Sunday, June 29, 2008
“I think your son just ran into a tree.”
Sure enough, my little guy was laid out flat on his back crying.
How did this happen?
Perhaps it was the yellow bucket he had on his head while he was running around the yard.
Yes, that is how it happened.
Chip off the old block.
The ex-NFL guys said, “Nope. What happens there, stays there.”
I wanted to say “ C’mon you were just a lucky scrub. What else do you have but some good stories to tell?” But this guy’s arms are bigger than my thighs and I figured I shouldn’t get my ass kicked at the reunion.
There was a minor hitch before we even got to the Elk’s Club. Shortly after I posted yesterday’s blog, I took a shower and got dressed. I brought a nice burgundy dress shirt and black pants. Well, I thought they were black pants. In my haste to finish packing Friday morning in the dimly lit room, I accidentally grabbed some dark green pants. You’d have to see it to appreciate it, but even I can tell you that the pants and shirt do NOT go together at all. My wife’s jaw dropped and I asked her parents what they thought. Even the old man shook his head and said, “No way.”
I figured I’d be the only guy at the reunion in jeans. All my other clothes are t-shirts and shorts. The wife’s mom came through though. She ran across the street to the big burly neighbor’s house. She came back with a dress shirt that matched the green pants and fit everywhere except in the sleeves, which were just a little short. Minor trauma averted.
The reunion space at the Elk’s was closing at 11pm. I found it hilarious that everyone was asking each other where they were going next. Considering the answer was either home or the Minnow, I didn’t understand why people bothered asking. Just go to the Minnow and see who shows up.
Lastly, why do 100% of all grandmas have one of the devices in the picture below?
Saturday, June 28, 2008
We arrived at O’Hare airport smoothly and were excited for the easy drive to Podunk Michigan. It normally takes two and a half hours. We were on the road by 1:30pm. Apparently the only time it is NOT rush hour in Chicago is from 4am to 6am. It took us two hours to go eight miles. This put us by the abomination of a baseball stadium called Comisky Park. Oops, I mean U.S. Cellular Park. They not only built a crappy stadium for the White Sox, but they also have a lame corporate naming sell-out.
We finally got to Podunk and basically dumped our kids on the grandparents so we could go to the Minnow – the best bar in town. My wife’s reunion is officially tonight, but last night was pre-game at the bar.
Her class had 180 people in it – a lot bigger than I realized. There were about 40 of them at the Minnow last night. Half still live around here. It was fun to watch my wife try to figure out who everyone was and also reunite with the people she did remember. I hung out with some of the other dates, some of the friends I already knew, and I made new friends too.
One of the highlights for me was meeting Richelle. She was in my wife's class and still lives in this town. She went to MSU and was talking about reunions they have had up there. My wife was complaining that her sorority and friends are all kind of lame about trying to get people together. Richelle said the Black Alumni Association of MSU puts on fantastic reunions (Richelle is black, btw). I told her I was having a hard time getting people from this high school reunion to believe me that I graduated with them. I thought it would be fun to mess with them. But they were all on to me – too small of a class. So I told Richelle to invite me next time so I could pretend I am a Black Alumni from MSU (I am white, btw). She was rolling. I told her I was offended that she didn’t think I could pass for a Black Alumni.
I pretty much cleaned the Minnow out of Sierra Nevadas while everyone else drank Bud from the tap. With no more good beer to drink, we left around midnight to uphold the spirit of partying back in high school. Yep, we hit Taco Hell. I mean Bell. It actually tasted really good last night. It’s today that it isn’t feeling too good.
I have to go get ready for the official reunion at the Elk’s Club. I hope they have all you can eat fried fish!! This is the Midwest you know!! I’ll leave you with the beautiful view I had for about an hour while crawling through Chicago.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
This is the kind of the trip that will cause me to need a vacation from my vacation when I get back.
We are flying to Chicago. Sounds exciting, right? Our visit to Chicago will be about 45 minutes or whatever the length of time it takes for our rental car – strike that – rental mini van – strike that – rental party bus, to get us from O’Hare Airport to the Indiana border. I will be able to wave to the Chicago skyline with a teary eye of sentiment as we drive by at a likely cruising speed of 35 MPH in stop and go traffic. The teary eye will continue as sentiment turns to the sting of the bowels of Lake Michigan wafting though Gary, Indiana and our party vessel on the Skyway.
A couple hours later we will arrive at my wife’s sleepy hometown in Michigan (lower left hand side of your hand) to see her folks and attend her high school reunion. It is a small town with only one really good bar. Everybody knows everybody. Her graduating class was something like 75 kids. I plan on getting to know the bartender well.
A few days with her folks, of which I get along with better than the wife, and we hit the road again. This time to Madison, WI to visit the wife’s sister and family. My only goal for that visit is to survive living in the same house as a fricking cat for four days.
The party bus will be getting lots of use as we move on to stop number three. Chicago!! Sounds exciting, right? Actually, we will be staying in a far western suburb of Chicago. The only city I will see will be when we head back to the airport and if it’s a clear sunny day. My sis is the host this time.
No Wally World, no sight seeing, no crazy adventures. Just good old fashioned family fun! I’m not a religious guy. But will you please pray for me?
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I was telling a client about this trip and how I would need to double our fees so I can afford the damn thing. She has kids and could relate to the capitalist raping that Mickey, Goofy, and Donald tend to do to parents of Disney worshiping kids across the globe. She rejected my new fee proposal and pointed out an interesting fact.
All of the princesses in Disney stories are from fucked up homes. I have never realized this before. Cinderella is stuck with the evil stepmother and rotten step sisters Drazilla and Anastasia. Snow White is banished to live with dwarves. Belle has to live with a beast. Ariel has a cool dad, although she longs to have legs and therefore never be able to live near him again. Plus, her best friends are a paranoid crab and a clueless fish. Sleeping Beauty is forced to live with a bunch of ferries.
Even outside of Disney, this seems to be the case. Rapunzel’s mom couldn’t resist some old hag’s garden and made her husband choose between her own death and the wrath of the witch. So the witch wins and makes Rapunzel live in a doorless tower by herself. Although she does still manage to get laid.
Nemo the disabled fish has no mom and his dad is Albert Brooks – enough said!
Shrek is a scary lonely troll monster.
Woody and Buzz Lightyear aren’t going to any family reunions and are in constant danger of being replaced.
Who are these writers?
I guess they know what they are doing since these are all classics and the kiddies love the stories.
Those of you who know a little about me from previous blogs here or back in the myspace days are aware that my bigger kid is into girly stuff. My little guy isn’t at all, but he had a weak moment recently. I am still telling myself to not worry about stuff like this, so I don’t. I’m glad my little princesses have a safe home.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I have sent email to friends I haven’t communicated with in a long time. My lack of focus applies there too though. I didn’t offer much on my end and mainly just wanted to reach out to say hi. I’m hoping for some email back to further distract me. Sounds like I’m using my friends, doesn’t it?
I have gone thru the stack of unopened work mail and left it relatively a stack of still unopened work mail. I have been eyeballing the list of people I need to call back deeming them unworthy of potentially having to be productive. The phone rings and I thank Al Gore for inventing Caller ID so I know who I’m not picking up. I shuffle some papers on my desk.
I think I am purposely avoiding productivity because I am worried about someone very close. There are things looming. The looming is creeping up. Loomage lurks. Loom-a-boom-a-ram-a-damn-a-ding-dong-looming. I realize it’s ridiculous to speculate about something I am doing on purpose. I just can’t make what I should be doing feel as important as not doing it.
I can’t do anything about the looming. Maybe that is why I feel like I can’t do anything about anything today. This ought to be a great client meeting at 12:30pm. I will lead with asking her to ignore that stuff looming over my shoulder.
I write this down. It sort of helps. I think about red countertops. The accounting guy walks over. It’s nice to have one guy working in the office besides me. He is doing a good job. The other eight girls are great, don’t get me wrong. He gives me checks to sign and tries to make small talk about basketball last night. He wonders why I missed it.
I tell him something unexpected came up and left it at that. He doesn’t need to know something is looming. Maybe it will pass and nobody will need to know. That would be great.
Monday, June 23, 2008
The organizers of this event were particularly party savvy. They gave us all bar hopping survival bags. Inside was a map of the bus routes and times along with phone numbers of the cab companies. This was funny because everyone in Denver knows the cab company phone numbers are all threes or sevens depending on who you want to use. The most useful item in the bag was plastic cups with lids and straws – like we give to our kids. These were our to-go cups for the bus ride.
As we headed downtown, someone was talking about a funny thing they noticed while driving through Glendale (a small community nestled in Denver). They referenced a well-known strip club called Shotgun Willies. I loudly exclaimed that I had no idea what Shotgun Willies is and then silently patted myself on my back for cracking myself up. It turns out that a new Pilates place opened up directly across the street from Shotgun Willies. It is called Polestar Pilates. Now that is damn funny. If you don’t get it, take a moment – I can wait.
*Thumb twiddle, thumb twiddle, thumb twiddle, checking watch, texting friend “hey home skillet, waz up,” thumb twiddle, friend texts back, “yo dawg, don’t even start home smacker,” laughing and texting back, “what, you think I’m gonna rip you for the sox getting swept by the cubs home scratcher,” thumb twiddle while waiting on you and now him, “yah, well I’m still thinking about our world series trophy from ’05 home fucker”, I text him back, “yah that and ’05 being the last time you got laid home wack-yourself.”
I think this texting thing might go on for awhile, so I will continue here and keep my homey waiting for more intelligent banter.
The best bar was our first one. It is a dive and had a great band playing funk rock. I even got on the dance floor and cut some funky white guy dance moves. My lower lip is still sore (do you need another moment?).
We ended up bar-hopping. The gangs of 20 year olds sporting halter tops, thongs, baggy pants and attitudes didn’t seem to mind us old folks infringing on their turf. I think they were confused and amused by our posse of twenty 35-45 year old folks buying massive amounts of drinks along with random shots. I kept accusing one of the gals of following me. She was at every bar I was at and always seemed to be ordering drinks next to me. She thought it was funny the first couple times but it got old that last five times or so. She was part of our group, by the way. That is why it was funny. Once again, I took great glee in cracking myself up.
If I drive downtown, I often park in a lot at 18th and Market Street. We walked past that lot on the way to our last bar of the evening. We ended up cabbing home around 1am, but some of our gang closed the bars down at 2am. We were slightly concerned when we found the following article online Sunday morning:
Police kill man in shootout
Denver police shot and killed one man and wounded a second after a gunfight broke out in a Lower Downtown parking lot as the area's bars emptied into the streets early Sunday.
Two members of the police gang unit who were nearby heard yelling and came to the Central Parking System lot at 18th and Market streets believing that a fight was in progress, Lt. Ronald Saunier said.
The noise "was enough that it got the officers' attention, and they moved in to break it up," Saunier said. "Whether it was two people or a group of people, I don't know."
As the officers came closer, gunfire erupted between two of the men in the lot. A man armed with a handgun fled before officers got a good look at him, as the other man, armed with a shotgun, turned toward police and fired, Saunier said.
The officers returned fire. When the shooter was hit and fell, a man with him picked up the gun and pointed it at the police, Saunier said.
The officers shot him.
Both men were transported to Denver Health Medical Center. The first man was dead from his injuries. The second was in critical condition.
The lot and the streets nearby were crowded with people leaving the bars after last call. Four bystanders had minor injuries after being hit with shotgun pellets.
Luckily my peeps were about three blocks away getting cabs home. This kind of stuff happens everywhere, but Denver seems to get more and more of it every year. This wouldn’t happen at the pub in our Pleasantville Truman Show Bubble. But you have to get out now and then. I just hope I can barhop with the other Moms and Dads without being shot at. It is hard to roughhouse with the kids with bullet wounds. I don't mind shots now and then, as long as they come in a glass.
So how ‘bout you? Did you risk your life to get hammered this weekend?
Friday, June 20, 2008
During that short time, a Vitamin Water delivery truck stopped in front of me at a light, taunting me with large graphics of cool refreshing recovery drinks of many flavors. The light turned and ten seconds later a local water utility truck drove by. The big Denver Water logo on the door wasn’t as irritating as the giant orange water thermos mounted to the flatbed in the back. There is a bar a couple blocks away from my office. As I walked by it, moneyless, I imagined slamming a large glass of ice water followed up by one of their ice cold pale ales in a frosted glass. The Deep Rock truck (large bottled water deliveries) didn’t bother me since it was parked in front of my building and I knew cold liquid refreshment was within grasp.
I had a fleeting scare as I realized I forgot to make sure someone would be in the office so I wouldn’t be locked out. Would it be possible to die of thirst in a city of well over two million people? Luckily the door was open and I managed to reach the oasis of our company galley kitchen.
Speaking of my mom, I have to share an email I got from her this morning. What’s that? You are trying to figure out how I got to my mom? Oh don’t worry, these are bonus blogs that are both kind of lame. But they amused me so I thought I’d share. As you probably know, I am a Cubs fan. Growing up in Chicago will do that to you. My parents retired to Flar-da back in ’89 but are still loyal to the Cubbies. Well, my mom doesn’t really care, but my dad spends a lot of his retiree time watching the Cubs on WGN.
Now that baseball has interleague games (NL vs AL) during the regular season, the Cubs were playing in Tampa Bay for the first time ever over the last three days. It could be another ten years before that happens again. My parents live an hour from there, so they joined a big group and headed to the game last night. Here is my mom’s email:
We went to the Cubs/Rays ballgame last night. The Rays got a run first thing then the Cubs finally came to life in the 6th inning and brought in 3 runs. Things were looking up til the 7th when the Cubs just gave the ballgame away. The pitcher either walked or hit the batter to let the Rays have 6 runs. Then as we were leaving the Rays got another run. What an aggravating game! First time we had been to a domed field and hope it will be the last. The seats were fantastic and the field is nice but the noise is incredible - there isn't any place for it to go. They have a DJ who plays bits and pieces of rock music when he thinks it is appropriate and at a volume that could be heard in Atlanta! You have to shout to talk to the person next to you. And then all the Rays fans have those awful cowbells! Talk about a headache. The 2 beers and hotdogs we had cost $26!! Even though things always taste better at the park, that is a terrible price. The artificial turf is really strange - looks like a very pale green carpet that has been worn down to the threads in large patches. Understand the ball bounces funny on it - maybe that was part of the problem. Our friends said it was beautiful when installed so guess it didn't hold up well. Had to give you a report so you wouldn't feel bad about not being there!! Love to all.
I have to tell you, my mom really doesn’t give a squat about baseball and also doesn’t really know the game. But look how she recapped the game and atmosphere so well. I love how she got in something about high prices – it wouldn’t be a good note from my mom if she didn’t mention the cost of something. I am proud of her for this recap. She nailed how shitty domed stadiums are and also evoked the frustration of being a Cubs fan, all from one little game. Way to go mom!
Hope you have some slices of life to share – they often make for the best stories. Happy Friday peeps!!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
What is this fear filled weakness of mine? I am talking about……
…..drum roll please…….
The dentist! AKA the devil in a lab coat, usually with nice white teeth. I know it is totally stupid, but I just hate going to the dentist. I know I don’t brush my teeth as long as I should, nor am I a good flosser. So inevitably, there is some extra work that needs to be done and I’m just not good with sharp metal objects probing beneath my gums. I have had root planes and a bridge done, in addition to cleaning and sporadic cavities.
I just switched to a new dentist near my house. She came highly recommended by neighbors and we started taking our kids there. So I figured I should go there too. Start fresh, get back on a regular routine and stay healthy.
Here is the weird thing though. It seems to me that all female dentists, hygienists, assistants, and office workers are smoking hot!! The last dentist I saw was a normal looking middle aged guy. But his employees were like Robert Palmer’s women in the Addicted to Love video. The hygienist I had was previously a Sacramento Kings cheerleader. Not that all Sacramento Kings cheerleaders are hot, but this gal was for sure!
This new dentist runs ads in our neighborhood newspaper and they include her picture. Of course she is attractive. I scrutinized the ad looking for little red horns in her head, but I couldn’t see them in her flowing long dark hair. I went in for the first time this morning. The receptionist behind the counter was gorgeous. As I filled out my paperwork, I was able to see a lot of the staff bustling about. All gorgeous. Well except for maybe one. She would be good looking if I saw her by herself, like at the grocery store. But in an office full of beautiful women, she was overshadowed.
It is like the Sirens of Greek mythology. Per a quick Google search: "Their name means those who bind, and it is very appropriate. The Sirens were beautiful half fish / half woman creatures who sang so beautifully that any man who heard them was compelled to jump off of his ship (they lived on rocks in the sea) and swim to them. Unfortunately most of the sailors died in the rough water; and those who didn't perished of hunger because they never moved from the Sirens."
These dentist hotties are Sirens of the devil, wooing us horn-dog guys in with their looks and charm. And then they make your mouth bleed. They poke some of the most sensitive nerves in your body – with pointy sharp tools of hell! All while you are lying down with your mouth awkwardly pried open, alternating glances at their seductive eyes of evil, the bright light and the ceiling of twelve tiles. I counted those damn tiles about twenty times.
Between tile counting, my mind would wander to things like wondering if any of these hygienists ever dated one of their patients. My guess is no fucking way. It cannot possibly be attractive to be working on some guy’s teeth. His chompers are either in desperate need of cleaning or he is having some work done. Dirty and/or rotten teeth is not good for anyone.
After my super model hygienist was done with me, I had to wait a few minutes for the dentist to take a look. There was another chair on the other side of the cabinets – we were in one big room sectioned off by equipment. I couldn’t see the patient, but I could hear her clearly talking to her hygienist. She had the voice of an older women, probably in her 60s or 70s. The hygienist was asking her about allergies and any previous work done. The patient had trouble remembering anything important. The rest of their convo went something like this:
“So no allergies that you know of?”
“No, none that I can remember.”
“Any big medical problems, tumors?”
“No, none that I can remember.”
“The records sent over say something about a tumor.”
“Oh yes, I did have a benign tumor removed from my foot. I think it was my left one.”
I heard the hygienist scribbling. “Okay, anything else at all?”
The old lady sighed and said, “I really don’t have any secrets.”
“Okay, well what do you have in your hand there?”
“Oh, well my tooth fell out quite awhile ago and I saved it. So here it is.”
“Oh my, wow. It looks like it got severed right at the base.”
“I thought maybe you could use it.”
“Well, we can discuss it with the doctor, but no, we likely won’t be using it again.”
Just then, my pretty dentist walked in and confirmed that my super model hygienist would have to exact more torture on me in a couple weeks. I lost track of the old lady and her tooth as they ushered me out of there. They were Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love girls doing their Siren act on me. I survived with just a sore mouth today but the real pain comes at the next appointment in July. I guess if I’m going to confront my biggest fear and have my head drilled into, it may as well be by a pretty face.
Is this the same at your dentist’s office? Are all the workers beautiful? Do the babes all torture you with sharp metal instruments?
Monday, June 16, 2008
I am extremely allergic to cats. I can usually walk into someone’s home and know within five minutes if they have a cat. My immunity to cat allergies has all but disappeared. I used to be able to tolerate them and back in the day dated gals that had cats. I might pop a bennidryl or clariton and could get by just fine. But over the years, even that doesn’t help too much. There is a cat-only vet on Broadway in south Denver. I drive by that place and I start sneezing.
I think all cats should be set free to live in the wild where they belong. They can chase birds and rodents all day and find their rightful place in the food chain. Look, I don’t want to physically cause harm to cats. Despite laughing when I think of the line Mandy wrote about punching kittens, I don’t speed up when I see a cat in the street.
We will obviously never have a cat in our household. One of my sons is allergic too. But cats can still be a big problem for me and my chip off the old block. My wife’s sister has a cat. We are going to visit them in a couple weeks and are staying in their house for three nights. I’m pretty sure that if the cat gets ‘lost’ because some doors and windows were ‘accidentally’ left open, that some fingers might point my way. Not to mention that my niece and nephew may not hold me in such high regard anymore.
Did you know that the United States has the highest cat population in the world? According to a 2006 study, the U.S. is home for 76,430,000 cats. China is second with 53,100,000 and Russia third with just 12,700,700. Seems to me that we should be exporting a hefty portion of our cat problems to the Russkies. Just don’t order any unidentifiable meat if dining in Siberia.
Current stats show we now have nearly 82 million cats in our country. 32.4% of all households are home to cats. This compares to 37.2% of all households having dogs. However, because each household averages 1.7 dogs (compared to 2.2 cats), the dog population is second to cats at over 72 million. That would be one hell of a storm if it were to rain cats and dogs.
Of course, as with any cat-hater, I am a cat-magnet. They know who is allergic and immediately come purring and rubbing on my leg. I try to be polite while the cat owner is all squirmy with admiration. In reality, I am muttering, “Get away pussy,” while hoping my subtle leg twitches will hit a nerve and spook the fricking thing to bolt. Just writing this makes me want to sneeze.
What is the point to all of this? None, really. But the cat thing at the wife’s sister’s house just came up and the issue was top of mind. Plus, somebody was just talking about getting matched for their volunteering in Big Brothers / Big Sisters of America, which I did back in college. Which reminded me of a story I thought I’d re-tell. If you used to read me on MySpace then this is an old story, but maybe you will laugh again. If you are new to me, well then humor me, and hopefully yourself, by reading on…
Hairy Black Pussy
When I was a sophomore in college I decided to become a big brother. No, I didn’t call my dad and tell him to get mom drunk so he could have his way with her (parents don’t have sex, do they?). I volunteered at the Big Brothers / Big Sisters of America office in Charleston, IL. I was 19 years old, drank a lot of beer, ate a lot of pizza and was expertly maintaining an easy course load that allowed me to always sleep in. I thought I should apply these survival skills to something more productive, like helping shape the future of a kid in a broken family with no male influence.
So I went through all the test and training and was ready to be matched. I got hooked up with a great kid, Greg, who was 8 years old. Many of the kids in this program come out of families where the father abused the mother or drug usage by family members, or some major tragedies that have caused mental setbacks, or all of the above. Greg’s situation was pretty unique. He saw his mom go through two divorces. And during the second one, Greg’s Aunt was murdered on a street corner in CA. She was like a second mom to him, so it was really rough.
So Greg’s mom and sister were (and are) great people. Greg just needed a stable male influence to help get thru tough times. Enter Bretthead, stage right! We hit it off well and hung out together all the time. He was happy just hanging out on campus with me. Plus he was a good looking kid. He was better than having a puppy. Chicks would stop and talk to us all the time. And I didn’t have to deal with his poop. It was great.
His mom also became a good friend. We were close enough in age and she appreciated what I did for her only son. She knew I was laid back and didn’t rattle easy. So she’d try to find ways to mess with me. After a month or so of hanging out with Greg a couple times a week, his mom made her first move.
I came over to get Greg, but he wasn’t home from school yet. Susan told me to sit down and she’d get us something to drink from the kitchen. I’m waiting when Susan says,
“Brett, have you seen my hairy black pussy?”
She was getting ice, being kind of noisy and about 20 feet away around the corner. I said,
“Um, excuse me, what?”
“My pussy! Have you seen my hairy black pussy?”
I began to sweat a little and looked nervously around, over each shoulder. I think I even stood up and sat back down again.
“Well, no, I haven’t seen it Susan.”
What the hell. No wonder she is getting divorced for the second time. I look at my watch. I hear drinks being poured. Where the fuck is Greg. I’m 19. MILFs don’t really exist yet.
“So you have never seen my pussy. Would you like to see my pussy?”
I stand up and edge a little further away from the kitchen. Putting the couch firmly between me and the horny forward mom.
“Well, um, I just came over here to pick up Greg”
She yells back,
“Honey, Greg is gonna be a little late today. And I’d really like to show you my pussy. Right now. Sit back down.”
How the fuck did she know I was back pedaling to the door?
“Um hey Susan, maybe you shouldn’t show me. It might make things weird around here. I, uh…”
“Here I come…”
She comes out of the kitchen holding a glass of coke and her fricking cat, Enid. Jet black, and really hairy. I barely ever blush. Beat red, I let out a deep breath. Susan is laughing her ass off! She got me good. I’m allergic to cats and really didn’t know they had one. Enid spent most of the time outdoors and they had hardwood so I didn’t pick up the cat thing at all.
If it’s not too late, long story short, Greg and I had great times together and never even had an exit interview. We knew we’d be brothers for life and we are today. And Susan has always been a great friend too. She got married again and the third time was the charm. Greg stood up in my wedding and now he has wife and two kids of his own. Luckily I didn’t screw him up. And luckily, his mom didn’t really try to screw me!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
WSJ rocks. They have those little capsules on the front page that tell you everything you need to know. And then I go to the Marketplace section where I can actually understand 90% of the articles. They cover breaking news but also include mini features.
If I happen to have to take a big poop before a meeting, I’ll often read the Marketplace section. Oh c’mon – you poop too and I bet you read on the pot as well. Stop acting like I’m gross. Anyway, jerk; more often than not, I’ll read some tidbit (while taking a crap) that I’ll end up referencing during that meeting. Or in conversation later that day. I tend not to admit that I had bad Mexican the night before and therefore had to take a massive dump which in turn caused me to learn something by reading the WSJ that morning. Instead, I am perceived as amazingly intelligent and timely with my fascinating references. Plus, I personally am feeling good from losing the load earlier in the day. Win win situation for everyone.
I took a client to the ballgame this afternoon and found myself spewing all kinds of repurposed information. We were talking about the economy and I threw some info out there about a company that can save airlines billions of dollars per year by cleaning aircraft engines once or twice annually (at $3K-$6K a pop). That led to a convo about a start-up company that is developing airplanes with fold up wings so super rich kazillionaires can park them in their garage and tow them behind their BMW SUVs. This segued nicely into the story about Ford considering using truck factories to manufacture cars. Hit the head with a WSJ and you come out feeling like CNN.
All that is fine and good. But I have to tell you the coolest thing I have learned this week came from my mom. She and my dad just got back from a vacation to California. They took a tour of a Jelly Belly factory. Hey, when you are in your late 70s and have traveled all over the world, I guess you start visiting Jelly Belly factories. Did you know that jelly bellies that come out imperfect are called belly flops?
Okay, maybe that tidbit is a little more Cliff Clavin than CNN, but I am equally impressed. My mom rocks. She buried that fact in an email that covered health ailments, lame advice, their trip recap and a rant about how she was upset at her friends for sitting too much at her last cocktail party.
She also wrote that she has inside information that the best pickled bologna is from a company called Kogel out of Michigan. WSJ better watch their back. My mom is ON!! I'm thinking about calling her next time I take a poop.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The targets of my re-naming can be anyone. Friend, foe, stranger, neighbor, co-worker, whatever. I just can’t help it. The fun thing is when other people pick up on the name and that person becomes most commonly known from their new identity. To the point where sometimes it is hard to remember what their real name is in the first place.
I think I learned this from some of my friends while growing up. I have a buddy named Dave that somehow is also commonly known to us as Pedro Dirty Pockets and Lemonhead. I have another buddy named Chris that also answers to Dips and Poz. We had some mean ones too. I’ll never forget this kid that we picked on a little too much. He had an unfortunate medical problem around age 10 or 11. One of his boobs was growing for some reason. So we called him DIRT (Dawson’s Inflated Right Tit). Equally unfortunate for him, we called him that to his face. I know, I know, we were mean at times, but we were also pretty good kids.
There was a bum in Chicago that used to walk in the intersection of busy streets pretending he was driving a car. He would go in random circles, mimicking holding a steering wheel. And then every once in awhile he’d knock on another driver’s window and then salute them. He was The Driver. Another strange street guy would never take right turns. He only took lefts. So if he were walking down the street and needed to take a right, he’d spin to the left all the way around to make his right. Nope, he wasn’t Lefty. He was 450 (as in 450 degree spin).
There is a sales rep that calls on our agency regularly. He is kind enough to bring in yummies like candy and baked goods. There are eight of us in the office every day and he deals with four pretty regularly. But for some reason, he always brings in enough goodies for just two people. We call him Two Bag Bob.
I have an old blog on the characters at the health club. One of my favorites is still Puffy Coat Girl although I can’t recognize her anymore. She doesn’t carry her puffy coat around with her while she works out because the weather is so good.
One of my poorer moments of judgment with nicknames is from college. The girl I was dating took me to a party at one of her friend’s house. She was telling me about the host, John. Apparently they knew each other from high school and hung out once in awhile in college. She said John is a great guy, average height, good looking and built (big weight lifter). She also told me about a quirk. She said John has a really really high voice that tends to throw people off if they haven’t met him. She said her and her friends call him Johnny High Voice.
So we go to the party and my gal introduced me to John. Sure enough, nice guy with a really fricking high voice. The party was big and John was busy hosting, so we didn’t talk much. About an hour into the party, I was the only one in line waiting for the bathroom. John walked up and was waiting behind me. I figured I should make some small talk since he was our host and was friends with my gal.
I said, “This is a fun party.”
He said, “Thanks for coming man.”
I said, “Absolutely. Thank you!”
There was an awkward pause and I blurted out, “I hear they call you Johnny High Voice.”
His brow furrowed and he said, “What?”
The person in the bathroom came out and I mumbled, “Oh, excuse me.” I scurried in and locked the door. I realized that good old Johnny High Voice had no idea that his friends, including my girlfriend, called him Johnny High Voice. Instead of being embarrassed, I had to stifle my urge to burst out laughing while I peed. I figured if John was still waiting when I came out that I would just say its all yours and keep moving.
Luckily he wasn’t waiting. I quickly found my girlfriend and said, “Hey, does John know you call him Johnny High Voice?”
Her eyes bulged out of her head and her face went completely red. “You didn’t tell him, did you?”
“Well, um, it kind of came up in conversation.”
“What did you say?!” She grabbed my wrist and squeezed. It felt like she had me in a vice.
I told her what happened and I had never seen a face more horrified than that in my life. My girlfriend kept my wrist in the vice and said we were leaving right now. I couldn’t stop laughing, which didn’t help the situation. I tried to stop her to say it would be impolite to leave without saying goodbye. Damn if she didn’t tighten that vice a little more and give it a yank.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
When I lived in Chicago, the best camping was 6+ hours north in Wisconsin or the UP (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan. And even then, it was hard to get away from civilization. I’m not a campground camper. But in the Midwest, that was often our best choice. I guess in hindsight that worked since most of our gear was stored in twelve ounce aluminum cans that needed to be kept on ice.
Nowadays, living in Colorado, I can escape to the mountains and be virtually isolated within a two hour drive from home. My favorite camping trip is to strap on a backpack and hike in at least six hours. I used to have that long drive through Wisconsin eating gas station food and drinking pop (the proper Midwest label for carbonated beverages – now that I’m in CO, I have converted to ‘soda’). Now, I have 6+ hours of hiking while eating trail mix and drinking water from my camelback. Of course, there is a flask of sumthin sumthin to enjoy while star gazing near tree line.
If I can’t do a backpacking trip, then the car-camping is still pretty sweet out here. With a little 4-wheeling on the forest roads, it is possible to rough it and still have the convenience of over-packing (read – bring a case of beer on ice).
If I can’t rough it via car camping, then I fall to the last resort – an official campground. That is what happened this weekend. The whole family piled in and we hit a campground in the South Park area, near Fairplay. No, I didn’t run over Kenny on the way – there really isn’t a town of South Park.
This was my boys’ (ages 5 and 3) first time ever camping. So it was an exciting one-nighter. It was over 70 degrees in the mountains and we found a nice out of the way spot with 12 sites. Just one was taken so we still felt pretty isolated.
I thought it would be good to teach my boys about ‘leaving no trace,’ respecting the outdoors and how to build camp. We covered topics such as how to build a fire, how to avoid falling in the fire, and how to put out the fire. We touched on staying on the trail, not picking the wildflowers, and peeing downhill (rather than uphill and having flow-back). We spent lots of time on the art of making smores. And in true camping fashion, we toasted repeatedly to the great outdoors. I had three Fat Tires while my boys downed a couple grape Juicy Juices each.
Unexpectedly, we had numerous discussions about gravity. The three year old likes to throw things and has an arm like Nuke LaLoosh (Bull Durham pitcher – he’d hit the mascot more than the catcher’s mitt). Drew kept throwing mini-boulders in the air. Straight up in the air. He narrowly missed hitting himself in the head at least three times. And then at least three other times he nearly knocked Will out. And Will was standing behind him!
They don’t teach stuff like this in the wilderness books.
The most popular topic of discussion was bears. Not teddy bears. Will brought his kitty cat and monkey while Drew had his brown dog, blue dog and snake. No teddy bears needed. Nope, our convo was on real live black bears. The biggest signs at the campground entrance were, “This Is Bear Country.” I tried to remember what you are supposed to do if you encounter a bear:
- Look really tall and throw rocks (no, that is for a mountain lion)
- Reach for a fake gun with eyes bulging exclaiming how excited I am because I haven’t shot anyone in over a week (no, that is for fun when out past midnight)
- Sitting on their face and farting (no, that is for hassling the boys)
- Utilizing reason (no, that is for McFly)
- Pepper spray (no, that is for CU vs. CSU football games)
- Wet willies (no, again, for hassling the boys)
- Playing dead (no, that is what my wife does when I come home late from drinking)
Luckily I haven’t encountered a bear anywhere other than a zoo, a circus or on the football field (Da Bears!). But I do know what to do about the furry wild ones and gave the boys the bear avoidance and encounter tactics they need to have a pleasant flight.
Will and Drew kept asking if we could go on a hike to look for bears. After telling them at least ten times the last thing we want to do is run into a bear, I sent them in the tent to play so I could get dinner together. I cursed the author of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” while I listened to them chit-chat.
Will is the older one and decided he’d educate Drew more about bears.
“Drew, do you know what bears like to eat?”
Will said, “Yes, but do you know what they like even better?”
I could imagine Will’s face leaning in close with a big smile as he said, “Bears like to eat Drews! And guess what? You are a Drew!!!!”
“Noooooooooooo Will Will, no! Bears don’t eat Drews!”
Laughing hysterically at himself, Will countered with, “Yes they do! They love to eat Drews! And you are a Drew!” Will is good at making sure his victims clearly understand their peril.
After a few minutes, it got eerily quiet in the tent and I peeked in to see what they were doing. To my relief, they weren’t spreading honey all over the inside of our tent and were instead playing with the flashlights. I went back to the meal making and about one minute later Will started screaming in pain and yelled, “DREWWWWWWW!”
I rushed over to find out that Drew forgot all about the gravity talks and threw a flashlight in the air (our tent has about 5-1/2 feet clearance). What goes up must come down on Will’s head.
I gave Drew his what-for and luckily Will’s head was fine. So I gave Will a quick lesson on Karma and told him he ought not to suggest Drew will be a bear’s late night snack.
Despite the threat of bear attack and objects falling out of the sky onto our heads (from Drew’s hands), we had a safe and successful overnight camp trip. Only in Colorado can it be seventy degrees one day and snowing when you wake up in the morning. The kids looked awfully smug in the warm car while I broke camp in a windy flurry of snow.
As we pulled out of the campsite, the kids asked why we were leaving. I turned around to look over the seats into their eyes.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Instead, I opened my window and raised an eyebrow (universal for what the fuck do you want?). She asked for directions to the capital. Although she was only about four blocks away, I briefly thought of sending her the exact opposite way but then wondered why I was having these rude and evil thoughts. So I gave her the correct directions and ‘rolled up’ my window.
As I drove on, there wasn’t anything on the radio so I fumbled with a CD. As I did this, I wished yet again I had my iPod connected somehow so I could listen to music mp3 style. This made me think about how not only will my kids never understand what the heck ‘rolling up a window’ means, but they will likely have fond memories of CDs like we do of 33 and 45 speed records.
I started thinking about more obsolete stuff, totally fascinating myself. I thought about segmentation of things that had an entire lifecycle during my life versus things that started before I was born but are going by the wayside today. Like VCRs. They started when, in the 80s? And will soon be obsolete from DVRs and computers. My cell rang. I had bad reception and was heading to a meeting, so I said I’d call back from a land line when I got there. A land line? At some point, will we have land lines anymore? Everybody seems to use wireless.
I got to the meeting and some guy had a tie on. I guess law firms are one of the few remaining businesses that still regularly require men to wear ties. My ties are nearly retired. They come out exclusively for weddings and funerals. My kids are likely to think of ties as some weird belt or chew toy for dogs. I read an article that reported the National Tie Association is disbanding. They used to have over 200 manufacturers and are now down to less than 25. I was shocked there ever was a fricking tie association in the first place; much less that now just 6% of men wear ties to work. I guess I can finally throw away that skinny brown knit tie I wore at my high school job ages ago!
I’m sure the list of things going obsolete is long. But so is this blog. Long that it is. So I’ll make it obsolete now.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
My commute to work is about twenty minutes during rush hour. My office is less than five minutes west of LoDo (lower downtown Denver) in the Highlands neighborhood. I usually take I-70 because I like speed.
I have only gotten pulled over by a cop for speeding once in the last ten years. But I am the king of getting caught by those damn photo radar vans. They are usually parked on side streets and will getchya if you are about seven miles per hour over the limit. Half the time I notice the big flash going off. I don’t notice the other times because I am too busy zipping along side streets, probably speeding up to make it through a traffic light. It is always such a joy to get mail from the City and County of Denver with a picture of my mug behind the wheel. My expression is always one of the following:
- Total blank stare, looking like a zombie.
- Irritated painful look, probably running late.
- Ridiculous goofy smile, probably jamming to a great tune and enjoying my racecar driving.
Luckily I haven’t been caught with my finger in my nose or eyes closed. Not that those things happen, but you never know.
I rarely have my kids in my car (Toyota 4-Runner). They are usually with their mom in the daytime or we are all together as a family so we take the Party Bus (Honda Odyssey). But now and then I take them in my car somewhere. I realized I must have a lead-foot in my car because the kids always refer to it as the fast car.
“Daddy daddy, are we going to take the fast car?”
“Both cars can go the same speed son.”
“No way daddy! Your car is way faster than the blue car! Yah, we get to take the fast care! We are gonna go really really fast!”
I gotta tell you I am extremely careful driving with or without my kids, but I suspect I do drive a little different in the 4-Runner because it’s mine and I’m used to zipping around in it. But there is something to it when you hear your kid say, “Daddy, slow down.”
“Why? You said you like to go fast and besides I am only going five miles per hour over the speed limit.”
“Yah, so that is why you have to slow down. Five is too much!”
There would be a red light ahead, so I’d slow down to a stop at which point my little guy would start yelling at me.
“Daddy, go! Go daddy go! Don’t stop!!”
“Drew, the light is red. I can’t go til its green.”
Then my smarty pants older kid would show off his rules of the road knowledge and say, “Well then turn right daddy. You can go right on red lights. Go right!!”
“Dudes, first of all, if we go right, we will be going the wrong way. Second of all, what do you want me to do about that car in front of me? Run him over?”
In unison, “Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssss! Run him over daddy! Smash into him!” Hilarious cackling like a couple of Dr. Evils in car seats.
I’d turn around, putting one arm on the seatback next to me to look and laugh at them.
“Turn around daddy! The light is green. You have to go!!!! Put your hands on the wheel. Both hands on the wheel!! Go fast!!”
Some parents have kids that are going to be doctors when they grow up. I’ve got a couple of psychotic drivers’ education teachers.
Oh yeah, what does this have to do with smelly asparagus pee? I have to drive by a Purina Dog Chow plant every morning. With this great weather lately, I’ve had the windows down and sunroof open. Imagine one of those giant 50 lb bags of Purina Dog Chow. Open it up and stick your head in there. Clasp the bag shut around your neck with your hands. And then inhale deeply three times. That is what you would get if you drove by the Purina Dog Chow plant in Denver.
If I’m lucky, I’ll get a quick antidote on the way home from work. About two miles past the disgusting dog chow smell, there is a Safeway Bakery and distribution center. They tend to bake in the evenings, I guess so the goods can ship overnight to the grocery stores. If I’m really on the ball, I’ll put up the windows, close the sunroof, put the car circulation on that internal recycle button and blast the air conditioning as I drive past Purina smell-hell. Then, about a mile past Purina, I’ll put down the windows, open the sunroof, turn off the air, put the button on outside air, get in the right lane, and slow down to 55. And take in the sweet smell of fresh baked goods.
The problem is if Safeway isn’t baking. Purina still finds its way into cars, even with all the windows open and going 85 MPH. We don’t have a dog anymore. But I’ve always wondered if dogs freak out when they are driven by Purina. I can handle the bakery smell just fine. But I get all antsy when I drive by a brewery and smell those hops. Or a pizza place. Yum.
The silliest thing is those brat and hotdog carts outside of Home Depot. I could have just eaten a huge meal and be stuffed to the gills. Then I’ll stop over at Home Depot to pick up a flux capacitor or something and get a whiff of one of those cheddar-brats. And they are only a buck-fiddy! You may as well release the hounds at Purina!
Anyway, I’ve gone from smelly asparagus pee to dog food. What stinks in your neck of the woods?