Don’t Fence Me In?

I have a moral dilemma that involves grass — the legal kind.

My Dad’s knees are not good, so I mow the grass at my parents’ place every week during the growing season. Actually, that’s not the whole truth of it. Better to say that Dad’s knees are bad and I used that as an excuse to talk him out of mowing the lawn, because I love mowing it.

In Lynden, lawns are kind of a big deal. A well kept lawn is a sign of Republican virtue and perhaps divine election. Every time I mow the lawn (“Every. Time.” Dad recently observed.) one of the next door neighbors mows his ASAP.

He has his reasons for doing so and I won’t speculate. He’s a fairly private man. But the neighbors on the other side — a couple with children — are a different story. We’re friendly with them and I think they still go to Dad’s church.

And whenever I mow past their yard on the first pass I think, Maybe I should mow their front yard as well. I’ve mowed it a few times in the past when they were away for some reason, yet I hesitate to do so when they’re in town.

I hesitate because if in the normal course of things someone mowed my parents’ lawn, it would annoy me. If it happened too often, I might even make an issue out of it. That’s my own thing that I like doing.

I’ve thought maybe I should knock on their door and say, “I’m mowing our front yard. Would you mind if I did yours while I’m at it?” But it seems like an awkward thing to ask.

One other idea would be to just do it and explain, if asked, that I accidentally mowed into their yard and didn’t want to leave it uneven. Given the fenceless, fuzzy property line between the houses, that would even technically be true.


Agnostic Dyslexic Insomnia

The old joke goes: What did the agnostic dyslexic insomniac do? Answer: He stayed up all night wondering if there really was a dog.

Tonight, as with so many past nights, my brain is on fire. This makes sleep a problem. Before I reach for a stiff drink to put the fire out, it is perhaps worth spelling out why this is the case. The problem is, I have a huge pumpkin head that houses a large and unusually robust brain.

A few years back, Mum told me that I said my first words at 5 months old. “How long was it before I started speaking in paragraphs?” I asked her. “About a week,” she said, and for the first few years of my life I wouldn’t shut up.

“My girlfriends who had kids warned me that the first year or two are going to be pretty boring,” she said, then added: “You were never boring!” She tried to put me down for naps but that was simply impossible. My mind wouldn’t slow down enough to allow it. Eventually, Mum figured that out and instituted quiet play time in my room instead — breaks for her mental sanity.

Please don’t take any of this as me saying, “Oh I’m so smart.” My kid brother Christopher has called me the dumbest smart guy he knows. There’s a lot of raw processing power there, sure, but it hardly feels like it’s even mine. It’s more like I’m a fairly normal guy trapped inside a super computer.

So before I break out in a binary solo, let me pour that drink and force sleep mode. Goodnight all.

White Men Still Can’t Jump

Remember the other week when I wrote of my crushing defeat at the hands of a 12-year-old? Well, this just happened. On to 350, then 400.

Bunt Instruments

“I want to kill that coach!” That’s what the normally good natured Bob Lott, father of this diarist and a life-long baseball/softball coach, growled near the end of last night’s Bellingham Bells game.

The boiling point was bunts. The Bells, our local West Coast League baseball team, are obsessive about bunting to advance the runner. They’re actually very good at it but a) bunts are extremely risky; b) you’re effectively trading the other team an out for a base; and c) drilling to get them right comes at the expense of other vital things.

Twice last night, the Bells loaded the bases versus the Corvalis Knights and came back to the field with nothing to show for it. A couple 2-run early innings proved vital. They finally won the game 6-5 in the bottom of the 10th, proving, once again, that it’s good to be home.

Here’s the official write-up of the game. It does not mention the between-innings entertainments: the antics of team mascot Dinger the Bellinghamster; the running of the children; or that high school girl’s unique interpretation of the Star Spangled banner.

And then: fireworks. Our crowd got the show that had been scheduled for the July 3rd game that got rained out. When the rockets went up a little after 10, it was a little bit chilly — high ’50s, low ’60s — but we surely didn’t mind that.


Pretty, Pretty Gunpowder

Aaaaaaaand that’s enough out of this diary for today. Time for friends, family, food and fireworks. Happy Fourth of July to one and all.


Damn John [Roberts]!

Palpable conservative anger at John Roberts over the Obamacare ruling reminded me of something out of US History 101. John Jay, our first Supreme Court Chief Justice, turns out not to have been a terribly well liked guy either.

While serving on the court, Jay negotiated a treaty with Britain that… proved unpopular. It inspired perhaps the most famous bit of political graffiti in American history: “Damn John Jay! Damn everyone who won’t damn John Jay!! Damn everyone that won’t put lights in his windows and sit up all night damning John Jay!!!” The Wikipedia entry adds, “Jay complained that he could travel from Boston to Philadelphia solely by the light of his burning effigies.”

I did a Google search for “damn John Roberts” yesterday but came up empty. Wonder how long it will take our more historically-minded, Tricorne-hat wearing tea partiers to dust off that old taunt and repurpose it.

He Shoots, He Scores, He Gets Beat by a 12-Year-Old

Took this picture at Milt’s Pizza in Lynden Tuesday. It documents my highest score ever in one of those basketball hoop shooting games — the kind that let you throw at a stationary hoop for the first round and then move the basket from side to side for later, shorter rounds.

You have to score 40 points to make it into the second round, 150 for the third and 250 for the fourth. This was the first time I ever made the fourth round (previous high score 236). It took several weeks and hundreds of quarters to get there. As you can see, I also managed to rack up the high score on the machine. Everybody in the restaurant must have heard me yell in celebration.

My athletic achievement lasted all of 30 minutes. A boy of about 12 stepped up to the game and started firing baskets. My record stood for two games but on his third try he got a 334. Now I have a new goal to shoot for: revenge. That kid is going down!