Home Moaner

Metal heads

The kitchen here is modest. The main feature is an old cast iron and porcelain sink resting on an old steel cabinet. The cabinet is covered with many layers of hastily applied paint. We decided to incorporate that theme into the rest of the kitchen and started knocking about flea markets with the intention of...
Measuring up

Measuring up

It is said that when you arrive in heaven, all the socks you have lost in your life will be waiting there for you. I don’t know if that’s true, but if I got to heaven I am pretty sure that all the measuring devices I have lost over time would be waiting for me...

Moving on

1968 was a turbulent year. I am not an historian, nor is this the venue to review the past. I moved some junk this week. In 1968, amid the mayhem and hijinx of the world, voters were given the option of selecting Richard Nixon, Eugene McCarthy or George Wallace. Mainstream, peacenik or racist. Over at...
Hot air

Hot air

“Only in New England can you drive to work in the morning with the heater on and return home later with the air conditioner blasting.” – Random Facebook entry I type this as June is ending. I recall warmer Junes. Summer officially started a week ago, but I was wearing a light jacket last month....

Game of thrones

Everybody does it. No reason to hide a simple human function. It may be one of the last taboos, but I am here to lift the lid on the whole subject: Everyone needs to replace a toilet seat now and then. I am, mercifully, limited by my editor to very few words, although I feel...

Rhymes with “Bird”

Spring is in the air. Actually, spring was in the air. Now a cold wind is blowing across the still tawny lawn, confusing the daffodils and tulips and rustling the brown boxwoods – killed by the murderous winter, just now waning. New England weather, where you turn the heat on in the morning and the...

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...