The Squeezing of the Sphere

We learn a great deal about ourselves when we are thrust outside our routine. Our true nature tends to hide behind habitual events until something out of the ordinary forces it out into the open. And then, sightly or unseemly, we must deal with who we are – our true selves, in plain view for the world to see. Put in such a situation, I recently rediscovered something I already knew about myself.

On Sunday, we held an outdoor event for which the weatherman promised 100% chance of thunderstorms. That turned into a few minutes of light showers that didn’t dampen the event one iota. It did, however, make cleaning up on Monday interesting.

One of the things I had to do was pack up a thousand or so stress-relief spheres to be used at future events. The problem being that some were soaked and some were not and it was impossible to tell which ones were wet just by looking. I had to squeeze each one and separate the wet from the dry. This forced me out of my Monday work routine for a few hours.



When given such a mundane task, the mind begins to wander… at least mine does. As I squeezed sphere after sphere, I began to giggle a childish giggle thinking of joke upon joke pertaining to my situation. Guys always appreciate good sphere humor – which ranks just under fart jokes on the Official Male Scale of Wit & Whimsy (OMSWW). Unfortunately, I have no guy at the office with whom I can share such humor. In taste and decorum, I could not share my comedic stylings with my coworkers. Also, I’m trying to pull-off this professional façade and really don’t want to deal with one of those pesky harassment suits.

I am nearly fifty – a mature man by proxy, right?


I sat in my office squeezing my spheres and giggling, teeheeing, and chortling.

But one can’t keep such hilarity to oneself forever. Male humor at this extreme bubbles up and must be shared before the risk of explosion becomes too great.

So I started texting my jokes to my wife in between squeezes and I laughed uproarious guffaws as each one went through. The text conversation was completely one-sided. I figured with the amount of funny I was sending, she was probably having trouble typing as she heaved in laughter or could no longer see through the veil of tears streaming down her face. Maybe Verizon limits the amount of funny someone can receive like data minutes and they were blocking my texts!

Finally, she replied with just five simple words: “You are 5 years old.”


Boy Covering Face Hands Baby Emotions Boy Tie

And this is the fact I already knew about myself.


(Still confused, ma’am? Replace “spheres” with its more commonly used stress-relief moniker and you’ll understand. You can just roll your eyes and walk away now. But if you’re a man, “Yeah, I know. It’s freakin’ hilarious!”)

My Table Saw

My blogging friend over at Almost Iowa threw out a “My Stuff” challenge. I don’t typically take on such challenges, but Greg is one of my all-time favorites and I’ve been trying to recruit him to be the northern contingent of 2021 – The Year Without Pants (sponsored by Al Bundy) and figure this is all a part of the process. So here it goes:

My Table Saw

I grew up in the workshop – well, not literally because sleeping on sawdust can lead to copious amounts of morning eye gunk. But my basement room was next door to my dad’s workshop and I became very comfortable with tools at an early age. I also got comfortable with blood. Blood happens when you work with sharp blades. I remember carving something for my sister once and I cut the crap out of my finger in the process. I had planned on leaving the finish natural, but had to stain it a nice cherry red to match my residue.

When I became a man… (okay, writing that made me laugh.)

When I grew up… (that’s no better.)

When my young wife and I bought our first home, one of the prerequisites was a basement. After the ink dried on the contract, I charged down the stairs and chose a room to be my shop. Once I had mentally mapped out the placement of all the equipment I intended to buy, I returned upstairs to carry my waiting wife over the threshold and our new life as homeowners began.

To have a proper workshop, you first need a centerpiece: the table saw. This expenditure became a point of contention for my lovely bride and me. With a new mortgage and a very limited budget – we had separate goals. She wanted a sweet, cuddly baby (or four) to fill a nursery on the second floor, and I wanted a 220 volt, shiny baby to chew wood below ground. This might be the first and only argument I ever won and I did so with the diplomacy of Churchill. “If you want a cradle, I need a table saw.”

And so, I purchased my table saw.

Over the years, we’ve built a lot of furniture together, my table saw and me. That gorgeous hunk of iron has taught me a few things about life, love, and marriage which I’d like to share in no particular order:

  1. Don’t skimp on the important stuff. Worthwhile things come at a cost.
  2. Life is messy – if you aren’t making sawdust, you aren’t making progress.
  3. Patience is imperative. Shortcuts leave sloppy joints that are obvious in the final piece.
  4. Respect sharp metal that spins at 3000 RPM. If you get complacent or careless with things you love, you can get hurt.
  5. Plan every cut. Think through outcomes before you set the fence and blade height because until the wood-stretcher is invented, the cut is permanent.
  6. Don’t skip the maintenance. If you want things to last, you have to tighten, oil, and clean what you’ve got.
  7. You get better at it. Experience has taught me massive amounts about designing and building furniture (and life).
  8. You’ve got to turn her on every now and then.

Yeah, my table saw and me have been through a lot of lumber.

We’ve built a table for an orphanage in Africa



We’ve shared space with Kylie – my only kid who loved being in the shop. Together, the three of us designed and built this dresser – complete with bun feet and a secret compartment


We’ve built some other stuff, too.

I guess you could say, my table saw has had a lot to do with building me.