closing time

P1010331I don’t know that anyone ever really owns anything.

That’s probably a weird thing to think when we’re getting ready to go sign papers in a lawyer’s office that say that we legally “own” this piece of property.

It will give us the right to mow….and pay the taxes.

It will give us the right to drill a well…and build…repair…explore.

I guess that we’ll own this chunk of land after this afternoon comes and goes.

That’s pretty amazing.

“Owning”….what a concept.

I guess that it will be good to have that piece of paper when the Indians come to set up their tipis.

Owning is the white man’s way….I’ll need something concrete to show them that will help shoo them away….like a piece of white man’s paper.

I guess that what I’m thinking….before I have my first sip of coffee at 5:25….is that this is the time to put the pedal to the metal….drag the cart before the horse….make him drink.

This is the moment when legends are made.

Of course, I may calm down and change my mind about the drama after I get some coffee in me.

I may decide that it’s only the time to change the string in the weedeater.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be so dramatic?

After a long time….maybe a couple of months (?)….maybe a bunch of months….we’re going to sign the papers this morning…hand over a big check….and own this piece of property.

This dream goes from an abstract “what I might do IF…” to “what do I do now?”

(I know what to do…I don’t want to scare Jenny. I need to stand up on my hind legs and BE A MAN!! That’s what I need to do…be a man….with a hammer in his hand. EASY. )

I watch the home shows and I see these young couples say, “It does need a lot of work….hmmmmmm” and then I see them stripping some wallpaper or painting the kitchen….and then I remember that I need to rewire and plumb….sheetrock….rebuild a porch….drill a well….put in a septic system.

Those guys are a bunch of freaking whiners.

I’ll show you some crazy work, you whiners!


What was I saying?

I guess I shouldn’t write out everything that needs to be done. Writing it all out and filling up some paper with every task I need to do is kind of daunting.

One day at a time….one day at a time.

“Commit”….and then celebrate the 20 year anniversary somewhere a little ways down the line.

Don’t build the whole house the day you sign the papers….that’s crazy.

I need to just get into that overgrown homestead and distract myself for about week with a roaring chainsaw.

I need to cut down some little trees.

That should be a welcome distraction for  a little while.

This is really happening, isn’t it?

I need to start running again….but running towards….not “away”.

“Closing Time” Tom Waits

windless kite


I woke up early again this morning.

I don’t mean like 15 minutes early….I mean hours early.

I don’t really know why that is….I guess that maybe I have a worm in mind that I need to get somehow….or something.

I don’t know.

I think that “I don’t know” is my mantra, sometimes.

Jenny was awake when I woke up….and before I got up to start my day, she mentioned that she couldn’t sleep because she was thinking about what we were doing buying this land that we’re closing on tomorrow.

“What we were doing….”

She said that she’d seen all these pictures of houses that were far away from here….affordable…grand….adventurous.

And here we are….buying more property in the same school district.

She wasn’t distraught…just hot with the fan turned off….and aware of how much there is “out there”.

There is a lot to be said for “out there”.

I’ve been absorbed in thinking about “out there” and “somewhere else” for most of my post-adolescent life.

Thank you, Jack Kerouac.


Every single place that I landed, I found myself occasionally thinking that there has to be someplace better “out there”….some town or land or sunset….some high mountain peak or beach or house or school….or even a better restaurant than the one where I just placed my order.

Most of the angst was fleeting.

I’m a satisfied man, usually.

But it came again and again.

I was thinking about that after Jenny mentioned the places overseas where we could buy an interesting property.

There is always “someplace else”, I guess.

I realized that there was always something that was a constant in my longing.

There was always something that I couldn’t escape….no matter where I went.

It was me….dragging my windless kite and complaining that it wasn’t flying.

To quote Loudon Wainwright III …. “I’m the one….the dirty bum…I’m the one to blame…”

I’m the one to blame.

I can’t be happy no matter what I’m given.

I’m trying to learn to be, though….

Maybe that’s what the “apple” did for us….clued us in that there was “someplace else” out there….some reason to be dissatisfied.

So now I blame Kerouac….and the apple.

Dang both of them.

No matter where I go…there I am.

Just another collection of molecules….vibrating in a different chunk of air….imagining that I deserve anything…imagining that, if I just marshal my will and push through, that I can find Shangri-la underneath a pile of kudzu somewhere.

Maybe not underneath a pile of kudzu….that took all the romance out of the thought of finding Shangri-la….out of finding some weird Southern Nirvana…..or Western….or Slovakian, even….Scandinavian? The list goes…..


It’s me….I’m the problem. It’s not the place I’m in…it’s the one in the place.

This land is what we’re doing now.

It’s where we are right now.

There’s nothing wrong with a little satisfaction every now and then.

I should know that by now.

“Acres of Diamonds” Loudon Wainwright III

a parent’s broken record

I think that I could probably write every blog post about sleep.

When I wake up in the morning….after the occasional adventure that the night before repeated….all I can think about is sleep.

That’s a weird conundrum.

I wake up really early now (old people do that…..why am I doing that now?) and I think about sleep.

That’s weird.

If I’m so tired, why don’t I sleep in?

Talking about sleep all the time is a boring, broken record.

That’s an interesting thought…..”a boring, broken record”.  I’ll bet there are people in the world who have no idea what that phrase “broken record” might mean.

I don’t know if telling them that it’s sort of like when a file is “corrupted”….it just won’t play right.

I guess that it really means that it’s going to keep repeating itself…so “corrupted” doesn’t mean much. That really doesn’t make much sense.

It’s going to keep on repeating itself ad nauseam.

The record skips…and keeps playing the same thing over and over….bip…bip….bip…bip….bip…bip….bip…bip…bip….bip…bip….bip….bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip….bip…bip….bip…bip…bip…bip…bip….bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip..bip…bip…bip….bip…bip…bip….bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip….bip..bip…bip….bip…bip…bip…bip….bip….bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip…bip..etc. You get the idea.

Over and over….until you’re sick of hearing it and get up to lift the needle off the scratched part of the vinyl.

Now that I think about it a little, I think that I have this sleep thing figured out.

It’s these little kids who can sleep in their car seat who are keeping me up.

Especially that new little one.

The really little one is keeping me up sometimes.

Jenny does the lion’s share of taking care of Sparrow at night.

My job is mostly to open my eyes and wonder what’s happening.

So…I’m not as tired….but I’m still tired.

Did you ever see that movie “The Omega Man”? I think that Charlton Heston was in it.

He was the last man on Earth….except for the zombies….and all the zombies were trying to get him.

That’s not what being a new father again at 54 is like.

I don’t know why I mentioned that.

Being a father has nothing to do with zombies.

Maybe I was thinking that it’s nuts to think that I’m the only one going through this.

I’m not the only one.

Later, in India, there will be a man who is awakened by a little baby.

I think that China may have one tomorrow night, too.

And these men will probably feel kind of isolated in their own weariness, too.

There is no club or union for tired fathers….I don’t think the tired mothers of the world would allow it.

If there was, the motto would have to be, “What am I complaining about? You should see my wife…now that’s a tired person. I have no reason to complain.”

Nah….that’s a crummy motto.

I guess that I’m not overwhelmingly sleepy.

I’m just sleepy enough that my head is fuzzy in my brain.

I really can’t blame that on anyone else, either.

I made my bed….and now I can’t sleep in it.

I blame it on that little baby.

That little baby wakes me up.

I do loves me that little baby, though.

That’s why God made those little babies so cute.

“His Eye is on The Sparrow” Kimberly Penner


This is a video of a cabin and a bunch of outbuildings being constructed up in Alaska.

That’s the boring way to describe the operation.

Here’s the way the person who posted the video described it on YouTube:

Building a remote cabin in Alaska. The man in the wool cap on the atv was going to build a cabin on this land, his land. 2 weeks after he bought the land, he was paralyzed, in 1980. 20 years later, his sons built the cabin for him. He was helicoptered in to see it in 2005. That man is my father.

These guys went back to complete something.

They didn’t go back to rebuild the cabin that their father built in the 1970′s.

That cabin is 10 miles away from the site of these cabins…and is falling into disrepair.

You can see that cabin towards the end of this video.

They went back to build a new cabin in honor of their father’s dream.

At the time of the video posting, the son who made the video is his father’s caregiver.

I guess that a good story leaves you wanting to know more.

I’d like to know more about this experience that these guys had up in Alaska helping their father continue a dream that he started in the 1970′s.

I have a soft spot for families who take care of each other.

I know how hard that is from what I’ve been witness to in my own family.

You combine that caring with a bunch of folks building a cabin way out in Alaska….and you’ve got my vote for a video that I’m going to appreciate and enjoy.

There is something to be said for “finishing”, too.

I don’t know who “Jeff Suthy” is….but thank you for posting this video on YouTube.

I enjoyed it.

we still got the point….no matter how low-def

Do you remember watching movies in school?

The AV club (the guys….or, more rarely, girls….who knew how to run the complicated movie projector) would come in and set things up for us….and then with a flick of the light switch, and after turning the movie projector on….we were off into the world of entertainment.

In retrospect, I know that movie time was just a time that the teacher could take a break.

But, I think that we felt like we were getting away with something when we could sit and watch a movie.

That was a pretty low-tech experience.

The sound….the picture….the delivery of the sound and picture….the big reels of film….everything about watching a movie at school was low-tech.

There wasn’t any HDMI or flat screen TV….just the whirring of the machine and the reels of film going round and round.

We weren’t conscious of the quality of this experience….except if the film broke or got jammed.

I think that we just liked sitting in the dark for a while….watching time lapse flowers grow before our eyes.

It wasn’t a “better” experience…just a really different kind of experience.

That’s what you call “premature codgerism”…when you wax rhapsodic over the merits of crummy old movie projectors….or get nostalgic for anything that’s changed for the better.

I guess that the more that I understand that there’s something “better” out there ….the more chance I have to get dissatisfied with what I have.

That’s what they call marketing, I guess.

There’s always going to be a clearer picture.

There’s always going to be more realistic sound.

But I really did enjoy watching some old (even at the time, the movies all seemed to be old…) movie with my friends at school.

No matter that it was not very technologically advanced….that was a high time to escape the normal school experience.

We all got the point…no matter how low-tech it all was.



It’s lightly raining here.

I wonder how much of the gravel I used to fill in the driveway ruts will still be on the road when I drive down it?

It doesn’t take much to make it go away sometimes.

“Flood” is a wack hype title.

It’s not going to flood….it’s just going to “moist”.

Sometimes I get excited and build the mountain when it’s just a bunch of moles screwing around….sometimes I build a puddle into a flood.

Speaking of flood….I watched some of that “Noah” movie online a while back.

That was pretty darn weird.

It’s always a little strange when Hollywood brings some of the Bible to the big screen.

I don’t think that Hollywood does “Bible” very well.

Now, if you are going to turn the story of Noah into some grand science fiction epic, you’ve come to the right place to get that job done.

Giant rock creature angels….fallen to earth….roaming around….fortuitously available when Noah starts to do the really heavy lifting ark work….that wasn’t really very Biblical.

I don’t remember that angels/aliens connection.

But…that was lucky to have those Transformers Rock Angels around.

I don’t know how a dude and his family could build a big boat without them.

That was a pretty wacky twist that I didn’t see coming.

I felt that the filmmakers took some liberties with that part of the Biblical story.

I don’t remember the rock creature alien angels in the original story of Noah.

The online version that I watched was filmed in Russia and it was kind of hazy so I probably missed a fair amount of the more subtle parts of the movie.

I did see some folks get up to get a popcorn refill….but that was the only part that was well filmed.

It’s funny how much attention the Christian community sent “Noah” ‘s way when the movie came out.

It wasn’t really worth the attention.

No matter how many liberties the producers take with the original story….the movie wasn’t worth getting upset over.

My mother used to say, “Just ignore them” when I had issues with people….or people had issues with me, more likely.

In retrospect, that was horrible advice.

I probably would have been more satisfied ….long term…if I’d tried to smash some faces when things got really confrontational.

“Just ignore them”…..? Pshawwwwww.

Would Dirty Harry “just ignore them”? I think not.

Clint Eastwood might….but not Dirty Harry.

He’d smash them in the face….or shoot them with a big gun.

He wouldn’t ignore them.

I got off track a little…sorry.

It’s hard to stay on track when you think about people who should have gotten a face smashing.

This Noah thing….wasn’t worth paying attention to.

It was a wacky movie….a science fiction movie with a main character based on a Biblical character.

I can’t wait for “Judas Armageddon” to come out in the Fall.

That should be pretty darn wacky cool.

“The Rain Song” Led Zepellin

mo’ money? mo’money?!


OK….check this out.

When you borrow a big chunk of money from the bank, they charge you money to borrow the money.

That makes sense.

What’s in it for them, otherwise?

There’s got to be an angle, right?

But….here’s the amazing part.


I’m only kidding, of course.

Not about them charging a bunch of money to charge a bunch of money.

That part is real….no fooling.

I’m kidding about being such a rube that it caught me off-guard when I needed more money to complete.

I’m not a RUBE…it’s just a part that I play sometimes when I’m fooling around.

I know about closing costs.

I’ve heard all about that.

If I still had any money, I’d find some good folks who needed it and get a lawyer to help me figure out how to loan it to them and charge them money to get it from me…..and still have some kind of assurance that I’d get it back.

It’s the “assurance” part that’s hard to figure out.

That’s my new “money-making scheme”.

I think that I could really clean up if I had a bunch of money to spread around….for a fee.

Forget working, man, I just need a bunch of money that I could give people in exchange for more money.

Awwww, what the heck. Money is boring, anyway.

You should see the size of the hickory tree that is next to the driveway on this new property.

It’s freaking huge.

That’s a lot more interesting than money.

But money…all these numbers, this pile of filthy lucre….what are we all so conscious of it for?

I waited at the library to sign the papers to borrow the money to buy this place….and while I was there, I went to look at the books about money.

There was a whole shelf full of books about money.

I live in a town where a lot of the people who live here have a lot of money.

Mucho dinero….big time.

It looks like a lot of what they think about is how to keep all the money that they have.

Some of the books were about making a lot of money….I’m going to have to check a couple of them out….I’d like to make a bunch of money….but most of them were about how to tighten your grasp and keep what you have.

“Keep what you have”…and make it grow bigger and bigger and bigger.

Make that pile o’ money MO HUGEAH!! MO BETTAH!!!

High finance….and there’s not a bit of it that comes with me when I go.

Better to have a grassy field to run through than a bunch of numbers on a balance sheet to look at.

I’d rather the sun hit my cheek than another buck hit my bank account.

Nah…that’s BS. I’d rather sit in a darkened room, my thin skin growing more and more yellow under the fluorescent light, wearing one of those little green hats that people who count money wear….I’d rather sit and stare at the paper and count my blessings as the numbers slowly and steadily ACCRUE …something.

Nah….I’ll take the sun. I can remember the sun….I can’t remember all those numbers.

“Money Changes Everything” Cyndi Lauper


In My Head


If I’m running, and I haven’t for a while, not since I got busy and it was cold…and there was that morning that it was raining, and I wondered if I was too old….and then some joint somewhere on my body started to “twinge” a little….and my belly is getting bigger….I really should start running again…start in slow, maybe, and then build up a little each day until I’m really pumping out the mileage again…two, three, maybe even five miles at a time…but I don’t right now….run, that is….

maybe later.

Anyway…if I’m running, I think about running just like Frank Shorter.

I’m old school….what can I say?

Somebody good. I imagine…in my head….that I’m somebody really good and really fast…with a lot of endurance and dedication.

It’s an infrequent but fun game.

It’s like a kid imagining a great hitter….like Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa….when he’s shooting up with the “juice” in the morning before going to Little League practice in the afternoon.

You’ve got to have real heroes.

Now, I don’t sing anymore.

Something broke in my throat…so it hurts to sing.

Nodules maybe….or maybe I tore a vocal cord or something…but something is different and I don’t sing.

In my head, though….in my head, I sound just like this guy….

“A Song For You” Donny Hathaway

Imagine a little Norwegian man singing like that!

I do.

Funny how that goes.

It’s not a matter of wanting to be something that I’m not….it’s just knowing that something good is worth enjoying….and maybe emulating…at least with the voice that I hear in my head.

(That last part is something that nobody should ever admit…or commit to paper….the “voice in my head” part. That is probably something you shouldn’t mention on a résumé….)

Anyway….Donny Hathaway….good grief, what a voice.

The guy was so good.

I’m going to sign the papers on the land loan this evening.

That’s something real.

And imagining that I’m Donald Trump isn’t going to make me feel any more confident or able.

I’m still a “little Norwegian man”….loose on the world with shallow pockets and a pen in his hand….and, thankfully, a chainsaw and a weedeater in the shed.

That place is a real rough “diamond in the rough”.

It takes a lot of time to get to the scary parts sometimes.

You’ve got to go through some heavy legal stuff before they leave you alone with the problems… and victories… you’ve made for yourself.

It’s all pretty exciting.

It’s a giant new project.

That’s a part of being an adult that might get easier with practice…the “going out on a limb” part.

I guess that if I did it a lot, I’d look back at the main trunk….and look down at the ground so far below….and think, “Piece of cake…I’ve been here before!”

Maybe it’s “time to go” when we really get used to any of the hard parts.

If that’s the case, I’ll take the scary parts for a while.

I can wait a little while to know it all.

feeding the dragon

redneck mudder

If you tear off into the night, with your unmufflered truck roaring in the blackness, Confederate flag stretched out tight behind you in the wind you’re making with your new velocity, and you have Lynyrd Skynyrd blasting out of your cheap speakers as you move through the Southern Darkness….you’ve picked music that suits the mood of the moment.

Skynyrd is perfect for a rebel yell fueled redneck holiday.

Now, if you are going to dance around at a Jewish wedding and throw down glasses as part of the ceremony, a more traditional song might suit the mood better.

Maybe a song like “Hava Nagila”?

In that kind of situation, it makes a lot more sense than “Give Me Three Steps”.

But what kind of celebration are you having if you listen to something like this?

“Irish Lace” Eric Andersen

What kind of a party are you having if you listen to music like that?

Pour another cup of tea in a dimly lit room, stare out at the rain coming down, give a hearty rebel yell….and listen to some more sad music.


Music is medicine….and I listen to the musical equivalent of Prozac.

Maybe that’s how they should market the Windham Hill stuff? “The musical equivalent of Prozac”….Ambien?

I don’t know….I’m just typing away, and….I don’t know.

It’s funny how I can dial back a boisterous mood with my musical choices.

I can move myself back into melancholy land pretty fast if I pick some music that supports my mood.

And I always seem to be able to find some kind of heartfelt ballad about love lost or something along those lines to make it all wrong again.

Tragedy….melancholy…who wouldn’t get a kick out of that?

Here’s a song…an old song, now….by Donna Summer and Matthew Ward…that has a line in it that I really liked…

“Love Has a Mind of Its Own” Donna Summer

“….passion wasn’t pain..”

All these choices that I make….from the music I pick on down….support my moods.

There’s nothing even close to rocket science in an observation like that.

I wonder why I gravitate to the sad?

let the rooster crow….

Let the rooster crow….I can’t hear a word he’s saying.

Dang oversleep stuff.

It’s not the oversleep….it’s the undersleep in the middle of the night that causes the problem.

Sparrow has a fever….so Jenny was up a lot in the night trying to help her feel better….and I was up some trying to help her….help her.

So, I think that I got more sleep than Jenny got.

I got more….but I didn’t get enough.

The oversleep is just a condition of the undersleep.

Call me Sherlock…I’ve got it figured out.

It’s pretty nerve-wracking when your children aren’t feeling well….especially the little pre-verbal ones.

I hope Sparrow feels better this morning….

It’s hard to tell what’s going on when they get feverish like that.

I took my Father-in-Law up to the land we’re in the process of buying yesterday… and it was still there.

Sometimes I feel like just staying the course and avoiding even looking at the limb I’m going to be climbing out on soon.

It’s so easy to have a little bit of extra money.

That’s something that we were just, uncharacteristically, getting used to.

You don’t have to think very fast on your feet when you have some money to make some of the problems go away.

It’s easy as pie to make that happen when you can buy your way out of a problem.

And now, I’m going to give all our money away so we can buy a chunk of dirt and a little bit of a big pond.

What am I thinking?

Don’t take chances!! Save your pennies!!

What the heck….just go for it.

The worst that can happen is that I’ll fall down an abandoned well that I didn’t know about.

I could fall down an abandoned well and not have the money to hire a man with a crane to pull me back up from the depths.

What?!! The fire department might get me out for free? It wouldn’t cost me anything to be saved?

What the heck am I worried about?

It’s covered.

I guess that’s what they call “cold feet”.

A “master of high finance”….a “real estate magnate”….that’s me.

I should just read a couple of Donald Trump books and warm up my check writing hand…..and then buy all sorts of crazy rural land.

I’ve got to go slam down some breakfast cereal and then get on to work.

Stupid rooster.


Check out this picture. It looks like we can add 2 more bathrooms if we wanted to in the little house.

It could be a 3 bathroom, 2 bedroom house.

That’s what people are looking for, right?