Friday, November 29, 2019
The Seventeen Dollar Clock-Radio
I Just watched an episode of “Leave it to Beaver” (maybe the best sit-com ever) where Ward gave “The Beaver” a clock-radio.
“Oh man, I remember when I was seven, I got a clock-radio. It cost seventeen dollars.”
“How do you remember what it cost?”
“I don’t know, for some reason in those days you said the price for nice stuff. You wouldn’t say ‘I got a clock-radio for my birthday,’ you would say, ‘I got a seventeen-dollar clock-radio for my birthday.’ I guess it was a way to brag to your friends.”
Anyway, at the end of the show, Ward commented, “I think it was worth spending the $16.95 to make the Beaver happy.”
“See. I told you; seventeen dollars!”
I loved that radio. I grew up with an 11-inch TV in the living room and watching whatever my parents allowed me to watch up until maybe nine o’clock. With my radio I could listen and fall asleep to some of the old great radio that I missed out on because of growing up with TV.
I don’t think there were shows on every night, it was probably mostly on Saturday or Sunday, but on KFI Las Angeles I would listen to “The Lone Ranger,” “The Shadow,” or “The Jack Benny Show.”
These were shows that were now also on TV (Maybe not ‘The Shadow’) but were much more fun to listen to after 9 o’clock, under the covers and without parental consent, than they were to watch on TV.
Those old radio shows were a novelty to me, but old hat to the rest of the world. They stopped producing them around 1954 or 55.
There was something captivating about how they could paint a picture with words and sound effects on those shows.
I would have completely missed out on that special creativity if not for my Seventeen-Dollar Clock-Radio.
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
It is turkey time. By the time I post this, my Thanksgiving will be over. Due to logistics, to get the most relatives possible to the table, we do the holiday the weekend before. This year it was Saturday in the late afternoon to accommodate several guests who are hairdressers. The weekend before Thanksgiving is apparently a very busy weekend for hairdressers.
Thursday it was my job to buy the bird. We need about 22 pounds to feed a large crew and still have enough to send everyone home with “a plate” ( It’s an Italian thing.) The bird cost $40, but with $400 worth or grocery purchases in the month you get a free, or discounted turkey.
After all our shopping this month, I was still short $40 of the $400. I started grabbing high cost items. Soap, Advil, Pistachio nuts, and other items that have a long shelf life. Just made it. For an extra $40 of groceries I got a $40 bird for $10! I felt like those crazy coupon people on a TV show where they buy $1000 worth of stuff and after cashing their double coupons only have to pay 17 cents.
Half of Friday was spent cleaning the house and helping Mrs. C make the stuffing, which also has to be enough to send some home with guests.
Mrs. C makes the best stuffing ever. Her recipe:
1. Take one giant load of sausage, heat until brown and stir and break up until your arms hurt.
2. Fine chop a ton of celery, mushrooms, and green peppers.
3. Fold the celery, mushroom, peppers into the broken-up sausage.
4. Add dry bread crumbs until Mrs. C says stop, then mix everything with a couple of eggs.
5. Add chicken broth until Mrs. C says stop.
6. Add a bit more crumbs, broth, and or eggs as Mrs. C sees fit based on how it feels when she stirs it all up.
7. Put some of the mixture in separate pans for guests to take home and refrigerate.
8. Next day cook in oven for about an hour.
9. Pile it on your plate with turkey, bean casserole, carrots, mashed potatoes, Waldorf salad (a WASP touch to an Italian feast) cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes.
10. Wash down with wine, undo belt buckle, and digest for a half hour before coffee and choice of several pies.
When the real Thanksgiving comes around, we relax.
Monday, November 25, 2019
“Oh I hardly ever watch TV and when I do I only watch PBS.”
I watch everything except “Honey Boo Boo,” “Revenge” (a Friggin whisper-fest) and “Once Upon a Time” (In a plot jam? Wave a wand and presto; shit happens and there is a new plot…Yeech!)
My favorites are cooking shows. I watch “How to’s” and Cooking Contests. I even watch “Rachel Ray.”
I have learned a lot from these shows, and I do like to cook. Several things about most cooking shows do annoy me.
Everything is quick and easy.
Yeah, after someone else has already chopped everything, measured everything and sautéed everything. All you have to do is dump it into a $500 mixer, turn it on, pour it into a pan, put it into the oven and at the same time pull an already perfectly cooked batch out of the blue.
I also hate how they tell you what you can do if you want to.
“I like to add Sicilian olives soaked in Brazilian tomatoes for three weeks with some Himalayan salt and Portuguese pepper, but you can just use any canned olives if you want.”
Why thank you! I can also add raisins and a pint of vodka if I want. I don’t really need you to announce the rules! Anyway, maybe it’s just me.
The last thing I hate is the audience reaction every time garlic, hot peppers or booze is added to a concoction. They go crazy with applause and laughter and oohs and ahhs. “Ooh wine! I drink wine! I’m a lush! Ooh ooh!”
Just stop it! Most of these people have eggnog on Christmas Eve and think that is a big deal. Besides, the alcohol is all burned off anyway. Damn! Anyway, maybe it’s just me.
Oh, I missed this last thing I hate about these shows; “The Taste Test.”
EVERYTHING IS TO FRIGGIN DIE FOR! The yumm’s the wows, the foodgasms over everything from fried kale to cheesy French fries.
Anyway, perhaps that is just I.
Oh yeah, this post, WASP SALAD.
With Thanksgiving coming up I am offering my favorite Thanksgiving recipe, WASP SALAD.
WASP Salad is really just Waldorf salad, but my Irish former in-laws called it WASP SALAD. I never thought of it as being “Ethnic” food. To me “Ethnic” food is anything that is not grilled or boiled, or that ends in a vowel. My Irish in-laws loved my WASP SALAD. At least they claimed they did, but we always had a lot of left-over’s so maybe not.
Who cares, I love it and here is my recipe:
Take four apples and cut into small 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes. (You can cut in different size cubes if you want.) I like red crunchy sweet apples (you can use soft green crappy apples if you want.)
Wait, you know what? No you can’t! Make it exactly like I say, or don’t make it at all! Called it German WASP SALAD.
Coat all the apple chunks in lemon juice. Why? Because I said so**!
Take several stalks of fresh celery and chop into small, but not fine, bits.
Of course wash it first…damn do I have to explain everything?
Add the celery to the apple chunks and then mix in chopped walnuts and raisins. How many? I prefer just the right amount.
Here comes the part that creeps out non-WASPS. Add mayonnaise to this mixture. You can use any mayonnaise you like, but in case there is a WASP at the table, tell them you used Hellman’s. WASPS think there is a difference; don’t upset them. Mix the mayonnaise until everything is covered with a fine film, and then add more mayonnaise. Keep adding mayonnaise until it starts to look disgusting, then stop.
Chill, serve with the turkey, and enjoy watching the Lions get their ass kicked on TV.
WASP salad is also excellent with left-over turkey sandwiches the next day.
*White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants.
**Lemon juice keeps the apples from turning brown
Re-run from November 2014
*White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants.
**Lemon juice keeps the apples from turning brown
Re-run from November 2014
Sunday, November 24, 2019
I hate nit picking. Rules that do not insure anything other than every once in a while someone will get screwed for a mistake or slip up that has nothing to do with anything. A sip up that costs the person EVERYTHING!
For instance, in golf years ago a professional signed his score card after finishing the final hole in first place in a big tournament. It turns out he signed the card incorrectly. The final score was correct, but the score on one hole had been marked incorrectly. Everyone knew the correct score. The scores for every golfer were all on a giant scoreboard at the venue. The event was televised and every fan watching knew the score. This golfer, Roberto DeVencenso I believe, won the tournament, but because his score card was incorrect and he signed it, he was disqualified.
A rule probably established 100 years before TV and giant scoreboards cost him the tournament. Not a shot out of bounds, a missed putt or a course hazard…a stupid meaningless nit picking rule.
Schools today have a no exception policy toward sexual harassment and weapons in school. So a five year old gets suspended for hugging a little girl and a six year old gets suspended for making a noise while pointing his finger gun like.
Just the other day a game-show contestant lost a lot of money because of nit picking. In this word game the contestant has to guess the words in a puzzle before all the letters are filled in. If he states the words incorrectly he loses a turn. In this puzzle the answer for four words were:
Dog/Cat/ Mouse/ Frog (not the actual words).
Before solving the hosts always warns, “Just the words, don’t add anything.”
At least several times a year a contestant will solve “Dog, Cat, Mouse, AND Frog.”
He is disqualified for adding “AND”. Yes he is warned, yes he should know better, but adding AND is just a natural way of communicating.
Nit picking…and stupid.
Another show requires an answer be in the form of a question. Many contestants have lost for responding “George Washington” instead of “Who is George Washington.”
Nit picking and stupid!
I know, a rule is a rule and the line has to be drawn somewhere, but every once and a while common sense should prevail.
Just as you might not be able to define pornography, but you know it when you see it; I can’t say where to draw the line at all times, but I know nit picking when I see it.
Friday, November 22, 2019
Does any one remember the Pop Quiz? I always dreaded the high school pop quiz. The smart kids loved them; another chance to show off and prove that they did all the assigned work. Some of us hated them because we needed a warning before we decided to do the required assignments.
The mere mention of “Pop quiz” and panic set in, even if I knew the material.
As I recall the pop quiz was usually sprung as punishment for a class that was goofing off and misbehaving. In the olden days, we were “bad” in class when we made jokes, giggled, passed notes…that sort of stuff. We almost never brought guns to school and killed people.
Anyway, the pop quiz; I hated them.
Today I got another pop quiz and I was behaving myself so I don’t know why.
I had to pick up a prescription at the drug store. Usually they ask for your name and birth date. My pharmacy has been taken over by a new company and they have different procedures.
I gave my name and was all prepared with my birth date when the clerk asked,
Now I do know my number, but I have to think first. I never call myself and if I did I would be on speed dial.
“Umm, just a second. Is this a pop quiz?”
“Wait, here it is, I think, 908-555-1234.”
“Umm, I don’t know, I never mail myself a letter. Maybe 08872? Whatever the code for Sayreville is.”
“Holy cow, this is a pop quiz! Something, something Colony Drive. I told you I don’t often mail myself a letter. Holy crap, if I needed this medicine to save my life, am I going to die because I don’t remember my address? Wait…229 Colony Drive. HA!”
“Thank you sir, have a nice day.”
Next time I’m just going to hand him my drivers license. It has my name, birth date, and address plus a photo. I might have to write my phone number on my palm.
I hate the pop quiz.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
My son has a pool table in his basement. Recently he was telling me that his sons, 10 and 8 were getting pretty good at the game. He explained how they play “Eight Ball” and that they had some special “house rules" for the game.
It reminded me of playing pool in college.
There was a regulation table at our fraternity house. Some of the members were pretty good players. We mostly played “Eight Ball” as the game was quick, and there is an element of luck.
Eight Ball is played with one team having to clear the table of either the solid or striped balls and then hit the solid black ball, the eight ball, into a “called” pocket to win the game.
There were several rules to the game.
1. The first player to sink a ball could choose solids or stripes as their balls to sink.
2. If you sank the eight ball on the break you win.
3. If you sink the eight ball before all your balls were sunk, you lose.
4. If you scratch while shooting the eight ball it gets respotted and you lose your turn. (Many tables rule this an automatic loss.)
5. You only had to call your pocket on the eight ball.
One of the best players in the house was a senior, Mike Kajenka. One day he lost a game and declared,
“Wait, if I can sink the rest of my balls still on the table, and then also sink the que ball it is a tie.”
The other player on the table agreed.
Mike cleared the table including sinking the que ball on his last shot for a tie.
From that day on, after every loss the losing player declared,
Most did not make a tie; the Kajenka Rule was pretty difficult to complete.
This was 55 years ago.
I recently read in a college fraternity newsletter, that “Kajenka’s Rule” was still in effect. A current fraternity brother did some research about the origin of “Kajenka’s Rule” and apparently was even able to track down Mike to have the story of the rule explained.
I understand that Mike was honored that his “Rule” was still in effect.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Every grandparent in the world wants pictures of their grandchildren. What happens when you get them all together for that one photo you will cherish forever, perhaps the only time you will have them all together at the same time…they scatter, they cry, they sulk, they make funny faces and you have about seventeen-and-a-half seconds to take any picture at all. Pose, “Say cheese”, I don’t think so.
And when you finally get a shot and check it out after they all run to different parts of their world, there is always at least one who thinks the picture-ruining “rabbit ears” is the funniest think in the world.
No one thinks they look good enough to have their looks preserved and maintained on film or digitally forever. Wives refuse to allow you to capture your children as you know them, hair mussed up, face slightly dirty, clothes crumpled. No; children must be scrubbed, combed and in their Sunday Best.
I liked my children and my memories to be real.
Young women are the worst for pictures. If they turn to a camera and are told to “Say cheese” they automatically either stick out their tongue, make that fish-lips thing, or strike a goofy “sexy” pose. If you catch them in a group you are guaranteed to capture a group cheerleader wave and the “Woo Woo” holler pose.
Back in the stone age, when a 16mm or 8mm movie camera was the latest thing, no one would allow anything but staged filming. Go ahead, pull out any old films with mom, dad, and Aunt Tilly. They will be waving like mad at the camera. “Here’s Aunt Tilly feeding the baby…Wave to the camera Tilly.” Tilly waves, apparently in those days waving was required to confirm the camera was actually taking moving pictures.
Cell phone cameras have allowed video and snap shots to be more natural these days. It is so easy to take a quick picture or video catching your subjects unaware, that they do not act goofy or have a chance to hold up their hand and say, “No, I look hideous!”
If however, you do call attention to the cell phone camera and ask for a pose or a group picture, guaranteed you will get tongue-sticking, fish-lip faces with rabbit ears behind their heads.
By the way, I hate the “Woo Woo!”
Monday, November 18, 2019
THE INTERNAL GPS
Mr. Peabody's "way-back machine" takes you to a re-run from October 2011
Mrs. C’s children, the step-cranks, often call for directions when they are lost. Yes they have a Garmin, but they prefer their maternal GPS system. Listening to these conversations is a treat. Mrs. C does not just tell them where to turn….well just listen to an example:
“Where are you now? Rt. 9. OK do you see a Shell Gas Station on your right? Good. Go three blocks, on the right you will see an Arbee’s on the left is a Stewarts. Go through the next light, and turn right at the “Your Gold for Sale” sign. Three more blocks and turn left at Watanobee Street, it will be just after a large blue house with a white fence on your right. OK then. Good luck."
Yesterday I was sent off to grocery shop. Mrs. Cranky made out a list in my presence to insure I could read her items. I hate grocery shopping as I am all over the store looking for stuff. I end up doing each aisle multiple times trying to find a single item.
Yesterday I was whipping through the store. Every time I found an item on the list, the next item was close by. I started with bread. By the time I reached the last aisle, dairy, I realized why I was moving so fast.
Mrs. Cranky had placed each item in order as I would find them in the store. Mind you, this store was the one near my Gym, a store where she seldom shops, and yet she knew where every item was. In the exact order!
I have no sense of direction; I am not good with maps. Mrs. Cranky has many wonderful attributes; I particularly need her internal GPS.
Saturday, November 16, 2019
The golf season is closing down, at least in this neck of the woods. It is getting too cold, and often the leaves on the fairway make it impossible to find your ball.
I know some people play golf right through the Winter, only the snow will stop them. I am not one of those people.
Still, on my last time out I finished really well. I stunk the first two holes, but played the last seven (I usually am a nine hole golfer) at one under par. Yes, I play the old man tees, almost as short as the ladies tees, and it is not a really difficult course, but seven holes at one under par is really good for me.
Then the other day at the range I was hitting really well; far and straight. I think I found my rhythm and a way to keep the good rhythm. I really wanted to try it out on the real course.
The weather turned cold, too cold for me, but last Friday there was a possible open weather window. The temperature was as high as 50 degrees with little wind…I hate the wind, so I almost hit the course for the last time this year.
Then I thought.
“You finished your last round really well. You found something on the range, why not just wait till next year thinking you are on to something and not play one more time and maybe ruin that feeling.”
Reminded me of a story.
I never knew my Grandfather to play golf. He was an expert Bridge player, I think they called it a “Master,” and he also loved fishing. My father told me one story about Grandpa and golf, and knowing my grandpa, I believe it to be true.
When he was young, Grandpa did play from time to time, but he was not very good. On the last time he played, he teed off and hit a really good drive. He reached the green in regulation and two putted for a par. The next hole he hit another really good drive, hit the green on his second shot and dropped a 15 foot putt for a birdie.
After that second hole, Grandpa told the other members of his foursome that he forgot he had a business appointment and had to leave the course.
He had no such appointment. Grandpa just knew when to quit. I don’t believer he ever played again.
I’m not quite the same “quit-while-you’re-ahead” player my Grandfather was, but I do think I’ll spend this Winter thinking I can actually play the game.
The clubs are going into the storage room.
For those that may give a dang:
Par - The score (number of strokes to get the frigggin ball in the hole) good golfers are expected to make
Birdy - One under par, the score really good golfers are expected to make (from time to time)
Bogey - One over par, a good score for bad golfers
Eagle - Two under par, a score only pros or lairs make.
Albatross - Three under par, a score pros may dream of, but only liars ever get.
Friday, November 15, 2019
They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To
I love those old car shows that towns have from time to time. I love looking at and remembering those old beauties.
Big fins, classic lines, and bumpers that actually protect from bumping. Some of those old bumpers looked like they were made to not only protect, but to do real damage to intruding autos. Large bullet like hunks of steel protruding on either side of the immovable bumper ready to pierce the armor of any other car that dared to not stop in time.
Those cars were great, built to last. Well except the old cars of the 70’s and 80’s, they were built to maximize profits in Detroit.
If the fifties and sixties were the “Golden Age” of big beautiful American cars, the 70’s and 80’s were the “Crap Age” for cars. Cars that broke down when plastic parts gave way, cars that burst in flames in accidents or sometimes just for spite. The “Crap Age” was put to rest by cars from Japan. They were cheaper, more economical and built better. The cars from Japan forced American cars to improve.
The early Japanese cars did have issues. It took a while for them to learn how to properly protect their cars. They used crappy paint and not very many coats. I had a Honda in ’81 that was a great car. Drove like a dream, but after 8 years it didn’t just suffer from rust, it basically dissolved.
The cars built in both the “Golden Age” and the “Crap Age” needed an oil change and lube every 3000 miles. If they got 20 MPG to a gallon of gas it was a great thing. I had a ’68 VW bug that got terrific mileage compared to the American cars, maybe 28 MPG. Of course, it had a 40-horsepower engine that would not move it any faster than 60 MPH. It went from zero to 60 in about 15 minutes.
One hundred thousand miles was the gold standard for most of those old cars. If you got that many miles out of it, you did really well.
I still think cars need service every 3000 miles, but my dealer will not even let me in with less than 5000 miles. They recommend 6000 miles. I read an article the other day about the 50 models today that should run like a top for 250,000 miles if maintained properly.
Practically every model made today. Dang, 250,000 miles!
Today’s cars have shit bumpers. One tiny bump and you need a new one for about $750. Today’s cars don’t have fancy classic lines. They all look alike.
Those old cars, after the 100,000-mile mark, would burn oil and leave a smoke screen trail behind them. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those old smoking Hooptees on the road.
Cars today look alike, but with power everything, rear and side cameras, safer breaks, gas mileage of 25 to 40 MPG, a life span of 250,000 miles, maintenance only every 6000 miles, and tires that last for 30,000 miles or more.
They just don’t make them like they used to.
Today’s cars are a bit boring to look at, but all in all, I am glad they don’t make them like they used to.
I do miss those old bumpers that would punish anything that got in their way.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Dinner out With The Cranky’s
I was listening in to the dude at the next table order his dinner.
“There is a guy just asking to complain about his food.”
“He just ordered his burger ‘medium well.’ What the Hell is ‘medium well’?”
“It’s a legitimate order.”
“Maybe for a thick steak…maybe. He is ordering a burger. Medium would be a tinge of color in the middle and plenty of juice. Well would be no color and just enough juice to not be dry. What the Hell is medium well in a burger? How do you cook ‘medium well?’ I guess you cook it about 20 seconds longer than medium?” It is a ridiculous order for a burger. I’m telling you he is just setting the chef up for failure. A burger is rare, medium rare, medium or well. Medium well is a bogus order for a burger.”
“Well here comes our check, you want to hang around long enough to see if he complains.”
“Don’t have to, he will complain.”
“How are you so sure?”
“I used to shoot pool with a friend years ago, at the VFW that used to be a pool hall. Across the street is the diner, after pool we would go have a night time snack at the diner.”
“So, every time we went to the diner this guy would order ‘soft scrambled’ eggs. What the Frig are ‘soft scrambled’ eggs? When you scramble the egg, it is either uncooked and runny, or it is cooked and not runny. What is ‘soft scrambled?’”
“Just barely cooked?”
“That’s just it. This was a diner. The chef probably earns a bit over minimum wage, this is not Bobby Flay behind the grill. I can just picture him when he gets the order for ‘soft scrambled’. ‘Soft scrambled? I’ll show you soft scrambled!’”
“How did the eggs come?”
“Never to his liking. It was always, ‘look at this, it’s runny, you call these soft scrambled?’ or ‘these are solid, I asked for soft scrambled!’”
“So, he sent them back?”
“Hell no, he just wanted to complain, no one knows what the Hell ‘soft scrambled’ means. Just like no one knows what you expect when you order a burger medium well. Trust me this guy will complain.”
“Your probably right. Let’s go or we’ll be late to watch ’90-day Fiancé.’”
Are we the only ones that listen in to the next table at a restaurant?
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Be Nissan You Later
WOW! We won a 55-inch Smart TV. No really. The local Nissan dealer sent us a scratch-off to celebrate their latest sale. They had potential prizes of wireless ear buds, a 55-inch Smart TV, $1500 or $15000.
Mrs. C scratched and it showed we won the TV!
She called the required number; they checked the ID number on the scratch-off and confirmed we were a winner. We made an appointment to pick up our prize on Friday at 1 PM.
“There must be a catch.”
“Nope, I called and they verified the number.”
“Let me see that scratch off thing, there has to be some fine print saying we had to also buy a car, or stay at the dealers for the whole week-end, or…”
“Nope, there is no fine print anywhere, we won a 55-inch smart TV.”
So, on Friday we went to the dealer. I was still somewhat skeptical, but the scratcher did indicate we won, and it was not like we just won ear buds, it was the TV.
We even started to argue where we would put the TV.
“55 inches is big, will it fit in the basement?”
“The basement TV is 40, but the new TV’s are narrower around the actual screen, I think it will fit even if it covers up some of the cabinet.”
“We should probably put it in the guest room and replace the 28 inch TV.”
“Why, it is too big for that room.”
“But Casey wants a smart TV for when she visits.”
“That is hardly ever, why have the best TV where it will hardly ever get used?”
“We’ll argue about it when we see how large it is.”
When we walked into the dealership we asked where do we go to see Mr. Green. “Mr. Green”, that should have been a warning sign right there. We were directed to a waiting area with about 17 other people waiting for “Mr. Green.”
“You all won a TV too?”
“Yup” “Yup” "Yup” "Yup"…
I was starting to smell fish.
Some guy came out of “Mr. Green’s” office with a small package of wireless ear buds.
“You guys here for the TV?
“Yup” “Yup” "Yup” "Yup"…
Sniff sniff; Rotten fish.
Then Mrs. C opened up the scratch-off. It was sealed in a way that was almost indiscernible. Inside was the small print I could not find earlier.
The scratch-off allowed the holder to enter the contest drawing. The odds of winning were:
Ear buds 99,997 / 100,000
Smart TV 1 / 100,000
$1500 1 / 100,000
$15,000 1 / 100,000
The cards were sent to everyone in an 80-mile radius of the dealer.
“This is bull shit, let’s go.”
“Wait, you are so impatient.”
“Yes, I am, and we don’t need ear buds.”
“We might win the TV.”
“I’m waiting in the car, at least I can listen to the radio.”
About 30 minutes later Mrs. C came out with a box of ear buds.
“I had to tell the guy, not Mr. Green by the way, that we couldn’t afford a new car until next year. He offered an interest free loan for a year, I told him I’d need to wait till you got out of Jail first. He said good luck and gave me the ear buds.”
“That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back.”
“This time we’re both jerks…but I will use the ear buds.”
I never liked Nissan anyway.
Monday, November 11, 2019
Our townhouse is not large, but it is a good size for Mrs. Cranky, myself and an occasional visitor. It is an end unit and we have a plenty of privacy outside. Inside, however, it is sometimes a bit creepy. We border on two other units, and sometimes when our neighbors come home, or just slam a door it sounds like they are inside our unit. That combined with the fact that Mrs. C came home a few years ago, and saw a window had been jimmied open by intruders sometimes keeps us on edge. She never saw the intruders, she rang the bell, called the police, and heard the burglars leave out the back door in a hurry.
Nothing was stolen except for our sense of security.
We now have active burglar alarms, and there are only two ways to enter the home, the front door and a sliding glass patio door. We always keep the front door locked and the patio door is locked plus a wood brace makes it impossible to enter from the outside. Still, the occasional downstairs noises can creep you out even when you are positive the doors are all secure.
One night it sure sounded like our front door was opened, and there were footsteps in the downstairs hallway. Mrs. C was concerned.
“Did you lock the front door?”
“It’s fine; it’s just noise from next door.”
“OK, but it is sure creepy.”
“I agree, but it is nothing…go to sleep.”
Just then there was a tremendous crash from downstairs. It wasn’t next door. It wasn’t a creepy floor squeak or house shifting noise, it was a crash, then a second crash, then silence.
“What the hell was that?”
I grabbed an old police Billy club a friend gave me years ago and got out of bed.
“CALL 911, I’M GOING TO CHECK IT OUT.”
“I’M DIALING RIGHT NOW!!”
“WHO EVER IS DOWN THERE, GET THE FUCK OUT NOW. I’VE GOT A PISTOL. I’M COMING DOWN IN TWO MINUTES. GET THE FUCK OUT NOW!”
“What are you going to do?”
“Shhh, do you hear anything?”
“I’m going downstairs.”
I crept down the stairs, club in hand, heart pounding. I heard nothing, there was no movement, no shadows, and nothing was moved. I turned down the hallway, TV police style. I slashed blindly with my club as I turned into the hallway; nothing. I checked the bathroom; nothing. Every room was clear. Then there was the pantry. It is large enough for a person to hide in. I slid silently up to the pantry door, and ripped it open with my club raised.
Cans fell out at me, cereal boxes were all over, the pantry was a mess.
Two weeks before I had installed new shelves in the pantry. Mrs. C told me the molly bolts I used were not big enough. I had told her she was crazy. For two weeks I was right. Tonight I was wrong, very, very wrong. The bolts had pulled out under the weight of one too many soup cans and had crashed heavily onto the shelf below which then succumbed to the extra weight of the fallen shelf and pulled loose on its own…hence the second crash.
The shelf failure was my fault. The mess was my fault. The ungodly scare was my fault. I felt like an idiot skulking around my downstairs calling out to a non- existent burglar and swinging wildly with my club.
Mrs. Cranky thought I was very brave.
Then referring to the molly bolts she said, “I told you so!”
re-run from November 2013