Me and my big mouth…

Have you ever had one of those seemingly innocent conversations that, in hindsight,  ends up costing thousands?  If you have…welcome to my world.

Literally a few months ago Connie and I were sitting in our living room when I mentioned that it’d be nice to replace the carpeting in our living & dining room.  It was at least fifteen years old, had survived three daughters running across it, had absorbed multiple spills, had obtained a black stain about the size of a quarter that I think was asphalt and was an easy target for one rogue cat that had occasional bouts of the stomach flu…spitting up juicy hairballs.  It started its career as a pristine, beige in  color, medium pile carpet.  It ended its life as a well-worn speckled beige-like floor covering.  What began as a “thought” took on a life of its own.  Not only are we getting new carpeting in the living and dining room but also new flooring in our entryway, half-bath, kitchen, up stairs bathroom and carpeting up the stairwell and upstairs hallway.  Its true.  Most of the flooring in our home on the main and second level were from the 1990’s and (wait for it….) 1980’s.  While showing its age, fashion-wise, it was holding up fairly well considering all of the traffic that our and the previous families had put on them.  No sooner had we brought up the idea of getting bids on the flooring when Connie brought up the fact that our furniture in the living room was past its prime….so we went furniture shopping as well.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Between trying to match fabric samples verses carpet samples my right-brained analytical wife went into overdrive.  A new couch, chair, end-tables, coffee table and entertainment center are inbound to the Palatial Estates.  I honestly just lost interest and turned the decisions over to her.  Here’s another little deal….you can’t have new furniture and carpeting without….wait for it….a new paint job in the living and dining rooms.

So…the floor guys are here now.  They’re not being quiet.  There were around three or four layers of older vinyl flooring beneath the one that we thought was way past due.  They’re pounding the life out of our kitchen floor.  Literally…hammering away on it like their very lives depend on hammering away.  Stripping, sanding and hammering.  Our refrigerator and stove are in our dining room…as is the breakfast bar and kitchen table.  Its all a mess.  A big, noisy mess…so be careful of what you say. 

Our living room…full of kitchen stuff while Connie paints the living and dining rooms a different…more relaxing shade of….tan? Beige? I don’t know.  She’s hosting a party here in four days.  She’s just a little stressed out.

Onto another topic (stay with me now…its been two full months since I’ve blogged so deal with it).  I was removing the leaves from our ancient oak kitchen table when I had one of those “jeez…just think if this table could talk” moments.  It all started back in 1988 when Connie and I were newlyweds.  A co-worker had this old table that she wanted $100 for.  She had bought it from a farmer then stripped the paint off.  Stained and varnished it looked pretty good to us… being poor,  and needing a table we jumped at the chance and our seller threw in four chairs from a former pizza place.  What a deal!!  Our new table was built to last, hefty and if you accidently grazed your sock covered foot on one of its thick oak legs then you probably broke a toe as the table always held its ground like a fortress of heavy oak against that puny little toe.

The table is over a hundred years old.  Built to last.  Its seen multiple moves from rental house to apartment to first home to this home.  It was with us before we had kids…but not before nephews acting silly with Grandpa.

Connie with our nephews and Dad. Do you like our fashion sense? All that really mattered was family. We didn’t have much…but we had each other.  1989

Its seen our family go from two, to three, to four and eventually grow to five.  Feeding a young one in a highchair as we had supper.  Wiping up spilled milk as it ran between the leaves and onto the floor.  Thousands of meals.  Plenty of talk…lots of laughter and maybe a few lessons learned along the way.

Dad with Karalee and Jordan…drawing pictures for each other.

Many a birthday parties and holiday meals were shared upon this table.

Later on as we gained a dining room it became a “kids table” during the holidays.

Did I mention that it was built to last? I don’t think very many tables these days are made like this one. Its oak…solid…no particle board.

The holidays were probably your most used times…holding court as others mixed up ingredients and frosting.

If you ever want to get a message to me….leave a note on the kitchen table. I’ll get it there.

Once the kitchen flooring is done the table will return, minus any leaves.  We simply don’t need that large of a table.  In its heyday it held fifteen of us one Thanksgiving, though now it’ll just be the two of us…again.  Its kind of weird how things in life circle back around like that.  Weird and yet reassuring.  I hope it finds another good family after we’re done with it in a few years.

Thanks for coming along.

God Bless you,




Fast 5

I’m borrowing an idea from my friend Marilyn who writes an excellent blog that you can visit AFTER finishing mine (#1…its the polite thing to do…reading mine first since you’re already here AND #2…there will be a test later covering the material that I’m writing about, so yeah….I want you to score well on that). Anyway…Marilyn will occasionally write a “fast five” blog that’s a quick, interesting and entertaining read. I’ll do my own version of a “fast five” right…..NOW!!

#1…Six or seven years ago I was working late at the drug store that I help manage. The store was closed, it was just me counting the days cash all by my lonesome. Nothing out of the ordinary, I’ve done it hundreds of times over twenty-four years of service. The store location was new…it had just been built a year or two earlier, though it was located in an old neighborhood. The only other thing that kind of stood out was that there is a large old cemetery across the street from us. So anyway I’m sitting there counting the days cash, its around ten-thirty at night and very quiet when over my right shoulder I clearly heard a voice say “help me“. I stopped counting the money. I turned around in my chair and looked around to find….no one. So I did what I felt was in my best interest, I gathered the money, put it into the safe and got my ass out of there in a hurry. The next morning I showed up to work an hour early, after getting about five hours of sleep. The store manager and accountant looked at me and asked why I was to work early when I explained that I needed to finish counting the cash from the night before. When they asked why I left early the night before I told them the truth, I told them my “help me” story and they never asked me again about it. So when people tell me that they believe in ghosts, demons, spiritual entities, angels and such….I tend to believe that there’s something “there” that we don’t understand, fully recognize or are supposed to understand. I haven’t heard anything since…but occasionally when I’m alone…out of nowhere…I’ll get the chills and goosebumps when I’m in a warm environment. “Help me?” Is that you?

#2…I’m not mechanically inclined. There’s a reason why my eighth grade industrial arts teacher retired after I went through his class. There’s a reason I received a C- in my junior year woodworking class (almost lost a thumb to a table saw). That particular teacher, a mister Galen Smith, went into the ministry shortly after I graduated from his course (these are all true stories).

#3…Our furnace stopped working last night. Let me back up a little. It’s Friday December 27th. Its wintertime in Iowa. Its 25 degrees outside. Its 7:30 at night AND OUR FURNACE JUST QUIT WORKING (and our relatives are coming for Christmas the next morning). So I called up our furnace guy, Troy, and over the phone he walks me through a series of questions like “how many red lights are flashing? Pull off the hose leading to the _____ and tell me what you see.” After about fifteen minutes of him telling me that there should be something to look at and me fumbling around not finding what he’s instructing me to find he tells me to take a photo with my cell phone of the guts of our furnace and to send it to him. SCORE!! Our furnace is one of the few furnaces retrofitted with the gadgets NOT IN PLAIN SIGHT AND THEREFORE I’M NOT THE IDIOT THAT I’M FEELING LIKE I AM. Troy tells me that he’ll be over first thing the next morning to fix our furnace and I feel so good about myself that I pour a rum and Coke…bracing myself for a chilly night on the prairie without a furnace (the actual temperature inside the house only dropped five degrees overnight so I didn’t have to resort to burning our kitchen table for heat). Where’s a mechanically inclined ghost when you need one looking over your shoulder telling you “Hey…pal….what you’re looking for is right here.” “Help me?” No…you help me get warm first…Casper!!

#4…I rejoice that “retail-wise” Christmas is over. People are so short tempered these days…practically intolerant of waiting their turn or understanding that they can’t always get their way. We closed the store at 5PM Christmas Eve and as I stood at the entryway turning customers away at 5 and later (and there were plenty of them) my thought process was “how many of these folks shooting me the stink-eye are going to call our corporate office and complain about me turning them away?” It seems that we cannot win from either perspective, as its the only time during the year when as retailers we stand and say “No…we’re done. We’re going home to our families. Tonight and tomorrow is about us, being like you.” As I drove home I turned on some rock music, got home…opened an ice cold beer and took a shower to wash the retail/commercial Christmas stank off of me and started to relax. I celebrate Christmas the way I think my Lord would want me to celebrate His birth on this Earth…and that’s between Him and I.

#5…For all of the Facebook haters out there….I really like it. It helps me see what my extended family is up to, as well as old (longtime friends). Who knew former childhood buddy and classmate Brett Moeller really enjoyed attending Blue Man Group if not for Facebook? Who would have told me of my cousins sledding adventures with her two preteens and husband last night if not for her posting a photo on Facebook? Who would have told me that a guy that I know from church is at Level Five of something called Candy Crush? (I could do without those posts…honestly). And…honestly…I post some stuff on Facebook that I typically don’t post on WordPress since WordPress seems more serious (though you’d never know it by my blogging). I see wonderful photos of my family and friends enjoying their lives…and I “like” that.

#6…BONUS THING…visit sometime. Great person. Fun reading.

Have a great weekend and peace!

Top Ten List of Things That You Never Knew about richripley

Top Ten List of Things That You Never Knew About richripley

1. At the core I’m quite shy. I can prove this; just try singing “Happy Birthday” to me on my birthday. I’ll throat punch you, or at least attempt to silence you. I want attention on my terms. Though I’m shy…I have an R rated sense of humor which most folks never see or hear until I’ve taken them into my confidence. Not like F-bomb, R rated, just stuff that you wouldn’t think I’d say until you knew me.

2. I can listen to Huey Lewis and The News for hours. Hours. They’re my favorite band. (sorry Johhny Thunderslapp Lentz) My favorite color, red in all shades.

3. I think about my family constantly. From my wife and kids to Mom, brothers, aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins, etc. They’ve been a blessing to me and I love them all. All.

4. At the age of fifty I’ll change my name back to Dick. When I was growing up all of the old guys who were named Richard went by Dick. At fifty, if I live that long, I’m going that way too. When they announce my name at a varsity game as one of the officials it’ll be brutal, but old dudes are immune to stuff like that so suck it.

5. I’m quite sentimental. I get choked up watching beer commercials on TV. Dead serious.

6. I wish that I had gone to college and become a meteorologist, or real-estate agent…or both. “..if you look closely at the radar you’ll see a tornado near the Bowman Woods development on the northeast side where, by the way, I have several homes listed at very reasonable prices, close to good schools, a public pool and just fifteen minutes from downtown Cedar Rapids…and look!! The library just moved three blocks closer!!” But seriously…I honestly felt that I’d be much more successful than what I’ve ended up as. Such is life.

7. While I have hundreds of friends and a handful of close friends, I have one best friend. We’re almost polar opposites. He’s an axe-wielding hippie hitchhiker bent on preventing the inevitable zombie apocalypse while I’m more like “dude…how’s your Mom?” while we drink a couplea beers. Honestly…we’re just different from one another and I think that’s why we enjoy each other’s company. Best friends going on 29 years this August.

8. I’m inept at many, many things. Just ask my wife. I cannot fix the: computer, TV, car, truck, garage door, electrical outlet, IPhone, camera, dryer, washer, refrigerator OR anything requiring mechanical ability, mathematical aptitude or the proper use of apostrophes. I was instead gifted with a witty and somewhat R rated sense of humor to keep the rest of you people laughing, so suck it.

9. I wake up in pain every morning. I hope that this is just the whole “getting old” thing that folks complain about. It seems every part of me makes some sort of sound, crack or pop as I hobble down the stairs to the kitchen. I feel better after a cup of coffee and some stretching…but man…is this going to get worse?

10. I’m impatient, shy, attention-deficient, and OCD…and that’s just during foreplay (HIIIII-OOOooooo!!!! There’s that R-rated sense of humor rearing its naughty head again…DOWN BOY!!) Anyway…I’m some of each of those, a regular buffet of anxiety sprinkled with anger glazed with shyness with some other character flaw that I cannot remember at this time (but if you need a punch-line I’ll have one for you quickly)…..anyway….if you don’t care for me, wait an hour…I’m bound to change.

11. (I told you earlier in #8 that I’m no good at number-thingies so just deal with the fact that this Top 10 List has eleven) I believe that there are such things as ghosts, spirits, etc. I have no idea how or why they’re around, but I think that there are some folks who can communicate with them. Do I ever wish to speak with the dead, NO. I also think that there are other life forms outside of our universe. I think God is great enough to have created more than just us. That’s my two cents.


Down with democracy! Long live the monarchy!!

It never fails to amaze me the circus that is our presidential election.  The amount of money that’s spent on swaying a voters opinion is staggering.  I’ve always felt that if a persons vote could be changed by a TV or radio commercial, recorded message left on your answering machine or placard placed in someones front yard that you probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  Whats going on in the mind of someone who’s driving down a street when they see a placard for candidate “A” (oh…hey…I like the color red and candidate A has a mostly red sign with a name that rhymes with the word ‘winner’ so I’ll think…oh oh…there’s a placard for another candidate with a different name and the font that they used on their sign is kinda snazzy…so I like both candidate A and B but the tie breaker is the red color on candidate A’s placard more…so…I’ll vote for candidate, oh wait just a darn minute there’s a third sign…lets see what font it used).

It’s about time some TV station did a story on the perennial “stripper with a heart of gold” that’s running for the office of president, as well.  Every four years some bouncy, bosomy exotic dancer wearing a two piece “stars and stripes” bikini is interviewed for giggles by the offending news station.  “I’d balance the budget, bring our troops home, take care of our senior citizens and offer 25 cent buffalo wings every Wednesday night at Big Al’s Roadhouse and Saloon where you can see me and my friends perform four shows nightly, with an early afternoon show on Sundays. VOTE TRIXIE!!”  (that’s not a bad platform to run on honestly, who doesn’t like taking care of our troops and seniors plus 25 cent wings?)

Somewhere in Indiana someone watching that interview is saying out loud “finally…a candidate with some horse sense!!”  The all important equestrian vote….so tough to come by (that’s two blogs in a row using the word “equestrian” properly…so suck on that MSNBC).



Top Ten List of Things That I’ve Come To Accept (at age 46)

The Top Ten List of Things That I’ve Come To Accept

(at age 46)

1.  That I’ve turned into an old man at the tender age of 46. I like my cut fruit served at room temperature, not chilled. There’s no flavor when it’s ice cold.

2.  That I still freak out if I walk face first into a spider web. Triple freak out if it’s a wolf spider web and the spiders still in it.  (girlish screaming sounds)

3.  That these sounds restore my soul:  a gentle breeze shuffling leaves in a big oak, bird’s singing, babies and children laughing; of church’s that still chime at lunch time; an old time church pipe organ playing some ancient melody prior to services; waves lapping at the shore, a loon, bugs chirping at night.  A woman humming.  God’s in it all.

4.  That watching the little kids at the city pool run, skip and jump into the water makes me laugh more than most prime time TV shows.  Their uninhibited joy and wonder is…almost inspiring…and we just don’t get enough of that these days.

5.  That caring for someone isn’t always pleasant and tidy like the greeting cards say.  Show me a card that reads “I think that you’re an idiot for what you said but you’re still a good friend….so let’s have a drink sometime soon” and I’d consider buying it.

6.  That everything’s better with either lard, butter or bacon in it, except the cut fruit.  Leave the cut fruit alone.

7.  That I’m too big for my older brothers to pick me up and use me as a “human shield” like they did in the 1970’s during their paper wad fights.  Let’s just say that I “took one for the team” repeatedly as a child.  My reward…a stick of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum.  My price has gone up.  I’m a Doublemint man now. (I’d like to see them attempt the whole “human shield” thing again with me but they’re just ornery enough to drag me slowly while the other pelts me mercilessly with paper wads).

8.  That after I dive into the deep end of the pool I effortlessly glide further through its depths like never before, kind of like those walrus’ that you see in those huge Plexiglass tanks at Sea World.  Can I take a moment to thank the good folks who use lard, butter and bacon in their cooking for this “gift”?

9.  That I’m making a concerted effort to avoid those “the glass is always half empty” types.  They’re sapping me of my energy and dragging me down.

10.  That I’m long past feeling bad about myself for having a piece of pie for breakfast at this stage of my life.  “Pie…it’s what’s for breakfast.”  Or room temperature cut fruit is good too.

Learned anything lately?

Top Ten Headlines From Cedar Rapids Iowa!! (film at 11)

Top Ten Headlines from Cedar Rapids Iowa!!

1.     Local man robs liquor store with cold Arby’s roast beef sandwich.  Clerk claims “I knew what it was…I ain’t gonna touch that!”


2.     Illegal fireworks making a comeback at retirement homes.


3.     Jones county couple looking into tax breaks for their meth lab.


4.     Weather is warmer, then cooler, then warmer again.


5.     Gazette delivered late yesterday.  Follow KCRG TV 9 for the follow up to this and other late breaking news.


6.     “Bin-buster” term copyrighted by Pioneer Seed Corn.  DeKalb Hybrid’s promises lengthy legal battle.


7.     Hawkeye’s win a close one.  Fans still pissed.


8.     Governor learns to speak Spanish and the language of love.


9.     Village idiot claims to be Sam Walton’s illegitimate son.  No resolution seen anytime soon.


10.                         Local casino adding a 200 bed assisted living wing for seniors.  It’s a “win-win” deal.

Candid Camera…where are you when I need you?

Idle thoughts on a rainy December day.

Here’s a million dollar idea that no one has run with.  Why don’t they make squirrel flavored dog food?  Or rabbit flavored.  Dogs love chasing them so it only goes to figure that they’d enjoy eating them as well.  Mmmm…Purina Moist & Meaty Squirrel Kibble!  Now in rabbit gravy!  I bet that they couldn’t keep it on the shelves. 

I work retail and have for over twenty years.  This time of year is exhausting.  Customers want to be waited on quicker and checked out faster than ever before.  It’s not like Christmas is a once in a millennium day that catches everyone off guard….we know years in advance when December 25th is going to fall and yet almost everyone waits until December to buy anything (yours truly included).  I catch myself fantasizing about the old Candid Camera TV show and how they’d prank folks these days.  I’d like to see how folks would react to maybe two or three guys walking up to a busy, department store multi-check lane area, dressed in fluorescent yellow vests, hard helmets, with orange flashlights (like the guys at airport runways dress) with the words “crowd control” emblazoned across their chests and announce “Okay folks…here’s how it’s gonna work.  In these two checklanes over to my right we’ll ring up the purchases of women aged 60 and over, with the oldest women going first.  If there’s a tie in age, we’ll go alphabetically…okay?  On the next three checklanes we’ll take women ages 25-59, again with the oldest ones going first, and with the tiebreaker being alphabetical.  The next two lanes are for anyone with coupons, discount cards, weird questions or questions in general, price matches, personal checks or out of state checks, etc (may God have mercy on your soul). Over here in this lane…it’s for the guys…any age…just go.  And for anyone asking me to repeat these directions because they were too busy screwing around with their cell phones….go to the check lane way way over there….that check lane person clocks in at noon and doesn’t speak English.  Now then…let’s get these lines formed and moving people!!”  And with that he blows a whistle and starts gesturing with his orange flashlights.  I would bet that folks would get angry in an instant…except for the guys paying cash and the 60+ year old women who be forming a neat and well mannered line to the right.  Candid Camera….where are you now?

Good luck shopping in the last week and a half before Christmas, my friends.  As for me…I need to find my flourescent yellow vest, hard helmet and orange flashlights.





Things I’ve learned. Totally free marriage advice for newly weds

The richripley marriage advice hot-sheet

for all

newly married couples

Congratulations on your wedding.  Here is some advice for all newly married couples….totally free of charge to you.  You can thank me later.

  • You’ll both do stupid things that will irritate the crap out of each other.  Neither of you is perfect, learn to deal with it.
  • Learn how to compromise with each other.
  • Don’t do stuff that will hurt the other one. (Sounds simple enough)
  • Spend less money than you bring in.  Having some money in the bank is a good thing (don’t worry…something will come up that you’ll spend it on like: brakes for the car, a broken arm, etc)
  • Pay your bills on time.  You’ll need a good credit score when you need to buy a car or house.  Start small, pay it off on time.
  • Life is rough, stay close to each other and family.  Go to church together, get involved in a small faith group or at least pray together.
  • Even if money is tight…plan a “date night.”  Picnic.  Rent a movie and have pizza; get together with family and friends.  Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you can’t be happy.
  • Trust your spouse.  Forgive your spouse.  Do right  by your spouse.
  • Don’t rehash his or her failures.  Learn from them, move on.
  • Celebrate your victories.
  • Did I mention earlier that you’d both do stupid things that will irritate the crap out of each other? 


  • You might not always agree with each other, and that’s okay.
  • Sometimes he’s/she’s right and you’re just being too sensitive.  It probably won’t be that big of a deal a couplea weeks from now.
  • Sometimes he’s/she’s right and you’re just too proud to admit it.  Admit your mistake, apologize, hug and move on.
  • You were single once, that life is gone.  Focus your loving attention on your spouse.
  • Just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you stop romancing your spouse.  Take care of yourself.  Wear their favorite cologne/perfume.  Ask them what “trips their trigger” and learn to do it well.  “Practice makes perfect” is what I’ve always heard.
  • Your parents aren’t as stupid as you once thought.  Suddenly…overnight…they sound like freakin’ rocket scientists!
  • Mothers & Mother-in-laws make great babysitters, holiday meal advisors and usually already know the stuff that you’ll need to learn.  Keep them on “friendly terms.”
  • Fathers & Father-in-laws are usually great guys who know a lot of people, know how to do a lot of cool stuff and will offer an occasional rational opinionOccasional, like everytime you speak to him.  He means well and he’s been known to be right more often than not. 
  • Guys fart and belch a lot (and find it amusing).  This isn’t a character flaw; it’s inexpensive entertainment for him.  Get used to it.
  • Gals take way too long to get ready to go anywhere (it doesn’t matter if you’re going to the grocery store, video store or to England to meet the Queen).  Move up your “leaving time” by half an hour, then when she’s thirty-five minutes past that time you’re still only five minutes late.  Get used to it.
  • She always knows more than she’s letting on.  Tell the truth.
  • He’s really not ignoring your half anniversary, half birthday, anniversary of your first date/kiss/pizza shared together…whatever; guys don’t remember three quarters of the stuff that you think are “monumental events” worthy of celebrating.  He’s not insensitive, he’s a guy.
  • Surprise each other with stuff.  Cookies.  Flowers. A date.  Stuff your spouse loves to do/eat/watch/read…whatever.
  • Being married can be a boring, listless, dull relationship OR it can be full of romance, fun, joy, laughter, love, excitement & wonderful memories.  It’s your responsibility now to make it what you want it to become and it’ll probably be all of the above during the course of your lifetime. 

Good luck. 

Rich Ripley


Pass the ham & go easy on the Eddie Money

I’m going to keep this light and easily digestible seeing as how everyone else and their brother will be blogging about gratitude and such this week.

First things first.  The turkey could disappear from the face of the earth and I wouldn’t shed a tear.  Sure, having it at Thanksgiving is nice but after the initial meal and then a couplea sandwiches in the days after, I’m done with it.  I don’t care how much is left; it’s dead to me.  The same can’t be said of a spiral cut smoked holiday ham.  No one ever complains about having to eat the ham leftovers for days on end because with ham, the leftovers don’t last past a day or two, plus I love ham!  Long live the pig!  Eat more pork! 

Is it just me, or does a squirrel that’s startled and darts through a yard full of dry leaves sound like a rhinoceros is suddenly charging at you through those same leaves?  Cripes….I just about had a heart attack today when one came at me…stupid erratic charging squirrels and their crunchy leaves.

I think that everyone has misheard the lyrics to a song before though I feel that I might be the guy who mishears the most, making up for those sharp-eared rascals who understand every word to every song.  Here are just two examples of misunderstood lyrics that I was called out on by innocent bystanders. 

1.     Eddie Money’s song “I think I’m in love”.  It was the early 1980’s as I sat in my high schools locker room.  I was lacing up my high top Nikes getting ready for basketball practice and as I sat there I sang what I thought were the lyrics to the song “I think I’m in love…’cuz I can’t get it up” when upperclassman Brian “Hi-Fi” Timmerman stopped and said “you idiot!  It’s ‘I think I’m in love, ‘cuz I can’t get enough!”  “Well”…I thought to myself,  “that does make a lot more sense than what I was singing.” (I was a sophomore at the time and thought that old Eddie Money was really, really in love so deeply that he just couldn’t muster sexual excitement- – – which I felt was horrifying…but he seemed to want to sing about it so….yeah).

Second example. 

2.     It was sometime in late 1999 and our three daughters were listening to Ricky Martins hit single “Livin’ La Vida Loca” on our vans radio when I decided to chime in on the lyrics (kids love for their Dad’s to do this to their favorite songs).  I started singing “her lips are devil rays! Livin’ La Vida Loca!”  When all three girls screamed for me to stop.  I was kinda concerned since I’m not that horrible of a singer, but then one of them told me “Dad…the words are “her lips are devil red, not devil rays” and up to that point I thought that maybe it was just a cultural thing that guys down there where Ricky lives have a thing for devil rays, or aquatic life.  I dunno know, but I stand corrected.

I’m already tired of seeing those jewelry and luxury car commercials on TV where the guy gives his wife some kickass piece of jewelry or a Lexus as a gift.  Get real!  Do those commercials really work?!  No guy I know just sits around and suddenly gets the idea from the commercial “Dang gummit!!  That’s what I’ll get Myrna for Christmas!!  A sixty thousand dollar imported SUV!!”  Just makes me wonder.

May every one of you have a blessed, safe and healthy holiday and may your loved ones not kiss you with devil ray lips. 







My kingdom for a belt

I don’t like buying clothes.  I really don’t.  They’re overpriced in my book but like anything else, life dictates necessity. 

I work retail.  My job involves many things, some of which means that very soon I’ll be shoveling snow, salting sidewalks, unloading trucks and in some instances…carrying a little old lady’s twenty pound bag of cat litter and thirty pack of Old Milwaukee Light to her Oldsmobile across the frozen tundra also known as our parking lot.  I’m not complaining.  I work for a good company, am happy to be there and love to take care of my customers and coworkers alike…but I need to be warm when working and trying to look “nice.”  “Nice” for my line of work means dress pants, white shirt, tie and maybe a sweater. 

I’ve tried wearing nice dress slacks to work.  Do you know what an Iowa January feels like?  Windy and bitterly cold (not as cold as say Minnesota or North Dakota, but they’re used to it, I being the 45 year old pansy that I am…somehow am NOT).  Thin polyester slacks just don’t cut it.  I’ve started wearing thicker pants, thicker socks, Keen brand shoes and own a nice selection of sweaters that add an additional layer of insulation besides my already quarter inch thick layer of ice cream/beef/bacon added blubber that surrounds my midsection.  I am warm, but I still don’t care for shopping for it.  Case in point.

I went to Kohls this morning because I find their “lowest prices of the season” advertisements amusing, and my lovely bride insists that I use their charge card AND discount coupons.  She left me a nice note that read “if you can wait until the Saturday after Thanksgiving the sales will be better.”  To hell with that…long lines, too many people and did I mention earlier that I don’t care for shopping? 

So I select four different pairs of slacks in my size, but don’t try them on until arriving home (why try them on in a small, stuffy, funny smelling dressing room where thousands of others have stood sock-footed, and it’s a literal minefield of loose straight pins…all just waiting to poke me.  I’m not afraid of germs persay…I just don’t care for my feet resembling a pincushion).  Anyway, I’m required to wear a tie, which is good because I look great with a tie on, or at least more respectable, believable and/or credible, but ties are such a rip off.  Twenty bucks or more for a tie?!  It costs them like a buck or two to produce and they’re charging me an Andrew Jackson?  And it doesn’t help that the ties I buy are food magnets.  I’ve come to either throwing the tie over my shoulder when I eat OR hunkering over my food like the hunchback of Notre Dame would (OR maybe I should chew my food with my mouth closed).  I figure that the pants that I buy and wear to work will last around six months, ties…maybe a year.  Such a waste.

I needed underwear too so that decision was pretty easy, and in my opinion underwear is the second greatest value in the “world of apparel”, belts are first in the clothing pecking order; belts last decades.  Now I’m not talking about some fancy French cut, over the hip, satiny thong backed type for yours truly (although I know a few of you are envisioning that very scenario right… I’m just talking about your basic Hanes boxer briefs in dark colors with the Comfort Flex waistband (my waist must be comfortable).  It says on the outside of the package “No ride up”….is that guaranteed?  What would the checkout lady say if I queried her on that very point?  “Say…just a quick question here Gladys, the package says “no ride up”…just what is that supposed to mean…ya know…in your book?  I think that I know…but I’d like a professional like yourself to tell me.  And if it does…you know…”ride up” can I return ‘em?” 

I saw that they had a section of “Brazilian Trunks” for sale, in the Men’s department.  Look them up if you don’t know what they are, but let’s just say that they’re way low cut on the waist band, way high cut on the thigh, barely big enough to cover a guys rear end, and are made of some sort of form-fitting material in exciting, brilliant colors with festive designs on them (like racing stripes or flames).  I entertained the idea of buying some then surprising my wife with them, you know…just walking into the bedroom with just a towel wrapped around my waist then whipping the towel off and SHAZAM!!  “Hey baby…get a load of this!”  But then I imagined hearing her laugh and that dashed that five-second day dream (I have a big mouth and somewhat wild imagination, but frail self-esteem and egg shell thin ego….so yeah….no Brazilian Trunks for me).  Realistically I would’ve had to work out for a couplea months, eat right, tan, get a full body wax and oil just to get reasonably close to what the guy on the Brazilian Trunks underwear package looked like….and that sure the hell ain’t happenin’ without a fight.  Trust me on that one faithful RICHRIPLEY followers.

I bought socks too…the third best value in clothing.  It’s a good thing that the Brazilians don’t do sexy socks.  That I could do, my calves are…in a word….dangerous

So just a quick recap for those of you scoring at home:

#1… Belts are to a man’s dresser what a dictator is to his small country.  If he goes down…so does everything else.

#2…Underwear, I’ve covered this enough already and you’re still probably trying to clear that image of me in a thong, out of your head (sorry about that).

#3…Socks…white-over the calf.  Soft, white and cushiony…just like my abs.

What apparel have I forgotten my faithful minions?  Care to debate this pecking order?