I was all swalloops and plewds
We can put a man on the moon.
But we can’t build a shed that cleans itself.
My wife thought it might be fun for me to clean the shed.
That was wrong.
I was prepared to make the worst of the opportunity. Why should I clean the shed? What had it done for me lately? Would it cause the shed to grin from ear-to-ear? Why clean a shed if we’re going to continue using it? I don’t shovel snow during a blizzard. The only thing that could have made cleaning that shed fun would have been to have watched someone else do it.
I tried to convince her that the shed didn’t welcome human intrusion. “It likes being left alone,” I claimed.
She’d have none of it. She was insistent the shed needed shedding. I didn’t want to have to subdue her with a taser, so I agreed to shape up the shed. Besides, I had no escape route. I was conflicted. I share the genes of my father, who threw nothing away, and my mother, who wanted to throw everything away. It has been suggested by people I’m married to that I have my father’s propensity to collect the frivolous and the useless.
Before anyone starts playing a violin on my behalf, sprucing up the shed was a task that needed to be done.
A dumpster was obtained from the Dumpster Institute of North America.
There was no way out.
I threw open the large door to the shed with a grunt and a groan on both our parts — the door and me.
One look at the vast Serengeti of flotsam and jetsam inside and I could see that I was overmatched.
A second look gave me goose bumps. It wasn’t a crime scene, yet I had an urge to string yellow police tape around it.
There were things in that shed I didn’t want to see. They weren’t so much scary as they were heavy. There was our junk and the junk once owned by the people who had lived on the place before us. Persistent and purposeless oddments — the junk, not the people.
One man’s junk can be another man’s treasure, but most of it is another man’s junk. It may have looked like rampant vandalism, but the shed had been well organized into disorganized piles. It was filled with things that had outlived their warranties. There were no family heirlooms, but a few useful items were found. Cleaning a shed is like having a garage sale without having a garage sale. There were broken boards with nails in them — primitive paperweights. It’s nigh impossible to finesse the carrying of broken boards with nails in them. I also found gizmos, thingamabobs, thingmajigs, whatchamacallits, gubbins, whatsises, widgets, doodads, doohickeys, doojiggers, whatnots and a few things I couldn’t identify.
Stuff accumulates, especially stuff without use. Such things are like mustard stains on a sweatshirt, difficult to remove.
I was steadfast in my donkeywork. I was all swalloops and plewds. Swalloops are the curved or straight lines that precede a character’s motion in comic strips. Plewds are the beads of sweat that drip from characters in comics.
I recycled what was appropriate. If something couldn’t account for its presence, into the dumpster it went. I wore a trail into the ground hauling worthless things from the shed to the dumpster. It was more work than tossing a dirty sock near a hamper. Unimportant parts of our lives became history. The impact on the mess in the shed was negligible. As I paused to wipe the sweat from my brow, I told my wife that if she were Samantha on “Bewitched,” she could twitch her nose and send unwanted objects to the dumpster. She gave me a stern look and twitched her nose in my general direction.
The dumpster went from being too much to being not big enough.
I discovered something important about myself. I don’t enjoy cleaning a shed, but I’m happy to have a clean one. At least, I think I would be. I’d lost something while cleaning that shed — momentum. The shed was still a mess, but the dumpster was full.
When I was a young man, a familiar boast of young men was, “I do the work of
I had all I could do to do the work of one slow-moving man with a definite tendency toward shiftlessness. I couldn’t do the work of three men. I knew that.
I learned that one dumpster couldn’t do the work of
© Al Batt 2019
The “Torture Queens”
Maury, Grandpa decided to write about this subject (from a layman’s point of view) because I am a recipient (or “victim” – just kidding) now of these services.
Physical Therapy is divided into two categories: Occupational and Physical. Occupational therapy is helping one get back to doing the daily activities of their lives. Physical therapy is helping one’s muscles, etc. as closely as possible to performing the way they would normally.
The Stonehill physical therapy department has a reputation for being one of the best in the Dubuqueland area. They have a staff that is highly qualified in this field and very dedicated to their profession. They also bring a great sense of humor to their work which helps a patient make it through “tough” but necessary successful treatment. A personal example of this is: During an extremely painful (but absolutely necessary session to get results) Deb and Diane told me to breathe like a mother during child birth! I responded (while in tremendous pain) saying that I feel like I just gave birth to triplets!
The title I gave this, Maury, comes from Grandpa’s “hot dog” sense of humor ...the truth is I have nothing but great respect for these extremely competent therapists and very grateful for the good fortune to be one their beneficiaries! I know they will do their best. I hope and pray it will work for me.
Maury, it’s a pleasure to introduce my “Personal Torture Queens”– (Physical Therapy) Dianne (“J.C.”) Stecklein, Deb (“Striking Blonde”) Felderman, Tammy (“The Wild Redhead”) Obe. Rachel (“Don’t mess with me”) McDermott, Amy Greener and Dellane (“Wild Wheel Chair Ride” Tressel; (Occupational Therapy) Ruth (“Sweetness”) Graper, Judy Boge, Gena (“Striking Blonde #2”) Nekvinda and Shevonne Starry.
Much love, Grandpa
There is nothing more admirable than two people
who see eye to eye keeping house
as man and wife, confounding their enemies,
and delighting their friends.
1. In 2018, Boston’s Craig Kimbrel became the fastest pitcher to 300 career saves (330th opportunity). Who had held the mark?
2. Gleyber Torres, in 2018, became the youngest New York Yankee to hit a walk-off home run (21 years, 144 days). Which Yankee Hall of Famer had been the youngest?
3. In the highest-scoring playoff game in NFL history, was the point total over 100 or under it?
4. Since being in the NCAA championship game in 1998, how many games has Utah’s men’s basketball team won in the NCAA Tournament?
5. Name the last Calgary Flames player before Johnny Gaudreau in 2019 to have a six-point NHL game.
6. Sifan Hassan set a women’s record in 2019 for running the mile in 4 minutes, 12.33 seconds. How long had the previous world record stood?
7. Only three PGA golfers in the past 30 years have won at least one major three years in a row. Name two of them.
1. Joe Nathan got his 300th save in his 335th save opportunity in 2013.
2. Mickey Mantle, who did it at 21 years, 185 days old.
3. Under; Arizona and Green Bay combined for 96 points in a playoff game in 2010.
4. Eight, the last coming in 2016.
5. Al MacInnis did it in 1994.
6. It stood for 23 years — Russia’s Svetlana Masterkova set the previous mark of 4:12.56 in 1996.
7. Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.
Wow, what a late night thriller. The given was Iowa and Iowa State were playing football for the 67th time last Saturday. The unexpected was a marathon that started at 3 p.m. and ended around 9:15 p.m. at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, thanks to a pair of lengthy lightning and thunderstorm delays. The first lasted 48 minutes, the second, roughly two hours. My hats off to the players and coaches for staying focused and putting forth maximum effort, before, to say the least, a raucous crowd, many of whom arrived at 5 a.m. to take in ESPN’s Game Day. I’d guess 75-100 thousand people flooded in and around the stadium as the morning wore on and kickoff approached.
We witnessed a quick strike Iowa State offense with sophomore QB Brock Purdy and a methodical, clock controlling Hawkeye offensive unit with veteran trigger man Nathan Stanley at the controls. The defenses were as good as advertised and the near draw ended with Iowa escaping 18-17. Both rosters are loaded with young men from Iowa high schools with lots of pressure added in. I’ve said often, the decisive moments in this series usually happen around special teams and turnovers, I just didn’t expect both to happen at once. When Michael Sleep-Dalton’s punt was muffed by the Cyclones with a minute and half remaining, Iowa’s Devonte Young jumped on the ball. Iowa State was without a time out and the Hawks ran out the clock.
That may have sealed the deal, but the difference in the game was Iowa’s 10–19 on third down, including two lengthy conversions of 3rd and 22 and 3rd and 11 thanks to Stanley’s arm and legs. Those led to nine Hawkeye points. It’s always a four quarter game, 60 minutes. And on this night Iowa ran 18 more plays and logged 10 more minutes in time of possession. Brock Purdy has beaten many outstanding teams in his young career, but if he’s not on the field it’s hard for Iowa State to score. The Cyclones continue to search for successors to RB David Montgomery and wide out Hakeem Butler. They’re getting closer.
Iowa kicker Keith Duncan was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. The junior connected on a career best four field goals, including a 39 yarder that pushed the Hawkeyes in front to stay with 5 minutes remaining. Duncan is now 8–8 on the season and 17–19 for his career. QB Stanley went over 6,000 career passing yards and didn’t throw a TD, but his legs were working overtime. Iowa will enjoy their first of two bye weekends before hosting Middle Tennessee State on September 28th in Kinnick Stadium. Then it’s onto Michigan and Big Ten collisions the rest of the way.