Home Moaner

Mail strom

Gather round kiddies, Old Uncle Ben is going to regale you with another one of his endless tales of the good old days. Please turn off your cell phones and pagers. When the folks suburbanized in the early 50s, there was a cluster of mailboxes in a mid-intersection island at the bottom of the street....

Possible side effects

As a lapsed real estate agent, I can tell you that nothing lowers the asking price of a house more than the lingering stench of decades of cigarette smoke. Ever book the Marlboro man’s former hotel room? Hey old timers, remember how we could smoke everywhere: rental cars, restaurants, bars, office buildings, hospital rooms, and...
Snow bums

Snow bums

In the 24/7 atmosphere of a hospital, we can’t close down and send everybody home when Mother Nature becomes manic. Snow, rain, lava: we need to be staffed and performing patient care under any and all circumstances. There is a fellow at work who is about my age. As storm “Hercules” headed in our direction...

How to drop a house on a witch

Since 1956, The Wizard of Oz has been shown annually on network television. After watching it for over 20 years, I realized – many years ago – that I didn’t have to watch it every year so I stopped. The network’s decision to edit out parts to fit in more commercials played into my decision,...

Gathering of geniuses

My father first experienced snow in Wisconsin at age 22. He had been brought up there with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship, with his camera and his acute sense of composition. He loved Wisconsin. Frank Lloyd Wright died in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1959. A few weeks before, my father took a photograph of the architect,...

Plumb loco

When you buy someone’s house you buy their karma. When we bought this place, all the old man who owned it left behind was a bottle of off-brand Worcestershire sauce, some Q-tips and a heavy pall of sadness. His unhappiness, with any luck tempered by the chunk of change he had pocketed at the closing,...
The brush off

The brush off

My truck is turning 24 this year. The summer Elvis died, I handed the man $4,778.25 and drove her home. What a fabulous, shining example she was that day, freshly polished and redolent with that “new truck” smell. Today, she sits curbside, looking rakish – a study in iron oxide and smudges – a receptacle...

A Case of Bad Shingles

My neighbor, I’ll call him John Doe (his real name is Red Cawley), is quick to come around and stick his nose into my business. “I’m the unofficial mayor of Rusty Hinge Road,” he proclaims while poking his well-worn thumb over his shoulder at the busy and crumpled thoroughfare. “Ask anyone, they’ll tell you `who...
Little stinker

Little stinker

I seem to vaguely recall a lesson from environmental biology class whereby you could tell the age of a developing forest by the types of trees that were dominant. White birches signaled the beginning, followed by pines, then hardwoods and so on. Could a city be likewise examined using a similar technique? The first tentative...

License bureau

In my wallet I have two identical blue pieces of card stock. Both have the official Connecticut state seal and a signature from somebody important. The first one is my real estate license. With it, I am allowed to participate in property transactions. I may list (through a broker) properties for sale and sell properties...

Holey terror

I bought this cabinet at Homely Goods. It was marked down because the magnet catch on one side wasn’t functioning and the mounting screws were missing. I thought it would jazz up my kitchen wall so I bought it. I had to get some sort of hardware to adhere it to the wall. There is...

Ode to the Hammer

Behold the mighty hand of Thor! Device that handles jobs galore! The merrier the more. Without a hint of glamour. Will drive a spike, Insert a tack Just line it up and take a whack It gives and asks for nothing back Sing Hey! The mighty hammer! The mallet, ball peen and the sledge, For...