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Friday, February 26, 2010


     I was driving a couple days ago and I saw a vanity license plate that said UBERJOY. I am not sure that driving some non-descript late model jalopy with a plywood rear spoiler would be uberjoy. Now if the car replaced the ten-speed, the bus, or walking I may be swayed. Maybe. I believe I heard the Uberstrains of ABBA coming though the speakers.
     I see lots and lots of vanity plates. I can rarely figure out what they say as if it is in some kind hieroglyphic inside joke. I can understand the easy ones like “goblue” and the green and white one that says “goblow”. I also understand the ones that are names, like “:BOB”, or “MISSY G”. I saw one that said “CUL8R” I decided to tailgate him until I figured it out. At first I thought it said cul hater. I really hoped I was not a cul, whatever that was. I didn’t back off until he waved an Uzi at me. OMFG I am a cul and he REALLY hates culs. Then it hit me like a Dancing Queen! He does not hate culs; it means C U LATER.I figured out what it said after tailgating the guy for about 15 miles However, for a guy with a CUL8R vanity plate my slowassgrampadriving kept up with him. For 15 miles!!!
     I really do not know why people want to have vanity plates. If you are going to drive a lot, the chances that you will do something extremely stupid and get caught increase exponentially if you have a vanity plate. If your plate says WDO 158, it would be much more difficult for the dull-normal average operator of a motor vehicle to remember how to dial 911, and then remember the plate number. Your chances of getting off scot-free, after a bone-head driving debacle are much better when your plate does not say “MR SUN”, CATH8TR”, or “ABBALVR”
     It is no secret that there are many illiterate and/or blind drivers out there or why would there be so many people in the ditch and occupying the same space. It, as I have said before, is a physical law that two object cannot occupy the same space at the same time. When that occurs the two vehicles become mangled, or at least dented. Having an easy way for someone to remember that “DR ASS” just ran you into a telephone pole is definitely not the best idea. Surviving driving is a challenge. Taking a road trip with the kids is even more so.
     When my daughter was very young we drove to Florida. The trip should have taken about 30 hours of driving. It took about 600 hours in a van with two kids, my wife and my dog. Since my daughter was young, she could not read. Or at least not very well.
     We could not play the alphabet game. Little kids hate to lose and if they cannot read, then the alphabet game is an automatic loss. Then the weeping and gnashing of teeth begins. THAT IS NOT FUN FOR ANYONE. When you are on the road for more than 2 hours in this type of situation you start looking for a hotel. A hotel with a restaurant and a BAR! For some reason kids make a lot more sense when they have food in their tummies and I have a three drink buzz.
     We stayed in a lot of hotels on that trip. When you have kids it is best to get hotel rooms with a pool. There are two big reasons. One reason is it gives you something for the kids to do that is not an additional cost, and two, it gives you leverage to get them to behave while driving to the next hotel. Do not tell me as a parent you have not used the line, “if you don’t stop doing _______you will not get to _____. It works a tad better than STFU or I will kill you, unless you are a poster parent for SCAN. (Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect)
     I was not married to my wife long before this trip. I did not really know the ways of kids. I had spent time with my nephews, but that is easy, load them up with stuff that they cannot have at home and then send them back. Unfortunately, this messes with your karma bank and we all know what goes around, comes around.
      Years ago Steve Martin had a routine where he said something to the effect of “whenever you are around kids, talk wrong.” As a new dad, I was all about doing just that thing. Not just cussing like a drunken sailor, but all kinds of mischievous and diabolical mispronunciations and the ilk. Not all on purpose, but sometimes, yeah totally. Some day I will tell the story of the blue trolley. That one really bit me on the ass. I digress.
     Since my daughter was illiterate, we would speak in code. Just like vanity plates. Somewhere on the road I picked the letters FPQZ. It could mean anything. Libby had no ideas that b-e-d spelled bed, or for that matter any other combination of letters. Her being unable to read or spell was very liberating for me and was all kinds of fun. Well, fun for me. There were lots of fpqz’s on that trip.
     One day while on the road when my patience was wearing as thin as an onion skin, from the dog jumping on the kids and the kids whining about the dog and every other MF-ING thing, I dropped the f –bomb. Not that f -bomb, the other one. “GDammit, Libby, if you don’t knock it off, there will be no FPQZ for you!” Big mistake. If I thought the noise level from the whinnyass kids and dog was bad, the wailing from my daughter sounding like a banshee from hell was MUCH WORSE. “But I WANNA go in the POOL!!” At that point I realized maybe Steve Martin was wrong. Maybe. To this day pool = FPQZ. It is an iconic phrase form the traveling days.
     I will probably never have a vanity plate. I drive too many miles and just do not care if I am cool while I am driving. My truck has the phone number and company name. I have too many things going on in the cockpit to worry about who is laughing or getting pissed at me as well as how easy they can report “FUNBUNZ”. However, if I did decide to have a vanity plate, my plate would say FPQZ. It can mean anything you want it to, but if you were to ask my daughter she would say it means pool.
Just another day in paradise

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yes Virginia…

     Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Clause. Well, until you are about six. And, yes Virginia toilets do explode. Not just when you toss one in an empty dumpster. They explode quite nicely when the cold hard steel meets avocado porcelain, the sound is almost musical. It is like the ppffsttinkle of a florescent tube, although trashing those tubes is ecologically irresponsible. The sound of an exploding toilet is louder and more resonating. Other sounds “that I really like are the sound of a switch blade and a motor bike”
     Digression, my worst enemy. This story is not about a toilet exploding in a dumpster. This is another kind of explosion. This is also not about farting or explosive diarrhea.
     It seems that many of my blogs involve toilets and bathrooms. I guess it is because we all use them. Some of us use trees and some of us also use laundry sinks. I do not know of any guy that has not at least thought of using the slop sink, instead of walking all the way up the stairs and using the toilet. It all goes to the same place. And as regular readers know from previous blogs, it eventually finds its way back to your tap water.
     Relax, I mean to take a piss. Dropping a deuce in your own laundry sink would be wrong. It may be funny in someone else’s slop sink, but probably not. Even I know that. It would be very self-defeating as well, from a clean up standpoint. And I do not really think that you would be able to do the secondary function of dropping a deuce, reading, while precariously perched on the edge of a concrete or plastic sink. The repercussions of a missit would also be disastrous. Sharting is one thing, dropping in your own deuce, while not only humiliating is also an odorfaux-paux. Definitely a hold my beer and watch this idea.
     That is why they invented toilet seats, so dumbasses would not fall on their own defecation. I know that anyone that has used a public toilet may thinks that seats are just urine waterfalls, kind of like those decorative ones you buy at the big box store. Sober up people! Lift the lid before you piss. Or at least plant your ass if you’re gonna pee like a girl.
     I do not know why so many bad things happen in and around the privy, but since at least half of my jobs involve a bathroom remodel, and many handyman jobs involve a toilet, it seems I never run out of a story that revolves around the can. Didn’t Elvis die on the can or is that just an urban myth? Better call the Ghostbusters…I mean Mythbusters.
    So the other day, one of my co-workers was using the can on the main floor. Maybe it was because I was using the slop sink to clean a mud pan, maybe not. Knowing the guy I was working with, he would probably not entertain the idea of using the slop sink in a customer’s house, so the point is moot. However, I recently had a customer tell me that one of the reasons he told his dad that a basement bathroom was a good idea was then he would no longer have to use the slop sink. True…True. I rest my case.
    I had recently finished sweating in the shower valve, and run the pressure test. All quiet on the running water front. No leaks, no problems. ALL GOOD!!! So as I was washing out my mud pan, I can hear this water running. It is odd how long I listened. It seemed like a few hours, but in reality was only a few seconds before I realized that this was one REALLY loud drain. Like NIAGARA FALLS loud. Something was not right. It should not sound like water running over a waterfall. Nor should it should it sound like rain on a tin roof.
     I looked across the basement to see a cascade of water flowing from the ceiling like Hover Dam in Life After People. I admit that I panicked just a wee bit. My first thought was that one of my sweat joints had burst. My second thought was to check it out. Actually, my first thought was the f-bomb. I ran up the basement steps. I took them three at a time. Okay, only two at a time, but I was moving like a speeding bullet. Well, really like an overweight, middle-aged man. As I was running, so were my moobs. (Man-boobs). They were bobbing up and down like a Jell-o in an earthquake. There is something that is just not right about jiggling moobs. Damn you fatty…
    I then ran up the stairs to the second floor. And saw….nothing…Nothing wrong up here…No shooting geyser of water. No burst sweat joint. No issues, no problems. Where was that water coming from? Still breathing like a bull-moose in mating season, I ran, no walked back down the stairs. I had had enough moob excitement for one day. I did not need to chafe my nipples anymore than I already had.
     I hit the landing only to find my co-worker standing in the hall holding the ball and stem from the toilet. “Dude,” he said, “the toilet exploded” “NO SHIT!” I replied. “Yeah, the fill valve simply cracked in two.” When that happened, water shot out like Mount St. Helens erupting. Thank God for planned obsolescence. I never would have gotten in my stair steppers in for the day.
     As my breathing returned to normal and I was having a victory smoke, I replayed the events in my head. I am an idiot. Instead of running up two flights of stairs, and risking coronary failure I should have walked over thru the deluge and turned the water off at the main. But I just had my hair done, and did not want to look like a drowned rat, so that was simply not an option.
     My advice other than staying in shape, in case you do have to traverse two flights of stairs at full speed, is to open the tank of your toilet(s) and check to see if you see an ancient ball and rod float in your tank. Hopefully you do not. if you do either call a plumber to swap it out for a non-antique fill valve or throw the toilet into the nearest dumpster. You, too, will like the sound as it shatters into bits. And also hopefully you do not have any WTF is that blue stuff. in your tank. If you do don’t call me and good luck.
    Yes, Virginia, toilets do explode. I know this to be true. I have witnessed it first hand. Not really, but close to first hand. And the aftermath is not pretty.
Just another day in paradise

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It’s raining....

     If you can imagine me driving and coming up with yet another blogging idea then you are either a regular reader or you know me fairly well. As a shameless self-promoter, I have always loved to share my stories, whether I was playing a gig, or in a group of strangers I have always liked to spin a yarn. Some of you may say I love to take poetic license and blur the lines of reality. However, the following is true. As are all my blogs.
     Every song I ever wrote is a story of some sort. I even wrote a song based on a fortune cookie, titled “Fortune Cookie.” This story is no exception. It really did happen while I was driving. Some events may have actually happened, and some may not it was all a blur, it was dark and there were so many of them.
     A few days ago I was driving home from work. It had been one of those days where the seat heater pad for my back could have been set to 10 degrees less than the temperature of the sun and it would not have been enough heat. My son was in the passenger seat, so he can verify the facts. The day was brutal. I was shrecked. Demolition is brutal. I rarely have to work that hard. It was a 2 vicodin and 3 shots of Crown Royal type of evening. (I seriously do not mix my buzzes like that. Why waste a buzz by trying to do both…)
       We were driving back from a job in Holland, Michigan. It may have been better if we were coming back from Amsterdam. Talk about mixing a buzz. Then the events that transpired would not have seemed so strange. As we approached the underpass, something fell to the road. It was a deer. A deer fell out of the sky on my way home. I checked for a miniature sleigh and 7 tiny reindeer. But there were none. Sheila was no help, but she does not have a radar button. All she cared about was that I make the next right turn. You would think after all we have been through she would have said in her computer-generated mono-tone, "it is raining dear." And she damn sure did not say it is raining deer. Raining deer? Yes it was.
      The first thought that crossed my mind was Santa was pissed and he took away the flight ability from one of his charge. Actually, that was not the first thought, the first thought was “Damn, it is raining deer.” I have heard it has rained frogs before. It happened in the movie Magnolia. Well, maybe my first thought was Thank God it didn’t hit my truck. I do not remember exactly my first thought. It happened so fast, it was dark and there were so many of them.
      Well, really, there was only one deer, it was still before dusk, but it did happen fast. If the deer had hit my truck that may have messed up my day a bit, no to mention what it would have done to my truck. Thankfully, I was wearing my “As Seen On TV, High-Definition-Wrap-around Sun goggles. This Christmas gift probably save my life, my son’s life and all the people within my “scared shitless radius” (The amount of room in feet that your vehicle needs when you make a radical maneuver to avoid a particularly hazardous road hazard). Without those glasses we could have been toast.  
      Although road kill is good eatin’ and my favorite is cat, I am sure the piss bag on this non-flying deer was toast and that has a tendency to poison the rest of the meat, especially after a collision at 55 mph. (seriously, really you think I eat road kill? I can’t even clean a fish.)
      Once when I was living in the van, I was coming home from the Island (Long Island) and something hit my van windshield. Talk about “Scary, huh kids!” “Shit!” as Bill Cosby said, “First you say it, then you do It.” Absolutely. And you know I tired to get out of the way, by squirming on the drivers captain’s chair, making the mess in my undergarments even worse, never mind that I had a windshield to “protect” me.
     If you have ever driven in the Big Apple, or on the Island there are a million places to exit when you do not need to, but heaven forbid if you are in a non-exit lane and need to get over to exit and check you undies for some scared sharting.
     When something like a deer falls from the sky and Santa is MIA, it makes you take stock in your life. Easily, that deer could have hit my truck. Easily, I could have been injured, disfigured, or killed. i could have broken my HD glasses. But it didn’t. Thank God for that. It would have been even worse if the deer had hit the passenger seat injured or killed my son. A parent should never outlive a child even if a spawn of Satan’s, er I mean Santa’s entourage is the culprit. It’s raining deer. Not reindeer. That season is past.

Just another day in paradise