A little filler goes a long way

By Chuck Kajer

Writers block.

It’s a curse in this business, especially when you’re on deadline and have to fill a personal column on the editorial page.

I’ve been pretty happy with some of my columns lately. I’ve had fun writing them and people have told me they’ve enjoyed reading them.

But the machine just doesn’t want to turn in my brain this week.

I’ve gotten lots of suggestions over the last few months on things to write about. Some of my co-workers wanted me to write about my belly flop at the movie theater last month, when I tripped and fell –sliding – on the carpet of the Shakopee Theater in front of an entire theater full of people waiting to see the new Star Wars movie, embarrassing myself thoroughly. At least I wasn’t carrying the popcorn at the time.

(Nah, I don’t want to write about that… too embarassing)

I think the reason I can’t think of anything to write about is that my brain is a bit overloaded this week. I took a couple days off work last week to help get the house ready for my son’s graduation party. First and foremost on the list of things to do was to make the basement presentable. That’s right, we decided to finish off our basement this spring, and planned to be ready by mid-June. Somehow, with five days to go, we still had a lot of work left to do.

(Hmm… Let’s see if I can stretch this out to fill the space!)

Thanks to my son Josh, his friend Nate — OK, mostly Nate — and a few other helpers, it somehow evolved from a total disaster to a room that looked pretty good. We still have to put in the floor and do some touchups, but we’re pleased with the results. And all it took was a coat of primer, a coat of paint and putting in a texturized ceiling… a new experience for me. Fortunately, Nate knew what he was doing and we got the job done, about 3 a.m. Friday, only 34 hours before the start of the party. That meant we had lots of cleaning to do, upstairs, downstairs and in the garage. Yet somehow, everything came together, the party went well, and we had enough Sloppy Joes left over to feed our family for the next month.

Of course, after you’re done with the party, it’s time to relax and enjoy life, right?

Not really.

It seems that since we had taken nearly every useful tool out of our garage and put it into storage, Jenny decided it was time to put the garage back into order…something that hasn’t happened in our house in years.

It was only going to be a few things, and it being Father’s Day, Jenny said she would do most of it, I could sit and relax.

I really think she meant it when she said it, and she did have help from the boys. I helped Robbie with his paper route, delivering The Extra, and sat down to watch some golf.

But after bringing a couple of trailers full of toys, tools and other things back from the storage shed, and having them spread out on the tables left over from the day before, in the garage and driveway, I sensed that her expectations had changed. I think it was the cold, icy glare she threw my way that sent chills down my spine when she saw me half asleep in the lounge chair that delivered the message home. I got up, changed into some grubby clothes, and we worked on the garage until 11 p.m.

By that time, I was ready for sleep, and I was definitely looking forward to getting back to work on Monday.

It gives me the chance to sit down and rest a bit.

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