Family Matters: a ‘debut’ of sorts for one of the area’s favourite humour writers

A few years ago, I began what started as a bi-weekly column in our local daily newspaper and rather quickly ended up being every week.

The column, which I'm told brought smiles to some (not generally my wife and growing children, however) eventually moved to the weekly printed newspaper and then, in 2002, when I began a job as the principal writer and editor of First Monday, it "went away."

Now, it's coming back. Same hilarious writing. Different "venue."

To whet your whistle so to speak, I'm starting by "reprinting" one of my favourites here. Every word of this story is true. Honest.


With the year still young, I’ve already “resolved” to get the one room in the Booth house that is totally disorganized in some semblance of order.

I’m talking about the so-called “furnace room.”

Yes, there is a furnace in the longish area that is almost exactly half of the entire basement.

But it’s what’s surrounding our source of heat that is the problem.

On one end is a set of shelves a friend and I erected some years ago to store all the “stuff” that we only need at certain times of the year: bins of Christmas ornaments, lights and assorted decorations; sleeping bags for campouts that never quite happen anymore; children’s school assignments that can’t be thrown out (and don’t ask why–it’s much easier just to buy another bin).

The other end of the room is the area that never quite gets organized at all.

This is the workshop area.

Even the name is a bit of a joke given the fact that there is no way anything could possibly get worked on in this space, such is the disarray.

And it never gets cleaned up.

Why? Because by the time the shelves have been sorted out, it’s time for a nap.

What I should be doing is start at the other end, get the workshop looking like a workshop and then tackle the shelves.

But it never seems to happen.

That is, I have resolved, about to change.

This year, the workshop area will become, in fact, a workshop, with tools (yes, I have them) nicely organized, the junk thrown out and generally an area set aside for the projects I never seem to want to tackle because there is no place to even think about doing them.

It’s not a big area, so there is really no physical room for major pieces of equipment.

No matter.

I have a friend who is not only into the power tools in a big way; he’s more than willing to lend a hand whenever the need arises.

This also pleases Mrs. Booth, who quite early on recognized she had not married for her husband’s ability to fix anything around the house.

Oh, I can take things apart.

It’s getting them put back together using all the disassembled parts that becomes, quite literally,  “Mission: Impossible.”

And even if the gadget works, there is a handful of screws left over that end up hiding out in a corner of the previously mentioned mess of a workshop, perhaps with the hope that one day they’ll find a new home.

But I will get organized.

I even have a couple of new shelving units to make the job easier, the plan being to get some of the more obvious impediments off the floor and at least looking like they belong in the area.

There’s also a secret weapon I’ve got hidden away in a closet upstairs that will make the entire job so much easier this time around.

A brand new package of heavy-duty garbage bags.

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