Tag Archives: house

Dear Guru: Burning Down The House


Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

–Peeping Pyromaniac

You’re sick, you know that? Seriously. Get some help. I mean, I like a tasty thought experiment as much as the next guy, but come on! My home is on fire? Tell me how you really feel.

OK. I’ll do my best. I’m a professional and I still have a job to do. I have taken the Advice Columnist’s Oath and that means, basically, I have to take it. Each and every time. Very well. Out of respect for the craft I will give this question a serious response.

What do I grab?

First Item: “Screen.”

I grab the screen. Get it? Screen grab? Woo hoo! I crack myself up. I’m a real hoot. My house is on fire and I’m cracking some of my best improv material ever. It’s a win win.

Professionalism be damned.

Uh, what was the question again?

Seriously, though. I’m not kidding. The 42″ flat screen LCD TV is obviously the first thing. I’m not insane. An American is nothing without his TV. And I can carry that puppy under my arm, all by myself. I’m sure it won’t be too heavy because I’ll be all hopped up on adrenaline from the flames.
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Survivor: Abyss Island – It’s All Over Except For The #TMI

Teaser: House of Cards challenge.

Teaser: House of Cards challenge.

As I write this it is early Wednesday morning on Day 40. Survivor: Abyss Island is over. It feels surreal to be back in what most of you call “civilization” and totally take for granted. Now is my time to feel morally superior.

Day 40. The heady stuff of legend. A day that all true Survivors, like myself, dream about until our poor little heads feel funny and oogey.

Right now, in the kitchen, I’m using a thing called a “coffee maker” to make an entire pot of coffee. Wow! What will they think of next? I’ll be damned but it actually feels weird. Luckily I haven’t forgotten how. I had just enough leftover reward coffee in my stash so I gleefully dumped it all in the machine. To think; I actually used to hoard this stuff! Ahhhh. Civilization, warts and all, apparently has some advantages.

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You know, this is – excuse me – a damn fine cup of coffee. I’ve had I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee in my life and this, this is one of the best.”

Yeah, after 39 days on a metaphorical island I am wont to talk to myself. It’s a dirty thankless job but someone has got to do it. I mean talking to myself. Are you even listening to me?

With my new Survivor-heightened senses, I’m ready to go out and take on the day. Everything is bigger, better and bolder than it ever was before. I do not wish to commit the irrevocable sin of over-sensationalism so I will strive to remain subtle and employ my usual deft touch.

Flavors are bolder. The air is airier. Time is timier. Meaning is meaner. Touch is luxurious. The scents in the air are dreamier. Everything is so goddamned delicious. I’ve picked up the habit of licking everything in the house. Mmmmm… Lead paint!

My God!!! I’ve never felt so alive!!!

This experience has quite literally changed my life. Nothing will ever be the same again. Ever. The old Tom B. Taker is dead. I am the new me. This just might be the next step in human evolution. I’m poised delicately on the cusp of leaving this mortal body behind and transforming into an ethereal being of pure energy and light.

See? I can do subtle. Big time subtle.
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Short Story: His Hands #BlogShorts

His Hands
by Tom B. Taker

His hands were instruments of creation. Wood became lumber; lumber became two-by-fours; sticks became a house.

What he did best, though, was making that house into a home.

This post is part of the BlogShorts challenge. June 2011 – 30 stories – 30 words – 30 days.

Gerbilbusters II: The Keymaster

Hey little fella

This post is a follow-up to “Gerbil a go-go.

Present Day: I’m holding in my hand the gerbil‘s copy of the key to our house! I am the Keymaster. Are you the gatekeeper?

Flashback to four weeks ago…

It was a night of uncertainty. The previous day was the gerbil’s move out deadline. When we had gone to bed the gerbil had yet to pack any of his stuff or offer any indication at all he was even peripherally aware a deadline existed at all. We had no idea what might be in store.

We woke up at our normal time to find the gerbil was already gone. Had he moved out or simply switched to daytime nocturnalism mode? I set out to look for clues.

The first spore was found, naturally, in the kitchen. Some of our food had been consumed and the mess was left behind. This proved to be inconclusive, however. It wouldn’t be surprising for him to move out and leave something like that as a going away present. I continued my search.

Forensic analysis estimated the gerbil had departed within the last two hours. The only time a gerbil wakes up that early is when they are actively avoiding detection.

There was no key or note to be found. That was not a good sign.

The bathroom was a mess. None of his toiletries appeared to be missing.

In the driveway was the gerbil’s car, in exactly the same spot where it has remained for most of the last six months.

Finally a search of my wife’s “arts and crafts room” AKA The Nest solved the riddle. The gerbil’s bedding was found on the floor in the middle of the room. Stashed around the room (including inside the dresser drawers) were dirty dishes, utensils and glasses. The gerbil’s stuff (dirty clothing and gym bags of possessions) were still strewn about the room. And, a quick peek inside the closet revealed it was still crammed to the gills with his crap.

Clearly the gerbil had not moved out and had absolutely no intention of doing so. He had chosen to place our relationship in limbo yet again.

Some of the events leading to up this failed attempt at ending FENS (False Empty Nest Syndrome) have still not been discussed on this blog. Perhaps they never will. Some of the intervening events I’ve mentioned during the last four weeks. It is unclear how much, if any, of the omitted events we will choose to publish.

Back to present day…

Last night the gerbil initiated contact. He had been deep in daytime nocturnalism mode for weeks. There had been an incident and he had been scared off.  He still used our home as his base of operations, showering, using the internet, playing with our home electronics and what not. We’d find evidence that he had been in our home. (Dirty towels, wet floors, etc.) Daytime nocturnalism is one thing, but cleaning up after themselves is pretty much out of reach of even the most determined gerbil. This had been going on for weeks so we were quite surprised to hear from him.

The gerbil used text for his communique. This was safest for a shy gerbil afraid of actual communication.

He proffered a deal. He wanted to spend the night and borrow my bike to go to work. (His “job” is another story. Perhaps there will be a post about that.) In return he stated he would return The Key. I was skeptical but gave grudging consent to the plan. It was a long shot but sometimes I like to play the odds if the payoff is great. In this case we were talking about the Holy Grail … The Key.

We stayed up late last night watching movies. We never saw the gerbil. He was obviously still running covert. This morning, however, the telltale sounds of slamming and crashing throughout the house told us he was back. I got out of bed, saw him briefly, he squeaked a customary gerbil greeting then immediately fled out the door and rode away on my bike. I looked but didn’t see The Key left behind.

It must have been about noon when he returned. He came in and voluntarily handed over The Key.

That’s when this happened…

To be continued…