Category Archives: Life

Neglected Space

 

Long overdue update on the blog-

Was a big Spring at the old Casa-Del-Sankary. Three graduates in one season. The girl graduated from highschool, she’s off the Wisconsin-Stout in the fall. Excited for her as she was admitted to their art and graphic design program as a freshmen, based on the strength of her portfolio. Good on her.

The middle son graduated from Auburn with his degree in microbiology. That sure went fast. He’s now looking for an internship the bridge the time between now and grad school. Good on him.

The oldest had a half-grad deal in Israel, he was awarded his master’s degree. I say half grad because he’s in the PhD program there so we’ll hold out on the full graduation deal until that point in time.

Summer is tooling along, I travel pretty consistently for work. Spent 9 days in sunny San Diego last week enjoying the sights and sounds of the convention center. The work schedule was 9 full days, be at the center at 7:00 am, leave most nights around 7:00 pm. Using Uber and Lyft I had a chance to see a number of scenic routes between my rented Air B&B and the center, and little else. Did make a zoo the last after noon as the event closed down at 1:00.

Blah Blah Blah…

The rest of the summer looks quiet. The kids are travelling to Israel for almost three weeks in August. They’ll be going on their Birthright trip and spending some extra days visiting with their brother and his girlfriend and visiting the Kibbutz. The thought of three weeks of empty nesting so frightened Mrs S that she booked a couple weeks in California with her sister and mother. Something about Indian Wells spa?

Summer is not my favorite season any more. Too many distractions, too many folks enjoying time off and to much time in airports watching people take trips for “fun” as opposed to the trips I take “not fun”.

Enough whining. I have work to do.

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Graduation Humbugs

Graduation Season.

This year Team Sank-a-Ray is celebrating observing three graduations! Trifecta of academic excellence if you will. #3, the Girl is graduating from high school on Saturday. Congratulations on meeting the minimum viable product in your educational development. We are celebrating by attending the ceremony, which is a lot for us. I mean frankly we don’t really do celebrations over here. BTW, for those of you didn’t get the announcement, stop looking for it, we didn’t send one out. Since there’s no party seems disingenuous to send out an announcement, feels like a thinly veiled money dance for graduating high school.

Didn’t do a Senior Picture either so we don’t actually have anything to put on the announcement.

Amazing the state didn’t take those poor kids away a long time ago.

The Duce, #2 graduated from Auburn about three weeks ago. Where did those four years go we’re asking ourselves. And can I still fly down to Auburn every fall for a football game, which is a pretty important question in my mind. Still 4 years start to finish is a nice accomplishment and we’re happy for him. I can still go to Auburn games right, that was kinda the point of sending him there.. oh congrats and all.. um do we have to move tailgate spots now?

And finally the First Born, he’s walking across the graduation stage at the Technion in Israel in a few weeks, he earned his Masters in Engineering. Being the oldest and having the most experience with me he knew better than to tell me about the ceremony until it was too late for me to go over for it. Not that I was going too, but at least I have an excuse. Besides his ceremony will be in Hebrew, and I can barely sit through grad ceremonies in English. Seriously.

OK that’s a bit of exaggeration. True fact that we weren’t going over for his Masters this year regardless of lead time. Also true that we (mom and I) didn’t know that he was graduating until about a week ago when he posted a picture of his robes. But really we never planned for the Masters, we’re holding out for the PhD in a few years.

So all these graduations has old Sank a little overwhelmed, that’s a lot family time and chores for a lazy old fat guy. Mrs S is wearing me out. Makes me want to up the Elopement Bonus significantly because frankly a wedding sounds really complicated. It’s pushing $50K. Unless you get married in Vegas, then I want to come. Don’t even have to go to ceremony, just need an excuse to go to Vegas.

I’ve long thought that this grad thing has really gotten waaaaaaaaaaaay out of hand.

In California, I’ve been told the niece had three separate practices for her grad ceremony. Unless I’m missing something I would think all you need to know is where to sit and where in line you need to stand. Apparently they’re releasing doves at hers. I’m surprised given the number of super expensive cars I see with California plates that I’m certain will be in school parking lot right after the release. That’s a lot of glorified pigeons crapping on really nice cars. Maybe it’s different when doves do it.

In Minnesota we won’t be releasing doves, just graduates, off to work, school or gap years.. gap year, quelle hell?

Speaking of doves, we couldn’t release doves in Minnesota anyway because their aren’t any left. I’m pretty sure they were all released during the unending month of Prince memorials around here, because you can’t have doves cry without a dove.

I’ve never been a huge fan of massive high school celebrations. Here in Minnesota, by my calculations, the typical high school grad party costs somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000.

Really.

$100 for the cap and gown

$500 for the food

$90 for prom

$49,310 for the home improvement and landscaping projects that have to be done to get the here-to-for neglected family garage and yard up to snuff to host relatives you haven’t seen since the Christening 17 years ago. Just say’n peeps, I see it all the time.

No doves though.

All this for a fake milestone. Personally I say give the big party for the college graduation. Then we’re all celebrating. The kid is really and truly done with school. The family is probably really and truly done with the kid, at least from a financial support standpoint.(Please Lord)

We can call it the “Graduation and Off the Payroll Party”. Now that’s something worth celebrating. I realize not every kid goes to college. For them lets do a you got your first job party, meaning you successfully transitioned to real life.

But to the contrary we now have Eighth Grade Graduation, Fifth  Grade Graduation, Kindergarten Graduation Montessori Graduation, Hospital Nursery Graduation, Emrge from the Womb graduaton.. I guess thats a birthday, scratch that, but I you know what I mean!

I told Mrs S that in the unlikely event we have grandkids in future who live nearby, come Fifth Grade Graduation I’m not going. On principal. She remarked “I’m going to whatever I want too.” “well that’s great, and when you’re there tell them grandpa isn’t there because he thinks this is dumb.” My son chimed in that he’s not going either, even if it’s his kid because, and sit down for this one.. “Dad is right, it’s dumb”. Maybe a “First time Dad is Right” celebration is order. I predict more of those in the future.

Kindergarten Graduation I’m willing to give pass too because basically at that point it’s a trained poodle show with five year olds. Dress’um up like grads, prance’um across a stage. Give ‘um a rolled up certificate and a candy and take lots of photos. it’s cute. Super cute. Sells lots of cameras and makes Grandparents smile. We can keep that one.

But what are they really celebrating I asked. “Congrats on not crapping your drawers anymore, welcome to first grade.” My wife is an elementary school nurse, she has experience with kids “unfortunately that’s not really true, I have kids in every grade of elementary school who crap their drawers.”

Yikes!  Ok the kindergartners who don’t crap their drawers get cords at graduation, the kids who don’t pee their pants are the valedictorians”.

Seems about right. My mother in law noted that “there might be more than one valedictorian in the group.”

Which reminded me, “valedictorians”, we’ve gone overboard there too.

Back in my day.. wait for it.. I honestly think we had a 4.0 student about once a generation or so. Certainly not every year. Kids with 3.7’s were often valedictorians; they were certainly salutatorians. And BTW one of each. Now.. holy cow.. at my daughters prom photos I learned that about 4 of the girls there were valedictorians. And that there like 10 total this year. Their GPAs? 4.7. Yah.. 17% higher than what I thought was the highest possible score on the academic scale. Lets call out the overachievers.

Grade inflation or Tiger Moms.. not sure.

Well, congrats to all the grads, except the fifth and eigth graders, they just need to go find their new lockers.

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Chicken Limbo Doggie Doo Two Step Palooza

Am reposting this one from February 2014 because frankly, it cracked me up this fine morning. Enjoy.

Chicken Limbo-

Once again Chicken Limbo is one of the top search terms that leads folks to his site, chicken damned limbo. I’m half inclined to change the name of this blog to Chicken Limbo, has a nice ring to it.

Mrs S has been after me for the last 30 days or so to go out do an early harvest of recycled reprocessed dog food, which my lil’ buddy is nice enough to leave for me all over the lawn.  Lawn Sausages as we say. In year with a “normal” winter the yard is covered with at least several inches of snow. This means that when the dog craps in the snow, the turds melt down into the snow only the refreeze. This is good and bad. Crapsiciles are far less annoying to deal with than fresh turds..  they don’t stink, the don’t fall apart and when you step on them, nothing happens.

The downside of the winter shitfest is you have actually chip the things out of the snow.

This, I won’ t do. The other problem is during the week it’s dark when I get home and, as I’ve said to Mrs S on numerous occasions; “You will not find me outside in the winter wearing a headlamp, holding a long handled screwdiver and a plastic bag hunting for poopsicles. At some point I gotta ask “who owns who” around here. ” “Well, do it on Saturday”. To which I reply, in a way that husbands from the dawn of the marital institution have replied to unreasonable requests from spouses,a firm and committed:

“Ok”. Short for “I’ll get right on that.”

Right after I finish reading entire Internet.

This year however the remarkable lack of snow has left my dogs bowlbombs exposed to the elements as they say. Unburied by the great yard equalizer snow, snow that makes everyones yard look the same, those turds stand out like rocks on a beach. They’re everywhere, you can’t miss them, even from the friendly confines of the porch, where Mrs S sees them, counts them and records their number so later when she says “go pick up the crap” and I say “I already did” she can expose my tale of deceit with statistics.

And, although we haven’t had the snow, we have had freezing temperatures, so instead of melting in the grass like they do in the summer, when I also ignore them, this year they’re sticking around, frozen reminders of what happens when you feed your dog cheap dog food, he lays a lot of pipe.

I’m not all that interested in cleaning up dog poop. In snowier years one of the problems is all that dog waste, 4 months worth sometimes, is frozen in freshness all winter long and with the thaw comes, all that crap comes fresh all at the same time. The annual assault on Mount Crapmore usually occurs the second weekend in April, right before the morel season. The rhythm of life in Minnesota goes about like this; Shovel Driveway, chip ice dam, reseed lawn, harvest poop, pick morels, enjoy lilacs and finally go to the lake. Pretty much takes you from January to May. The rest of the year is; go to the lake, go to the lake, light fireworks, go to the lake, go to the lake, go to rehab, repent on Yom Kippur and then shovel the drive way. The theatre of the seasons.

Yesterday I happened to get home a wee bit before the sun had gone down, a sure sign of better times to come that the sun was even out, and I happened to notice that the front yard is also covered in dog shit. As a matter of fact Mrs S was mostly worried about the front yard, which I dismissed until I saw for myself what was going on out there. There was a lotta crap, but it couldn’t be my dogs crap, he’s never out there.

I grabbed my trusty calipers, my weight watchers scale and my magnifying glass and went out to check on the droppings. According to my calculations there is no way in hell that those dookies came out of my dog. It was too big, to heavy and the barrel twist didn’t line up. I suspect poodle. Tasted like poodle…

No seriously, not my dog. Saturday afternoon I happened to be out on the stoop on a phone call when I observed a large black standard poodle coming down the street towards the house. This is the same poodle that has come after my fat ass every morning this week on my 6:15 am walk to the bus stop. Growly, barking, threatening, I recognized it in the daylight. The dog slinked down the street, crossed over to my lawn and quick as can be, he climbed up on his toenails and left another insult to my person, a nice big pile of poodledoo. And, fast as he came down, the bolted back up the street.

*&%#@ $%^&* #$#

I can live with a dog that barks at me, my own dog barks at me. I can live with a dog that occasionally craps on my lawn. I still have kids at home to pick up dog shit. I cannot suffer a dog that attacks me AND craps on my lawn. That… is rubbing it in. Something’s gotta change.

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Spring of my discontent

I hate spring.

I hate spring in Minnesota.

I especially hate spring in Minnesota.

It’s unreliable for one thing. Roller coaster of temps and weather, 90 degrees on Monday, a foot of snow on Wednesday. (Actually happened about a month ago)

Last weekend it was snowing at the lake. This weekend we didn’t go to the lake as I’m traveling tomorrow and guess what, the weather this weekend?

ab

so

lute

ly

beautiful.

Next weekend is Memorial Day, I’ll predict it will be rainy and cold.

Common spring activity, standing on the dock watching sleet and ice bounce of the boat.

Have the suicide prevention number handy for those mornings.

Snow melts in the spring. When the snow melts the yard is exposed. Exposed is a good word for this, implies that something embarrassing is showing. In this case, that would be the lawn. Spring reminds me how much I hate my lawn.

That’s not just a spring thing BTW. I’ve hated every lawn I’ve ever had responsibility over. I can’t get grass ranching right. I mean come one, it’s just grass. Grass is simple stuff so why is it so damned hard to make it look nice. I’m not even going for Scott’s ad plush and green. I want city park acceptable. Over the years I’ve done it all. I’ve poured chemicals it, punched holes in it, trimmed it, patched it, picked at it and dumped a third world countries supply purified city drinking water on it, all in vain.

The problem with my lawn can be summed up in one word, diversity.

In every other circumstance I embrace diversity. In the lawn… not so much.  Comes down to this, I don’t want 34 species of plants growing in my outdoor carpet. I want one, hell I’d be happy with two or three if they all came for the grass family. Poaceae for you biology majors.  And in my efforts to get to one species of plant, I’ve employed an assortment of techniques for botanical cleansing. And nothing has worked. As a matter of fact, in my back yard, you have to get the Phylum level to describe the diversity of plant and plant “like” life back there. At least in the front we’re only dealing with vascular plants, we got moss growing in the back.

It wouldn’t be so bad if people didn’t, at least on some level, judge the validity of my man-card by the state my front lawn. A guy with an emerald carpet surrounding his castle, that’s a guy who has it all together baby. Lawn like mine indicates a lazy no good sloth of a man. Or a raging alcoholic, take your pick.

I try to be as egalitarian as I can. I don’t really care about gender roles or what boys or girls should be doing to be gender appropriate. Except, for some strange reason, when it comes to lawn. I’m perfectly happy to let Mrs S paint the house for example. And makes sense I freeze up at about four rungs up a ladder, embarrassing to have to be coaxed down from step stool. And it didn’t even phase me in the least when she took a course to learn how to do home electrical projects. Mostly, I would admit, to correct the mistakes I’ve made around here over the years. That being said I will point out that despite all of our attempts to fix the hallways lights to this day, no one knows the exact combination of on and off switches on the two three way switches it takes to turn on the downstairs hall light. That light only comes on by accident and trial and error. Been that way since I “fixed” it in 1997.

But lawn? Can’t get past the idea that if you see a wife out mowing or fertilizing, no better indicator that the dude that lives in that house is no longer worthy of the name.

Too bad too because I hate mowing.

This dumb season hits me at the core of my very being. My body physically rejects spring on a cellular level. Spring is when all the amorous trees around here shoot their pollen into the world indiscriminately. The air around here turns into a giant genetic soup of tree spunk most of which settles in my sinuses. I loathe the idea of using a public hot tub and loathe the idea of breathing in the spring, and as I write this I realize, for basically the same reason.

The good news is spring is short here. Minnesota tends to flip seasons dramatically and this weekend has a summery feel, I think we may have turned the corner on spring. And in summer, there ain’t nothing to complain about. At least not today.

Thanks for listening.

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Honey Where’s my ….

This blog is not dead. Far from it, I think about it all the time and when I think about it, I keep it alive in my mind.

Say, does this happen in your house?

I’m calmly sitting down in front of the TV, laptop on my lap, smartphone on the arm of chair, because today, one screen just isn’t enough. I am minding my own business and in comes the Warden. Mrs S.

It’s a shakedown.

“The girl needs $90 for school tomorrow, do you have $90?”

I rarely have $5 on hand at any given time much less a grand sum like $90.

She stared at me, studying. I avoided eye contact… “You do.. lets have it.”

DAMN IT.

And tell me again how guys pull off affairs?

I protested… with a very brave and very assertive “but..”

“It’s for her prom ticket.”

“WHAT? $90 AMERICAN for a prom? Why back in my day…”

No cares about my life experiences around here. I was cut off.

“I’ll pay you back”.  “Before Puerto Rico?” Slipped out.

I stared at her, she started back.. Honestly I was really hopeful that I would escape the high school kids experience without having a one participate in prom. I got two kids through without it, and she’s a senior. I was sooooo danged close.

“weeeeeell”

I got up. Walked to our built in wine rack, pulled a bottle out of the top left cubby hole, reached in and pulled out a $50. Handed it to her. I walked to my office, she was close behind, watching my every move. I opened up my cigar box, the one with my clandestine cigars and Winston’s. I don’t think she knows about those. “I know about those”, get outta my head woman “just get the money we’ll talk about your bad habits later.” The bottom of the box is false thanks to a cedar plank. Under it, a $20, gave it to her. Next stop my pen cup, dumped it out, pens, pencil leads, ghost turds and three $5’ and a $10. Gave her $20 more. “There you go.”

Her eyes narrowed a bit, “I have to start cleaning better”.

Followed with “For a guy who asks me five times a day where his assorted crap is you seem to no trouble finding you cash stash.”

I do what I have to do.

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My Inner Moron Again

Does this happen at your house?

Emerald Ash Borer is ravaging the upper Midwest. The City came along a few months ago, waived the white flag and cut down all the ash trees lining the local street. I am determined to save my ash tree. She’s in a good spot, she has nice shade and it’s expensive to cut those things down.

This morning I was assigned the duty of figuring out what to do about inoculating the tree.

Truth be told I was given that task last August. It must have come up on her tickler file, or perhaps an article in the paper sparked her memory. Whatever, I got a no-nonsense reminder this morning.

So I researched.

Turns out you can treat a tree yourself if the diameter of the trunk is less than 20 inches. All you have to do is completely soak the ground around the tree with some insecticide that I’m sure is highly toxic and an environmental carcinogen.

Mrs S- “Don’t think about asking the kids do this soaking thing when they’re home, it has to be you.”

“Why me?”

“Because you’ve had all the kids you’re going to have.” “So have you.” “You’re also worth more dead than I am so in the unlikely event that something goes wrong…”

She’d run rings around me logically.

She looked out the window “I’m not sure that tree isn’t too big?”

“Too big, bet it’s not even close”. I had a picture of the thing in my minds eye.

Went to look out the window with her.., apparently I don’t update my mental images often enough. The realization of which I condensed down to one word, “Shit!”.

“Get that measuring strip thing” I said. I was thinking about the tape measure in her sewing kit.  She was not. “Measuring strip thing? You mean a tape measure?” “Oh yeah that’ll work too”. She handed me one and out the door we went.

As we walked I pulled out about 4 inches of tape and held it up to her “Bet it’s more than 10 inches.” , Yuk yuk… “Sank, that wasn’t all that funny in 1985 and it’s still not all that funny”. “That’s what she said”. Haha. Sometimes living with me is like having a Journey song stuck in your head; it’s dated, you’ve heard it a million times, and even when it first came out, it wasn’t that good.

We got to the tree. It was pretty windy this morning and the tree was a bit bigger in person. Mrs S said “Note says 20 inches in diameter. I think we’re probably close”.

“Lemmie measure it then” I cheerfully replied and considered the problem man-style. I had a little sense of urgency as well because when we came out to measure the tree I didn’t put my shoes on like she did, and found myself standing in wet grass in my socks. Note to self ….

The tree was bigger than I could get my arms around, so I did this maneuver where I pulled out a good length of tape and whipped the tree with it. The idea was if I could whip it with one hand, while reaching around with the other I could grab the tape as it wrapped itself around the tree. Harder than it sounds given my uncoordinated nature and the high winds. And to Mrs S’s amusement, each time I did the whip maneuver I went a little farther around the tree. After making nearly a full circle I finally caved and asked her in a loving way “Any chance you could help here and maybe hold the tape.”

Silence. Head shaking. I know that look.

“WHAT?”

“As much fun as it is to watch you do this I have to ask, you do know the difference between circumference and diameter right?”

Guess who was silent now.

Gawd I hate it my inner moron comes out.

“Were you planning some fancy math to figure it or should we just measure the diameter?”                                                                  ,

“Dear, I just wanted to make sure I accounted for the arc of the trunk, we aren’t measuring the flat side of a square.. there’s geometry involved here you know”.

She came forward grabbed the tape measure, put it up against the tree “We’re also not splitting the atom, we can be a little off”.

Tree circumference, almost exactly 20 inches. “Honey” I said “With a circumference of 20 inches or rather 2x the radius if 10 inches I feel that we can safely treat the tree ourselves.”

She walked back in the house “I’m calling a guy”.

Which is fine with me.

 

 

 

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ADD and the Six Word Essay

What is a six word essay?

Apparently it is a real thing.

I have actual written proof.

Some book I bought on Amazon.

It’s loaded with six word essays.

 

It makes me ask the question, Can six words be an essay?

High school English teacher would disagree.

According to Ms Wattel, five paragraphs. That’s the minimum for expository essays.

Another example of ADD going mainstream.     

 

Sounds like a verbal machine gun, or talking to an 8 year old. Which in hindsight, wasn’t all that fun. Unless of course you like arguing about why brushing teeth is not optional.

Apparently when I was sleeping the millennial hordes found a way to bring their ADD inflected thinking to the rest of us. Say it in six words.

Interesting observation, the older I get the less concise I tend to be. Seems to be a pattern in the newly aged community. Those of us with the least amount of time left on earth, tend take the longest amount of time to say anything.

Or in six words:

Old people talk way too much.

NO ONE has ever accused me of being concise. To the contrary. The only time I’m ever concise in my writing is when I forget words. Mrs S thinks I don’t like adjectives. She also thinks I don’t pay attention. It’s a fair point.

Censoring sentences gets to the point. Also drives people stark raving mad.

My first six word essay was:

Deal with reality, on realities terms.

Word.

My sons do not like writing.

They really do not like reading.

They do not like long sentences.

They don’t really like any sentences.

They certainly do not like essays.

Even short six word expository essays.

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