Thursday, July 30, 2009

Funky just got sad

I have been a reader of Funky Winkerbean for 25 years. Tom Batiuk has created such a diverse cast of characters with so many story lines that a year goes by without any type of repeat. But now he has done something emotionally brutal. Wally Winkerbean is alive.

When the strip jumped 10 years in the future and it was discovered that Becky was married to John, the comic book shop owner, I assumed that Wally was killed in Iraq. But this week a hood was removed from a prisoner and it turned out to be Wally.

Wally went through a POW experience when he was sent to Afghanistan, so this is a bit of a retread. But worse than that, how can Tom do this to John and Becky?

John was prepared to propose to Becky the first time Wally was lost and presumed dead. But didn't the moment he found out that Wally was alive he stepped out of the picture, broken heart and all. In the interim he never loved anyone else. But then when Wally disappeared he was once again the man for Becky. Now his marriage will become null and void, Becky and the kids will be in turmoil, and Wally will have to realize that his wife moved on, again.

This is going to be a couple of tough months, four frames at a time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cave time

I had the house to myself last night for more than three hours. So what did I do? What any red blooded 40 year old American man would do, I played Tiger Woods Wii golf until my back hurt, watched the Rangers beat the Tigers and drank Bacardi.

Also, to add a few points to the husband column, I took the sheets out of the dryer and made the beds, but that was between innings.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The shed

I worked on rebuilding my shed this weekend. It was long overdue and I couldn't I couldn't put it off any longer. I tried to, but I was cornered by my very smart and direct wife.

A couple of weeks ago she told me, while I was drinking my first cup of coffee and totally defenseless, that we received a $50 gift card from our credit card. We had a choice of either Best Buy or Home Depot. Of course I'm thinking Best Buy, I love that place, but Tina told me she picked Home Depot so I could buy some of the materials for the shed. I wasn't given a vote or asked my opinion. She didn't have to tell me Best Buy was an option but Tina is honest to a fault. It also reinforced the fact that I needed to fix the shed.

The project went smoothly enough. I hired a very competent neighborhood kid to help. An 18 year old who has his own power tools is very helpful. Plus he knows how to read a tape measure. We put in about nine hours on the project and the only downside was the possum bones under the floor and my helper smashed his thumb.

I'll put the new door on the shed in a week or two. I'm having a metal frame fabricated for strength and durability purposes. Then Tina will paint. She won't put her end of the project off. One day she will say she is going to paint and two days later the whole thing will be done. She is awesome that way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I would not draw a line in this sand

Yesterday I was driving Amanda to meet with a mobility therapist for lunch at McDonald's. Now, if anyone has any experience with my girl they know Amanda ALWAYS has a cellphone with her. These phones never have a battery in them, but that doesn't keep them from being any less real in her world.

She was having a very important conversation in route to her meeting which went as follows:

"Yes, Yes, Yes, NO!!!!!, Yes, Ok, see you later." Then she hung up.

Amanda had her two hour session with the therapist and went home for the afternoon.

At 2:30 I received a call from Tina. Amanda's therapist still had her phone and was headed back to her house and hour away. We needed to go get that phone. The other dozen phones couldn't substitute, it had to be her latest phone. I was out the door in a flash.

Tina called the therapist who turned around and we met her about 20 minutes outside of town. She understands that this is not spoiling, but survival.

The therapist would have been back in town in just two days, but two days is a long time if you are dealing with a hostile enemy, even if they are small. Just ask the Mexican army at the Alamo. They lost about 4,000 troops in 48 hours.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Red really does mean stop

Nothing about Zombies today but I swear they would be better drivers than what we have in Texarkana. The drivers in this town DO NOT understand the concept of traffic lights. A common misconception to many drivers in the Texarkana area is that a red light is shining for decorative purposes only. On a daily basis I see drivers shoot the intersection 15 or 20 seconds after the fact. Other drivers, like myself have adapted to the rule that the first person off the green light deserves what they get.

Another one is blinking lights. On the new overpass for University BLVD there are blinking yellow lights. For the entrance ramp, blinking red. I use this intersection daily and have watched driver after driver sit at the blinking yellow light and wonder what to do. Now I can understand a lot of their confusion because they probably figure if the fellow drivers in town shoot through a solid red light they will not even consider a pause for a blinking light. But still, red means stop, yellow means caution. Or in this town, yellow means look out and red means, brace yourself.

Then there is backing up. It is a rare sight to see a woman backing an SUV out of parking space without a cell phone to their ear.

And finally, my last gripe on the subject of my local drivers: parking lots. The lines and lanes of parking lots in TXK mean as little to the drivers around here as the red lights that order them to STOP!! So many times I will see a driver just cutting across a parking lot using the shortest distance between me and the front door is a straight line rule. They are cutting across lane after lane like a rocket car on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The only thing I can say about this problem is that I'm glad a driver's license only qualifies the holder to driver a car and not something as complicated as brain surgery, electrical engineering or fruit picking.

Weekly there is a photo of a wreck at an intersection or even just a straight line road because our local drivers do not anything more than look out for themselves, the other 60,000 plus citizens be damned and watch out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Zombies and the suburbs

The proof that I am a 40 year old guy who lives in the suburbs couldn't have been more obvious this weekend.

I skipped the gym on Saturday to get my lawnmower blade sharpened and mowed the yard. I cleaned the pool and perfectly balanced the chemicals so that it looks like 14,000 gallons of bottle spring water, I bought a Blu-ray disk player, and washed my wife's car in the driveway. This evidence cannot defy what I am, but it doesn't provide the who.

The entire time I was mowing I was daydreaming about a novel I just finished, "WORLD WAR Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Wars." The whole time I was thinking of the best way to fight a horde of zombies in my neighborhood and home town. While balancing the pool chemicals I was picturing the pool as a giant martini, as I was washing the car I was thinking about, well I was thinking about the car's driver, and the Blu-ray disk player, I just thought about, "how cool is this, 1 cable instead of 5. Easy hook up."

But back to the zombie day dream. Every now and then I read a book that causes daydreams for weeks. The one that started it all was Stephen King's, "The Stand." There has been about half a dozen that have stuck with me for the past 25 years, but the Stand is the granddaddy of all day dream catalysts. I just wish the movie would have been better, and don't even get me started on "IT." Any movie that has John Ritter and Harry Anderson in it never had a chance.

But I digress.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Days meets Gomer Pyle

A few months ago I was complaining about the weather being too cold and wet. This summer has been hotter and dryer than years past so some people would think that I would be complaining about the heat. But surprise, surprise, surprise, I actually love what I have wished for.

Yes it has been hot, but that is what the pool is for, and the fans, and the AC, and Gatorade, and the light weight clothing, and the sunscreen. I am loving it this year. My lawn has grown well, my golf game is better than ever, Amanda goes to bed without difficulty because she is so warn out. This is what I wanted and I got it. Happy Days.

School starts back in just over 5 weeks which is a bit surprising. Amanda has been great this year. She has been cooperative and playful, sweet and funny. But she is getting ready to go back. She picked out a new back pack this week and that has put her in the mood. So even that is going well. There isn't going to be any effort to make the transition. That is always a tough battle when she wants to be stubborn, but as I just said, she has learned to cooperate. Yep, it's turning out to be a great summer.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Popped the top

Yesterday I had a treat for my little buddy. She went with me to take my car in for an oil change and tire rotation and we got a loaner. I took a Chrysler convertible and we headed back to town. With seven miles to go I exited the interstate and pulled over to pop the top. Amanda started freaking out, "WHERE ROOF?! WHERE ROOF?!" I told her I put it away and now we had a go-kart. Amanda loves go-karts.

The remainder of the drive she had her hands in the air and was screaming like she was on a roller coaster. We made sure to take one more drive in the car before I took it back. I need to get my niece's turbo Sky for about an hour. I think Amanda would like that even more. The Chrysler was pretty gutless but it served the purpose. And that purpose was to make Amanda laugh.