(A Revamped) Home For The Holidays

I use this picture so you can get a sense of the siding we used to have (top) and the way it looks now (bottom).

I use this picture so you can get a sense of the siding we used to have (top) and the way it looks now (bottom).

(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 49)

It’s been a stressful few months for me.

Since mid-to-late August or so we’ve had work being done on the house.

It has been alternately stressful and satisfying…but mostly stressful.

For three months we didn’t know what would happen on a day-to-day basis: were workers coming, was there anything we needed to do? Would things go exactly the way we were expecting?

Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t.

But that’s not exactly what I’m writing about today…today’s more of a feel-good story, because it’s finally all done.


So here’s the short version of what we did: We re-did our deck in the backyard, the front door porch (not really a full porch but I don’t know what better language to use for it), and we re-sided the house.

I haven’t been the best…maintainer, let’s say. That front porch was falling apart, and the siding was getting a little rotty and woodpecker-y…and the backyard was not conducive to a family with three children.

We had a big deck but no space for the kids to play. So we figured if we were doing the siding we’d re-do the deck. (And after watching it all be done, I enjoyed learning that in theory, it was all something that I could have done, but never anything I would have done. Or would have done well, at least.)

So now we have a smaller deck and more backyard and it’s exciting to think about what we can do back there come spring to enjoy it in a way we haven’t really been able to since we moved in more than a decade ago.

That’s the thing - there were elements of the house that, to me, didn’t feel like ours. We had customized some things on the inside - new paint, our own furniture arrangement - that made those rooms feel like our own. But the yard had its own quirks that were distinctly someone else’s. And finally Kathy and I took steps to make it our own.

In the spring we’ll take more steps - and possibly one of those will be to make it not just our own, but the girls’ (they want to plant gardens) and maybe even a four-legged friend’s. (A dog, to be clear…not a raccoon or some other monster.) A next step in that possibility would probably be putting up some kind of fence.

The siding looks so much better than the rotting-in-spots wood that we had. (But, as I alluded to last week, it has forced me to re-think how we hang Christmas lights, so this year has become kind of a transition year to prepare for next year’s light hanging.)

And there’s still a little work to be done - I will need to paint some of the railings, but I’m looking forward to that a little.

The best part is - now it’s on us. We don’t have to rearrange schedules for workers…we just have to figure out when is the best time to paint, whether or not we should keep that bush - those kinds of things.

I’m looking forward to the spring when I can sit out on the back deck and enjoy it all…

….and when there will probably be a dog to sit and enjoy it with me.


*This is the time of year where I use some of the work-at-home time to do some Christmas shopping. It is not conducive to getting a lot done work-wise. This week I also have a dentist appointment Monday and I need to get my oil changed on Tuesday - that’s going to affect the workload as well. (I don’t mean to dump my personal calendar on you…just trying to stress that when I use my limited hours when the girls are in school on something other than work…it’s very hard to squeeze the work in around that.)


*Feeling good about this past week in comedy - and a strong finish ahead to 2018 and a good start to 2019. Wednesday night, even though I was kind of beat all week, I went out to a show that’s at Common Ground in Allston just to check it out, and I ended up doing a spot. Then I did my scheduled spot at The Comedy Studio on Thursday night…my last there for 2018. But I’ve already got a new round of dates there for the new year, starting with January 2nd. A bunch of opportunities for you to come out to what should be great shows in the next month or so…keep an eye on the Comedy Shows link above…but know that I’ll be at Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham on New Year’s Eve, Improv Boston in Cambridge for ‘100 First Jokes’ on New Year’s Day, and The Comedy Studio the next day…and then don’t forget Comedy Night at Exhibit ‘A’ kicks off on January 12th!

What I’ve Been Enjoying

*I’ve been reading Simon Rich’s work lately. He’s a humor writer and has written for The New Yorker and Saturday Night Live, among other things. I don’t know much about him, but I felt like I should know him and his work, so I read The Last Girlfriend on Earth, then What In God’s Name?, and then Elliott Allagash. All three were very good, but I enjoyed The Last Girlfriend on Earth the best. That’s a collection of short stories about relationships, I guess would be the best way to put it. It’s kind of his wheelhouse, I think - analyzing boy meets girl and dissecting and pulling out all the weirdness and uncomfortableness of those encounters. There’s a little bit more of that in What In God’s Name?, which is a clever novel. I didn’t enjoy Elliott Allagash - another novel - as much just because it’s a little bit of a darker story, though I appreciated the humor in it. There’s a real relatability to the characters in Rich’s work - they’re human and schlubby and I’m glad I read them. I think there’s at least one other book out there which I’ll probably read just to get through everything.


*I mention this every year, but for my money Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree” is the best Christmas song going right now. Of the new ones this year, I like the new Sia one…and I’m not crazy about the new Katy Perry one. Sounds like a Target commercial.

*I did not mean to imply in last week’s Sunday Paper that the kids don’t watch any TV, and watching Bob’s Burgers with my daughter is a new foray into watching TV with one of my kids. The new thing is watching one of my shows with one of the kids, rather than watching one of their shows with them.

*(It’s too early to call whether she likes the show yet. It’s worth noting, though: In the first two episodes Bob’s Burgers has a shocking command of the characters and who they are and what they will become in future episodes. I feel like it takes some shows a full season to readjust those things.

*Hope you’re still enjoying the elf videos counting down to Christmas. I get a kick out of them. Facebook’s weird about letting something be easy to view - I hope they’re still showing up in your news feed. (I’m not against paying for promotion at some point…but I’m not sure I want to go viral as the ‘elf guy’.) Today’s will be posted a little later on…and then I think we have a pretty strong week of videos on the way, if I do say so myself.

*Thanks, as always, for reading. I know it takes some commitment to click and then read and then check back to see what kind of nonsense I posted while wearing an elf onesie. I do it all because I hope it entertains and amuses someone besides me. Thanks for being someone besides me enjoying it.