Category Archives: Sheds

And This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Chairs

Ah, there’s not quite anything like taking your dog for a walk early in the morning.

Cool and refreshing outside, always appreciated during the summer.

Birds flitting about and singing and generally spreading good cheer.

The drone of cars zipping down the road blessedly absent.

All the other morons living in the city are still in bed, for the most part, so I don’t have to interact with them.

That last one’s the most important for me. Sure, there’s still the occasional early bird out and about, walking their dog or just exercising, but the numbers are low and that makes life more tolerable for an introvert like me.

I’ve been getting up early and walking the ol’ poocherino for a couple of months now. All part of the “build a better, healthier me” project – regular exercise, consistent sleep cycle, occupying the dog so she doesn’t go insane with boredom, collecting chairs.

I was ruthlessly surprised by these fearful chairs

A sampling of the chairs I have encountered in my wanderings

Yes, collecting chairs. People leave their unwanted chairs out on the curb, as one is want to do, and I collect them.

I’ve got quite a few four-legged buttock-bearers crammed into the former man-cave turned abandoned chair warehouse, just waiting to get called up and moved inside. I find it’s prudent to have backup chairs for when the inevitable structural failure strikes an in-use, indoor chair. When a leg buckles and you have a guest on the floor, nursing a suddenly bruised backside, you want to have a replacement near at hand.

So yes, things were going swimmingly with my new routine. Couldn’t possibly be better.

And then things got worse. Much much worse.

You see, I had been naively strutting up and down the neighborhood streets, a big goofy grin slapped on my face, gawking at the birds, wheeling freshly found chairs on my dolly, and relishing the light morning breeze. Not a care in the world weighed down on me. In fact, I’d never felt more care-free.

But the cats ruined it.

Cats ruin everything.

You see, one day not too long ago, I was staring at the clouds and soaking up the bird song while pushing an ottoman in front of me when I suddenly and unexpectedly came to a stop, the hand holding my dog’s leash violently yanked back. The ottoman and dolly continued a few feet, rolling into the street before falling over.

I followed the length of the leash to the dog and discovered she had planted herself on a lawn, lips smacking and jaws snapping.

She was eating something.

That something, upon investigation, turned out to be a cat turd.

My dog, that licks my hands, arms, and face at every opportunity, was eating a cat turd.

When I tried to pull her away, she resisted. Fiercely. Eventually, after much snarling and barking on my part, I managed to separate my dog from the feline fecal matter and, much chagrined, I continued our walk.

But it was too late. The damage was done.

So unnerved was I by my dog’s choice of early morning repast that I could no longer enjoy the breeze, listen to the bird song, or relish the silence of the wee morning hours.

No, I had to watch my dog and make sure she didn’t try for a repeat performance.

Which, of course, she did.

Sure you want to move that rook there? You'll need to wipe it off on the grass if you do...

She was always at least five moves and one quark ahead of me the whole time

As much as I believe my dog is an idiot, I have to concede that she’s a wily beast too. Preventing this unauthorized diet quickly turned into a battle of wits.

A game of chess.

Transdimensional chess.

And I was losing.

Much to my horror, I discovered that this fecal ‘treat’ wasn’t a one-time experiment for my dog. It turns out she actively seeks out and attempts to eat these terrible ‘tootsie rolls’.

Was it possible I’d simply been so enamored of my peaceful “dawn’s early light” surroundings that I failed to notice.

I say attempts to eat because now that I’m watching, I stop her. But I can’t help but wonder, over these past few weeks, how much of her diet was being supplemented by this…unorthodox protein.


The soothing therapy of my morning walks has become a waking nightmare. No more quiet. No more birds singing. No more chairs.

No, now it’s all turds. Turds all the way down.

I tried walking at night instead, but that just makes it harder to see what she’s trying to eat (like I need to see!). And I can’t judge the quality of the chairs encountered in poor lighting.

I tried walking without the dog, but she’s gotten it into her head that she’d entitled to these morning walks and blocks my every attempt to exit the house without her.

My dreams are full of cat turds, dogs with cat turds in their mouth licking me, and chairs with cat turds stuck on the bottom of each leg.

Life has become a living, cat-turd filled hell.

And to top everything off, that nice ottoman that rolled into the street?

Hit by a car.

What are the odds?

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Posted by on 18 July 2022 in Angst, Life, Sheds


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Hidden object games – I can’t find them ANYWHERE!

The Missus recently introduced me to hidden object games.

These are games where you’re presented with a picture and have to find a list of objects. Often, the games have a story line and a series of related pictures.

It’s like someone turned a book or short story into a computer game. With pictures! Who knew you could do that?

The best part about these games is you can try them before you buy them.

The worst part is they are addictive, and you have to buy them to finish them.

I’ve maxed out two credit cards and gotten a loan from a very unsavory fellow with an ‘office’ in the alley behind the pawn shop in order to feed my habit.

Interestingly, the credit card interest rates are higher than the loan shark’s. Huh.

So while my children wallow in their own filth, wailing about how hungry and thirsty they are, I’ve been hiding from the credit card companies under the house, tablet in hand, playing these wonderful games.

Of course, I feel compelled to share the magic of these games with you.

But since none of the game publishers have responded to my proposal that they pay me to place their product in my blog, I was forced to make my own hidden object game.

Without the plotline or fancy UI.

I don’t have time for that sort of effort – I’ve got games to play.

It is starring the contents of my man cave, however, providing you with a peek into the murky depths of my subconscious.

(You can’t tell from the picture, but it smells like death in here. Or maybe that’s concentrated dog farts. I knew there was a reason the dog bolted so suddenly.)

Good luck finding the objects. I strongly recommend you click on the picture to get the full-size version.

I found this game on an old Zip disk of mine

C’mon, try it. It’ll make you feed so good. And the first taste is free.

Level 1 is free to try. Level 2 will set you back eleven thousand dollars.

At that price, I only have to sell ten copies to cover the principle I owe.

And if my experience is any guide, pretty soon you’ll be cursing hidden object games too.

(Or at least this one.)


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You Might Think Tents Are Awesome, But You’d Be Wrong. Dead Wrong.

Does it keep Nature's unpleasant elements out, or human's unpleasant elements in?

This is your tent.
This is your tent on a tarp.
Any questions?

I think tents need a few more additions before they’ll be ready for prime time.

That’s right, more. Just because your tent has an airlock, a changing room, or you can house your livestock in it when not camping does not mean it’s ready for prime time.

Yes, I’m talking to you, MSR.

The mesh skylight was a nice addition to the world of tent architecture, and until this last weekend, I would have said, “Tent makers, love the skylight, welcome to prime time.”

Until this last weekend.

The missus and I took the kiddos camping for the first time this last weekend.

In a tent.

A tent not ready for prime time.

Oh, it started off a seemingly fine trip. It involved train rides and hiking and the ocean and, my personal favorite, fire.

And we’re not crazy. We didn’t death march them 20 miles into undeveloped Bureau of Land Management property with nothing but a roll of TP and a shovel. I vowed never to do that to my children.

Seriously. The missus made me include it in our wedding vows.

We went car camping.

In a tent.

A tent not ready for prime time.

This being their first camping experience, the kiddos were, quite naturally, excited.

About everything.

Train ride? Awesome.

Hiking? Awesome.

Ocean? Awesome.

The hand-painted “Firewood 4 Sale” sign we drove past on the way? Awesome.

The tops of their shoes? Awesome.

Inside the tent come bed time? Awesome…if you, for the purposes of this particular moment, redefine the word as such:

Awesome (verb): To scream at the top of your lungs while running rampant in a confined space like tweaked-out speed demons jonesing for another fix and convinced the sibling just in front of you not only has that fix, but is hoarding it for him or herself. Latin hysteric addictus infuriātus.

You’re thinking, “Oh, I see where Ian’s going. How predictable. He wants sound-proof tents to protect other campers from the audio horror that is his spawn. I’d say that’s a stupid idea, but I camped in the site next to his last weekend, and it is indeed a capital idea.”

No, no it is not. If that sound-proofing doesn’t prevent me from hearing the screams, other campers be damned, I don’t care. That’s what earplugs were invented for.

(Seriously. Max Negwer had legendarily noisy kids.)

Now stop thinking and let me finish.

What happens when you combine a spaghetti dinner, a before-bed milk bottle, lots of thick, absorbent blankets laid out on the floor for comfort, and this new version of awesome?

This is not a rhetorical question.

It is also not a trick question to steer you away from the ‘sound-proofing’ answer. That’s the wrong answer, and while not a bad idea and perhaps worth further exploration, just let it go.

You get vomit.


The Meal That Turned Around.

The chunky rainbow profusion.

Now if the makers of my tent, which, mind you, has a freakin’ loft (or so the manual calls it), had also thought to include hooks in the ceiling for vomit bags, my trip would have been a lot less unpleasant.

But sadly, my tent is not ready for prime time.

And now, unless the lingering stench clears, it never will be.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
My books are available!

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Look! Up in the sky! It’s a baby! It’s a lawn mower! It’s a shed!

So this blog post is a little late.

OK, a lot late.

I’d apologize, but I have a really good excuse.

I was ambushed by a shed.

Does it still count as an ambush if you not only knew it was coming, but orchestrated it? What if the shed had no idea? Does it still count as an ambush then?

Because the shed had no idea what it was in for.

Then again, neither did it.

Apparently, to take a shed from here:

Where do baby sheds come from?

Where do baby sheds come from?

to here:

They grow up so fast!

It seems just like yesterday when it was a little baby crate

involves exercising vestigial muscles not used by human beings for tens of thousands of years. As well as every other single muscle in the human body.

You know what happens when a lazy, out-of-shape adult male suddenly forces all those muscles to hop to it?


Mind-shattering, fabric-of-Time-and-Space-tearing pain.

Which is why my blog is late. I was literally (and yes, I *know* what literally means, all you Oatmeal fans) unable to type the blog entry. I walked funny for days, once I regained my feet, and not in the awesome-sex good way of walking funny. It was more of the horrible-sex-on-broken-glass-on-the-floor-of-the-shed-I-just-built walking funny.

I don’t recommend it.

More than once.

(No, I don’t roll that way, but how would I know until I tried?)

Wow, how did this blog post about child-rearing get so vulgar?

Yes, child-rearing.

During my immobilized convalescence, I did a lot of thinking.

Thinking about lawn mowing and child-rearing.

And I realized that lawn mowing is WAY easier and safer than raising children.

How so?

Lawn mowers have all sort of safety features these days. Have you tried to injure yourself with a lawn mower lately?

Yourself! Not other people (that’s still really, really easy).

So modern lawn mowers have like a thousand horse power engines to ensure that you can cut down even the most hardened blades of grass, which sounds like an awesome recipe for disaster at first blush. And not just for that pesky Kentucky bluegrass that just doesn’t know when to quit.

Except those spinning blades are housed in these rigid shells that make it really difficult to jam your toes in their path.

Mad Men episodes aside, that’s a crying shame.

Even worse is that they’ve started building in safety features to prevent people who want to hurt themselves with the lawn mower from succeeding.

I’m talking about the power lever. The lever you have to hold down to keep the mower running. The lever that, while held in the ON position, stops anyone except the most skilled contortionist from getting any part of their body inside that housing.

What the hell? It’s a free country. If someone wants to shorten a few fingers or toes with their mower, I say, as long as they’re consenting adults, who are the lawn mower manufactures to tell them no?

And on the other hand (assuming you haven’t lopped it off with your mower), you have child rearing. No rigid housing there, if you exclude the skull and rib cage.

Turns out you can’t exclude them. Skulls and rib cages are part of the package when you get a ripe, fully functional child.

Though the skull is soft in spots for a while. You can make an impression of your initials in those spots…until the first pediatrician visit.

Pediatricians don’t like initials in skulls, I’ve learned, no matter how handy it is at marking a kid as yours.

Whoever is responsible for children needs to start shipping kids with rigid housings for their heads, to protect parents (and the kids of other, litigious parents) from the biting menace.

Children don’t have handy safety levers either.

And NO people, that is not a safety lever on the male children!

Hell, kids have no power ON/OFF lever at all. There are days I’d kill for the peace and quiet an ON/OFF switch for my kids would offer me. Nights too. Long, sleepless nights, struggling to block out the sounds of their crying and wailing…

Turns out, I also recently discovered, pediatricians don’t like it when you try to install ON/OFF switches on your kids.

Man, you can’t do anything with your kids these days! Who, I ask, who is protecting the parents???

These are the thoughts that coursed through my mind as I lay, in utter post-shed-building agony, unable to sleep due to my kids’ screaming as I worried about my late blog post and the lawn I needed to mow before the rains came.


Posted by on 6 October 2011 in Angst, Life, Sheds


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