Tales Of The Golden Xylophone

Like many people, Judy and I have several email addresses. We learned to do that a long time ago so that we could have a place to point all the spam that might come our way. If you have an email account, you know of which I speak.

Additionally, like many people, we each have our own cellular telephone, and most of our family and friends who would like to call us have our numbers so they can get us at any time they want. (If you don’t have our phone numbers, and you are a friend or relative, or would like to be, just ask us for them and we’ll give them to you.)

Also, like many people, we have a phone in our house. Just one. In a 3,000 square foot house. One phone. Really. It’s conveniently located on the breakfast bar, and as long as you are not at one end of the house or the other, you can usually get there before the fourth ring. If you can hear it. And if you want to. Usually, we don’t want to…

Why don’t we want to? Because it’s our “spam” phone. 95% of the calls that come in on that phone are “junk mail”. Maybe more. So if you call us on that phone, you will most likely go to voice mail. And if you are not a spam caller, you will leave a message and we will return your call at some point. (Yes, we are on the national do not call list.)

I say “at some point” because we don’t regularly check that number for messages – probably once a week, and usually not on the same day of the week. 

On the rare occasion that I do pick up the phone, I am not disappointed. Ever. You can always tell what’s coming when you pick up the phone and say “Hello”. A second or two of dead silence and then “Hello! Is William or Judith Kammerer available?”

Often I will say “He’s my dad and he’s not here.” This, strictly speaking, is not a lie – it’s good to be a Jr..

But sometimes, depending on the time of day, what my mood is and what I’m in the middle of, I will just own up to it and say “speaking.” This has led to several interesting conversations – some of which I wish I could have recorded.

Last night was just such an event…

Ring… Ring… Ring… R-

Hesitantly, “Hello.”

The expected two seconds of nothing, followed by Hello! Is this William Kammerer?”

I think “Why did I pick up the phone? Should I admit to being me? Am I doing anything right now that I’m particularly excited about doing? Maybe this will be fun?”

I decide that I can spare a minute to see if this is might, at least, be entertaining. I respond in the affirmative.

“Sigh… Yyeess, this is William Kammerer.”

“Mr. Kammerer, I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected, along with forty-four other people in the Coarsegold area, to receive a free Golden Xylophone!”

I’m not sure I heard the man right…

“What?!,” incredulously, “A free what?”

“A free Golden Xylophone,” came the confirmation.

“A xylo – a xylophone?”

“A Golden Xylophone!”

I can’t think of anything to say… I’m completely speechless, though I marvel at this man’s ability to keep a straight “face” saying this because I’m starting to begin to lose my composure.

After a brief moment (the shortest measurement of time, by the way), he continues, “Where would you like to have your xylophone shipped, Mr. Kammerer?”

I’m thinking “Seriously? Maybe this is real and the guy needs a break. He sounds serious. Why isn’t he breaking up laughing right now? How long can I go without cracking up? This has to be a joke.”

I finally answer, “Who is this really?”

“Mr. Kammerer, I represent Xylocorp.”

Have you ever had the giggles and couldn’t stop? No matter how inappropriate the situation? Like at a funeral? This is me, at this point of the conversation – really trying not to laugh and only able to smother it to the point of mild snickers.

“Well, I –  snicker – really don’t need – snicker – another xylophone right now. I have too many laying around the house as it is.”

He lets go a sigh and, with great disappointment, says “You’re the fourteenth  person to say that in the last hour…”

At this point I can’t hold it in any longer and, hurt his feelings or not, I completely fall apart and bust up laughing! 

And at THIS point, he can’t hold it in any longer either and he busts up laughing!

Waaaaiiiitttt a minute…  I recognize this laugh…  

They say that insanity is genetic – you inherit it from your kids. Well, people sometimes wonder where I get my sense of humor… I inherited it from my kids..

All of my kids have a great sense of humor, but one has always stood out among the many… Steve really should be a stand up comedian – seriously.. I cannot tell you how many tears of laughter he has caused the whole family over the past twenty-six years! The kid is hilarious! The best part is that he makes it up as he goes along – some people think I’m good at that, but I’m a complete downer compared to this guy.

In our family, you just have to mention the word “Bustafoo” or the name “Super Water Bottle Rocket Man” and his side-kick “Super Water Baby Bottle Rocket Boy” to elicit a complete tailspin into total chaotic writhing on the floor laughter.


So, Steve, thanks for the laugh last night, all night, this morning and up to and including right now..  





Directions to J and D’s house

  1. Drive to San Jose
  2. Pick an Almaden Exit and take it
  3. Drive .3 miles
  4. Turn right on Almaden and drive .2 miles
  5. Turn left at Almaden and drive .1 miles
  6. Turn left on Almaden and drive .2 miles
  7. Recalculating
  8. Turn left on Almaden and drive .6 miles
  9. Turn right on Almaden and drive 12.9 miles
  10. Turn right on Almaden and drive .4 miles
  11. Recalculating
  12. Turn right on Almaden and drive .1 miles
  13. Turn right on Almaden and drive .1 miles
  14. Turn right on Almaden and drive .1 miles
  15. Recalculating
  16. Drive 7.6 miles and turn left on Almaden
  17. Drive .1 miles, turn right on Almaden and turn left on Almaden
  18. Arrive at some destination on left on Almaden

J and D live on Lanewood…

Oh Christmas Tree…

You may be wondering why I am writing on this topic today, it being February 13th, and all. After all, it is still about 10.5 months before Christmas, isn’t it?

No, actually, it’s about 1.5 months AFTER Christmas…

This past Christmas, we, like most Americans, put up a Christmas tree. There is nothing unusual about this – we, like most Americans, do this every year and have done so since the year we were born.

Each year we put it up, decorate it beautifully, throw presents beneath it on Christmas Eve and take it down after the Christmas Season (which actually ends in early January, about the 8th).

Nothing changed this year in that regard… But…

Something did change this time around, and it has caused us some confusion…

For the last very many years, we have had an artificial Christmas Tree.. Not that we don’t like real trees, but it seemed like a good idea at the time we bought it very many years ago.

Why did we buy an artificial tree?

  • We got tired of needles falling off and getting into the carpet.
  • And everywhere else.
  • We thought it would be easy to just keep it in the garage all year round and throw it together at Christmas time, thereby saving us the hassle of going out and looking for ‘just the right one’ every year. (I don’t have a problem picking one out – it’s usually in the first group of one that I look at. However, I seem to be in the minority in that regard, with Judy being the majority.)
  • It would save us money in the long run because it would pay for itself after a few years (about ten of them as it turns out).
  • It came with one thousand, six hundred lights already attached, so it would save time stringing them ourselves.
    • Also saving me from possible electrocution, and/or having to go to confession for using The Lord’s name in vain. Before the fake tree, I always waited to go to confession until after the erection of the tree.
    • This meant that we had to put the tree up quite early in the season. And this may explain the dry needles all over the place.

This (last) year, however, we decided to go au natural in the tree department. This was a multi-faceted decision based on several things.

  • First, the fact that it really wasn’t so easy to put the thing together. In reality, it was a long arduous process, and it always led to multiple cuts, scratches and abrasions on unprotected hands, arms and faces due to the requirement for shaping the hundreds of branches. Assembly required gloves, long sleeve shirts, goggles, etc.
    • This job is dangerous. Naked people need not apply.
  • Another factor in the decision was storage of the tree after Christmas. The same hazards listed above combined with the fact that every year, the Christmas Tree box seemed to get just a little bit smaller. This, of course, made it just a little bit more difficult to restore the tree to it’s natural state of hibernation in the off season.
  • Finally, also helping the decision along was the fact that the tree (and all of our decorations) was stored in the garage, and the garage went when the house burned down. One of the MANY mixed blessings that the fire provided…

OK – so we got a real tree this year. It was GREAT! It smelled like a tree! And decorating it was actually kinda fun! All who saw it loved it, especially Judy and me. We had a slight challenge in that Max seemed to acquire a taste for pine needles, but other than that, it was good.

Until it came time to take it down…

Removing the decorations was easy, figuring out what to do with the thing was not… We have been trying to figure out what to do with the now dead tree – we don’t think we’re supposed to just put it out with the trash… We are attempting find that out but haven’t yet received an answer.

At least we got it out of the house. It’s right outside our back door and Judy thinks it looks out of place…

I, on the other hand, think it goes well the the natural surroundings, don’t you?

Driving High…

Hello friends.. Kammerer here again..

You may think, by the title of todays offering, that I am about to embark on an object lesson on Driving while intoxicated.  Tut tut!  Nothing could be further from the truth..

Rather, I am about to relate a tale about getting from one place to another, not by driving, but by flying. Not really so unusual an event.  Lots of people fly from point A to point B every day. In fact I did that tonight, myself.  I flew from Phoenix, AZ to Fresno, CA. I did the exact opposite on Sunday, after a brief five hour layover in Fresno. (Of course, my starting point WAS fresno, but that’s another tale for another time.)

You may even have flown, yourself, at some point..  You may have flown from San Diego to Seattle. Or from New York to London.  Or even from Rome to Salt Lake City.

And if you have ever flown anywhere at all, it probably would have been for good reason – like it’s too far to drive. Or you wanted to get there sooner than you would if you drove.  Or you like peanuts and Ginger Ale.

Indeed, the biggest excuse for flying is option one – it’s too far to drive. In fact, I would venture to guess that we choose our reasons for picking any form of transportation based on distance..

  • You decide to walk because it’s too far to sit your way to the refrigerator.
  • You decide to ride a skateboard because it’s to far to walk to your BFF’s house.
  • You decide to ride a bike because it’s too far to ride a skateboard to the local park to watch an exhilarating Lawn Bowling Match.
  • You decide to drive because it’s too far to ride your bike to the ball game.
  • You decide to fly because it’s too far to drive from Florida to Antarctica.

As you can see, there is a direct correlation between the distance to be traversed and the method of traversing that distance..

Usually, if one is to fly somewhere, the distance to the destination would probably be something more than a couple of hundred miles.  Say, from Los Angeles to Fresno (but only if you want to end up in Portland, OR via Salt Lake City, UT.  That’s because you can’t get directly from Fresno to where you want to go without going to at least one place you don’t want to go, first.  And the reverse is true, also – you can’t get to Fresno without going  – well, you get the idea. But I digress and, again, that’s another topic for another report.)

Suffice it to say that people fly because where they want to go is a very long way from where they are. You don’t fly from your house to the grocery store, but you do fly from your house to the other side of the country.

Unless your name is Hildegard (perhaps not your real name). And you need to get from Burbank to Orange county. A distance of 52.2 miles. And you don’t like traffic between airports.

Yes, my friend Hildy  (short for what is perhaps not her real name) used to fly from Burbank to Orange county…

Now 52.2 miles is well within normal “driving” distance, but I can see where someone might want to fly so short a distance if they really hate driving (or bicycling, or skateboarding or walking.  I have to draw the line there, though, because 52.2 miles really is way to far to sit your way there.)

I have reservations about this habit, though, because my friend probably lived somewhere between the two airports, and she probably wanted to get somewhere also between the two airports.  This would reduce the distance between her house and her desired destination to something below 52.2 miles.

And when you take into consideration that her house is probably not right outside the Burbank Airport gate, and her destination is, likewise, not right outside the John Wayne Airport gate, you could end up with a fairly large reduction in distance to be traveled in order to get from point A to point B.

Let’s assume that you live in an area where there is a gas station relatively close by. Let us also assume that you want to go some place that is also near a gas station. You can automatically reduce the distance from 52.2 miles to a maximum of 32.2 miles.*

*This is based on the Bill Kammerer law of “It’s Impossible To Find A Gas Station Within Ten Miles Of Any Airport That Actually Exists In Reality”.  **

Now the 32.2 mile figure assumes that you actually live at the gas station. This is not often the case in real life, so we can assume that there is a further reduction to be had by locating the residence some minimal distance from the gas station.

Let’s also assume that, because if you live in a gas station, you are probably not going to drive very far to get to a gas station and, therefore, your desired destination is also probably not at the gas station, either.

So what’s a good minimal distance from the gas station for your house? I’d say at least a mile.  For the sake of reality, let’s also apply the same minimal distance to the destination/gas station ratio.

Hence, the distance is now 30 miles. (Figure rounded to the closest whole number for the sake of keeping me from having to go and correct the rest of the figures below.)

But wait! What if your house is not right in the commercial district of Burbank, but is located some distance away in a nice middle class suburban neighborhood?

Ah… Add another 4 miles to the distance to the gas station from your house.  And that distance will always be further from the airport than from the gas station, so we now have a further reduction of 4 miles, or 26.2 miles between home and where you want to go.

We will further assume that “destination” is in not in a commercial district of some sort, but is in a business park. And because business parks are usually located out in the middle of absolutely nowhere, we must move it another 10 miles away from where it really isn’t in the first place.

So, now we are at about 16 miles between points A and B.

At this point, it may be helpful to see exactly where we are…

Your residence is 15.1 miles away from Burbank Airport.

Your desired destination is 21.1 miles away from John Wayne Airport.

This gives you a combined distance away from the airports of 36.2 miles

Total distance between airports = 52.2 miles

Combined distance away from airports = 36.2 miles

52.2 – 36.2 = 16 miles between home and destination.

OK, so now you are 16 miles from where you want to go. So let’s fly there, shall we?

Drive 15.1 miles from home to the Burbank Airport      15.1

Fly 52.2 miles to John Wayne Airport                               52.2

Drive 21.1 miles to destination                                            21.1

15.1 + 52.2 + 21.1 = 88.4

You have just gone 88.4 miles to get 16 miles.

Then, once you got to the JW Airport,  you had to rent a car.

Then flew back to the Burbank Airport. Once you got there, you paid for parking for your car and drove it home.

And all of this doesn’t take into account the fact that you probably drove half way there in the plane just getting to and down the runway.

I have to go to Sacramento in the morning, a distance of about 200 miles. I have decided to drive. Largely because there’s never a Space Shuttle available when you need one…

Also, I’m not a member of Congress…



**  The two exceptions I have found are in Aspen, CO and Sacrmento, CA.

I can’t really count the one in Aspen because they charge about 1.5 times the national average for a gallon of gasoline.

The one is Sacramento is pretty awesome – it’s right there on the airport grounds and you have to pass it to get to the terminals and the rental car return.   The problem with that, though, is that if you rented your car in Atlanta and feel obligated to return it to the same location from which you acquired it on time to catch your return flight home, you can’t  return it in Sacramento, can you?

Testing.. Testing…

Testing – testing – one-two-three… Testing…

This is a test of the new WordPress “Publicize” feature. This is only a test.

Had this been an actual post, I would have written something other than “Testing – testing – one-two-three… Testing…  This is a test of the new WordPress “Publicize” feature. This is only a test.”

However, this is only a test, so you can ignore it. Of course, if you are interested in my test, you are welcome to read it.

BUT… If you aren’t interested, I cannot force you to read this test. I wouldn’t, even if I could, so don’t wory about it – you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t read this.

Of course, if you don’t read this, you won’t know that it really doesn’t bother me that you choose not to read this test, and that might make you think you hurt my feelings. And that would bother me because I don’t want you to feel obligated to read this test.

That being the case, please read because if you don’t, you may develop serious guilt pangs, believing that I am bothered by the fact that you didn’t, and I’m sure you have better things to feel guilty over than not reading my test.

So in the long run, it might be better just to read this, and get it over with, in order to avoid unjustified feelings of guilt which can lead to depression which (in severe cases) may lead to over eating and slothful habbits which may lead to unwanted weight gain which can (in severe cases) lead to deepening depression and, in the long run, more unwanted weight gain.

Of course, there is the slim chance that you might make a lucky guess that I won’t be bothered if you don’t read my test, in which case you may not develop unwarranted feelings of guilt and all of the unwanted weight gain associated with it. In that case, you don’t need to read my test. It’s your choice, so make it… Dosen’t bother me in the least… Just make sure you guess right, and don’t come crying to me if you guess wrong and end up weighing 900 pounds.

Of course, on the positive side, if you guess wrong, you can sit anywhere you want.

Fear The Duck…

Does this photo bother you? If so, you are not alone. You may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from Anatidaephobia – the fear that you are being watched by a duck.

Ask yourself these questions:

“Have I ever awakened in a cold sweat the middle of the night with the feeling that I am being spied upon by a duck?”

“Have I ever taken a quiet stroll  along a peaceful lake, only to have my serenity shattered by the sudden appearance of a family of ducks swimming by… And watching me…?”

“Do I feel anxious when I open my closet door because my sixth sense tells me that there is a pair of duck eyes waiting on the other side… Waiting… To look at me…?”

“Am I afraid to venture out in “foul” weather because I know that a duck is a breed of water “fowl”, and I see them… looking at me… in every rain drop that falls about me?

“Are ducklings truly ugly to me?”

“Do I avoid people named Donald or Daffy because they make me think of the filthy cartoon characters after whom they were obviously named?”

“When I was a child in school, did I participate in “Goose and Cover” drills because I could not bring myself to “Duck”?”

“Do I scan the obituary column searching out people who died from being observed by ducks?”

“Worse, do I ever find them?”

“Do I consider a duck’s eyes to be evil?”

“Would I rather stare into the cold dead eyes of a great white shark than into the knowing, appraising eyes of a rabid duck?”

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you have a real problem, and there is nothing that can be done to help you.

Your life will be a total goose egg…

Fear the Duck…


The Frustration of Working So Hard…

Eeesshhhhh – It’s still the middle of the night and I’m already up.  That’s because I had a dream that woke me up laughing.. Judy hates it when I wakeup laughing because when I do, it wakes her up.

And then she starts laughing..

This is not good because when she starts laughing she can’t go back to sleep and she gets mad at me.

While she’s laughing..

And the stupid dream wasn’t all that funny to begin with. Actually, it was rather frustrating…

(Dream sequence harp music…)

… I find myself playing baseball for the San Francisco Giants and I’m in the batter’s box. It must be back in the 1960’s because we’re playing the Dodgers and I am facing Don Drysdale, which surprises me.

Drysdale winds up and pitches the ball, and it sails over the catcher’s head and goes all the way back to the backstop.  So, as I was brought up to be as helpful as possible in any situation, I run on back to the backstop, retrieve the ball for Number 53 and throw it back to him.

While I am on my way back to the batter’s box, he he decides to take some warm up pitches, which is fine with me because I seem to be taking a long time to getting back to the plate.

When I finally do arrive back “home”, Drysdale winds up and throws another pitch, this one a strike down the middle of the plate.  Surprisingly, the ball gets away from the catcher, and, once again, I run to retrieve it… And, once again, he takes some warm up throws while I make my way back to the game…

Again I get back to the plate, and he throws another strike, but again it gets away, and I’m off to do my third good deed of the at bat..

This time, after returning the ball to the pitcher, and while I am on my way back to the box, I notice a new chalk line on the field located between me and the batter’s box.  Accompanying the new layer of chalk is a newly, just this moment, instituted rule that says that I don’t have to be in the batter’s box for a pitch to count.  The rule states that ‘once the batter has crossed the (new) line, any pitch that the pitcher delivers counts’! – I don’t have to be in the batter’s box to strike out!

I realize that I have just crossed the line and that the pitcher is winding up and his name is Don Drysdale and he is not going to miss the strike zone and I have two strikes against me and he doesn’t care that I’ve been a good guy and helped him out because he’s a Dodger and I’m a Giant and I’m about to be struck out while not being even a little bit close to the batter’s box!

This realization throws me into a bit of a panic and I start running to the plate in order to keep myself from being waved out by the equally ungrateful umpire.

Fortunately, I get back to the box just an instant before the ball crosses the plate and take a lunging swing at it.  Unfortunately, I miss the ball.  But, fortunately, somehow the ball is rolling toward the pitcher’s mound and it dawn’s on me that I’m not out!

Now would be a good time for me to start running to first base, and even though I know that the pitcher will probably throw me out, I begin the 90 foot journey just as fast as my little legs will take me.

This is good because the pitcher has just thrown the ball over the first baseman’s head and anybody who can move forward at all can get there before the ball is recovered and delivered back to first base – yehaw! The race is on!!

Unbelievably, though, as fast as my legs are moving, I am not making any progress toward the base.. It’s that dream thing where you are running as hard as you can, but not getting anywhere… It’s like trying to run while you are neck deep in peanut butter.  Worse yet is the fact that nobody else seems to be having the same problem – everything outside of your body is moving at normal speed…  Ugh…

Well, as fate would have it, the right fielder has scooped up the ball and sent it on it’s way back to first base – and, as fate would also have it, I am still 87 feet away from there.. I’m doomed…

But, Lady Luck steps in and the ball sails over the first baseman’s head and toward the pitcher’s mound! I’m saved!

Regretfully, I am still 80 feet from first base when the pitcher catches it and hurls a strike back to the first baseman. I’m doomed…

Joyfully, the first baseman is busy winking at a pretty girl in the stands behind the dugout and doesn’t even see the ball blow by him and back down the right field line! I’m saved!

Sadly, the right fielder, who has not gotten all the way back to right field yet, turns around, gets the ball and throws it back to first base, now being covered by the second baseman.. And I’m still 70 feet from the base… I’m doomed…

Happily, the second baseman somehow has the ball bounce out of his glove and roll back down the first base line toward home plate! I’m saved!

Grotesquely, I am still 50 feet away from the base, now being covered by the short stop, when the catcher picks up the ball and slings it toward first base.  And the thing that goes through my mind is “I’ve worked SO HARD to get to first base” and now I’m going to be thrown out…” I’m doomed…

Wonderfully, the ball actually hits the base and takes a wild bounce toward the dugout and Walter Alston gets it and zings it back in the general direction of first base.. This strikes me as interesting because Walter Alston is the Dodgers’ Manager and isn’t supposed to touch the ball while it’s in play – I will be awarded the base!  I’m saved!

Unpleasingly, There has been another rule change during the time that I have been traversing the distance between home plate and first base… As a training tool, The manager may now ‘participate in any single play where there have been more than 5 errors committed by his defensive team, assuming he deems it a teachable moment’.. I’m doomed…

And I’ve worked SO HARD…

Delightfully, by this time in his career, Alston’s arm isn’t what it used to be and the ball heads off into center field!!! I’m saved!

Hopelessly, I am still 20 feet from first base when the center fielder Reaches the ball, acquires it and shoots a rocket to the base and it will beat me there by about 5 minutes… I’m doomed…

But… I have suddenly gained speed and am now within striking distance of the bag… If only the ball can just escape the grasp of whichever player, coach, umpire or fan is now covering the base for the D’s… I… Can… Make… It…

Which is only just because I have worked SO HARD to get there…

Disastrously, though, the catcher is covering the base… And he successfully smothers the ball in his glove… It’s over… I’m doomed…

But wait!  He is not standing on the bag! He’s 3 feet away!… I may be saved!

Shockingly, at about 8 feet from the base, I trip over my feet and fall on my face…  the bag a foot out of my reach… I’m doomed…

As providence would have it, the catcher forgot to remove his mask when this whole thing started and his view is obstructed… He can’t find the base… I’m saved!

Inopportunely, he has removed the mask, found the base and is lunging forward to touch it before I can make contact… I’m doomed…

Hopefully, I slither on my belly, keeping my body stretched – toe to finger tip – as far as it will stretch in the hope of brushing my finger nail against first base before the catcher finds it with any part of his body…

I see his glove coming down on the base… My own hand millimeters away…

And then I woke up…

It’s kinda like politics…



Fire Update: The Recovery Commences…

Judy just opened the box containing her new desk.. I am always afraid when I see the words “Some Assembly Required”…

The first instruction is:

1.   You will need wood (W-951) to assemble this desk (D-666) – Please see part No. A-01: Seed.

1a.  Using shovel (A-437), dig hole (H-943)

1b.  Insert seed (A-01) into hole (H-943) and cover with dirt (D-02)

1c.  Water as needed (W-298) and wait for wood to appear.

1d.  Then proceed with assembly of Desk (D-666).

Max is lucky he doesn’t have opposable thumbs… I am not so fortunate…

Family reunion leftovers

Last year we had a bunch of things left at our house after KFR – shoes, sunglasses, baby toys and even a really crusty pair of socks.. This year it’s food..

We are never going to be able to eat 7 gallons of ice cream, a 10 pound cheese cake, 4 dozen hot dogs and 2 dozen bananas (before they go bad).. We’ve been eating leftover pasta all week and there’s still about two weeks worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert and in-between meal snacks of the stuff.. And there’s still some birthday cake.. And we’ve given away as much as anybody will take..

I’m not hungry any more.

So why did we spend $150.00 at the grocery store tonight?

Pool For Sale. Cheap.

Hello again – Kammerer here…

Some of you may remember that last year we had a family reunion at our house, and that, just prior to that FR, Judy and I sort of inherited a 5×18 swimming pool.

It had belonged to Jennifer and Dean, our beloved daughter and son-in-law. They had bought the thing and had it errected in the backyard of the house they were living in at the time, but moved before they ever filled it with water. This, of course, made it a “new” pool, having never been swum (swam? swimmed?) in.

Upon moving, they decided that the pool would not be usable any longer and they decided to rid themselves of the item all together.

The problem with the pool was not that there was a problem with the pool, but that the house into which they moved had a much bigger one planted in the ground in the back yard. This made the large above-ground brand new never been swam (swimmed? swum?) in pool a bit obsolete for their tastes.

Well, so as not to bore you with all of the in-between details, it ended up at our house via our son, Billy, and his lovely wife, Lacey.

As I mentioned above, we were in the preparing stages of the 3rd annual Kammerer Family ho-down at our house, so we put it up and had it ready for the big event.

For a short diary of the events immediately after the assembly of the pool, click here…

For a somewhat less short chronicle of how to empty the pool once you’re ready to take it down, click here…

As it happens, we are now two weeks away from this year’s event, and we are way behind in the getting ready department.  (In fairness, we have had a lot going on this year, including, but not limited to, reconfiguration of some of the property around the house.  I still have a lot of work getting the trails in the back yard in shape – walking on some of them is like skiing – very slippery – lots of oak leaves everywhere.  And the grass is hip deep in some areas back there, so I’m doing a lot of weed-whacking.. But I digress…)

Well, this year we aren’t going to put up the pool. In fact, There is now a shed standing right in the middle of where the pool was standing last year, and much of the pool is currently cluttering up – I mean – standing inside the shed.

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to raffle it off at this year’s KFR in two weeks.  Here’s how I see the raffle going down (the rules)

  1. All living members of the Kammerer family will have their names put into an appropriate container. This container will be called “The Loser’s Bin”.        (This includes ones who don’t show up.)
  2. Everybody who does show up will have the option of selecting the size of paper on which they want their name to appear. (The larger the size the less chance of driving home with a swimming pool in the back of your car.)
  3. All non-attending relatives will have their names written on something about the size of a fortune-cookie fortune, making it difficult to find amongst all of the poster-sized names in the bin, thereby enhancing their opportunities to obtain the pool.
  4. Every two minutes throughout the weekend, Max, our dog, will reach in with his mouth and pull out a name.
  5. That name will be placed in a “winner’s” bin.
  6. All names in the “winner’s” bin will immediately become exempt from the raffle.
  7. The last name left in the Loser’s Bin becomes the owner of the pool with all rights, privileges and entitlements that go along with that honor (including the bill for shipping it to your house).
  8. You do not have to be present to lose.

Obviously, if you show up for the party you stand a better chance of not getting stuck with the pool.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of Kammerer relatives and with a drawing every two minutes throughout the weekend, there may not be enough time to get through all of the names in the Loser’s Bin.  If this happens, there will not be a loser and I may retain ownership. Hence, the reason for this posting…

Anybody want a 5 x 18 above ground pool at a really good price?  It’s really in pretty good shape, though it’s going to need to be cleaned up pretty well.

The Pool Diaries

Day 1 –

This pool is a test. This is only a test. If this had been an acutal pool, it would have come with a pool man… Or a pool woman… Or a pool kid… Or even a skimmer with a pole…

Day 2 –

Why does the water in the pool look like it was put there by a herd of incontinent horses?

Day 3 –

The leak seems to have abated a bit.. I wonder if there is a way to apply a patch under water… I have invented a way in my mind… All I need is a large tupperware container, some glue, some gasket material, a saw and some duct tape…

Judy just got home and asked me if the leak has stopped… It’s more of a long damp streak now…

Day 4 –

I just tested the new skimmer with the four’ telescoping handle… I skimmed up three dead grasshoppers, four leaves and some other as yet unknown type of bug… I’m excited…

Day 5 –

I have discovered that there are actually two deep ends of the pool… There seems to be some sort of hump in the middle… I wonder if it’s one of the horses… Serves it right…

Day 6 – The filter has been running for four days straight… Two and a half days with chlorine … The water doesn’t seem quite as yellow this morning… Seems to have a slightly greenish tinge to it… Does anybody know if that’s a good thing?

I put a second gallon of chlorine into the pool… I may have to actually get into the thing tomorrow to test it out…

Day 7 – I got into the puddle at about 11:00 PM and swam around (yes, I figured a way to swim in circles) for about 20 minutes.

And yes, I wore swim trunks.

Day 8 – Turned the filter back on. Added a little more water… Must be because I was thirsty at the time.

Conversations With Judy – Episode One: Pillow Talk

It was a dark and snoozy night…

It was a dark and snoozy night…

Twenty minutes ago, I was sound asleep happily dreaming of my new Sears Craftsman Model 79186 Weedwhacker Gas Trimmer with the 32cc 2-Cycle Engine, Incredi-Pull – P2 Technology, Hassle Free Cutting Head, and Convertible Attachment System*, when I was awakened by the feel of my wife’s hand groping my own hand (which was somehow vertically situated above her head, leaning up against the headboard) and following it along down to the top of my head, as if she was trying to figure out what this thing was…

And then she said, “What are YOU doing here?”

“Oh, I’m here this time most every night … What do you mean what am I doing here? Where do you think we are?”

“I’m on the couch. What are you doing standing behind it?”

“You may be on the couch, but I’m in bed asleep.”

“Really? What time is it?”


Dead silence… then she started laughing and said “Sorry for waking you – I thought I was on the couch reading my book and you were the cat.”

“You woke me up for this?”

Then she went back to sleep.

Now she is sawing Zs and I’m wide awake writing this stupid story…

* Really – I was – I’m now convinced that I am no longer a teen-ager…