Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things that make your day suck

Houses are funny. They provide you a roof over your head, a warm bed, and a chair to watch football, the three basic needs. But they have a habit of jumping up and biting you in the ass when you least expect it.

Last Saturday, on my wife's birthday, I had my drain snaked. "Why of course Ray, you ARE over 40 after all, don't all men your age have that done?". To that I say "They do, but that's not the drain I speak of". And besides, anything you have on your person you can classify as being "snaked" most likely has you in one of any number of institutions in our fine prison system sharing time with a man of questionable character and an even more questionable sexual orientation.

On Friday my wife pointed out some water on the floor of our laundry room and it being late I quickly passed it off as a leak local to the room, perhaps the washer, and classified it as an "i'll deal with it later" problem. Well, later came quicker than usual (shoulda put it in the "when I feel like it" column) and I was forced to examine the reason for the water. It turned out to be water coming back in to the house through the drain in the laundry room. I'm not "Mr. Fixit" by any means, but I thought right away, that had to be bad, right?

So we called a plumber and luckily one agreed to show up on Saturday. So this guy shows up and grabs his snake and proceeds to insert it into my drain. HOLY GEEZ!! Does THAT sound gay. Take two. Okay, this guy comes in my house and sticks a thing in my hole. HOLY SHIT!! Okay okay......there's gotta be a way around this. Okay. Let's try this. A guy came to help me with my problem (sounds good so far) he showed up on time (good) and when he did he reached into his truck grabbed his tool and........ah forget it!!!

I want to tell you, I was pacing like an expectant father. I had nightmares of my front yard being dug up because of this. Everytime he would poke his head back into the garage I'd wait for an update. "How we lookin' in there" I said in my best macho small talk. "Good, I think we hit a few roots". I'm sorry, roots? Yes, not only do my huge trees in my yard scare the crap out of me when we have high winds (like the 79MPH winds we had recently, thank YOU Hurricane Ike) but they seek out any place they can find water. The guy finishes up and I find out that this might only be temporary, I might have to do this 2 years from now too thanks to those roots.

But the day finished off pretty decent. My wife got to go out with all of us for her birthday and I got some great video of my daughter at her party. But I am a homeowner. I'm just left to wonder what's next. What's the next thing to come....and.........and........well, "snake me up the ass"?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Make Me An Offer

Chalk this latest first experience of mine as a "swing and a miss". Today, we had our first (and most likely last) garage sale. The word "garage" is from the French "garer" which loosely translated means "attention all neighborhood freaks, please show up at my doorstep".

I had been threatening to do a garage sale for quite some time and when a flier came around announcing a neighborhood garage sale that would be advertised and I had to only show up, I was on that like stink on a monkey. THIS, would be how I finally get some clarity in my life by getting rid of all the junk I had. This would be great! I could get that new PC I wanted, why I might even be able to buy that Apple iMac I had been looking at!

I got very organized. Vases, dishes, and pots went into a specific area of the table. That was housewares. The old tennis racket and roller blades comprised my sporting goods, and for those wandering bookworms, I had a small collection of books.

But after so many nice sunny weekends, this one decided to be muggy and rainy. Ah, hopes and dreams. How you DO like to be dashed. We went ahead with it anyway, putting the tables at the end of my garage. My wife, bless her heart, manned one side of the garage and I the other. Soon, people started to show up.

One of the first guys picked up a rifle scope my dad had dropped by with. He was either cleaning out his junk or hiding evidence he didn't want the feds to get, one or the other. So the guy picks up the rifle scope, buys it, and they asks if we have any military supplies. Ah, no. Then he wanted some rifles. Makes sense, what ELSE do you put a rifle scope on, right? No again. THEN, he asked if we had any knives. At this point I thought he is either a weird collector OR he's accessing our ability to defend ourselves should he decide to come back while we're sleeping. We got so many off the wall bizarre questions I was close to putting a sign up saying "Attention: We currently do not have any medical supplies, artificial limbs, hernia belts or deer antlers" just to filter out the wandering ghouls who were showing up.

About a half hour later a portly man in a t-shirt that left little to the imagination and a long white beard shows up to check out our wares. He spies our daughter's fold up playpen and asks "how much". I tell him $10 and he says "Oh that will go. We just bought four of them for a day care me and my wife opened up". So he walks away and I quietly thank my in-laws for providing a safe haven for my daughter during the day so that I can avoid sending my daughter to the "John Wayne Gacy" school for girls for THIS guy to watch her.

The rest of the crew that stops by was enough to make you want to call a contractor to put iron bars and your windows pronto. I got the feeling that everybody was on the lookout for that one treasure, that Van Gogh tucked into the back of Dogs Playing Poker or something like that. Then you had the folks who wouldn't even stop. They'd just slow down, try and dechipher what you had, and just continue on their way.

And how did we do? Well, let's see. We sold the scope for $10 and a couple of DVD's at 2 for $1.00. And I did make enough to meet my original goal though, albeit slightly altered. Now, unlike the one I had in mind, I'm unfortunately only able to purchase an actual "apple", not of the computer variety. Oh well. Looks like it's going to be an early Christmas for the folks who pick up our garbage next Friday!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My hierarchy of useless knowledge

I had a revelation today and it came while my wife was watching The Young And The Restless. No, that revelation was NOT I am a giant pussy who watches soaps with my wife. That came long ago. No, this one was a revelation on how polluted my mind is with useless information.

We got into a discussion about a character on the show, one who's been with the show for years. When my wife had trouble remembering his name I thought for a few minutes then blurted it out. As appreciative as my wife was of me ending her torment I couldn't help but think, has this ability to remember useless crap hampered my growth, my career?

I don't know how memory works, but I imagine it like a series of compartments where information is stored. Empty compartments are ripe for storage while occupied compartments are there to keep information that your mind deems valuable. Who am I? What do I do for a living and why did that lady at Arby's stop and ask me "Do you like the onion bun?" when I asked for a Beef n' Cheddar, only to sell me an NON-onion bun equivelent to "save me some coin". Where did she get the idea that she could go off the script? "I'd like that". "Okay, I will get you that". It's simple. But I digress.

When information comes into your brain it searches for an empty compartment. My problem, I think, is that I am running out of open compartments. Someday I'm going to learn valuable information at work and it's going to want to go to one of my "brain compartments" only to find that it's occupied with "Donny Most played Ralph Malph on Happy Days" or my personal favorite "Buckner and Garcia sang Pac Man Fever". Really?!? Pac Man Fever? I doubt Buckner and or Garcia would own up to that today and here I am carrying that shitty factoid around in my head!

So as I envy the A.D.D. set with their set in stone diagnosis I will sit and wait that someday "I" get my equivilent of Ridilan, a drug that helps me wipe from my head all those deliciously funny memories I have from shows like Different Strokes. "What chew talkin bout Willis!".