The Man Cave

The Man Cave
Jack's Man Cave (Click on the photo to enter the Cave)
Showing posts with label Style. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Style. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Monday, January 18, 2021

Slippers Review on Amazon

Dear Amazon

I am disappointed my new Sorel bedroom slippers already smell this bad, only a few weeks after Christmas.  My wife bought them for me, and the fleece lining was so comfortable, I did not want to wear socks with them.  I knew something was wrong after about three days of wearing them.  One night, I was practicing a song on my guitar ("Carefree Highway") when I got an itch on my foot, so slipped one of the slippers off my foot partially to scratch it.  That's when I got a whiff.  It was pretty bad, so I figured I better air these things out for one night. I took them off, took a shower, and figured everything would be okay the next morning. I should have known there was a problem when I got out of the shower, and the dog was sitting next to them.  He only comes in my room and sits there when I order the Salt and Pepper chicken wings from the Chinese restaurant across from Southwestern College. Anyway the other night I was in a rush to get up to bed because my wife and I  were going to watch the Tiger Woods special - the documentary about how he cheated and his wife beat him with a golf club. I took the slippers off and climbed into bed  I somehow knew to let my feet air out first before I put them under the covers.  Good thing

"Wait a second.  What the hell is that God-awful smell?" asked my wife Tracy. Yes, it was my feet.  I had to admit it."Oh my God!  Get your feet and those slippers out of this room right now!" I had to go downstairs and take another, unplanned shower.  When I got out of the shower I had a text message. "Your feet left a horrible smell on the bedspread.  You're disgusting."  That text was from my wife. I went upstairs and I did not smell anything that bad, so I think she was exaggerating. But none of this is what I expected.   I've researched on YouTube "How to Clean Your Ugg Boots."  I thought I was just going to be able to throw them in the washing machine.  Like I did with my five-year-old purple Adidas sneakers- they look brand new now. No, instead I have to buy some fancy Ugg Boot cleaning kit.  This is far too much work, and I feel embarrassed to ask Tracy to do it.

I guess I'm just saying that there should be a warning label on the box- "Don't wear these slippers more than three days in a row, without a break," or "Slippers May Stink if you Don't Wear Socks."  It's just a bummer.

Friday, August 28, 2020

I Can't Live Up To The Size XXL Shirt I Just Bought

I Can't Live Up To The Size XXL Shirt I Just Bought

I gotta lose weight

Antoine Da cunha on Unsplash

Romantic Getaway, COVID-19 style

My wife Tracy and I are getting ready for a short weekend getaway trip for our 16th Anniversary. We’re also visiting friends who are having a BBQ for their son, who is going away to college.

Because it is 2020, we’ll be wearing facemasks on the airplane, and we’re flying into an area that was decimated by wildfires. “Romantic Getaway” COVID-19 style!

The hotel gave us a significant discount just to thank us for coming, so we didn't even have to use our AAA benefits.

. . .

A new shirt for the trip

I’ve worn pretty much the same Dri-FIT exercise clothes every day since about mid-March. So when Tracy said she was going shopping and would I like her to pick me a new shirt for the trip, I said, “sure.”

Even though I wear elastic-waisted workout shorts every day, I haven’t actually had a chance to exercise since the pandemic began.

“What size are you now?” Tracy asked, somewhat witheringly, and really overemphasizing the word ‘now.”

Actually, it was a pretty good question. There were whole swaths of shirts in my closet that I’ve subconsciously avoided trying on in the last few weeks. I know they won’t fit, or they’ll fit tight.

“I’m an XL. You know that!” I said, jocularly.

Tracy did not laugh. She looked me up and down. Then she rolled her eyes and walked away.

That got me to thinking.

. . .

It took me a while just to get used to being an XL

I’ve often marveled at the fact that I am an XL shirt size. I don’t feel like an XL. I look around, and there seem to be so many bigger and chubbier guys than me stumbling around. What size do they wear, if I’m an XL? 8XL?

But I’ve temporarily had a potbelly the last few years which threw the whole sizing thing off. Tracy reminds me that I have skinny legs and no butt. But the belly throws the sizing thing askew, and that’s why I go XL on the shirts.

I say temporarily, because any day now, I am going to go back on the Atkins diet. Yes, long before there was Keto, Paleo, and all these other rip-off diets, there was the Atkins Diet. It seems like nobody gives Dr. Atkins the credit he is due anymore, except Rob Lowe.

. . .

I need to get back on the Atkins diet

I did the Atkins diet hardcore for two years in a row, about 15 years ago, and I really trimmed down. I got thrown off track, however, when Boston Market went into bankruptcy and closed down most of their locations. Up until then, I was eating Boston Market’s chicken (taking the skin off, sometimes) and creamed spinach two or three times a day.

I’d also go to Costco and eat the hot dogs without the bun, or drive through Jack-in-the-Box and eat the Supreme Bacon Cheeseburger, also without the bun.

“Dude, you’re diet is horrible,” my jealous friends told me.

“All I’m doing is eating all the same stuff I ate before without the bun. And I’ve lost 12 pounds,” I’d say, popping another Altoid. Your breath can get pretty intense eating all that protein.

I was giving Rob Lowe a run for his money. It sucked when Dr. Atkins himself died of a massive coronary.

The problem with the Atkins diet is if you slip and have just one french fry, potato chip, or piece of garlic bread, it’s over. That french fry becomes the best tasting french fry you ever had in your life. You immediately slip into a carb binge. You wake up two days later in a parking garage, surrounded by carbs.

. . .

Tracy texts and calls me from the clothing store

Tracy texted me two photos from the store.

“This one’s a Large, and this one is an XL,” said the text with photos of two shirts.

Tracy liked the patterns on these Hawaiian-style shirts. One had hot dogs on it, and the other had bananas.

“The one shirt shows what you eat every day, and the other shows what you drive me — bananas,” Tracy said.

Hardy har har, I thought. Tracy was not “getting the vibe” of the type of shirts I like. Nonetheless, I told her to bring them home, and I would try them on.

. . .

The “Grand Theft Auto look” I invented and everyone stole

A few years back, I went on a Hawaiian shirt kick. When it comes to fashion, I get an idea in my head, and I really beat it into the ground. I decided I wanted to dress like the characters in the videogame Grand Theft Auto (“GTA”).


It was back when there were GTA advertisements on T.V. The commercials showed car thief criminal characters running wild through a Los Angeles landscape. The characters wore white sneakers, jeans, and sleazy Hawaiian shirts. I don’t know why this look appealed to me so much. These fashion whims just sort of come to me sometimes, and I go with them. Before this GTA phase, it was safari shirts with epaulets.

I wore jeans, Adidas Stan Smiths, and the sleaziest Hawaiian shirts I could find. That became my uniform for the past few years. We were on the Disney Cruise one year, and the entertainment director called me out on my outfit while Tracy and I were performing on “The Dating Game” in the pub in front of all the parents who were relaxing away from their children.

“Look at the outfit on this one! Nobody dresses like this anymore,” said the British lady host, pointing at me and trying to get a laugh. “Who are you supposed to be, Magnum P.I.?” The crowd roared laughing.

The next day on the pool deck, I was looking at my phone and Dolce and Gabbana, and all the other fashion designers had stolen my idea and were using my GTA look in their shows.

Don’t worry. I got that British entertainment director back good. That’s a different story.

These hot dog and banana prints Tracy was picking out, however, were too cutesy, and not sleazy enough. But I humored Tracy and said bring them home, and I’ll try them on.

. . .

The fashion show at home

I tried on the XL shirt with the bananas print, and the shoulders fit and the length was good. But it looked like there was a watermelon pushing out from the middle of the shirt. And the bottom did sort of hang a little bit like a maternity dress.

I walked out to the garage where Tracy was working out in the home gym.

“Oh God, that’s horrible,” said Tracy, before I could get a word out. “How did the XL fit?” she asked.

“This is the XL,” I said.

“Oh, Jesus. Turn sideways,” said Tracy

I saw myself in the big home gym mirror. It did not look so good.

“I guess it’s not that bad. You might be able to wear that,” said Tracy. “Just don’t turn sideways when we’re at the BBQ.”

Back in the man cave, I tried on the L sized shirt- just for fun. I got my arms through the shoulders, but I could barely get it buttoned. I gave up and let it hang loosely unbuttoned.

I turned to the mirror above the tufted leather couch. I looked like Robert Plant at the height of Led Zeppelin, when he wore those little girlie half shirts. I looked like Robert Plant if he had a big pot belly.

. . . 

Take these shirts back, please

Tracy took both the XL bananas shirt and the L hot dog shirt back to the store.

“Do you want me to see if they have any good XXL shirts?” Tracy asked.

This was the moment of truth. Was I going to take that next step on the evolutionary chain? The classical music from 2001 A Space Odyssey played in my head.

“Sure. Send me a photo if there’s an XXL you think I’d like,” I said. As soon as I said it, the music in my head switched to the Baby Elephant song.

Tracy got to the store, and the texts started coming. The first was a photo of a really cool bright pink shirt. It was sobering to see the XXL on the label inside the shirt.

I was in the middle of a Zoom meeting for work. My face on the screen looked so pink and blotchy, I was playing with all the Zoom settings to see if there was something wrong with my computer camera.

Everybody else in the meeting’s face seemed normal complexion, except mine. My face seemed really, really red. In fact, I was already researching Rosacea on the Mayo Clinic site on my second computer screen. That’s when Tracy’s text of the pink shirt came in. The shirt was kinda sleazy and right up my alley, but . . .

The Author (XXL)

“I like it. But I don’t think that hot pink it will complement my complexion,” I texted back.

Tracy sent me a photo of a second shirt. This one was white, with wispy black palm fronds on it. It seemed pretty simple and elegant.

The Author (XXL)

“Sure, bring that one home.”

. . .

Graduating up to the XXL shirt

Tracy put the shopping bag down on the kitchen counter and pulled out the XXL shirt.

“Oh my God. It’s like a bedspread!” I chortled.

“Don’t get ahead of yourself, ‘Chubs. Sometimes when I hold up your shirts in the laundry room, I feel like I’m folding duvet covers,” said Tracy.

I grabbed the shirt from her hand and took it back to the man cave. After some mental preparation, I put the XXL shirt on over the Dri-FIT I was wearing.

The XXL shirt fit like a glove. It was twice as comfortable as the XL. Oh my God. I’m an XXL.

I walked back to the kitchen and showed Tracy.

“It’ll probably shrink once you wash it I said,” twisting and posing side to side.

“I hope it doesn’t shrink too much,” said Tracy. “It fits perfectly right now.”

. . . 

Getting used to my new XXL life

I had to go to the grocery store later that day. As I masked-up and walked to get the shopping cart, I looked around to see if there were any other XXL guys around.

Just then, as I was crossing to the front of the store, a lifted truck came barreling towards me, running over two speed bumps without slowing the slightest bit. I jumped back and let the truck go past.

I saw the big angry guy driving the truck, with his arm hanging out the window, and it was obvious he wears XXL or larger. He had Oakley Blades on, a baseball hat backwards, and a Fu Manchu mustache. He had a really big and burly wife or girlfriend in the front seat, and you could tell she was just as grumpy as he was. She was drinking a Big Gulp and had a bandanna on. She probably wore XXL too.

The driver “mad-dogged” me, staring at me the whole time as he tore past me. Then he was gone.

Man, if I’m going to be wearing XXL, maybe I need to start acting like that guy, I thought.

. . .

Trying to “fit” in

When I got home from the store, I went online, and I started shopping for things to fit my new XXL life. I went on Amazon and started looking for some of the items that I thought I might need.

I browsed for a leather knife holder that would fit on my belt. Then I shopped for obnoxious wrap-around blade sunglasses, the kind that guys with Mullet haircuts wear. I checked out the cowboy boots too. Expensive.

Maybe I should have a toothpick in my mouth all the time, I thought.

Then it dawned on me.

I’m not really cut out for this XXL thing. I can’t pull this off, nobody is going to believe it. For chrissakes, my dad drove a Jaguar XJS, and had a man purse. I myself leased two Miatas, and still wished I had one.

I went back to the grocery store and headed straight to the meat aisle. I bought a bunch of protein- hot dogs, chicken, and steak. I picked up some creamed spinach and walked right past the bread aisle without even stopping. At the register, I grabbed a tin of Altoids.

Back home I looked at myself in the home gym mirror.

I gotta lose weight.

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Dark And Twisted Dry Cleaner Conspiracy To Steal My Hangers

The Dark And Twisted Dry Cleaner Conspiracy To Steal My Hangers

They're all working together


A Whole New Wardrobe For My Distinguished American Physique

Last year I went a little overboard and bought a bunch of new suits to wear to work. I cleared out some old suits that I had worn into the ground.

I stumbled on an American brand of suit that really fit me to a “T” so I decided to buy a bunch of them. I’m a chubby American guy, so the European suits don’t do it for me anymore.

I’m not on the Mediterranean Diet. I’m on the Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Islands fine hamburgers circuit. This American suit maker understands my physique.

The suit I serendipitously found fit me so well that, over about two or three months, I bought ten of them. I’m a trial attorney, so I need enough suits to go for two weeks without wearing the same one twice. The jurors like some suit variety as the trials sometimes drag along during the boring parts.

You don’t wanna see Pat Sajak in the same suit two days in a row on ‘Wheel of Fortune.’
. . . 

The Hangers Make All The Difference In The Bedroom…Closet

My wife Tracy had a closet company come in and build her a nice huge closet, with a tiny little corner of it devoted to me. One of the nice things about buying the same suit ten times, in different colors, is that the fancy hangers they come on are all the same, and look really cool all lined up.

I’ll confess, I became a little obsessed with those hangers, and that they all be the same, and lined up nicely, a uniform distance apart. If my tiny little corner has to be tiny, at least let it be meticulously organized.
The Author
. . . 

No Fancy Tailors For Me, Strip Mall Dry Cleaners Only

I get my suits tailored at the dry cleaners. The two dry cleaners by my house have on-site tailors, or seamstresses, I should say, as both are women, the Asian Lady, and the Turkish Lady.

The one time, a few years ago, that I went to a “fancy tailor-man” downtown, he did a shockingly horrible job of simply sewing cuffs on a pair of suit pants. He charged too much. Then the threading started to fall apart within weeks of the job he did. No more “fancy tailors” downtown for me. The ladies at the strip mall were just fine.

. . .

The Dry Cleaner That Is Closer And Easier To Get To

The first suit I took to the dry cleaner which is closer and easier to get to at my house. I went into the store, and into the ridiculously ramshackle changing room to put on the suit to show the seamstress. I needed the pants and the sleeves of the jacket altered. The seamstress is the very nice Asian Lady.

When I enter the changing room at this dry cleaner, I feel like I am magically transported to a very far away, tropical location. This is a tropical location that is very humid and has lots of mosquitos. I feel like there could be elephants bathing outside and splashing water on their backs.

But I know none of those things is out there. I know that because the curtain is so poor a barrier between me and the Asian Lady, that I can see her eyes as I pull my pants on and pull up the zipper.

See, the curtain is on a rod, and the rod is much longer than the curtain. So on either side of the curtain, there is a two-inch gap where the Asian Lady and the other customers can watch me change in and out of my pants.

I step out of the changing booth, in my socks, with the pant legs flopping around. The seamstress bends down, folds up one of the cuffs of the pants. She pins the cuff, showing me the break of the pant, and makes some marks with a little piece of white chalk she holds in her fingertips. Then she adjusts and marks the suit jacket sleeves. By this point, I’m sweating like Elvis in Hawaii.

The other customer ladies, and the little children whose hands they are holding, all stare at me. They seemed to be amazed that I am doing all of this right there in front of them.

“Okay, you’re done,” says the Asian Lady.

“You want to pay now, or when you pick-up?” asks the other lady running the cash register.

“I’ll pay later when I pick-up. Who knows? I might get hit by a bus between now and then.” I say, chuckling.

Neither the Asian Lady nor the cashier laughs.

. . .

The Pick-Up

“Hi, I’m here to pick up my suit. Here’s the slip.” I say, handing it to the woman that I’ve never seen behind the counter before.

She goes to the big rack, pushes the button, and the thousands of articles of clothing ride around like a big roller coaster until my suit appears. She stops the ride and pulls my suit down.

“Okay, here it is,” she says hanging the suit on the metal rack near the cash register.

I hand her my credit card, and she puts it in the card machine. The machine spits out the receipt and I am signing it when I notice they have the suit on a janky “fake” suit hanger. This contraption is some piece of thin plastic over a wire hanger.

“Wait a second? Where’s the fancy hanger?” I ask.

“What do you mean?” the lady asks, handing over the receipt, and a pen for me to use to sign.

“Where is the thick black plastic hanger that the suit was on?” I say.

“Oh. I don’t know,” says the lady, stepping back a little defensively.

Now I see the Asian Lady seated at the sewing machine, kind of peeking over her shoulder meekly.

“I need the big plastic hanger that the suit came on,” I say, remaining calm.

“Well, I don’t know where that hanger is,” says the “new” lady kind of being a little surly. “Do you know where the hanger he’s talking about is?” she asks the seamstress lady.

The Asian Lady does not really respond.

“Let me see who handled your order,” says the surly lady. “Oh, Cassie handled it. Let me call Cassie.”

She calls Cassie, right there in front of me, on the store phone.

“Yeah, there’s this guy here who wants to know where the hanger is,” says the surly lady. “Uhm-hm. Yep. Yep. A suit hanger. Um-hm. Yep. Uhm-hm. That’s what I said.”

The surly lady looks up from the phone.

“We don’t keep those,” she says to me.

“What are you talking about?” I say to her.

“We throw those out,” she says.
The Author

Now the blood in my veins turns green. Like the Incredible Hulk, a bead of sweat forms and rolls down my forehead. I swipe it with the back of my hand. Muscles in my back and in my thighs start to expand through the layers of adipose fat and threaten to rip through my clothing.

“Wait a sec. You throw out the thick black plastic hangers, that have the embossed plate on them that say “Hickey Freeman?” The hangers that hang the suit perfectly? And that comes shipped with the suit from across the country in New York. The hanger that the fancy store uses to hang the suit?”

I’m riffing here.

“Let me just make sure I’ve got this right. Somebody takes the suit off of that fancy special hanger and throws that hanger into the trashcan. And then that person puts the suit on this fake flimsy piece-of-crap hanger?”

I keep going. I can’t help it.

“Now we have this hanger. This hanger that they use to hang the fake paper suits that they put bums in, down at the morgue when bums die destitute. The paper suits they put the bums in the caskets wearing. You’re giving me one of these crappy hangers that they hang the fake suits on. That’s what you’re giving me, this fake hanger piece of crap?”

I know there are such fake suits because they showed them to us during the field trip to the morgue in my high school class called “Death and Dying.”

“And you want me to believe that? Is that the story you want me to believe?” I ask.

The surly lady is staring at me with her mouth open, but still letting me know with her gaze that she wishes I would have a cardiac arrest and die on the floor immediately.

“And you want me to pretend that I don’t know that Cassie, or the owner of this place, did not steal my hanger? And that the hanger is not in the back of Cassie’s car. Or is not already in her closet, with one of her dresses on it. Or hanging one of her husband’s suits? Is that the story you’re telling me here, that I’ m supposed to believe?” I ask.

The surly woman is holding the phone, slightly off her ear now, so that Cassie can hear this insane tirade straight from the horse’s mouth. My mouth.

“Tell ya what. I’m going to give you guys 48 hours to get that hanger back to me. And if you don’t, I’ll take the nine other suits I was going to have tailored here, over to the Turkish Lady. Even though its farther away, and a little less convenient, and the Turkish Lady is not open on Sundays.”

I let them know what a big account they’re about to lose. I’m like a dry cleaning “whale.”

The surly lady thinks about it for a minute. Then she snaps back to her usual self.

“You can do . . . whatever . .. you . . . need . . . to . . . do,” she says in a perfectly sassy, sing-song voice.

I gotta admit. That was a pretty good response.
. . .

The Internet Research

“What are you doing?” my wife asked.

“I’m researching how much Hickey-Freeman hangers cost on eBay,” I tell her.

“Oh boy. Are you serious? Don’t you have any work to do? You know, our anniversary is coming up, have you bought me anything? Or researched any romantic getaways? Let me just answer that myself. That would be a ‘No’ right?” says Tracy. “Shocker,” she says.

“Do you know that they charge as much as $20.00 for one of those hangers? And these hangers on eBay are not even the nice ones. Like the one I had.”

“Why did you leave the fancy hanger at the dry cleaner? If it was so important to you” Tracy asks.

“Because not in my wildest dreams would it ever occur to me that they would steal my hanger. Or claim they threw it in the trash. That’s like taking your car to the dealer for an oil change, and when you go to pick it up, there’s a tire missing,” I say.

I’m pretty proud of that analogy I just made.

“You’re a buffoon,” says Tracy.

. . .

The Non-Apologetic Phone Call

A day later, my cell phone rang.

“Is this Mr. Clune?” said the female voice.


“This is the dry cleaner. We have the hanger,” she says.


“Yes, sir.”

“Great! I’ll be right over to get it!” I say excitedly.

“Tracy, I’m going to the dry cleaner! They have my hanger!” I yell upstairs to Tracy as I head to my car.

“Oh thank God! Hoo-ray,” I hear Tracy’s voice upstairs, dripping with sarcasm.

. . .

The Vindication

“Hi, I’m Mr. Clune here to get my hanger,” I say to the woman at the front desk.

It’s the same woman who handled the initial transition when I brought the suit in. It’s Cassie. She looks up and sees me, and I can see her expression change to mild disgust.

“Oh . . . here,” she says, as she reaches under the counter and produces my beloved hanger, and sticks it out at me.

I take the hanger in my hand. I can’t resist . . .

“Where was it?” I ask.

I can see the slight flinch in Cassie’s face. Like the facial tic that Inspector Clouseau’s boss used to get in the Pink Panther movies. I know what she is thinking.

She’s thinking “Can’t this fat bastard just take the thing? Or does he have to rub it in too?”

“Oh, they took it to the other location by accident,” she says.

What does that even mean? I think to myself.

. . .

I Had To Go To The Turkish Lady Anyway

I took another suit back to the same dry cleaner. I bought the suit online, and the dumb suit came with none of the buttons sewn on it. The four buttons that go on the sleeves were not sewn on, so I brought them to the nice Asian Lady.

I kind of knew we were in trouble when she looked at the sleeves with the same shock as I did back home when I saw that we had to sew the buttons on. When I came back to pick up the jacket, she had sewn the buttons on right through the inner lining of the sleeve.

It looked like I had sewn the buttons on.

“You’re not going to charge me for this are you?” I asked as I held the sleeve up to her face.

“No,” she said without a fight.

. . . 

The Turkish Lady

I walked into the new dry cleaner where the Turkish Lady does the tailoring. I showed her the sleeve.

“Tsk-tsk!” said the Turkish Lady, as her eyes bulged. “She didn’t charge you for that did she?” she asked.

“No,” I said.

“Good. You have to undo the lining, then sew it back up,” she said.

“I knew you would know what to do,” I said.

“Pick up in three days, on Thursday.”

“Okay,” I said.

I left the dry cleaner and went next door to the grocery store to pick up one or two items. I even threw in some flowers for Tracy.

I did not have to wait in line long, because I only had a few items and I cut ahead of someone who had a big cart full of groceries.

. . .

When I Got Home

I came into the kitchen, and Tracy looked up from her laptop.

“Oh, flowers, that’s so nice honey …” she said.

“Shit! Goddammit! Shit! No!” I screamed into Tracy’s face.

I just remembered that I left the hanger with the Turkish Lady.

The Author
. . .

Three Days Later

All three days I stared at the ceiling at night.

There’s no way they’ll try to steal my hanger. That’s impossible. That would be like Die Hard. Where he keeps getting trapped in tall buildings with terrorists. That could never happen twice.

On the third day, I went to see the Turkish Lady. When I walked in, I saw that the Turkish Lady was not there, but her nice friendly daughter was working the front desk. I handed her the ticket, and she made the roller coaster spin around until my jacket appeared.

The hanger was gone.

© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune

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