Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Tag

Jealous? You will be…   2 comments


We are getting a new furnace put in this Friday because we used Mr. Magoo as our home inspector and he failed to notice the almost 40 year old furnace in the house was shot and spewing out chemicals like a freshman at his first frat party.  I find it weird I get excited about things like new home appliances now.  I remember as a kid I would look at toys and video games in Christmas catalogues and Sunday newspaper ads and get excited about how cool they looked and how much I wanted them.  I used to rummage through closets and drawers and even crawl around in our attic and crawlspace looking for presents each December.  I used to get so excited when I found the presents that I once opened a bunch of Power Ranger action figures and played with them anytime my parents would leave the house and then re-packed and resealed them in their boxes only to put on one of my best acting performances on Christmas morning. 

Now a heating contractor hands me a flyer with specs for my brand new Rheem 95% Efficiency Upflow Gas Furnace and I shoot right back into kid mode.  In-shot burners with a 24-volt slow-opening valve!?!?  Get outta here, I would totally trade my Shaq rookie card for that!  Integrated Furnace Control WITH Standardized On-Board Diagnostics!?!  I’m not sure, but I think the Millennium Falcon had one of those!

The thing is, I have to talk myself into things like this for a couple of reasons:  First, as an adult, the cool presents are just not as plentiful.  I really like to cook and all, but if I told my 9 year old self that I would one day get excited over a spice rack as a Christmas present I would have probably kicked myself in the nether regions and ran away crying.  Secondly, I have to figure out a way to justify spending that much money on something as unfun as a furnace.  “What are you doing this Saturday night, Joe?”  “Oh, its going to be awesome, I am staying in and saving up for my direct spark ignition furnance!”  That just doesn’t sound quite like going to Sluggers’ piano bar and batting cages, does it?  Finally, I can blame my sleepless nights on the pure excitement of a freshly cleaned air conditioning coil getting thrown in for free instead of my wife waking me up just to let me know the temperature in our house just dipped below 45.

So if anyone is looking for an exhilarating experience, give me a call this Friday night and I will gladly let you come out and tell me how jealous you are of my brand new furnace.  If I get a solid enough head count, I will even make a zesty dinner filled with some, but not all of, the 36 spices neatly organized on the metal and wood rack over my oven.

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The Stephanie Tanner of the Holiday Season   4 comments


There I was, a mere five days out from Halloween, driving through the downtown area of Lockport, IL…surrounded by Christmas lights.  Kids were barely waking up from their sugar-induced comas and already the lights were everywhere – on light poles, around trees, in shop windows – everywhere.  If you threw some business cards for hookers on the ground and Pete Rose at a table signing autographed baseballs, you would think you just pulled up to the Vegas Strip.

Now, I am all for Christmas and the decorating in 15 degree temperatures that drop to -30 with each westwardly exhale of Lake Michigan, but what happened to the old rule of waiting until after Thanksgiving?  It is not just the decorating, either.  I just saw a commercial for ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas”…it starts on November 21st, a full four days before we carve the turkey.  My lovely wife had barely emptied the Halloween candy bowl before asking if we could put our tree up.  It seems each and every year, we collectively put less and less emphasis on the fourth Thursday of November in anticipation of the 25th of December.  Thanksgiving has become the discarded middle child between the flamboyant, sometimes trashy (see this post), costumed Halloween and the radiant, but not twinkling (right, Clark W. Griswald?), Christmas…or Hanukkah for my dreidel spinning friends.

Not to sound too much like Randy Marsh here, but isn’t this America?  Aren’t we the land of excess and “Old Country Buffet”?  How could we let this happen?  Why is it that we have pushed aside the single day of the year where gluttony is not only encouraged but expected?  Me being the “husky” fella (sidenote – I used to have to wear “husky” jeans as a kid because I had what doctors called a bit of a weight problem.  There are few things more embarrassing than going shopping with your step-mother for pants and having her tell the department store woman “husky” for your pants size.  Unless you count the “it seems like there is plenty of room in the crotch” line she dropped 3 minutes later.) that I am I probably taking this harder than most, but I truly think this is a problem of massive pro-portions (pun intended).  We cannot let Thanksgiving become the Stephanie Tanner (the only Tanner daughter without her own Wikipedia page…maybe I can do that for my next post) of holidays as I don’t think turkey goes well with an adult meth problem.  I’m not asking for anything crazy here, maybe a cartoon pilgrim in the window, a hand-traced turkey on the fridge, and a sabbatical from the “Holiday Lite 93.9” until after we throw out the canned cranberry sauce no one touched because it looks like weird Jell-o for old people.  So put away the Sears Christmas Catalogue, grab a slice of pumpkin pie, and pop your belt out one more size…I am sure the extra “padding” will help as us uncoordinated folks fall off the ladder hanging icicle lights from icicles the last weekend of November.