Thursday, April 25, 2013

Welcome to Fantasy (Kitchen) Island!

Having just turned thirty, practically all of my Facebook friends are having babies. I want to show off something I made too, but with no children to brag about on my Facebook wall, I'm showing off the kitchen island that I built the other weekend instead. Which is sort of the same thing I guess.

This is the schematic I drew before I started. If you can make sense of my coloring-book blueprints, feel free to make one of your own (author assumes no liability of any sort for accuracy of plans, because if you're foolish enough to build something based on scanned notebook paper then you're taking your life into your own hands).

This is my set-up. Did it in the backyard because sun.

Six hours later, this is the completed frame. No shelf boards or top yet, and it turned out the casters I bought are too large for the posts. I'll have to add them later.

Here's the completed product! The marble top came from the discount room in a local antique store (actually built the island around the top, so that it would fit properly on top). It weighs about sixty pounds, so I didn't actually attach it with anything (there's also an inch overlap on each side)

Now that I have it in the kitchen, I kind of like it where it is. I might leave the casters off for now. It still needs prettied up (paint, some paneling maybe), but I'm leaving that up to the wife. ;)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


If you're reading this on or around the date it was published, then you, like me, are likely still shocked, disturbed and a little frightened at the senseless bombing that occurred this week at the Boston Marathon. 

Perhaps it makes me unprofessional, but I've been unable to get it off of my mind. I'm not one of those writers/entertainers/ whatever-the-hell-I-am that's capable of just pushing past a tragedy like this and soldiering on. Some can, I cannot. 

So, I do what I've done ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil; when life gets hard and painful and confusing, I create. I won't call this poetry, since I've always written crappy poetry. But as a runner and a human being I had to get this off my chest.

Aaron Matthew Smith
17 April 2013

It's the largest hill I've ever seen. Pain is shooting through my sides, my knees, my ankles and my hips. I'm a moving, sweating, grimacing mountain of pain. 
I go on. 
Soon I can't even hear my footsteps on the concrete anymore. Each breath makes my lungs burn, as if the air is made of fire and ash. 
Nowhere to go but forward, I go on. 
I push against the hill with every muscle in my body. All my blood, flesh and bone beg for me to stop, to give up and let the hill win. 
Unable now to turn back, I go on. 
The summit is in sight. It's been in sight from the beginning. My brain knows its getting closer, but the pain swears its farther away than ever. 
The pain is wrong. I go on.  
My body seems to reach the top well before the pain does, as if I'd been dragging it behind me the whole way. The pain had given up. I'd been doing all the work. 
I set my eyes on the next hill and I go on.

Friday, April 12, 2013

"Being Thirty"

First of all, I should apologize to my younger readers. You're probably not going to get this story. That's okay; you will one day. You might get it sooner than I did, or later than I did, but one of these days this will be you, and you, like me, will suddenly be thankful that you're older. 

Oh, you old guys? You're going to love this one.

“Being Thirty”

Aaron Matthew Smith- 09 April 2013

I didn’t care that it was Saturday. I didn’t want to get out of bed. It wasn’t as if I’d had a rough night the night before, either. Yeah, it was my birthday, but I’d only had a few friends over. We’d watched a movie. I drank two beers. They were all gone by ten-thirty, and I was in bed my eleven.

I glanced at the clock. Seven-thirty-nine. Only a little later than I’d have slept on a work day.

Well, no sense wasting the day. I dragged myself out of bed and groaned as I stood upright. What had I done to make my back hurt so badly?

Nothing. I’d done literally nothing the day before. I’d hurt it in my sleep. I’d laid still for eight hours and managed to hurt myself. 

I limped into the bathroom and stared at myself in the darkened bathroom mirror. Dark bangs hung beneath both eyes like I’d lost a fistfight the night before. 

God, I was so thirty. I was thirty, and my life was over. 

I just wanted to go back to bed. Lay there until my life started running in reverse, let me do my young years over again. If I laid there long enough it was bound to happen. 

No, maybe if I played Nintendo. The last time I played it I was about thirteen. That was bound to jumpstart the aging-down process. Or called up some friends from high school that I hadn’t spoken to in ten years. The trouble, of course, would be finding one without a child to wake up this early in the morning.

Crap. This day sucks, I thought, plopping down on my bed and making my back and neck twinge with pain in the process.  And every day after this one is going to suck, too.

Oh, crap. I had to go to the mall and buy pants today. I’d been putting it off for weeks until finally I had no pants in good enough condition to wear to work anymore. I wasn’t even sure they’d let me back in the mall. I wondered if there was some kind of old man store that I had to go to now, where all they sold were Velcro shoes and blue jeans with no texture whatsoever. Well, might as well get it over with.

I dressed myself and made a pot of coffee the size of a bathtub. I ate oat bran for breakfast. Then I headed to the mall. 

One of the positive side effects of being old, I thought as I pulled into the nearly-empty mall parking lot, is that I’m already up before everyone else. I parked in a spot near the front doors and walked in the main mall thoroughfare. 

The tile floor gleamed in the morning sunlight filtering through the skylights in the mall’s roof, potted ferns and palm trees my only company as I strolled past two women’s clothing stores and one store that only sold high-priced athletic underwear. At the main crossroads in the middle of the shopping mall a water featured gurgled peacefully, pennies at the bottom of the shallow well catching the morning light.

I smelled coffee, and even though I’d already had enough to power a nuclear submarine I craved another cup. That must’ve been an ability I acquired upon getting old; the ability to imbibe coffee from daylight til dark without stopping. Eh, there were worse super powers. 

I turned the corner and groaned audibly as the coffee kiosk came into view. Just what I needed today- huddled at the counter were four teenagers, two boys and two girls (they always seemed to move in packs of exactly that arrangement), pointing at the menu and talking to loudly to the poor barista that they were practically shouting his apron off. Another girl in a black polo shirt farther down the line was pouring syrups from four different bottles into a huge plastic cup. 

They seemed to smell my hesitation as I approached, each turning to look at me and whisper to their friends in turn. 

Crap, this was just perfect. As if I needed something else to make me feel older than dirt…

But then something clicked in my brain, and it was like the last piece in a puzzle falling into place so that you can finally see the completed image after a lifetime of seeing it unfinished. 

I didn’t care.

I truly, honestly didn’t care. No part of me, no fiber of my being gave two rat’s tails what these kids thought about me. I didn't care that they thought I was old; heck, I already knew I was old.

The amount I didn’t care was almost startling, in fact. One by one the kids glanced at me before giggling and turning back to their coffee-milkshakes and their friends. Only then did I realize I’d been grinning like the clown from It at them. 

And you know what? I didn’t care about that either.

I kept grinning as I approached the barista, who looked supremely thankful that the teenagers had taken their drinks and were wandering in a pack toward a store with flashing neon tube lighting in the window. 

“You get that a lot?” I asked the young man, who was readjusting his black-framed glasses on his nose. I told him my order, large black coffee to go.

“All the time, man,” he said. He sighed. 

“Don’t sweat it,” I assured him. “It gets better.”

“Easy for you to say,” he said.

I couldn’t keep from smiling as I took a cup from him. “Yes. Yes it is.”

I fairly skipped toward the boring-looking men’s clothing store.