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12/28/05 Construction
12/15/05 Tribute Band
12/14/05 Jury Duty
11/14/05 Liability
10/20/05 Cheapskate
10/10/05 Gift-Giving
10/05/05 Camping
10/04/05 Boxing
09/08/05 Massage
08/22/05 Green Thumb
08/03/05 Poison Oak


They're building homes across the street. Still. Every day. Forever.

It begins at seven when my alarm clock, a tractor, goes off. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.

Did you know that tractors beep when they move? I myself did not. They're like Fisher-Price toys from hell.

I also didn't realize how much shouting goes into a house. The foreman, great grandson of Bam-Bam, gives direction over the saw blades.

"Leo ... Leo! Hey, LEO! It's over there ... No, there... LEO!..."

As a man, I am supposed to know about erection. Of houses. But for some reason I never understood drill bits or power saws or what are those things ... jobs. I'm the guy who gets so confused in Home Depot that a clerk finds him cowering in the fetal position behind the two-by-fours...

"It's going to be all right, sir. Just slow down and tell me how long you've been lost."

I can't even assemble boxed furniture without drawing blood. If I were in charge across the street, the whole crew would be huddled around a giant foldout paper.

"Okay, insert Part D into Hole G. Has anyone seen Part D? They forgot to include Part D, didn't they? I knew it!"

Then someone would hawk up a loogie.

Fortunately, the homes across the street are in better hands. Well, if you don't mind living in a domino. Tract homes are getting so scrunched together that when people say they've got a yard, they mean it literally -- three feet.

"Seven hundred grand, you say? I see ... How much for a house where I don't hear the neighbors peeing?"

It's a good thing Frank Lloyd Wright is dead, because he would definitely commit suicide.

The plot across the street used to be a meadow. For you youngsters, that's a place for a thing called trees. The problem with tract houses is that they hardly ever turn back into meadows again. So it goes.

Construction guys aren't big on the concept of Other. They have no problem discussing personal issues in the middle of traffic.

"Oh, yeah?! Well, if you didn't bleep up the windows, then we wouldn't bleepin' be having this conversation."

"Bleep off."

"Why don't you -- " hawking up a loogie -- "while you're looking for a JOB."

Not a model exit review.

Leo, thank God, was not fired. He continues to do an excellent job ignoring the foreman. Leo drywalls to the beat of his own drummer, pausing to rub (for good luck) his Buddha belly. Which begs a question: How does one labor in the sun all day and still manage a belly? How much beer does that take?

Don't get me wrong. I hate these men. I do. But somehow I will miss them when they're gone. All the yelling and thumping and cursing have come to represent ... progress. No matter how lost I get in the Home Depot of life, they will be here at seven sharp to wake me up.

"LEO! It's over there. No, THERE. Leo..."

That must be what it's like on your deathbed -- you miss even the people you don't like. Sometimes I get choked up thinking about it. Excuse me while I hawk up a loogie.


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