around mid-week the countdown would already begin for the unleashing of many hours of cartoon fun.  (I know for me and my brother, that countdown also was for the sugar cereals we would sometimes be able to have on Saturday mornings.)  So there was lots to look forward to every week!

What’s it like now?  B-o-o-r-r-r-i-n-g.  Where’s He-Man?  Where’s Superfriends?  Where’s Scooby Doo?  And best of all, where’s The Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Show?  I distinctly remember The Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Show being an hour and a half of full-length six- to eight-minute long cartoons–classic ones at that.  Like Foghorn Leghorn and the weasel; Yosemite Sam and the camel riding excursion in the desert; Daffy Duck as Robin Hood; Bugs Bunny and the forgetful wolf; and countless attempts by Wile E. Coyote to overcome and suppress his nemesis, The Roadrunner.

In spite of the attempts of some to say that these cartoons were too violent (Really?  Compared to what? The video games of today?), they still live on through certain cable channels and YouTube.  But what happened to our Saturday morning line-up?  The answer is that our education system got involved.

Through the antics of politics, money, and influence, the education system insisted that children must learn something educational when watching cartoons.  If a cartoon didn’t have that key ingredient in it somehow, it was thrown to the curb.  But let me ask you something:  What child wants to learn anything on a Saturday morning??  Saturday morning cartoons were an escape from having to do any of that!  A child spends his days in school all week long learning all kinds of things that typically in his mind are pointless, needless, and downright stupid.  He doesn’t look forward to Saturday morning cartoons to learn something more.  He looks forward to Saturday morning cartoons to escape into those worlds for a little while and enjoy the fun of doing that.  Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be.  Or was.  Because it sure isn’t that way any more.

It’s sad because my kids won’t have that experience.  Granted, they can get on YouTube or a cable channel to see some of those same cartoons, but it’s just not the same.  (There was just something about knowing that come 9:30 a.m. you were going to be tied up for an hour and a half watching Bugs Bunny).  And as far as the cartoons of today, they certainly don’t have the same type of cartoons to choose from that we did!  It’s a bygone era that thankfully lives on in the memories we share with our kids and that can be backed up by watching certain episodes found on YouTube.

Though things do change, it’s great knowing we can still use today’s technology to keep the memories of yesterday alive!

The World of Selfies

Selfies.  A word that I never heard growing up.  Now, of course, it’s such a popular term that it has found its way into the dictionary like the word “Google” has.

Taking a selfie is something I rarely do.  In fact, I really don’t do much with the camera on my phone (or any camera, for that matter).  My wife, on the other hand, is quite familiar with her camera and selfies.  (I’m glad she is.  Otherwise, we would hardly have any pictures of our boys from over the years.)

We were all invited to a wedding yesterday.  I may or may not have mentioned in previous conversations that my wife does Daycare work out of the home.  One of the moms she watches for was getting married and invited us to the wedding.  So, as you can imagine, I’m basically flying blind as I attend this event.  I hardly know the mom and certainly don’t know anybody else in attendance.  My wife wasn’t too far behind me either.  She may have known another person or two, but she was essentially in the same boat as I was.  But that was okay.  Our boys were with us in the boat as well, so we were content as a family to just float along and enjoy the afternoon.

It’s interesting to watch people you don’t know interact with other people that they obviously do know.  Interesting behavior was observed all the way around:  An older couple walked in and were greeted by a woman whom they had apparently not seen for a long time.  She gave each one of them a peck on the lips as they caught up on human events.  A couple of individuals even deemed this celebratory event worthy of bringing an open beer to the wedding ceremony.  But none was more entertaining for us than the young woman who sat directly in front of us.

She wore a skirt short enough that my wife was concerned our boys would eventually see something they shouldn’t see as this woman sat in front of us.  Then, almost immediately, she pulled out her phone.  I thought, Oh no!  Here come the selfies!  She held it out and slightly up in classic selfie fashion.  Her head tilted to one side.  She smiled real big (I know, because I could plainly see the selfie screen of her phone as she held it out for all of us to see).  Click.  (Her head tilts the other direction.)  Click.  (She and the woman next to her lean in together.)  Click.

Then, in what had to be gold medal Olympic selfie speed, her fingers flew all over her on-screen keyboard as she madly texted something.  This seemed to be extremely important as it had to go along with the selfies she had just taken.  The world of Facebook was waiting!

This happened two or three times from the time we first sat down to the end of the ceremony.   At least I can say that I came away from that wedding knowing I was entertained and certainly wasn’t bored!

Ode to an Air Mattress

An air mattress is very convenient.  Something I know didn’t exist when I was a kid like it does today.  Nowadays you can find them in about every shape and size and for every possible need known to man.  We own quite a few between camping, traveling and having company stay at the house.  We even have two twin-sized air mattresses that came from the inside of our old Select Comfort air mattress that we had for a very old waterbed frame.  Now that’s the way to sleep on an air mattress!

It’s Labor Day weekend which for us means camping.  We’re at a fantastic campground just north of Richmond, Indiana called Grandpa’s Farm.  Nicely secluded and lots of trees for shade.  We’ve got some very good friends with us on this trip.  They love to camp but currently don’t own a camper, so we put all four kids in a tent (they have two boys and so do we) and us adults stay in our Coleman Niagara pop-up camper.

As you can imagine, pop-up mattresses are not comfortable…..at all.  We’ve slept on an air mattress on top of the pop-up’s mattress since we’ve owned the camper.  The last one we had didn’t last long at all before getting a leak in it.  This led us to trying to get by without one.   (So far, this line of thinking has not panned out very well.).  This other couple–Jason and Patty–have slept on some memory foam on top of the pop-up’s mattress.  But alas, they have had the same result as we’ve been experiencing:  Sore everything.

This particular trip found Patty insisting that they bring their air mattress for them to try on top of the pop-up mattress.  Jason felt it would sit too high, but she still wanted to try it.  And he, being the good husband that he is, respectfully relented his position on the subject and loaded it in their vehicle (all the while committing to keep to himself the words, “I told you so”).

Now, it is important that you know a key fact regarding the bunk-ends on our pop-up.  Ours being a Niagara, it has everything we wanted in a pop-up:  Fridge, toilet, shower, microwave, gas oven and lots of space.  This means that the bunk-ends are both King-size beds with lots of head room at the far end of each bed.  Well, as Jason began inflating the mattress, it looked like it might actually work for them.  But then it kept inflating.  And inflating.  And growing larger and taller.  Thus ensued a conversation or two, first between me and Jason:

“Ummm…..Jason?  I don’t think this is going to work.  You’re going to scrape your nose against the roof of the bunk-end.  That could hurt.”

“Yeah.  Go get Patty.”

“Yessir!”

When I went out to get her, my wife heard about what we were doing and went in to see it.  I could hear her laughing from where I was standing at the campfire.  Then I followed Patty in to where the mattress was and witnessed the next conversation.

(Patty):  “Oh wow.”

(Jason):  “I know.”

(My wife):  “You should get on it.”

At which point Patty did.  At first, though, she posed for a picture:

Then my wife insisted that Jason get up on top of it.  He was initially concerned about the thinner air at higher altitudes, but we assured him he would be fine.  Here’s what we saw:

Needless to say, they didn’t use it and promptly deflated it.  But it sure made for a memorable Labor Day camping weekend!

Coming of Age

Growing up brings many “coming of age” moments.  For our oldest son, he’s experiencing a pretty big one today:  Shaving for the first time.

I remember my first shave.  I was pretty nervous about it.  Of course, that may be also due to the fact that I was in fifth grade when that happened.  Yes, I shaved my mustache every two weeks at that point.  By middle school, I was dressing like a back woodsman with a beard down to my belly button and a deep, gravelly voice that drove the girls crazy.  (Ok, maybe I didn’t have the beard.  Or the backwoods clothing.  I had the deep voice, but no girls.  Fine…forget it.  Moving on.)

William will be shaving his rather thick mustache today.  My wife pointed out that he even has an inch-long hair or two on his throat under his chin.  Yup…it’s time to shave.  He’s pretty excited about it.  Monumental moments in the coming of age process and this is one of them.

Do you see them with your kids?  Unfortunately, my Dad wasn’t too keen on taking advantage of moments like this.  That’s not going to happen with my boys.  I just pray that God helps me see them when they come along (I’m certainly looking for them).  What kind of influence can a Dad have on a child during this coming of age process?  I totally believe it’s more than us Dads can possibly fathom.  What about our Heavenly Father?  He’s the Dad of all Dads, right?  You can bet He doesn’t miss a single one of these kind of moments in our walk with Him.  We are told very clearly in His Word that He has never failed us and He never will.

So when a coming of age moment like shaving for the first time comes up, look out!  Someone’s going to get cut.  And deal with ingrown hairs.  And sensitive skin.  But he’ll get used to it.  He’s got a good example to follow in his Dad.

Nose Strips

Have you ever used nose strips?  They’re cushioned pieces of thin plastic that are encased in a band-aid-like adhesive strip.  You open them just like a band-aid and place them across the bridge of your nose just above the nostrils.  They look like this:

My wife and I use them off and on and they seem to work pretty good.  They certainly open the nasal passages and help to keep snoring at a minimum.

Not too long ago, we woke up one morning and were talking about them.  We were both laying on our sides, looking at each other and talking about how we had slept the night before.  Things were said like, “It’s wonderful after fifteen years of being married to each other that we are more in love now than we were then!”  “How did you sleep last night?”  “These strips work pretty good!”  It was then that we both noticed how mine had started to come off on one end. That started a conversation about how good the adhesive is.  And then about what the best way to take them off is.

I was still talking about how the edge of my nose strip had worked loose when she said, “I usually take mine off fast.  Like this.”  And she immediately reached over and peeled mine off my nose so fast that I hardly knew what had just happened.  Until the burning pain set in like fire across my nose and tears flooded my eyes like torrents of rain and I screamed out in agony….

Ok, it wasn’t that bad.  But it did burn like fire.  Probably almost as bad as child birth, but I won’t bring that up.  At least I wasn’t laughing hysterically when she was giving birth to our children.  Unlike the outcome of her brutal actions that morning.

It’s a good thing I love her like I do.

A Load of Crap

Bathrooms can be unpleasant to deal with.  Especially when you’re getting new flooring put in and need to take the toilet up.  Definitely a load of crap.

I haven’t had to pull a toilet up in years (thankfully).  When I did, it was in our old house which sat on a concrete slab–all one level.  I had a horrible time getting that toilet to sit correctly on the new wax ring–another load of crap.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, toilets sit on a big wax ring which creates a seal between the toilet and the sewer pipe.)  Here’s a picture of what I mean:

 

The typical problem that occurs with this potentially nasty and disgusting task is having the bolts that the toilet sits on move around on you as you try to set the toilet down on top of the new wax ring.  They look like this:

These bolts slide down into the top of the flange (the top of the sewer pipe) and sit loosely so that you can place the wax ring on top of the flange and in-between the bolts.  This sounds simple enough but quickly becomes a rather large load of crap when the bolts start moving around as you place the toilet on the wax ring.

Now in some circles, the wax ring is supposed to be pushed onto the bottom of the toilet before attempting to set it down on top of the flange.  This effort can be met with equal frustration and a few choice words since the wax ring can have a tendency to pop off the bottom of the toilet.  This results in a circle of wax on your floor as the wax ring plops down in a heap of smashed-in edges and flattened sides.  To add to the predicament, attempting to install the toilet this way also means that you can’t see how the new wax ring sets itself into the flange.  This provides for an even bigger load of crap as it means that you are sure to have water leaking out of the bottom of the toilet from a poorly set wax ring.

So what to do??  Well, a good friend of mine helped me with a couple of rotted sub-floor issues I encountered when getting new flooring in the house recently.  One of them was around the upstairs toilet that I needed to pull.  His Dad was a plumber and I found out something that you may find very helpful the next time you need to pull and reinstall a toilet.

Here is all you need to do in order to get a toilet seated correctly on a new wax ring:  Instead of setting the floor bolts loosely into the top of the flange, find an extra washer and nut that will fit the floor bolts.  Set the floor bolts in place and put a washer and a nut on top of each bolt. TIghten them down so that the bolts don’t move.  Then set the new wax ring in its correct position, centered on the top of the flange between the bolts.  Bring the toilet down onto the wax ring, keeping the bolts centered in the bolt holes on the base of the toilet.  Gently rock the toilet slightly from side to side as you press down on the toilet bowl.  Then sit down on top of the toilet, slightly moving your weight from side to side.  Secure the toilet to the floor with the original washers and nuts and you’re all set.

Hopefully this little bit of news will help make removing and reinstalling a toilet the lightest load of crap it can be for you!

Summer Memories

We’ve all got summer memories, right?  Memories of bike riding, games played outside, romps in the woods, and on and on it goes.  A rather disturbing thought is us older folk probably have more of those kinds of memories than our kids do today.

What would those kids that were us back then have to say to the kids of today?  (“You wear what? On where? Why??”)  What about the parents?  (“You let your kid wear that? On where? Why??”)  Especially when it comes to riding in a car! I have memories of moving all around our family van as my Dad cruised down the highway. Nowadays, you just about get arrested for that. At the very least, the video someone has taken on their phone in the car behind you of your kid moving all over your van gets posted on CNBC, Fox News and any other T.V. show that will have panel after panel of so-called “experts” deliberating and arguing back and forth about the merits and pitfalls of such actions in today’s society.

So what would they say about “Yard Darts”?

Remember those? Two colored plastic circular tubes the diameter of a pencil.  These made up two big rings that were the targets (the boring part); then, four darts–two sets of two different colored 12-inch long, plastic-finned, 3-sided tops with heavy metal bases that came to a point–completed the ensemble (the exciting part). Ours were in a cardboard box with those happy 1970’s family posers throwing the darts at the other team’s target. Nothing but good safe family fun, right?

What did kids do with this family-fun game when the parents weren’t around? What every kid did! Throw those sharp pieces of kid-dom fun straight up into the air as high as possible and try to calculate trajectories to see if they’ve gotta run like a banshee to avoid being pinned to the ground. We had a big side yard to do it in, too! As I recall, sometimes my brother and I would spread out on the side yard and lob them into the air to see how close we could come to the other brother without him actually having to move.

Yep….not smart. But it sure was fun. And very memorable. Mostly due to the fact that neither one of us ever got hurt playing with those things (God was certainly true to my mother’s prayers for our protection growing up). So what’s available now? Maybe a Nerf version of what used to be a thrill ride for a kid–something “safe” and non-threatening. That’s like giving a kid a chocolate cake without the frosting. No thanks. Give me the real thing. We’ve become too “safe-sensitive” in today’s culture–not that I want to go out and buy a real Yard Darts game for my kids. But I do recognize a tendency in myself and my parenting to be over-protective and unwilling to just let my boys be the kids that they are…kids that want to do things that in my adult mind seem unsafe and unwise. Yet what did I do as a kid? Some of the exact same things I catch them wanting to do.

Us adults need to remember what some of the joys of being a kid are. And when you stop and think about it, those childhood experiences really all come down to this:  Sometimes the best teacher for a kid is the freedom to experience something for himself.

A Quick Thought

Just a quick thought for today.
Why is it that I can go to the store for one thing and find that I inevitably need to get something sweet to eat? One thing and one thing only turns into six (actually seven with my wife needing me to pick up buns).
You may remember from earlier conversations that I love sweets! Especially homemade things. But within the past few days, I have had a hankerin’ for those cheap powered sugar donuts that come in a bag. So I went to Kroger and got some. But then I thought I’d just swing by the ice cream (it is extremely hot outside, you know) and see if anything was on sale. Low and behold, it was!
Pints that normally cost $3 were on sale for $1. Well, I just had to take advantage of a sale like that! The maximum number to get was five, so that’s what I got (generously providing one for my mother-in-law, who was over to the house visiting).
We’ve all got our issues. I guess this one is mine. In the Big Picture of things, that’s not so bad.
Catch you next time, my friend.

The Flies of GTI

Flies are disgusting.  Is there anything beneficial to their existence?  Nothing comes to mind.  Kind of like mosquitos.  A result of “The Fall” and evil personified.  A slight exaggeration (but only slight).

I work at a local factory (called GTI) that makes plastic parts for certain Honda vehicles.  I never thought I would have a factory job, but it’s really been a good experience working there.  There are three departments on the production floor:  Injection, Paint and Assembly.  They all have their own section of the plant, but they all share the same building space.  As a result, the air moves freely from one section to the other.

And so do the flies.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the normal behavior of flies.  They’re usually skittish and very hard to sneak up on.  And when they land, they move around like they’ve got a permanent sugar rush going on.  Have you noticed that flies seem to have a “sixth sense” about them?  I noticed one flying around the kitchen the other day.  My eye was tracking the fly in the air the whole time I was moving for the fly swatter.  Even as I began to grab the handle of it, though, I watched the fly’s behavior change before my eyes.  It was like it immediately knew what I had just put in my hand.  I could almost hear its communication link in my head:  “Bandit 1 to Tower, Bandit 1 to Tower.  I’ve got a bogey at five o’clock and he’s coming fast.  Taking evasive action.”  That fly promptly went into camouflage mode and disappeared before my eyes.  I hate flies.

The flies on the production floor at GTI seem to always be the shiny green ones.  Like this:

The behavior of these flies is odd, to say the least.  Sometimes the fumes from the paint lines waft their way out to where we are in Injection.  And when that happens, it’s pretty noticeable.  So I can’t help but wonder if it’s these paint fumes that alter the behavior of these green flies (for that matter, maybe it’s the paint line that makes them all green, too).  It’s odd, but when these flies approach, it’s like you can hear them coming.  A drone in the air that gets louder with a sudden “plop” as it lands in front of you or on your shoulder.

I had a conversation with one once.  I was on the line, checking parts as they came down the belt.  Suddenly I heard the low, droning sound of something heavy flying through the air and saw a big green fly plop down on my shoulder.  I looked down at it.  It was looking up at me.

“Hey,” I said.

“Whassup.”

“Why are you staring at me?”

“Know where I can get some?”

“Get some what?”

“You know.  The Stuff.  Everyone around here is talking about it.  I hear it’s pretty good.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Get off me.”

“Awww, come on, man, hook me up.  I gotta have some.  I came a long way for this.”

“I shouldn’t be talking to you.  You’re causing a scene, Freak.  There’s nothing to see here.  Move on.”

“Yer bringin’ me down, man.  I’ll make it worth your while.”

“You’ve got nothing to offer me.  I’ll swat you if you don’t get your shiny green butt off my white shirt.”

“The hospitality around here stinks.  Fine.  By the way, dude, your deodorant is giving out.  I like that.  Catch ya on the flip side.”

A day in the life of a factory worker.  Can’t say it’s boring….