Day 02: Weight Loss, I'm Too Sexy, Full House

I'm sensing a subplot to the Summer of Tim.

One of the goals I have set for myself over the coming weeks is to shed some pounds. Right now, I'm weighing in at 192 -- uncomfortably close to my lifetime heaviest weight of 205 from five or six years ago. Not that 192 is bad, but considering my scrawny body type, it's about twenty pounds more than what I should weigh.

Coming up on birthday number 39 this summer, I realize that the next step is 40 and, taking a page from my brother's playbook, I'd like to be in the neighborhood of the best shape of my life when I hit that milestone. This is going to require some significant changes to my lifestyle. I'll need to drastically alter what I put into my body -- no more full-can-of-Pringles binges and no more six-pack-of-High-Life evenings. Also, might be time for me to rediscover those things called vegetables. And maybe exercise, too.

Ideally, I'd like to be down to 170 by the end of the summer. This may be the June equivalent of a short-lived New Year's resolution but we'll see.

As for today though, the second day of the Summer of Tim has turned out to be pretty slow going -- and that's perfectly fine by me. The temperature dropped about 25 degrees from yesterday to today which means we went from roasting in the humidity of the Homer Soda Festival to wearing long pants and sweatshirts to church this morning. We all know that there's only one thing to do on a dreary Sunday afternoon like today.


And that's what I did.

I did manage to stop by the library and visit their weekly book sale -- most CDs and books for a buck or less. With those kind of prices, I usually walk out with something new -- but not today. I will say that I was close to paying a dollar for the CD single of Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy, but I couldn't pull the trigger on that one.

Not when I already have the cassette.

I couldn't leave completely empty-handed so I checked out a season of Growing Pains and a season of Facts of Life.

Post-nap I paid some bills and changed the oil in the van.

Exciting. I know.

Today is my friend Susan's birthday and she's the world's biggest Full House fan so I'll wrap up with a picture in recognition of her big day.

Man, Susan loves Full House.

Have mercy. The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 01: Soda Fest, Elvis, Junk Shopping

Technically, my summer break has not begun yet as I still have three days of work in front of me this coming week. Still, it's close enough. I'm declaring the Summer of Tim 2K15 underway!

Now before this thing gets too far gone, let me me make two things very clear.

1. I'm not about to pretend that anyone other than me gives a crap about what I do on the day-to-day over the summer. Just like last year, my main purpose here is to document my break from work so at the end of the summer I can look back and realize that I did more than drink beer and watch baseball.

2. Yes, there is currently a "FOR SALE" sign in my front yard -- and, yes, we just moved the summer before last. In fact, that move is what caused documentation of the Summer of Tim 2K13 to end prematurely. But after two years in this house, my wife and I have just never gotten attached to it the way we thought we would. So we're packing up once again. For those few loyal FASTE readers out there, I'm saying upfront that if/when our house sells, v2K15 of the Summer of Tim may potentially suffer the same fate as v2K13. Maybe not, though.

With today as Day 1, I've got 66 days away from my job as a high school counselor. That's about 9 1/2 weeks of no alarm clocks, no socks, and no daily bell schedule.

Beautiful. Here we go.

Today was supposed to be full of storms but the rain held off just long enough for us to make the drive to nearby Homer, IL where the Annual Homer Soda Festival was scheduled for today.

The concept is pretty simple really. With dozens of vendors on hand, you pay 25 cents for a taste of any of the vendors' various soda flavors. While doing our best to ignore the aroma of barbecued meats in the air, the five Lybargers easily tasted our way through ten bucks worth of samples.

Our favorites: Reed's Spiced Apple Ginger Brew, Cicero Candied Bacon Cream Soda, Cicero Chocolate Hazelnut, and the Zuberfizz CocoFizz.

If you've ever had the desire to drink a Tootsie Roll, CocoFizz is your answer.

Honorable mention to one of my childhood favorites: Double Cola.


There was an Elvis sighting at the Soda Fest. Sharing a photo with my pal Elvis Hicks, he pretty much nailed it: "Your oldest is humoring you at least. The middle kid is trying. But dude? He ain't havin' it."

The kids enjoyed the soda tasting but were really more interested in the massive bubbles that kept floating above our heads. They wanted their hands on some of that action.


One dude had two long poles with some rope attached that he dipped in the bubble solution. We weren't quite sure what to expect -- maybe a massive bubble?

Nope. Better. Tons of bubbles all at once!

The kids lost their minds.


The store that had the Elvis statue outside stayed in the back of my mind long enough that I had to check it out. Let me summarize this guy's inventory: Elvis memorabilia, porcelain dolls, and two shelves of random stuff. That was it.

While that may have been all he had, it was enough that he got a buck-fiddy from me for these two guys (from the 1974 Playskool Take-Apart Fishing Boat).

We headed home just in time for the rain to hit our windshield as we headed up the highway -- but first we stopped off for lunch with my wife's grandma. She lives just around the corner from a pretty interesting antique/junk store that I hit up now and then. I love looking at stuff in this place but I've hardly ever made a purchase there. I've finally figured out that they just continually move their same old merchandise around their property and rarely seem to bring in much new. Today may have been my last visit to this place for a while -- same old stuff that's way overpriced. They have a never-ending 50% off sale, but still...the glasses seen below, for example, have a sticker price of $18.50 each.

No thanks.

Got something pretty cool in the mail today -- a collection of nineteen 35mm slides featuring photographs taken of Fred Rogers at the 1997 Daytime Emmy Awards. Yeah, yeah. Mister Rogers. But I suppose anyone late to the party may not know my story with the Neighborhood.

Today was great. A terrific start to another summer break. But let's not pretend there's not bigger news afoot. The Karate Kid is coming to the local drive-in.

I said...


My wife will be gone for a few hours tonight after the kids are in bed which is perfect since there's only one way to prepare for Thursday's outdoor screening.

I'll be watching The Karate Kid.

Once again, the Summer of Tim continues...

Who Pooped in the Urinal?

It's no secret that I was a bit of a screwball at times when I was a kid. I've also mentioned in the past that up through 8th grade, I attended a small rural school on the outskirts of my hometown. My graduating class in 8th grade might have included twenty students. So suffice it to say that when tragedy struck at my school, things got serious in a hurry.

It was early November 1989. Lunch period had just ended and students were settling into their afternoon classrooms when the announcement was made:

"All boys -- grades 5-8 -- please report to the gymnasium."

This was odd. What could be happening that only the boys were called from class? Even stranger, all boys from all grades?

Seated by class in our designated set of bleachers on the gym's south side, we could see the school's two male teachers -- Mr. Marcum and Mr. Skelton -- talking privately with the principal, Mr. Sullens. After a few moments of intense conversation, their meeting dispersed and Mr. Marcum asked for the attention of a gym full of curious boys.

"In the boys restroom during lunch, it was found that someone had left a 'number 2' in one of the urinals. We are in here now to find out who is responsible and to get that individual the help that they need."

Wait. What? Somebody pooped in the urinal?


[Image courtesy of]

A few more minutes passed as the three men discussed the best way to identify this mad pooper. As they talked, the boys grew restless and I took it upon myself to provide some top notch entertainment for my fellow 8th graders. In full show-off mode, I pulled my left arm inside my long-sleeved shirt, grabbed the empty sleeve with my right hand, and performed one of the more classic bits of trickery known to junior high boys. You know what I'm talking about. This thing:

Unfortunately for me, I was mid-performance when Mr. Marcum turned around and caught my eye. Marching directly towards me, he pulled me by the shirt to the center of the gym -- hardly offering me the opportunity to put my left arm back in its proper place. The room went silent.

"Gentlemen. Tim here has a trick that he'd like you all to see. Normally you'd have to pay for such quality entertainment, but today you're getting it for free."

With that, he stepped aside and with a wave of his hand suggested that it was my moment to shine. Assuming he wasn't serious, I just hung my head as the color of my face brightened. A few seconds of awkward silence passed.

"Now, Tim. Apparently you think I'm kidding. You wanted to put on a show so badly, you're going to put on a show."

Another wave of his hand in my direction and I knew I had no choice. I pulled my arm back inside my shirt and provided "all boys -- grades 5-8" with a few seconds of amazing entertainment. My friends howled with laughter.

Having had successfully won this pissing match against a 13-year-old, Mr. Marcum directed me to sit alone on the north side of the gym.

Back to the poop.

The leaders of our school decided that the best way to nab their sicko would be through anonymous tattling.

"Boys. We've placed a box on the other side of the gym. In a few moments, each of you will receive a piece of paper. If you know who did this, you will write that person's name on the paper and place it in the box. If you do not know, you will just place your blank paper in the box. Mr. Skelton will be next to the box to provide you with a paper and pencil."

The box was right next to me...but so was Mr. Skelton. It would be impossible to get away with writing Mr. Marcum's name on a paper.

In addition to his duties as a 6th grade teacher, Mr. Skelton was also the boys basketball coach who I'd played for (okay, sat the bench for) for the previous three years. Sitting alone, but close to Mr. Skelton and "the box," my mind wandered as I considered the possibilities in this matter of the poop.

Then it hit me. I had a theory and I could trust my coach enough to share it, right?

"Hey, Coach. Halloween was just last week and kids have lots of candy. Maybe it was just a Tootsie Roll."

My self-worth was immediately obliterated once again as my coach stabbed me in the back by yelling across the gym.

"Hey, Mr. Marcum! Tim's got a great idea. He thinks it might be a Tootsie Roll!"

Eyes rolling in disgust, Mr. Marcum threw his hands in the air as if to declare he'd had all he could take of me for the day. I mean, really, who has time for such nonsense when there's someone pooping in a urinal?!

So their plan moved forward. Approximately 50 boys lined up and placed their papers in the box. I sat silently -- shunned by my homeroom teacher and betrayed by my coach. While the collection of scientific data was being analyzed, we were all dismissed and returned to class.

Then another announcement:

"All 8th grade boys, please report to the principal's office."

Interesting. Had the pooper been apprehended? Was he actually among us?

We filed into the principal's office where Mr. Sullens sat as his desk, flanked by Mr. Skelton and a clearly-irritated Mr. Marcum. The nervous tension in the room was broken by Mr. Sullens' deep voice.

"Boys. Upon further investigation, it appears that the philosopher of your class was correct. It was only a Tootsie Roll in the urinal."

BOOM! Without hesitation, my pal Chad slapped me a high five in celebration. My other friends cheered in support. I had won. We had won. Take your magic show and your box of papers know.

Adding insult to injury, Mr. Marcum was known for giving out prizes when students did good things in his classes -- usually Tootsie Rolls.

In the end, the person responsible for the gag was never caught -- and, no, it wasn't me. But more importantly, two grown men had tried to humiliate a kid in front of his friends...and they failed. My victory that day came in a split second I was not even present for -- that split second when someone sniffed what was thought to be human feces and realized that the goofy kid was right.

It was just a Tootsie Roll.