Humor helps on RV trips, too

Hi kids,

Back from a family RV trip. Had the good fortune to take the family on a little tour of the great state of CA. It was my first time experiencing RV life and I want to say how much we all enjoyed it, and also to apologize to our neighbors at the Bulleton Flying Flags resort for the black box incident where I mistakenly thought I was fully attached to the sewer line. Beginner’s mistake!

Thank you to all you plumbers out there that continue to send emails into the Faucet blog. I appreciate your concern for Joe the plumber, the original writer of the Faucet blog, and am sorry to report that he is still hearing the ongoing drip-drip-drip inside his head. Also thanks to George in Escondido for explaining to me what a nipple is, in plumbing terms. Very informational. Thank you.

Despite the impressions of the numerous plumbers and HVAC workers that read my blog, the purpose of this blog is to remind everyone to take it easy and laugh a little. This was especially important on a family RV trip with close quarters and some long rides.

Here are the runners-up for top Faucet fodder:

  1. A financial advisory firm we drove past that is called The Poos Group.
  2. A street named Glasscock. Was there anybody on that street naming committee that covered up their snigger by pretending to cough and was too embarrassed to suggest an alternative?
  3. A road named Fish Rock and the possibility that two Street Namers argued vehemently over the naming, one in favor of Fish Road and the other Rock Road, an argument that escalated and almost came to blows before a third party suggested that they compromise.

And the winner, the top Faucet fodder from the trip is….

A rather unsanitary State Park restroom, flooded— despite the toilet basically being just a hole in the ground— that the kids used while barefoot (to the great ire of my wife), very unpleasant smelling, the kids touching much more than they needed to (i.e. treating the handle bar like a jungle gym) and not really “going” with any sense of urgency…Fortunately a little comic relief arrived in the form of a message on the wall, scrawled on the plastic container for toilet seat covers, likely carved by a key.

Here it is: “FREE COWBOY HATS”

Just another reminder that if you look for it, laughter is out there even in the most unlikely, or unsanitary of places. And no, I did not wear a toilet seat cover as a hat.

A Parenting IQ Test

The Faucet gets flowing this week with a Parenting IQ test. Questions are based on situations that all parents are likely to face sooner or later in the joyful Odyssey of Wonder that is just trying to get through another day without flipping your lid.

Answers are posted at the bottom— if you turn your device upside down, then they will appear upside down so you can’t cheat. Scores will give parents some needed feedback in their overall Parenting Intelligence Quotient, which then will be forwarded to local school districts, the FBI, CIA, DCFS, and the NHL.

  1. All parents know the value of routine, especially when it comes to things that need to happen every day, like bedtime and bringing Dad his ostrich egg omelet with just a pinch of salt. Often times kids make strange requests, like wanting a cup of water. Also, sometimes kids have a peculiar and obsessive preference, say for the color of their cup. So if your 2 year old kid requests the color of your 8 year old kids’ cup, let’s say it’s pink, do you…

A) on the sly give the 8 year old that likes the pink cup a blue cup and not say anything.

B) preface giving the 8 year old that likes the pink cup a blue cup with a statement of appreciation, in advance, for being flexible and accepting the blue cup.

C) sit down and talk with both kids about the number of children in the world that lack fresh water, never mind it being cold and also in a cup designed by a rocket scientist to prevent spillage, even when it’s turned upside down or knocked over.

D) None of the above. It doesn’t matter. Just give the kids water and duck because someone is about throw a big ol’ hissy.

2. If your 2 year old refuses to brush their teeth night after night do you…

A) Pin your 2 year old down and have your significant other hold the wailing head with a full nelson and force the toothbrush into a screaming mouth and scrape a few times while your toddler gags.

B) Pretend the toothbrush is a dragon/airplane/fairy and make it a fun game!

C) Play hide and seek with the toothbrush ready, so that when your 2 year old finds you behind the curtains you can jump out with surprise oral health!

D) None of the above. It doesn’t matter. Might as well start using frosting as toothpaste and let the child chew yet another toothbrush to oblivion. Besides, those teeth will fall out anyway.

3. If after you’ve put all the kids to bed, come downstairs and cleaned up, including dishes, seven random messes, a car to unload, garbage, etc., then you sit down to do something you’ve been meaning to do all day, like respond to the old friend that emailed you five days ago, and just as you log in but before you can finish typing some phrase that Gmail suggests with autotype, after two letters, making you feel weird and sad and other strong emotions likely related to your extreme fatigue, you hear one of your children call out for you because they are afraid of the dark. Do you…

A) Hug them, kiss them, check the closet for monsters, glance under the bed, sing a lullaby, and lay with them until they fall asleep.

B) Validate their fear of their own room with seventeen nightlights, give them an invisible sword to use in case the Boogie Man shows up, assure them that there is no such thing as a Boogie Man and you meant to say Snoogie Man which is a friendly blanket super hero, a good friend of Mr. Incredible and Frozone, that swoops in for Snoogie time, then hug them, kiss them, check the closet for monsters, glance under the bed, sing a lullaby, and lay with them until they fall asleep. Once they are asleep, research childhood emotional distress, fear of the dark, and how to model courage for your children.

C) March up the stairs, tell them their fear is ridiculous, and that if you hear another peep, so much as a loud yawn, then you will smash their iPads in front of them in the morning with a hammer (even though you know this is a threat that is beyond empty, more like a Black Hole Of A Threat with mysterious gravitational forces of sadness and impotence).

D) None of the above. Either sound proof a room in the house or learn to play “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” on any of the kid toy instruments that randomly plays from a different heap of clutter each day.

Answers: It’s so cute that you think there are solutions to these problems. Snoogie Man is going to come and give you a nuzzle wuzzle!

Turning off the faucet this week

Thanks for checking in on the Humor Faucet, where the mission is to “keep the humor flowin’ (since 2018).”

I’m tempted this week to write about the conversation my five-year-old and I had this morning when she barged in on me wiping my bottom.

Or, some good old self-deprecating humor (which is a plentiful source since I’m always doing dumb things). Like a few days ago, when driving by a protestor holding up a sign that said “Honk if Black Lives Matter,” I honked and waved and then slammed on the brakes to avoid the car stopped at the next light. It was a closey.

However, in light of the millions of people out of work, the death toll from COVID-19 eclipsing the 100,000 mark, and now the race riots following the death of George Floyd, I’m going to turn off the faucet this week and instead use that time to read and listen.

Think I’ll start with Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Also, if any of you have kids out there, I found this cool YouTube page you can share with them called STEM uncovered with Dr. Esther.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO8fHSJrOnGZCZ19HvGvSLA/featured

And, don’t worry, next week there likely will be another conversation which the active use of toilet paper fails to dissuade in the slightest.

Wonderful Pistachios

Last December, when everything was still “normal,” my wife Megan and I took the kids on a weekend trip to Napa to visit Dutch and Marea and meet their son, Decker. We arrived on a Friday night. I came out of a restaurant with two large styrofoam containers of steaming, fragrant Hawaiian BBQ to find Megan throwing up in a garbage can. She spent the night puking. Sometime around 3 AM, Mazey (age 8) puked. They both spent the next day puking together, while Mia (age 5) Delaney (age 2) and I went with Dutch to one of those little kid railroad parks near Sonoma. It was all very nice, considering.

The next day, Mazey had an excruciating earache. Oh, and Delaney got trapped in a bathroom stall. One of those with the door that goes all the way to the bottom. Later, I went to Target to buy medicine and got the wrong flavor or brand. Twice. We did something or other that night.

Sunday some stuff happened. On Monday it was time to leave. We went to see a doctor for the earache, which wasn’t improving. On the way I saw this sign outside a grocery store: “Wonderful Pistachios. $7.99”

Turns out “Wonderful” is a brand of pistachios. I didn’t know that at the time. I thought it was an adjective that the store decided to use to entice customers. Watching Mia and Delaney play outside the doctor’s office, my sleep-deprived, battered and travel-weary mind envisioned the following scenarios, which in no way is intended to disparage the fine product known as Wonderful Pistachios.

Scenario One

“Hey Bill, you know that pistachio sign out front?”

“Sure Frank, I ought to. I was the one that made it.”

“Well, I noticed we haven’t been selling too many pistachios lately. Don’t take this the wrong way. It’s just…I had an idea. What if we added the word “wonderful” to the sign? I feel it just gives it the right amount of oomph.”

“By golly, that just might work! Frank, you’re a genius!”

Scenario Two

(In a perfect world, CUSTOMER A is played by Norm MacDonald and CLERK is played by Chris Farley, early 90’s)

CUSTOMER A: “Hey there… buddy, can you, uh, you know, show me where the (looks around, chewing gum) wonderful pistachios are?”

CLERK: “Sure, right over there by the walnuts.”

CUSTOMER A: “Those, uh, those look to be just regular pistachios. (Chews gum and looks at CLERK.) What are you trying to pull here? I’m looking for the wonderful ones. You think I’m some kind of jerk that eats regular pistachios?”

CLERK: I’m so stupid! God, I’m idiot! (Starts beating himself with an eggplant.) No wonder everybody hates me!

Scenario Three

“Honey, you’ll never believe it! Our favorite pistachios are in! Do you remember? Right when we started dating…it was just before Christmas….we were shopping. And we found those wonderful pistachios. Don’t you remember?”

“Do you mean the marvelous pistachios?”

“I don’t even know you any more.”

Scenario Four

“Tonight, for our party, I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment. I’m going to set out this bowl of regular pistachios and put a sign down in front that says: ‘Wonderful Pistachios’ in bright bold letters. Then, right next to it, I’m going to put down this bowl of wonderful pistachios, with no sign. No wait…maybe I should put a sign that says ‘regular pistachios’…like in pencil? Is that too many variables? Oh, I just don’t know! What do you think?”

“I think that’s the most insane science experiment ever conducted in the history of the world. I love it. Sign or no sign, I want to rip your clothes off and discuss data collection.”

If Neil Young Was A Golfer

Golfin’ In The Free World

The colors on the tee

Red, white, and blue

People shufflin’ their cleats

People sleepin’ in golf shoes

There’s a Cart Path Only Sign

On the hole ahead

There’s a lot of people playing

Frisbee golf instead

Don’t feel like a slow golfer

But I am to them

So I let ’em play through

With a wave of my hand

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

I see a woman in the night

With a sand wedge in her hand

On hold number eight

With a glow ball in the sand

Now she puts the wedge away

And she’s gonna take a drop

She hates her lie

And what she’s done with it

There’s one more golfer

That will never go to Q school

Never reach the green in two

Never get an eagle

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

We got a thousand rules of golf

For the handicap man

We got a kinder, gentler ball wash hand

We got golf super stores

And comfort stations

We got extra tee boxes

For the senior player

Got a ranger of the people

Let’s you play with five

Got a new driver

Got fairways to drive

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

Keep on golfin’ in the free world

With Thanks To Bud: R.I.P. Little Richard (and why they called him “Little”)

I’m writing this a little bit later than normal, so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not as sharp. I was washing the dishes and got sidetracked looking for a towel….strangest thing. Just vanished into thin air.

People ask me all the time—especially lately— is it hard writing a humor blog? And I always tell them, it’s just like juggling chainsaws: it gets easier and the cuts usually heal in a couple days.

Actually I’ve found life can be pretty funny if you just keep your eyes and ears open. But it’s true, every once in a while the well runs dry. It happens to the best of us.

Fortunately I have Bud. Bud worked with Joe, the original Faucet Blogger, and helped him generate ideas for his blog on plumbing. The guys over at Joe’s Plumbing still have a good laugh over Joe’s famous “ball valve” post— pure Bud on that one.

So I called up Bud.

“Hey Bud, our toilet is overflowing again. And do you have any ideas for the faucet blog?”

I didn’t say anything about being “dry” since Bud and Joe are really close and Joe is still hearing that darned drip inside his head.

Turns out Bud wasn’t aware that I’ve been keeping the faucet blog going. I won’t go into our whole conversation (I feel like I’m struggling enough here) but Bud eventually was kind enough to suggest that since I have an unpublished novel about a town that bans rock and roll, that maybe I should start blogging about rock and roll, and didn’t Little Richard recently pass?

Fortunately, I am a trained journalist. Also, I just found that dish towel, so I’ll make this quick.

So for Bud, and anyone else out there that might be curious, they called Little Richard “Little” because he was, well, little. Growing up. I guess he had one leg longer than the other.

So a big thank you to Bud, not just for the idea, but also for declogging the downstairs toilet.

In closing, I read today that five year olds laugh naturally 250 times a day and most adults don’t laugh that much in a month. So get laughing people, especially at yourself. Unless you just spent twenty minutes looking for a towel that’s on your shoulder. Because that’s actually sort of sad.

Tim Miller, 6th Grade

Today’s school lunch was chicken sandwich. My kid’s favorite. So we drove by the school to try for something, anything, that had even the slightest shred of normalcy.

It came with carrots and a carton of milk. Which took me back….

In 6th grade, my dad put me on the milk plan at Wilmot Junior High. One the first day of school, at lunch, I walked into the cafeteria and followed other kids to the Milk Line. I waited until it was my turn at the Milk Desk, and told a big scary 8th grader, let’s call him Plish, “Tim Miller, 6th grade.” He gave me a milk and checked my name off the list.

I did the same thing the next day. And the day after that. And every day of 6th grade.

The other kids figured it out. There weren’t all that many kids—this was after all the golden era of Capri Sun. After about a week or so, the Plishster had it down. He already knew all the 8th graders. Besides, you don’t become Milk Chief without some skillz upstairs.

The face, the name. White or chocolate. Next. It was very orderly. Kids waited, maybe smiled or said ‘Thank you” and the Plishmaster checked them off. And his lowly, un-named assistant would hand over the milk. But not me.

“Tim Miller, 6th Grade.”

I like to think it was a bright spot in ol’ Plishdiddy’s day. He looked at me sort of like Ryan from the Office. Exactly like that. He would wait for it. Lean in a little. Sometimes ask me to repeat, just to be sure. Sometimes he went with a preemptive strike. “By any chance are you Tim Miller, 6th Grade?”

Sometimes the Plishmaster would see me in the hallway and say, “Hey, look. It’s Tim Miller. 6th Grade.”

Ahh, those were the days.

My middle daughter Mia doesn’t like chocolate milk. For some reason she thinks the 18 grams of sugar make it too sweet.

“Do you want it?” my wife asked.

“Sure,” I said. But I couldn’t drink it. I couldn’t even open it. Something was holding me back. Then I said, “Tim Miller, 6th Grade.” It went down so smooth. Nothing says school lunch like chocolate milk.

20 minutes of my life I can’t get back

FROM: Tim Miller <timmiller26@gmail.com>9:21 PM
TO: p———–@hotmail.com
cc: m————@SDwritersink.com
Subject: Oops

Hi P-,
So this is embarrassing. Needless to say I had some issues dragging and dropping my query letter into the Google Drive folder for our SD Writers INK query letter class. (Actually, this whole thing started when I first accidentally dragged and dropped a folder of mine labelled “Budget”…I guess this is one reason not to have such a messy desktop…) Anyway, when I tried to delete my budget or at least get it into the trash so people don’t know much I spend each month on gas, I accidentally, somehow, moved your document The Infinite Wow Query Letter into the Trash. And, despite my best efforts, for some reason, I can’t move it back.

I’m very sorry! Hopefully you should have no issues restoring the document to the folder. I cc’d our instructor M- if for some reason you can’t retrieve it perhaps she can help since she created the folder. Well, I guess that about covers it.

Best,

Tim

1-2-3

  1. Things I never thought I would say: “This bowl cabinet is justing getting out of control.”

2. Realized the other day that, after all these years, I’ve had the expression “off-putting” all wrong. Which explains all the blank stares people have returned when I’ve snapped at them, saying, “Hey! Take that back. You’re way off-pudding.” Life will never be same.

3. And finally, thank you to all those readers out there that take a moment to write in saying that they enjoy the blog and it brightened up their day. (You can drop me a line, send me a question, or offer a topic at timmiller26@gmail.com). So I thought I would close this post with a response to Kyle out in Wyoming.

Kyle- thank you for your email. I know very little about kitchen faucets and can’t comment on the touchless kitchen faucet or the likelihood that it buying it for your dad would make it less likely that he will get the corona virus since he picks his nose a lot. I think you should probably tell him that he shouldn’t pick his nose, but maybe you already have. Good luck.