THE LONELY BED

After several years of marriage to Michele, I remain mystified by two things: 1) what in the world are all those bottles she has in the shower? and 2) When it’s time to pay the monthly bills, her behavior changes. It’s like a chameleon changing colors or the vampire growing fangs as the moon comes out. It’s the issue of bills that I will concentrate on here.

Let me begin by saying that Michele is the bill payer in our family. I’ve paid a total of zero bills. Wait, that’s not entirely correct. Years ago, I did pay a cable bill because I didn’t want her to see that I purchased a pay-per-view of Big Busted Secretaries Mud Wrestling in Fishnets, but that was the only time.

After years of intent observation, I have developed what I call the ‘Bed/Bill’ theory. Simply put, the time the bill payer in the family goes to bed is in direct proportion to the amount of money you have in the bank.

Below is what I’ve drawn up for us. It’s all based on the time I go to bed, which is 7:30PM. Keep in mind, your chart may look considerably different and this should be used only as a guideline.

If Michele comes to bed with me at:

7:30PM: This has never happened. Who am I kidding?

9:00PM: Probably two or three minor bills need to be paid. No reason to panic.

10:00PM: She’s struggling to pay at least five bills and checking the various accounts to see where she can do some creative shifting.

12:00AM: We’re in dangerous waters now. The bills are spread out all over the floor and the grunting is getting louder. The empty wine bottles are piling up in the garbage can.

3:00AM: I shoot out of bed and throw back the curtains looking for the bad men from the bank to come walking up the steps with hand trucks to haul us away. Then, I breathe a sigh of relief, realizing that the bad men from the bank don’t take possession of anything, except maybe a coffee cup, one minute before nine in the morning.

Don’t always rely on facial expressions of the bill payer as a mood determinant. Some are very slick and really tough to crack. However, there are ways to tell when particular bills are delinquent. For instance, if my wife has one of our cats on his back, each leg strapped to a different corner of the kitchen table, trying to insert a rectal thermometer, then we must be in red with the vet. Also, when she hears me firing up the electric pencil sharpener during this critical bill paying period, she’ll race in, make a nosedive for the plug and yank it from the outlet. When this occurs, by my deductions, we must owe the utility company. By the way, is it just me or has it ever crossed your mind that with any utility company, there’s a persnickety, old man just sitting by a switch, snickering and salivating, waiting for the stroke of midnight of the day your bill is due and delights to the point of orgasm in flicking that switch, rendering your entire house dark…and cold?

I’ve confronted Michele on my ‘Bed/Bill’ theory and she looks at me like I’m crazy. Yeah, right. Like I’m the one who has twenty-four bottles of conditioners, lotions and exfoliating creams in the shower. But, I’m the nutjob. Sure.

Anyway, try putting my ‘Bed/Bill’ theory to work for you. I think you will find more than a kernel of truth in it. Please remember that family bill payers can become very temperamental, emotional and fragile at that certain time of the month. Treat them with kid gloves, don’t startle them or make any sudden movements and, whatever you do, wait until the crisis passes before sharpening any pencils.

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IT’S BEEN A BANNER YEAR!

Hey, c’mon, I like holiday parties as much as the next guy, or at least I used to.
I remember the days when you could actually exhale and let your hair down. You could belly up to the bar and the guy in the next cube would buy you another round (or 5). You may even fall down once or twice on the dance floor as the cool DJ played Limbo Rock for the third consecutive time. The whole floor would erupt in laughter. Ah yes, those were the days.

Today, the rules have changed a wee bit. You are encouraged to attend. Not showing up could very easily brand you one of those awful malcontents — a label that sticks, trust me. No one wants that. Yes, there’s a bar, but should you dare to return for a second trip, you’re playing with fire. Remember, you were encouraged to attend, not necessarily have a good time.

And then there’s the socializing outside the cube farm with the co-workers. Here on party night, you’re suddenly wishing warm holiday greetings to the same jerk that threw you under the bus last week.

Then of course, the boss has to make a speech. You are hoping that he will mention your name as being a key contributor. Listening, you feel a little bit slighted when that fails to happen. You wonder if you shouldn’t have set your sights so high and just accept the fact that he really doesn’t even know your name. “Jeez, he thanks Jenkins, and all that tub of lard did all year was say ‘Yes’ every time the boss wanted an ego stroke because he felt unwanted himself by the corporate office.” Perhaps there’s a lesson there. Who knows?

And his speech, oh my God, please. Why not just record it one year and play it back at every Christmas party?

“Well, it’s been a banner year! We’ve made some changes that we feel will only enhance the forward movement of this well-oiled machine. Sure, we’ve had to let some people go but the people that remain here today are the collective backbone of this company. You are the ones that we depend on. You are the ones that we respect and you are the ones that keep this train on the tracks and going in the right direction. You have my word that you will be here just as long as, well, we feel the need to keep you around (cough). Everyone in this room has played an integral part in this year’s success and corporate wanted me to pass that message along to you personally. They wanted to have a representative here tonight but unfortunately, most of them had a previous commitment and as I’m sure you know, those Ice Capades tickets are very hard to come by. Anyway, thanks for all of your sweat and hard work with past year. You are all a vital cog in our performance enhancement program. One other thing, corporate asked me to keep this a secret until now, but, as a result of all of your Herculean efforts, they will be picking up your bowling ball shoe rental fees tonight (wild applause). Now let’s grab your balls and show the world how we roll! Remember, the 5th frame is the beer frame! Happy Holidays!”

KINDNESS CAN GET YOU KILLED!

Wow! Here comes that expression again: We’re walking on eggshells.

Our radio station performs what we call Random Acts of Kindness from time to time. Maybe we’ll go to the supermarket (with permission) and watch someone’s jaw drop as we whip out a wad of cash and pay for their groceries or we may go to the diner and pick up a lunch tab. While we’re there, we’ll most likely inquire as what that funky odor is that permeates the air. Rumor has it that it’s some sort of cleanser, but we absolutely do know that it’s capable of making eyebrows curl and in some cases, eyeballs popping out and falling to the floor.

The one constant in our random acts of kindness is the recipients reaction. “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT WITH ME?” I bring this up because I realized that the eggshells we are walking on daily are becoming so fragile that we trust no one and question everyone’s motives. Relax, people! I’m just buying your gravy soaked sausage and brisket combo. Save your money: You’ll need it for your cardiologist visit.

I thought I would be a nice guy so I brought my neighbor’s garbage cans back from the street the other day and he was practically shaking with fear when he asked, “What’s going on here?” Isn’t that something you might ask after, oh, I don’t know, someone holds you up at gunpoint or, maybe after you get a letter filled with exclamation points in red ink from your utility company? My God, all I did was bring his empty garbage cans back. I can only imagine the severity of his convulsions if I had cut his lawn unsuspectingly.

Another random act of kindness gone horribly awry took place in a hair salon. A radio station intern, armed with enough cash to maybe purchase a nice Supreme Court justice, went into the salon, again, with their permission, but, unbeknownst to the recipient. It’s important to note here, kids, that sometimes surprises don’t always work out the way they were scripted. As the intern flashed some money in front of the newly coifed woman, she thought he was propositioning her and immediately called 911. Seconds later, her big, burly husband came in to pick her up and, after noticing the commotion, punched the poor intern in the nose and rearranged his ears as well. If memory serves correctly, this was the intern’s last day with the radio station. He decided to enter an internship in a much less dangerous field: coal-mining.

I remember a time when we would do nice things for people and they would, in turn, buy us a six pack of Natty Light and we would chat on the front porch for hours, laughing and, with every passing beer, try to one up the other with our feats of accomplishment. “Hey, Bob, did I ever tell you about the time I saved a Boy Scout from drowning?” “Actually, Jim, yeah, I think I’ve heard that one a few times and if you tell it again, I’ll whack you over the head with this piece of rebar.” Yeah, big Bob, I’ll never forget that day. This little guy was just walking on the pier when he slipped and fell in. Instinctively, I just dove in the wat…” (interrupting) WHACK ! Sorry, Jim, I tried to warn you.

I’ll say it again: We need to relax, people. If someone taps you on the shoulder while you’re in line at Price Chopper, there’s no need to reach in your bag and spray his face with mace. There doesn’t always have to be a catch to everything. Do you think that in return for my buying your industrial strength, reusable, paper towels and your eight hundred pound bag of Kibbles n’ Bits, you’re agreeing to sit through a three hour seminar on time shares in Mozambique? Come on, all we’re doing is being nice. If we paid your bridge toll would you chase us down and fire shots through our windshield on the highway?

Relax. Stop being so suspicious, and, most important, start behaving yourself, because, if you don’t, we’re going to have to get nasty and let you buy your own stuff.

HEY ERNIE, TIME TO GET UP!

TRYING TO PREPARE A HOUSE FOR SALE IS NOT AN EASY TASK. THERE ARE, HOWEVER, PEOPLE WHO HAVE GONE THROUGH THE PROCESS AND CLAIMED IT AN ABSOLUTE DELIGHT. THERE’S A WORD THAT DESCRIBES THESE PEOPLE: DELUSIONAL. WE’RE FORTUNATE TO HAVE A GREAT AND EXPERIENCED REALTOR. I MIGHT ALSO SAY THAT SHE IS TRUSTWORTHY, LOYAL, HELPFUL, FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS, OBEDIENT, BRAVE, CLEAN AND REVERANT, BUT I WON’T CAUSE THAT WOULD BE SILLY.

I HAVE NOTICED THROUGH THE YEARS THAT REALTORS EMOTIONS CAN BEST BE DESCRIBED AS FLUCTUATING WITH VERY HIGH EXPECTATIONS EARLY, THEN, WELL, NOT SO MUCH.

BELOW IS A SNAPSHOT OF THE REALTOR TIMELINE.

1ST VISIT: “THE HOUSE IS GORGEOUS. IT’S GOING TO SELL RIGHT AWAY.”
2ND VISIT: “IT’S STUNNING. WE’LL JUST NEED TO CHANGE A FEW LITTLE THINGS.”
3RD VISIT: “I’M BOOKING SOME SHOWINGS, BUT I CAN’T SHOW IT LIKE THIS.”
4TH VISIT: “HOW’S IT GOING ON THOSE CHANGES? WE’VE GOT TO HURRY.”
5TH VISIT: “OTHER HOUSES ARE SELLING. LET’S GO. GET WITH THE PROGRAM.”

I PERSONALLY HAVE DONE PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING I CAN DO, THAT IS, WITHOUT HAVING TO DO ANY ACTUAL WORK, YOU UNDERSTAND.

AS A LIFELONG CHICAGO CUBS FAN, I’VE NEVER LOST FAITH IN MY CUBBIES NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEIR STENCH RIVELED THAT OF THE CHICAGO STOCKYARDS ON A 99 DEGREE HOT AUGUST DAY. THERE WAS ONE PLAYER, HOWEVER, WHO NEVER LET THE HARD TIMES GET TO HIM. HE WAS THE ETERNAL OPTIMIST (C’MON, GUYS, LET’S GO GET ‘EM. WE’RE ONLY 23 GAMES BELOW: 500!) ALWAYS HAD A SMILE ON HIS FACE AND KNOWN FOR HIS SAYING, ‘LET’S PLAY TWO.’ HIS NAME IS ERNIE BANKS, THE IRREPRESSIBLE MR. CUB AND I BRING THAT UP FOR A REASON…

EARLY IN MAY WHILE I WAS MOWING THE LAWN, I HAD A BRAINSTORM. I DECIDED TO TRY SOMETHING. I WAS GOING TO BURY MY PRIZED ERNIE BANKS BOBBLEHEAD DOLL IN THE FRONT YARD HOPING IT WOULD BRING US LUCK IN SELLING THE HOUSE. I WAS FULL OF HOPE FROM THAT MOMENT ON, JUST KNOWING THAT GREAT NEWS WAS WAITING ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE. BUT…NO. THE DAYS AND WEEKS PASSED AND THE ONLY ACTIVITY ON THE PROPERTY WERE A FEW NASTY FINCHES POOPING ON THE ‘FOR SALE’ SIGN. AS OF THIS WRITING, THE HOUSE STILL SITS THERE, UNSOLD AND IT WOULD APPEAR THAT FOR THER FIRST TIME EVER, ERNIE MIGHT BE LETTING ME DOWN.

IT SADDENS ME TO SAY THAT ERNIE NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW? AHHH, WAIT A MINUTE. I GOT IT! ENTER ST. JOSEPH, THE PATRON SAINT OF REALTORS. YES! AFTER CONDUCTING EXTENSIVE RESEARCH CONSISTING OF READING A SHORT ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER AND THEN PURCHASING A PLASTIC STATUE OR TEN BUCKS, I MADE THE HARD DECISION TO TAKE ERNIE OUT OF THE GAME. ST. JOSEPH NOW LIES WHERE ERNIE ONCE DID. ST. JOSEPH, SIR, IT’S IN YOUR PRECIOUS HANDS NOW. DO YOUR MAGIC OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU PATRONS DO. YOU’VE NO DOUBT NOTICED THAT I PLACED YOU UPSIDE DOWN. APPARENTLY, THIS WILL CAUSE YOU TO WORK MORE DILIGENTLY ON THE PROCESS. REALLY SORRY ABOUT THAT. IT WASN’T MY IDEA NOR IS IT MY GOAL TO MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT WE REALLY HAVE TO GET OUT FROM UNDER THIS MORTGAGE. I’M SURE YOU UNDERSTAND BEING HER PATRON SAINT OF REALTORS AND ALL. IT TURNS OUT THIS WAS NOT A JOB FOR A HALL OF GAME BASEBALL PLAYER, AFTER ALL. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER AND GONE WITH RELIGION RIGHT AWAY. ALWAYS THE BETTER BET. SORRY. ALL WE ASK IS THAT YOU DO YOUR BEST AND GET US OUT FROM UNDER, SO TO SPEAK. SIR, I’M NOT SURE IF YOU’VE EVER SHOVELED SHOW IN THE WINTER, BUT IT REALLY KIND OF SUCKS. ANYWAY, YOU ARE THE MAN SO HAVE AT IT, SAINT JOSEPH AND, BY THE WAY, REST ASSURED YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE MY VOTE FOR ‘MOST VALUABLE SAINT.’

BAN THE SPROUTS

I strayed from my usual dinner of Salsa a la Triscuit the other night and had something called Brussel sprouts. As I recall, they weren’t very appealing and tasted like wet cardboard with a dash of cumin, which is something I’m sure we can all relate to. They also had a negative effect on my digestive system and consequently the environment but that’s not what this is about.

This is about a dream I had concerning Jimmy Wolinski the same night I ate the sprouts. Coincidence? Jimmy was a friend of mine when we attended Deerfield High School on the north side of Chicago. Jimmy was a good kid and the first to suggest that we play a game of touch football instead of tackling our biology homework. Twist my arm, Jimmy. It should come as no surprise that you will not be reading about Jimmy discovering a cure for cancer or even an ergonomically correct beer glass anytime soon. Jimmy now teaches gym at the very same high school that he attended and I can say with confidence that his students will never have a better mentor on the proper way to climb a rope (an exercise that comes in handy should you ever need to scale a prison wall) or how to serve shuttlecock in badminton and still look cool. However…

In my dream, Jimmy was called into service to teach trigonometry in addition to his torturous gym instructor duties, which include blowing the whistle and carrying a clipboard. Let me be clear: Jimmy MUST NOT teach trigonometry. Jimmy’s highest math class was a paint by numbers pre-introduction to junior remedial algebra. I know because I sat right next to him. I would be willing to bet my Cubs tickets that Jimmy thinks trigonometry is a breathing procedure where a tube is placed in the neck.

I’m painfully aware that the current economy is forcing workers to double and sometimes triple up on duties as a result of lay-offs and as distressing as this is, the thought of Jimmy going anywhere near a classroom where they have actual books and instruments of higher learning is mind-numbing.

Teachers need to stick to what they know and I certainly wouldn’t want a trig teacher telling me how to put someone in a full nelson or how to do backflips. I need Jimmy for that. Here’s what some of his former gym students have said about him.

“His gym shoes were always really white!”.”
(Steve Kelly)
“Mr. Wolinski taught me one of the most valuable lessons in life; never eat an entire pizza before doing somersaults.”
(David Ives)
“That man could really blow a whistle.”
(Hunter Lessner)
“Thanks Mr. W. for the valuable lesson about the jock strap and the hockey stick.”
(Dan “The Soprano” Lindquist)

Jimmy’s a great physical education teacher and the master of the wet towel snap to the buttocks, but teaching trig?

“Okay, Kids, settle down. My name is Mr. Wolinski and if you don’t behave I’ll blow my whistle. Today, we’ll be discussing the Pytha…that theory thingamabob that says that 2 sides of a triangle equal…no, wait a minute…I mean when you add up three sides then subtract the short…no, wait. Ah heck, anybody want to go outside and play kickball?”

Hey, dreams can come true and if this one does, the kids in Deerfield are in a world of hurt! I’m planning on doing my part. There will be no more Brussel Sprouts on my menu, ever again. As much as my mouth salivates for the taste of soggy pizza boxes, I’m giving them up and I suggest you do the same. I say keep Jimmy in the locker room and out of the classroom. Our children deserve at least that.

MY SUMMER VACATION

I picked up copy of The Sun the other day. In this particular issue the big bold headline was, “MAN HOLDS STORE MANNIQUIN HOSTAGE: THREATENS TO BLOW HER BRAINS OUT.” I also noticed an ad they were running that read, “We pay money for stories. Be a Sun reporter. No experience necessary.” I liked that idea, especially the part about no experience necessary. That’s my best thing. So, I thought I might submit a paper I wrote in the second grade entitled, “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.”

We were traveling from Chicago to a place called Meadville, Pennsylvania to see my grandparents. For you non-historians, Meadville is not where the mighty Casey struck out; it’s where technology struck out.

We stayed at the Ro-Ho-Cho Motel and I must say that the view we had from our room of the ice machine was the reason the Lord invented post cards. Couple that with all the marvelous things my grandmother could do with her false teeth and, well, the trip was just a couple of inches shy of Nirvana. But, unfortunately, this year I didn’t quite make it all the way and so my paper began.

My father, tooling down some dirt road in Ohio singing Tennessee Waltz at the top of his lungs, suggested that my sister and I play a game in the backseat. I think his exact words were, “Kids, why don’t you play the game called, “See who can throw the other one out of the car first.” My sister won.

I got picked up by this farmer plowing his field who was totally convinced that I was the baby Jesus sent from Heaven to pray for his freshly planted corn crop. He took me inside to meet the ‘Mrs.,’ and as soon as she laid eyes on me, the funniest thing happened. Her arthritis, bursitis, laryngitis as well as the dandruff that had been plaguing her for years mysteriously vanished. The next day, with the full intention of adopting me, they loaded me on the tractor and took me down to Balls, the local bowling alley, where the town judge, who moonlighted as a custodian was busy disinfecting bowling shoes. I tried to tell them that they were making a big mistake. I said that I was just a six-year old kid who got tossed out of the car by my sister at my father’s urging. I tried to convince them that I was part of a loving, nurturing, wonderful, nuclear family, but they wanted no part of it.

The next day, the local paper ran the headline, “Farmer Drover and wife adopt the Baby Jesus. Good corn crop all but Guaranteed.”

Days passed and neighbors became more envious of my presence in their little town. Every night when I went to bed they would take turns climbing through the window begging me to help them out. Many were on their knees, face to face with me, tears streaming down their cheeks, tugging on my pajamas, pleading their needs all the while spitting the remnants of that night’s squirrel dinner on my forehead.

Finally, I was able to sneak out of the Drover’s place late one night and head back to the main road. I knew that my family would be returning home to Chicago and I was hoping that if they hadn’t already passed, they might stop if they saw me. Then in the distance I heard a disturbingly loud muffler noise and the sound of an equally obnoxious country song blaring on the radio. I was in luck. They stopped. Mom said that she felt terrible about not turning around and picking me up but added, “You know how your father gets when he wants to be someplace.” Then they asked me what I did and I told them that I stayed with this old farmer and his wife. It was at that moment that something strange happened. The muffler started purring like a kitten, my father’s cigar fell into his coffee cup and the country music station just vanished from the air!

We had been home for about three days when my mother heard a story on the news about this town in Ohio that had a miracle corn crop, prompting the President to proclaim it “Corn Capital of the World.” I thought, “Hey, that’s neat. I was just there.”

Yeah, it was a summer I’ll never forget and believe me I’ve tried. But when I got my paper back I got the shock of my life. There was a humongous red “F” sprawling the full length of the page. “Oh no,” I thought. “I’m going to get killed. I just failed my very first paper of the school year.” Then I looked up as the principal came strolling in. He said he was there to unveil the school’s new grading system. “Boys and girls, from this day forth the new grade scale will be as follows: A = abhorrent; B = below average; C = commonplace; D = dismal; and F = fantastic.” Wow! Double Wow!

When I submitted the story to The Sun, I got this response: “Thank you for writing to The Sun. Unfortunately, the story you submitted has already happened to one of our staff members. However, if you should ever run into Jimmy Hoffa enjoying a peanut butter and banana sandwich with Elvis in the French Alps, let us know. And remember, if you subscribe today, you can get 50% off the newsstand price. Sincerely, The Sun.”

THANKS FOR THE RIDE, MR. B.

As another school year draws to a close, it’s high time we salute those often undervalued, but still dedicated, disciplined and loyal personnal in the educational system…the bus driver.

 

I will do so with fond memories of Mr. Bedrosian, my high school bus driver in Chicago (It’s near Illinois. You can look it up). Although Mr. B. never achieved the educational level of twelfth grade, he was one knowledgeable and entertaining man.

 

Mr. B. left school in the sixth grade to cut the heads off chickens on his father’s farm, which, I suppose, would account for the reason that the words ‘thighs’ and ‘breasts’ were the only words not allowed to be uttered on his school bus, or ‘classroom,’ as he called it.

 

We learned more about life from him that some most of our teachers. He was famous for saying things like, “Study hard, play hard and never leave a ballgame before the 7th inning stretch,” and  “Stand up to the bully. Punch him in the head and then pull his pants down. Nobody looks tough naked.”

 

We couldn’t wait for him to pull up and pile on so we could sit up close and get a good whiff of his freshly lit Camel. There was just something about the aroma of tobacco. We hung on every word he said. I remember that just about every morning he would sit idling his school bus and wait on the corner for Sandy and Steve to come out of her house. “Hey, Mr. B., c’mon, we’re going to be late for home room,” we would say. He would take a drag of his cigarette and tell us, “Sandy and Steve are making out in the house. Give ’em a minute. We punish you kids all the time for fighting. We certainly can’t punish you for loving, can we?”

 

He was a psychologist as well. “Hey Mr. B., I think this guy named Mike is trying to make time with my girlfriend, Sara.” He shook his head and offered, “Wait until gym class and pound his head in the mat.” Sage advice, indeed.

 

He was ax expert on everything.

 

On the Chicago Cubs: “You kids may even live long enough to see them win four in a row.

 

On financial matters: “If you have to borrow money, ask your father. He’s only going to spend it on Playboys and Pabst Blue Ribbon anyway.”

 

On hot cheerleaders: “Look, but don’t touch. They’re either dating a player or too stuck up to mess with.”

 

On life:  “Study hard, play hard and never leave a ballgame before the 7th inning stretch.” He would even quiz us on stuff the day of an exam, just to make sure we were doing our part.

 

Mr. B. knew every student by name and knew all of our interests.  On a typical morning, he would open the doors and ask, Hey Glenn, how’s that curve ball working out for you?’ or “Billy, go get ’em tonight at the track meet,” or “Hey, Miller, next time you try and sneak into Wrigley Field, I’m calling the cops.”

 

Today, of course, Mr. Bedrosian would be arrested for the way he treated kids and maybe that’s where we’ve gone astray. SMOKING ON A SCHOOL BUS? How could he? But that was then, and this is now, yet somehow we all managed to grow up to be responsible citizens…everyone except Jimmy Wolter, who grew up be a White Sox fan. You can lead a horse to water, but…

 

A kinder, gentler man could not be found and that’s a lot more than we can say about some educational administrators today, who’ve made the wrong kind of headlines for incidents too numerous to name.

 

So, Mr. B., I know it’s been several years and nary a Christmas card from me, but, trust me, if you were still driving, I’d be the first one on the bus just to hear that next pearl of wisdom fall from your lips. My old classmates tell me that you’re thoroughly enjoying your retirement in Tampa. Hey, by the way, I’ve heard that it’s a law in Florida that everyone must have a pool but nobody can ever actually go in. Is that true? Thanks again for the education and I’m sure you’d agree, “Kids belong ON the bus and IN school…not ON your front lawn!  God bless you.