My Best Boss

The quality of one’s job is directly dependent upon the quality of one’s boss. I know this is true; there is no other way to explain how the teenaged me managed to spend an entire summer slaving over a Burger King broiler without killing myself.

The Burger King manager, Annie, was kind and understanding. She knew the job was terrible. She knew I had grease burns running up and down my forearms. She knew I went home every afternoon smelling like a rancid French fry. And, most importantly, she had no desire to make my life any worse. She smiled, gave me praise, and tossed me free chicken tenders the way one might feed a trained seal. She made an intolerable job sort of tolerable and I was grateful.

My boss theory goes the other way, too. Shortly after graduating college, I worked as an assistant art director for a magazine that profiled bed and breakfasts. Even though it was a design job – and I never really cottoned to a career in design – I did like the work. I even found opportunities to strengthen my journalism chops, interviewing innkeepers and writing articles.

But my boss, the magazine’s publisher, let’s call her Mrs. Wilkes, was a horrible person. She fancied herself an expert in all things. One of her hobbies was to shoo me out of my desk chair and rearrange my layout. She made a big show of this, for she wanted the entire office to know what an idiot I was. Aside from the public embarrassment, what I found particularly irksome about her behavior was that when she was finally done futzing around with my work, the layout was exactly the way I had it before.

“See that?” Wilkes barked, playing to the cheap seats. “That’s the way to do it.”

Wilkes had a loose screw. She rooted through my desk at night. She threw very public tantrums. And, perhaps worse of all, she went everywhere with an ancient, toothless, hairless Chihuahua that would bite my shoes and pee under my desk.

I liked the work, but that boss broke my spirit.

Once in a while, however, you get a lightning in a bottle: In the late 1990s I found a perfect job with a perfect boss.

Jack Carle was the editor of Suburban Trends, the newspaper I used to write for. The best word to describe him would be “grizzled.” The guy looked a like 19th century gold prospector. He sported a thick shock of brown hair with a ragged beard to match. His rumpled wardrobe favored plaid flannel shirts and work jeans. His weathered face suggested that he had seen things that no mortal man should ever see – or ever hope to forget.

I had never gone through Jack’s desk drawers – I wouldn’t have dared – but if I had, I would’ve been disappointed if I hadn’t found a bottle of whiskey in there. He was that kind of guy. A Bottle Of Whiskey In A Desk Kind Of Guy.

Jack was large, much taller than I was – at least I think he was. He certainly carried himself as if he was large. He was also a man of few words. When he did speak, you listened carefully. He wouldn’t be talking if it wasn’t important.

Jack didn’t yell. Never. But if he was mad, you could feel his rage radiate off of him and be frightened by it – even if that rage wasn’t directed at you.

For the record, his rage was never directed at me. Jack and I understood each other. He wanted dynamic, snappy copy. I wanted to write it. He saw that I could write it, so he left me to my own devices – which was also what I wanted. I respected his authority and he respected my need for independence.

But the big reason why I would’ve followed Jack Carle seven-eighths of the way to hell and back was because he defended his staff. If Jack trusted you, he’d go to the mat for you — and have fun doing it.

I covered several suburban towns for the Trends. In one of those towns there was a councilman who was a bit of a pill. For the sake of this post, I’ll call him Dave Murphy. As a journalist, it is my job to be impartial — so I will tell you in the most impartial way that Murphy was a moron. He was a showoff who loved it when the public access cameras recorded council meetings. When they did, he would yell and carry on at length, ignoring the eye rolls and impatient sighs from the rest of the council.

Those stupid cameras turned simple council matters into big kerfuffles. When the council held an up or down vote to renew a bid for a sanitation contract, Murphy used the occasion to practice his oration. “I do not think I can vote to approve this!” he bellowed. “The other morning I woke up at 5 a.m. to chat with my garbage men. I was troubled to discover that none of them spoke English!”

Murphy’s comment filled my mind with questions:

“Why would anyone get up at the crack of dawn to chat with garbage men?”

“How does mastering English improve one’s ability to pick up garbage?”

And the most important one: “Why is this man’s xenophobia wasting my time?”

Murphy’s grandstanding often turned what should’ve been a 40-minute council meeting into a two-hour one. I didn’t get paid enough for this nonsense.

So, in my journalistic way, I made a decision. I would poke the bear. I would treat all of Murphy’s rants as if they were news. If Murphy wanted to talk about his garbage men’s fluency, fine. I’d write a story about it. If he wanted to say that another councilman who used to sell rotary dial telephones out of his garage in the 1970s shouldn’t vote on a cell tower contract because it’s a “conflict of interest,” fine. I’d write a story about it.

I made sure that every one of Murphy’s rants and conspiracy theories got ink.

Jack loved these stories; they fed into the mischievous side of his personality. He also loved the fact that I was cautious in my takedowns. I never editorialized, I just quoted Murphy’s thoughts and ideas. I let Murphy hurt Murphy.

Murphy didn’t like the stories as much as Jack did. He was a moron, yes, but he understood what I was doing. As soon as a Murphy story appeared in the paper, he’d call me up and yell.

“What’s wrong?” I’d ask, using my innocent voice. “Did I misquote you?”

“No,” he’d admit.

“Did I misrepresent your point of view?”

“No!” he’d admit again. “It’s your tone!”

“But if I’m quoting you correctly and representing your positions correctly, then isn’t the story reflecting your tone?”

It was at about this point that Murphy would slam down the receiver.

It wasn’t long before Murphy figured out that yelling at me was getting him nowhere. So he wrote nasty letters to the editor.

Jack would call me to his desk. “Mind if I print this letter in the next edition?” he asked.

“Sure go ahead,” I’d reply. Then Jack and I would chuckle.

When it became clear that the letters weren’t getting me fired, Murphy decided to give Jack a call.

“I demand that you fire Mr. Allegra!” he bellowed.

“Well, that’s not going to happen,” Jack said. “Anything else?”

“Well…then I think that you and I and Mr. Allegra should sit down and discuss Mr. Allegra’s conduct!”

“That’s a good idea,” Jack mused. “But, wait, I have a better idea. Why don’t you go f*** yourself?”

I laughed so hard I think I might’ve peed a little.

That kind of leadership, my friends, inspires devotion.

Jack died a few years ago, I’m sorry to say, but he is never too far from my thoughts. Once in a while I’ll raise my Chianti glass in his memory. When I do so, I imagine Jack pulling a bottle of whiskey out of his heavenly editor’s desk and joining me. He was that kind of guy. An I’m Drinking Whiskey In Heaven And Just You Try To Stop Me Kind Of Guy.

How can you not be loyal to a boss like that?

 

There Will Be Blood! (Mine)

I need to get me a bubblewrap suit.

I need to get me a bubblewrap suit.

My new house husband role is going quite well, I’m pleased to say. I like keeping things tidy and writing more often. I also like the fact that my efforts are decreasing Ellen’s workload. No longer does she have household chores to contend with. She can enjoy her new teaching job and take comfort in knowing that things around here are just fine.

Well, except for the injuries.

I’m a wee bit accident prone. No biggie; a lot of people are. My problem is that I only hurt myself when performing mundane housekeeping tasks.

I once tore a tendon in my index finger by tucking in a bed sheet. I wore a splint for six weeks because I needed hospital corners.

I have fallen down a stair, breaking my big toe. Not stairs, mind you. Stair. Just one stair.

I have fallen up stairs, too, onto a vacuum I was carrying. In that case I was uninjured, but the vacuum wasn’t; I broke it in two and, in so doing, became a human sized dust bunny.

And I have gotten four stitches in the palm of my hand in an attempt to clean dishes.

These accidents had not gone unnoticed by my wife, but she held her tongue — until the second day of my house husbandry. On that day I sliced my finger open attempting to slice a heel of bread.

Once Ellen came home from work and caught a glimpse of my crimson-stained, gauze-wrapped finger, she sat me down for a little talk.

“When we agreed to switch roles,” she began, using her best patient teacher voice, “you dying was not part of the arrangement.”

“I know.” I replied a bit chastened. “And the worst part was I bled all over the bathroom I cleaned yesterday. I had to clean the bathroom twice.”

“Noooo,” Ellen continued, her teacher voice revealing a hint of exasperation. “The worst part is the stabbing part. That’s the worst part.”

“Well, maybe, but the bathroom looks pretty good, doesn’t it?”

“Yes,” Ellen sighed. “It’s beautiful. Just pleeease be careful.”

“I will,” I promised.

And so far so good! No new injuries.

That said, upping my life insurance is probably a wise investment. I’d better talk to Ellen about this right away. Tomorrow I’m planning to mop the kitchen floor. God only knows what could happen.

 

Snow Story

We haven’t gotten much snow this year, but that hasn’t stopped the fine folks on the Weather Channel from predicting another ice age. Ellen, because she is a teacher, eats these reports up. On the night before an impending storm, she and my son huddle in front of the TV with their fingers crossed and pajamas turned inside out, hoping and praying for several feet of snow.

The fact that I would be the one shoveling all this snow is irrelevant.

Years ago, my mom was also a teacher. She was also a slavish Weather Channel devotee, but her reasons for watching were more complicated. Mom taught in Paterson, NJ, a place where they never closed the schools. So she watched the weather report to gage how aggravating her commute would be; that way she could plan ahead and lather up an appropriate amount of rage.

(It should also be noted that Mom is German and Germans don’t like things they can’t control. No one — not even a German — can control the weather, so Mom loathed it.)

So when The Big Snowstorm approached Mom was on edge.

“Jim! Jim! The snow is coming! You have to get the tree out! NOW!”

I don’t remember the exact year of The Big Snowstorm, but I do remember that it took place shortly after the New Year, because our evergreen Christmas tree was now a naked everbrown. For some reason my parents waited for at least a week after New Year’s Day to get rid of the tree, which ensured that its journey to the front door would leave behind a mountain of needles.

Weather didn’t have the same peculiar effect on my Dad, but he had his own quirks. For one thing, he was not a big believer in seeing a job through to its conclusion. He would always get the job done, mind you, but if a one-day job could be completed in two, he was all over that idea.

So once he managed to get the disintegrating Christmas tree through the front door, he simply heaved it off the stoop and let it flop in the middle of our front yard.

“There!” Dad proclaimed, swelling with the satisfaction of a job half-done.

“Take it to the curb!” Mom demanded.

“I’ll take it to the curb on Saturday.”

It was Sunday.

Dad’s declaration prompted an argument. Mom and Dad loved (and continue to love) each other very much, but when Mom’s weather anxiety and Dad’s half-assed efforts came together, it was a deadly combination. It was the cue for me to go to my room.

A few hours later, in the mid-afternoon, the snow began to fall. And, right from the start, Mother Nature began to show off. The temperature was low, so the flakes were small and powdery, but the air was thick with them. We could barely see beyond our mailbox.

“They called a state of emergency,” Mom said grimly as she and I watched the snow accumulate. I was delighted – I wouldn’t have to go to school – but I tried to contain my glee. In Mom’s eyes it would’ve been traitorous for me to support the actions of The Enemy.

A state of emergency meant that Mom wouldn’t have to go to school either, which should have calmed her down, but it didn’t. Her ingrained sense of justice would not allow it; this storm had New Jersey at its mercy and that was wrong. Even with a day off, Mom did not like the situation. Not at all. Not. One. Bit.

“Jim?”

No answer. Dad was in his basement hidey hole reading a book on World War II and listening to Yanni.

“Jim!”

Still no answer.

“JIM!”

“Whaaat?”

“We need to call The Plow Guy!”

It was useless to call The Plow Guy, and all three of us knew it. The Plow Guy would be out. Plowing. Because that’s what he did in snowstorms.

Besides, The Plow Guy only plowed for his list of subscribers. When you signed up for The Plow Guy’s services, he’d plow your driveway whenever it snowed. It was a pretty straightforward business arrangement, but Dad didn’t like it. It was expensive — and vaguely emasculating.

“So when it snows two inches he’ll plow the driveway and make me pay?” Dad would sputter, aghast. “I can shovel two inches of snow. I can shovel two feet of snow. I only need The Plow Guy when it snows a lot.”

So we didn’t subscribe to The Plow Guy. And on those rare days when we wished we had, it was too late to do anything about it.

But not really. Dad had a Plan B. All of our neighbors subscribed to The Plow Guy’s services, so Dad’s strategy was to keep an eye out for The Plow Guy when he plowed our neighbors’ driveways. When he caught sight of him, Dad would pull on his work boots, throw on a coat, grab a handful of money, run through the snow to where The Plow Guy was plowing, and bribe him to clear our driveway.

So as the snow continued to fall and fall, the three of us kept watch. Sometimes we watched as a group, sometimes we watched in shifts, but never was our front window missing a lookout.

We watched, and we watched some more. But all we saw was accumulating snow.

One foot of snow.

Eighteen inches of snow.

Two feet of snow.

“We better not lose our electricity,” Mom said. Her words sounded like a threat, like she was trying to intimidate the overhead wires.

If there was one thing Mom hated more than weather it was a house without electricity. “If we lived in the pioneer era, this family would be dead within an hour,” she often asserted. And she was probably right.

By 10 p.m., 30 inches of snow had fallen and it was still coming down. It was a snowy siege.

But then: The cavalry.

“JIM! THE PLOW!”

Dad was not a fast fellow. In 1971 he had shattered both of his legs in a particularly nasty fall, but Mom’s battle cry got him about as close to running as I’ve ever seen him. He thumped up the basement stairs with an uncharacteristic sense of purpose. He was in his pajamas, but he didn’t care. He slipped his feet into his work boots without bothering to tie the laces, swept his brown corduroy coat over his shoulders as if he was the fourth musketeer, and set out through the front door into the whipping winter winds to wave down the distant plow.

Dad raced down the porch stairs and plunged into snow up to his waist. Snow soaked through his pajamas and poured into his boots, but he didn’t cry out or show any sign of weakness. He just let out a low, determined growl of sorts as he half walked half hopped though the powdery drifts.

It was all pretty badass. I was impressed.

That is, until Dad fell over the Christmas tree.

It was a remarkable sight. One moment Dad was there in the deep snow churning his legs toward The Plow Guy and the next he was gone. Vanished. He fell flat on his face and mountains of dry snow fell in on top of him. The earth swallowed him whole without a trace. Buried alive.

Mom and I were too stunned to speak.

There was a long, unsteady pause.

Then, in a sudden and heroic burst of energy, there he was! Fighting the good fight! Flailing! And stumbling! And lurching! He flopped about like a rag doll in his open coat and flimsy pajamas, trying and repeatedly failing to get his footing. By the time he eventually staggered to his feet, he was caked with snow from head to foot looking quite a bit like a drunken Frosty the Snowman.

Mom was horrified, worried, panicked.

I, on the other hand, was laughing so hard I was hacking up mucus.

“It’s not funny!” Mom shouted, swatting me.

But it was! It was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Ever.

“Go out and help him!”

“Are you crazy?” I managed to sputter between wheezy gasps. “I’m not going out in that!”

By the time Mom and I finished our squabble, we discovered Frosty the Snow Dad standing alone at the far corner of our front yard.

He had tried but failed to get The Plow Guy’s attention. The Plow Guy had cleared all of the neighbors’ driveways. The Plow Guy was gone.

Dad’s valiant effort, his discomfort, his humiliation, was all for nothing. And the pain wasn’t even over yet. Now he had to come back to the house and listen to Mom yell at him.

His pace was slower now. Dad was defeated and numb and cold to his core. He was a sorry sight.

Until he fell over the Christmas tree again!

Again he fell face first into the snow! Again the snow swallowed him whole!

And it was even funnier the second time around!

Laughter exploded from deep within me. I made joyous noises I have never heard before or since – including something that sounded like “BWAAAAAAA!”

My insides ached. My lungs couldn’t get enough air. I was sure I was going to die – and I was totally OK with that, for I would die deliriously happy.

I knew right then and there that this was – and would always be – the Quintessential Dad Story – a delicious slapstick fiasco that never ever would have happened if Dad, for just one moment, did something slightly out of character. Like take the tree to the curb or subscribe to The Plow Guy or recognize that it was silly to leap out into nearly three feet of snow wearing pajamas.

But nope. Dad stuck to his life script and it was beautiful.

And, fear not. Dad was fine. In fact he was better than fine. Once he came back inside, Mom didn’t even think about yelling at him. Her anger wasn’t directed at Dad, or even that evil, awful weather.

Nope, her anger was directed squarely at insensitive me.

Mom fussed over Dad, helped him out of his coat and boots and got him new pajamas fresh from the dryer. She even made him cocoa.

As for me, I was in the doghouse. The next day Mom made me shovel the driveway by myself. It took all afternoon, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The driveway was the only safe place for me to get out all of my stray giggles.

 

 

A Second Resolution Solution!

A lovely parting gift

A lovely parting gift.

When I gave my two-weeks notice, I was not prepared for how busy those next two weeks would be.

I figured my last days at Lawrenceville would consist of wrapping up a few loose ends. I also figured that the occasional work friend or acquaintance would stroll into my office to chat and say his or her goodbyes. And this is largely what did happen – only more so.

It turned out there were a lot of loose ends that needed tying. It also turned out that a lot of people needed to say their goodbyes. And some of those goodbyes took a lot of time. (One work pal just stood in my office silently, not knowing what to say, but not wanting to leave until he could think of something appropriate. That appropriate something never arrived. For all I know, he might still be in there.)

This was all well and good — and quite lovely, really — but as the days ticked away and those loose ends remained loose, my patience for such visits began to ebb. This was especially true during the last half of my last week. By that time all of my work friends and acquaintances had said what they had to say. Now the stream of well-wishers consisted exclusively of obligated almost-strangers and jocular irritants. When one such irritant visited and attempted to generate some last minute bonhomie, I nodded and smiled and uttered banalities (I figured I might be able drive him out of my office by being boring). My brain, however, wanted to try a different strategy. A yelling strategy:

“What is this? I don’t even like you! I haven’t spoken to you since 2012. Why are you here? Why are you keeping me from my loose ends? And, oh, God, hold on! Are you sitting down? Why are you sitting down?!”

The loose ends in question were the particulars of the spring issue of the alumni magazine I edited. I was leaving in the middle of my production schedule and that is kind of an organizational nightmare.

To the uninitiated, the task of putting out a magazine appears to be one big, ginormous job. In reality it’s more like four jillion little jobs — and I couldn’t  in good conscience take my leave until every one of those little jobs was accounted for in some fashion. I wanted to make sure that whoever the school hired would be able to quickly and easily pick up where I left off.

But there was a non-magazine-related loose end I had to deal with, too. And this loose end was far more important than a magazine. It was New Year’s Resolution Number Two: I had to find a vaguely amusing way to get rid of my golf balls.

Too many.

Sometimes I scare myself.

My desire to collect golf balls began in spring 2014. On my lunch hour I would wander around a nearby golf course and fill my pockets with any lost or abandoned balls I found. I would then go back to my office and put my quarry in an empty file drawer.

By the time 2014 came to a close, this drawer held 376 golf balls. That is a lot of golf balls. In fact, I would argue that it is too many golf balls. So as I rang in 2015, I vowed to find a way to get rid of them in a vaguely amusing way. Since my days at the job were numbered (and I had no desire to lug home 50 pounds worth of balls for a game I do not play) I had to come up with something fast. In the end, I decided to leave the balls behind. But that would be a loose end. I don’t like loose ends, so I also left behind a note:

Hi Editor!

I did my best to tie up loose ends on the spring issue to make the transition as easy as possible, but I may have overlooked something. If you have any questions about the job or my organizational system, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

By now you have probably noticed that this drawer is filled with 376 golf balls. You are probably asking yourself, “Why?”

And I have an answer for you: Because this is what crazy looks like.

Such a gift is not without precedent, by the way. When I started this job 11 years ago, I discovered that my predecessor left behind a closet full of mayonnaise jars filled with urine. So, really, you should consider yourself lucky. Golf balls are nothing compared to that.

In short, quit complaining and get to work.

Your pal, Mike

I was amused. And so another resolution gets ticked off my list.

A Resolution Solution!

My office.

Will I be able to work in an office without glass walls? It’ll be tough, but I’ll try!

A couple of weeks ago I posted my first ever list of New Year’s resolutions. I am pleased to report that one of those resolutions is resolved!

I will do something bold yet well-planned.

What is the bold thing? I quit my job. Beginning in February, I will earn income solely through freelance and independent writing projects.

How long did I plan this? About three years.

The reason? Because my wife’s and my Mid-Life Crisis Clocks serendipitously synced up.

Up to this point, Ellen had been working out of the house earning an excellent supplementary income as an SAT tutor. As for me, I wrote for and edited The Lawrenceville School’s alumni magazine, earning a good salary and getting medical benefits. For quite a long time this worked out just fine.

But my wife was, slowly but surely, going stir crazy. Once Alex began attending school, Ellen, a former high school English teacher, longed to return to the classroom.

She also hated, hated, HATED doing housework. This is because Ellen is normal.

I like doing housework because I am not normal. (OCD, for all its negative connotations, does create excellent house husbands.) But my day job and it’s long, long commute didn’t give me many opportunities during the workweek to help out much.

Also, my job, for all its frequent awesomeness (I got to interview, Peter Gould, a writer and director for Breaking Bad! Woo!) was beginning to wear me down. I had been there 11 years. I thought my work was getting stale. No one else noticed, but I did.

Furthermore, the job was keeping me from the children’s book writing thing. It was also keeping me from expanding my freelance clientele. And, more crushingly, it was keeping me from spending much time with my boy.

So Ellen and I talked. We made a plan. And we implemented it.

Ellen spent the last couple of years getting certified in middle school math. She is now employed full time at our town’s middle school.

Meanwhile, for the past couple of years, I have been cultivating contacts and clients. I will now work out of my home office.

This change is exciting, to say the least.

It will also now allow me to accomplish two more of my New Year’s resolutions:

I shall write early and often

and

I shall become a Laundry Master.

Here’s to new adventures in 2015!

 

A Bunpology

I’m in the middle of an unusually busy week, I’m afraid. My day job responsibilities and  freelance projects are getting in the way of a proper post.

I have also been called for jury duty, which isn’t helping matters much, either.

Long story short, I am a blogging deadbeat. To make it up to you, I have doodled an excellent picture of a very fuzzy bunny.

bunny (graded)

I know the doodle is excellent because my son gave it a very good grade.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go put it on the fridge.

 

 

Resolved: I Will Come Up With Resolutions

A solemn vow

A solemn vow

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I’m not even one for staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve (I was singing “Auld Lang Syne” to my pillow at 10:30, thank you very much). But something tells me that 2015 is going to be my year.

My problem is that something tells me this every year – and that something is rarely right. So I figured I’d throw in a little New Year’s resolution self-improvement to karmically sweeten the deal.

Let’s begin:

***

My first resolution is for my beloved wife.

Resolved: I shall neither form opinions nor comment on the opinions of others until I have finished at least one big mug of morning coffee.

It’s for the best.

***

Golf-wise, 2014 was a very good year for me. I don’t play golf, I fill my pockets with lost and/or abandoned golf balls from a nearby course. I now have 376 golf balls filling my office desk drawer. Also filled? My head – with questions like: “What on earth was I thinking?” and “What am I going to do with all of these stupid things?”

This is what 376 golf ball look like. If you want to see what a doofus looks like, check out the photo at the top of this blog.

This is what 376 golf balls look like. If you want to see what a doofus looks like, check out the photo at the top of this blog.

Resolved: I will get rid of my golf ball collection in a manner that is – at the very least – mildly amusing.

Suggestions are welcome.

***

Since I started this blog three years ago I have broken bread with five blog pals and met at least a dozen more. I am delighted to report that every single one of them was funny, charming and interesting. I am still a bit gobsmacked by this. Seriously, what are the odds? Maybe I’m tempting fate, but I want to meet more!

Resolved: I will meet more blog buddies in person.

In other words, if you reside in or visit New Jersey, New York City, or Eastern Pennsylvania, feel free to hit me up for coffee.

***

When I was in college, I earned a reputation as a skilled Laundry Fellow. One time when I was in the Laundromat folding a load of colors, a female classmate I had a nodding relationship with – let’s call her Liz – entered with her meathead boyfriend. She was there to do Mr. Meathead’s laundry for him. (Don’t even get me started.)

I nodded to Liz, as I usually did, and resumed my folding. After a few minutes, I realized that the laundromat was unusually silent. I looked up from my work to find both Liz and her meathead staring at me as if I was some kind of circus animal.

“I bet you iron, too,” Liz said with a contemptuous smile.

“Well, if you fold the clothes when they’re still warm,” I replied, “in many cases you don’t have to iron.”

It was at that moment I could see Mr. Meathead’s brain drawing conclusions about my sexual identity.

Since those days, my laundry muscles have atrophied. I still do loads without having to be asked, but washing my wife’s clothes have made things more complicated and intimidating. (Delicate cycles? Wha?) At times I feel like a babe in the laundry woods.

Resolved: I will become a Laundry Master.

***

Here’s the obligatory writing one:

Resolved: I shall write early and often.

I already sort of do this. But I plan to write earlier and often-er. And with more gusto. I also want to get my word counts up.

Rebekah, one of my blog pals, banged out 14,000 words in one day for NaNoWiMo. Let me say right here and now that I have no plans to challenge this record.

***

And the big finish:

Resolved: I will do something bold, yet well-planned.

I can’t do bold without my boldness being well-planned. And yes, I already have something planned. ‘Cause that’s the way I roll; I plan my planning!

So! What are some of your resolutions?