Mel has been at her mother’s for the past five days and I’ve been here by myself. You know what that means. Living like an animal like most guys do when they look around them and realize that they can relax a few of the usual rules. So I had a few days of leaving my tools out, leaving the dry laundry in the dryer and just using it as a sort of a round chest of drawers, taking the computer apart and leaving it strewn about all over the kitchen table, not unloading the dishwasher (refer to previous laundry comment), letting the dog have the sofa, putting a chair right in front of the TV, not making the bed, and (GASP!) leaving the toilet seats up. When I get off by myself, I really cut loose.

One begins to re-evaluate some commonly held beliefs. Many rules of etiquette that center on the preparation and eating of food are there because a group usually gathers together to eat; thus you have to put things in bowls and take turns and eat around a common table. If you start from scratch, you realize that if you’re by yourself, you can just plunk a can down directly on the burner of the stove (remove label first) and then eat it over the sink. I’m sure that Mr. Vise-Grip had that in mind when he invented his excellent pliers. Also, when nobody else is around to see, you can let the dog “pre-wash” the dishes if you know what I mean.

Still, one doesn’t lose the lessons of a lifetime as easily as all that. I behaved in a more civilized way than that – sort of. In return for being a slob however I did manage to complete some big projects throughout the house. And great was the rejoicing to have them done. Everyone now has a new door to the bedroom/closet/bathroom now and they are Oh-So stylish and not pockmarked with scooter scars and old stickers. And the doorknobs are no longer loose and rattling.

There was a good answer to all the questions that were prompted when the family came home a day earlier than expected. Such as:

“Why is the stepladder in the living room?”

Answer: Because I re-wired the entertainment center so that the DVD player would make use of the kickin’ audio system. The pod race scene from Star Wars takes on a whole new dimension when you can crank it up in stereo like that. The Matrix is much more impressive as well. True, I didn’t put the ladder away but I meant to. It wasn’t bothering me. The down side to this is that now, in order to make use of all our features, you have to use at least three remote controls simultaneously. Unless you want to stand in front of the entertainment center and twiddle with stuff like those guys in movies who are trying to make a submarine dive.

“What’s wrong with the computer?”

Answer: Nothing. I was “upgrading”. The fact that it will not boot up now is not something we want to talk about.

“What’s this check written to ‘Wholesale Tools’?”

Answer: I bought some tools, what else? You don’t often see a set of auger bits at a price like that.

“Why is Dixie hanging around the dishwasher?”

Answer: I don’t know.

There’s nothing to bring smiles to the faces of any family like results and now that everyone’s door opens smoothly and the sky is the limit as far as movie-watching volume is concerned, we are one happy family. They can even overlook the non-booting computer on the kitchen table for awhile but of course, we do have another one they can use. I do wish Dixie would stop hanging around the dishwasher with that expectant look on her face though.

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