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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Hole Lot Of Trouble

A Hole Lot Of Trouble

My son won a few dollars with a third place finish in an entry to the TV show “America’s Funniest Home Video.”  He used the money to splurge on a fancy basketball hoop for his kids…and, mostly for himself.  He got the best heavy duty adjustable backboard set he could find.

This backboard of thick heavy glass attaches to a large steel post which needs to be bolted to a slab of concrete in a four foot hole 21 inches square.  The lad did not want to waste a full Saturday day off from work digging a hole and he wanted to be sure it was done right; so flush with “AFV” prize money he contracted with a local company that specializes in just such basketball pole installation.

They came and in one half day dug the hole, filled it with concrete and prepared it for pole attachment.  Labor done, money well spent.


When Matt calculated the amount of dirt they left from digging the hole he realized the hole was not dug deep enough and wide enough.  It turns out they dug to the specifications of lighter basket installation.

He called and questioned the contractor on the hole.

“Oh it will be fine; those specs are always over the top.  That hole is fine, and that pole won’t budge come hell or high water.”

My son said, “That’s just great, but I did contract for the larger hole that the directions specified.”

“That pole ain’t goin no wheres, I guarantee it!”

“That’s great, as long as you guarantee it.”

“I do.”

“Could you just put that in writing?”

“You don’t trust me?”

“Well, I have known you for twenty minutes, but I would like it in writing.  You know, just in case it topples over and crushes a car, or a kid.”

“I’ll have to check with the office.”

Today, two weeks later, they came back to dig out the concrete and dig a new larger, up to specifications hole.  My son was expecting it to be done on this Wednesday so he could erect the pole and backboard on the weekend when he could gather several neighbors to help.  The backboard is very heavy and very cumbersome.

As it was Grandpa Joe Wednesday, I was at his home to supervise.

They dug out the old hole and started a new hole (my son asked for a slightly different location.)  They got down about two feet of the required four feet and then filled the hole with water.

“We’ll be back on Saturday.  The dirt is too dry and hard to dig; the water will soften it up.”

So now the basket cannot be put up for another nine days when there will be available help.

Not surprisingly, my son is a bit miffed. 

I must admit I’d never heard of people who dig holes for a living taking multiple days to dig a four foot hole regardless of how dry the dirt is.  I installed sprinkler systems for three summers when I was home from college.  Ninety percent of the job was digging holes.  We ran into rocks, and sometimes had to tunnel under walks.  We never found a hole we couldn’t dig.

Matt thinks these guys are screwing with him in retaliation for his complaining about their specifications error. 

I’m inclined to agree.

It’s a hole.  It really is not that hard for people whose job it is to dig a hole, to dig a hole!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I hope to never move to a “Senior Community” or even worse an assisted living home.  There is a lot to be said for a Senior/Retirement community, and if need be, assisted living beats the heck out of being left alone and vulnerable.

My objection to both these living arrangements is there are too many old people in these venues.  Mind you, I love old people.  I am an old people myself; it is just that hanging with old people makes you...well...old!

The way to stay young is to hang around young people. 

I became a father for the fourth time when I was 52.  When I was with my son, and other young fathers, I felt younger than 52.  Because I had a young child, the actual young people treated me as if I was also young.  It helps to feel young if people treat you as if you actually are young.

As my young son grew, I was forced to do young things.  Throw a ball, catch a ball, coach youth teams, and even run from time to time.

When I was 60, I associated not with other 60 year olds, but with other parents of 8 year olds.  Occasionally I may have been referred to as “The Old Fart,” but I was still mostly one of the younger crowd.  Talk was of little league, fractions, grade school, teacher conferences, you know…young stuff.  I felt young and almost spry.

When my oldest brother was ill, I paid a visit to him in North Carolina.  I went to his Granddaughter’s music recital and a party afterwards.  I found myself mingling with parents of young children, parents the same age as my crowd back in Jersey, only now I was introduced as Grandpa’s brother.  I was treated by these young people like a Grandpa, like an old person. 

I immediately felt old.

By the time I went back to Jersey, I had arthritis in my hip, I gained ten pounds, and what hair I had was graying around the edges.

I recovered a little, but when my son was taken off to Massachusetts because Jersey Judges suck, I lost my youth attachment.  When he does visit, he is a teenager now and teens will always make you age. 

Old people and teenagers are the fountain of elderly.

The only thing that could make me feel older is if on my next birthday I am told patronizingly that I am 70 years YOUNG.  Nothing says they just dropped the landing gear on your airplane of life then to be told you are xx years YOUNG!

Anyway, the youth thing was a good run while it lasted.  I gotta stop writing now; it’s time for my nap.

Monday, May 25, 2015



I am not generally an angry person.  I may be cranky about a lot of things, but I am not often driven off the edge and into the abyss of disgust and rage.  But I can only be pushed so far.  A corporation has done it and I am angry.

Is it Monsanto and their Frankenfoods that threaten the very existence of the human race?  Naw, I’m OK with them.  Is it the oil industry and their control of oil prices that destroy our economy?  Does fracking and the potential of a contaminated water table and destructive earthquakes get my lather up?  No, I believe the experts, it’s all fine.  Does the war mongering defense industry and their made up global threats for the sake of profit set me off.  Not really. 

But one company has finally done it and I am angry.

What kind of corporation would turn husband against wife?  Why would any organization purposefully deceive people and ruin relationships for their own amusement?

What has got Cranky incensed?

In a recent post I spoke of my difficulty opening packages and the resultant argument it started with Mrs. Cranky:

You don’t have to read it, in summary, I opened a package of Little Bites Muffins with scissors because I could not open them by tearing where the package says to tear them.  Mrs. Cranky thought using scissors was wrong and that I should follow the directions.  We spent fifteen minutes of marital discord all because of the Little Bites package deception.  I now find out the reason for my problem.  Apparently women know the secret but will not share it.  They prefer to mock husbands, and the corporation that packages Little Bites is only too happy to continue the charade.  

DAMN YOU Entenmann’s!

Look at the package.  See where their instructions tell you to tear?  Try as hard as you want, the package will not open if ripped on the arrows.  The correct spot to tear the Little Bites is three quarters of an inch to the right.  My wife knows this, but she wouldn’t tell me.  I discovered the secret by accident. 

Well now the secret is out. Pass it on to other unsuspecting scissor welding husbands. I’ll wager Entenmann’s is not the only company in on this sham…I will be testing my discovery on other seemingly un-openable packages. 

I plan to expose all these man hating corporations.