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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Home at Last, Home at Last!

Hey, folks.

I’m happy — no, ecstatic… no, no, giddy — to report that I’m typing this from the comfort of my very own comfy chair, with a bottle of my own beer beside me, back in the friendly confines of my very own cozy little house.

(Well, okay, so it’s not really my house, exactly. My wife and I are co-owners, technically.

And if you really want to split hairs, then I guess the bank still owns ninety-plus percent of the thing. Our year and a half of mortgage payments have probably cleared a six-foot square spot for us somewhere in the house. So we own the foyer, maybe, or the fridge space. Maybe the downstairs toilet. Whatever.

Now stop being a smartass and let me get back to the point. I’m trying to tell a story here, dammit.)

So, the point is, it’s good to be back, after more than a week away seeing the families for the holidays. As a matter of fact, it’s o good to be back that I’m been inspired to whip up a little photo essay for you. And this kind of shit doesn’t happen often around here, so you’d better damned well enjoy it. You never know when you’ll get this kind of special nonsense again.

(Right. As opposed to the usual nonsense that’s always here. Nice talk.

Didn’t I just tell you to stop being a smartass? Pinhead.)

Anyway, here’s what I’ve come up with, and I hope you like it. It’s entitled:

Ten Things I Missed Most on Christmas Vacation

(Click on any image for a larger — and much more exciting! — version.)

  #1. The House

All week, I’ve missed our little blue-and-white bungalow on the hill. On the other hand, while at the families’ places, I didn’t have to shovel damned snow or clear the driveway. Still, it was my frigging snow, and my plowed-in driveway. And now, my aching damned back. But it was good to see the house — or at least the parts of it not covered in the white stuff — anyway.

  #2. The Computer

I spent parts of nine — count ’em, dammit, nine — days using crappy-ass molasses-slow feel-your-hair-grow dialup connections. Or no connection at all. So like a junkie after a fix, I glommed onto my computer — and the big fat DSL pipe it’s hooked up to — as soon as I physically could.

(Which was ‘not quite immediately’, since I had to shovel snow for a half-hour first — see above. And then groan and ache my way up the stairs to the office. And gingerly plop my Christmas-fattened ass into the desk chair, all of which took a fair amount of time.)

And man, oh man, does that first thirsty gulp of high-speed connection taste good after a week away. Damn! I never want to be unjacked-in again. Ahhhhh.

(By the way, the more eagle-eyed among you may scan the photo and notice that among the items on my desk are my Simpsons 2004 daily trivia calendar — a Christmas present from the wife last year — The Sims Double Deluxe, and Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Lineups — gifts from her this year.

Now, I ask you — is that me in a nutshell, or what? And does my wife kick major ass? Yes. Yes, she does.)

  #3. The Laundry

Now, don’t get me wrong. I spent the entire time away with clean undies on. And clean socks and shirts, too, for that matter. It’s not like I left here with one outfit, and came back with crusty-coated boxers that could walk on their own, or anything like that. That’s nasty. Perv.

But… I will admit — and this is merely an effect of the laws of physics and luggage packing — that I had to stretch two pairs of jeans through the whole trip. And by the end… well, I’m not sure either pair could walk on their own, exactly, but they could probably stand up by themselves, at least. And maybe crawl across the floor. And growl at people. It wasn’t pretty, folks.

So I was glad to be back in the land where pants are worn once — maybe twice — and then scrubbed squeaky-clean in the washing machine. I was starting to grow funk in places where no funk should be, if you know what I’m saying.

(Oh, and if you look closely at this photo, you might just catch a glimpse of those nasty pants, or my dirty boxers, in the enormous pile of laundry at lower right.

So for crissakes, don’t look closely at it! Who the hell wants to see that?!)

  #4. The Shower

Ah, the shower. How I’ve missed you. Let’s never be apart again, sweet sweet shower of mine.

See, here’s the thing. I think that we all get accustomed to the characteristics — the various peccadilloes, if you will — of our ‘home base’ shower. We then judge all other showers in comparison to the one we know best. And for me, showering during Christmas vacation is something of a ‘Goldilocks moment’.

(No, not because there are bears involved, ya numbnuts. Nor do I shower with fricking porridge.

Not that it’s a bad idea, come to think of it — assuming I could get my wife involved, too, of course. That’s kind of kinky, in a ‘part of a complete breakfast’ sort of way. But that’s not where I was going with this. Just stop it.)

So, our shower has what I would call ‘above-average’ force, and a farily narrow, steady stream. We also, apparently, have a pretty large hot water tank, so if you get… I don’t know, ‘distracted‘ in there, you can dawdle and fiddle around for a while and still be toasty warm. I dig that. I work out a lot of standup bits in the shower. It helps me think.

In contrast to that, my parents’ shower has what I would call ‘extra-mongo-hurricane force’. Showering at their place is a little like getting a full-body enema from a fire hose in a wind tunnel. I’m pretty sure I’ve suffered internal bleeding from standing under their shower head; the water feels like it’s stabbing right through my skin in that thing. On the plus side, my internal organs never felt cleaner, so I suppose there’s a silver lining in there somewhere.

Of course, in addition to — or very probably, because of — that little inconvenience, the shower stays hot there for about nineteen seconds. I suppose that makes sense — when you’re hurtling seventy-three goddamned gallons of water out the shower head per minute, you’re bound to run out of hot stuff pretty quickly. But it’s no frigging picnic — I feel like I’m on some demented satanic game show whenever I’m there, fighting desperately to clean all my important parts while trying not to be slammed against the far wall by the water pressure, all the while working against the ‘frigid water clock’. I should get a month’s supply of Rice-O-Roni, just for playing the game, dammit.

On the other hand, the shower at my mother-in-law’s house is a whole different ballgame. There’s no problem there with the water temperature — I’ve taken ten-minute showers there with no problem. I suspect you could stand in there all day, in fact, and never feel the water get colder at all.

Of course, that’s because there’s no stupid pressure in her shower — people, I could piss through cheesecloth with more force than that damned shower head puts out. You know how in some showers, when you come out you don’t really feel ‘clean’? Well, in this one, when you emerge, you don’t really feel fricking wet. I’m surprised the woman even owns towels.

  #5. The Bed

Speaking of being accustomed to a certain familiar feel, I’m practically giggling like a schoolgirl at being back to our comfy bed. I never really thought of our mattress as ‘firm’, particularly — and honestly, I’ve spent nights on much harder surfaces. Even a few that didn’t involve the inside of a holding cell.

But apparently, our bed is on the ‘firm’ side. Either that, or both our families are operating under the delusion that people in Boston like to sleep on Jell-O molds, because that’s what the beds at their places feel like. At the in-laws, there’s even the added ‘feature’ of a headboard that tilts ominously inward over the pillows, creating the illusion — please, god, tell me it’s an illusion — that the whole apparatus is one toss or turn away from collapsing in on itself and burying us in a mass of wood and sheets and cat hair. But at least we’d be resting on the floor, so maybe we’d get more back support. There’s that silver lining again, eh, folks?

  #6. The TiVo

Now, I don’t want to give the wrong impression here. Heaven knows that I don’t have the most sophisticated tastes in televised entertainment. And I don’t visit the family for the holidays just to get some quality TV time. Most of what I see over the Christmas break is football, as the four hundred and nine college bowl games play themselves out for our (mostly) indifference.

But. Come on. One of these people has got to get themselves a TiVo one of these years. If we’re going to resign ourselves to watching crappy no-name football, then let’s really fricking watch crappy no-name football. Let’s slo-mo the close calls. Let’s rewind and see that one-handed catch again. Let’s pause the action to capture the exact moment when the kid on the sideline takes the wad of cash from the booster. Isn’t that what watching sports is all about?

And honestly, I don’t expect to see my kind of shows while I’m away. You can see — maybe — from the picture the type of stuff I’m watching: Simpsons. Comedy Central standup. Futurama. Monty Python.

(And note the Holy Grail special edition DVD — a gift from the father-in-law — propped against the TV in that shot. Jealous much?)

All I’m asking for is a little flexibility in our holiday viewing experience. Some replays. Cutting through the commercial breaks. Someone with the remote in their hand who doesn’t just know how to use it — anyone can use a remote, after all. I want a maestro — work those tuners, dammit, and make use of that ‘Previous Channel’ button. Skip those ads, and flip back just as the commercial break ends. Work it, baby — work it.

But I don’t get that for Christmas. So I have to come back home, and work it myself to cartoons and college football.

(Where, um, ‘work it’ means the remote, remember? ‘Cause I think that sort of came out wrong. Just a little.)

  #7. The Couch

Ah, the couch. Now, I’ve got no real beef iwth the couches I’ve been lounging on for the past few days, really. It’s just that they weren’t my couch, and that’s the comfiest of all. See there on the right-hand side — that’s my assprint, right there. Fits these cheeks like a glove. Like some sort of pooper mitten. Or something. Ahem.

At least, it used to. Recently, of course, the dog has decided that it’s okay for her to sleep on the furniture, so long as we don’t actually see her on it. Apparently, the logic in her warped little head holds that our only beef with her being on the furniture is that we can’t stand the sight of it. So she sneaks off and naps on the couches when we’re not looking. Bitch.

And if the brazen insolence of it all isn’t enough, now she’s nestled into my assprint enough to stretch it all out and change its shape. So now my favorite couch cushion has this Frankensteinian half-asscheek / half-dogshaped indentation that’s no good to either one of us any more. Lousy fricking mutt.

  #8. The Dog

On the other hand, I’ve missed that lousy fricking mutt, and here she is. She’s still mad at us for leaving her at the ‘puppy lodge’, of course, but she’ll get over it. Probably with a nap on my couch, too. Grrrr.

  #9. The Fridge

Now that’s a fridge! Woot!

But it’s not just because it’s stocked chock-full of food — and a whole shelf’s worth of beer, you’ll notice — that I’ve been missing our rascally refrigerator. No, folks, it’s because it’s jam-packed with my kind of food. No Christmas cookies, or too-rich candy. No piles and piles of holiday food to be eaten day after day after day, until you never want to see a turkey leg or can-shaped, neon-colored, purportedly-cranberry-based mold of goo ever again.

No, sir — this is the food I’m used to. Frozen dinners. Microwave burritos. Skim milk and Pepsi Edge (‘Half the carbs, but a full five-eighths of the taste!‘) and low-fat lunch meat. I don’t do that sweet shit, or the over-the-top ‘traditional’ meals, really. I try to eat right, as long as I can make it in under ten minutes, and that’s it. Along the way, I like a nice Sierra Nevada or Guinness or Hop Devil. Or two. Or four. Simple food. And now, I’ve got that again. God, I love my fridge.

  #10. The Car

I’ve mentioned many times before how I love our car. And, more importantly, I mentioned recently that our holiday rental vehicle wasn’t quite what we’d bargained for. So yeah, it was pretty sweet to see Silver Betty sitting in our driveway again, right where we’d left her.

It would have been a whole lot fricking sweeter if I hadn’t had to dig her out and clear away the two-foot-tall snowbank that the plows dumped onto the end of our driveway, but still. I’m just happy to be driving something without its own goddamned zip code again.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little trek through the life I’ve been missing for the past week-plus. And I suppose this would be a good time to mention that all of the piccys above were captured using:

  #11. The Camera

(That’s what we in the blogging business call ‘bonus material‘, people. Just lean back and let it wash over you. This is some high-quality shit going on here.)

So, that’s the end of this little exercise. And now, it’s time for me to get back to all that stuff I’ve been missing out on. I’m gonna leave this computer, pet the dog, grab a beer from the fridge, check the laundry, and watch some TiVoed Simpsons on the couch. That’s the fricking ‘high life’, folks. Home at last, home at last… thank the gods, I’m home at last!

Permalink  |  9 Comments

9 Responses to “Home at Last, Home at Last!”

  1. SilverBubble says:

    Welcome back to the land of high-speed internet access. Happy New Year.

  2. shelley says:

    I’m really glad you’re back and everything, but I’d appreciate it if you’d return my comforter at your earliest opportunity. You’ve got a wife AND, I might add, a perfectly good dog to keep you warm at night, whereas *I* have only my purple and gold and green comforter to do the job.

    See, it’s right there on my be—- HEY! Wait just one minute! Could there be TWO?

    So. Um. Nice fridge.

  3. Rae says:

    Hey there, Charlie!

    Love the pics, I was thinking of starting a “What’s in my Fridge” meme just this morning.

    As always, laughed my a$$ off:)

  4. Steph says:

    Hey, welcome home, happy new year and all that crap!


    By the way, you DO have the best wife ever. I spotted that baseball lineup book way before i noticed anything else in the picture :-)

  5. #Debi says:

    You’ve also got one heck of a father-in-law. I am jealous much of your new Holy Grail DVD. I’ve wanted that for so long that I almost went out and bought it for myself. Almost. Happy New year!

  6. Welcome home, Charlie. And HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’ve always said…It’s truly great to travel because it makes you appreciate your own space that much more when you get back. Enjoy that cold beer!

  7. BytchInNY says:

    I feel ya on the shower… Mine has nice pressure and stays hot forever and whenever I go anywhere it’s just never quite as good at all. It’s definitely what I miss most when I’m away from home.

    btw – Happy New Year!

  8. Lois Lane says:

    Welcome back Charlie! Dorothy said it best, “There’s no place like home!”

    Lois Lane

  9. susan says:

    that is one scary faceless doggy you got there… or is it a bear???

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