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The Culling of a Comics Collection, Chapter 1

Comics Culling...

Indiana as a state has an abysmal track record when it comes to encouraging recycling efforts, but options do exist if you know where to look.

I’ve heard a lot of chatter about Marie Kondo, the lady with the Netflix show who, if I understand all of last year’s internet squabbling correctly, recommends everyone throw away all their possessions except their Top 10, keep only one pet and release the rest into the wilderness, stuff half their food in the garbage disposal, raffle off any jewelry that weren’t featured in magazine articles, or something like that. For the record, I haven’t watched a single episode, so I’ve not been hypnotized and chanting, “I must give away all my possessions and join the KondoMinimizers,” or whatever.

No, I’ve been planning the act in the above photo for a few months now — consciously, at least. Subconsciously, maybe a lot longer.

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The Class Upgrade: Our 2007 Road Trip Prelude

House!

Y’know those snazzy upscale homes that rule all the best magazine spreads? Yeah, that’s not who we are or what we do.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in recent weeks we’ve been sharing the stories of our annual road trips that we undertook before I launched MCC in April 2012. Starting from the beginning and working our way forward, so far we’ve covered 1999 to 2005; our 2006 trip to Wisconsin and Minnesota was remastered before its 2014 sequel. That brings us to 2007, another year that brought two major changes to our lives. They didn’t affect our travels, but they gave us better reasons to want to return home.

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Echoes of Homeowners Past

Ethernet Jack!

If you’re unlike me, your idea of a fun afternoon is inviting your friends to come over with their laptops, their ethernet cables, and all their favorite games that were meant to run at DSL speeds. Everyone gathers around the ethernet wall hub like Scouts around a campfire, plugs in to the same jack, boots up Windows XP, pops in their CD-ROMs, and has themselves a grand old wired time.

I’m assuming that’s what the previous owners of this house did. Or maybe they taught Applied Computer Science classes from home to all the neighborhood latchkey kids. Or they weren’t sure which jack the phone company would endorse but they figured you can’t go wrong with “Bigger is Better” or “Holeyer is Holier”. Maybe they were anticipating the one magical day when Internet Science would let you could hook two ethernet cables to your PC and double your processing speed. If only that had ever been feasible, perhaps RealPlayer would’ve been watchable.

Right this way for another case of MCC home “improvement”!

Technically Easy Ceiling Repair for Hopeless Amateurs

Say! You, there!

Has this ever happened to you?

Ceiling Hole!

You’re at home trying to live or rest or hobby or whatever other normal things you do when you’re not working, unless you work from home and every day is an existential struggle over the Duality of Man, and then suddenly one day you realize you have a hole in your ceiling. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you’re present in the room when the hole is punched and you know exactly what to blame and how to swear vengeance properly. Most of the time, it’s a gradual process that may or may not have begun with a water stain that turned malignant. Still other times, you’d swear that hole wasn’t there when you left for work that morning, but now there’s a surprise ceiling hole and an innocent-looking family holding a football with everyone’s fingerprints on it. Whatever the cause, no two ceiling holes are the same, but the heartbreak is universal.

If you’re a renter, ceiling hole repair is as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Call landlord.
2. Complain about hole.
3. Watch your stories till hole is gone.

If you’re a homeowner with a home-improvement skill set, it’s not so simple, but you’ve probably got it covered. If you’re a homeowner without a clue like me, it’s a conscientious burden, it’s a drain on your heating bills, it’s an eyesore that has to be hidden from guests, and it might as well be a geotechnical engineering project for all you know. What do you do?

There’s the highway (i.e., abandon the house)…or my way.

Here’s what I did in too many embarrassing steps!

Christmas Shopping? I’m Not Even Done With My November Chores

Raking Leaves!

Every day at work this week, the small talk turned largely to one of two topics: “Here, have some sugary snacks!” and “Got your Christmas shopping done yet?” I hate when small talk uncovers a festering wound the questioner didn’t know was there.

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Installing This Stupid Dryer Vent Cover Counts as a Victory

dryer vent coverI spent the first thirty-five years of my life in rented dwellings. As a child, making holes in the wall was a major no-no. The adults were allowed to hang a few nails for photo display purposes, and for one calendar. Otherwise, I was informed countless times that the big bad rental management frowned upon holes. Wall holes were bad. The way I was told left me with the impression that if the maintenance men ever came inside to repair something and discovered holes in the wall, we’d all be in big trouble.

For the longest time I couldn’t nail my own photos or other display items to the wall, nor was I permitted even a tiny exception for thumbtacks or pushpins. The posters in my bedroom were affixed with Scotch tape that turned dusty and yellow over time, and frequently had to be augmented with even more tape as adhesion faded. After around fourth grade or so, when it was clear we weren’t moving anytime soon and the management really didn’t care that much, I was finally allowed to graduate to tacks and pins. The anti-hole conditioning never fully faded, though.

When my wife and I became first-time homeowners in 2007, I discovered that this lifelong admonition had become a mental block. She and my son had home improvement ideas a-plenty for the new place, now that we wouldn’t be beholden to the oppressive rental guidelines imposed by The MAN. Every time I heard a suggestion that required wall holes for anything except photo frames, I balked. Even though this is our house and our property, I still cringed inside at the very thought. After careful negotiations (i.e., when I tired of their justified badgering), I relented slightly and allowed my son to hang shelves in his room. He did a decent job with them, but every time I entered, I had to avert my gaze and avoid thinking about them.

In a later year, it was decided that the blinds left by the previous owners ought to be replaced with curtains. That, to my regret, would require a curtain rod. That, to my escalating dread, would require drilling holes in the wall for mounting the brackets to hold the rod. My research showed that extra-long nails were not an acceptable substitute. The courage it required for me to buy a drill, learn how to use it, drill the necessary holes (with manufacturer instructions in hand — I was leaving nothing to chance), and mount those curtains is quite the epic tale in my head. Even if it seems like nothing to you, the Viewers at Home, it was a considerable win against that blasted childhood mental block.

That pitiable block recently became an issue again. Today I think I conquered it at last. I think.

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