February 5th, 2011

I’m Down

Song Info (from Beatlesongs):”I’m Down” is on the Beatles For Sale album, and was 90%  McCartney, 10% Lennon. It was released as a single in the States on July 19, 1965, and didn’t crack the Hot 100. The Beatles used it in their live sets in ’65 and ’66, and it was the very first song Aerosmith ever recorded – they used it as a demo.

It wasn’t too long after I got married that I fell down the stairs into the basement.  No, that isn’t some way of saying my wife hits me – I actually fell down the stairs.

Technically it was only one stair, the last one.  I had left the light off because I didn’t think I needed it.  I hadn’t needed it the previous 200 times I’d gone downstairs.  This time, though, the dimness, the light color of the carpet on the stairs, and the light color of the linoleum in the basement joined forces like a malevolent Voltron bent on destroying me.

I don’t remember how I landed, I just remember that it hurt. I’d like to think I spun effortlessly and quickly in the air to land on my back, but I doubt that happened. Not even my penchant for exaggeration will let me get away with that one. I landed unceremoniously and stayed there for a while, lamenting my lack of grace, my stupidity, and my inability to turn the experience into a good story.

I fell. That was it.  I didn’t even do it with any style. I wasn’t hurt in any long-lasting way, and I wasn’t bleeding. I went on about my business after a few minutes of lying on the basement floor, and that was that.


Every time I go down those stairs now, I get nervous.  I’ve been using stairs for over 30 years now, mostly incident-free.  But this one little tumble has messed me all up.  There’ve been days when I get to the bottom of the stairs and I feel with my foot for the next step, just to make sure.

It’s been six months.  I’m not sure how to stop thinking about that last step.

August 31st, 2009


I got an email from Brian this morning that said, “Man, a year of home ownership already. CRAZY.” It reminded me that, yeah, I guess it has been about a year. So I went back and looked it up in my Google Calendar, and I actually closed on the house on July 30 of last year and moved in on August 9, so it’s been a bit more than a year.

It’s still weird to me that I have this house, but it’s weirder still that I missed the actual anniversaries of buying it and moving in. If you’ve known me for any time at all you know that I’m big on remembering anniversaries of important events. For some reason I hadn’t set the event in Google Calendar to repeat every year, and it just passed me by. Without Google Calendar, my life would be in shambles, I tell you!
But, hey, happy anniversary, house! I know you had it in for me when we were first getting to know each other, but I appreciate the fact that you haven’t tried to kill me in a while. I got rid of the kidney bean-shaped landscaping in the front yard like you wanted, and I promise I’ll get to trimming that weird bush by the door at some point here soon.
December 3rd, 2008

Carry That Weight

Song Info (from Beatlesongs):”Carry That Weight” is on the Abbey Road album and was 100% written by McCartney to show the difficulties he had trying to hold the group together during 1969, a very tough year.

We’re a funny lot, humans. Despite having plenty of things on a day-to-day basis that worry us or cause us concern, we take other things on specifically, knowing they will weigh heavily on us. We do it for various reasons, some good, some bad. I have friends who seem to thrive under pressure, who are at their best when their plates are full. That is not me. Not by a long shot. I’m a procrastinator and a task-specific-perfectionist (meaning: not in everything, but certainly in some), so I end up doing a lot of things at the last minute. While some of those things turn out okay, many do not. Suffice it to say, I don’t tend to take a whole lot of extra things on.

So why oh why did I buy a house?

I’ve mentioned before that I am clearly the wrong sort of person to be in charge of a house. I am not a handyman even slightly – the only things I can assemble correctly are LEGO kits that have very clear instructions – and I live in a semi-constant fear that something is going to break. Still, I get the impression some of you out there are all “Oh, pfft! You’ll be fine!” It is for those folk I would like to offer two proofs that, no, I am not, and that it would clearly be in the house’s best interests if I were taken away from it.

Proof 1:

Two weeks ago I got home from work and crashed on the couch for a while, doing my best to ignore the “We’re so hungry!” meows from the cats until it was closer to their actual feeding time. Finally I could take it no more, and fed them. They were out of water, so I went to fill up their dish… um, why is no water coming out? Bathroom faucet: same deal. Hmm. Call the water people: “Yep, we turned it off this afternoon for lack of payment.” D’oh. “What can I do?” “Well, I can meet you downtown and see you deposit a cashier’s check for the bill and then I can turn your water back on.”


I haven’t had to pay a water bill in I don’t know how many years. Five or more, I’d guess. And I’ve been moving to paying my bills online and hadn’t gotten the water bill set up that way yet, so I somehow overlooked the bill… twice. Yeah, apparently I missed two bills. I think this qualifies as Proof #1 that I shouldn’t have a house.

Proof 2:

While Melissa was visiting last week, we thought it might be fun to play a game of Scrabble in front of the fireplace in the basement. I got some of those easy-to-light firelogs from Walmart (because me with a chainsaw getting my own wood sounds like a surefire recipe for dismemberment), and the inspector had said the chimney looked good, so we were all set. I followed the directions on the firelog and pretty soon we had a nicely blazing fire going.

We’d only played a few turns of Scrabble when we realized the basement was kind of smoky. Hmm. And, hey, look at that – pretty much all the smoke in the world is coming out of the front of the fireplace. And, yep, sure enough, a quick check upstairs revealed there was plenty up there, too.

So now what? These firelogs say they’re good for four hours. Clearly we cannot have four hours’ worth of smoke in the house. She hit upon the idea of throwing wet towels on the firelog, so I got my rattiest towels and soaked them down and we threw them on the firelog. Success! Of course, now we not only have the smell of smoke throughout the house, we also have the smell of steamed towel, which is not pleasant. But no more smoke is being produced, so at least some win came out of this houseful of fail.

Further examination of the fireplace revealed what 99% of you already figured out: the flue wasn’t opened. Sure, I’d heard of flues and knew they needed to be opened, but I hadn’t seen one before and didn’t know what to look for, so I thought maybe I didn’t have one.

I have more firelogs (aside from the half-burnt one), so I’ll have to try the fireplace again some time, but I think I’ll wait until after I’ve read “Fireplaces for Dummies.” If there is no “Fireplaces for Dummies” book, I will wait until it’s written and then try again.

But there you have it, proofs I’m in over my head. I’ve signed on for 30 years of this house-buying business. If I’m not the death of it, I’m sure the house will do its best to rid itself of me long before that. You can’t blame it, really. It’s only acting out of a sense of self-preservation.