fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas By Numbers

Don't look now, but Christmas is practically upon us once again. You know what that means... Getting out all the decorations, knick-knacks, untangling lights, moving furniture, re-arranging spaces and putting the Christmas tree together. It's a process in my household. It began several days ago and will end, well, sometime prior to Christmas itself.

I have a process for everything from loading the dishwasher to putting up tree lights after the holidays. I call it extreme attention to detail. My wife and son call it... Never mind what they call it. However, she has admitted that my tree light system is clean, neat and efficient and makes stringing it on the tree much easier. I've even gone so far as to custom design the insides of three plastic tubs, compartmentalizing them to make for easier ornament putting away, storage and so forth.

One of the biggest challenges came when we switched from real to fake trees for Christmas. It seems my son is allergic to Evergreen trees. My parents gave us a nice one one year, and we used it for several years. About five years ago my wife's mother gave us her old tree which is nearly eight feet tall and as big around as a VW Beetle.

Don't get me wrong, I like the tree. I wouldn't have used it for the past five or six years if I didn't. However, the first Christmas I put the tree up was one to remember. It wasn't the gifts or the music or the great holiday cheer that made it memorable. It was the tree.

My wife decided what day the tree would be put up. Coincidentally, she was out shopping on said day. All day. This phone conversation took place approximately 45 minutes after her departure.

"Hi honey," I said. "Where are the directions on the tree your mom gave us? There are none? Okay... Well, is it color coded or something? Umm... No, I don't see any colors on the branch bases. You're right. How do you know what goes where? Ha ha... (Jokingly)Perhaps I'll just get out my handy-dandy tape measure and measure each branch as I put them on largest to smallest from the bottom to the top."

Half an hour later, I had four branches on one tier and was crawling on the floor measuring out branches with my handy-dandy tape measure. Flash forward past some of the colorful comments I made during the assemblage process and, voila! One 10 hour tree! Please don't ask how long it took to put nearly 20 strands of light onto that Christmas tree.

Regardless, after that holiday season, I announced to my wife and young child that I, Phillip H. Haworth, would not assemble that tree ever again. After some sage advice from my wife, young child and mother-in-law, I announced that I, Phillip H. Haworth, would devise a system to make assembling that crazy tree easier.

Now, each branch has its own special numbering system. Once I get the base of the tree up, it's simply a matter of locating the number at the base of the branch that corresponds to the correct tier. With the remnants of Thanksgiving dinner put away let Christmas by numbers begin!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Good to be Thankful

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. It followed on the heels of an awesome performance (by everybody, not just me) of  "Miracle on 34th Street, the Musical." After the excitement of the show died down and Thanksgiving dinner was stashed in the fridge, I sat and quietly contemplated my life and those things that I am thankful for.

Here is a small sampling of those things that I am truly thankful for:

That I have only three fuzzy, black dogs and not four or more.
My family, which consists of my wonderful wife and weird, but sweet, teenage son and three dogs.
My really cool sister-in-law, Kat, who gave me her iPod touch.
My good set of golf clubs that remind me each time I see them that I really can't afford to play golf these days!
The large, mossy patch of ground in front of my house that never requires mowing.
My in-laws who live around the corner from me. No, really, I am thankful for that!
My family, who just happen to live around the corner in the exact opposite direction. That, incidentally, was not planned. It was merely a lucky happenstance.
The small amount of weight I've lost and kept off, despite overeating for Thanksgiving.
My sisters for teaching me the value of ALWAYS lowering the toilet seat before exiting the restroom!
My job, because not working sucks.
My nearly thirty fishing rods that I currently own.
Did I mention my wonderful, sweet wife?

I'm thankful for many, many more things that are much to numerous to all be listed in one simple blog posting. I do want to mention one more thing I'm thankful for -- the readers of this blog! I hope you enjoyed reading this (and continue to enjoy reading it!) as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Elusive Windshield Scraper

I actually love this time of the year. The leaves change colors, decorating the world in brilliant yellows, reds and oranges. The air becomes cooler and crisper. And windshield scrapers go into hiding as car windshields begin frosting over. Ultimately, the impatient car owner must turn to more creative means to clear the vehicle's viewing screen. I've discovered that cd cases work pretty well.

Three years ago, it was The B-52's "Cosmic Thing." I made excellent use of that pearl case. It held up the entire winter season. Then, last year, it was John Prine's "Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings." It should have been Mixed Dogs and Lost Blessings for all the good it did me. I still have the cd case. I'm not sure why I kept the bits and pieces of plastic that fall apart when you open it, but I did.

I have many, many Beatles cd's and, therefore, the numerous cases that go with them. However, The Beatles have a special place in my heart and I've still not forgiven myself for using "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" one time when I was in dire need of scraping my windshield and I had, once again, lost my roaming window scraper.

I have one in my Volvo currently. At least, I think I have one in my car. I should probably go check. Anyway, it's a fancy one with a long handle and the little bristles for cleaning off soft debris from the vehicle. I earnestly await the day that soft debris rains upon my car and I can use the bristles for just that purpose.

I start each fall with a window scraper in my vehicle. I had one in my VW Dasher, my truck (second truck, since the first had a broken plastic trowel I called a scraper), one in my Land Rover, in my Beetle, my Cabrio, my other Volvo (wait, both my other Volvos!) and one in my Scirocco. Yet, by the time the first frost comes, that tricky little device is no where to be seen!

So I'll spend all winter looking in the glove compartment, under the seats, all the floorboards and in the spare wheel well. During that time, I will utilize a cd case to clean my windshield. If I'm lucky, the case will last long enough until I find the scraper, or until spring comes. Those two events, unfortunately usually occur at the same time.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Welcome to Doggy Daycare

I have neglected my poor blog site and my awesome fans! In the frenzy of rehearsals for the upcoming play, "Miracle on 34th Street," I have nearly forgotten to offer any literary tidbits or philosophical conundrums, or even any just plain funny non-sensicals about my dogs!

And, speaking of my dogs, the dog count has risen. It seems we have become the doggy daycare for our family. Kay, my sister-in-law, has brought her dog to stay with us while she goes... She is going... Well, someplace out of town that won't allow her to bring her dog, Bear, along. We now have Ace, Lilly, Bob Barker and Bear.

I'm not sure what kind of dog Bear is. I do know that Bear is not a fuzzy, black dog. He is more of a gray, somewhat fluffy dog with a severe underbite that makes you think he's part piranha. His fur is curly, like a poodle. He's got a whispy tail, like a schnauzer. He's got a toy terrier-like face and sometimes smells like a month old coffee cup that hasn't been cleaned. And his body seems to secrete some odd protective oil that gets on everything.

I once asked Kay what kind of dog Bear is. "Your guess is as good as mine," was her simple answer. Despite all this, he's actually an adorable, cute little dog. Somehow, Bear manages to make all this work for him. We haven't yet had him a full day and, already, he's getting along with the psychotic, fuzzy, black quadrupeds I call my pets. Let's hope it stays that way.