Monthly Archives: April 2015

Gimme a lot of hair, long beautiful hair

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My friends, it is high time we talk about hair. I’m talking the hair on the tippy top of your head: that silky, lovely, wonderful substance that we so meticulously care for. The stuff that, on a good day, makes you walk around doing something a little like this:

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Now, several months ago I purchased a brand new, spiffy, top-of-the-line rug from…where? You guessed it. Where broke people of all ages and nationalities buy their apartment items: Ikea.

My new rug, while cheap, is a wonderful and glorious addition to my room. However, after a few months, it had retained many dark spots of (what I assumed to be) dirt and dust, and I decided to get off my laurels and vacuum the damn thing. If only I had been mentally prepared for the horrors I was about to unearth.

My friends, as I began to vacuum, I noticed the spots of dirt were refusing to be sucked up into the vast caverns of the vacuum. After several puzzling minutes, I was forced to get down on my hands and knees and attempt to solve the mystery of the obstinate dirt.

What I found, to my appall, was that the dark clumps were not, in fact, merely dirt. They were ACTUALLY sneaky, stringy strands of hair, covered in dirt and dust, and mired into the fibers of my rug. Thus causing a reaction very similar to this:

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It was as though these lovely, wavy golden strands of hair had executed a suicide leap from my scalp and made it their ultimate final mission to cling to my rug (and anything else they could find) with all the strength they could muster. They had failed their previous master in the task of hanging on to my poor little head and were therefore determined to be dutiful and most dedicated disciples to my rug.

It was truly shocking. These knotted, nasty clumps bore no recognizable resemblance to my healthy locks. It was the transformation of a lifetime, somewhat akin to Mulan. In case you are unfamiliar, in said film, the title character cuts off her hair, disguises herself as a male solider, and saves China. Comparably, my hair had forcibly removed itself from my head, disguised itself as innocent flecks of dust, and saved my rug from coming in contact with, you know, actual feet by becoming a protective LAYER over the exposed weave.

I truly didn’t know it was even possible to lose such a revolting amount of hair in such a ridiculously short time. You would think I had gone completely bald by the amount of hair that was (ultimately) in that vacuum. Or perhaps you would think I was attempting to fashion some sort of disgusting, caveman-esque costume wig that would cover my ENTIRE HEAD. Gross, friends. Gross.

The moral of the story is two-fold: one, vacuum often. Two, be kind to your hair. Otherwise it will abandon you, betray you, and pledge its allegiance to your Ikea rug.

Why job interviews are the most awkward things ever

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Lot’s of interviewing going on in my circle lately. This is a list that could grow on forever and never cease to be funny.

A Girl In Europe

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It doesnt matter if its in person or by telephone still so AWKWARD

  • It’s basically talking about yourself for half an hour and in that time realising you are a fantasticly average person.
  • You have to dress all fancy (that means NO leggings).
  • The answer ‘I just really need money in order to survive’ is not a valid response.
  • You have to pretend that time you were school lunch monitor in year 5 was the most valuable leadership training you ever had.
  • The reality: it probably was the best leadership training you ever had.
  • You realise how much high school did NOT prepare you for this situation.
  • The stress of pretending to be a dazzling and charming person raises your blood pressure…a lot.
  • Being terrible at handshakes.
  • Words suddenly don’t seem to form sentences in your head and you’re sweating…definately sweating.
  • There’s other people waiting there and you know only…

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Why being 8 was great 

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For those of us with short memories or who are sometimes just to busy to look back. 8 was great!

A Girl In Europe


Sorry about the unintentional rhyming. Okay I’m not sorry.

  • Dinner was always ready and sometimes it even included smiley potato faces.
  • It was perfectly acceptable to wear pink leg warmers to non uniform days.
  • Christmas meant PRESENTS and usually about 4 or 5 really creep Bratz dolls.
  • Never having to text anyone to organise things. You knew the drill, be there or be square.
  • Getting married in the playground at school.
  • When they rolled out the big TV in class, you knew it was gunna be the best afternoon in your life.
  • Homework was mainly just glueing or sticking, or colouring in.
  • Being able to sit on the bench in assembly meant you were basically the queen and everyone else were your humble peasants.
  • Still being able to fit your hips in the swings at the park.
  • A birthday party without twister was not a thing.
  • Being able to give…

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Mow, Blow, and Go, No?

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About 10 falls ago, having nearly dropped dead of a heart attack whilst raking leaves, I started exercising and have never looked back.  So it should be no surprise that when I recently got a new iPhone, I was enamored with the health tracker app that came with the phone.  In fact, I am quite obsessed.  Indeed (and sadly), it is my go to app.

Today, for example I have logged a whopping 400 steps and no stairs, so as soon as I get through writing this, I will be going toe-to-toe with the staircase in my house.  I work out of my home office, and it is an incubator of inactivity.

Yesterday was a beautiful day so I decided to take advantage of the low humidity, go outside and cut my yard.  With the rivers of rain we’ve been having the past couple of week it was beginning to look like a hay-field.  And to exasperate matters, it was beginning to attract the evil eye of dog walking neighbors passing by on their daily walks.

Usually it is me giving them the stink eye as I would like to fling their doggie’s poo back at them.  In fact, at one time I posted a sign in my yard that said, “Unless you would like for my son to come to your house and walk around on your white carpets, kindly remove Fido’s feces from my yard.”  Poo aside, my quarter acre pasture was making its own statement.  So motivated, I did my typical mow, blow and go.  In about an hour and a half, I was back in my office, if not a little grassy.

In the process, I logged about 5,000 steps.  Pretty good, right?

WRONG!

I was riding my lawn tractor.

Tuxedo Confunction Junction Dysfunction

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I once got a Chinese fortune cookie that said, “A thrifty man is a free man.”  Brothers and sisters, that sums me up to a T.  I’m all about that bargain bout that bargain bout that bargain baby, if not about that base or the painful song that goes with it.

So it was with great pride, if not some snickering, I watched my son suit up for prom a week ago.  Hey, he may have spent a jillion bucks on flowers, dinner and a limo, but not a nickel on the tux.  He was living proof that tuxedos, decently maintained will last forever.  You see, his tux was actually my tux, which was actually my grandfather’s tux.   It came from Muse’s, “Style Center of the South,”  which was a swell place to buy tuxedos…back in the 1950’s.  And yes, we do wear tuxedos in the South; sometimes even over our overalls.

I figure, after all these years, the amortized cost per wear of that tuxedo is down to under a dollar per use.  Candidly though, that sucker is looking a little dog worn these days.  Of course I didn’t tell my son that, and it really does look great, in photos from distances of 15 feet or more.

When we pulled that sucker out of the closet on the day of prom I noticed the lining showing through a couple of small moth holes in the back of the coat and the stitching in one of the hems had disintegrated, so one sleeve was about two inches longer than the other.  Nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a black Sharpie and black Duck Tape.

I couldn’t do anything about the pants, which, since the last time he wore the darned things seemed to have risen up like Lazarus.  That said, given all the rain we’ve been having down here, short pants is not such a bad thing.  OK, so he looked like Gomer Pyle in a suit; but that doesn’t matter because he had a really cute date, and no one was looking at him anyway.

But this blog isn’t about him, it’s about me.  After a looooooong hiatus, I had the opportunity to put on a tux myself this past weekend.  No, I did not put on the Pyle costume.  I have my own tuxedo.  Before the mid 90’s I used to have to put on a Tuxedo a couple of times a year for work and other assorted hoohahs.

In 1996 I blew my knee out and subsequently lost a lot of weight.  Since Grandpa’s tux was a little tired then, I thought to myself, “Self, you may have a limp, but you are thin again, and you are going to neeeeeeeeeeed a tuxedo.  So why don’t you splurge and have one made.  I worked for Delter Air Lines, so for about nothing I could fly to Seoul Korea, haul butt to Itaewon, for a couple of days, get all of my Christmas shopping done, and treat myself to a custom tuxedo w/fine Super 100’s wool and silk.

When I landed on the doorstep of Johnnie La’s, “my personal tailor” and he told him what I wanted he shouted, “You don’t need no Super 100’s!”  He also shouted a lot of other loud and colorful comments in his native language.

I stood my ground and with a certain amount of eye rolling and head shaking, he proceeded to measure me for my tux.  The next day, I went back for a fitting and even later that day picked up my brand new, black, shawl collared, tuxedo.  And for $327 U.S. Dollars, I looked like friggin’ Frank Sinatra.  I have no clue if he used Super 100 and I have no clue if he used silk, but that sucker looked good, although it was a little itchy.

As luck would have it, I came home from Korea, wore the tuxedo a grand total of once; changed jobs and the Tuxedo has been sitting in the closet for almost 19 years.  My cost per wear until this past weekend was exactly $327.  I got pretty fired up a couple of weeks ago, when my cousin invited my wife and I to this big shindigglywiggly over at the local University.  After 19 years, I get to pull the Tux out of the bag and in doing so, cut my cost per wear in half.  I figure if I wear it one more time after the weekend, I can safely say it has been better to own my tux than rent one.

Anyway, Saturday morning, I pull the bag out of the closet.  I inspect the tux and it looks good.  I can’t find my tux shirt, and my brilliant wife figures it’s been sitting at the dry cleaners since the last time I wore it.  I am dumb enough to ask if she thinks it is still there.  She says, “if you’re asking about the dry cleaners, yeah, it’s still there, but you can kiss your shirt good-bye dumb ass.

Fortunately, my grandfather was the same size as me roughly, and since we never throw anything out, I was in luck.  The shirt had mellowed to a bit of a less than white white, but it was fine, and clean, and all pretty in its dry cleaning plastic.  I would have worn my son’s shirt but it was still sitting all funky in the laundry from prom last weekend.  Hey, I’m not proud.

We load up the car, drive across the state, and because it is 85 degrees and pouring down rain all weekend, we “chill” in the hotel for a couple of hours before the big event.

At 6:00 Saturday evening, 19 years and 30 pounds heavier from the last time I put on my tux, I am thinking to myself, “what the hell was I thinking 19 years ago?  Why would any idiot have a suit made when they were half-starved after surgery?”  And the shirt, 15 1/2 inches against a 16 1/2 inch neck…unbelievable.  If I’d ever wanted an hourglass figure, I was sporting one now, plus as a bonus, my neck skin is rolling over my collar.

At 6:45, we step into the mist (it had stopped raining thankfully), and itching and hot we make the two block trek from our hotel to the venue; My wife looking great in her black dress and uncomfortably high heels and me in my pinched penguin suit.

The shingdiggly was absolutely great.  It was nice and cool inside, there were iced beverages, and we got to sit for a long periods of time.  Post the main event, there was an after party at the bar in our hotel, which was perfect, knowing the only thing we had to drive was the elevator, and that only to the second floor when we tapped out for the evening.  The after party was great too, primarily because it was also cool, there was plenty of seating, and cold beverages.  As luck would have it, it was also reasonably dark.

Most of the time we were there the DJ was playing a bunch of crap I never heard of with so much base it made my heart shudder inside my uncomfortably tight tuxedo shirt.  But as the night, actually morning wore one, from the dust bin of the 80’s the DJ unearthed a copy of Confunction’s “Too Tight,” which inspired me to the dance floor one last time to shake my groove thing (whatever that is).

Korean’s are known to be quite good tailors, but they have two  known weaknesses, they are buttons and thread.  At this point I am out on the dance floor, thinking I am James Brown, but looking more like a middle-aged pole dancer.  On the dance floor, going into, what I can only describe as a wide legged squat, spontaneous combustion occurs.  The seam in the back of my pants explodes while simultaneously, the grommets holding the front of my trousers together come unthreaded like a Yo Yo.  I might add, my grandfather’s noose-like collar, on his 50-year-old shirt, however, would have made an executioner proud.

I did mention it was dark, and fortunately it was late.   So the peep show was limited to only a few dozen fuzzy-eyed party animals.  And that was the end of the night for us; our metaphorical parking meter having way past expired.

And the moral of the story?  Well there are actually two.  First, be careful when you have snickering thoughts about others’ clothing.  And second, buy American.  Indeed, the wages of thrift may not be death, but they can be pretty awkward.

One Runny Toilet and Three Bathroom Renovations Later…Almost

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About six years ago….on Mothers’ Day, I was at Costco and on impulse (not really, but sort of ) I bought thee low flow toilets for about a hundred bucks a piece.  I went into to Costco to buy a loaf of cheese and came out with said loaf, plus what may ultimately prove to be a lifetime of bathroom renovations.

The toilets were the incendiary device that got this lifetime project going, but it had been gurgling below the surface for pretty much the entire time we have lived in our house.  With an old house and multiple toilets, it seems that runny toilets are pretty much a constant problem.  They run, you change out the guts, they are good for a few years, they start running again, rinse, lather repeat.  Unlike the women in remote Amazonian villages or on the Ole Miss Freshman hall, Toilets’ cycles do not synchronize and thus, it seemed as though our runny toilets were pretty much a constant problem.  Well, to the Queen anyway.

So, standing in front of the rack ‘o toilets at the Costco on that fateful Mothers Day, yours truly decided to put an end to the problem and put a lid on both the runny toilets and the seemingly infernal whining.

Now swapping out toilets is really not that big of a deal.  The greatest risks are cracking the porcelain and getting the old fittings to attach the new.  The problem is when your bathrooms haven’t been remodeled since the house was built, and each introduces itself like a spilled bottle of Hi Karate or BOD mens’ cologne.  By that I mean they have all the subtleties of the 1970’s; Harvest Gold, glittering Formica counter tops, teardrop shaped tiles, and wall-paper…..lots of wall-paper.

There was no way I was going to install these toilets without first renovating the bathrooms.  And the fact I procured the toilets myself should be a pretty good indicator as to who was going to undertake these projects.

So my wife and I carried ourselves over to Home Depot, took a course on how to lay tile and we were off to the races.  Except with us, projects are no race.  Over the course of the next several years we were able to knock out the first two bathrooms.  Then about a year ago, after a long recovery from the more recent bathroom, I started demo on the final one.  We saved our most public bathroom for last, because we wanted to hone our skills on #s 1 and 2 before dumping our final energies into what clearly needed to be our crowning achievement.

This last bathroom was and is a little trickier than the first two.  Because its location and subsequent loads it has to accommodate, its functional parts need to be out of commission for as brief a time as possible.  After happily tearing out the walls surrounding the tub and all of the floor tiles I showed up at work one day and discovered they had wiped out my division, and ‘POOF,’ just like that, I found myself collecting unemployment and complaining about Obamacare.  Hold that flush on #3 boys and girls.

But here is where it gets funny…at least to me.  Our son is graduating from high school in a few weeks, and we are hosting a family gathering afterwards to celebrate.  One might think this would cause my wife to start raising Hell to get the project done.  But, funds are still tight, and we need the cash to pay for the pigs in a blanket, salsa and Kool-Aid for my kid’s graduation party.

My wife, pragmatic, if not sane, rather than leave the CLEARLY disrupted lavatory in it’s present state, wants me to further demo it.  She seems to think, short of exploding a bomb in there, there might be some confusion amongst our guests as to what exactly is going on there.  So now, in preparation for the party, I have to rip out more walls, shred wall paper, and leave light fixtures dangling, lest there be any doubt.

So I’m wondering, should I go ahead and yank the toilet and sink too?

We could simply close the door, call the Port-‘O-Pot folks and have them set one of their blue units up on the deck.  After all, they are #1 in the #2 business.

Train Training

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As I zipped along in the underground confines of the Q train yesterday, the subway car began making odd noises. About every 30 seconds or so, the train would make a horrible groaning sound as if the side of the car was grating against the wall of the tunnel.

My friends, if you’ve ever ridden on any form of public transportation (and I certainly hope you have, unless you are fabulously rich and can afford those things I’ve heard speak of called “taxis”), you know that irritating, delay-causing, and exceedingly odd occurrences happen each and every day. So my subway car making a horrid noise was not cause of any alarm or concern.

But it did get me thinking…

How in the hell subway drivers train to become a subway driver?! There must be some sort of class, note taking, hours of simulated driving, an exam they must pass. They MUST have a training period.

BUT, as in most jobs, there must also be that terrifying and nausea-inducing first day, in which the little baby bird of an employee must leap (or be shoved) from the safety of the training nest and ACTUALLY perform whatever task they have been hired to do.

What I want to know is how many times I have ridden on a subway that was conducted by a driver on their very first day. Does this explain a myriad of strange occurrences throughout my time as a dutiful subway rider?

I think back to the other day when, rather than the typical automated voice droning the stop and subsequent instructions for being a courteous rider, a person with a strange, high pitched, circus-announcer voice came over the intercom and made announcements.

“Laaaaaadies and Gentlemeeeeen, this is LEXINGTON and 59th!!!” He screamed excitedly, as if nothing so thrilling had ever before happened in his life.

“Pleaaaaaase step out, step out, step out of the car quickly! And make room for our new guests! New guests, new guests, kiiiiiiiiiiindly move to the interior of the car, say hello to the other passengers, and away, away, awaaaaaaaay we go!”

…This strange man was making the N train sound like a ride at the fair or a jaunty square dance rather than 20 people too many squeezed against each other like extremely uncomfortable sardines.

Could this be because it was this odd man’s first day? Was he so incredibly excited to finally be fulfilling his dreams of driving the N train that his enthusiasm was spilling out and over the intercom?

And could this explanation account for just yesterday, when the train inexplicably honked its incredibly loud horn over and over again, causing me to think “Who the hell are you honking at?! We’re on a singular track! I surely hope you’re not honking at ANOTHER TRAIN, sir or madam, because if you are, we are all about to die!”

But perhaps this was simply a fresh employee, being initiated into some secret subway drivers’ club by honking the horn and casually terrifying unsuspecting passengers!

I began to imagine the inner monologue of the inexperienced man driving the Q train I was currently on, awkwardly and continually scraping the side of the train against the walls.

“Oh…oh shoot. Sorry! Sorry. Dammit,” He would think, as the train emitted its shocked groan of discontent.

Swear pouring from his brow, he would nervously overcorrect and scrape the other side instead, all the while thinking, “I’m TRYING here! But this subway track is absolutely NOTHING like the one in the simulation! I think MAYBE these tracks have been updated since they developed the driver training in 1987!”

This is all just a theory, dear friends, and once which I’m sure bears very little merit. However, the thought of it entertained me until the conclusion of my ride, and I felt the amusing need to share my theory with you.

What do you think, subway riders of the world?