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So The Wife and I spent much of the day cleaning out the cave below our apartment, preparing to take untold treasures to Columbus next weekend for the garage sale my parents are hosting. This is a chore we’ve put off for years, partly because the basement is a dark, scary place … and partly because it’s a complete clusterfuck … stuff stacked everywhere.

Digging through boxes we haven’t seen in years is always an interesting experience. We had a general idea of what was down there, but some of the specific things had escaped our memories. So, among the coolers, old golf clubs, camping gear and mountains of Christmas shit, we found:

  • A beer tap, one of the heavy-duty ones you get from the distributor when you bring home kegs for a party. Probably stolen from a party in Athens.
  • A stack of my now 22-year-old senior pictures. If you want, I’ll sign one and send it to you.
  • Three sets of drum sticks and a practice pad. My career as a band geek was short — I think just the first two years at Hastings Junior High — but I remember putting a lot of time in with that pad. Probably would have been more productive than the football career I gave it up for.
  • Three copies of Tom Robbins’ Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas. I mean, I liked the book, but three freaking copies?
  • Many of the Vonnegut books I had been meaning to dig out anyway. Breakfast of Champions. Cat’s Cradle. Player Piano. Wow.
  • A stack of letters from the high-school girlfriend. The Wife was significantly less amused by this discovery than I was.
  • Miles and miles of coaxial cable. From, uh, borrowing cable service from the house in front of the West State Street efficiency in Athens.
  • The only remnants of my Wisconsin fishing days: a cigar box filled with about a dozen lures, including a Rapala minnow still in its box, a couple Little Cleo spoons, a few spinners and my one and only Johnson Silver Minnow. I looked at these things and thought, “Damn — I should go fishing again.” And then I remembered the hours Dr. History and I lost, suffering under the delusion that there were actually fish in those fucking lakes…
  • The copy of Archie: The Archie Griffin Story, signed by Arch and given to me for what was probably my 10th birthday. That one will not be going back to the basement.
  • Every single goddamn souvenir cup I’ve kept from every single Ohio State, Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns game I’ve attended in the last 20 years. Seriously, there were hundreds of them.

Most of that stuff won’t be making the trip to Columbus, but we found a lot of neat shit that will. So if you have a couple extra bucks, stop by Mom and Dad’s house on Saturday and buy a piece of Uncle Crappy’s past.


You’ll notice a new entry in the “other people’s stuff” list over there on the right. HP just turned me on to Life in Alaska today, and I’ve spent much of the evening going through the site. It’s excellent, and you should check it out when you’re done here.

There are some obvious differences between John’s life, in Fairbanks, and that of Uncle Crappy in Pittsburgh. For instance, I have yet to spot a moose wandering around in my yard, and I’m not sure what the squirrels would do with that kind of visitor.

But John’s most recent post did strike me, because of his interactions with his wife (he calls her The Mrs. — love it!). They were tag-teaming a pile of logs, cutting them down to the size that would fit in their stove and stacking them near their home. Once John’s chainsaw ran out of gas, he turned to help The Mrs. with the stacking part, only to be told he was stacking the wood incorrectly.

Hm. This is familiar.

Honestly, I can say I don’t have many gripes with The Wife, and none of any real consequence. But there is this one thing that’s been a point of contention for as long as we’ve known each other: Apparently, I do the dishes incorrectly.

Here’s my general approach. All the silverware goes in the sink, which I slowly start to fill with hot, soapy water. While it fills — and while the silverware soaks — I wash any glasses and coffee mugs that are waiting and I use the still-running water to rinse. Generally by the time the sink is full, I’ve finished the glasses, so I turn off the water and use it to wash plates, bowls and other stuff we put food on. Then you drain the sink, rinsing the plates. Wash the silverware and cooking tools and then finish up with the pots.

Summary: It’s all washed in hot, soap-filled water. Rinsed in more hot water. Set in the rack to dry. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Right?

No. From what I understand, there’s a problem with the initial running of the water, even though it’s filling the sink and will be used to wash other things. And some other stuff. It’s a little baffling to me, because I watch her do the dishes, and we seem to have the same general plan: hot water plus soap, scrub, rinse, repeat. And while I have adjusted the order in which things are washed — I never used to do the glasses first, which I guess is bad — I still get troubled scowls when she wanders into the kitchen while I’m standing in front of the sink.

She also says I’m a nancy-boy because I wear gloves. This is a genetic issue. I happened to be born into a family whose members have nerve endings in our fingers; she was not.

At least I don’t get the “Mom” voice. Although it strikes me now that I’m not sure I would know what The Wife’s “Mom” voice would sound like. Hm.

I think we’ve both made reasonable adaptations to each other’s habits and wishes in the 13 years we’ve been together. In this case, though, our differences seem to be insurmountable. Not that washing dishes is a deal-breaker, but it is contrary to John’s conclusion: “If The Mrs. ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” I prefer to see this in the light of Father of Uncle Crappy’s advice on marriage: “If you say ‘Yes, dear’ more than ‘No, dear,’ you’re probably going to be fine.”

And I do. Just not about the damn dishes.

baby count.

Wow. Nearly everyone I know is having babies. Here’s the recent list:

  • One of The Wife’s co-workers.
  • Our friends in St. Louis.
  • A friend we haven’t talked to in forever in D.C.
  • Another of The Wife’s co-workers.
  • Our friends in Minneapolis, just a couple days ago — especially cool because they apparently named their son after our cat.
  • Coming up next is our friends in Cincinnati, followed by the wife of one of my co-workers and another one of my co-workers later this year. And let’s add Kristi to the list, as she announced her second pregnancy to the world a couple days ago.

I’m thrilled for everyone, and grateful that all the new children seem to be in capable hands.

When will Uncle Crappy and The Wife start having babies? Hm. We should probably figure out taking care of the cat before we start on actual human beings.

ready. go.

Sorry. Getting caught up with work, dealing with hangovers, taking care of business, just being lazy. Cooking. Eating. Rocking. Rolling. Zigging. Zagging. Sleeping. Waking. Baking.

And now I’m back.

While Uncle Crappy was away:

* Winter ended. That’s been part of my alarming lack of focus since I last posted. No more college football, and no skiing to take its place. College basketball just isn’t picking up the slack, and the Penguins and Blue Jackets both suck. Pray for snow. Soon.

* I’ve been delving deeper into the soundtracks of the Warren Miller films I own — and some I don’t — via iTunes. Pretty cool stuff. But it doesn’t make the skiing jones any easier to deal with.

* Did I mention college football? We’ve already discussed the Fiesta Bowl, of course. Sugar Bowl? Happy that WVU won, especially since The Coochie Doctor’s new husband has been so supportive of our cause, and he deserves a BCS win for his boys. Orange Bowl? Happy with the outcome, but just an ugly freaking game. And I couldn’t help but think Ohio State would have kicked the shit out of Penn State if we had played in January. Rose Bowl? Wow. Vince Young? He’s good, and coming out to the NFL now is the right decision for him.

* Some of you are aware of the Groundhog thing. Info is coming soon. I promise. Keep the first weekend in February open. Spread the word.

* Remember my mention of the kick-ass chef’s knife I got for Christmas? I finally put it to use yesterday, while I prepped to make a Thai stir-fry kind of thing for dinner. The recipe wasn’t as good as I had hoped, but using a knife that feels that good in your hand is pure pleasure.

* Really. I meant it about the knife.

* I just got the XM Radio unit I got The Wife for Christmas up and running. I’ll never be without satellite radio again, boys and girls. If you haven’t tried it for yourself, Uncle Crappy gives it his highest recommendation.

* Work? Getting caught up. Dead bodies. Municipal-level bickering. Pretty much the same as it was last year.

* My picks in this year’s office Dead Pool: Ariel Sharon, Lady Bird Johnson, Patrica Kennedy Lawford, Ronnie Biggs and Karl Malden. Wish me luck.

* Via several friends, we’re about to be overrun by new babies. Uncle Crappy is available for light playing, babytalk and singing the occasional Grateful Dead song. But don’t look for me to change any diapers. It just ain’t happening.

* This year? There’s changes coming. I’m cautiously optimistic.

OK. We’re ready to go.


Sorry. I’ve been working, shopping, eating, mailing, drinking, driving, mailing, drinking, baking (yes…), watching, decorating, shopping, drinking, working, eating, wrapping and shopping.

Whew. I need a beer.


Lemme tell you about how cool The Wife is.

My birthday is tomorrow. I didn’t have anything special planned — except for what promised to be an exceptional dinner in Pittsburgh — but I went ahead and scheduled a day off anyway.

And then I got sick.

So instead of doing something fun for my birthday, I’m going to be lying on the fucking couch and watching The Price is Right.

Whoo. Hoo.

I’ve been pretty irritated about this today, on top of feeling just generally shitty. Until I got home.

The Wife had a city council meeting to cover tonight, but she left me this display on the coffee table. In case you can’t read the notes, this is my “Sick on my Birthday” prize package. From left to right:

  • Box of chocolate-caramel Pop-Tarts.
  • Bottle of port.
  • Three cans of chicken noodle soup. Double noodle, no less.
  • A bottle of Knob Creek bourbon. Yum.
  • The latest Rolling Stone: My “Sick on my Birthday” entertainment.

She’s still at her meeting, and I’m cooking one of the cans of soup as we speak. In a few minutes, I’l be sitting on the couch, eating my soup, leafing through the magazine and keeping an eye on the baseball game.

To The Wife: You’re the best.