Category Archives: family humor

My first day at college

I went to college for the first time this week. Got really nervous in the car, and was shaking by the time we arrived on campus. Maybe we should have walked – it’s so much more enjoyable. Next time we go in a car, let’s make sure the windows are down so all of us can enjoy plenty of fresh air.

My friend let me hang out while he made phone calls and did other work in his office. I was still pretty wound up and excited, and (being very curious by nature) began nosing around the building. One of his co-workers was especially welcoming and talked to me as though we were old friends; he didn’t seem to mind me wandering in and out of his office.

Just as I was beginning to relax, one of my very best friends showed up. I was speechless, as we hadn’t seen one another for some time. She embraced me warmly and showered me with kisses; I responded with my own affectionate gestures at every opportunity. We went for a short walk to enjoy the autumn sun and stretch our legs before she left for her next class. I had forgotten how beautiful this woman is, and how my heart leaps at the sight of her.

Nothing was on the schedule until mid-afternoon, so I settled into a comfortable corner and closed my eyes. Never really fell asleep, however, as for some reason I felt obligated to go out and meet each person who came into the building.

My friend came back after her class and escorted me to what I assumed was our afternoon meeting. We headed to her dorm instead. I wondered if there might be any concerns about having a male in her room, but she assured me she had checked it out with the residence life staff.

We’d only been in her room a few minutes when she partially undressed and got into bed. She invited me to crawl in with her and I did so without thinking; actually, we’ve done this hundreds of times. I listened to her talk as we snuggled under the covers. We dozed occasionally, each appreciating the warmth of the other’s body. Nothing else happened, and that’s just as well. My breath wasn’t fresh, and I wasn’t particularly well-groomed that day. At dusk she walked me back to my friend’s office where we bid each other a fond farewell.


I’ve been scratching my head over why that day was so baffling and exhausting. I couldn’t make heads or tails of conversations, and can’t really picture myself in classrooms or the library, or handling books and computers, or writing papers or lab reports. There’s a lot to chew on, but at this point I’m not at all sure college life is for me.

Here’s a pic of me with my lady friend:

Odie and LOL


Stupid parents

I have two teenage kids, so couldn’t stop laughing when I saw this on someone’s wall earlier this year:

Tired of being hassled by stupid parents?
Move out, get a job, and start paying all of your own expenses.
And do it now, while you still know everything!

That shoe doesn’t fit all of the time, but it fits like a glove some of the time!

Life and death of my Dad – part 6

Tap water in San Diego tastes really, really bad, and it has for a long time.   Of course, taste isn’t everything, and taste doesn’t tell us anything about whether or not water is safe to drink.   But that’s easy for me to say as one who has lived in the Pacific Northwest for many years.

When I was a kid in San Diego in the 1950s, we had water delivered to our house a couple times a week.   Kirby the delivery guy could carry two of the five-gallon glass bottles on his shoulders as gracefully as you please.   He also made it look effortless to open a bottle, swing it up onto his shoulder and quickly lower it into the water cooler in one smooth, single motion.  The guy was a pro.

Kirby hurt his back in a fall on someone’s driveway.   Whoever substituted for him just left the bottles on the back porch.   That guy was an amateur.

My Dad had seen Kirby refill the water cooler many times.   Now that we had to do it for ourselves, my Dad fell for one of the age-old fallacies to which men are especially prone:   “It can’t be that hard.”

I can picture my Dad rehearsing the motion in his head.  As an engineer he could calculate approximately how much effort would be required to lift that amount of water, the momentum its weight would create and how to control it, and the speed required to produce enough centrifugal force to keep water in the moving bottle from spilling out.  Three simple steps:  swing it up and onto the shoulder, lean forward and lower the shoulder over the cooler while tipping the bottle down, and place the bottle into the cooler.

Okay.  Remove the bottle cap.  Ready?  1 – 2 – 3.

It seems to me that water started gushing out of the bottle before my Dad got it onto his shoulder.  And those momentum calculations must have been off because he quickly lost control of the bottle altogether.

There are many ways to familiarize ourselves with various quantities, and that day I came to appreciate the enormous amount of water symbolized by the term “five gallons.”  Similar thing with broken glass.  I’m often surprised by how many slivers of glass or ceramic are produced by even a small broken glass or dish, and by how far away they can be found from the point of impact. A five-gallon bottle contains beaucoup de glass and breaks into an unimaginable number of pieces when it hits a ceramic tile floor.  For all I know, the current owners of that house may still occasionally sweep up a little shard.

If there’s a moral to the story, it’s a simple one:  Some things really aren’t as easy as they look, even for your Dad.  And even if you’re an engineer, some jobs are best left to the pros.

Can we get takeout?

Even though we started the practice about two years ago, it often seems to come as a surprise to Zack that Monday night is his turn to fix dinner.  I suppose it’s progress, then, that he was thinking about dinner while in the chair at his orthodontist appointment on Monday afternoon.  He began this text message exchange while I was in the waiting room:

Can we please get takeout from some place?  Pleeeeaaassseeee?

You paying?

Of course not.  My money tree is but a sapling.  And I have made dinner every time I was home for the past forever.

I was glad to realize that some of the conversations about the money tree are taking root.  Meanwhile, we had some good leftovers in the fridge, so Zack’s workload as chef-du-jour was minimal, and he liked what we had enough to go back for seconds and thirds.

Man of the House

Whenever I’m away from home I designate Zack (14) as Man of the House, and charge him with being attentive, helpful, and extra responsive to things that need to be done.

I was away recently for our church guys retreat, and checked in with him by phone:

Hey, Bud – how’s the Man of the House?


Have you performed any special duties or feats?

Not really.  I caught a couple of burglars.

Oh, no!  Were they in the house?


How did they get in?

Through the dog’s pet door.*

* We don’t have a pet door or a dog, but the kids recently talked about a combination Bulldog and Shitsu.  Yes, Zack came up with a perfect name.

How old were they?

About ten.

Man – we’ve got to make that thing smaller or board it up altogether.  Did the police come?


So what happened?

I hit them with my Louisville Slugger and released them back into the wild.


Yeah.  Catch and release.

Reprise of funny kid stuff

Many of our young friends have babies and little kids.  Of course it reminds me of those days with Lauren and Zack, and I’ve gathered a heartwarming collection of stuff they said and did in these posts:

Kids, part 1
Kids, part 2
Kids, part 3
Kids, part 4


Wild Child Mystery Detective Agency

Unlike most families we know, we sometimes lose stuff.  It happens often enough that even when they were small, Lauren and Zack recognized a business opportunity when they saw one.  Instead of sharing the frustration of their parents when things were “lost,” they decided to offer solutions and make a little money in the process.  They formed the Wild Child Mystery Detective Agency.

Lauren and Zack got business cards and set up files.  I installed carpet, lights, and an electrical outlet in their office (the storage space under the stairs) so they had a suitable work environment.  They brought in office equipment including walkie-talkies, several old cell phones, an electric typewriter, flashlights, and some Fisher Price audio devices.

The office also had an Internet appliance called “Audrey” which could access the Web, send and receive e-mail, play audio and video files, and synchronize with two Palm OS-based devices.  I think Lauren and Zack most appreciated the little giggle Audrey played while booting up.

NOTE:  “Audrey” was ahead of her time when she appeared in October 2000.  Our home network was behind the times at the time, and we could only utilize a couple of the appliance’s functions.  Audrey was discontinued on June 1, 2001, a casualty of the dot com bust, and 3Com’s remaining hardware was liquidated and embraced by the hardware hacker community.

Here are notes from a couple of cases in the detective agency’s files:

“As we were settling into a hotel in LA, we missed a container of important medications.  I was ready to hit the road back to our previous night’s lodgings when the Wild Child Agency contacted us and offered their detective services.  Unlikely they’ll find anything for which Susan and I have repeatedly scoured our bags and the room… What?  You just found the missing meds?  I don’t have to drive all the way across LA after all??  That was one of the best $5 I ever spent.”

“I had looked high and low for my wallet.  The thing was huge – more like a small purse – and should have been easy to find.  It had my whole life in it:  credit cards, checkbook, drivers license, receipts, insurance info, even one of my favorite pens.  Nowhere to be found.  Before canceling the credit cards, I decided to give Wild Child a call.  In less than ten minutes they came up with the missing wallet.  Do I love these guys?  You bet I do!”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Wild Child never obtained a dominant position in the marketplace.  It provided a comfortable living for its owners, but they now have broader interests and more diversified portfolios.  However, the company still hears from a couple of loyal clients who call when they need help finding misplaced items.