Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

Archive for the tag “New Year”

2017: Day 1 (So Far So Good)




I am halfway through the first day of the new year and my assessment so far is a solid “so far, so good”.  It has been a good combination of being productive and of recovering from being productive.

Goodbye, Christmas

I started the day with only one goal in mind, which was to get all of the Christmas decorations into bins and up into the attic.  I started by going out into the front yard to take down all of the lights.  Of course, this is the one day in the past month that Mother Nature decided she would rain.  It was a mixed blessing kind of rain; it wasn’t the good soaking rain we need in order to fill up the lakes, but it wasn’t raining hard enough to keep me from getting outside to take down the Christmas lights.  It was just a sort of halfhearted drizzle that wet everything down and made playing with electricity that much more challenging.  (Not to worry: I unplugged everything first.)  Whilst wrapping up the strings of lights, I noticed that a bunny or a squirrel had chewed completely through one of the strings of lights, thus rendering it useless for future use.  I surmised, because of the absence of a slightly smoking bunny or squirrel with a dazed look on its face, that they had done their chewing while the lights were off.  It was their lucky day, I guess.  I hope they bought a lottery ticket later that day!


Having gotten all the lights down and inside (and set aside to dry), I set about the gargantuan task of taking down the Christmas tree.  This is a new tree, bought a few weeks ago to replace its predecessor:  an aged one that had most of the pre-strung lights burned out on it and which shed thousands of tiny little green faux needles every time it was touched in any way.  The new tree is a 9 foot tall faux fir, pre-lit with a million tiny white lights and a thousand miles of byzantine wiring with countless power plugs and sockets.  It is also pre-flocked with a substance which I now believe is asbestos or some other hazardous waste.  While it may be completely benign, I was going to take no chances and so wore a dust mask while dismantling the beast because touching it in any way created little “poofs” of fine, white dust.  Better safe than sorry.  Plus I got to feel like a surgeon as I dismantled the tree while wearing a mask.   A tree surgeon, I suppose.

I soon had the tree broken into its four constituent sub-assemblies, each one of which was large and unwieldy in its own right.  I wrestled these four mini-beasts into two large Christmas tree bags (one of which is pictured in my 2012 entry elsewhere in this blog).  I threw myself onto each bag and wrestled with it like it was an uncooperative boar in a side-show rodeo until I could get the bags zipped up.  I sure hope these are industrial-strength zippers because the tree was definitely putting up a fight and was chaffing against being stuffed into such a confined space (which I can empathize with since I have an office job).

Now the fun could really begin.

I had to push, shove, heave, and lift these uncooperative beasts upstairs, then into my office, and then up into the little doorway (which is about 2 feet off of the ground) that leads to the attic.  But I finally managed to wrangle them into the attic, though my heart rate was somewhat higher than it should be.  If my body came equipped with a tachometer, the needle would definitely have been up in the red zone.  I was also sweating like a racehorse, which is not the sort of annoyance one thinks they will have to put up with in the dead of winter.  But, of course, when one lives in Texas, one learns to deal with such unseasonable indignities.  (It is a little known medical fact that one of the symptoms of heatstroke is adopting the use of the formal generic pronoun “one” in place of the more traditional first person pronouns like “me” and “I”.  The more you know …)

In addition to pushing the Christmas tree up into the attic again this year like Sisyphus pushing his rock uphill, I also managed to get the ten or so large bins of Christmas decorations up into the attic.  So, this blog is now where it was almost exactly five years ago.  And now I can settle back and enjoy the new year.

And , as I look around the humble abode, now denuded of its Christmas decorations, it strikes me as odd.  It’s as if Christmas never happened.  But it lives on in my heart … and as a fine white powder that has settled onto all of the furniture in the living room.



Morning Ramble (the Last One of 2016)


Here I sit, coffee in hand (and hand on keyboard) for this, my final Morning Ramble of 2016.  As has been quite frequently the case through out the year (and other years before it), I was rousted out of bed at an indecent hour by an insistent cat who claimed to be near death’s door due to starvation and neglect.  I stumbled to his food dish to find that it still had a little food in it.  His real complaint was probably with the quality of the food or that it wasn’t fresh out of the bag.  He seems to only enjoy eating food if he watches someone scoop it out of the bag for him.  After that initial meal, whatever is left in the bowl apparently becomes inedible swill.  I’m sure if he had an opposable thumb, he would pick up his tin cup and rake it back and forth across the bars of his cell in protest.  Luckily, he does not have opposable thumbs.  Or a tin cup.  Nor does he live in any kind of cell.  I’m pretty sure he thinks he owns the place and only lets us stay here due to his largess and sense of charity.  Plus I think we are a source of amusement for him.  And what tyrant is complete without lackeys?

Speaking of indecent hours (which I was way back at the beginning of this post), I wonder where that term came  from?  I grew up hearing  my mom using it and, based on the context in which she used it, I gather it had something to do with a body (particularly my body) staying out later than a prescribed time, or getting up at an hour that was much earlier than anticipated (never an issue in my youth) or that was far later than anticipated (a much more likely occurrence in my youth).  When I heard the phrase as a child, I speculated that it might have something to do with one’s state of dress if awoken too early.  At three in the morning, one is not likely to spring out of bed wearing a top hat and tails.  But ironically, coming home at three in the morning whilst wearing a top hat and tails would also be considered indecent.  As a child, after pondering it awhile, I probably just shrugged my shoulder and marked it down as one of those weird things parents say that don’t really mean anything.

Well, it is the last day of 2016 and it is mandatory by law for bloggers to wax poetic about the passing of one year and the arrival of the new one.  As I’ve gotten older, the bar for what constitutes a good year has gotten lower and lower.  (That is, if the bar referred to is part of a high jump competition.  If it is the one in a limbo competition, then the bar has gotten higher and higher.)  But the point I’m trying to make is that at my current age, a good year is one that I make it to the end of.  It is one in which my doctor doesn’t diagnose some new age-related ailment or condition that I have (or will soon have).  It is one in which someone that is close to me doesn’t pass away or become very ill.  It is one in which I remain employed throughout.  By those measures, 2016 was a very good year for me, though I did lose a couple of relatives who were very old.  So, I have no grievance with 2016.  I did not do all that I wanted to, but that is my fault, not the year’s.

As for 2017, I plan to give the little tyke a chance before beginning to judge him.  I would want someone to do the same for me.  Imagine laying in a cradle and some old codger shaking his finger at you and saying, “You’d better not behave like that ne’er do well that was born last year!  By golly, I’ll give you a good drubbing!”   And as the wide-eyed innocent on the receiving end of this threat, my first thought would have been, “Drubbing?  Sheesh!  What century are you from!?











Day Three: Cautiously Optimistic


So here I am for my third post in as many days.  I have nothing to write about, but I’m hoping that will change as my fingers move randomly across the keyboard and my morning coffee works its magic.

I am cautiously optimistic regarding this blog’s progress so far.  (The title above might have conveyed that without me restating it here, but I needed a segue into this paragraph.)  My New Year’s resolution wasn’t to write something every day, but merely to start a blog and be somewhat active on it.  So, I’ll consider three posts in three days an accomplishment.  However, the new year isn’t actually here yet and so I hope I don’t stumble coming out of the gate and fall onto the track and have to be euthanized in front of a horrified crowd before the race (i.e. the new year) even starts.  Sorry for that unpleasant metaphor, but it is early in the morning and I’m not fully awake.  My coffee’s magic has been underwhelming so far and has consisted of merely pulling a quarter from behind your ear.

Today is Thursday and I can’t believe how quickly this week is going by!  I will be returning to work this next Tuesday after having been off from work for a little over two weeks.  During that period, my sleep cycle has slipped its moorings and drifted away from the dock.  So, it will be quite jarring on Tuesday morning when I have to get up at 6 a.m.  But that will be nothing compared to how jarring it’s going to be having to go to work and sit at a desk and pretend to be enthusiastic about spreadsheets and PowerPoints and meetings and corporate procedures.  I mean, talk about slipping off my moorings and drifting out to sea!  My job, though important at a macro level, at the micro level seems to have only a tenuous connection to reality.  It has a thin veneer of purpose and significance, but peel back that thin film of relevance and there is a sloshing, churning cauldron of absurdity and insipidity.  But I am very fortunate to have such a job in this economy and so Tuesday morning will find me in my office (painted with a selection from Sherwin Williams’ “Corporate Blandness” series of stultifying, insipid shades of taupe), sitting at my desk and staring at a spreadsheet or PowerPoint that is an abstruse abstraction of a fragment of reality that exists only within jejune corporate walls.

But, hey … it pays the bills.


But I digress (again).  My original point in starting today’s blog entry was to pat myself on the back for writing three blog entries in as many days while hopefully not suffering a back-patting injury such as wrenching my shoulder out of joint, pulling a back muscle, or some other injury that I would normally only suffer within the brilliant taupe walls of my perfectly cubic (and vapid) corporate office.

Higher Resolution … or Highly Resolute … or Just High

In a fit of something that can only be called end-of-the-year ebullience (a form of transient insanity), I sat down the other night and wrote out a list of resolutions for the new year (i.e. 2017).   The creation of resolutions for an upcoming year is as old as the calendar itself (either Julian or Gregorian, it does not matter).  As soon as humans figured out that after 365 days they started counting all over again, they said, “Hey, why not make some outlandish promises to ourselves of things we’re going to do when we start counting over again?”  And thus was born the New Year’s Resolution.

I only mention all of that nonsense because one of my resolutions was to start writing a blog.  I have attempted this feat no less than a dozen times over the past ten or fifteen years (as an example, see my four entries below from 2012).  Each attempt ended the same … with a blog with a half-dozen entries in it, each one more insipid than the one before it.  After the requisite six (or fewer) entries, I’d give up on the blog and turn my attentions to other, more important activities, like sorting all the random nuts, bolts, nails, washers, and unidentified doodads that have accumulated in the Mason jar out in the garage.  (I would also give up on that eventually and just chuck the whole jar in the recycling bin.)

Anyway, here I am for my tenth or twelfth attempt to get a blog up and running.  But unlike Edison’s 12th light bulb, Bell’s 12th telephone, or the Wright brothers’ 12th aeroplane, I’m not overly confident (or ebullient) that this one will light up, reach out and touch anyone, or get off the ground.  But hey …that’s what new years are for: for trying new things.  Or trying old things in a new way.  Or old things in the same old way, but with new energy.

So, sit back.  Relax.  Enjoy this year’s six (or fewer) entries.

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