The Purge Begins

DAY 17 - The first round of this summer's great purge began today as I started sorting through the ridiculous amount of junk that I've accumulated over the years from thrift stores and garage sales. Some items have hit eBay and some will be donated right back to the stores where they were probably purchased in the first place.


Now, let's not be crazy. I'm not getting rid of everything. The stuff with any sort of significance to me personally is staying put.

That said, if you know anyone in the market for a pile of Scooby-Doo toys, a set of three "Miss Nelson" stories with records, or a near-complete set of Sweet Pickles books....I'm your man.

. . .

Also, if anyone is interested in a cat who is known to occasionally poop on the basement floor...I may also know someone.

Death Before Disco

DAY 16 - I made it.

Officially.

Summer is here.

The proverbial light at the end of the 36-week-long tunnel.

Sticking with tradition, I left my last office day for the school year and headed out for two things -- a Mango Kale from Smoothie King and a random drink or two from Friar Tuck. The Mango Kale was amazing as always, but my trip to Friar Tuck still had a few questions unanswered heading into the glorious supermarket of libations. What would be this year's special treat?


Last year it was strictly a Mango Kale as I wasn't drinking at the time.

Before that it was a bottle of Phuket and a solid sip from Yeastie Boys the year before that.

This year, I turned to an option my old pal Brian had let me know about a few weeks ago. Brian was part of my core group of high school friends -- a group we referred to as the JLS. The JLS -- the Justice League of Salem, for those interested -- was not far removed from the JTP as seen on The Goldbergs. We were nothing more than a group of knuckleheads out to test the boundaries of social norms while having a good time along the way.

When we were seniors in high school, among our many other antics, we channeled our inner Judge Reinhold and made our own shirts in honor of the one he wore in Stripes.


I can't honestly say we hated disco music. We just thought it was a funny idea and ran with it. Here's a look at a few shots from my senior yearbook back in '94 -- me and my pal Adam donning our homespun DBD shirts.

 

Well, much to my delight, Brian tuned me on to a porter from Left Hand Brewing a few weeks ago called....yep....you guessed it....Death Before Disco. No doubt I was going to find some and I was quite happy to find that Frair Tuck would not leave me disappointed.


Yeah, I grabbed a local Bulldog Brown from JT's while I was at it.

. . .

One of my goals for the summer is to try some new foods. Now, please understand that this is coming from a super-picky eater who grew up on peanut butter and cereal. I'm proud to say that over this holiday weekend, I dropped a few tomatoes and a mushrooms on my salad.

Sure, those were drowned out by the dressing and peppers which I actually enjoy....but we're making progress here. By the end of the summer, I expect to be eating from the garden I'm growing.

. . .

Speaking of food, it's been a while since Amy and I have gone through a round of Whole 30 eating. Doing so always proves beneficial in so many ways ... but it's easier said than done. We've both agreed that we'll take the 30 days of June this summer to go another round which means that my typical summer consumption habits will be put on hold until July.

Whole 30 means no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no sugar, no alcohol.

Yeah, I said it. Let's take it to the stage.

Wish me luck, people.

. . .

Mason found a tomato shaped like a snowman.

Or a perfume bottle.

Or whatever.

So there's that.


. . .

We had a great end to the first official evening of summer vacation with a dip in the pool...


...and a cave under Mason's new loft bed.


Here we go, folks. The Summer of Tim is upon us!

Memorial Day Weekend

Making my summer plans a priority, I've found myself backed up by an entire holiday weekend. Here's a quick rundown of the Memorial Day weekend as I've spent the last few days unplugging, sweating, enjoying, getting dirty, and appreciating...


. . .

DAY 12 -- Friday was our last official contract day at work -- a few meetings and some time in my office. One office day left on Tuesday and the gates will open wide for the official Summer of Tim to get underway!

The kids went to stay with my brother and sister-in-law tonight as a group birthday present to all three. They've got plans to hit up the City Museum in St. Louis -- with six kids and two adults.

God bless their hearts.

As a self-proclaimed claustrophobic, I hate that place.


The big topic from Friday came from an occurrence at a Noblesville, Indiana school that took place about the time we were recognizing our districts retirees here at my own school.

Another shooting.

Of course.

What's new, right?

This one was apparently stopped by a seventh grade science teacher named Jason Seaman -- a graduate of the school where I've worked for the past fifteen years. I didn't know Jason when he was in high school as he wasn't one of my students I worked with directly. Still, I knew of him and this incident in Noblesville has hit a little close to home.

Jason took a few bullets to save the lives of his students and prevent what could have been a much worse situation.

While I'm proud of Jason, I have to ask, why do I even have to use the phrase "could have been a much worse situation" when I'm talking about a middle school science classroom?!?!

For crying out loud, when is enough enough?

This is not a mental health issue. This is not an issue of the constitutional rights. This is a gun issue. Plain and simple.

Any opinions to the contrary you can keep to yourself. Don't waste the effort. You won't convince me otherwise.

. . .

DAY 13 -- With the kids staying with my brother and his family, Amy and I headed to Kickapoo for a night of unplugged solitude.

And it was glorious.


Sure it was hotter than deep fried hell, but the time away from our phones, and jobs, and responsibilities was exactly what we needed.

I read about ten pages of the book I've been in lately.

Amy read about ten books.

I mostly sat and listened to music all afternoon while I made up stories about the people around us at other campsites.

There was the couple to our right -- they were on their honeymoon. Newlyweds looking to save some money on an elaborate trip by taking their fluffy dog camping for the weekend to celebrate their recent nuptials.

The couple next to them was comprised of a deeply religious young man on a camping trip and his adventurous girlfriend who wanted to work on her tan. Religious guy's dad and brother joined them later in the evening for a s'mores and a campfire devotion.

Next to them was a large group of Europeans on a nation-wide tour of mountain bike trails in the U.S. They felt they had been misled by spending a night at a park outside Danville, Illinois and decided to get crazy drunk instead of biking the trails.

Those are my stories.


As for Amy and me, we cooked up an amazing skillet of vegetables over the fire and solved the world's problems over a bottle of Fireball around the campfire.


Mission accomplished.


. . .

DAY 14 -- After a wonderful night's sleep under the open sky of the campsite, I found myself out of the tent by 6AM with bacon and eggs cooking over the fire by 7. The sun was hot by eight so we packed up and headed home. After picking up the kids early in the afternoon, we spent the rest of the day just being lazy.

The kids were wiped. We were tired. We were content to be lazy.

So that's what we did.

I did make the mistake of watching Game 7 between the Cavs and Celtics. I was really pulling for that young Celtics team and against Brond making his eighth straight appearance in the NBA finals. But the basketball gods were not on my side.

Here's to hoping the Cavs get destroyed in the finals.

. . .

DAY 15 - Memorial Day.

Sun.

Food.

Swimming.

Drinks.

Gratitude for the freedom to enjoy all of these.

Summer's Here, Ya'll.

DAY 11 -- It's happening, ya'll. Summer is here.


Today was our last day with students, Anna had her Field Day at the high school, and the afternoon wrapped up with the annual water gun fight hosted by Bus 16's amazing Miss Linda.

  

. . .

Since going to the doctor yesterday for some poison ivy treatment, I've been on a simple dose of steroids ... and it's...amazing. I couldn't stand still this morning, was told once that I was "acting like Mason," and ultimately felt like I could conquer the world with no effort whatsoever.

Did you ever watch Family Ties back in the day? Remember that episode where Alex gets his hands on some diet pills from Mallory's friend Effie?

I was Alex all day today.


I fully expect that I will have accomplished everything on my summer to-do list by the time I'm off this prescribed round of medication.

. . .

After the Bus 16 water gun fight today, two-thirds of the kids hadn't had enough water and wanted to hit the yard for more fun in the sun.


Mason bailed after ten minutes which left Anna alone wishing she had someone to blast with her water gun.

Dad to the rescue.


. . .

As if that wasn't enough water for one day, the 95 degree heat sent us across the street to Grandma and Grandpa's pool as soon as Amy got home.


. . .

Capping off the day, Amy and I needed a good end-of-the-school-year movie to watch and my usual choice of Summer School was replaced this year with Amy's perfect choice -- Dazed and Confused.

Summer's here, ya'll.

Alright, alright.

. . .

Last but not least, I saw this video earlier today it simply made my heart smile. My Aunt Sylvia had Down Syndrome and I miss her dearly. This video brought back the joys of spending time with Aunt Dinky.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

DAY 10 -- Many people consider the Christmas season to be the "most wonderful time of the year" but they couldn't be more wrong. I assure you that there is a time of year much more joyous than the time spent hanging stockings and wrapping gifts.

The kids came home today with their backpacks filled will a year's worth of school supplies, papers, notes, uneaten snacks, and other random junk they've accumulated throughout the year. As Mason sorted his items on the living room floor, it finally sunk in that I've, once again, reached the promised land of summer vacation.

Only one more day with students and two more in my office after that -- then the most wonderful time of the year truly begins.

On a side note, if anyone needs glue sticks, we've got a few hundred at our house.


. . .

"I just wanna feel good. I don't wanna hurt nobody. I just wanna get a good time out of my life."
-- Bob Schneider, Captain Kirk

Birthday Plans, AudioFeed, Deliverance

DAY 9 -- Remember a few years ago when I saw One Bad Pig at the nearby AudioFeed music festival? A band I listened to like crazy when I was a kid.

It appears that AudioFeed is bringing on another favorite from my youth this year -- Deliverance!

I'm old as dirt these days and so are these guys...


...but I cannot wait to hear them hit me with This Present Darkness live after almost thirty years (despite their line-up changing a bajillion times over the years)!


The three-day AudioFeed festival offers the opportunity to pitch a tent and camp for a few nights on site. My birthday happens to fall on the second day of this festival and a few days on my own, in a tent, with live music aplenty, is what Amy has agreed to as a gift to me this year. I'm all in for some solitude, but even more I'm in for some Deliverance, Propaganda, Project 86, and Listener.

Man. I can't wait for this.




Office Help, Poison Ivy, Guns

DAY 8 -- The seniors graduated last Friday so they're done and work is much quieter this week with a quarter of the student body no longer in attendance. With plenty still to do in the next five days, I had a "helper" on hand at work today.


Anna woke up feeling crummy this morning but I had too much to do at work...so she hung out with me all day in my office. I'm saying her "sickness" was nothing more than allergies but if you ask Anna, we were pretty close to calling the paramedics. It's amazing how much better she felt tonight once school was over and it was time for softball and dance.

Rules are rules, though. No school...no stuff after school.

. . .

Our modest garden is looking good except for the fact that the berm continues to produce a healthy crop of poison ivy.


With calamine lotion on my feet and a gallon of Round-Up soaking the berm, I'm declaring myself victor! Even so, it appears that mowing the berm in flip-flops last week was not my best idea.

. . .

Now guns.

I'm tired of guns. I'm tired of guns killing people. And I'm tired of the excuses.

It's my right! The second amendment! Guns don't kill people...people kill people!

STFU.

When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards. That was my hobby. Had I been an irresponsible baseball card collector and others had put their hands on my legally owned baseball cards, that's on me. But if those cards went on to kill other people and destroy the lives of countless families every day, that's a problem.

Let me repeat.

That.

Is.

A.

Problem.

But we're not talking about a 1985 Topps Mark McGwire USA card made of cardboard and ink. We're talking about weapons -- oftentimes weapons that are far beyond what any reasonable hobbyist should ever own for recreational use. Even if your guns are legally owned, the end result can be catastrophic. Case in point being last week's shooting in Texas.

Here's a slightly altered quote from a recent news article about the shooting in Santa Fe:
Pagourtzis was armed with his father’s 1976 Topps Pete Rose and a Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card, a law enforcement official told NBC News.
Police responding to a baseball card collector inside Santa Fe High School got locked into a 25-minute battle with the collector. 
Do you hear how ridiculous that sounds? If that was the actual story over and over again ... every day on the news ... I'm quite sure some anti-baseball card legislation would start to emerge.

But the baseball card industry doesn't pad the pockets of those in power to make such changes like the NRA does.

If my Tony Gwynn rookie card kills a dozen innocent people, you might question my baseball card collection. If multiple baseball card collections killed multiple people in multiple cities every day for weeks and months upon end...a rational person might question the need to own those baseball cards in the first place.

Get it? We're not talking about somebody saying guns are bad because they're loud and they annoy the neighbors.

Guns kill people.

Dead.

Maybe you're a responsible gun owner, but so was the father of the Santa Fe shooter. So were so many other gun owners whose weapons caused unnecessary killing. What's it going to take for you to get it? Do you need your own innocent child to die a bloody death? Maybe your spouse or your sibling needs to be gunned down by a stray bullet?

No? Your hobby is more important than those lives? Look at the faces of the people in this article and tell me you're okay that they're dead as long as you're still able to play with your guns at the firing range.

The problem is not people. The problem is guns.

You can save your counter-argument. You're not going to change my mind.

Seriously. Don't waste your time.

Your guns are killing innocent people on a daily basis. Your hobby is causing others to suffer and for their lives to be changed forever in a terrible, terrible way.

Every day.

How you justify that is beyond me.

Nada Limonada. Again.

DAY 7 -- Deja vu.

  

See also, yesterday.

Nada Limonada

DAY 6 -- Nothing better than a day like this. A pretty nothing kind of day capped off across the street with a few drinks around my in-law's pool.


See also, tomorrow.

Sicko, Neighborhood Talent, Biker Gang

DAY 5 -- Mason went to bed with a fever last night and woke up at the same temperature this morning.

Sick day.


Yes, I realize it looks like we don't feed him, but I assure you he has plenty to eat on a daily basis. No need to make any phone calls.

. . .

The official word went out today for an event in Indianapolis I've been invited to be a part of. Heartland Film will be hosting a viewing of the Mister Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor on June 6th -- a few days prior to it's official release later that week.


First of all, if you have the means and it's screening in your neighborhood, go see this film. My investment in Mister Rogers aside, you will not be disappointed.


Second, I'm humbled to be the "talent" on hand for the Heartland event as I'll be there as an "official" Mister Rogers archivist/historian for a discussion following the film. If you're in the Indianapolis area and are interested in this at all, check out the Heartland site for details.

. . .

Speaking of Mister Rogers, an advance copy of the upcoming biography The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers arrived in my mailbox today.


I'm only about fifty pages in and it's, so far, the best Fred Rogers book I've read since Michael Long's Peaceful Neighbor. So very well done from what I've read so far and I'm sure it'll have my full endorsement come September. In the meantime, if you're interested in a solid look at the work of Fred Rogers from an adult (and social issues) perspective, I'd definitely recommend Peaceful Neighbor.

. . .

My friend from high school, Mike, texted me tonight with a picture that sparked my interest in an immediate road trip. Apparently, Southern Grist -- a brewery out of Nashville, TN -- has created a coconut infused milk stout they're calling "Copra Kai." Reminiscent of the Sweep the Leg peanut butter stout from last year, this Karate Kid fan may stop at nothing to get his hands on a can or two.


. . .

This evening wrapped up exactly like I'd love to see many of this year's summer nights come to a close -- with some time relaxing in the yard and having fun with the kids. After some basketball and hammock time, the five of us took a bike ride in the church parking lot behind our yard. As we all rode our bikes back to the house, I was reminded of this awesome picture from 1983 taken by my brother.

Me and our friends, Greg and Brett -- three tough guys with their rad bikes.


Only one thing to do with that kind of memory.


. . .

Mason's feeling better, by the way.

And it's still "yanny."

Bus 16 + 70 Kids = 1 Dairy Queen

DAY 4 -- Those of you following along for a few years are likely familiar with the annual water gun fight planned by my kids' bus driver where they battle it out with another bus after the last day of school. This year, along with the water gun fight scheduled for next week, Miss Linda took Bus 16 to Dairy Queen.

Seventy kids packed into one Dairy Queen.

Bless her heart.


. . .

As I was finishing up some yard work tonight, I saw my in-laws making their way across the street carrying pots in their oven-mitt-covered hands. That could only mean one thing!

The bacon-wrapped pork was terrific! Much better than whatever we hadn't planned yet for dinner!


. . .

The third of the three Mister Rogers Pop! figures arrived today!


For those maybe unfamiliar with my Mister Rogers story, check out NeighborhoodArchive.com.

It's a thing I do.

. . .

Oh, yeah. And it's definitely "yanny."

Coach Tim

DAY 3 -- Came home from work to put together this guy's new bed!


The bunk beds are dismantled, sold, and ready to be picked up this weekend. Now this room seems twice the size it did before!

. . .

Anna's back on the softball field and, following my plans to have some fun this summer, I've found myself as a volunteer assistant coach. I don't get the fancy team shirt and hat, but I do get to remind girls to watch the batter instead of making designs in the dirt.


Actually, I'm kidding. Anna's team seems to be having a ton of fun as they learn the basics of the game. Her coaches last year were clearly only invested in their own daughters, so I'm glad to help two other dads this year as we invest some time in this great group of girls.

. . .

After putting in a few raised garden beds in the berm last fall, the veggies are planted and I've been getting some solid help from those who will be reaping the benefits.


Man, evenings like this remind me how much I enjoy our house in the trees.

Alexa, Naked Chicken, Cobra Kai

DAY 2 -- Alexa moved in to our house a few weeks ago and I think I'm in love. I was never really interested in making our house a "smart home" until I saw some of the capabilities in action. It's much like wearing an Apple Watch -- it's not necessary, but is sure is convenient (and fun) sometimes. So our house is slowly becoming smarter and I'm becoming a little less motivated to get off the couch. With Echos and Dots and accessories spread throughout our house, I assume it's only a matter of time before we're hydrating pizzas for dinner.

And, yes, I was torn between a Back to the Future reference and a Jetsons reference there.

While I was cleaning leaves and oak pollen off the roof this past weekend, Mason tells me he was given specific instructions from Amy:

"I'm going to the store. If dad falls off the roof, tell Alexa to call 911."

. . .

Let's talk about food.

My favorite thing over the past week or so has been avocado toast -- apparently a favorite among the hipster crowd. I eat it for breakfast with some fruit and feel like I'm starting my day off with something satisfying and nutritious.


Then later in the day, my amazing ability to make poor decisions occasionally sets in and I negate any bit of pride I feel from a healthy breakfast.

Today, for example, I needed to pick something up from Barnes & Noble over my lunch hour which took me right by one of my fast food nemeses -- Taco Bell. I have a love/hate relationship with Taco Bell -- while I love Taco Bell, Taco Bell hates me. Knowing full well that a Taco Bell lunch was sure to result in an afternoon gut bomb, I ignored my conscience and decided today was the day I'd give a shot at the Naked Chicken Chalupa.


There it is. In all it's glory.

If you're unfamiliar, it's exactly what it looks like -- a pretty basic taco but with a fried chicken shell.

After applying a healthy dose of Diablo Sauce, down the hatch it went and I have to admit ... I was pleasantly surprised. It kind of hit the spot and satisfied my Taco Bell craving. But I'm not smart enough to stop there. The burrito and two glasses of mango tea that followed put me over the edge.

Some day I'll learn.

Maybe.

. . .

It seems that this summer's Day 1 post created a bit of shock among the faithful Summer of Tim readers -- all with one simple word: "purge."

While I've spent several years amassing a somewhat ridiculous collection of ... well ... stuff, I'm realizing that there's a point where it's time to reign things in a bit. For as long as I can remember, I've loved a trip to a good thrift store and the feeling of walking out with something cheap and fun that I didn't even know I wanted in the first place. When I say I want to purge a bit over the summer, I'm not talking about the good stuff. All of my old toys and the other vintage and pop culture memorabilia is all staying put. What I'm talking about thinning out are the huge amounts of random stuff that I've picked up simply because it was cheap and it was there.

That said, I really haven't had the urge to go junk shopping in quite some time. I'm not sure when or how it happened, but I've reached a point since last summer where I'd rather have simple over stuff in many ways. For example, I've officially moved away from buying physical copies of music (with an occasional exception, of course) and even away from purchasing digital downloads. For a while it was Spotify and now we've moved on to Amazon Music Unlimited. For the cost of one album a month (or maybe two cheap albums), we've got an endless library of music at our fingertips.

Sure, I miss the liner notes and all of that jazz ... but I can't tell Alexa to change CDs while I'm in the shower.

. . .

Speaking of music, I've been listening to the new Frank Turner album a lot lately. It's pretty great. You should listen to it a lot, too.


. . .

Cobra Kai, the series based on the original Karate Kid trilogy, has been out for almost two weeks and I've watch all ten episodes through three times already. Amy even watched them with me once and said to me just last night, "I want to watch the Karate Kid show again."

After fifteen years, she knows me well enough to know that's my kind of flirting.


. . .

I had to be at work early today to administer an AP exam. That means I should have gone to bed at a reasonable time last night. Instead, I stayed up until after midnight watching reruns of Cops.

I think it's safe to say that full-on summer mode has officially set it.