ChapStick and Duct Tape Will Fix Anything—Redux

Thank you for joining me for the last episode of the summer redux series. I re-post stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run. We will be moving into the October Halloween fest starting next week.

The original “Chap Stick and Duct Tape Will Fix Anything” posted back in May 2013.

 * * *

Laughter filled the dining room of George and Bunny Gutierrez’s Gig Harbor home. The late afternoon sun flowed across the back wall with Bunny’s grandmother’s pinewood china hutch making the crystal glow.

George held his sides as his body shook. “Darlin’ you can’t be serious?” he asked. His soft spoken Texas accent a contrast to the bass voice emanating from his lineman’s frame. A pencil thin black mustache and goatee framing his mouth.

“George, didn’t you know that ChapStick and duct tape will fix anything?” I asked, laughing.

Richard, turning a light pink, said, “It’s not as bad as it sounds.”

“Richard, honey,” Bunny said, with her refined Texas accent, her long blond hair swept back into a pony tail behind her head crowning her statuesque figure. Taking a deep breath, she asked “Exactly what is not as bad as it sounds?” Her blue eyes dancing after dangling the bait.

“Bunny,” I said, wiping the tear off my cheek, “it would never have happened if we hadn’t been saving for our house at the time.”

 *  *  *

A weak sun fought through the clouds as it set over the Olympic Mountains. The evening commute backing up the westbound traffic on the West Seattle Bridge. “What’re you gonna do this evening to celebrate Hump Night Seattle? We’re expecting localized showers this evening. Traffic is backing up on northbound I-5. . .

Richard changed stations, “. . .as a result, John Wayne Bobbitt is sentenced to 120 days of house arrest in Las Vegas. We’ll be reviewing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book, ‘It Takes a Village’ in the next hour. . .”

“Fannie, we can’t afford the storage unit any more if we’re gonna save for our house,” Richard said, “we could be putting that money into savings and have our down payment that much sooner.”

“Richard, we have a 15 by 20 storage unit filled to the rafters. Where’re we gonna put all that stuff?” I asked, running my fingers through my long brown hair. “Our apartment isn’t that large.”

“I’ve got it figured out,” he said, his blue eyes shining, “we merge the office into the bedroom, we turn the old office into a temporary storage area and all the overflow boxes line the rest of the apartment.” Waving one hand in the air for emphasis, he said, “Then we’ll go through all the boxes, get rid of everything we’re not using, which should be most of it,” he said, staring at me for emphasis, “ then we’ll repack the rest.”

“Richard Cranium, you’re a neat freak, how long are you gonna last with a Dorian Gray room?” I asked, rubbing my hands together, “and even if we rent a truck it will take more than a weekend for us to move all of that stuff out of the storage unit. We only have one day of vacation left between us and it’s not mine.”

“You’re gonna call and get rates for movers,” he said, nodding his head, “we’ll save our backs and get the whole shootin’ match done in one day.”

The next day I called the movers.

“We’re busiest on the weekends. Our weekend rates to move a 15 by 20 storage unit would be $1,000,” the woman said, “however, if you move on a weekday, it will only cost you $450. Our next available date is Tuesday, April 30th.”

“I’ll take it,” I said, smiling.

Richard walked into the kitchen. “So what did they say?”

“I booked us for Tuesday, the 30th,” I said, smiling like the Cheshire Cat, “they said for a weekday they’d give it to us for $450. Otherwise it’ll be a grand.”

A wave of expressions played across Richard’s face like the reader board of Times Square. It ended when he crossed his eyes at me.

“Hey, it was your idea,” I said, laughing, “we’re trying to save money for the house. Remember?”

Tuesday evening I passed the Starving Student moving van as I pulled into the driveway. Richard sat on the bottom step of the stairwell leaning against the white quartz chip wall.

“You just finished?” I asked, walking up to him.

“It took five hours, Fannie,” he said, dark circles under his eyes. “We still have to unload the Explorer,” he said, using the handrail to pull himself up.

The clock struck seven by the time we finished unloading. We needed food. I tripped over boxes, two orange tabbies, and a back pack on the way to the kitchen. Two boxes buried the phone on the kitchen counter. I found the Domino’s menu in the junk draw.

I lifted the hand set. Visions of thick crust, mozzarella, tomato sauce, garlic, onions, black olives and steaming sausage flashed before my eyes.

I pressed the first number on the keypad. Hmmm, garlic.

Thud. Crack. Boom. Followed by the sound of rushing water.

“Fannie, help. Quick. I need as many towels as you can find, pronto,” Richard yelled, from the office.

Grabbing all the kitchen towels out of the drawer, I rushed to the office.

Steaming water boiled from the closet like the mighty Columbia River, cascading across the linoleum floor onto the carpeting pooling near the outside wall.

Richard ripped open boxes searching for something.

“Oh my god,” I said, staring at the flood, “what happened?”

“The drain valve got sheared off,” he said, ripping open another box, “help me find something to plug the hole.”

Before I could begin searching, Richard said, “Perfect. I’ve got it.” He pulled a half burned black tapered candle from the box. “It’s even the exact size I need.”

Grabbing one of the dish towels from my hand he shoved the butt of the candle into the rushing water. The water stopped.

“Richard,” I said, shaking my head, “that’s not gonna last very long, we have to find something else before the wax melts.”

“Do we have any corks left?” Richard asked, looking hopeful.

“No,” I said, licking my lips. Reaching into my pocket I pulled out my tube of cherry flavored ChapStick. “So how did the drain valve get sheared off exactly?”

“I wanted to get that speaker in the closet,” he said, pointing to his vintage two foot tall wood panel speaker, which now sported a dent on one side. “I guess I didn’t have enough room to store it on the top shelf.”

Richard reached over the top of the tank and turned off the hot water valve. He took the dish towels and spread them over Lake Cranium. Stepping onto the towels he used his feet to wipe the floor. He resembled a duck in a shooting gallery shuffling back and forth over the linoleum.

The sight was too much for the hot water tank. It spit the candle at him with what sounded like a burbling snort. The projectile nailed him on the thigh. It rebounded onto the floor and continued to melt in the hot water pooled in front of the tank.

Richard jumped up and down clutching his leg.

I grabbed all the towels out of the bathroom and threw them in front of the tank. Richard glared at the tank. The color rose in his cheeks.

“Do you still have that tube of ChapStick?” he asked, his voice deepening.

I nodded.

“Give it to me,” he said, holding out his hand.

He picked up one of the wet towels, wrapped it around his hand and shoved the ChapStick into the hole. He took the ten pounds of wet towels and pushed them up against the tank. He dried his hands on his jeans.

Leaning back, he said, “That should hold it.”

“I’ll call Building Maintenance and see how soon they can be here to help us,” I said, leaving the room. Nature’s call detoured me to the bathroom. A quick flush. I washed my hands.

A muffled popping noise followed by a splat and a dull thud. Richard let loose a primal scream. I rushed back into the office.

“What happened?” I asked.

“You’ve never heard of back pressure have you?” Richard asked, gasping for breath, bent over, and drenched from the waist down. The color drained from his face.

“Richard, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know,” I said.

“Help me find the ChapStick tube, we need to get this water stopped.”

We found the tube buried six inches deep in the wad of wet towels. He shoved the tube back into the hole.

“I know how to fix this,” he said, “I’ll be right back.”

One minute later he returned with duct tape and a hammer. Exacting his revenge on the hot water tank, he pounded the ChapStick tube so far into the tank only the white knurl on the end stuck out. Taking the two inch wide roll of duct tape, he ripped off a six inch section and taped it over the tube. He put three more successively longer pieces of tape over the ChapStick.

He kicked the tank. “Let’s see you get out of that one.”

 *  *  *

George snorted wine out his nose.

“So what happened?” Bunny asked. She handed George a napkin.

“The maintenance guy refused to come until morning and told me to attach a hose to the tank and drain it into the bathtub. He didn’t want to believe me the drain valve was gone.

“I spent the entire night doing laundry while Richard mopped. The maintenance guy showed up at 11 after our downstairs neighbor called about the waterfall pouring through her bathroom light. The carpet extraction crew showed up at 1:00 a.m.. So our little party lasted until almost 4 a.m..

“But get this, the best part—I realized one of my life long decorating dreams, to have an indoor water fall. Only it wasn’t exactly how I planned it,” I said, wiping the tears from my eyes.

“Fannie, honey, that’s because the moral of the story is be careful what you with for,” Bunny said, laughing.



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Funny Names in Comic Authors

Ever wonder who writes comic books? This month’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names.

The Blog of Funny Names

Welcome back funny name fans. I’m counting down the days until Comicon 2017 tickets go on sale for Seattle. That would be 30 days and counting. *Fannie pulls out the noise makers and throws confetti.*

Sorry, I didn’t mean to get any on you.

Since we’re talking about Comicon, what better place to look for fabulous, funny names than in the creators of the comics themselves.

I Marvel at the thought, all of today’s guests were born in December and they’ve all worked for Marvel.

Dear future parents who wish to Spawn comic book geniuses, mark late March and April on your calendar. Just a thought.

*Stan Lee photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore. Stan Lee photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

Let’s start with Stan Lee. The person whose first name and last name combine to make his first name. His real name is Stanley Martin Leiber. At 93 he’s the Hugh Hefner of the comic world…

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It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time—Redux

Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I will be re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run.

The original “It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time” posted back in December 2011. It’s been embellished a little since then.

 * * *

“Good lord, Richard, do you ever remember being this sore?” I asked, gimping into the house.

“Not since we dug the trenches for the roses,” Richard said, flexing his hands.

“I’m sorry, but next time we have any trees taken down, I’m paying someone to dig out the stumps. This is for the birds.”

“You know Fannie, it’s too bad Tubs isn’t open any more, wouldn’t it be great to soak in the hot tub and hang out in the sauna for while?” Richard asked, rubbing his lower back.

“Yeah and a massage to boot,” I said, stretching out my legs.

 * * *

Inspiration whispered into Richard’s ear Monday evening. I’m not sure which inspired him—the devil or the angel. He surfed the internet looking for hot tubs.

“Hey, Fannie, come in here, I want you to see this,” Richard said.

I walked into his office.

“What do you think about buying a portable hot tub?”

I leaned over Richard’s shoulder as he scrolled through the testimonials.

“So what do you think?” he asked.

“I don’t know about this. Where would we put it?” I asked. I could hear my mom’s voice in the back of my head giving me the you have two choices lecture.

“In the back yard, of course.  I will groom a couple of the hydrangea for screening from the neighbors and we can sit out there on cold nights and get warm and cozy.”


“Why not, we can take it with us when we go camping. How about this, we just try a small one and see if we like it,” he said.

Richard’s melt-my-knees look worked its magic.

“Hmmm, why not. It sure would be nice.”

Tuesday morning Richard spoke to one of his customers, Darryl, explaining the portable hot tub idea.

“Richard, we started a side business. We’re demoing portable hot tubs in the of the back shop. Why don’t you come by and take a look?” Darryl asked.

“I’ll be there on Thursday,” Richard said.

“Fannie, I’m home,” Richard called, from the garage. “Can you help me unload the car?”

“What’s this?” I asked, looking at a car packed floor to ceiling with parts.

“Our new hot tub. Darryl gave me this really great deal. I couldn’t fit the crate into the car so we unpacked it and loaded it in the car,” Richard said, beaming.

“This is portable?”

“Oh ye of little faith, we just have to get it put together. You’ll see.”

Hauling the parts from the garage to the patio, we laid out the hot tub.

The direction slid under the driver’s seat. After finding the directions, the hot tub took shape. Handing Richard the ribbing, he assembled it. Using the air mattress pump, I practiced step aerobics. A high-pitched whistling noise signaled a puncture. Richard misted the hot tub with the kitty corrector. Water droplets shot out one side of the tub. We patched the puncture.

“Okay, Richard, all we need now is to assemble the pump and heater unit,” I said.  “I’ve got the clamps, can you hand me the hosing?”

“Fannie, there aren’t any more parts to assemble,” Richard said, “I must have left some of the parts at Darryl’s office. I’ll call him first thing in the morning.”

Darryl shipped the parts on Friday. For three days we looked out the window at the new hot tub. The hot tub looked back.

The parts arrived Monday afternoon.

The pump and heater snapped together like clockwork. Richard walked the garden hose over to the tub.

“Okay, Fannie, hit it,” said Richard.

Cold water poured from the hose. Two-hundred-fifty gallons later the tub filled to the two-person mark.

“Okay, stand back, chemist at work,” I said, putting on my gloves.

Richard laughed. “Righto professor, please don’t blow anything up.”

“Who has little faith now?” I asked, pouring the pre-mixed chemicals into the tub.

“According to the directions, we need to turn it on and give it from 24 to 48-hours to come to temperature,” Richard said. “Would you like the honors or shall I?”

“Let’s do it together.”

The pump sputtered for a moment. It revved up. Bubbles burst through the water’s surface. The thermometer read 43º F. Richard set the heater to 100 degrees.

Before bed, we marked the calendar with the chemical care and maintenance reminders for the next two months.

“I can’t wait to try out our hot tub, can you?” I asked Richard as we drifted off with visions of chasing each other around the tub.

A weak sun filtered through the clouds. Like children on Christmas morning, we peaked through the bedroom window, looking for signs of steam rising from the water.

“Do you see anything?” I asked.

“No, do you?”

“No, let’s go out and take a look.”

Opening the back door, a frigid 21 degrees embraced us.

“Whoa, now that’s what I call cold,” said Richard.

Richard leaned over the tub reading the thermometer, “38 degrees. I think it’s going the wrong way.”

“Maybe it needs a few more days. I doubt it’s designed to start-up in these temperatures,” I said.

We checked the temperature before bed, 44 degrees.

Water dripped from the trees and roof, steam rose from the ground and the rich smell of wet soil greeted us the next morning. The pump continued whirring away, so we went about our chores with joy in our hearts.

Around 11 A.M. we checked the tub.

“Richard, look, the top tube on the tub deflated,” I said pointing to the vinyl sagging into the tub.

“Look at this seam, it just separated. I doubt we can patch it,” said Richard leaning over for a closer look. “Hey, where’d the water go?”

The seals around the jets in the tub leaked about 100-gallons of chlorinated water onto our patio flowing into the hydrangeas we groomed as our screen from the neighbors. The hydrangeas turned greenish-black.

“Look on the bright side, the water is 48 degrees now,” I said.

Going online with tech support we discovered the inflation of the upper tube on the tub held the seals in place.

The manufacturer sent us a seam patching kit with a warranty disclaimer for temperature. “Do not use in temperatures below 50 degrees.”

We drained the hot tub and sent it to the depths of the recycling center and landfill.

Don’t tell Darryl.

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Fannie Speaks Out on Chicken Conception—Redux

Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I will be re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run.

The original “Fannie Speaks Out on Chicken Conception” posted back in April 2011. The second post published on this blog, presented in its original format.

 * * *

My first and last attempt at cartooning. :)

My first and last attempt at cartooning.

One morning while Richard and I ate at the local diner, a new waitress struck up a  conversation with us.

“My four-year-old son asked me how they got chickens into the eggs.”

Impressed her young son could reason out the question, she said, “I don’t know the answer. Can you tell me how the chickens ended up in some eggs, but not in the one’s in the grocery store?”

Now mind you over the course of our lives some interesting questions crossed our path, such as “Can you walk to an island?” (When there are no bridges present) or “What does a hard drive look like?” or “Why do they put a cup holder on the PC because if you spill your drink won’t it ruin the computer?” But asking us to explain how chickens conceive, new territory.

The waitress wanted to know and “walking encyclopedia” stickers somehow gleamed from our foreheads.

I said, “The rooster and hen had a good time.”

A blank expression crossed her face. Richard looked away suppressing a laugh.

She asked, “How come the roosters don’t break the eggs when they get fertilized? I thought they worked like salmon, where the boy salmon spreads its sperm over the eggs the girl salmon laid on the stream bed, only in a nest.”

I explained egg fertilization in flightless birds. Richard accompanied me with the bird noises.

“Oh,” she said, blushing, “I didn’t know. Thank you.”

About halfway through the explanation, Richard and I realized most of the restaurant listened, either in amusement or real earnest.

We experienced an E.F. Hutton moment, “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.”

Who knew we would give the bird half of the birds and the bees’ conversation to an adult with a child for an audience?




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Strength versus Chocolate Redux

Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I will be re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run. The original “Strength versus Chocolate” story posted back in January 2012. It’s been embellished a little since then.

If you’ve never visited a pure chocolate website, you may wish to check out Whittaker’s. Enjoy, but don’t get any on your chin . . . .

* * *

“Ladies welcome to this weekend’s coffee klatch,” I said, bundled in my oversized blue Icelandic sweater. If there’s one thing I love about weekends more than sleeping in, it’s drinking coffee on cold wet days and eating treats with my two besties.

A seam opened in the blanket of gray February clouds. The sun raced through. It crossed the hilltops, which crowned Gig Harbor, Washington. The sunlight flared through the  raindrops. It illuminated Bunny Gutierrez and Clarissa Taylor when they walked into our home.

Standing on tiptoes to hug them, I asked, “What goodies did you bring with you this time?”

“I found a local coffee roaster over on 6th Avenue in Tacoma and thought we’d give their French Roast a try,” Bunny said, with her refined Texas accent.  Her long blond hair swept back into a pony tail behind her head, crowning her statuesque figure. She handed me a bag of coffee beans.

“I brought scones and Devonshire Cream from The Hawthorn Tea Room,” Clarissa said. Displaying a clear container with six scones, the flavors hand-printed on the lid above them. She pushed her bright red ringlets away from her face.

“So, what are you supplying?” Bunny asked, following me into the kitchen.

“My friend, Keira, sent me this huge bar of chocolate from Whittaker’s. Apparently, they are one of New Zealand’s chocolatiers.  Check this out, it’s called Ghana Peppermint. Richard and I’ve already consumed over half the bar.  There are four rows left,” I said, handing Bunny the wrapper.

“Seventy-two percent cocoa,” Bunny said, holding the wrapper up for Clarissa. “Honey, you can smell the chocolate and peppermint on the wrapper.”

“What’s this?” Clarissa asked, picking a card up from the kitchen counter.

“That’s the card Keira sent with it,” I said, “she’s such a jokester. Read what she wrote.”

“Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands—and then eat just one of the pieces.* So how strong are you? Love, Keira,” Clarissa read.

“Well, I can tell you we aren’t very strong,” I said, laughing.  “I made Richard promise to leave enough for our coffee klatch.”

“Fannie, there are four pieces left, how are we going to divide it?” Bunny asked, admiring the plate.

“Why can’t you cut it into thirds?” Clarissa asked, “it’s big enough.”

“The center is hollow and filled with a peppermint cream,” I said, running my fingers through my short brown hair. “I thought we’d discuss it over coffee and take a vote.” I poured the coffee beans into the grinder. A rich, nutty smell filled the kitchen. “Bunny, these beans smell fantastic,” I said, over the grinder.

“Wait until you taste it,” Bunny said. Sunrise lit the smile on her face.

“Clarissa, do you mind putting the chocolate and the scones on the coffee table?” I asked, handing her the plate. “So Bunny, I hear congratulations are in order. George said you got your massage license and you’re re-opening your massage business here.”

“I was getting calls from all over. People asking me to start back up. We should be fully operational in a few weeks.” Her pony tail bobbing up and down.

“What are you calling your practice?” Clarissa asked, rejoining us.

“What I called it in Houston. Bunny’s Kick Ass Massage.”

Laughing, I asked, “How can you say that with a straight face?”

“How do you introduce yourself as Fannie Cranium?” Bunny asked, winking.

“Good point.”

Richard entered the kitchen. Sniffing the air, Richard said, “ladies, you need to save some of that coffee for me when I get back inside.”

“What are you working on?” I asked. Richard wore hip waders, a matching jacket and a vintage yellow sou’wester fisherman’s rain hat. He looked like a giant ad for fish sticks.

“I thought this was the perfect time to get out of the house and clean the driveway,” Richard said, spotting the scones on the table, “but, if you’re really nice to me, you’ll save me one of those caramel apple scones to go with the coffee when I get back in.”

“I think we can arrange that,” I said, smiling. Visions of an eight-year-old boy covered head to toe in mud danced in my head.

Bunny, Clarissa and I walked to the dining room window.

As the garage door opened, the sun glinted off rain drops on the Love Wagon’s windshield, a red Ford F150 with queen futon and disco ball. Richard squinted. A testimony to sun breaks on a stormy day. He donned his ear buds, his head bobbed.

Richard fired-up the pressure washer. He guided 2,000 pounds of pure energy. Moss flew from the walkway and sped off the driveway leaving the sparkling asphalt behind. Spray sailed in all directions. A side wind kicked up, spattering water, moss, and mud; shellacking Richard’s clothing, face, and hair.

We giggled. I lead the way back to the family room.

Each of us savored a scone, saving the chocolate for dessert.

“Ladies, I can’t wait for you to try this chocolate.” I passed the plate to Bunny, seated on my right.

“I don’t know which smells better, the coffee or the chocolate. Lord give me strength,” Bunny said. She handed Clarissa the plate, but didn’t let go.

Clarissa smiled and took the offered chocolate instead. She bit into her piece of chocolate dripping some peppermint cream on her chin. She wiped the cream with her finger and licked it.  She closed her eyes, and tilted her head back. “Oh my god, this should be illegal.” Her voice vibrated.

Bunny sipped her coffee. Taking her chocolate, she smelled it like a French vintner experiencing a spiritual connection with his wine. A distant, unfocused smile spread over her face. Taking a bite from the chocolate, her blue eyes rolled back into her head. She shivered.

“That is a small piece of heaven ladies,” Bunny said. She eyed the two remaining pieces.  “I haven’t tasted anything like that in years. I see what your friend meant about strength. . . .” Her voice trailed off.

Taking my piece from the plate, I said, “Well now you see my dilemma. And why I wanted to share this with you two.”

“How are we going to decide who gets the last piece?” Clarissa asked. She stared at the final square of chocolate. “Why don’t we draw straws?”

I stood up. “I’ve got toothpicks.”

“Get ‘em out, honey, we’re gonna need ‘em.” Bunny’s eye’s still locked on the chocolate.

“I’m on it.” I grabbed the step stool next to the fridge and retrieved the coveted toothpicks from the middle shelf.

A loud crash came from the back yard. I grabbed the top of the step stool. Clarissa and Bunny rushed to the sliding glass door.

“Do you see anything?” I asked, joining them.

“Look, over by Joe’s fence,” Clarissa said, pointing. “The tree top broke off. It’s hanging about twenty feet from the ground.”

The wind picked up again. It hurtled the tree top to the ground.

“Where’d it land? Did it hit the fence?” I asked. The pitch of my voice running up like a student practicing scales on a piano. “He’s not home, his dogs are back there.” I yanked open the door. “We need to make sure they’re okay.”

Another gust of wind caught the trees. Whipping branches danced overhead. I held my arms over my head and dashed for the fence. Bunny and Clarissa followed me through the green belt to the downed tree. The hemlock grazed a red cedar and the fence. The branches blocked Joe’s gate. When we reached the tree, his dogs barked.

“Boost me up so I can look over the fence,” I said. Bunny and Clarissa clasped their hands together. Another gust of wind whipped the loose branches. With a quick heave I shot above the fence. I grabbed the top. “The dogs are all right,” I said, over the wind, “it didn’t hit the kennel.” My stomach caught up to my body.

“I don’t see any damage to the fence,” Bunny said. “We better head back inside before anything else happens.”

We dashed for the sliding glass door.

Richard stood in the family room over the coffee table. The silken chocolate’s seductive temptation. He picked up the chocolate. A temptation powerful enough to make him forget the caramel apple scone. A temptation powerful enough to forget our agreement to save it for the coffee klatch. A temptation powerful enough to face the wrath of three chocolate crazed women.

He held it to his nose. Drool dribbled down his chin. The sliding glass door opened. The last piece of Ghana Peppermint crossed his lips.

We yelled, “No.”

The last piece of heaven disappear. Disappointment crashed like a lead weight into my stomach. How could he?

Chewing, Richard’s devilish grin lit his face. “Do you really want it back?” he asked. Chocolate rimmed his lips.

Clarissa, Bunny, and I shared the is-prison-worth-it look between us. We shook our heads.

“I guess that means we all have strength,” Clarissa said. She huffed. It lifted one of her red curls off her forehead.

“Richard, did you hear the tree fall in the backyard?” I asked.

He stiffened. The smile left his face. “A tree fell?” he asked. “Where?”

“How could you not hear it?” Clarissa asked, “Look in your backyard.”

Richard moved to the glass door. Bunny pointed at the ear buds dangling around his collar.

“Honey, I guess that answers the question, if a tree falls in the woods and you’re listening to an iPod, does it still make a sound?” Bunny said, with a laugh. Her voice over shot sincerity by about a block and a half.

 *  *  *

*Quote courtesy of Judith Viorst.

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It’s Pink, Get Over It!—Redux

Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I will be re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run. The original “It’s Pink, Get Over It!” story posted back in September 2011. It’s been embellished a little since then.

* * *

The West Seattle neighborhood of Fauntleroy complained when the apartment building fell into disrepair. White paint peeled from the walls and paint flakes littered the sidewalk.

The building sold. The neighborhood cheered—until the new owners painted it bubble gum pink.

The neighborhood protested the pink. The owners posted their sign in a discrete location on the main entrance. ‘It’s Pink, Get Over It!’

It was the shot heard round the neighborhood.

After many protests, the owners compromised and made the building two-tone with white trim.  The sign disappeared from the door.

The Shot Heard 'Round the NeighborhoodSince then, whenever we see something pink, one of us says, “It’s pink, get over it.”

It’s tradition.

 *  *  *

“Fannie, I’m going up to Seattle, do you want to come?” Richard asked. He jingled the keys to the Love Wagon, a red Ford F150 with queen futon and disco ball in the back, like a carrot.

“Are you driving by the pink apartment building?”

“Of course,” he said.

“I’m in.”

 *  *  *

May 1st brought warmth, flowers, bees, and thoughts of barbecuing.

“Fannie, what do you think about fixing up the old picnic table, it could use a good coat of paint.” Richard rubbed his hands together. His blue eyes softening to the melt-my-knees look.

“That’s a great idea,” I said. My Aunt Verla and Uncle Carl would be thrilled we revived my grandparents’ picnic table the next time they dropped by. Of course, they didn’t want to move it when they sold us the house, so we have to match the color or Aunt Verla will hatch a chicken.

“Let’s get some paint,” said Richard.

The Love Wagon rolled into the parking lot in front of Gig Harbor’s Ace Hardware. I jumped down from the passenger side. If I was five inches taller, I wouldn’t have to leap. Thank god it’s not a 4 x 4.

Richard lead the way into the store. People stared at us. I know folks, we look odd together. He’s a foot and a half taller than me, we’re not the side show.

“May I help you?” the young man behind the paint counter asked.

“Yes, we need a gallon of reddish-brown flat exterior paint,” Richard said.

“Follow me,” he said, leading us to the paint chips. “We have several shades of reddish-brown to choose from. Which one would you like?”

“Oh, Richard, this one looks perfect. What do you think?” I could imagine my aunt and uncle doing selfies with the picnic table so they could one-up my mom and dad. Note to self call mom once the table’s done.

“That’s it,” Richard said.  Richard handed the clerk the paint chip.

“Do you have any more shopping to do?” the clerk asked. “I can get this mixed and have it ready by the time you’re done.”

“That’d be great,” Richard said.

We finished our shopping, picked up our paint, and checked out.

 * * *

We did not get around to painting the table until May 31st.

Richard walked out of the garage with the gallon bucket of paint. I followed with the new paint brushes, stir stick ,and a couple of rags. Our neighbor, Bunny Gutierrez, her long blond hair pulled into a pony tail, dropped by for a quick inspection. She followed us into the back yard.

When Richard opened the can of paint, a flood-light shade of hot pink glowed from the can.

Bunny took a step back. She said, with her refined Texas accent, “Whoa, honey, that’s pink.” The tone of her voice thudding like a dropped weight at pink.

The smile on my face ended up somewhere in Argentina. I raked my fingers through my short brown hair. “Richard, this doesn’t jive with our reddish-brown paint chip.” My family will never let me hear the end of this.

“Fannie, I am not waiting any longer to paint this table. Besides, it’s pink, get over it,” he said. His devilish grin spread across his face. The devil and the angel on his shoulders  high-fived.

Richard dipped the brush. He said, “It’s pink, get over it.” He’s tall lean frame shook, the laughter leaked through his pursed lips.

I grabbed my brush. If I’m gonna get hell for this, I’m gonna have a little fun.

With each stroke, Richard and I said, ‘It’s pink, get over it.”

We laughed until tears streamed down our faces and neither of us could paint in a straight line.

After ten minutes, Bunny said, with annoyance, “Darlings, there’s something seriously wrong with y’all.” Twang warped her refined Texas accent. Her blond pony tail wagging out of alignment.

The table morphed from ancient picnic table to Las Vegas showgirl. I should call my younger sister and borrow her Bedazzler.

I called my mother the next day. Aunt Verla called twenty minutes later. The scorching they unleashed faded after three days.

 *  *  *

Richard’s birthday appeared on the calendar. Still hung up on the pink paint, I wrapped Richard’s birthday present—a pair of Levi’s—in a hot pink bag. After searching the local Hallmark, I found a birthday card with a cow wearing a hot pink sombrero.

I wrote, ‘Happy Birthday, Richard, it’s pink, get over it. Love, Fannie’. How could he want for anything more?

The day after the party, I penned Richard’s thank you notes for him. I used a pink gel pen for writing my thank you note.

Richard thanked me for my creativity in wrapping and the generosity of the gift and all the wonderful years we’ve had together and a promise to wear the jeans every day until they could walk away on their own.

I handed him the cards to sign.

He signed my card last. The pink ink caught his attention. He read the note. “Hey,” he said, looking hoodwinked. “What’s all this crap about?”

“Crap,” I said, with a smile, “what crap? Weren’t those the exact words you would use, if  you wrote it?”

“Until the jeans walk away by themselves. And in pink?” Richard asked, his voice rose slightly. He leaned forward, waved the card, and stared at me.“It’s not working is it?” he asked, leaning back in his chair. He tilted his head to one side.

I laughed. “No, but I want you to know I shall cherish the card always.”

“You do that,” he said. He pinched his lips together.

“Besides, it’s pink, get over it.” My greens eyes danced. I know he won’t be able to let that go.

His face flickered. He smiled. “You know, we still have some pink paint left. What if we use it for a tombstone at Halloween?”

“That would get the neighbors talking,” I said. The image of Bunny’s pony tail going out of alignment when she saw it made me laugh.

“Let’s do it,” he said.

 * * *

In celebration of Halloween, we covered the yard in tombstones.

The neighbors followed the self-guided tour.  Above the laughter we could hear voices saying, “It’s pink, get over it!”





















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Fannie’s Olympic Medalist List

This month’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names. Olympic medalists, a short list.

The Blog of Funny Names

Greetings funny names fans! I apologize for the brevity, I’m running up against some unexpected deadlines on the home front and I’m not as creative as Dave is under pressure.

Now that the Olympics have come to a close, let’s recap some of the more memorable names in Olympic History.

Michael Phelps photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil Fotografias Michael Phelps photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil Fotografias

Even though Michael Phelps does not have a funny name, we have to give him a nod as the most decorated Olympic athlete with 31 medals to his name and because he talked about changing his kid’s diaper during an interview.

Larisa Latynina photo courtesy of Larisa Latynina photo courtesy of

Followed up by Ukranian gymnast, Larisa Latynina with 18 Olympic medals. Anyway you spell it, she has a great name.

Paavo Nurmi at the Antwerp games in 1920. Paavo Nurmi’s debut at the Antwerp games in 1920.

Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi is one of only 4 athletes to win 9 Olympic gold medals…

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