Monthly Archives: May 2015

Love Is A New Diswasher

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This morning I found myself at work being paid to read dishwasher reviews.  Like I am the Maytag repairman or something.  Can you imagine? I’m just gonna laugh that one all the way to the bank.

One review in particular caught my eye… I couldn’t help but wonder what this guy’s wife was thinking.  Grammar aside; first it made me giggle, then it made me wonder….

“I bought this for my wife for “12 Xmas. I bought it unseen as a replacement due to a delivery date mixup and I couldn’t be happier. It’s not a large capacity unit but it’s fine fort he two of us and the occasional dinner with friends. Honestly, I’ve never seen our glasses so CLEAN & SHINY. The top controls are simple & easy to understand and glow a sweet green. I’m lovin’ the stainless steel tub, front & handle but most of all the way this thing is built. When I close the door..THUMP..it’s closed. Just like a solid sedan. When it’s doing it’s thing it’s QUIET..I mean REAL QUIET. We can barely hear it running from 6 feet away”

With this exotic new relationship in his life, I wonder how the diswasher made his wife feel?

Was she:

  • Happy because she no longer has to deal with any dishes because he’s all over them?
  • Happy because the dishes are so CLEAN AND SHINY?
  • Happy because he loves it so much he stays out of her hair so she can watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns on the TV?
  • Happy because now he is willing to invite friends over for dinner and NOT make her wash the dishes?
  • Happy because it is so quiet he will now listen to her when she is speaking?
  • Happy because the controls are “so simple and easy to understand” that he no longer floods their apartment every night?
  • Happy because he has finally stopped referring to her as “his solid sedan?”

OR was she:

  • Pissed because it is so quiet she now has to listen to his going on and on about sports (or the dishwasher).
  • Pissed because she now has to entertain “friends” for dinner?
  • Pissed because now he has abandoned helping at all with the dishes and she has developed back problems from constantly loading and unloading?
  • Pissed because she thought she was getting a freakin’ diamond and this isn’t the 1950’s….what kind of gift is a dishwasher?!
  • Pissed because her husband spent more time writing a dishwasher review than he did writing his wedding vows.
  • Pissed because the stainless steel doesn’t match ANY of the rest of their appliances and now she’s stuck with the damn thing?
  • Pissed because now he’s “lovin’ the stainless steel tub” so much, now he wants to replace the claw hammered tub in their master bath with one?

This man oh so LOVES this dishwasher. Like….move over wife he’s marrying the appliance! Grrrrrrr….

The Adventures of Top Knot and The Top of HER Head

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This is Top Knot.

Top Knot likes to do many things….

For example, she’s very handy in the kitchen

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Day 1: Top Knot makes Stir Fry and watches The Road to El Dorado

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Day 7: Top Knot wears a grandma robe and washes dishes

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Day 32: Top Knot makes Top Ramen during blizzard fakeouts

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Day 39: Top Knot slurps her soupy soup

THIS is Top Knot’s laundry…

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Day 63: Top Knot maintains a precarious laundry trash bag mountain

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Day 97: Top Knot’s laundry multiplies like rabbits

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Day 103: Top Knot breaks the intercom and must root through trash

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Day 147: Top Knot emerges from the depths of our apartment like a mole after many months underground

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Day 152: Top Knot once again savors some succulent spring soup

Stay tuned for further adventures of Top Knot (and her laundry)

The Daily Mail

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Last week I took a leisurely stroll down the magnolia lined drive of my plantation to retrieve the mail from the box.  I stepped into the street, opened the box and collected what amounted to divots of mail.  Glancing up, I noticed a white vehicle speeding in my direction.  A firm hold on my junk…mail, I dove away from the vehicle and into the tall grass behind it.  With a blunted thud, followed by clanking of my box returning to earth, I saw the faceless driver of the white automobile speeding away from the scene of the crime.  Dusting myself off, a flurry of salty language spewing from my tongue, went over to asses the damage both to the box and my heart.

The post, snapped in half was a total loss, but the box, having endured this plight about four times prior, was still serviceable.  The two bushes I planted in front of the post about 3 boxes ago are reduced to but to one small gesture of their original selves.

I live in a residential neighborhood, with speed breakers, street lights, lots of walkers in the street (but not street walkers), it is generally quiet, except during rush hour, when it is used disrespectfully by idiots who have figured out they can save forty seconds off their commute if they will speed through my neighborhood.

When I moved into my house years ago, the box was mounted on the back side of a railroad tie.  One of my first home improvement projects was to unearth the unsightly post; appropriate on some rural back road but an eye sore in fashionable Smitherton, and replace it with a fabulous metal post with beautiful iron finial. Three weeks later my new post was holding the tarp down on the woodpile having been summarily smashed by either a drunk, child, idiot, or some combination thereof; sailing recklessly through my neighborhood.

Over the course of eight mailbox posts, a few boxes and several address numbers, I have come to the realization my box is strategically located in the firing line of drunks, children, and idiots.  My property is at the top of a hill and the box sits at the end of a bit of a curve that comes out of the hill.  Due to postal regulations and aesthetics there is not too much I can do in terms of relocating the post.  After each incident of destruction I come up with all kinds of clever strategies for implanting a structure which will either stop a car or cause enough damage to render it useless.  Inevitably though, those same strategies would likely result in death or the impalement of one of the neighbors’ kids, so I find myself out buying a new post and starting the circle of destruction all over again.  I can not bring myself to striking a deal with the local railroad to procure one of their ties.  The aesthetics combined with the smell of creosote in the summer is untenable.

Never; not once through all the years, has the drunk, child, idiot or combination thereof stopped to apologize, offer to replace the post/box/bushes, or pick me up out of the grass. I wonder if they are just that oblivious?  I do believe there is a seat warming in Hell for them.

Being light on discretionary income combined with being the cheapest guy on the planet, this time I decided to build my own post.  Rather than hauling down to Home Depot and dropping $40 for the cheapest post; for less than $10 they sold me an 8 foot piece of pressure treated pine then threw in another 2 feet of cedar, someone else had paid for but had cut down to size.  At 7:00 p.m. I fired up my circular saw followed by my miter saw and router, and kept them running until 10:00.  I kind of thought I might piss off the neighbors but when I thought about the fact that they generally don’t turn their dog off until midnight and then crank him back up a 5:00 a.m. every friggin’ day, I decided not to lose any sleep over it.

By noon the next day, I had exhumed the bottom half of the old post, stripped the numbers and box off the old post, repainted the numbers (I am that cheap), waxed and buffed the box, assembled the new post, stained, reassembled and planted the new structure.

IMG_0485       Notice the “bush” in front/to the right of the post.

Here’s the thing.  History suggests that between now and three years from now, I will have to face this demon all over again.  So I am left to wonder, who is the real idiot here?  I think it is time for a beer.

Festival Nirvana

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Razor witted Robyn Christi of Things and Stuff recently penned an expose’ entitled “Why It’s o.k. to Hate Festivals” Actually, it’s a list but either way, seemingly is timeless.

Many Years ago, I attended the Glastonbury Music Festival, and with the exception of overpriced water bottles which didn’t exist, the greater likelihood of being hit in the head by a cup of wee rather than a bottle, and the fact that at 16 quid it seemed a good way to spend three  days in the sun with “beautiful people;” UK music festivals apparently haven’t changed much.

My recollections include:

  • rain
  • two long damp motor coach rides
  • mud
  • sleeping in a cesspool of water
  • three people in a two person tent
  • slop
  • public and semi-public urination
  • more rain
  • horrible and expensive festival fare
  • throngs of people
  • umbrellas
  • lousy dressers and interesting characters
  • 50 bands (three of which I had heard of and none of which I should have cared enough about to spend three days in the muck for)
  • the smell of fried food and excrement
  • stoned to stupid folks all about
  • a souvenir T-shirt that would have made a sheep itch
  • ooze and more ooze.

Except for rain, mud and wet bodies I don’t remember being able to see much of anything.  Although I wouldn’t trade the experience, I certainly wouldn’t knowingly do it again.  However, despite the photos below, I have exercised neither a personal nor permanent ban on festivals,….

DSCN0432Glastonbury 30 years ago.

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Binoculars would have been helpful…or perhaps a hat?

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F minus in parenting…good grief.

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Check out the facilities (top row, second from right) and proof below at least one person had fun.

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… post Glatonbury, I have developed my own personal festival guide:

  1. If rain is coming, I’m not going
  2. If the tent is not large enough to stand in, don’t bother taking it
  3. I am willing to wee in a plastic structure, but always take spare squares just in case
  4. I will not spend more time in a plastic structure than I can hold my breath, even if they are well maintained and strategically positioned
  5. Except for beer, avoid all food served from a truck
  6. Sunscreen and insect repellent required even if neither sun, nor insects are expected
  7. Help those around you with tent set up and you will have a friend; help them take it down and you will have a friend for life (provided one doesn’t spend the entire day drinking beer out of the side of a truck)
  8. If the lineup promises to be an excuse for the stoned and stupid, it will probably live up to its promise and therefore should be avoided
  9. Always bring a spare pair of socks and clean T for the drive home
  10. If you don’t buy a souvenir, you will wish you had, so buy early lest they run out.

Note the solitary balance, the neatly cut grass, and the sink for spritzing up.

Acceptable food service from a truck.

Proper tents.

Nice to be able to get close up.

Thanks for reading this.  Come back and visit.  OTTOOH.

Me vs. Bee

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Back when I was a kid, with the exception of spelling bees, I thought bees were kind of cute, and sometimes even funny.

BeesBut earlier this spring, I started to notice what looked a bit like sputum concentrating on a window outside my breakfast nook.  I thought perhaps a wayward bird, having seen the reflection of himself in the window and thinking itself quite attractive had unwittingly crashed into the window leaving some parts behind.  I whipped out some Windex, climbed up on a chair, and cleaned the mess up.  I thought no more about it until I noticed the gobs had returned a couple of days later.  Upon closer inspection, I also noticed saw dust collecting on the patio outside the window.   It seems my house is being eaten by carpenter bees.

While picking up a few man toys at my local Harbor Freight, I noticed they had this tennis racquet shaped bug swatter; so for about $4 plus a couple more for some batteries I loaded this puppy in my car an began to relish the wrath about to reign down on that nuisance bee.  Basically, this gizmo creates a current that fries the bug when you swat it.

My new toy bug zapper is all well and good, when one actually hits the target.  Contact is made.  There is a little crackling pop of electricity.  The bug is either fried to the racquet, dead on the ground. or at least stunned on the ground and ready for my shoe.  The problem is actually knocking the bees out of the air.  I realized one day, looking up from my efforts, the eight wide eyes of my neighbor’s four young  kids peering at me from across the fence.  What seemed like simple hunting to me, must have appeared to them more like a native American rain dance, or perhaps some tricked out Bob Fosse number.

I did manage to knock a couple of bees out of commission, but either those were not the ones eating my house, or I was dealing with an entire tribe, flock, colony or whatever it is a big mess of bees are called.  The bee poop kept splashing my window, and as fast as I could sweep the patio, the sawdust returned.

One day, I noticed a hole about the size of a dime on the window facing side of the fascia board that holds up my gutters; so I went to my basement, found some wood putty and promptly filled the hole.  Let the boogers try to eat through that!

But still the sawdust kept coming.  I could actually hear those suckers eating my house.

Now more observant, I noticed that they were crawling up between the gutter and the fascia and happily boring a hole or probably holes into my house, out of my sight, but not out of my mind.  Unfortunately, short of removing the gutters, the bees had me for the moment, because I could fit neither the wood putty or the bug zapper into the space.

Beaten, but not defeated, I thought to myself, “What would Bear Grylls do?”  After all, he is the the expert on Man vs. Wild.  A quick google of “Bear Grylls Bees” popped up this video.

Clearly, Bear is not coming to my house to eat the bees or their progeny and me doing it was a total non-starter.

I happened to mentioning my predicament to my mother.  She advised me that she saw an ad on the TV for carpenter bee killer sold at Ingles Supermarket.  Now that would have been all well and good, except there is not an Ingles within 100 miles of my house.  So I did the next best thing.  I headed for Home Depot.

Meanwhile, I am dreaming about bees in my sleep. They are taunting me.  Buzzing all around me.  Covering every inch of my house not fit to eat with poop.  My house is literally going to poop.

Anyway, I get to Home Depot and go to the home pest control aisle.  I can find no carpenter bee spray or much of anything to destroy flying insects for that matter.  I pull out my trust phone, google “carpenter bee killer Home Depot,” and POOF, this picture pops up of this product that basically foams the vermin to death.  Armed with this new info I make my way back toward customer service when there, at the end of the Aisle 1 rising from the ground is a tower…an alter…nay, a pyramid containing hundreds of  cans of foaming carpenter bee destroyer.

I buy a can.

When I get home, I attach the straw to the nozzle, climb up on a chair, shove the straw into the crack between gutter and fascia then pull and hold the trigger.

The foam deploys.

First it heads up into the crack, then almost as fast spews back out of the crack covering my head, neck and shoulders.  I quickly run to the spigot where turn it on and immediately begin to splash water on my face and neck.  Fortunately for me there are no ill effects of foaming myself with bee spray.

And better yet, several hours later I find a couple of dead bees, and a number of rather large bee larvae laying on the patio.  Apparently, the bee larvae were very attractive to giant carpenter ants which came out of somewhere to feast upon the bounty.  And now I am wondering…how am I going to get rid of the ants?

On Highschool Graduation

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I am moved to tears.  The roll of names, solemnly announced, edging ever closer to that of my son’s. I am suddenly distracted by the giggling. and soon to be outright laughter coming from my left.  Swiveling my head to the noise I see what appears to be splash down  from the bowels of a giant Pterodactyl or perhaps a Dodo Bird oozing down my wife’s arm.  Ok, maybe the extinct bird analogy is a bit over the top, but whatever it was, it came out of the sky and it was clearly poo.  Tears streaming down my face; the sweat pouring through the armpits of my suit coat, for a brief moment is forgotten.

Outdoor ceremonies in May in the sunny South, while beautiful, at 90 degrees can be rather hot and bothersome.  I am pretty much sweating like an Arkansas razorback but somewhat revived by the momentary childlike hysterics brought on by the diversionary tactics of the wayward Pelican.

Like many dads, I got the call of duty to be the official family photographer for my son’s 2015 graduation from Hoof Hearts High.  Cameras snapping from every direction, I wonder if anyone with a camera actually saw anyone graduate?  I pretty much missed the whole danged thing. In my defense, distance and hair were working against me.  My view was obfuscated by the colossal mound of Texas hair standing proud on the grandma in front of me.   I had to hold the camera over my head and view the ceremony through a 2.5″ LCD screen tilted down toward me, whilst my head was tilted up towards it. After the kids proceed in with my zoom on, I am able to get this shot of the boys…that’s my son in the middle. grad1

As his row stands up and moves to line up for their diplomas, I snap this winner. grad2 The moment of truth.  Here is what I see looking up into the LCD screen of my camera as my son receives his diploma.  Holding the camera high over my head as I snap the shutter, the freaking camera moves.  I am never going to hear the end of this. grad3 Having missed the money shot, I quickly try to recover and snap one of him, in post diploma receiving glee.  Fail again.  This may or may not be my son.  It could be the student immediately preceding him. grad4 I snap one more for good measure.  I have no clue where my son is. grad5 Screw the zoom lens, I know I won’t chop him out the shot if I back off a bit.  He is definitely in this shot…somewhere. Grad6 I think this one was right before I pass out.  It was really hot. grad7

And this is one right when I am coming to. grad8 Imagine 200 black and white graduation caps sailing through the air..because this is what was happening when I am snapping this award winner. grad9 Ahhhhhh.  We’ve made it through the ceremony, but of course we have to get a couple more shots. grad10 And… grad11

Congratulations to the Class of 2015, my happy graduate and one of his friends. grad12

If there is a silver lining to this little epic, I suppose it is nice I didn’t have to pay for film or developing; better still, there is a red Solo cup in my near future.  Next time the camera stays home.  Good grief Charlie Brown.

A Working Girl’s Guide to…Hmmmm?

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Today I started a new job.  Exciting and wonderful indeed. While skipping down the yellow brick road towards more money, paid vacation and full benefits is wonderful, indeed magical at times, it is not without its share of flying monkeys, dark forests, and painfully awkward stumbles along the way. Day one was cringe-worthy; so buckle y’alls seat belts cause it’s a bumpy ride.

Unfortunately, while my brain is very excited about my new position, my hormones clearly feel otherwise. All of the stress, anxiety, and nervous energy leading to up to my first day decided to congregate in the DEAD CENTER of my forehead erupting into a giant zit. In my life, I have never seen a bulls-eye so large.  And I thought high school was bad.  Yosemite Sam could hit that sucker from 3 miles away…drunk. Volcanic, and humiliating.

No amount of makeup can encrust the monster.  Believe me, I tried.  I feel all day as though they are staring at my third eyeball. The very last thing a working girl wants when meeting a MILLION new people is to be the horribly awkward girl who looks like she hasn’t finished puberty. Nope. No. Absolutely not.

Furthermore, no one warns me a maniacal foot rebellion will begin to occur about 20 minutes into my very first work day. My feet, abnormally small and alien-like to begin with, are spoiled and secretly accustomed to the lifestyle of working from home, AKA never EVER wearing shoes ever unless forced. Therefore, after wearing my (deceivingly comfortable) heels for all of 2.5 seconds, they begin to execute a mutiny in the worst possible way. Blisters abounded on my big toes, which suddenly feel cramped in the solitary confinement of such a small and dark space. My heels shed their outer layer of skin like, like a fat rattle snake on Red Bull, with gashes screaming out for the immediate demise of shoes; all shoes. My muscles jump in on the game, cramping and seizing in the worst possible ways. The bottoms of my feet, not to be left out, are soon covered in a thin coat of sweat, inducing both a slippery sliding sensation and suction-like noises, making all of the above problems even worse.  Walking (the most basic of human skills) for the moment, is essentially impossible. “Look, it’s the new girl with the bulls-eye zit and the Bambi feet, tottering all over the office.  Notice the grimace of concentration, pain, bewilderment and horror on her face.”  Freaking BRILLIANT!

But friends, the struggle the previous two problems created pale in comparison to my third act. My new job as a receptionist includes greeting high-powered and important clients, showing them to the conference room, and asking if they would like (pause)…a beverage. A waitress in a blazer basically. Even without the great foot rebellion of 2015, I should also intone, I’m a horribly spastic creature.  I’m a walking, talking recipe for disaster.  If chewing gum were thrown in the mix, I might be classified as a category 3 hurricane. However, after some basic training, I execute the maneuver several times without incident and start to feel pretty good about myself. Nay, cocky even.

Oh how the mighty fall. I show two delightful and incredibly important French clients into our biggest board room and dutifully offer a beverage.  They both request coffee. Like a new born colt, I strut to the kitchen.  With deft hand I pour the hot coffee then hobble march back to the board room like I own the damn place.

My excessive hubris apparently inspires a higher power to smite me on the spot.  As I go to merely PLACE THE COFFEE on the table, I spill it (or “spilt it” as we say back home). Everywhere. Like a typhoon, waves of expensive dark roast coffee expand across the table covering, custom branded legal pads, and buttery leather chairs.  There must be a rip tide or something because somehow I too am covered.  For the higher power’s sake, why couldn’t they have ordered espresso?  Humiliated and blushing profusely, there is a silver lining.  Because now the rest of my face perfectly matches the shade of bulls-eye zit.  Nearly crying from all three eyeballs, I apologize and limp away in search of a Sham Wow or a large beach towel.  What I REALLY want to do is sprint out the door, change my name, move to Siberia, and never return.

The moral of the story is threefold. One, ALWAYS have bangs to cover evil mountain-sized zits. Two, put your feet through rigorous and intense training (hot coals preferred) before attempting to wear heels for extended periods of time. And three, if you are going to spill coffee, your guts or anything else for that matter, try to do it in the company of those who brought us Roast, Toast and Fries as they will be incredibly kind and gracious about it.

Now on to day two!  Thank you sir, may have another!