Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If I could really see into the future, I'd look to see whether anyone ever actually picks up the basketball.

To those people who think I am not romantic, who think that I spend all my time remembering that interview I heard with physicist Michio Kaku on the radio, in which Michio Kaku said that he believes that eventually people will be able to travel forward in time, but that they could not see forward in time -- which then makes me think if we can travel there, why couldn' t we see where we are traveling?

That makes no sense, you know. If the future, as such, exists, right now, such that we could travel to it, if the future is like Hawaii in the sense that it's there and beautiful and tantalizing and just out of reach right now but someday, maybe, then why couldn't we see into the future, too? I can see into Hawaii, after all.

That's the problem with "scientists." They don't think these things through. They just go on late night talk radio and start babbling about how, sure, we'll be able to go to the future, but no way we could ever see into the future, 'cause that'd be crazy. They say these things, and then people like me listen to them, and think that makes no sense and we want to use our cell phones to call the radio station and protest and try to talk directly to Michio Kaku but we can't reach our cell phones because we dropped them when we opened the bag of Honey BBQ Fritos.

I think, too, that you can tell just how good a food is going to be by how many made-up words are in the title. "Broccoli" is clearly a terrible food -- only one word, and it's a real one. "Honey BBQ Fritos" is way higher on the list, because neither "BBQ" nor "Fritos" is a word. Also way up on the list: "Funyuns" and "Baken-Ets."

If you're thinking that because I couldn't reach the cell phone I had to just fume all the way home, driving along fuming with orange Frito Fallout on my fingers, until I got home where I immediately began telling Sweetie just how wrong Michio Kaku was, then you are wrong. Because Sweetie was asleep when I got home. So I had to drive all the way home with Fallout on my fingers, fuming, only to find out that nobody was awake. So I considered going into the Babies! room and saying to them: Daddy's home and he loves you and also Michio Kaku was really wrong because time travel is impossible but if it wasn't, then we could not only travel into the future but also see into the future.

In the end, I decided not to do that and I just went to bed, which I did without even waking up Sweetie, proving that I am very romantic.

I also proved that I am very romantic by taking Sweetie to a very romantic dinner on our anniversary, which was last week. We went to the A&W Restaurant across town and had a lovely dinner that was marked mainly by the fact that I kept burning my mouth on my Corn Dog Bites because they were, roughly speaking, as hot as the surface of the sun. I'm pretty sure that's how A&W cooks their Corn Dog Bites -- by dropping them directly onto the surface of the sun for a few minutes and then putting them into that little paper cubicle and giving them to me. The onion rings were really hot, too.

Sweetie, you should know, was the one that picked the A&W for our anniversary dinner. We are not fancy people, and Sweetie is probably the more-not-fancy of the two of us. High-priced fancy dinners are lost on us. When we go to fancy restaurants, something we pretty much only do when others force us into it, she tries to order a grilled cheese while I have to struggle with the weird salads they foist off on you, salads that are filled with the same kind of stuff that I routinely rake up from our yard.

Sweetie picked A&W, and I took her there because that's the kind of guy I am: always willing to eat fried foods, at great personal risk to the roof of my mouth, if that's what it takes to make my wife happy. I am also willing to sneak a picture of her root-beer float with my cell phone camera while she's in the bathroom and then use it as the beginning of this blog, commercializing a romantic occasion as much as possible.

I do more than just turn our life into money-making opportunities and sneak a couple of her cheese curds while she's gone: I am also taking a whole day off this Friday to celebrate our anniversary in style, including seeing a movie, taking her to dinner, and having a Dumpster placed in our yard.

I know, I know. You're thinking man, I wish I'd ordered my wife a Dumpster for our anniversary. Next time, check with me first.

The Dumpster, though, is not technically part of the anniversary celebration. The anniversary celebration part is the movie and dinner and staying the night in a hotel room. And contrary to what Michio Kaku thinks, I can see into the future and know exactly what's going to happen when Sweetie and I, freed of the kids, check into a swank hotel to celebrate another year of marriage: we will romantically eat snacks and romantically watch a "Law & Order" marathon and romantically read the third book in the His Dark Materials trilogy and romantically fall asleep at about 9:15 a.m.

When you've got three teenagers and twin toddlers, the opportunity to watch a TV show uninterrupted and sleep is not to be forsaken lightly.

The Dumpster is sort of a pre-anniversary celebration, and also a necessary part of tearing down the old shed in our backyard. The old shed in our backyard began life as a gazebo/storage shed, from what I can tell, but because it was built by the people who owned our house before us -- people who were so unhandy they make me look like Mr. Wizard -- the old shed also began its life by being completely unwaterproofed. Being unwaterproofed is unwise if you are an old shed planning on being outdoors all the time in Wisconsin, where a lot of water routinely falls from the sky.

As a result of that fine craftsmanship, the old shed -- which had a gazebo whose roof was originally about six feet off the ground and is now about 4 feet off the ground -- isn't really suitable for anything but looking scary and requiring a lot of extra homeowners' insurance. (The old shed actually served as an inspiration for my horror story "The Window," in which an old shed in a kid's yard is haunted by a malevolent presence. "The Window" will be coming to a theater near you just as soon as someone opts to buy the story from me and make it into a movie.)

The old shed, in recent years, has been used to only store the leftover detritus from the World's Worst Garage Sale the kids supervised a year or two ago -- a Garage Sale that lasted all of 18 minutes and featured a tree nearly falling on shoppers -- plus some old sleds, plus the raccoon that walks by our window every night. It sags a little more each year; right now, the roof actually bends in the middle. You can see it. It's like the top of the shed is smiling at you.

All of which means that the old shed no longer fits into our yard. Sure, we have a pile of brush that The Boy, without checking with me first, helpfully let our neighbor deposit back in the corner of our yard. (The Boy even helped the neighbor. I can't get him to pick up his backpack, but he helps our neighbor clear forty acres.) And sure, we still have the basketball as a decorative feature -- a basketball that has been in the backyard for over two years now and is deflating, a basketball that I've mentioned many many times to the kids in the hopes that they will pick it up, or at least in the hopes that they will explain to me how a basketball got into our backyard when the basketball hoop we used to have was in the front yard, a basketball which i am determined to leave there until someone picks it up or explains it to me, which means that the basketball is going to fossilize there and will someday be discovered by archaeologists who will, themselves, wonder how it got there (but the fossilized hoop we found was in the front yard, they'll say, just before they say and what is that, a Mountain Dew can? What's THAT doing here?)
-- because, yes, sure there was also an unopened can of Mountain Dew that was out there all winter, just sitting on the steps, covered with snow, then unthawed this year, a Mountain Dew can which I brought back in but did not, on reflection, try to get The Boy to drink,
And sure, we had such a pile of leaves on those steps that the rain caused a flood in our back room, and, sure, the garden The Boy and I tried to put in never actually grew anything except weeds and yes, my idea to put decorative gravel in the yard by the new mailbox petered out after two bags of gravel so that we don't so much have "decorative gravel" as we do "just a bunch of rocks around the mailbox"...

...but a rotting shed is unacceptable. So this week, I finally pulled the trigger on it and called to order a Dumpster so that The Boy and I could get out there-- after the anniversary day off -- and rip the shed down and allow the basketball to finally take its place as the rightful center of attention in our backyard.
I'll miss the raccoon, though.

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