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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

more is not always better

As I think about how much excess is involved in the world today, I have come to the conclusion that more is not always better. During this time of year with the gathering of friends and family it is much too easy to overindulge. As I am stuffing my face with my 700th piece of mystery fruitcake, cookie or holiday treat and washing it down with a corresponding number of rum and eggnog. I think to myself maybe this is extreme. Maybe.

Just a hint. Saving clubs and places like Wal-Mart rely on over indulgence. I usually gain about 18 pounds when I walk in the door. Wow! I just found a 50 pound bag of chicken fingers. There is no way they have freezer burn before we eat all of them. Hey cool, look at that 80 pack of ramen noodles. It’s right next to the 75 count case of Mac-n-cheese. If you really need a 10,000 count of plastic silver ware they have that as well, but you better buy that gigantor box of trash bags. The landfill is not in my back yard!

Yeah, it is great to have a lot of things. Advertisers would have us believe that more is better. Much better. Stuff is cool. But it is just stuff. It is rarely irreplaceable. Well, the signed Osgood sweater IS irreplaceable. The Lions winning a Super Bowl, while a fantasy, would be irreplaceable. Er, I mean impossible and therefore irreplaceable.

Sometimes what looks like a great idea is a not so great. For example, that shot of tequila after 10 beers. WOO-HOO!! Maybe it is too much. More is not always better. It is probably a pass move, but you know how it goes. It is there, you not going to let it go to waste. That would be alcohol abuse. Beside that after ten beers, judgment may be a bit clouded. Just sayin’.

That third helping of massed potatoes and gravy, while it is yummy may have been too much. And then you follow it up with that slice of pie and ice cream. Then your belt tells you that you over did it. Hey, I thought I had two more holes in this belt. I did before that over indulgence.

Letting people know what you are thinking is not always the right move. Sometimes less is better. I suffer form over sharing. Sometimes. Saying that the necklace your wife is wearing is nice is okay. Saying it looks good is not a bad idea. Stop there. Do not add it is a terrible color for that outfit. That is too much. More is not always better. Sometimes it is best to understate what you are thinking.

Just because the stereo volume can go to 20, you do not always need to crank it to the maximum. If the car is vibrating from the bass, and things are falling off, like say, the muffler, it may be best to ratchet it down a bit. I would bet that if the car is vibrating and things sound like they are falling off, it cannot be good for the stuff inside your braincase. I am not a doctor, but it seems like a bad idea. Rap music is best heard at low levels. Well, my personal preference is rap music sounds best on mute.

The other day I was driving. It was snowing. There was already a couple inches of snow on the ground. I parked my truck. I knocked off the ice chunks, and brushed off the snow. I went into the job site. I came out at days end and there were at least 2 more inches of snow on the truck. Again I commenced with the brushing and clearing snow. More is not better. Nope. More is not better, especially when it comes to snow.

Just another day in paradise

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Geez, that's a lot of bandaids (revisited)


A rebroadcast from when i first started this blog, cuz being a holiday i am feeling pretty lazy

When my daughter was young, she loved Band-Aids. If it hurt, it needed a band-aid. I never understood why. I still don’t. I fought this affinity for about three minutes. Or three years. I can’t quite remember when I just gave in and gave up. I had no idea that this was even an issue when I re-married eleven years ago.

One day my daughter asked me for a Band-Aid. “Are you hurt?” I asked. “Yes.” She replied. “Are you bleeding?” was my next query. “No.” she responded. “Then you don’t need a Band-Aid,” was my logical response. “Yes. I do” She replied. This went on for what seemed like hours, but was probably more like three seconds, and I gave in.

When I went to the linen closet to get a Band-Aid I found that we had approximately seven million of them. Geez that was a lot of Band-Aids There were Barney, Scooby, and Hello Kitty band-aids. There were pink ones and blue ones and even a couple boxes of flesh colored regular boring band-aids. I remarked to my wife, “Why do we have SO many Band-aids?” “Libby likes them.” she replied. I guess so, I thought to myself.

I gave my daughter one and thought that was all I had to do. “Put it on me.” She said. I asked her where it needed to be adhered, and she pointed to what appeared to be a spot of perfectly healthy skin. Again I asked, “Why do you need a band aid?” "I have a boo-boo." she replied. Over the years she had several boo-boos and apparently the band aid was the magic elixir that made it all right. I am not a kiss it an make it feel all right type of guy. I reluctantly obliged. What can you do? Too soon she won't need me at all, for anything, let alone making it feel alright.

I am a carpenter by trade. I still have all my fingers. However, I often get cut, scraped or draw blood. Lots of boo-boos. Sometimes I am bleeding and I only figure that out when I see blood on the floor or the object I am working on. My idea of a band-aid is duct tape. In lieu of duct tape there is electrical tape. If those two items are not available there is always a strip of a rag. The dirtier the better, that’s how you build up tolerance to infection.

When I sold my Toyota, I found three boxes of Band-Aids in the back seat storage compartment. I think I put them in there to make room in the linen closet. Maybe it was to make sure I had a Band-Aid in case my daughter needed one. I traded in the Toyota for a Ford Ranger and I have a first –aid kit in my truck. I am not exactly sure what is in it. I put it in there when I bought the truck. I have no idea where it came from. It is not big enough to hold a roll of duct tape.

A few months ago we were playing Hockeyball. My daughter took a tumble. She skinned her knee. It drew blood. She left the rink, and cleaned up her wound. She is s tough little cookie. She made more of a fuss about the hole in the leg of her newest pair of skinny-leg jeans than the bleeding spot on her knee. She came back on for her next shift, and played thru the rotation. She never asked me for a Band-Aid. My little girl is growing up.

Just another day in paradise

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Sip, CHEERS!! Christmas

It is Christmas day. I am not a huge Christmas person as my immediate familys' religion (Jehovah’s Witness) does not celebrate holidays. I do not press my beliefs on them and they are respectful of mine. That is my take. It is difficult for me, but I accept it. So I either embrace my wife’s family or I spend the day alone. Alone time is good. But I will have time to be alone at other times. However I do like to celebrate. As I am typing this blog I sip my single malt Glenfiddich, (Sip, CHEERS!!) And say to you all: The holidays are for friends and family. So MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

There have been no phone calls of an emergency nature. It would suck to get the “someone died” or “terrible accident” phone call. So for that I am thankful. A death or an accident is hard enough without attaching it to a major holiday.

The first time I ever dropped the f-bomb around my parents was near the holidays. The neighborhood Christmas party was in full swing. The parents were imbibing in festivity fruit punches and beers. The kids went out to sneak a few squares. I was out walking with my neighbor and the rest of the gang when her dog got hit and killed by a car.

When I related the story to my father, I said “some motherf’er just hit Kim’s dog.” He came unglued. He grabbed me by the lapels, and said “don’t EVER use that word around your mother!” I thought he was going to hit me. That probably would have hurt a bit. But not as much as the poor little pooch. That dog got crushed. It really sucked. I have not thought about that incident for years. It was not my dog. It is not my holiday that is forever marked with a death. That would suck.

I do not like the commerciality. I do not like the expectancy of giving gifts and the question, “Are you done Christmas shopping?” As I get older I realize the Joy of Christmas is in the little things. The time I spend with family is more important. The time I spend with close friends is more important. The phone call or text wishing me Merry Christmas is a great gift. Even a Face Book Merry Christmas is a great gift.

Sharing time with the people I love is more important than all the toys, games, and trinkets. As my family and friends age, I realize that they will not be here forever nor will I. Facing our mortality is not a task that we learn in short order. It takes time. It takes experience. It takes death. This blog is not about death however it is about life. And the celebration of life. Sip, CHEERS!!

Beneath my scruffy exterior, the gruff demeanor, and the curse like a sailor bravado, is a heart at least twenty times the size of the Grinch. I went to spend the day with my wife’s family, My Mom-in-law is always happy to see me. Although I do not show it much I do have a bit of a soft side. Aunt Ferne actually seems to light up when I walk into the room. To me that is a great gift. We all have the gift of life to celebrate. Not just on around the holidays, but everyday.

Gift the little things. Spend some time with the relatives. Yeah, it can be a bit stress having to be here or there, traveling to hell’s half-acre and back. You can freak about the shopping and what so and so needs, etc. The petty grievances and disagreements should be left at the door. Some day you will no longer be able to celebrate life with the ones closest to you, so grab this time now, because too quickly the candle flickers out. It has taken me so many years to come to this, that I feel that I should share it now. Sip, CHEERS!!

My kids are older. The joy of the “best Christmas present ever” is long gone. Except for a brief moment today or maybe longer when I wallowed in the self pity of not spending time with my family, and then became a bit of an ass, I pretty much was on my best behavior. I did not set the tone for the day very well. I course corrected my behavior. I had time for introspection and decided that I needed to embrace the things that are good during this holiday.

Being a member of a blended family, during the holidays our time at with the kids is always a bit of a rollercoaster, and we usually celebrate with them after the 25th. We have very few set traditions. I may have done a disservice to my kids not embracing the holiday, but that is who I am. I could have tried harder, to establish or force a few traditions, but why? I have decided to cherish the living, while they are around, during this time of the year. And you know what? Sip, CHEERS!! Merry Christmas!! The day has gone well.

Just another day in paradise

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

wtf is that blue stuff?

I don’t know what I did in a past life to be stuck working on toilets. It seems that there is never an easy one. Never mind what goes in these instruments of fecal flushing, suffice it to say they are a shitty job. After one more toilet from hell, I must admit that I will rant a bit.

First, you need to know the major components. There is a tank. Inside the tank is a filling mechanism known as the fill valve. Sometimes fill valves are referred to as the guts. There are many different kinds of fill valves. The worst of these is the old ball-cock assembly. If your toilet has one of these, it is time to upgrade. Sometimes the water in the tank is blue. Why? This is also the area that you drop a deuce in if you are giving someone an upperdecker. Follow the link if you do not know what I am talking about

The seating area or throne is also known as the bowl. Some toilets are one piece, some are two. Any more than that, as far as I know is bad for doing business. I know some of you may think the lid is a third piece, but it is part of the tank. The seat is not a part of the bowl, but it is, well, you know, the seat. Or the outer ring of the bull’s-eye, for you out there that cannot quite get the stream or fudge in the open area. The seat is not where you stick gum or used toilet paper under it as a little surprise or snack for later. Stuff on the seat does not flush, Johnny.

The most important part of the whole thing is the flange. It is attached to the waste pipe, which safely and discretely carries your droppings to the water treatment plant, where it is then purified to be dispensed by your kitchen faucet some time early next week. Hopefully it will not be blue. Why is it that we have some many kinds of bottled water? Oh yeah, the aforementioned reason. I digress. Back to the flange.

News flash: the way to secure one of these things is with FLANGE bolts. These are the two bolts that hold the bowl to the floor. The wrong way is a 4 inch screw. The wrong way is a piece of wire wrapped around the flange and through the bolt hole in the bowl. The wrong way is hoping it will stay in place with a doubled up wax ring. The wrong way is holding the bowl down with silicone, or grout, because the flange is busted. There are other wrong ways, I just have yet to find them, and when I do, I will let you know.

What the f…. is that blue shit? Why is it in the tank? It does not belong there. Yeah I know it is supposed to clean the bowl. HEY! Lazy ass! Get a Johnny Mop. They are cheap. You can get them at the dollar store. Squirt some cleaner in the bowl. Scrub and flush. The blue stuff gets EVERYF_INGWHERE, when some poor unfortunate slug has to fix your toilet because you flushed a bunch of stuff that doesn’t belong in there. (See my blog earlier this month)

That blue stuff ruins the phrase “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Keep using the blue stuff and we will have to change it to “If it’s green, you’re done peein’.” However brown and peein’ do not RYHME! By the way, that blue stuff. It doesn’t come off your skin or clothes. Well, there is one thing that will take it off your skin, and that, my friends, is time.

Just another day in paradise

Monday, December 21, 2009

multi tasking

I was multi-tasking today. It is not something I am very good at. I can handle the thought process of multi-tasking. I can grasp the concept of what is required. I understand what needs to be done to accomplish this feat. I honestly suck at it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was installing a shower faucet. It requires all my concentration, or I may forget a crucial step. You have to drain the system. It usually takes something like three forever’s to accomplish this step. You have to clean the copper, add the flux, and assemble all the parts. Then you have to make sure that you hit with heat and solder,each joint, or it will be a big, hairy and unpleasant surprise. Oh and I forgot to mention wet. I was focused and proficient. I did not multi task. No leaks and no phone calls, so chalk one up for the good guys.

I cannot count the number of almost disasters I have had when I was plumbing. If the phone rings, or a customer asks me a question, throw the multitask function out the window, and grab some towels because I will probably forget one of the joints. Then it is shower time! And that REALLY sucks because you usually have to drain the entire system.

When I got home I shoveled the driveway. It was still snowing, so the multi-task function ended abruptly. I only focused on the driveway so the shovel would not catch on one of the near ten thousand cracks in the driveway, and shove the handle into my stomach or worse yet my junk. I am not playing hockey right now so I do not have a cup on, and I have yet to pay for that fiasco.

I came in and started to re-heat some of Roxy’s white chicken chili. it is awesome! i feel for anyone behind me tommorrw, but i will feast tonight! I then heated up a pan for a grilled cheese, tomato and horseradish sandwich and logged on to Facebook. Look at me I am multi-tasking! Needless to say, the computer was slow and I lost track of time. VOILA!  Burnt sandwich! Multi-tasking at its finest. I really should just blame the damn ELECTRIC stove. Electric blows, gas is MUCH better!

There is something magical about a burnt grilled cheese sandwich. Black magical. Maybe magical is not the correct word, maybe gross is better. No, putrid is better, but diabolical is probably best. I ate it anyway, because I still remember, from my youth, all those starving kids in India, or was it Kentwood? I really do not remember where they were starving, but they were. If they want I will send them a bunch of burnt grilled cheese. Then they will know that starvation is not the worst thing in the world.

I rectified the situation. I focused on the cooking. I am just about to bite into the second, not burnt, grilled cheese. YUMMY! I am washing it down with a large spoonful of white chicken chili. The phone rings. I am not going to answer it. Some folks may call eating and talking on the phone multi tasking. Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. I just call it rude.

Just another day in paradise

Sunday, December 20, 2009

i could do something

I went out to the bar last light. I am a smoker. I drank a few cocktails. A smoked a few cigarettes. I killed some bad guys. It was loud. It was filled with young people. As a smoker, I noticed there were not many other of my ilk at the bar, but the other smokers that were there seemed to be quite young. I felt old, but not ancient. I enjoyed the evening. Mostly. 

In my not so sober state, I realized that many of these young party animals are going to be deciding my fate as I approach the geriatric era. That could scare me. It does not. I am more concerned about the geriatric ego maniacs that are currently f-ing up the situation that is American Society.

I can sit back and bitch or I can do something. My grass roots effort starts with this blog. We have some choices to make! As my favorite college professor used to say, “Sober up people!” it may take a little hair of the dog, or a bunch of water, but either way it is time.
When Michigan moved the drinking age form 18 to 21 I was not affected immediately. I was too young to drink. (legally) I knew people that were able to affect a change, but thought there was no way that the age would go up, so they did nothing. And then they lost the right to imbibe (legally) for as much as three years. I could do nothing to change the law. I could not vote. I was left at the mercy of the people of voting age and they dropped the ball, kicked it to the corner, and forgot about it. Good or bad, the age went up.
The governor of Michigan just signed into law a ban of smoking in public places. It takes effect in May of 2010. It is hailed as a great measure. It is hailed as a giant step forward. As an American, wishing to keep my personal freedoms, it smacks of Gestapo tactics. For those of you who know me, I really appreciate anyone telling me what to do. It may be great, but who profits from this the most? Definitely not me. (Hint: Insurance Companies)

It is something. I am not sure what it is. In my brief research of this great new measure, I found that it rattled around in various forms for ten years. Did I mention my research was brief? I only read 2 articles. That was enough to learn there is still some ambiguity as to what will happen about open air decks at eateries et al. Imagine that. It is a law. It will be litigated. The smoking contingent is looking into what legal leg they have to stand on. It took TEN years to get it signed. Amazing.

I am not going to debate the issue of second hand smoke, first hand smoke and the smoke and mirrors that is state and federal politics. The truth is that the law passed and it is probably a good thing. Just like the seatbelt law. However, I do not want the government protecting me from myself. Our government rarely figures out the small things and they are surely unable to debate the larger issues. Like it or not, our system is flawed. Special interest and the lobbyists have a much greater stake in the political machine than you and I. Money is still the driving force of the decision makers. Still and all it is the best system I know.

I could rant and rave about the issues and have a bunch of people on both sides telling me how wrong I am. I could do my due diligence and actually come prepared to debate and chose a side. We all need to do the right thing for ourselves. Sometimes it is the right thing for now. Sometimes we will change our minds. Sometimes our beliefs change. It is all about perspective. It is about personal choice and freedom.It is about being able to make your own choice on how you want to live.

Smoking is a small issue in the big picture of abandoning our personal freedoms, in exchange for what is being sold to us as a better quality of life, determined by others that have your best interest in mind. I do not care what side of the issue you are on. I do care that you understand that there are bigger issues at stake than the freedom to smoke. Fear is the motivating factor behind a plethora of agendas. Paying on our fears is a motivating tool. I am not afraid of inhaling toxins. There are many other toxins in the air that are bad for you. The  burning of fossil fuels is contributing to many ecological issues. When will you give up the freedom to drive?

The point is I could do a lot more than I do. We all could. I could set up another blog that just sets out points of contention and waits for the fireworks. I know where I stand on government interference in my daily life. They intrude far more than I would like. I could run for office. I could join a political or grass roots movement. I will probably do nothing. My freedoms will be gone before I know it. When I am 85, wondering why I cannot enjoy my personal freedom, and where all my choices went, I will regret the day I did nothing.
Or I could smoke some cigarettes and kill some bad guys.
Just another day in paradise

Friday, December 18, 2009

just like in the movies

The other day I was driving my truck. I had to get from a job to a supplier. The traffic was light. The day was clear. There was not a blinding snowstorm or a driving rain. The visibility was above average. Unless you happen to be a blind driver, then possibly, you might have a couple issues.

Because I was in a town where I do not live, I was a little confused. Okay, I was lost. As I drove toward the destination, I realized I had to change lanes from the left lane to the right lane. There was a car approaching in the right lane. I put on my turn signal. The one that signals I want to turn right. Just to clarify, because occasionally I have flipped the lever the wrong way, but the little light on the dash helps to correct me.

The car to my right sped up. And then stayed there. Right next to me. I slowed down. They slowed down. I sped up, they sped up. This went on for what seemed like hours. It was only seconds.

This started to get my red hair agoin’. I was getting a nasty bout of road rage. I think I had a little bit of Tourette syndrome as well. I swerved into them and ran them off the road. The little car was no match for my awesome truck. It was fun. The car rolled. It bounced. It burst into flames. The car blew up. Just like in the movies. I sped off with squealing tires and all. Just like in the movies. The ball of flames and smoke faded and got smaller in my rear view mirror, as I put the pedal down.

Not really, but I thought about it.

Eventually, I slowed down enough to let them pass and some other joker took their spot. I know this second car must have seen the flashing light of my turn signal. Obviously, they had a bigger and better agenda. The second car, however, eventually sped past and I got over into the lane I needed.

When I put on my signal I was signaling my intention. I wished to move into that lane. like my friend Billy says, I am not asking I was telling. They were not listening. The turn signal is not a vestigial appendage. It is a form of communication. It is not like it is hard to see. It is flashing on and off saying “look at me, look at me.” Maybe the people next to me were not paying attention. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they were more important than me.

After all this, I missed my turn and had to drive to the next light, make a couple turns, and head back. I decided not to use my signal. I ran four people off the road. It was fun. Here was shooting and bullet holes….Just like in the movies.
Not really.

Just another day in paradise.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

you have how many drills?

There are many questions in this world. I am not opposed to answering the tough ones. I tackle them head on. How many drills does one guy need? That is a tricky question. It is a question is like the question, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.” A question such as this is not very quantifiable. The easy answer is 10-11. Er, uh, I mean 2…Please allow me to elucidate.

I was working the other day and I really needed a drill. I was taking a door off from a cabinet. While it can be done with wrist action and a hand held screw driver, is much easier to do with the proper power tool. I went out to my truck and to get one. I pondered for a moment. What is the right drill for the job? I went thru the mental list of the drills I had in my truck.

The first thought was the 18 volt cordless Porter Cable. It has a nifty little light that turns on when you pull the trigger. The Porter Cable drill would be fine, albeit a little heavier than the Hitachi 18 volt. However, I also have the corded Hitachi hammer drill. That might have been overkill. While the face frame may have been made form rock maple, it is not really stone. The hammer action is not going to help.

I reached for the Skill lithium-ion mini screw shooter great for tight spaces, such as a cabinet door. This little guy does not have much in the torque department, though. I settled on the Skill LI-ON. It did just fine. Fortunately, the screws on cabinet doors are small and the need for more power is not an issue. For other cabinetry doors, when you want a bit more torque, try the DeWalt 7.2 volt two-position driver drill.

However, there are other drills for other task. Suppose you want to blast a 4 ½ inch hole for a fart fan vent through a band joist. The cordless tools may get the job done but for this job you really NEED a Milwaukee ½” chuck right angle drill. Better hold on tight or you may lose your arm. Torque-o-rama, baby.

What if you are mixing mud to set tile? Reach for the Ryobi ½” multi speed drill. Mixing mud is not rocket science, but it is close to an art. Need to anchor a shelf bracket into a concrete or block wall and do not want to run a 100 foot 12 gauge power cord, use the DeWalt 18 volt hammer drill-driver. Nice.

If you have to run a bunch of Kreig jig holes to build that face frame for that beautiful armoire you are building in the Mancave for the little lady, a DeWalt ½” corded variable speed drill is the answer.

For a light weight dependable cordless that won’t break the bank consider the DeWalt 12 volt. If you are even more strapped for cash, the Ryobi 12 volt is a decent substitution. Any 12 volt driver drill is more than capable to handle most tasks, but if you have the cabbage and the ca-jones, step up to the 14.4 or 18 volt models. They do weigh more than a can of beer, so use caution before slinging one of these around. Work up to the weight, Skippy. Every guy needs at least two power driver/drills. There is no earthly reason, as cheap as they are, not to have a couple.

I know what you are saying…”You have how many drills?” Ten, however, as I was pondering the guns (driver/drills) in the armory, I realized I was missing the newest and greatest of all guns. Seems everyone is shooting those monster screws with an impact driver. Thankfully, Santa is coming around soon. I have not been terribly naughty. Well, except for the prolific perpetrations of f-bombs. And you really can’t blame me for that…it just rolls off my tongue….Maybe he will drop one of those bad dogs in my stocking. Yeah right…f- that…

Just another day in paradise

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

pass it on

I walked past a Salvation Army bell ringer the other day. Tis the season. I dropped a dollar in the bucket like a frequently do. They nodded, smiled and thanked me. It makes me feel good when someone thanks me. Pass it on.

Thank you to my kids. I love them. They are not perfect, but they are good kids. I can brag on them, but I won’t. I still want them to be able to walk thru the front door with their heads on. Having kids humbles you like nothing else. I had no idea how stupid and geeky I was until I had kids. Amazing, isn't it that I have lived this long with so little knowledge.

Thank you for my wife. I love her. It is not often that I thank her for much of anything, but she did bring me my kids. And she does put up with me. That ain’t no picnic. The applause junkie that I am makes me a challenge at times. God bless her for listening or pretending to listen for the hundredth time to that story about that one time….

Thank you to my family. I love them. They helped mold and shape me into the person I am. Good bad or indifferent. The miles and years may separate us, but they are still there if I need them. Blood is thicker than water. What does that really mean? Nice colloquialism, but enigmatic.

Thank you for the white dog. She may be gone but she is not forgotten. I noticed that there are more scraps on the floor after I cook now. She was quite a crumb vacuum. Thank you for the brown dog. The goofy old boy is still alive and kicking. He still has a few puppy moments left in his old bones. He is the brown dog and he is big rap singer…well not really…

Thank you for my friends and followers. I love you all. Without you I am just telling stories to my self. Without you I am not me. To lead a purpose filled life you need the contact, camaraderie, and constructive criticism that helps guide you through the trials and tribulations that happen in this world.

Thank you for my job. With so many unemployed, it is a comfort to know that I have a job. It may not always be a bed of roses, but not working would make me insane. Not that I am not insane already. But just a wee bit.

Thank you for another day above ground. I will take as many as I can get. I’ll take the bad days as well as the good days, because the good days, definitely outnumber the bad. Nothing is as bad as it seems and after all it is…….

Just another day in paradise

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

i am greater than....

I am greater than Tiger Woods. I have never had an affair on my wife. I cannot deal with the differences between men and women having only ONE woman, most times so why would I want to deal with MORE than one. Yeah, I can see the allure of a new relationship with all the lust and fluff that goes along with a new set of breasts and a new derriere, but let’s be real. It is just not worth all the troubles. And just so you know, I do not look at women as simply a set of boobs and a pooper. They are just icing on the cake that is a woman. This blog is not about that issue.

Having been a minor celebrity, (albeit debatable) in my past life, when I was a street musician, I can understand the temptations that accompany those in the public eye. Well, not really. But if someone does slip up, or make the decision to find amorous liaisons out side of the sanctity of the marital vows, that is their issue. I will not make it mine. I may pass judgment, but who really cares? I am not the boss of them. That’s between the parties involved. However, I must admit that I have an opinion.

Tiger Woods is an idiot. If you do not know why, I will take the liberty, no, the pleasure in breaking it down for you. Firstly, his name is Eldrick. If that is not a name that will get you a beating from the class bully, I do not know what is. No wonder he adopted the name Tiger, because it is much manlier. However lately he is more like a cub, or even a tigress. Did he really get his ass handed to him by his wife? Seriously? (perpetrating the rumor mill)

Secondly, he plays golf for a living. Oh, so manly. Come on, seriously? Golf is more like a way to waste a few hours practicing your drunken driving skills in a golf cart, while trying not to break your clubs. I can count on one hand while flipping the bird the number of times I have played golf and enjoyed it.

I have heard that if I learned how to play the game, I would enjoy it more. Maybe. And maybe I would like having my fingernails extracted one by one. Maybe, but I seriously doubt it. Who really watches golf on television? If I only had one channel to watch, and that channel ONLY showed golf maybe I would choose to have my eyes poked with a drill, blended, and sucked out by a Shop Vac. Maybe.

Thirdly, he had it all, and he f-ed it up. He may or may not recover from the most egregious action of detriment to marriage. His sponsers are bailing out like Congress. What does it matter? That is his problem. He could be married to the world’s biggest biatch. Whatever. No excuse. I guess it must be very difficult to say no to all those women. Thank god no is not a five-syllable word, or he may have cheated a bunch of times….oh wait, it looks like he did.

And lastly, and this is my biggest beef, he holed up like a pansy in the winter, after all this. Can you say weak d$%k sauce? If he were a hockey player, like the greatest Captain of all time, Steve Yzerman,Tiger, would be proud of a couple missing chicklets. That is why from now on I will call him Eldrick. That is also why golf is for pussies and hockey is not. C’mon Eldrick, grow a pair. Reach down and count ‘em. Show some sack. Man-up and admit what you did and get back to playing the worlds most pansy-ass sport. Or you can continue to pussabout.

I AM greater than Eldrick. Not that it really matters, that is like being greater than any other idiot. Money and fame does not make you smarter or better. It just makes you more likely to look like a complete idiot to a lot more people. So does blogging. But at least blogging does not give my wife a reason to divorce me. Well, at least a GOOD reason.

Just another day in paradise

Monday, December 14, 2009

if you don like this speed...

The other day, or maybe it was a few years ago, I was sitting around doing nothing. I stayed in my pajamas all day. I watched some television. I ate some food. I drank some beer. Had a couple cocktails. I was lazy. Not that that is very hard to imagine, me, being lazy, but I was. I had the perfect slow day. It was a thing of beauty.

There is something that is just and right about a lazy day. We are all in a hurry all the time. We text, we call, and we twitter. Well, I don’t twitter. Something about the word twitter. I Brit I used to work with called people twits. Somehow when I think of twittering, I think of the people he would call twits. I agreed with most all of his opinions on those he called twits. It was an insult. I do not see myself twittering any time soon.

I only text if it is a matter of importance like life, death, insults, or beer. I text insulting remarks to my friends because it is fun. Much more so than insulting them in person. Well, not really. I still prefer face-to face time over the other means of communication. I have several templates designed to text important things like beer me, Mulligan’s, or Mancave Thursday.

Of course a template is a time saver. I can bank that time for the next slow day. Maybe even get in a 25 hour day. As you go slower time actually SEEMS to slow down. If I move slow enough I may discover the secret to time travel. Maybe. You just don’t know. I do not need to know that it is impossible. I do not need to know the physical improbabilities.

It seems to me our society is flying at breakneck speed. We can’t drive 55…We need to be in constant contact. Society needs a snow day. We only get one shot at life in this world. (as far as I know). Society needs a significant floating holiday. Or at least a half day. A friend of a friend used to say, “If you don’t like this speed you really won’t like the other one.” I use that almost daily. Almost as much as JADIP.

Yeah, I know that society needs to keep moving. Movers and shakers need to keep moving and shaking. You snooze you lose. Time waits for no man. Efficiency, productivity, and best practices, while important, do need to get a rest at some point. Even my laptop gets bogged down if I hyper click, run too many applications, or hit the wrong series of buttons. I would never be confused with a computer savvy person, I can, however, tell when the computer is over taxed when multi tasking. It shuts down. It freezes up. It takes a nap.

Recently I worked for a couple. They were both in wheel chairs. One was in the last stages of a terminal illness. The other was a double amputee. They were very upbeat. They were happy. You can be upset about your bad day, bad haircut, cold food, or any number of trivial things. You do not have to look very far to find some one who has it worse than you. You can rush through this life, hoping and praying that the next is better. Or…… you can slow down and beer me …..

Just another day in paradise

Saturday, December 12, 2009

the most important invention...

Indoor plumbing has probably changed the way we live more than any other advancement of our modern world. Yeah, you can bring up HDTV, cell phones, and laptops. They are all cool gadgets. They are not necessities. They are nice to have, but not needed. Anyone that NEEDS these items, well, NEEDS to reconfigure the priorities of life. Yup, I have all these items. I would be willing to trade them and some cash for a clean toilet when I am on the road and have a turtle-head poking at the cloth.

There is no option in a vehicle called a Redi-Jon, or some similar item. Unless you are wearing a diaper like that crazy astronaut lady, you have to find a toilet. Outside of your vehicle. If I were in charge of designing cars, I would figure THAT option out. I would figure out the car seat Redi-Jon. I would make it so number two….

When a toilet is functioning properly, it is an underappreciated thing of beauty. When it is not handling the business of its business; it is a disaster of biblical proportions. I have unclogged a few toilets in my day. I have removed a few toilets that have the spoils of the day still in them. Not because I wanted to, but if the plunger does not work, there is another reason that the throne is clogged. Unfortunately for me, to get to the point where it can be un-stuck, some times you have to pull the bugger up and that can be unpleasant.

All that being said the other day, while I was in a public facility, I noticed a sign above the stool. It said, “DO NOT PUT ANYTHING BUT TOILET PAPER IN THE TOILET.” I took this message to mean that you could still carry out vital life functions as the toilet is designed to handle, but not to put, oh I don’t know, anything like Snickers wrappers, used fan belts, socks, or PAPER TOWELS in the orifice of flushability.

There is something wrong with a society that has to be told not to flush anything but TP and human excrement. Ok, occasionally I have driven to the porcelain bus. I will give vomit its toilet pass as well. However, hurling out the window at highway speeds is also a thing that should be tried once in your life. Just for the sheer excitement of it. You will understand why dogs put there heads out the window after that classic drinking debacle.

Toilets 101, people, would tell us that the size of the hole in the bottom of the toilet is the maximum size of objects that can be readily flushed. The typical home has three inch or four inch main waste lines. These lines are hard material. They are not expandable to accommodate objects larger than the diameter of the pipe.

I understand the principle of the sewer. Excrement does indeed run down hill. When it comes back up hill there is a reason. The objects that clog a DWV (drain waste vent) pipe are usually NOT supposed to be in the line, or not in the amount that they are. It is like a dam on a river. It’s got to go somewhere. Who am I kidding; it is almost always something that should not be flushed. It is usually a snickers wrapper, a fan belt, paper towel or sometimes a tennis shoe.

Just another day in paradise

Thursday, December 10, 2009

is it summer yet?

Is it summer yet? I do not like winter. There are only two things to do in Michigan during the 9 months or so that winter is upon us. Go outdoors and risk your life or stay inside and hibernate. Maybe that is a bit extreme, but since I do not like the cold and the snow, I find that the inside option has greater up side. So does living. There is lots of hockey to watch. But even hockey is indoors.

Some people like to decorate the outside with colorful lights and such just before it snows. Some cultures call them Christmas lights. I call them mother$%&!#&^ lights. I usually throw the penguins on the roof, toss a couple, er I mean several, empty booze and beer bottles around them and light them up with a few halogen work lights. They are my winter decor. Nine months later they slide down the roof during the glacial thaw, and I tuck them away for next year. The beer and booze bottles as well. Sometimes I refill the vodka bottles with water to see if my wife can tell the difference…not really.

Yeah, we can piss and moan about the adverse conditions. We can joke about how bad it is. And yet there is hockey. Ice hockey. Not just any hockey. Redwing’s hockey! That is a topic for another day. This is not about that. Unfortunately my brain froze, so I forgot what I was doing. Is it summer yet?

I walked out side to burn one and realized that the truth about smoking is the harmful side effects of being outside. It is cold. The snow is blowing. The air cold and it hurts my lungs. Some may say my lungs hurt from the smoke. No, smoke is warm. It is a by-product of fire. It is definitely the cold air.

I am not fond of snow. I am not fond of driving in snow. I do not like the chore of snow shoveling, or using a snow blower. A couple of years ago I tried to melt the snow in the driveway with a brush torch. Didn’t work, but I was warm, and toasty. That is until I turned off the torch.

I shoveled the driveway the other day. It totally sucked. It was wet and sloppy. It was before work. It was work. I was tired by the time I got to the job. Then once inside the customers house….sauna…Man, the house was hot...I think they had the heat turned up to 90 F…better than working in the snow, but it was hot…did I mention how hot it was?

It is not that the snow is pretty. It is not. It is not that I want a white Christmas. I do not. Santa Drives a Ford Ranger, the reindeer are under the hood and he does not need the snow on the roof to come down the chimney, he walks thru the front door.

When I was in Key West one winter the lights on the palm trees looked as good as the ones on the snow-covered trees up north. It was warm. Maybe they looked better. I know the drunken penguins don’t look as good on a snow-less roof, but who really cares. Is it summer yet?

Just another day in paradise

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

i have a driver's post

1.Bristol Palin( NO WAY!!!wtf HAS SHE BEEN?)
2.Britney Spears (IF she were fat and ugly, she’d never have had a career)
3.Mel Gibson (prolly stepped in it again)
4.Mobile phones (work best when thrown out a car window)
5.Adam Sandler (funny guy)
6.Helen Mirren (had a face lift)
7.Diddy-Dirty Money (I hate rap) 8.Netflix (buy stock now!)
9.Invisible braces (where are they?)
10.X-37B ( survivors)

i would like to welcome  new follower Pearl from Pearl, Why you little... Check her out or you are missing out. Witty, articulate, smart and a bit sassy, but most of all a great read...

please note: since i am kinda *Cat's in the Cradle* right now, i felt a re post is in order...most of you have not read this and those of you long timers...i have made a few modifications...
one of my all time favorite posts...

I have a driver's license (re post of dec 08, 2010)
     I have a driver’s license. In Michigan they are known as an operator’s license. That strikes fear into my heart. Does that mean that the act of driving is an operation? If it is then I am doctor.
I will,
from this day forward,
be known as Dr. Johnson.
     I am always amazed by the trouble people that have an operator’s license have operating a vehicle. Hey, I know accidents happen. People misjudge the time it will take to perform the various operations involved in operating a vehicle. However it is a scientific fact that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. I have been the cause of accidents and have been the victim of others malfeasance. No blood, no foul.
And thank God for that.
     The other day I was operating my vehicle and I saw the following atrocities. The first operation that was diametrically opposed to operating a vehicle was a guy reading the paper. He nearly rear ended a SUV. A little while later I saw a woman putting on make-up. She nearly hit a pedestrian. Then I witnessed a person drexting. This person nearly ran a red light. Another operator was playing air drums and air guitar. This rocker nearly ran me of the road.
     Opinionflash: there is enough multitasking going on in a vehicle just to operate it let alone the other aforementioned functions
     I went to party few years back and did not know many of the other guests. That never stops me from rubbing elbows with the glittering literati of the vacation town in which I lived. Someone asked me what I did for a living.  I did not want to tell them the truth. I wanted to do something unusual. I reached into spinzone. I told them I was an insurance actuary. It sounded good. I really did not know what an actuary did.
I Still do not.
But that is not the point.
   I stood there with my clip on shades and  long, curly red hair, covered by a doo-rag, wearing a white tee-shirt and jeans with a flannel tied around my waste. I did not want to use the usual true~ness of I live in a van and am a street performer.
bo~O~O~oring. (singsong voice)
(not really...busking was cool, but...)
     I followed with a little yarn about how my job was to go to traffic accidents and gather up the broken glass and take it back to my state-of-the-art laboratory. Once there, I would carefully reconstruct the glass to find out if dirty glass was the cause of the accident. The other people seemed to buy what I was selling. A lot of smiling and nodding went on. After a while, I actually may have believed it myself.
I was in the spinzone.
It was A~W~E~some (singsong voice)
    I moved on with the spin and came up with other factoids about this “new” career I had just adopted. It was fun. I rolled out more BS than SlickWilly chatting up a young, female capitol hill intern. They probably thought I was drunk.
I probably was.
Well, I know I was drinking.
     If today, I were to have the similar situation, I would spin this in a new direction. I would add the factoid that I gathered the stuff in the vehicle and did all kinds of calculations and simulations to determine what non-driving function was involved in the altercation. Sounds like my dream job. Sounds like a lot of fun. And i know I would have an awesome collection of lipstick, eyeliner, cell phones, newspapers, novels and an awesome air drum kit and a sweet air guitar.

Just another day in paradise

Sunday, December 6, 2009

the hockey ball incident

I play hockey. Well, not really, it is more like Hockeyball. We don’t skate. We wear shoes. We play on a driveway. We started to play this modified version of hockey during the Wings playoff run in 08. We only had sticks and a whiffle ball. The net was approximately a 3’x 4’ box with the bed board, from the van I used to live in back in the day, used as a net. The boards are 2x 10’s left over from a remodel project many years ago. I finally found a good use for some of that crap I have moved countless times, from one house to another.

The kids play and occasionally the wives as well. It is a rough game even though there is no checking and no lifting of the sticks. It nearly always draws some minor blood letting. Nothing in the caliber befitting of a tourniquet around the neck to stop the bleeding, mind you, but blood has spilled. We have rules, but not too many. It is a good way to spend a Michigan summer afternoon.

When we moved to a smaller house, we lost the rink space that the old house had and had to come up with a new place to play. We decided to use my buddy Rich’s driveway.

It is oddly shaped and irregularly surfaced drive. The ball bounces funny on the cracks in the drive and if you’re not careful it will eat your sticks. We hinged together the 2x 10 boards to from an odd shaped rink. It suffices for our needs.

I built some “pipes” out of 2x4 ripped to 2x2 and realized after I completed a regulation size goal that it would be rare for the goalie to make a stop. I reduced the size to 5’ x 4’. It works okay. Our save percentage is poor, but we are not getting paid, so I guess it all evens out in the end.

It started with just a group of four or five people. As more people started join in, the need for protection equipment for the goalie became a necessity. A goalie mask and a soft ball glove do nothing to protect your junk, as I found out by making a stop with my privates. Even though we do not allow slap shots a well placed wrister from 10’ feet hurts. I left the rink for about 10 minutes after I stopped howling like a banshee from the excruciating pain. I got back in net vowing to get a cup, before the next game. No blood, no foul

I still did not have a cup and. a couple weeks went by. No worries. Then I started peeing blood. It freaks you out a little when urine is not clear or normal, but chunky and reddish brown. I went to see my urologist; I got a bunch of tests done. I stopped peeing blood. No blood, no foul. Then I got the bills. It cost me about $1700.00 after my insurance paid their portion. A cup costs around $15.00 I bought a cup.
Just another day in paradise.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

sheila the girl in my GPS

I am directionally challenged. Okay, let’s not be politically correct. I suck at finding my way from one point to another. I have lived in Grand Rapids for most of my life. I still forget where I am going or how to get there. Anyone that has ridden with me knows I can drive. They also know I can get lost. Safely, well, that may be a point of contention.

Google maps and MapQuest are great, but my laptop is not as mobile as I am. I have enough to do while driving. Smoking, phone calls, drinking coffee, fidgeting with the stereo, taking notes, and breathing use up any or all the available multitasking ability I have. Add a computer or a bunch of printed maps and “Houston we have a problem” is an understatement.

I tried the GPS on my cell phone. It was an adventure in and of itself. To be kind, it really sucked. More bars in more places? Yeah, right. When you lose signal, the GPS freezes and you miss your turn. Or hit something. Or just stop driving. Or throw the phone out the window. The phone GPS experiment failed.

Since I travel a few miles a day I go to places that I have never been to and places I have been to many times. I am alone in the car. I get lost, and I have to pull over and find the proper paper map and figure out what street I am near and how to get back on track to get to where I need to go.

Work is enough work. I needed to simplify. I needed to stop getting lost. I did the only logical thing. I bought a GPS unit. It only has one available voice. It is a woman. I named her Sheila. Did I mention I am alone in the car? Not any more.

I have a boss. I have a wife. I have a mom. I have two children. I have all these people that like to tell me what to do. I NEEDED another voice in my head that tells me where to go and what to do. I NEEDED to have a way to get to where I am going. For mankind’s sake, it is best for society that I am focused on driving. Thankfully, for all of you I have Sheila. Thankfully she has a mute button.

She is not a good conversationalist. She cannot seem to pronounce some words. She mispronounces the street we live on. She is insistent on how we get there. She does not like to take the route I want to take. She always tells me what to do. However, she never complains when I make a wrong turn. She just recalculates the directions. And then tells me where to go.

Today I drove in circles in the parking ramp. And not just to annoy Sheila. I actually missed the exit turn 3 times. Sheila kept on asking me “when possible make a u-turn” and “Drive to the nearest road.” “I am trying to do that, Shelia.” was my terse reply. I really NEEDED another voice telling me what to do. I hit the mute button.

Just another day in paradise

Just another day in Paradise

Just another day in paradise.

JADIP. Living the dream. I have heard it said that a positive attitude is the key to happiness. I do not know if that is the case, but it is definitely my key to keep from going insane. Everyone has problems and bad days. Everyone has issues. Everyone faces loss and pain. However, everyone also has good times, and good days. Some of us just have more bad than good. And some of us have more good than bad. It is all about how you spin it.

When someone asks me, “How’s it going” or “What’s up?” or any other greeting I respond with this phrase. “Just another day in paradise.” Usually people smile. They get it. I follow up with “Living the dream.” Am I lying? Am I being facetious? Neither, I am just spinning it to make the day more palatable, for them and me.

Attitude is the proper spin on the issues you are facing. If it is not life or death, you can bet that there is someone that has it worse than you. You don’t have to look very far to find greater pain than the mundane problems impeding your happiness. The world spins, and your outlook should as well. It is all about how you look at it.

I try not to get too hung up on the details. I try not to stress out about the issues. I try not to feel sorry for myself. I like to see people smile. I like to hear laughter. Even if it is at my expense. I am a spin doctor of happy thoughts. At least I try to be.

One day I was doing some plumbing. I had to fix a water leak. I had the parts and pieces sitting on the vanity counter. I had to pee. There was a toilet next to the counter. I urinated into the toilet. I did not flush. I left the seat up. You can see where this is going.

I some how hit the parts on the counter. They somehow fell in the toilet. Major bummer, dude. They would not flush. They would clog the toilet. That would compound the problem. I would them have a toilet issue as well as a water leak.

Somehow they have to get out of the toilet. Copper is not magnetic. There is only one solution. Reach in to the pee infused water and pull out the parts. Problem solved. It could be worse. It could be solid waste. It could be someone else’s urine. The day, as impossible as it sounds, went down hill from there. I will not bore you with the issues and setbacks I faced. It was Friday however. TGIF.

When my boss called to ask how the day went of course I said “Just another day in paradise.” “Living the dream.” And then I told him the toilet water story. He laughed. He laughed hard. It is funny. It is funnier to have it happen to someone else. Stupid stuff is always funnier when it happens to someone else. After all it is just another day in paradise and I am living the dream.