Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mrs C was not fond of the new name....

So I changed it back to the old one for now. that will make a couple of folks crazy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I finally found the right name for this Blog

It's really hard to argue with, isn't it?

Chris Casey: Home Improvement Moron

That pretty much sums me up in a nutshell!

My left and right Brains have been disagreeing all day, and the Voices in my head told me I should paint the Foyer Blue, then said yellow. I wish they would make up their mind! Doesn't matter, Mrs C will have the final word. I'm color blind, so I'll take her word for it, whatever color it is!

Random Acts of Kindness Could make the World go around...

If we wanted them too.

Kathy over at the Junk Drawer Blog got me to thinkin' with her post about a random act of kindness. So if you saw smoke wafting up around the Lehigh Berks county border the last few days, that was just me thinkin'. and nothing to worry about.

Sometimes we humans lose our way. We do it all the time, we get off track in life and forget about what is important. I've done it, I've addressed my mistakes and moved on, knowing that while I am attempting to learn from them, I will make new ones, no matter how hard I try not to.

Lately I've been asking myself what is the purpose of my blog posts? Am I venting, am I serving any higher purpose, am I contributing to the betterment of the lives around me?
It is something to ponder. I've used this platform on other blogs, to criticize others, especially in the political forum, knowing full well that the house I dwell in has just as many windows as those I would cast stones at.

Here on this blog I write the stories of my everyday life that cause me to pause and laugh at myself, but is it fair for me to write what makes me laugh at others? That's something to consider, isn't it? It is all in the context, and I never stop learning.

Last weekend I knew one of my neighbors a few doors down would be away until Tuesday, yet Friday I saw packages piling up at their door, so I took the packages into my garage and secured them. I called my neighbor and left a message on their machine telling them what I had done. When they came home this week, they were most thankful. I didn't do it for the praise, or to make them think they "owed" me, I did it because it was the right thing to do.

And that brings me now to the 180 degree opposite of random Acts of kindness, the random Acts of hate, like the random Comments I keep getting from someone who wishes me harm.
I think it is sad, and while I am not naive enough to completely disregard the veiled threat, I have decided that I am going to remove all of them from publication, but save them to a file.
All I know from the Trackback is that they are coming from a server over in Northampton County, and I could follow in the steps of another blogger and make wild, unsubstantiated allegations about who I think it might be, but I won't.
It's not worth the bother. And ignoring it is the right thing to do. For Now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cleaning out the Garage

I am blessed.

I live in a urban castle that has a two car garage. Not only that, but there are separate doors for each car! That, in the eyes of my dear deceased Dad, was a statement that you were well off.
We had a two car garage when I was growing up, but it was one big door, and you had to pull one of the cars out to get in the passenger side. It was tight in there. Only rich people had "Real" two car garages. It was a big old wooden door, and we didn't have automatic garage door openers back then. Well, we did, it was me, I had to physically lift it to open it, and close, lower and lock it when we left. It wasn't light, believe you me, it wasn't until a month after I joined the Army and 2 weeks before I went away to basic training that Dad had me install a motorized door opener.

Well, we Casey's aren't rich, but I am a bit on the frugal side, just ask my wife. We have power automatic garage doors, just as now most everybody in McMansion land has a two car garage, not all, but many do. It's become a standard norm, and no longer a sign of grandiosity, if it ever really was one at all.

In the garage attached to the Casey Castle of Trexlertown, there's room to get in on all sides. That wasn't always the case, we had quite a bit of "stuff" stored in there for a while. When we first moved in, I was six months clearing out stuff so I could park in there. Mrs C got the preferred spot right away. She's the lady of the House, and that's the way it works. That's how it worked when I was a kid in our house, Dad always gave Mom the better spot.

Now I'm sure the people over at the secret Chinese Spy satellite cable network have been watching the outtakes of "Chris Casey, Home Improvement Moron" that they are shooting by satellite with interest. They are probably wondering, "Why is he so good to his wife? Why does he always give her the best of everything? Why does he pack her lunch, wash her car, do her laundry, and all these other things? Is he what many American men refer to as "Pussy whipped?"

No you communist ninnies, I'm not whipped! I'm what a real American guy is supposed to be! Decent, caring, and attentive to his mate! Real American men aren't afraid of doing the laundry! Real men get so dirty doing real jobs that sometimes we just climb in the washer with our clothes on and close the door! We call that conserving fresh water!

Sunday night I would have done that, if I could, but even my new, leaner, meaner, not as much to be seener' body can fit in our 6 month old energy efficient Whirlpool washer. (I know "seener" is not a word, but it rhymes nicely, okay?)
I started cleaning the garage after I returned from the gym shortly after 3 PM, and when I finished at 7:30, you could walk up and down on the sides of both cars, and freely open all doors!
(The Truth: I'm trying to make room for a Riding Lawn Mower or Snow Blower, I could care less if you can get in the car from either side!)

Was I dirty? Yes!! Did I suffer a few cuts and bruises? Uh yeah, and that splinter from that old four by four really hurt, and luckily I did get it out right away! The point is, The garage is cleaner, the trash and summer's worth of debris have been removed, and I, the American man, have finished another mission, once again thwarting the schemes of those damned Communist Chinese! Yeah!!!! I wonder what they are titling the next episode of Chris Casey, Home Improvement Moron, now? They probably focus on the two car garage, the gas powered lawn mower, the many different pieces of power yard hardware, and decided to call it: Wasteful American Fuel habits!

But who cares what those communist pansies watching on their spy satellites think. They have to be impressed at an average American man's CAN DO! attitude!

Though I think the cut on my finger might be infected. I had a Tetanus shot last October, and I didn't need another one in February when I got the stitches in my hand. We'll see.
Tune in later this week when I give you a report on my next adventure with electricity! I'm going to install a new light fixture/ceiling fan in one of the upstairs bedrooms. I'm putting the over/under on the number of times I electrocute myself at two! Oh, and one more thing, our new fixture? Guess where it was manufactured? You Know it! CHINA! So you know what that means! We are going to be missing something!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shock Therapy: The Home Improvement Version!

Some things you probably shouldn't mix. Like pouring gasoline onto hot coals in a charcoal Grill to get the fire burning, perhaps I shouldn't be allowed to play with Electricity.

The Good news is, I'm still here!

Previously, I detailed my actions installing two new lamps on the outside of the Casey Homestead garage, brightening our exterior Driveway at night. I survived that near death experience, so what do I do this past weekend? Mrs. C and I venture out to Lowe's and buy 6 matching ones for the rest of the house!

Now if I could find a way to electrocute myself installing 2 lamps on the garage, what do you think the odds are of it happening while installing 6 more? Hell, who needs a defibrillator?! If my heart ever starts beating irregularly, or stops all together, just get me near a wall socket and stick my finger in, I'll be fine! (Of Course, with my luck, I've probably developed some kind of immunity to electricity, and PP&L will pay my wife to recycle my corpse as a human transformer)

So Saturday Mrs. C and I trek to the Lowes in Shillington, because we were already out that way, where I have plans to spend $200 I have budgeted for Home Improvement on said light fixtures. Well, Hallelujah! The light fixtures we want are marked down! From $49.95 to $44.95!

Then to our Amazement, the two pack of said light fixtures, 2 in a box for $69.95, is on clearance for $34.95! It is the exact same light! I was only planning to buy four but hell, I jump at the bargain. So knowing we need 6 total light fixtures, I snatch up 3 of the two fixture packs. I'm a happy camper. I like coming in under budget. Excess funds could go to the "I want a Riding Lawn Mower Fund" but will probably end up in the "I need a $600 Snowblower" Fund.

Now if you have read this blog before, you know what inevitably is coming. Yes, the light fixtures were made in CHINA. and the first pack I open, guess what? Yes, the Globe is broken, and I'm missing a screw.
It's Chinese Law, I'm telling you, make Americans crazy by selling them stuff that doesn't have all the parts and watch by spy satellite from Outer Space as they try and put it all together.
They probably have a Secret Cable Channel dedicated to airing the foibles of hapless Americans like me over there, and observing the adventures of "Chris Casey Home Improvement Moron" probably gets higher ratings than "Trading Spaces" does here.

I'm probably a big star on a secret Chinese national cable Network, and I don't even know it. The Communist Programmers are probably the ones sending me all the Lowes gift cards and credit offers, just to get me to buy more stuff, so they can make more episodes.

So out of 6 fixtures, I mounted 2 lights on Saturday after getting home and 3 on Sunday. Monday on my way home from work, I stop at the Lowes in Quakertown, receipt and broken, unusable globe, in hand.

I have to give Lowe's credit. They accommodated me. They didn't have any of the clearance two packs at the Q-town store, but they gave me what I needed to finish the job. That's why they are beating the Hell out of the Home Depot. It's called Customer Satisfaction, and I get it at Lowes. When I made it Home Monday night, I quickly finished the last light, and I did it without getting any more jolts!

Now, as for my Shock Therapy...
It is very, very, very,very, very, very, very, (did I say very?) very IMPORTANT that you properly connect the ground wire when installing these lights. OR YOU COULD GET SHOCKED!

To prove that some lessons need continued reinforcement, I shocked myself not once, not twice, not three, but FOUR times, while working on one particular light fixture. You would think I would learn. The dogs all walked out into the yard, watching with interest from afar, while Mrs C. read in her Hammock. Even Dogs are smart enough not to play with electricity, but not me!

I now have a new theory, that the Electrical shocks are impairing my memory, and that's why....hey, Where in the hell are my keys? And what did I do with my phone?.....wait, what was I writing about again? See what I mean?!

There Will Be Blood.....NOT!!!!!!!!

(This is a somewhat Serious Post, but worthy of discussion, so I'm cross posting it from my more serious blog)

I was giddy with anticipation as I entered the newly christened Kasych Pavilion at Lehigh Valley Hospital, intent on performing my civic duty, donating blood, and perhaps, just perhaps, saving someones life.

I checked in, and no sooner took a seat before my name was called to go in the back for screening. A very nice young woman screened me. She checked my Driver's license, (you gotta have a photo I.D.!) then pricked my index finger on my left hand. My blood was red! That's good, it appeared I am human, despite some doubts from frequent readers of my blog.
She checked my blood pressure, (112 over 70) then my resting pulse (60), I'm in pretty good shape for a 46 year old, 225+ pound guy.

Then the questions started. All the HIV and blood contaminant ones, trying to see if you are at risk for anything that would make your blood dangerous for others to get.

I agree with this process, for the most part. I was going along with it , because I feel the end result, helping to save lives, is worth it.

Then the Question came that brought the whole adventure to a screeching halt.
"Have you served in the United States Armed Forces in the years between 1980 and 1996, and during that time were you stationed in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, or other countries for more than a 6 month period?"

My answer was yes. I was stationed at Darmstadt, Federal Republic of Germany, for most of my Army enlistment. The years were 1983, 84, 85, and 86. Now I had no clue this was a problem. I have given blood before, but it has been at least 5 years since I last gave. I've had surgical procedures and been tested God knows how many times, and NEVER tested positive for anything that would bar me from giving blood.

But things have changed. I was informed that under their newer protocols, I am not eligible to give Blood. I was very disappointed, and I made it clear to the staff how I felt. But I also told them that I understood that they were doing their jobs.
I wish I had known about this new protocol sooner, I rearranged my schedule to give blood, and this pretty much wasted several hours of my time. I've shared this with my vet friends, a couple of whom were planning to donate.

This troubles me. What is to stop people from not admitting, as I did, that they served overseas? I'm also bothered that several million formal military personnel are being excluded from giving blood to protect from contamination by a few. Are you telling me they can't test my blood, and see I'm not HIV infectious? This is a serious issue, and I'm looking forward to reader's thoughts on it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm Saving a Life Today!

I have an appointment today.

I'm giving blood at 3:30 PM at the Kasych Pavilion, on the Lehigh Valley Hospital Campus at Cedar Crest. The Miller Keystone Blood Center needs YOUR help. Call and make an appointment, TODAY!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Where the Hell.....???

Did I put my keys?

This is a game I play constantly in my life. At home, there is a basket hanging by the door to the garage in the kitchen. My wife put it there for the express purpose of keeping her keys where she could find them. She never plays the game, but I, The Hunter Gatherer, play it all the time.

So why the hell would I want to use that? It's not like I'd get confused, and take the wrong key ring, all hers have Tinkerbell fairies on them. I'd sort of notice, you think? But no, I'm a man, an American man, and we like challenges. I think it's a throwback to our need to look for treasure, an instinctive need to search for things we really need, like food and warmth, and now in the 21st century, a wireless Internet connection. Those things are easy to find, so we subconsciously create challenges for ourselves, ergo, we hide our keys!

The issue here is I find myself playing the game at really bad times, like when I really have to get going. This happens a lot at 4:45 AM when I need to leave for work. the Coffee hasn't hit yet, and I'm getting annoyed. Damn thing is, if I have my keys, I usually end up playing other versions of the game, like, "Where the hells my building swipe card?" or "Where the hells my cell phone?"

This really annoys Mrs C, who is usually playing a game of her own called, "Why the hell can't you let me sleep?!" Throw in barking dogs, and now our new alarm system chirping every time the door opens as I run back and forth from the garage looking for whatever, and I think you see the problem.

Yes, I admit it. I AM AN IDIOT!

Okay! That's enough Man Confession for today, tune in next time when I either share more horror stories on my Home Improvement Adventures, or my new game I play after going to the mall, "Where the Hell did I park the car?!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Interstate 95: ACDC's True "Highway to Hell" and the Diner in the Middle of Nowhere, Really!

Last weekend I drove from the Lehigh Valley to Boston and back. My wife, the lovely Mrs. C, rode shotgun, and wisely reclined her seat to nap and did not watch the festivities as I navigated my way across I-287 around NYC to I-95 and northward.

I have a few words for the drivers of the Atlantic States Corridor: "Are you People INSANE?!! What Qualifies one for a driver's license in the States east and north of PA, the ability to count to one using one hand?!!!"

For those of you in need of a refresher course, the Left Lane is the PASSING Lane. It is not the drive 40 MPH and talk on the cell phone Lane! I-95 between I-287 and the I-91 Hartford Split is 50+ miles of 6 lane Superhighway, but it is my humble opinion that it is occupied by far too many mentally inhibited people who should not own cars.

I also have a few words for Commercial Truck Drivers. Those big signs saying "No Trucks in Left Lane" are for you! That's so when you are climbing a hill, and only driving 25 MPH, the rest of us can pass you! But when you morons go three wide and block all three lanes for two miles, that is annoying!

Am I done ranting? Not on your life! I have a few words for our friends who sell those wonderful "Garmins". Yeah, the things that are supposed to help you find your way. We get into Rhode Island, and Mrs C announces she is hungry. Okay, I'm up for that. I needed a break from navigating the exceptionally heavy traffic that alternated moving at 75 MPH to stay alive, to a dead stop every 10 miles. So I pull into a scenic overlook and get the Garmin out to see what's close. That's a feature that the ol' Garmin offers. We name things in our family, from cars, to Garmins, and our Garmin is called "Greta". Why "Greta?" not because it's British, like the voice Mrs C chose under options to listen to, (and as far as I know the name Greta isn't British) but because it's alliterative, that's why.

True Story: As I was slowing down, and making my way to the scenic overlook exit, the Black BMW that passed me as I started doing this loses control, slams the left guardrail, and spins out 200 yards past the overlook taking out two other vehicles. I appreciate the divine intervention there Lord, thank you! Thank God no one was injured.

Anyway, Mrs C took some pictures of the Ocean bay at the Overlook, while I got old Greta working. Mrs C came back to the Car, and we were off. Mrs C decides we should eat at a place called, I kid you not, "The Middle of Nowhere Diner." That's the real name of the place, folks.

Less than 5 minutes later we exit I-95 North at Rhode Island exit 4, and follow the Garmin's directions off the main roads 4 miles or so to this place. it turns out to be a Cape Cod sized house converted into a Restaurant. It has a Counter with six single round stools and a walk down to rear porch enclosed Dining area. The place was packed! It also has a banner strung above the entrance way: Voted Rhode Island's best Omelet by Rhode Island Magazine! (Yeah, Rhode island has its own magazine, circulation approximately 7!)

Yes, The middle of Nowhere Diner's appearance screamed, "Greasy Spoon". The booths were some kind of old red vinyl seating, and as sat I felt like I was squatting, they were so low to the floor. The tables were a odd brown wooden parquet design, that might have been constructed from whatever wood was left over from doing the floors a half century before. But these features gave the place something most chain restaurants will never have: a unique character. A Chain Restaurant, say, a Cracker Barrel, a Denny's, an Applebee's, or a McDonald's, many find comfort in the familiarity of a known quantity, but Mrs C and I, we like to experience the road less traveled.
The building was old and weathered, but to our senses it was a new experience to be explored.

The bathroom was no bigger than a hall closet, but it was clean, the kind you expect to find out in an old country diner. I half expected a mouse to pop out through the small pipe hole in the wall for the water supply and say hello as I washed my hands.

The Waitress asked us where we were from, and earned herself a generous tip by giving Mrs C. extra napkins for travel, you know those ones you get when you want to wash your hands? That kind, the ones that are great for getting sticky stuff like pancake syrup off your fingers.
Mrs C. confided to me she would not want to look at conditions in the kitchen, but the food was delicious! I had a potato and cheese omelet, made with red potatoes, that I couldn't finish, while she had Chocolate Chip pancakes. I'd eat there again, but seeing I have sworn off ever, and I mean EVER, driving on I-95 again,that probably won't happen. EVER.

So after we finish eating, we pay in person to a cashier at the counter as we leave. That's the way small town diners are and restaurants should be, where a smiling member of the diner owner's family thanks you for your visit, and wishes you a safe journey. You don't get that at the big chain, but you do get a big price. With tip, we barely spent $17. Try dining at a Big Chain for that.

Now we have to find our way back to I-95, so we get in my Red Vue, named Ruby, and turn on Greta Garmin.

I believe that Greta Garmin hates us. She sends us to an intersection and tells us to turn right, so I do. We end up going more than 15 miles down back roads that have no signs, no lines, and no guard rails, with Greta cheerily telling me to continue, "14.8 miles, then turn right!" Every once in a while the road will merge with another road, or diverge, with the Greta cheerily directing me to "bear right" or "Merge left" on what the Garmin map shows as the "John Henry Highway". We did pass houses once in a while, but I never had a car in front of or behind me, though I did have to slow down to accommodate 3 or four oncoming pick up trucks during the adventure.

Finally we come out to a main road, and I can see signs for I-95 straight ahead, about a 1/2 mile away, in front of me. But Greta is demanding I turn right down a dirt road! "Turn Right!' she demands. "Turn Right now!" I ignore her and head towards the Interstate. "Recalculating!" she intones, with what I detect to be not so subtle disgust, in her condescending proper British English.

At this point, after almost a half hour of exploring mostly uninhabited woods where the Friday the 13th Horror films were quite possibly filmed, if not the Blair Witch Project, I've had enough.
So, Greta Garmin, like Hal, the Ship's Computer that went crazy in the Sci-fi movie classic Space Odyssey, 2001, is unceremoniously and without further discussion by Mrs C and I, unplugged and put away.

Greta was giving me an arrival time at my destination in Milton, Massachusetts of three hours later, but after I turned Greta off, I made it the 80 miles up through Providence and into Milton in under 90 minutes. Mrs C suggested that perhaps the British lady whose voice personalizes Greta Garmin merely wanted us to drive into the Ocean and take her home to Britain, and now that I've had a few days to think about it, I have to agree.

When we returned home Sunday, I took the Mass pike (I-90) west to I-84, came down through Hartford, and over to I-87 south, down to I-287, then down to I-78 and home. It was 18 miles longer, but almost an hour in drive time quicker than the way there.
There was a lot less traffic, and a lot less stress, and I didn't ask Greta for directions once.

Hey anybody want to buy a Garmin? her name's Greta! She's for sale! Cheap!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fun with Paint!

This past week, I finally got around to putting two coats of paint on the second upstairs bedroom of our home. Ever notice that, no matter how hard you try, you always manage to miss a spot? I find that really annoying. So now all the finished rooms upstairs have been painted, and we have two full bedrooms with walk in closets, and one full master bath. We are open for visitors!

All I have left to do is install the new light fixture (with ceiling fan), put all the wall receptacle covers back on, remove all the painters tape on the trim, and move all the furniture back into the room. That's not going to be as easy as it seems when you realize how much is on that list is it? So I have scheduled that for Saturday, when my dear beloved, Mr's C can assist me, by telling me exactly where she wants everything. (Oh, and we have to pick up all the drop cloths and vacuum, also!) I plan to tackle painting the 18 foot ceiling in the foyer hall while she is out of town next month for a week at a conference.

Okay, one thing I realized while painting this room, is that Dogs are not good paint helpers. In fact, if you allow a very black dog into a room with freshly painted white tinted walls, there's going to be an issue... or two...or three...
I'm sure there's an application somewhere that dipping a dog's tail in the paint and having it run around the room wagging said tail rapidly afterwards is a good idea, but not in my house!

I'm just glad I got it off the dog before Mrs. C arrived home from work and saw it, or we'd probably been going to the vet to check for adverse effects. There's going to be more fun with electricity in a few weeks, as I will be replacing the light fixtures on the house and front entrance to match the ones on the garage. That means another trip to Lowes's! Yippee! I won't need a ladder to replace these, so if I inadvertently use myself as an electrical conduit, I won't fall as far this time.
That's a good thing!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I have returned from my journey!

Where I spent the weekend attending one great party, as someone was married! WooHoo! And do I have some great observations and stories to tell!
Question 1: What do you think if many of the bridesmaids have tattoos, and those tattoos are interesting, in many ways, to say the least?

Oh, and what if the Father of the Groom showed up with a Trophy wife, and the trophy wife is younger than his son's new wife? Awkward, not Awkward? You make the call! More later this week!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Lamps on the Garage...ZAPPPP!

In my ongoing efforts at Home Improvement, I occasionally take on tasks to improve the House Of Casey Homestead. This Friday, I endeavored to replace the outdoor lamps on the Front of our garage.

It all started at the Lowes on MacArthur road. I asked Mrs C if she wanted a Fire pit as part of her Anniversary present. We have lots of firewood, thanks to my "fun with trees" in early July, and Mrs C has wanted a fire pit to sit around off our deck on cool evenings. I like the ambiance of it myself, so I was willing. Instead, she suggested we give the garage a minor makeover, such as new lamps, replacing the ones installed 17 years ago when the house was built. All the homes in our development have pretty much the same ugly lights, and we Casey's, we like to be different, so new lamps it was!

Mrs C picked out a classy lamp, and we needed two, one for each side. I had a budget of $200, ( I budget things, I'm crazy that way) and we came in at $196.00+, so I was pleased. So we get home, and I take the old ones off. They weren't even half the size of the new ones, and they didn't light up the driveway very well, so I was glad to take them down. So I open up the first box, and start taking inventory.

You know where it was made, don't you? CHINA. And you know what that means! Yes, one of the cap mounting screws was missing! More on that in a minute. I get the first light assembly up and out and installed in 20 minutes, but of course there is a problem. NO BULBS.

Note: Yes, at this time, the power was off. That becomes very important later.

Please tell me, why in God's name can't they put bulbs in these things? If you are paying almost $200 bucks for 2 fixtures, and each fixture takes 3 bulbs, and they pack it in enough Styrofoam to choke a horse, can't they include three freaking bulbs?

In the meantime, I have opened the other light box, and it has everything it is supposed to. Wow! How did that happen? So I take one of the cap screws and finish the first lamp (Sans bulbs) and call out to the lovely Mrs C. Mrs C had been resting comfortably on her (Now Heavenly) Hammock out in the yard, but she arose, and agreed to go to nearby Bell's hardware to get 6 bulbs and a cap screw. (BTW, she was there and back in 20 minutes, successfully completing her mission, KUDOS!)

While she was gone, I started installing the second light fixture. The first one had taken 20 minutes, this one, a little longer. You see, we have stone facing on our garage, and the first fixture had gone on easily in a spot where the stone was relatively flat, but this one? Because the base was twice as large as the old ones, it conflicted with a large piece of stone jutting out above where the electrical box I had to mount it to was. I finally get it leveled and secure, install all the bulbs, and flip the switch. First fixture is beautiful, second fixture? No power. Turn power off, disassemble. Okay, in getting it secured, black wire came loose. redo wire, turn power on before remounting. Lights work! Great. Turn Power off, remount.

Turn Power on. Fixture not working. Power off. Undo fixture, Cap on white wire loose this time. In trying to get properly secure I kept pulling wires apart. Up and down the ladder I went. So how soon do you think it was until I forgot to turn the power off, just once?

As I lay on the ground, staring skywards, my head next to a 50 pound brass Pig my wife has in our yard, I hear my cross the street neighbor call out, "Are you all right?" "Yeah, I'm fine, just missed a step on the ladder, that's all" I lied.
For all I know, she was shooting me with a camera and the footage is on You tube right now. I'm glad I didn't land with my head on the pig, or I'd have spent Friday night in the ER, as it was, I haven't been there since the infamous snow shovel incident in February, that required 4 stitches in my hand.

Anyway, Mrs C, hearing the neighbor, called out her own question, and because I was now up walking around, laughing, which is what I do at near death experiences, (God knows, I have so many, I've lost count), she doesn't bother leaving the Hammock.
She accepts my assurance that I'm okay, safe in the knowledge that my life insurance is fully paid up. Besides, the dogs were watching, and I'm sure If I had been unconscious they would have at least licked my face, and Mrs C would have noticed eventually.

The Good news is immediately after that I got everything working, and properly secured, and it looks great, especially in the dark, it really brightened up our driveway and property. And I lived to tell the tale! Which is good, after I ended up spending $650 bucks for a new set of dress clothes. It sure would have sucked if the only time I wore them was to be viewed at a wake. Though I would have looked good, for a dead guy.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Men's Warehouse - The True Story

Chris, having dropped so much weight, is having trouble letting go of some of his coins in order to purchase clothes to fit his newly refined frame.

Reluctantly, Chris agreed to purchase a new suit (or some facsimile of a suit) so that we could attend a family wedding dressed up as a couple. Three days of begging, and some pleading later, he agreed to go to Men's Warehouse.

I thank heaven for the other Chris that night, the sales person from Men's Warehouse. He calmly and patiently had Chris try on "four" jackets in order to find the best fit for my fit husband! Pun intended. Husband Chris is broad across his back, and requires a larger jacket than pants, so a suit was a little more out of the picture.

Salesman Chris measured Husband Chris' waist (not the jean line, but the real waist) and had him try on a matching pair of dress slacks.

And, I must tell you, Husband Chris preened a bit in the mirror at his new profile so wonderfully dressed! And, to be honest, he looked 'hot'.

Husband Chris then had the tailor doing all the marking on the pants (secretly - that part he did not like all to much) with the chalk.

So, quite a bit of coin later, we walked out the door, with the ticket to come pick up the new clothes later in the week.

A day or two later Chris (or a creature appearing to be Chris) came into the TV room and said, "Do you think I could get a new pair of the dress shoes at Men's Warehouse for under $100?" I wonder what that strange man did with my husband, because, certainly this was a pod person before me, asking about new shoes, and thinking about spending more coin. Was the real Chris stuffed in the trunk of the car?

Saturday we picked up the new clothes, and salesman Chris did a great job of selling Husband Chris the most expensive shoes on the rack, telling him they would go with everything but black, and how appropriate they were for the jacket and pants. Oh, but he did manage to sell us a lesser cost belt to match the shoes.

And for all you readers of the Casey Blog - I did push the matching socks issue with Husband Chris, but seriously, after over $500 for new clothes, the white socks really would have ruined the whole picture.

My dress for the wedding, with a sale, and two coupons - cost a grand total of $17. And I already had shoes to match.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Buca, Buca Di Beppo!

Take the old Barry Manilow song, "Copa, Copa Cabana!" and you will get the feel for this post, a tale of two restaurant experiences, not a tiny ship that was lost... but I digress.

Monday night about 5 PM I visited the Mens Wearhouse on Grape Street and was fitted for a new suit. To celebrate this once every twelve years phenomenon, I took the lovely Mrs C to a restaurant that she loves, known on other notorious blogs as "Dead Mobster". My Brother always referred to it as "Dead Lobster" and that's a whole another story on another day.
"Dead Lobster" as it is called by my family, is a place the old love and the young dread. It was a regular nightmare for my siblings and I.
"Where do you think Mom and Dad want to go out to dinner for their (Insert any occasion here)?
"Where do you think?"

I was the peacemaker in our family. After they could no longer drive, and I became their chauffeur, I brokered a happy compromise for all at, "Olive Garden."

Any way, back on topic, I drop Mrs C at the Dead Lobster door and score a parking spot next to the overhead canopy. Sweet! This may not be so bad after all!
Mrs C was back out before I was out of the car, announcing a wait of 15 to 20 minutes. Okay, that was expected. So we take a seat on a bench in the sun.....45 minutes later..... "table for annoyed customers? table for two for annoyed customers?!"
We trudge in, only to have them attempt to seat us next to the "we don't care if we get lung cancer" section. "We're going all no smoking soon" the hostess assured us. Mrs C was having none of it. She suffers from asthma, and I was about to speak up, when she did. we held out for the next available table, in another, not so smoky room.

For our impertinence, we were duly punished, banished to the booth between assigned waitresses, where we waited more than 20 minutes, just to get acknowledged.
When we finally did get a waiter, he took our order, then proceeded to bring drinks, biscuits, and food to tables that were seated AFTER US.

Once again, I wasn't feeling any love at Dead Lobster. When I finally got my cup of clam chowder, he told us they were temporarily out of biscuits. The tables around us were getting them, but not us. When we finally did get some biscuits, after begging and pleading, they had been torn in half to make it look like we had four, when we really only had two.
I thought Mrs C had ordered Lobster, but she informs me she had a serving of crab.
I was feeling pretty crabby about our experience there, but she enjoyed her Crab very much, and a happy Mrs C is what matters most. As far as I'm concerned, whenever I visit Dead Lobster, it always seems to be ignore the bald guy night, along with "no biscuits for you" and "you really don't want a refill of your soda, do you?" day.

Now Jump in the Time machine, speed away after that restaurant nightmare, and go forward to Saturday at 1 PM. Before returning to the Mens Wearhouse to pick up my new threads, Mrs C suggest lunch at Buca Di Beppo!

Mrs C is a wise woman, I tell ya. Talk about good service! And they custom made our Gnocchi for us, no red sauce, just oil and Garlic butter. Try dipping the garlic cheeses bread in that, kiddies. Oh Yeah!
We also had a small (3 servings) order of their Chicken Lemon, and we shared a bowl of their Italian wedding Soup.
People, you have got to try the Italian Wedding Soup, the taste is spectacular!
I can't have heavy foods, and this stuff was perfect. A great meal, with great service, and we were in and out of there in 45 minutes. We were seated in the Frank Sinatra room, and they had a big family party filling up their Pope Room, so I sort of expected a delay, but that didn't happen.

Two dinners, two completely different experiences.

Okay, now here is a very important announcement:
Mrs C has made it known that she would like the opportunity to offer alternative views to some of my posts, and in the interest of continued domestic tranquility, I have enabled this blog to allow her to post her own point of view. Please respect her as you should me.

In my next post, I'm going to detail my adventures with electricity and installing new outdoor light fixtures/lamps on the garage. (And yes, I was short one cap screw) You know it's bad when your cross the street neighbors yells over asking "Are you alright?" and your wife stays in her hammock while you reply, while laying on the ground, "Uh yeah, I'm fine!"
If I'd needed help, she'd have given it to me. I haven't been to the ER since February, and that was only 4 stitches. I'm sure if I'd have really been hurt the dogs would have told her.