Things I Know

Christmas is great, but it’s even better when there are young children around to enjoy it with.

I’ve bought my wife, Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me), a lot of nice presents over the years, and a few silly ones. I told you about the chocolate turkeys I once got her for Valentine’s Day, but Christmas reminds me of more. Once, I rented a present. I bought a VCR and rented the video tape of a movie she liked. I presented the rented movie wrapped up as a gift. When I bought a new garbage can at Christmas time, I put it next to the tree as a present for her. Of course, I put all of her other presents, nicely wrapped, inside. This year, for Christmas, I got her a new squeegee. She keeps one in the car to wipe dew off the windows when she goes out in the morning, but the one she has is old and grungy. So, I bought her a new one, and because she’s short, I got her one with a longer handle. How do you gift-wrap a squeegee? I don’t know, so I just put a red bow on it and put it under the tree. She laughed and making her laugh was my own present to myself.

By the way, I think the secret to our long, successful marriage is I don’t leave and I don’t let her leave either.

I have to apologize to my daughter. She got me what I asked for this Christmas, a lens hood for a new lens I bought for my camera. Unfortunately, I wrote down the wrong model and it doesn’t fit the right model, so one of us will have to take it back and exchange it for the right one.

I read a few months ago that public schools in lots of states are no longer teaching cursive writing or script as it’s sometimes called. The idea is that very few people use script for writing anymore. I think they’re right. Except for signing my name, I think the last time I wrote in script was last year when I filled out Christmas cards. Hand writing them this year seemed strange, and my handwriting has never won any prizes, but with lack of practice, it is getting worse.

Winter started the other day so it is now appropriate to look forward to both spring and baseball spring training: February 18th is the first day for pitchers and catchers to work out for at least two major league teams, the Twins and the Cardinals. That’s fewer than two months, so let the countdown begin!

The wood inside the walls of my 103-year-old house (lath, beams, rafters, studs, headers, etc.) is so hard that I can’t drive screws into it without pre-drilling them. I’m painting the dining room and before applying the paint, I have to fix the nails that have popped out and repair any cracks too.

I’m kind of out of practice at using Spackle or other wall repair compounds. If I was as good as I used to be, this would be going a lot faster.

When placing doors, windows, molding, etc., you should always leave yourself enough room to get the necessary finishing tools like wallboard knives, and paint brushes next to them to take care of the exposed walls. I already knew that, but I didn’t do that.

For some places, like behind the toilet, the best way to protect what you don’t want to paint is plastic food wrap.

I have a ten-foot-tall holly at one corner of my house. I planted it there when it was a foot tall to become part of my Christmas decorations. I light it like a Christmas tree. I’d post a picture, but I haven’t pruned it in the last couple of years and it’s not very cone-shaped right now. I have a 15-foot-tall holly in my back yard. I found that when it was tiny, growing as a weed under one of the shrubs next to my house. So, if there’s one thing I know how to do, apparently it’s how to grow holly. I guess there’s a future waiting for me as a holly farmer if I choose to pursue it.

I’ve mentioned before that the spelling and grammar checkers in Microsoft Word have no idea how to discern the correct use of the word “its” and the contraction “it’s.” Today, I suggest that Microsoft programmers either get a clue about that or stop trying to make the distinction at all. To be of some help, “it’s” is the possessive form and means belonging to it, while “its” is the plural of it. That was my weak attempt at a joke. I know both of the definitions I just provided are wrong.

Author: Tom

I know my ABC's, I can write my name and I can count to a hundred.