Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Just as the downstairs is all slate flagstones, the upstairs is all wood. This is just after the stain was put on when it's still wet.


Unknown said...

Does William Thomas Willingham have any idea of what it means to move to Minnesota?

Just two sunny days ago, Punxsutawney Phil guaranteed six more weeks of winter and most Americans just shrugged their shoulders in resignation. Giving mute tribute to the rodent’s forecast they probably hung coats back in the hall closet instead of putting them away for the season.

But in Minnesota, spirits were as depressed as the speck of mercury huddling in the bottom of the thermometer. You see, we Minnesotans have already had a lot of winter!

This morning as I prepared to take Oney Baloney Happy Dog Waggle Butt Sinner for his morning walk, I tuned in to the Weather Channel to help me decide how to dress.

Let’s see… 14 degrees below zero. Not bad for tropical southern Minnesota I thought, noticing our brethren up on the Iron Range were contending with -29!

Of course, I would have to take the wind into account. A balmy 12 mph northwest breeze is gusting to 18mph bringing the temperature on bare skin to an even 40 below. Perfect!

My ritual begins like this; first a pair of poly propylene socks followed by knee high smart wool sock and my classic red union suit, complete with trap door, constitutes the first layer. Next, a pair of knit gym shorts and a Jamaican Bobsled Team t- shirt make up layer number two. Sweat pants and an insulated Woolrich shirt comprise layer number three. (I don’t use layer number three unless it’s at least -5) Now for the snowmobile pants, facemask, knit hat and Sorel boots. Now, I put the leash on Oney before donning my parka, fastening the fur lined hood and sliding on my choppers. (Those are big insulated mittens, not motorcycles)

Once outside, the 6:00 a.m. air takes my breath away, even through the face mask! I have to resort to the time honored, breathe slowly through clenched teeth technique, to get the air I need without freezing my lungs. Finally, feeling like characters in a Jack London story we take off at brisk pace.

Eight blocks into our walk, my eyes, the only part of my body not completely covered, freeze shut. Walking into the wind, I can’t melt the ice by just squeezing my eyelids tightly shut. I have to remove my choppers and melt the ice with my hands. Ten minutes later, I have to repeat the process.

Surprisingly, my golden furred friend doesn’t seem particularly interested in doing his business. Oney lives for his walks and he’s not about to let a little chilly weather rob him of one step. And so we press on.

Turning the last corner, with about a half mile to go and the wind finally at our backs, Oney completes the transaction. LI breathe a sigh of relief.

Looking up at the constellation of Scorpio in the clear pre dawn sky I ask myself. Does Bill have any idea of what he’s getting into?

Bill Willingham said...

Clearly Michael doesn't know what he's talking about, since the dog's name is Oney Baloney Goodtime Macaroni He's No Phoney, Waggle Butt Langston Hughes Sinner. If he can't get his own dog's name right, how can I trust the veracity of his weather report?

Bill Willingham said...

The other possible answer is: yes, Bill's getting into a warm house and he's staying there -- INSIDE.

Unknown said...

As I recall, one of Bill's first objectives upon relocation was to get a dog of his own. What was the name going to be? Oh yeah, Tchu Manni Tutanka Obi Wan Kenobi (Huddles with Women) He should be a great companion for you. INSIDE.

Bill Willingham said...

Laugh now, buddy boy, but you won't be laughing so hard when he teaches me to use The Force and gives me my first light saber.