🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Family Rituals 👨👩👦👦
The Grinch Rocks ❤️
Churros and Poke Bowls 🤤
It’s interesting to think about how family rituals actually become family rituals. There are some that are very intentional. You had something done for you as a child, so you do the same thing for your kid.
Others just sort of happen.
One of ours is the annual hauling-in-the-Christmas-tree photo. I’m pretty sure this started before we had kids, and it most definitely wasn’t planned. I never had a real Christmas tree. They were Too Dangerous and Made A Mess. I don’t recall knowing anyone who had a real Christmas tree, either. When the holidays came, we dragged out the box, unfolded the limbs, stuck the ends in a metal pole and voila! Christmas was here.
Wifey Poo grew up in a family that cut their own tree from the property on which we now live. We had a fake Christmas tree on our first Christmas together, as our apartment had rules against live ones. Again, Too Dangerous.
But when we moved to our first house? Wifey Poo was all about the live tree. So we went to a tree lot, picked out one that was the perfect size for our newly expanded living quarters, and she took a photo of me as I carried it into the house on my shoulder.
Every year, the same thing would happen — whether our home was in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota or Missouri. When we had kids, they started popping up in the photos, often holding the door open and looking excited as Dad brought in the thing under which Santa would put the presents.
This year, we hit up Charlie’s to try to find a Christmas tree. It’s a local hardware/home store that has somehow survived despite being in the shadow of Lowe’s and Home Depot. FIL went there religiously.
I’m all for “buy local.” I’m not all for “pay $80 for a Christmas tree.” So after a brief look around their lot and an awkward, “No, we’re good” response to the friendly attendant’s question of “Did you find what you’re looking for?” we motored the mile to HD and found our tree for a much more reasonable price of $32.
Twenty minutes later, there I was, tree over my shoulder, carrying the first of what I hope are many Christmas trees into our humble country home. Boy The Elder held open the door (as Boy The Younger disappeared for what he termed “a good poop.”) and then they both tightened the screws on the tree stand to secure it. Ten minutes of “a little to the left… no, a little to the right” and we had a straight, ready-to-decorate Christmas tree.
We’ve never compiled all these lugging-the-Christmas-tree photos into one place. They’re stored in various spots on various discs and cloud services. I’m thinking I need to find them and do some sort of montage … and maybe a tribute to the gradual loss of my hair.
The tree hauling was the culmination of a day of Christmas cheer. The boys broke out the outside Christmas decorations while I was getting ready for the day, and together we brought some illumination to the countryside. BTY jumped at the opportunity to get on the roof. I think he’d live up there, if given the chance. BTE had a plan of attack before I even got out there. He directed his brother on putting hooks into the right spots to fasten the colored outdoor bulbs along the overhang of our porch.
My job was to put The Grinch down at the end of the driveway and run some lights in the nearby trees. My purchase of The Grinch last decade was a masterful idea to deal with a neighborhood that was uber competitive when it came to outside Christmas decorations. I’d see these guys spend an entire Saturday creating elaborate, precise displays of festive glory, channeling their inner Clark Griswold in the hopes of earning the Baby Jesus’s favor.
I wasn’t about all that.
I’m not what you can call a precise person. The thought of stringing out Christmas lights so each bulb is the exact distance duo makes me twitchy. So I bought this Grinch cutout in which it looks like he’s stealing the lights from your house. Then I ran a string of lights haphazardly from the roof to The Grinch. One extension cord and one spotlight later… BOOM! I was done and back inside drinking a cup of coffee.
And damned if my 20 minutes of work didn’t get more attention and positive comments than their eight hours of toil.
Efficiency, baby. It’s the name of the game.
Side Note on The Grinch: It appears to me that the pre-woke Grinch was an asshole merely because people were jerks to him. And I’m sure it didn’t help that he had some old guy singing songs about what a shithead he was every two minutes.
📚 Let’s Learn Something Together 📓🖊️
Did you know there’s a place in St. Louis in which you can sample ethnic cuisine in what once was a factory that had a role in the history of electrical manufacturing? It’s true. We went there today.
Wifey Poo found The City Foundry STL while searching for good restaurants to try. The building is the former Century Electric Foundry complex, which was one of the Big Three electrical motor manufacturers in St. Louis back in the day when commercial electricity was first becoming a thing — at the time that rat-bastard Thomas Edison was stealing Nikola Tesla’s glory.
Today it houses walk-up restaurants with dishes from all around the globe — including Argentina, Senegal, Hawaii and India — along with more Amurican stuff like chicken and waffles, subs, cheesecakes and rotisserie meats. Wifey Poo and I had poke bowls. BTE mowed through spicy chicken and waffles. BTY had what looked like a great chicken sub. Then the boys downed a churro before we headed for home.
It’s definitely a place to which I want to return.
The ‘What Did You Say?’ of the Day
Back in the Before Times, I started whiling away some hours playing a game on the iPad called Plague. It was this fun little game in which you created a virus, planted it in a starter country and then watched it spread as you tinkered with it to evolve it and achieve the game’s goal: Wipe out all of humanity.
Yeah. About that.
One of the ways to be successful at the game was to start your virus in a populous country with a variety of forms of international travel and a poor information-sharing network. Like, say, China.
The key then was to evolve your virus slowly so it infected a crapton of people before it caught the attention of the scientific community. Don’t make it spread too fast and certainly don’t make it ebola-deadly. Otherwise, researchers would develop a vaccine before your virus could kill everyone.
Once it had spread to various points across the globe, the right move was to start mutating it, turning it into increasingly more deadly and contagious forms. From there, you could basically just sit back and watch as billions of people died, governments fell, chaos reigned and the human population disappeared.
Typically, the last strongholds of humanity would be found on Iceland or Greenland. So if you need me, I’ll be be packing today in preparation for my move here …
Your second side note of the day: Omnicron sounds like something that would appear in The Transformers. If it happens to wipe out humanity, props to Megatron for his work. God, I loved the OG cartoon back in the day. I was seriously invested in the struggle between Autobots and Decepticons.
High Five ✋
Today’s official endorsement goes to Amazon. I know, I know. They’re horrible. They treat their workers like crap (see “In Other Writing,” below), they collect massive amounts of data on you, they put small businesses out of work, and Jeff Bezos has child sex slaves in his basement.
They also sold me a snow blower, green lightbulbs and various gifts for Wifey Poo today to keep me from having to set foot in a store among the crazy masses seeking Black Friday deals.
Ya take the good, ya take the bad, ya take them both and there ya have …
In Other Writing …
Let me state this straight-away: I never peed in a bottle while I was working in an Amazon warehouse. That said, It doesn’t surprise me that some employees evidently have. Some background: I worked in an Amazon warehouse for about three months during the oh-so-fun year that was 2020. I was a marketing/communications guy in…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Wifey Poo’s side of the family Thanksgiving is tomorrow.
- I need to tweak the lighting on The Grinch to make it perfect.
- I’d like to stay alive to use my new snow blower at some point.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Plague Life 😷The Real Plan 😭A Hilarious Obituary 🤣☠️ Does it ever randomly smack you in the face that we’re living through a historic freaking pandemic? Are you ever going about what you might fool yourself into believing is your Before Times life and then suddenly something jolts you out of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kix 👶Greg 🐟The First iPhone 📱 Life has a way of kicking you in the balls when you least expect it. Wifey Poo and I were cleaning up our lower level today and trying to get all of our crap that was put against the wall in the back by the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Christmas Video 🎥Fighting The Big Boss 🥊Roland The Farter 🍑💨 I spent much of the day making a video for my job with The Allen Brake Team. I shot the footage a few weeks ago, and today was the day to identify the clips to actually use, assemble them, find the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩No-Phone Sunday 🚫📱Creepy Moles 🐀Doc Talk 📽️ Today was sort of a practice day for something I put on my “Hundred Things” list for 2022. It was a Digital Detox Sunday, which is No. 63 on the list. To me, this meant that I wouldn’t have any sort of device in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Trombones are Loud 🎺Birds Aren’t Real 🐦Death to Gymnastic Judges 🤸 Top 5 things that happened at In-Law Family Christmas, held at our humble country home, today. The realization that the mass of youngins has gotten so large now that our little babies have grown up to various new stages that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hey There, Dorothy 🌪️Christmas Hurts 🎄Bye-Bye, Checks and Balances ✔️⚖️ If you’re ever in need of some entertainment, might I suggest being in a church with a bunch of homeschool parents when tornado sirens go off? That’s where I found myself tonight, accompanied by Boy The Younger at a spring track…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Crash 🚗Video Day 🎞️Five No. 2s!? 💩 The Core 4 is headed out on a winter vacation to Memphis and New Orleans soon. The plan was to rent a vehicle through Turo.com, which is kinda like an Airbnb for cars. I had a quality vehicle picked out and reserved, one…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shirt Stain 👔Score One for the Unabomber💣Oh Canada 🌈🍁 I arrived at work this morning, put my stuff down on my desk and hit the men’s room because evidently a 42-minute drive is too long for a man of 47 years to comfortably hold his bladder. I did what I do,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Baseball God(ess) ⚾Alice in Chains 🎸What About the Golfers!? 🏌🏽♂️ To say that baseball was my life when I was a kid is an understatement. I watched it as much as the scant channels we had at home would allow — the Yankees were on Channel 11 WPIX and the (ugh)…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Detached 💭Intentions for a New Year 📆Red is Deadly 😷 Today sucked. The problem is, I don’t really know what the hell happened. I woke up just after 6, later than I have been recently, and I felt so significantly off that I truly don’t remember much of the first 45…Keep reading
Circles are interesting things. They have no beginning and no end. They just keep going around and around and around. And yet we set Jan. 1 as the day to mark the start of our journey around the sun, a journey we measure so incredibly poorly that we have to add an entire extra day…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ice Violence ⛸️Movie Night! 📽️Most Popular Dog Names 🐶 Today was date day for Wifey Poo and I. We’ve been trying to do a date a week since, oh, back in 2018. That was interrupted for awhile by a certain African host child this year, but we’re back at it. Today…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top Songs of 2021 🎶Where’s the Snow? ❄️Thunder Struck ⛈️🏀 Because I didn’t already feel incredibly old and out of touch, I looked at the list of top 100 songs from 2021. It wasn’t until song No. 65 that I even thought I knew one of the songs, “Go Your Own…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Redemption 😊Spice-Lovin’ Tree Shrew 🌶️Mark The Freaking Elf 🧝 I spent the morning in a hotel conference room down in STL learning from a man named Jeff Glover about 21 ways to get 21 listing of homes to sell. Glover is a big fish in the real estate industry. He runs…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Maria and The Chickens 🐔Strange Cyber Monday Offers 🧪Bloody Gift 🩸🎁 I hate wasting time. I hate it hate it hate it. Everything about my life centers on efficiency — the routes I take when I drive, how I go about getting ready for the day, how I organize my work…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Paul 🧙♂️Slowest Speeder Ever 🐢Another School Shooting 🏫🔫 I found myself tonight in a dark jail cell surrounded by four zombies, some kind of wizard, and my son. This is not what I expected for my Tuesday evening. After a months-long absence, I returned tonight to the Dungeons & Dragons game…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Canadian Oil 🍁Freaking Covid 😷Namaste, Yo 🧘🏿 Monday started out with the news that the Bosslady has Covid. This whole “living through The Great Plague” thing somehow has been incorporated into our lives to the point where we don’t really even realize that thousands of people are dying from it daily.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Disconnected 🔌Worst Mom Ever 🦘Death to Autoplay 💀 Internet outage, Day 2. I’m sending this message via carrier pigeon. Or maybe it’s just some bird I caught with my greasy-fast speed. Things are looking bleak. We’ve been without internet service for more than 24 hours now. The weather outside is cold,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stable Family 👪Armed America 🔫🦅Good or Nickelback? 🎶 Thanksgiving was a quiet affair for the Core Four — my nickname for the entity that is Wifey Poo, Boys The Elder and Younger, and me. We had no family visit, and none of us left the house until BTE traveled to his…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Coffee With Wifey ☕👱♀️Armadillo Lepers 😳Choice Cigar 🚬 To say Wifey Poo and I have been through some shit is an understatement. When we said “I do” back in March of 1997 as freaking twenty-two-year-olds (!!!!), neither of us had a clue how challenging the “or for worse” part of a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Self-Teaching 👨🏫Beer Flood 🍺🌊Space Mission 🚀 When I left the newspaper industry in 2009, I knew how to write, take decent photos, design pages and copy edit. I landed a job in which the mandate was, “Go make our communications program better,” something I’d assured those who interviewed me I knew…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beard Trim 🧔🏽Grunge Shopping 🛒Funny Animals 🐒 When you find yourself with a straight razor poised a millimeter from your neck, you realize this is probably what was going on when the Almighty said “Be still and know that I am God.” I found myself in this situation this morning, in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wifey Poo’s Laughter 🤣Expensive Turkey 🦃🍗My Boys 👨👦 Walking back to my car last night from The Funny Bone comedy club in St. Charles, I got to thinking. This comes as a surprise to no one who knows me (not many people, as I’ve recently discussed) and no one who reads…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drinking on the Job 🍷The Land of the Giants 🏀Joseph McCarthy Returns 🏴 It the past week, my job has taken me from a chocolate factory to a wine bar — all in the name of business, of course. Last week, Big Bosslady and I visited Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, which is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Itchy Foot 🦶Pay Cuts ❌💰The Best Pen Ever 🖊️ Wifey Poo woke up around 4 a.m. itching, itching, itching her recently repaired foot. Underneath the Ace bandage and the gauze and the padding to keep it safe, she’s got a rash of some sort, and the foot is swollen. Doc says…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Warm November 🌡️The Jaguar People 🐆Squid Game 🦑 I’ll take a 70 degree day in the middle of November, thank you very much. I spent part of my workday on my back deck doing the things I do for my real estate team — social media ads, flyers to promote open…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Year of Hell 😷Where’s Ben? 💔Profiting From Pollution 🏭 Happy Covidaversary to me. On this day one year ago, I had a Q-tip shoved up my nose to confirm what I already knew. Wifey Poo’s sister had been diagnosed with it. Wifey Poo’s mother had been diagnosed with it. Wifey…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oh Deer 🦌The Thought Gap 🧠Unplugged 🔌 I was sitting in my as-yet-to-be-named home office this morning when this big boy ☝️☝️☝️ walked out of the woods into my yard. It’s the opening day of deer season in Missourah, a day of significance for many local inhabitants on par with their…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Picnic in November 🥶Happy Wife 👩Pour-Over Coffee ☕ Scheduling a picnic outside in Missouri in November seemed to me to be a very gutsy call. That’s until I stopped to realize who was scheduling it — Boy The Younger’s cross country team. These folks run everywhere, and, thus, I assume are…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hoops at Twain’s House 🏀Lunch With The Big Bosslady 🥪Breaking Up Is Efficient 💔 After a long week of work, I traveled north this evening with Boy The Younger for his second hoops game of the season. I missed the first because of an early start time, but this one was…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Gross Photos 📷Sand? Sand!? ⏳Sleeping With Cheese 🛏️🧀 I had major ankle surgery back in 2008 to essentially reconstruct my left foot, which had a nasty propensity to roll over without the rest of my leg accompanying it on the journey. After a four-hour operation and two weeks, I went back…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pizza Visit 🍕French Fry Vodka 🍟🥃Let’s All Move to Portugal ✈️ We were surprised at dinner time last night with the sight of a kid who’s really no longer much of a kid. Matthew, who’s been Boy The Elder’s friend since the two weren’t even toddling, stopped by, pizzas in hand.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Death List ☠️Doctor Day 🩺Stay Calm, Be Confident 🧘 Sometimes the internet does something useful. For example, in the early days, there was the site that was nothing but The Hamster Dance. I’m not making that up, kiddos. The only thing this website had was The Hamster Dance. Don’t believe me?…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What Makes a Sloth a Sloth? 🦥Launch Day is Nigh 🚀Talkin’ Free Speech 🎙️ I find myself going down some interesting rabbit holes lately. For example, tonight I wondered why exactly sloths are so slow and how exactly such a creature could survive in a survival-of-the-fittest world, especially when they live…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Good Morning, Bank of America, How Are Ya? 🎮Woods Walk 🌲🌲🌲Big Bird’s a Commie ☭ I awoke this morning to a text from Bank of America about potentially fraudulent charges on my debit card. “Pshaw,” thought I. “Probably just a scam.” So I stumbled into the kitchen, made my coffee and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cute Pic, Dumb Response 📷A Musical Connection 🎵A Time-Change Analogy ⌚ My first solo venture into Costco today did not end up in familial bankruptcy, surprisingly. Oh, it could have. It just didn’t. I walked right past the $40 slabs of ribs and steered clear of the $2,000 monster TV that…Keep reading