Bath Math

In October, Cardi B announced that her husband Offset had gifted her a Caribbean mansion with six bedrooms and seven-and-a-half bathrooms for her 29th birthday. He must love her very much as this generous gift will be tough to top on next year’s 30th birthday. I am still confused about the bathroom math. If a half bath includes no shower or tub, would fifteen half bathrooms be considered a seven-and-a-half bathroom house? That would not be impressive. You would have 15 toilets scattered around the mansion with only 15 sinks for toweling down. No showers or tubs. What if you had the 15 toilets in one bathroom, would you have a one bathroom home? Or would it be an airport restroom? If you had ten bathrooms with a shower but no tub, would those three-quarter bathrooms add up to a seven-and-a-half bedroom house? My downstairs bathroom has a toilet, two sinks, a shower, and a tiny tub for use by young children (although a rumor is circulating that my adult nephew uses it). If I call it a 0.9 bathroom and add it to my upstairs full master bathroom and the three-quarter guest bathroom, do I list my home as a 2.65 bathroom house? What if the toilet in the guest bathroom is plugged up and taped with a sign that says: “Do Not Use?” Is it now a 0.25 bathroom? What if we want to have guests over?

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Sexy Over Seventy?

People Magazine selected Paul Rudd as the Sexiest Man Alive in their November 22nd issue. In addition, 53 men were selected in the Sexy At Every Age category. One man was chosen for each age from 18 through 70. When females are featured in an equivalent issue, women like Jane Fonda insure that ages are recognized way past 70. But apparently the male cutoff for sexy is 70 (Kurt Russell this year). At first I was discouraged to find out I was too old to be sexy; but then I was encouraged that nobody my age qualifies. So my entire age group has slowly deteriorated to my non sexy level. I thought I was keeping up with what’s current in the world but recognized just four of the selectees in the youngest half of the roster: Jaden Smith (23), Machine Gun Kelly (31), Travis Kelce (32), and Prince Harry (37). I know Kelce only because he is on my Fantasy Football team. The older half of the list is a different story with 19 people I could identify (70.4% versus 14.2%). That seems statistically significant. Apparently I no longer make an effort to keep up with celebrities who are thirty or more years younger than me.

Chinese Checkers

Friday after dinner, my family started a three generation six-player version of the game Chinese Checkers. My wife and I were missing some marbles, so we were assigned a white rock and two yellow Lego heads, respectively. This visual is inappropriate because those losing their marbles should be given every advantage. But we are a very cutthroat competitive clan like the family in the television show Succession. We did not finish the game Friday night because we took too much time bickering over who gets which color, how we can complicate the simple rules, and where the marbles were before exuberant players jiggled the board. Some people take too long to move. Others seem to work in teams which is uncool because no one ever tries to help me. My middle son makes an eleven-jump move and I follow with a zero-jump play. We could not finish on Friday, so my son (who is now going by the name Eleven-Jump) took a photograph to document how we left the board. He texted the picture to all of us so we could run scenarios in our hotel rooms with advisors and the internet. Now on Saturday, the game has resumed and I am in desperate need of a Blog tomorrow. I have a great deal of time to type as five others make moves between my turns. I am shouting to my opponents, “Do something funny or say something amusing.” Suddenly they turn uninteresting just to thwart me. I finish 5th only because my youngest son defaulted to last when he resigned after his brother won the game. I am demanding a recount because I discovered Lego bodies with marble heads in the winner’s desk drawer.

Masks on a Plane

My wife and I flew to the East Coast for Thanksgiving where our three sons were gathered. They give me a hard time because I can barely post Blogs using my phone. I have mostly abandoned reading, commenting, and replying until next week. I am also incompetent travelling with a mask. On the plane after eating, I headed to the restroom and thought the few people who noticed me were awe struck at the mobility of a man my age. I strutted along without banging into any seats. When I finally made it inside the tiny bathroom, the mirror explained that any glaring was likely a negative reaction to my apparent defiant grin over not wearing a mask. I took my time to think and eventually decided I would hold a paper towel over my mouth on my shuffle of shame back to my seat where my mask was resting. I stalled my exit by reflecting that paper towels were dangerous in an airline lavatory where people will put them in the toilet despite instructions to deposit in a separate bin. I finally emerge with eyes cast downward but notice that no one in line makes the traditional lurch to enter the vacated restroom. Nevertheless, I make my way back to my seat and sit down with a sigh of relief. My ten year old granddaughter Zofia turns, looks at the paper towel cradling my nose, mouth, and chin, and asks in a voice way too loud: “Did you just throw up in the bathroom?”

Poor Man’s Pinata

The week after the great Pumpkin Chunking event, the grandchildren wanted to smash something else. I decided the basket of old light bulbs we were saving to dispose of properly was too dangerous. Finally ten year old Zofia suggested a piñata. She decorated a big paper bag with appropriately inappropriate artwork while I gathered items from around the house, including a balloon, stuffed animals, leftover candy and gum from Halloween, four elves on the shelf that had been in hiding since last Christmas, mini bags of potato chips, and some random toys. And, of course, a pair of Sebi’s underwear. I surreptitiously stuffed the loot in the bag, taped it shut, and realized it could not hang anywhere without the weighty contents ripping it open. So I stacked cinder blocks in the driveway and set it on top. The second hit from the wiffle ball bats knocked it on the pavement anyway. Each time it was Sebi’s turn, he savagely and repeatedly pounded the piñata. We kept reminding him that this was orderly mayhem with alternating swings one at a time but he has mob instincts. Soon the contents were both spilled and smashed. The balloon floated away before it could be popped. The potato chips became potato dust. The photos were duly forwarded to my daughter-in-law to prove I engaged her children in healthy outside activity. Sebi’s underwear disappeared but will likely play a part in the revenge the battered elves surely must be plotting.

Pumpkin Chunking

When I am assigned to two grandchildren and a nephew on a weekend, my challenge is to get them outside because the two mothers involved are uber fit and want their kids off the IPads. Summer is easy. I take them to the Pool or turn on the hose, hand them water cannons, and tell my wife all the water in the recreation room was leaking from a pipe I just fixed. Or they bike at a playground where I can exercise until they start injuring each other with fallen tree branch weapons. But when days get rainy, cold, and dark, more creativity is needed. A couple weeks ago, I suggested we smash the six remaining uncarved pumpkins and gourds from Halloween. In the middle of the driveway, I spread out the white sheet Zofia had cut eye holes in for a Halloween costume she never used. The youngest two began hurling the pumpkin family onto the sheet. It did not take long to smash them open and the contents did not confine themselves to the sheet. I was unable to properly supervise because I was taking and forwarding pictures with my phone to prove the children were outside. My wife did not seem interested in cleaning up the mess, so I did so while the children made hot chocolate unsupervised. You would be amazed what a mess can be made making hot chocolate. My wife did not seem interested in cleaning that up either even though I patiently explained that the children were way too spoiled to do it themselves. The children and I decided to make this an annual tradition and add devices used to propel pumpkins in the sport Pumpkin Chunking. That is, if I am still the babysitter next Fall.

Alleluia!

I should disclose my bias before writing anything related to Covid-19: I took a double vaccination, a Pfizer Booster, and an annual flu shot. I have been attending in-person Church services ever since they reopened for business in the parking lot during the summer of 2020. That Fall we moved indoors under strict social distancing protocols, including reserved/assigned seats, masks, and no singing. I was one of those students asked to hum during school musical recitals, so I was relieved to be excused from singing. Masks disappeared briefly but returned during the Delta Variant Surge. Three other family members have joined me at times but not often. Last Sunday, we were told that the singing prohibition was still in place except for the Alleluia song preceding the Gospel reading. I do not care one way or another and do not want to project any interest by inquiring about a rationale. But if singing is a risk, why is it all not banned? If not a risk, why not sing all the hymns? Is this just a temporary compromise to mollify a pro-music faction? Does the word “Alleluia” cause less projection of spittle than words in other songs? Are we next going to require masks only over the mouth and not the nose? I have no agenda. I just think this is so funny, so it goes in my Blog.

I Like You…

…And Everybody Else! For awhile now on my daily walk around the neighborhood, the people I see remind me of Bloggers I follow. This false recognition probably began when someone looked like a picture I saw on an icon. I should mention that my neighborhood is populated with extremely good looking residents. I have become much more friendly with my neighbors. I wave, smile, and nod. My daughter-in-law Asia often walks with me and is confounded by my emerging friendliness. I feel as if I know and like these people and want to acknowledge that I see them. She accuses me of being a serial liker and suggests I should stop and talk to people if I really liked them. I admit to sometimes merely making generic comments like “Great day!” or “Nice umbrella.” Mostly my acknowledgements and comments are reciprocated but some people think I am more phony than phunny and ignore me. Asia thinks I am just weird. And she would be wrong except I have started recording how many likes and comments I get each day on my walk.

Memory of a Fish

On Saturday, I met my sister-in-law for a jog and afterwards took my 7 year old nephew to my house for a playdate with two of his older first cousins once removed (my grandchildren). This is a semi-regular ritual we have followed since his father died almost five years ago. While his mom was getting her son ready to go with me, she mentioned that they were going to my niece Meaghan’s house for Thanksgiving. I sheepishly noted that I had missed sending Meaghan a birthday greeting on November 18th, which was also Mickey Mouse’s 93rd birthday. As my nephew and I began the twenty minute ride to my place, I asked him where he was going for Thanksgiving. He replied, “My mom just told you. We’re going to Meaghan’s house.” Oh yeah. My memory is not too good. My nephew then decided to pile on. He told me: “Fish can only remember for three seconds. I see a human. One. Two Three. I see a human. One. Two. Three. I see a human. One…” I interrupted that “I got it.” We rode just listening to the music on the radio until I had to ask him which Exit we should take to get to my house.

My Kingdom for a Cookie

My granddaughter Izzy has worked part-time at a large assisted living facility during her last two years of college. Some older residents lived through The Great Depression. When the kitchen ran out of cookies, one lady bemoaned that living in the Depression was better than being cookieless today. Izzy was surprised when the lady explained, “We didn’t have cookies in The Great Depression either but at least then we knew there was a good reason for it.” An interesting perspective. I am outraged if my smart phone or computer shuts down. But in the first half of my life, those devices were unavailable and I was in no way upset about their absence. One resident complains every day that the food portions are either too small or too large. Apparently, the exact right size portion is as elusive as the Legendary Bluegill south of Clemens Point. Izzy has learned more than she wants to know about cow soup. She can improvise with ketchup to make Thousand Island Dressing. She is cautioned about too much laughter and encouraged to use a customer service voice. No matter how many ice cream flavors are available, someone gets really upset if Vanilla is not one of them. Another lady hates garlic and accused Izzy of trying to foist Hemlock on her, remarking gratuitously that she probably did not even know what hemlock is. She underestimates Izzy who has a full academic scholarship and is working to pay rent and avoid both student debt and living at home. I also tend to underestimate talent, can recognize myself in the residents, and could one day live in that facility if they fix the cookie supply chain glitch.