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Monday, Dec. 12, 2005
My Sunday got just a wee bit out of control for a while.

Ordinarily, you could (or perhaps better, those who hang around me could) predict the timing and content of my average Sunday Morning in Fall with the unerring precision of a fine timepiece. I wake in the pre-dawn, do a little internet calisthenics, a little eggs and bacon and am promptly off to the Watering Hole for the holy rite of affixing my football pool choice to the gaming board at exactly 11:45 am. Which is followed by the sacrament of the Coors Lite communion (I’m so going to hell over this) with the rest of the congregation. We usually commune until game time, then leave for our own homes after being blessed at the door by the Greek, who is not slow about collecting an offering either.

Yesterday one of the old timers showed up, and I’m all about hunching over a longneck with my elders, the conversation generally being better than what I find in more normal Watering Hole circumstances, and we were having such a nice chat that we ran through several ‘necks and wound up staying until halftime of the games before the vicar ran us out.

Maybe, just maybe it was because I’d promised Ally that I’d help her out with some housework in the afternoon. Vacuuming, to be specific, because it is one of those things that I can do without prolonged whining and with a certain dexterity. As opposed to say laundry. The rental house is fairly small and there is much wood flooring, so vacuuming is normally quite routine.

Plus, I’d added a little number to the tool arsenal over the summer which swung the odds of a quick finish heavily in my favor.

This little beauty is normally hooked up to one of my dust creating tools, and performs its intended task of sucking away sawdust from the saw or sander and work area with an awesome degree of German engineered suckage. I mean, this thing is truly the Porsche of the dust sucking world. And it was merely a matter of attaching a floor sweep to the thing and I had a hardwood flooring vacuum the likes of which you’ve never seen. Quiet and efficient, it never missed crumb nor dog hair as I cruised through the back bedrooms and down the hall, through the kitchen and into the dining / living areas.

At the same time, Ally was sorting clothing for the washer, and had been doing so the entire time I was up to church quaffing on Joe Coors’ contribution to the world. Tends to put laundry off as long as possible, does Ally. But as usual, she had a little pile of change built up on the dresser. She is merciless about relieving me of loose change from pants and jackets before they are plunged into the appliances, and often makes a tidy sum on any given laundry day. I even complimented her as I wooshed past, “Looks like a 2 dollar day, eh? Good for you, I don’t need all those quarters anyhow”, bellowing only slightly over the sucking Porsche of my hairballed abode.

Now mind, I was moving along at a good clip. The TV was actually already tuned to the game, the laptop open and logged on to the NFL site so I could follow all the scores. And I was in that serene state of mind that only an afternoon of football (and not a few beers) could produce. Mellow as any old hippie could be. Sipping dust in the measured and accurate swoops of a fine instrument.

When I got to the laptop, sitting on the floor beside the recliner, I had one of those moments of instant inspiration that I occasionally have. Having noticed that the keyboard was chock full of cookies and fried chicken and lord knows what else, and having just the machine to take care of it. One of those automatic reaction things, you know?

So I slipped the floor head off the hose and bent to my task, and oh the pleasure of seeing all that crap come flying up from betwixt the keys, the crumbs and the goop and the dog hair. It was entrancing.

Right up to the point that I sucked the cap off the freakin’ Alt key.

“Aaiiiiieeeeeeeeee!” I dove for the cutoff switch and stood panting over the machine, knowing that somewhere in the bowels of a twenty pound vacuum bag lay an item which, if not found, would lay me open to the worst sort of ridicule from the clothes wench in the back room. She suffers quietly my efforts at domesticity, but there’s no way I’d be hearing the end of this little caper any time soon. This is the same woman who can recall events that I swear never happened in my lifetime, things that put me in the spotlight of utter buffoonery, and repeat them lovingly to a rapt audience of other wives. Fairly convincingly, too.

So I made a show of coiling up the hose and busily putting the attachments away, as if the whole issue of dust warfare had come to a close and now Mr. Henpecked was putting away his state of the art toys. I had an idea to get that vacuum out to the Dwarf Garage, find a sharp knife and start a-diggin’. And the sooner the better, since the washer was out there and it was only a matter of time before Ally made a run with a bunch of clothes.

I can tell you this, whatever mellow I’d been noncing on was replaced by pure adrenaline, and the very full paper bag was quickly hauled from the vacuum, flayed open by a handy dagger and manageable handfuls of dirt and dust began being sifted through my hands. I was so focused on the need for speed and accuracy (those laptop keys are tiny, I tell ye) that I doubt I would have noticed if Ally was standing right in front of me. Plus, the awful spectre of trying to find a replacement Toshiba laptop Alt key was too horrible to even think about.

It took fifteen solid minutes and I was sweating the whole way, but the little bugger finally danced in my paw and I thrust it aloft with a hissing “Yes!”, and visions of getting away with yet another blunder vanished and all I had to do was sneak back into the living room and . . .

Then I happened to look at the washer.

I can tell you something. I’ve been around a long while now, and my brain wasn’t exactly, what you call, functioning in any rational way, but what the fark? Did the Laundry Fairy happen to miss one of my pockets or what? There was a coupla hunski’s just a settin’ there, like some sort of reward or something. Just laying there all crinkly, just as if they’d been run through the spin cycle and hauled out to dry.

Just as if somebody happened to have pockets they didn’t check.

I knew one thing. It weren’t MY pockets. Heaven knows I might do some pretty foolish things, but I never trust myself with that kind of dough all at one setting, and it was the Christmas shopping season, and Ally was all about the cash this year . . .

Snidely Whiplash never had an evil grin crop up like I did, I can tell you that.

I almost did it.

I almost went in there and got some payback from the wife. Lord knows I’ll never have a better opportunity. And visions of Watering Hole stories were rising in my head like bass chasing after a top water plug.

But you know what? I’m so much above that sort of thing. That sort of triviality. I just put my mess away, stuck a new bag in the vacuum, wheeled it over to the corner and hopped quietly into the house with a fresh beer. Stuck the Alt key back in its place and yanked the big gearshift on the recliner to the Sloth position. Kicked the volume up on the TV.

Yep.

And if you believe that, there really wouldn’t have been any need for this shot.

Oh I’m so gonna tuck this one away for a rainy day. Oh yes, I most certainly am. ‘Cause I can get a helluva lot more mileage out of 200 watery bucks than she can outta one lousy Alt key.

We have more merriment going on here than you can believe, for December.

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