Oh, little brother! Can you feel it? Can you feel it coming on fast and quick, like a semi bearing down in the dead of night, on a rain-slicked highway with steam rising up, its horn blaring a warning from afar? BA-ROOO! BA-ROOOOO!
Oh, my goodness. What have you done?
“Do you know your brother’s wedding is just six weeks away?” asked my wife. I think I was eating ice cream and inhaled the spoon.
Oh, crap! Crap for him, not for me.
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Surf Lesson No. 263: Don’t take your wife to the beach the night your surfboard gives you a good ding on the head.
“I knew this sport wasn’t safe! I just knew it,” said Nancy holding the baby as I carried my board from the surf. “Now look at you. You’re horribly disfigured, and you weren’t that good looking before.”
I had a small gash on the side of my forehead and a little blood was puddling up. Just barely. It looked worse than it was, but it was puffing out, swollen and starting to bruise. On the bright side, it was pretty damn cool. I’m by no means a good surfer, and barely qualify as mediocre. In reality, I suck. But now I had a nice little head wound to prove I could do something well on the water. Continue Reading »
It’s almost toy time. Sure, my 8-month-old has baby toys, but I’m talking the real deal here. What sweet little girl isn’t going to want G.I. Joe figures, the latest Star Wars action dolls, 72,000 Legos to make a fortress for your green army men and a battery-operated monster truck with a real steering wheel and authentic roadkill under the tire?
Isn’t that what all little girls grow up with?
OK, well maybe I’m bringing too much testosterone to the table. And it’s not a father longing for a little boy. All along I was hoping for a girl … on one condition: she would play army with me outside like I used to with my brother. There’s nothing better than the sound of fake gunfire, smoke bombs and kids yelling, “Hey, I shot you in the guts.” Ah, the joy of it.
She’s not there yet, but it’s coming.
Amelie is getting to be that age where she sits and plays … a bit. I guess I should clarify the definition of “plays” as it’s more like pulling books off her bookshelf and strewing them about her room like frisbees. This brings her great joy and she has a mighty laugh about it. Why is this so funny? Because I’m going to have to pick it all up! How could that not be funny?
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Is there any kind of kit — maybe a test or a calculator you buy at a hardware store — that will help you figure out if the house you’ve claimed is a historic grand old dame really is just a clunker with wood siding? By which I mean a shoddy old dump from the past that is likely to fall down on your head. Sure, it looks cute and quaint from the outside — a piece of Americana — but you can get tetanus from the wood, splinters from the metal and no telling what from everything else.I don’t know what has changed the past few months. I’ve always loved my house — that old Florida feel with the tall ceilings, the big windows, the airiness, the heart pine everywhere and the raccoons in the trees that tell you about how it used to be in the old days.
I still love my old house. It’s nearly 100 years old, is downtown and has a nice big front porch where you can sit and enjoy the squadrons of mosquitoes who like to launch swarming raids on your ankles.
But maybe it’s the new child that makes me think differently now, or wanting to finish projects and add new, modern things I never found important before. No matter what it is, it seems the blinders have come off and I see it through a new light.
All of this was running through my mind one day as I stood shin-deep in the original hardwood floors, my house literally trying to devour my leg like a starved great white. I had been clearing books from a shelf, stepped on a creaky floorboard, and it gave way under my weight. Because back then people didn’t believe in things like sub-floors, my foot took the express train downtown and if not for my jungle cat reflexes, I might have been really hurt– instead of just stuck in the floor where I got to ponder my house.
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My brother is getting married in November, a date that seemed so long in coming (there were some who doubted it would ever happen) and now not far enough away. There’s only so much time to prepare for a wedding, and never enough. So this past weekend, the groom and his wedding party — his compatriot, George, and myself — got serious about what we would wear and ventured south to Tampa for suit fitting.A road trip to be groped.
Why Tampa? Because Tampa is home. Tampa is where tradition began and continues to this day. Tampa is where my mother lives (and no clothing decisions will be made without her on penalty of never hearing the end of it). Tampa is where people know we’re crazy, accept that fact and do business with us anyway. (Most of the blame for this lies with my mother who doesn’t believe she’s getting her money’s worth until she’s caused gray hair to pop out of a salesman’s head.)
“Isn’t this fun?” she asks, a big wild-monkey grin stretched across her face while the other employees are running out the back door and the owner is considering a new security device that will warn them when my mother is in the vicinity. She asks too many questions, nitpicks, makes bad jokes and complicates simple things, like “So, how will you be paying?”
How can that one question take 20 minutes to answer?
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