Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Christmas (a little late)

We survived another Christmas. 

Dearth was even more excited this year than most.  He was in bed by 9pm on Christmas Eve.  He was given instructions to not wake us until after 5:30am. 

He woke us at 5:37am.  We had a good time.  The cats all chipped in where they could be the most disruptive.

The highlight of the morning was pulling a joke on Dearth.  All the presents, under the tree, were opened.  We told Dearth to go out to the car and get another one of his presents out of the trunk.  He went outside to get a 36 pack of Brisk (iced tea) with a bow on it.  While he was doing that I moved the electric guitar (this is the gift he was hoping to find) on to the chair he had been sitting on.  The reaction was priceless.  The best part was that I didn't have to carry that heavy 36 pack into the apartment.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas also.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Good thing I had a book

I almost hate to post this after last year, but it is four days until Christmas.  It is almost 70 degrees outside.  Normally it is cooler.

So what does this mean?  Last night I woke up a 2am sweating.  Athena was sleeping near (almost on) my head.  Jo was stretched out the length of my legs.  I was on the very edge of the bed.  Topaz was sleeping in the middle of the 3 or 4 feet of open space between Jo and Deb.


I got out of bed and went into the living room.  I was reading Changes (book 12 in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files) and decided to get a few pages in.  I finished the book at 4am.  Oops.  Oh well.  Sleep isn't as important as finding out what happens to Harry Dresden.

I get back to bed.  No one has moved.  I push Jo over and reclaim my comforter.  I toss a bit getting comfortable under the blanket.  Jo waits for me to settle and lays back down next to my legs.  He makes a point of leaning against me and sliding down.  This is to ensure he is as close as physically possible.  I heat up fast and Jo's evil plan pays out.  I kick most of the comforter off and he makes a nest of it.  He puts a paw on my leg.  I guess he just wanted to let me know that it was a good try.

I over sleep.  I rush out of bed, get showered and dressed for work.  I kiss Deb good bye.  Athena was still on the pillow and Jo was still in the middle of my comforter.  Sigh...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sometimes Simple is Best

There is a place down the road from my new workplace. It is Tony’s Hotdogs. It is a little dive that reminds me of every “greasy spoon” eatery I have ever been in. The difference is the menu. They serve hotdogs, coffee, and four or five different flavors of soda.

The hotdogs come with chili (no beans), mustard and onions. You have the option of holding the onions and/or the mustard. Cheese or sauerkraut may be added for a .15 fee (each). There are no sides. There are no desserts. If you want those you will need to go elsewhere.

It is simple and fast. The two men behind the counter were friendly and efficient. The customers were mostly men and a lot of them were regulars (reading papers and chatting on a first name basis with the guys serving the dogs).

The hotdogs were pretty good. They weren’t the best I’ve ever had, but I’ll go back. I don’t recommend asking for ketchup if you are over the age of 10 though.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Death Wishes

The boy hasn’t been feeling well for the last few days. Today he went to school, but left early. Deb sent me a text.

Deb: Your son said I need to color my hair because he feels old seeing my white hair… the back and sides are getting bad. This as we are in the school parking lot.

Me: How long did it take him to walk home?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Evening in Front of the Tube

We were watching hockey on TV tonight.  The Penguins were playing the Flyers.  It is probably the only time we will all cheer for the Penguins.  Deb is a Penguins fan, but Dearth and myself will cheer for them because they are playing the Flyers.

One funny moment during the game was when the announcer described a great play made by a Pittsburg defenseman.  I should note that Dearth and I constantly rib Deb about the Penguins players diving or taking dives (to draw penalties).  The announcer says "He makes a terrific diving poke check!".  Deb's eyes get big and she gets a bit indignant.  "What?"  We had to explain that a poke check is when you knock the puck away from the opposing team using the stick.  Of course I couldn't let it go.  "Diving poke checks can only be made by Penguins."

I made sure she wasn't holding anything that could do me any harm.  Dearth almost got kicked when he laughed though.  It was a win win comment.

Jo was sacked out during the game.  Looking very comfy on one of the living room chairs (made for a human enjoyed by the feline).  He manages to twist himself up on his back with his legs all going different directions.  Dearth can't help but rub his belly a few times when he walks by him.  "He looks too comfy not to mess with."  He told me this as Jo caught him.  A few claw marks and a couple noms to the knuckles showed him who was boss.  To add insult to injury, everytime Dearth played with Jo's tummy the silly cat would reposition himself in a way that looked more comfy than the first.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hockey games are so much fun

I am not a huge sports fan.  I could not tell you the names of more than 10 or so professional players.  It is not that I am not a loyal fan.  I have just never seen the point.  I do not receive a check from the team.  In fact, they charge me to follow them.  I have to pay for team logo items.  I have to pay to watch them live.  Nope,  I like to watch, but I am by no means a rabid follower of any sport.

Yesterday we scored tickets to see an Admirals game.  They are a local hockey team and are fun to watch.  Of all of the sports I like to watch hockey and soccer are my favorites.  Both are none stop action and, once you learn the rules, are very interesting to follow.

I left work and met the group at the game.  We got the tickets through church and they all rode in the bus to the game.

I was a little closer and arrived early.  The plan was to meet at the fountain in front of the Scope.

This picture gives you a little bit better idea of what it looks like up close.

There is a nice ledge to sit on and there were a lot of people moving around.  There was also a trumpet player at the far corner of the fountain.  He was a large black man.  He dressed like a homeless person, but looked warm enough.  The music was amazing.  When I got closer he was playing with his eyes closed and looked like he was completely absorbed in his music.  I put some money in his box and then moved away to watch the people.

Most walked right by the man.  They avoided looking at him.  A few, mostly the ones with kids in tow, would walk slowly by watching him.  None of them put any money in.  The ones that did put money in would smile and say something if he wasn't playing at the time.

The ones I enjoyed most were the college age students.  They normally walked up, put money in the box, and then interact with him.  The would speak with him normally touching the man's shoulder or back.  Those scenes raised my spirits.  The fact that the younger people would take the time to acknowledge the man, and speak to him, made my day.  I think I enjoyed watching that more than the hockey game.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It sucks getting old...

It doesn't happen often, but every now and then I feel quite old.  Normally it is my son doing something like not knowing how to use a rotary phone, but today it is more of a physical thing. 

My back hurts.  I don't think my chair, at work, has enough support.  It may be that I am not getting enough excercise.  Hell I'm getting tired just watching a hockey game on the television.

My hands hurt.  It has been getting cooler and the temperature change is making my arthritis act up.  Sometimes it hurts to make a fist.  I wince at a firm handshake.

My knees hurt.  Arthritis again.  I was pretty hard on them with all of the sports I was involved with when I was younger.

But, to tell you the truth.  The thing that hurts me the most is my ego.

Screw you body.  Tomorrow I'm going to the gym.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last One!

Wow.  I made it.

I wasn't sure if I could keep to it or not, but I did.  Now I just have to stick to my guns and keep posting. 

I thought that I would have more trouble than I did, but finding something to post about each day was not as difficult as I thought it would be.  I'll admit that not all of the posts were high quality, but that isn't the point now is it?

Posting everyday takes a slightly different mind set.  I liked it.  I think I will try it for a bit to see how it goes.  See you next month!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fun at the new job...

My job has changed.  Or rather, my customer base has changed.  Instead of working with newspaper reporters and editors I am working with college students and instructors.

I'll admit.  It is a bit refreshing.

Don't get me wrong.  I loved most of the customers I dealt with at my last job, but they tended to be aggressive and difficult to deal with. 

Today I had a good laugh.  An instructor called.  He needed assistance installing software for one of his students.  The software allowed the student to zoom in on text to make it easier to read.  The instructor explained that the student was almost blind and needed the software to help him read.  His major was Criminal Justice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Small Group

One huge advantage of working day shift is having a social life.  Last week I was able to start attending small group again.  This group watches a movie one week and discusses it the week after.  Tonight was movie night and we watched "Radio".  It is an amazing movie.

This paticular small group is made up of people from our church.  Normally there is a theme.  For this group it is movies.  This is a little outside of the box.  A large number of small groups are more of a Bible study.  During our discussions we talk about how the movie relates (or does not) to God and the Bible.

We share a meal first, tonight it was spaghetti, and everyone brings a dish to pass. Then we socialize and eventually move on to the movie or the discussion.  It is a lot of fun.

Tonight, we were getting back into the car, when I thought. HOLY CRAP!!!  I haven't had a chance to post yet. 

I hope God forgives me for that little slip up.  Good night everyone.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hunting has Changed

When I lived in Western New York I hunted quite a bit.  I preferred small game hunting (especially rabbit and pheasant) over large game (deer).

I have always found small game hunting more exciting and  lot less work.  The targets were always small and fast moving.  You had to be on your toes.  If you did score a rabbit or a bird you would field dress them, wrap the meat in a bread bag, put the bag in your pocket and continue to hunt.

Large game (when I hunted) consisted more of sitting in a spot (well travelled by the deer) and shooting them if they happened by.  I had a bad habit of falling asleep as I waited.  I've seen many deer run off as I woke up with a start.  If you do get a deer then you have to gut it and drag it back to your car or truck.  Dragging an animal that weighs as much as you do is no fun.  If you haven't had a stroke by the time you get back to your vehicle then you have to get it up on to the vehicle or into the trunk.  If you are lucky you have come with a group of other hunters and they will usually help you (provided you don't rub in the fact that you got one and they did not).  If you are unlucky...  Well, that is what they make pain killers and muscle relaxers for. 

Today they have cell phones and gps units.  I hear stories of people talking about a deer (via text) before taking the shot.  That makes hunting much safer, but takes a little of the excitement out of it as well.  Now I feel like my father talking about walking up hill both ways in the snow when he had to go to school.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tree Update

The tree has been knocked over only once.  Jo was trying to do his leopard imitation.

Mostly it looks like this:

Or this:

There have been 3 or 4 territorial disputes for the right to camp under the tree.  At one point Athena and Joe were both there.  It was very touch and go.  Several boxing matches broke out.

I think we will wait to decorate the tree for just a little while.  I'm getting tired of saying "No Jo".

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lazy Day

It is nice today.  The temperature is in the mid 60s and it is bright and sunny.

I'm still not going shopping.  Those people are nuts.

We put the Christmas tree up this morning.  All three cats helped in their own uniquely unhelpful ways.

After it was up Jo parked his large body under the tree (which is sitting on top of our coffee table).  He has only been down to eat, drink and use the bathroom.  He goes right back when he is finished.

We have only had to say "No Jo!" about 50 times thus far.  Tomorrow we will trim the tree. That is when the real fun starts.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

This is the first Thanksgiving, in a very long time, that I will not have to work (or even have to worry about being called into work).  It is strange and very cool at the same time.

My pumpkin pies made it through the night without anyone walking or sitting on them.  Last year Jo decided to do that.  You can read that here if you missed it.

We are going to our friend's for lunch and then another family will be at our home for dinner.  We are also having cake for Deb's birthday.  This year her birthday actually lands on Thanksgiving.

That makes her 29 this year.  Yep.  Because I'll be 29 in a few months and she is older than me.  So yeah.  29...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Hate That Game

This morning Topaz (the oldest cat) woke me up to play her favorite game.  It is the "pounce the moving hand under the pile of blankets" game. 

There are two comforters and a heavy blanket protecting the moving hand.  She knows it is my hand and doesn't care.  She will pounce, jump and dig a the blankets in order to catch me.  She has no front claws and is very cute.  I love watching the 14 year old cat play like a kitten.

Enter Jo.  Yes, he is more or less a kitten still (mentally).  He also loves this game.  He is a good boy and waits until Topaz is done.  Then he pounces the pile of blankets.  He does this for a few minutes and then removes the top comforter with his (very much clawed) front paw.  The second one follows.  Now there is just the heavy blanket protecting my hand from Jo.  It is enough protection (it is doubled up).

Deb says something to me at this point and I look up.  Silly me.  I feel 4 or 5 very sharp Jo claws go into the bottom of my hand.  I yell in surprised pain.  Bottom?  I look and Jo's bottom is up in the air.  One front leg is cocked under him.  His head is tilted upside down and he has the other paw stretched out under the blanket to catch the offending hand.

Problem solving cat one.  Inattentive human zero.  I hate playing this game with him.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Facebook Laughes

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

Another Monday morning following yet another Redskins loss. Cowgirls fans are as annoying as ever; someone jacked my morning newspaper; and there is no milk for my CAP'N CRUNCH ... thank GOD I have a sense of humor. (LOL)

I couldn't help myself.  I had to reply to that.

I can live with the Redskins losing. The Giants lost so I can simpathize. I can even put up with the missing newspaper, but dude! Someone is getting whooped for milkless captain crunch!

Sometimes conversations like this help you stay close to the folks you don't see often.  I have had a ton of laughes with this man and it was fun to share in a little humor.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Job Same People

I've been part of the work force for over 20 years (we'll just leave it at that).  Most of my experience has been military, food service and information technology.

Food service is probably the most diverse group.  Young people, old people, middle aged people, dark skin, light skin and somewhere in between skin.  The attitudes are mostly the same.  Bad.  This is not always true, but food service is not usually the target job for most people.  So, most do not or will not give their all when working food service.

The military is also very diverse.  Every person is an individual and makes it a point to be that way, but, people in the military tend to be of similar mind sets.  Very few accept criticism well.  They will (usually) do what they are told when they are told to do it.  They will bitch the entire time they are doing it.  It is a job they love to hate.

IT, although diverse as far as age and skin color go, are the same from job to job.  I walked into my new job this morning and after 10 minutes I knew them.  I had worked with everyone of these people over the last 10 years.  Their faces were different, their names were different, but it was the same networking guy who knows everything.  He knows everything because he just "gets it".  There is the the guy/lady who runs around asking everyone else questions.  There are the two guys in the corner that answer all of the questions.  There are about 10 other stereotypes I could throw in, but you get it by now. 

It is a new job located in a different office.  All of the people are the same.  IT people are funny that way.  I guess that is why I love IT.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

They will drive me to an early grave

Yesterday morning I was in the kitchen for a couple of hours.  Making biscuits, eggs and bean soup for later in the day.  In the end I had one little burn on my finger from soup splashing on it.

Dearth was helping with dishes for a grand total of about 10 minutes in the kitchen.  During that time he managed to break a small bowl and get several cuts on the inside of his middle finger.  Nothing serious, but it did require a band aid.

Not to be outdone.  Deb is making milk shakes and using a cheap ceramic handled ice cream scoop for a total of about 5 minutes.  The handle breaks and she gashes her thumb.  It is a good one and probably could have used a few stitches, but she settled for wrapping it well and putting a splint on it (to keep it from reopening).

I ended up finishing the dishes, making the milkshakes and administering first aid.  If I didn't know any better I would think they did these things to stay out of the kitchen.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The morning after...

So my friend sent me a text this morning.  He left his bag at the gym and wanted me to sit with his two girls while he went over to get it (they were still sleeping).

I get dressed and walk out to get my shoes and jackets.  The living room (the location of shoes, jackets and the front door) is covered with sleeping bodies.  So I carefully step over the lot of them, get dressed and sit with the girls until my friend gets back.

When I return they are still in the same spots.  I normally make breakfast for everyone and today was no different.  We had pancakes the night before (we thought it would be fun) so I made biscuits.  Then I used to the metal ring, from the biscuit cutter, as a mold for the eggs.

Fresh cheese, egg and biscuit sandwiches.  I was a popular guy this morning.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Not sure what happened

A friend of a friend was desperate.  She has a new baby and a new puppy.  She was going back to PA for a visit and her mother did not want the puppy up there.  So the friend asked us to watch the poor puppy.

I'm thinking that Topaz would hunt the thing all weekend (she has done this with other small dogs).  Athena would probably pounce the puppy over and over (just to make sure everyone knew who was boss).  I expected Joe to be civil, unless the puppy decided to play with him.  Then it was up in the air.  Jo is as likely to play as he is to nom the puppy's head if that happened.

Then the lady calls.  She is stuck in traffic and called her Mom back.  She was all stressed out and had a very long drive.  Her mom caved in and is letting her bring the pup.

So we went from that to having four boys spending the night. 

And I thought the puppy was going to be chaotic.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I don't feel so bad now

I was actually a little cold today.  It was rainy and in the lower 40s.  It is supposed to be near freezing tonight.

This was getting me down a little bit.  I was really enjoying the sunny weather.  Then I went to facebook and someone posted this picture from earlier today.

It is amazing how fast someone else's misery can cheer me up.  I'm sorry if you are getting this weather up north, but better you than me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Score One for Home Tech Support

Deb has been without her Kindle (e-reader) for 4 days now.  It would not charge and then the screen froze up on her.  In her defense, she has tried multiple chargers and even followed the instructions for a hard reboot of the device.

Today she wanted me to talk to tech support for her. 

"Fine.  Get the number for me."

She had been attempting to do this without success.

"Go to google.com and search Kindle tech support."

She found the number almost instantly.  She said something unflattering and then used an option to have them call us.  The call came in just as she was handing the phone to me.

I spoke to a pleasant fellow named Dennis.  He asked me what the display was.  I told him that it was on the screen saying that it needed to be charged.  I also explained that we had tried several chargers without success.  I plugged it in as I was explaining this.  The charge light came on. 

I'm a hero.  I fixed the Kindle.  I thanked Dennis and he promised to call back tomorrow to make sure everything was ok.

Deb has a look of shock and disbelief on her face.  She straddles me (I'm sitting on the bed with my back to the wall) "I can't believe you just did that!"

I give her one of my most innocent looks "What?"

"I can't believe that stupid thing started charging as soon as you plugged it in!"

"You know Deb?  You are being pretty ungrateful.  I did just fix your Kindle."  I hold up the device.  "You see?  It is charging and it is no longer frozen."

She smacks my shoulder.  "That's not fair.  It was not working!"

"I know.  I'm awesome."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Last Overnight Shift

Tonight is the last overnight shift I have to work (for a long time).  I am moving to a new company.  My job there will be similar to what I do now.  The biggest difference is the opportunity to advance above and beyond the help desk.

Another benefit is that they are not a 24/7 help desk.  This means I get my weekends and holidays off and will never have to work later than 10pm or earlier than 7am.

All I have to do now is ride out the rest of this week.  This is going to be the longest week ever.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Secret Santa Fun

Have you ever participated in a Secret Santa?  Basically, a group of people buy gifts.  We generally set a minimum price and if someone wants to spend more than that it is up to them.

All of the gifts are wrapped and placed on a table.  Numbers are chosen randomly and then the number holders (in numerical order) choose a gift from the pile.  It is considered poor form to choose the gift you purchased. 

One of the places I worked at used to do this.  The funniest gift I ever saw was a pair of old men's underwear.  That's right.  Underwear. Old, whitey tighty men's underwear.  So old that there were wear holes and the fabric was slightly grey.

The person receiving the gift was perfect.  If I had to choose one person in the whole room to get that gift it would have been him.  He is very likable, but very spastic as well.  That means he is a lot of fun to get wound up. 

When he opened the gift it was priceless.  His jaw dropped slightly.  His eyes got real big.  You could see anger, disbelief, shock and just a little bit of amusement flash across his face. 


"Somebody gave me an old pair of drawers?"

There had to be at least 30 people at that party.  All of us were laughing.  Tears were streaming down my face.  He ranted for a good 5 minutes.

The gift giver happened to be a real good friend of his.  So, he did not go up to him until the party was almost over.  The gift giver's plan was to take the recipient out to eat (and he did eventually), but when his friend got the old underwear he dragged it out for as long as he could.

To this day I have never had so much fun during a Secret Santa.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nothing to do with Want

Friends and family are an important part of our life.  Being a friend and/or part of a family comes with responsibilities.  To us those responsibilities usually involve helping out when needed.

The help could mean babysitting or giving them a ride.  It could mean helping them move their entire house.  It might be acting as a sounding board for grievances.  We chip in when needed or asked (if it is possible).

It should also be noted that we do not do this because we want to.  We don't bust our asses for three days straight because we want you to like us more.  Listening to five screaming children on a Friday night is not what we consider a good time.  We do these things because you asked for or needed assistance. 

Want has nothing to do with it.  If you are a friend then you are part of the family.  If family needs help then we help. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Messing up the Routine

I worked the overnight shift last night.  I have to cover two more and then I am finished.

The cats waited for me, by the door, all night.  They are used to me coming home around 10:30pm, getting some attention and then going to bed with me and Deb.  I received three disapproving looks when I walked through the door at 7:30am.

All were given attention and all slept in the bed with me during the morning.  I must remember to ask permission when I change my schedule next time.

I can't handle the baleful glares.  They were most displeased.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I remember getting deployed for Somalia.  I got a tetanus shot in one arm and a yellow fever booster shot in the other.  I filled out a last will and testament and signed a letter of attorney for my wife.  There was a curtain at the end of the line.  It was about chest high and medics were back there.

"Drop your pants.  Left or right?"

"Excuse me?"

"You are on your way to Africa and you need the gamma globulin vaccine.  Left or right."

This particular vaccine is kept on ice and goes in like a gel.

"Doesn't matter.  Be gentle.  It's my first time."

He laughs.  It hurts.  I don't think he was very gentle. 

We left on a plane and we fly for over 10 hours.  More than half of us only sat on one cheek.

I remember working 30 straight days before getting a day off.  I was in Cairo Egypt.  This was the staging area for C-141s going to Somalia.  One of the locals exchanged pens with me for Christmas.  He got a much better pen.  It was probably his plan.  He was Muslim.

I remember starting at one end of the line, guiding planes into parking spots.  Once the line was full we would start refueling them.  The crews would board after we refueled and wait until the last one was finished.  Then we would launch all of them.  If there was time we would catch some sleep and then repeat the whole thing over again.  Three or four of us would handle about 7 planes at a time.

I remember the Major walking into our tent.  He looked around and pointed to our LT.

"Lieutenant!  Get some more cots in here.  There aren't enough for everyone to get a nap during down time."

"Yes sir!"

LT was cool.

I remember getting two Army Privates to help, me and another crew chief, charge up the hydraulic pumps.  This is a two man job that requires pumping a handle around 400 strokes.  The handle gets progressively harder to pump as it charges so we paired up and took turns.  After this was done I started the auxiliary power unit (a small jet engine located in the left wheel well) so the two soldiers would have heat and light while on guard duty.  I worked the overnight shift and it would drop down to near freezing.

I remember having to unclog a stopped toilet on one of the planes. No plunger. Only a rubber glove that reached to the shoulder.  I pulled a roll of toilet paper out.

I remember exchanging MRE recipes with a group of Marines.  They had more to offer than I did.  They ate a lot more of them than I did.

I remember chocking a C-141 and climbing up to take care of the paper work.

"Hey chief! Come give us a hand."

I look to the back and see a military casket covered with an American flag.  I assist another crew chief, two load masters and two cargo handlers.  We transfer the soldier to a waiting vehicle.

I do not remember the faces or names of any of the others.  I only remember the dead soldier.  I do not even remember his name.

I remember two crew chiefs and two load masters saluting the cargo vehicle as it left.  We were standing side by side on the ramp of the C-141.

I remember the vehicle disappearing into the fog as tears rolled down my face.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Waiting for the Light to Return

I'm still not used to it being dark by 5:30pm.  There are a lot of windows in my office and I think it is later than it is.

I asked a co-worker what he was doing here so late and he replied that it was only 5:45.  Damnit!  I thought it was like 7.

I start my shift at 2pm so the darkness makes the work day seem much longer. 

I have worked a lot of overnight shifts, but I am still not a troll (or a vampire if you prefer).  I like the daylight and I can not wait until it returns.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Strange Call

Today I received one of those phone calls that come so infrequently that you never forget them.  I went through my opening script and the first thing out of this ladies mouth was "Do you speak German?"

OK folks.  Fasten your seat belts.  This is going to be fun.

I work for a large newspaper company and we only support employees of the company.  She was not an employee and must have called a lot of general company numbers before someone gave up and passed her to us.

Once I confirmed that we had no one on the desk that spoke German she said she would do her best with her poor English.  She struggled, but did pretty well. 

Evidently she has been following this Michael Jackson trial, from Munich Germany, and is very upset with the outcome.  Michael was a big boy and made his own choices.  Why should the doctor be punished for this?  It took her about 10 minutes to say all of this.  I listened very closely and added appropriate guttural noises when necessary (hmmm, mmmhmmm, oooo, etc...).  After she finished she repeated everything in rapid fire German. Then we talked about the time and weather in our respective cities and we parted ways.  I guess the only thing she wanted to do was vent her opinion, on this issue, to a citizen of the United States. I never did tell her that I had no opinion on the topic and didn't care in the slightest.

Now I have an amusing story to share with others.  That call was priceless.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

email fun

A user was having password problems with one of the "off the wall" applications some of them use.  I sent it to the local techs and they sent it back telling me that they have no idea who takes care of this application.

I called the customer back and she tells me that it was ok.  She just used the "forgot my password" tool and everything was good to go now.

I emailed the onsite tech:

It's ok. She hit the "forgot my password" and everything is good now.  I feel like a Catholic Priest trying to weasel a confession out of these people.

Have a nice night!

His reply was classic.

Part of the job my son...

Now gimme 3 Hail Mary's

Our job requires a sense of humor.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hair Cuts

Dearth and I went to get haircuts.  I was getting a little shaggy and Dearth needed a trim badly.

"But, Daaad I don't want to get it cut."  I replied "You don't have to get it all chopped off, but I am getting tired of you looking like one of the Lorax's trees."

"So have them trim it or I swear I'll spray paint it pink and make you wear a fake moustache."

Mom would have liked it shorter, but it did look more like hair when the stylist was finished.  His only comment was "I liked her.  She didn't talk much."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quick Laughs

I was adjusting Deb's back.  To do this she sits on the floor and crosses her arms in front of her chest.  I put one arm on her back, lean her back to the floor and press down on her arms with my upper body.  Her head tilts back when we do this.  So I lean her back and Jo was sitting there.  Just as I go to press down Jo leans in and licks her on the mouth.  The adjustment didn't happen.  We were laughing too hard.

We are at our friend's house playing cards.  Both of the women are eating suckers.  At one point it gets a tad loud (there was no background noise).  The husband looks at them both and says "Man I wish I were a sucker right now."  The sound changes to loud crunching sounds.

What would bloggers do without pets, family and friends?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Life with Cats

There are certain things you must get used to when living with cats.  Some are annoying others amusing and almost all of them are amusing to others.

  • There is no such thing as privacy.  They can and will open doors, crawl under covers and put there face in almost anything you have going on.
  • They will sit on anything you are reading and have a knack for finding the one article you are looking at on a huge newspaper. Kindles are not an exception to this rule.
  • If you fall asleep you will normally wake up with one or more cats on top of you.
  • The warmer it is the more cats you will find on top of you.
  • Pet a cat and it will walk away.  If you are putting your socks or shoes on they will want a ton of attention.
  • Can openers are also dinner bells.
  • Nothing in the entire world can get as comfortable as a cat.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Conversation with Dad

Several years ago my father passed away. The number of years really doesn’t matter. He is still very much alive in my memories.

I wish I could say this was an idea I came up with, but it wasn’t. I was first introduced to this concept when I read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five.

When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is 'So it goes.' (2.7.3)

I had such a difficult time coming to terms with my father’s death that I adopted this mind set. I don’t take it to the extremes that the main character (Billy) does, but I like the idea of having our loved ones with us all of the time.

This particular conversation took place while I was helping Dad rebuild a lawnmower engine. By help I mean he told me what to do and I did it. The subject was a reoccurring theme. He was telling me how stupid he was because he only had a 9th grade education.

After saying this he took the wrench from my hand “No you have to do it like this. See?” I had been fighting with that task for 3 minutes. He finished the task (and made it look easy) in about 10 seconds.

Dad then began telling me how much smarter I was than him. I had a high school diploma and a college degree. I worked on computers (in his mind this made me a lot smarter than him).

Me: “Oh, Jesus Christ Dad. If you are dumb, then you are the smartest dumb person I’ve ever met!”

Dad: “What?”

Me: “Look. I fix computers. You fix small engines (as a hobby). I’m just a different kind of mechanic. Do you want to know what the biggest difference between us is?”

Dad: “No. What?”

Me: “When you fix an engine it usually works better when you are done. When I fix a computer there is a 50/50 chance that I’ll have to scrap the whole damn thing.”

At the time this was the truth. Dad got a good laugh out of that. Since then my fix/trash ratio has improved. He was also pretty good about not calling himself dumb after that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spicy Puffed Rice

An Indian friend of ours gave me a sandwich bag full of spicy puffed rice today.  It is very addictive.




All of the things I love in a snack food.

I looked up the recipe online and there were thousands of them.  Most agree upon the puffed rice, chili powder, salt, turmeric and curry leaves.  All of these were in our friend's version.

After a few small handfuls my mouth goes a bit numb from the chilies.  I love that.  The only time it is an issue is after the third or fourth handfuls.  It starts to get a little hot after that.

If you decide to try one of the recipes make small batches.  It is addictive and you will eat it all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sometimes a little white lie is ok

Yesterday my son asked if he could go with his girlfriend to help her study.  Deb asked him what subject.


Evil look.

Slightly panicked "No really.  We really are studying Anatomy."

This is one of the few times I would encourage a little white lie; Science, English, Geography, The History of Peanut Growing in Georgia.  Any one of these would be a much better answer than Anatomy.

Just saying.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It is finally cooling off in Virginia

I woke up around 4am this morning. I needed to use the bathroom. I also noticed that I was cold. It has cooled off quite a bit and the blankets are actually needed. We still have not turned the heater on. It isn’t that cold yet.

When I returned from the bathroom I discovered why I was cold. Jo was wrapped up in my blanket and left only enough to cover my shoulders. His back was to me, so I put my very cold feet under the blanket and on his back. It was nice and warm. He got up moved to another spot after about 10 seconds. Score one for me.

Two hours later I was on my way to work.  Jo was wrapped back up in my blanket.  Life isn't fair sometimes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I'll be at work, but you all have fun!

Next month is National Blog Posting Month.  I think that I will go for it and see if I can post every day during November.  So watch for the posts.

I'll probably go insane trying this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Peanut Butter sandwich with fried Marshmallows

Have you ever had a sandwich for dessert? Try this.

Spread your favorite kind of peanut butter on two slices of bread. The thicker you spread the peanut butter the messier the sandwich will be. I put it on fairly thin.

Heat up a skillet and melt enough butter to coat the bottom.

Take four large marshmallows and place them in the pan (flat side down). These will mushroom out and get slightly brown. When this happens you can flip them over to the other flat side. This is the last time you will be able to touch them with your fingers. Once this side mushrooms out knock them to their sides. I like to use two forks for this. Try to brown the marshmallows all the way around. It goes pretty quick once you knock them over.

Once the marshmallows are browned use the two forks to place all four of them on one of the slices of bread. Squish them all together with the other slice and enjoy.

It should be noted that the hot marshmallows have properties similar to napalm and Greek fire. If you touch one it will stick to you. It will burn and it is there to stay. Licking hot marshmallow off of the above mentioned forks or a finger will burn your tongue. There is my “I told you so” message for the day.

Hot marshmallows cool pretty fast once they are smashed in the sandwich. They are only dangerous in and immediately out of the pan.

You may be wondering. How did you come up with this?

I had a craving for a marshmallow fluff and peanut butter sandwich. I don’t know why. We never keep fluff in the house. We just don’t eat it that often. We did have marshmallows though. I got it on the first try. I used too much peanut butter the first time and it dripped all over the plate and made a mess. It is outrageously good though.

If you try this please respond to the post. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

All out of "give a shit"

A customer calls me this morning around 7am.  He is livid because his computer is running slow and no one will fix it. This has been an on going issue.  He has rebooted several times (this only slows things down for the first 20 to 30 minutes) and nothing will run.  He shouldn't have to come in to work and wait that long for his computer to function properly.  He ranted on for about 5 minutes.  There is nothing I can do to help him directly.  I open a ticket for the local technicians.  I also note that there is an open ticket for this issue, but I open another one anyways.  This sends an email notification to the customer and usually makes them feel like something has been accomplished.
He called me back about 3 minutes later and demanded that I send someone to fix his computer immediately.  " Call somebody at home if you have to!"  He was really busting my balls.  I calm him down the best I could and attempt to contact someone at his location (knowing full well that no one will be there until at least 9am). 
As a help desk technician am not supposed to take things personally.  This is much more difficult that most people realize.  When someone questions your integrity and starts demanding things you can not do it is almost impossible.  We are human to. 
Now I am fired up so I check the ticket history.  It turns out that the local techs did try to help him, but he wouldn’t let any of them troubleshoot the issue.  He kept telling them to fix it after business hours.  Most of them work the same hours as him.  Those that work later have other things that are a priority and do not have time to help him. 
I’m sorry sir.  I’m all out of “give a shit" now.  Have a nice day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Read a Book or Re-Read a Good Book

When I served in the Air Force a good friend of mine owned a lot of books. Some of these he would read over and over. It took me a long time to understand why. I even questioned him about it on occasion. Well Nick, I understand and I do it myself now.

I read books like some people watch movies. If I like them I will read them again. I like to revisit the stories and the characters. After a while they become old friends. The Hobbit is one of these books. I read it at least once a year. Ender’s Game is another, but this book has a tendency to grow legs and disappear from my collection . I purchase a new copy every other year or so and I am happy to do so. I would rather see a child curled up on the couch reading than playing video games (and I like video games as much as the next child).

Now that I think about it there are a lot of books I like to re-read. I think it is almost to the point where I find it more difficult to read something new (unless it is written by an author I like).

I was reading one of my favorite sci-fi action adventure novels a few days ago. Deb walks in and looks at the book “How many times are you going to read that book?” I shrug “until I get tired of it.” She rolls her eyes and walks away. She knows I won’t get tired of it.

This book is not particularly well written, but the story is about a battle of epic proportions. The characters are larger than life. The villains are larger than life. The book is a complete escape from reality. This is why I read it. It is also why I will read it again.

I read to “escape from it all”. If I want reality I will turn on the news or read a paper.

I re-read books. Some perverse part of my brain is hoping that this character won’t step on the landmine this time or maybe that character will not get eaten by the dragon when he goes into that cave again. That very same part of my brain is eagerly waiting for that same character to dance on the landmine or hand the dragon some ketchup first.

If you have never read a book twice then do yourself a favor. Go find a book you really enjoyed. Read it again. You may find that you have forgotten a lot of things that made the story fun when you read it the first time. I bet you like it just as much the second time as you did the first.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodbye Irene

Irene has come and gone. The only thing my son is certain of is that the Amish life style sucks.

We lost power just as the outer edge of Irene hit us. Thirty hours later power returned. Just in time to save our frozen food.

We opened the living room shades, turned our chairs around to face the windows and listened to the radio. The bedroom windows had to be checked on occasion. There was a slight problem with poor installation. It was nothing an old curtain could not soak up.

Books were read and games were played. Three cats and three humans watched Irene blow away. I cooked by flash light and we ate with the light from outside. We went to sleep with the howling wind as a lullaby. When we woke Irene was gone.

Our apartment complex is surrounded by huge pine trees. All of them survived. The area was covered with pine cones, branches and the long slender needles that these trees have. We opened all of the windows and the smell of pine filled the apartment.

Branches were moved and the sidewalk was swept clear. The vehicles were checked. We even went to the smoothie shop where Deb works and helped them prepare for customers. They did not lose power so no inventory was lost. They got busy fast when people realized they were open. The owner fed us and we enjoyed the air conditioned dining room when we were finished.

It could have been much worse. As it was several people lost their lives during the storm. It may be selfish, but I am glad it was nobody I knew.

Friday, August 26, 2011

She is on her way...

It is Friday morning and I have been called in early. A few of my coworkers are on vacation and others have been evacuated. I am here to help cover the missing people.

Downtown Norfolk is empty. There are cars on the road. There are people on the streets and in the buildings. However, there are even more cars that are not on the road and many people who are not on the street or in the buildings.

I was able to park on the 5th floor in the parking garage. That is unheard of at 11am on a Friday morning. Normally I would be on the roof (the 7th floor) hoping to find an open spot.

The sky is overcast. It is hot and humid. There is next to no wind. She will be here tomorrow.

Irene is coming.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kill Them All! With kindness. :)

Sometimes our customers are a tad irrational.

Me: Thank you for calling Computer Support. May I have your last name please?

Caller: I need you to reset my password. (She sounded very angry)

Me. Ok. Which password would you like me to reset?

Caller: My password to sign on to the computer. (A little exasperated)

Me: I would be happy to do that. What is your last name?

Caller: (Very angry now) WHY DO YOU KEEP ASKING FOR MY NAME!? Why can’t you people just reset the stupid password? You don’t need to make a damn ticket for every call. (Actually, we do)

Me: Ma’am. We have over 10,000 employees. I suppose I could, randomly, start resetting passwords. It would make a lot of people angry. I may even get lucky and reset yours. That could take me a long time though. It would be much faster if I actually knew the name of the person I had to reset the password for.

At this point she gave me her information. She was never polite.

Some people wake up in the morning and are pissed off because they are still sucking in air. I am extra polite to them. It makes them even angrier.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I need a vacation from my vacation

All last week we visited our (mine and Deb's) home town.  It is a little town located in New York state.  Ripley, NY boarders Pennsylvania and sits on the shore of Lake Erie.  It is a beautiful place to visit.

We had a great time.  Debra's parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  The next day we went to a Pittsburg Pirates game.  The third day we took a break.  The rest of the week we spent time with my family (they live in the same town) and hers.  The week was topped off with a reunion and we left directly for Virginia after that.  Returning to work was almost more relaxing than my vacation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Instant messaging fun with my son

I started this instant messaging conversation with my son on a Saturday afternoon.  He had spent the night at a friend's house and was still there.

Me:  You are going to church with us tomorrow.

Dearth:  Didn't really plan on it

Me:  It was a statement not a question.  If you look closely you will find a period after the word "tomorrow".

Dearth:  Oh yeah I just read the first word wrong lol

Me:  Yes, the "you" comes before the "are" in my statement. ;p

Dearth:  Damn :p

He went to church the next day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wow. That month went by in a blur.

We moved a couple of weeks ago. Not far. Two blocks, but we are saving a few hundred dollars a month with the slight down-size.

This apartment is downstairs (bonus), but is missing two half baths. We can deal with that.

The cats did not like the move, but they have more window space to look out now. So, they are over it.

After almost a month without internet we finally have that again. It may not be vital, but you can sure miss it.

This apartment complex also has a pool. It is just a short walk from our front door and is very nice on the warm days. Ha! I made it sound like there were cool days during the Virginia summer. What I meant to say is it is nice on days it does not rain.

Last weekend we helped a couple of good friends paint the inside of the home they are trying to sell. Another person helping them was Terry. He’s been a professional painter for 30 years. I learned more about painting in two days than I have in all of the odd painting jobs I’ve done over the years. He only took the paint roller away a few times. Terry had a habit of making you feel slow though. Watching that man “cut” (do the edging) with a 4 inch brush was amazing. Not only was he faster than the rest of us he was also less messy (and we were using smaller brushes).

To top everything off tomorrow is our 20th wedding anniversary. I’ve been married to my lovely wife Debra for 20 years. I still remember saying “I do”. I’ll admit that the memory is a bit fuzzy.

That reminds me. I still owe her a proposal. I never really asked her to marry me. I gave her the ring and we just sort of agreed upon it. Fortunately my romance skills have improved over the past 20 years.

Happy anniversary Debra. I love you very much.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Never Dare God

We've been getting a rash of storms over the last few days.  It will be bright and sunny one moment and five minutes later the sky darkens and rain falls in sheets.

Deb and I were leaving a store and it was already raining.  I asked her if she wanted me to get the car and meet her at the door.  I'm a good husband and I do things like that. 

"No.  I won't melt".

We took about ten steps and God tried.  The rain fell in buckets and we were both soaked by the time we got into the car.

"You just had to say it didn't you?"

"Shut up."

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Conclusion

I have decided that I am not the best choice for visits to the doctor’s office. Not when surgical procedures are going to be done.

I took Dearth to the foot specialist today. He had to have an ingrown toenail removed. This is not the first time, so the doctor cut it out and then burn it with acid (so it would not grow back). Dearth didn’t want to go alone (I don’t blame him) so I went back with him.

We both made it through the needles, but when he started cutting poor Dearth went pale. He told the doctor that he was not feeling well and the doctor leaned him back. I was trying not to look, but I did when he said that. There he was, missing a third of his toe nail and a stick jammed into the open area. I assume this was so the acid could be place more carefully. I broke out into a cold sweat and prayed to God that I wouldn’t pass out. Both of us made it without passing out, but it was close.

The doctor was really good about the whole thing. He told us to take our time and brought us water. He handed the water to me even though nothing had been said about me almost passing out. I drank some. It helped.

Deb is going to have to handle those types of appointments from now on. I can only pass out so many times in a decade. It is a personal rule. It is also my story and I’m sticking to it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Papa Joe

Deb’s grandfather passed away. We spent a few days in West Virginia for the funeral. He was a pretty amazing man.

Farming was his life and that is what most people remember him for, but he also spent two years in the Army. He served under General Patton (I even heard him refer to the General as “Old Blood and Guts”).

Papa Joe earned the Bronze Star and had a short list of very impressive campaign medals for his service. Of the twenty years I knew him I can only remember him talking about his service once.

His life was centered around family and God. Don’t mess with his family and don’t argue to him about God. The first will go poorly for you and the later will be a waste of your time (you just won’t win).

I had the honor to be one of the pallbearers and we laid him to rest in a beautiful cemetery in the hills of West Virginia. It is where he grew up and it is a fitting resting place for him. We will miss him. Rest in peace Papa Joe.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Damn it…

We need to cover an overnight shift for a Friday night. This means the person covering is working until 7am Saturday morning.

My boss emails me wanting me to work 6pm to 5am (my normal shift is 6pm to 2am). He was thinking that the normal 5am person would be in. I reminded him that it was a Saturday and no one would be in until 7am. Here is his reply:

What I will do is let you off early next Thursday probably around 10 or 11pm and you can come in at   8pm for the Friday shift and work until 7am person arrives.

I know it will be a long shift and I appreciate that fact that you can handle it for me.

Let’s talk about this when I get in tonight



Can I work that please?

Here is my reply to that:

Oh that was well written.

What can I say? He’s a good boss. I’ll be working that Friday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snuggle Fest

We finally replaced our old bed for a new king sized one. It is refreshing to not get elbowed in the head or ribs when one of us moves.

The morning after the second night (of having the new bed) I wake up feeling a little claustrophobic. Athena is snuggled up to my neck. Joe is across my thighs and Topaz is sleeping on my feet. I reach out and I do not feel Deb. I look and she is there, but out of reach. There is room for another body between us. Where do the cats sleep? On me. What the Hell? I’m not even the one who gets cold.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

That which has been heard cannot be unheard

I was walking past the rest rooms at our local Walmart. A cute girl in her early twenties comes bouncing out and sits on her boyfriend’s lap. She looked very please with herself.

She giggles and leans over close to her boyfriend’s ear. “I just dropped a deuce in the Walmart restroom.” She laughs out loud.

She could have at least made an attempt to keep her voice down. Maybe even whisper.

I understand that this is a bodily function all humans do. I also understand that women/girls talk to their friends like this (privately). I would even expect to overhear something like this in a dorm. Not in public though.

I didn’t want to know that. I could have gone the rest of my life without hearing it. That would have made me happy.

Men like to think of women as sugar and spice. We like to spoil them and treat them as something special. We know you can talk like a sailor, but normally we do not want to hear it. Please don’t shatter our illusions of you. Thank you on behalf of most men.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Messages on Valentine’s Day

Son: Are we doing anything today? (He is messaging me from school)

Me: I am taking Mom out. We have chicken nuggets in the fridge for you.

Me: We have reservations for 5:30.

Son: Lol sweet chicken nuggets

The sad thing is he meant it. He would have hated the restaurant we went to and chicken nuggets are a treat not a staple in the house.

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ungratefulness, they have it.

I finally got off of the overnight shift. Instead of working 9pm to 7am I now work 6pm to 2am. It is almost a normal shift.

When I worked the overnight shift I would walk through the door around 7:30am. All of the four legged members of the family would meet me at the door. All of them would be looking for attention.

Now I get home about 2:30am. When I come through the door there is no one. Not a sound. I go upstairs and one cat is sleeping on or near Deb’s feet (sometimes he is in the small of her back). One cat (Athena) is sleeping on my pillow and Topaz is crashed in the middle of my spot on the bed (if she isn’t lying in the entrance to the bedroom). All of them will give up some of their space to make room for me, but it is grudging. All of them give me the “why are you interrupting our sleep” look.

They are a group of ungrateful monsters.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Statue of Superman

This is a fond memory of mine and a favorite story to tell.

We, Debra, Dearth and myself, were driving by a very large cemetery. Dearth was 3 or 4 at the time and was sitting in his car seat in the back.

“Daddy! Daddy! Look! Look! Is that a statue of Superman?”

Debbie and I both look. There, standing with arms raised above his head, was a large statue of Jesus.

Deb looked at me and I didn’t even hesitate.

“Yes son. Yes it is.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life, as we know it, stops when the email servers go down

All Hell breaks loose when the email servers go down. It is like Armageddon. People stop thinking and just call the help desk.

Typically this is how it goes.

First call:

Me: “Thank you for calling computer support how may I help you.”

Customer: “My email isn’t working.”

We go through various troubleshooting steps and during this time I hear similar calls being received by co-workers. Now we know there is a company-wide problem and we contact the email team. This information is relayed to the customer.

Customer: “Is there an estimated time of completion for this?”

Me: “They just found out about it and probably do not know what the problem is yet.”

Customer: “So no?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Will you send me an email when this is fixed?”

Me: “I would be happy to.”

The customer hangs up before realizing that he just asked me to contact him via the same system that is broken. They make me laugh. I have the phone number and will call him back when it is fixed.

The next 5 to 10 customers goes something like this.

Me: “Thank you for calling computer support how may I help you?”

Customer: “I’m trying to log into my email and it is not letting me.”

Me: “Yeah we are having a problem with the system right now and the email team is working on the problem.”

Usually the will say ok and hang up or ask if there is an estimated time of completion. My sense of humor starts to kick in after the 10th caller or so.

Me: “Thank you for calling computer support how may I help you?”

Customer: “I’m trying to log into email.”

Me: “Yeah. That probably isn’t working for you.” or “How’s that going for you?”

I normally use this as a way of lightening an ugly situation. People are never happy when email goes down.

Customer: “How am I supposed to contact my publisher if email is down?”

Me: “Does your publisher have a phone number?”

Saying things like that will often get you accused of being a smart ass. You must be very careful to keep the tone of your voice neutral. It is also important to keep a hand close to your headset microphone. Laughing co-workers are a dead give-away.

Understand that we, as a help desk, are not unsympathetic to the customers. We honestly want to help them fix their problems. Our reasons range from honestly wanting to help the person to helping them so I do not have to talk to that stupid asshole anymore. It is in our best interest to resolve problems quickly.

That being said, I like it when people do not call me. It means everything is working or our phone system has broken and we haven’t noticed yet. Either way I get paid the same amount of money.

Oh, and by the way, we do not change your passwords just so you have to call us for help. I get paid whether I speak to you or not. My goal is to never talk to you and I sure as hell would not do something, on purpose, to make you call me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fun with Joe

I was sitting on the couch trying to wake up after getting out of bed and coming downstairs. I had a nice cup of coffee and the world was just coming into focus.

Joe decided to hop up beside me and play his very favorite game. I don’t indulge him too often because his favorite game usually ends with me bleeding in many places. He loves to be roughed up.

The game starts with him lying on his back beside me, stretching a paw out and extending his claws to touch my body. The claw does no real damage and is simply a challenge. It is an invitation to touch his stomach. If you dare the game is on. I will put my hand on his tummy and pull it away fast. When he guards his stomach too closely I grab his face and spin him around. Eventually I am not quick enough and he wraps my hand and arm up with all five pointy ends latched on. The next five minutes are spent trying to minimize the damage he is about to inflict. It is a lot like trying to pull burdocks off of a cotton gloves without removing the gloves from your hands. He doesn’t bite hard enough to break skin and the claws only grab hold (they do pierce though). As long as you don’t jerk back you will not get any serious injuries. With me he is a little rougher than anyone else and the game is pretty spirited. It ends when I am forced to grab his back legs and lift him until he lets go with the other claws and his teeth. I sounds much worse than it is. I was definitely the loser. Both hands and forearms have multiple new scratches and marks from his teeth.

I finish my coffee and go upstairs to take a shower. I had to go to work.

I step into the nice hot water hoping that it will finish waking me up. I’m still a little out of it. I grab my son’s shower gel, (one of the Axe variants) lather up and my arms start burn. I look down and my arms are covered in the red shower gel. It has the same color as blood and (under the shower) about the same look. Holy crap! Joe hit an artery. This all goes through my mind in a flash. The adrenaline jump starts me into full consciousness and I have a good laugh.

I really have got to stop letting Joe sucker me into that game when I’m still waking up. It is not good for my heart.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Don't do it!

Deb and I were selling smoothies, for a fund raiser, at one of the local middle schools. The kids buy the smoothies with their lunches. We show up with around 300 premade smoothies and then we make another 100 to 200 to keep up with demand.

We are there for the entire lunch period which comes in about 6 waves. There is a short rest period in between each wave of children. It is a hard 3 to 4 hours.

During one of these breaks I’m standing beside Deb and I put my arm around her. I behave myself and my hand rests lightly on her hip. She looks at me “You can’t do that. That is sexual harassment.” I wave my left hand at her “I have my get out of sexual harassment ring on.” I resist the urge to grab her bottom. Regardless, I get smacked upside the head for it.

We’ve been married for 20 years this coming anniversary. We anticipate each other’s reactions and have a pretty good idea what the response to any given question/action will be. I should have grabbed her bottom.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days?

I brushed my teeth without incident, but when I was shaving I nicked myself. This was not discovered until I took a shower and applied soap to the injured area.

The shower is finished and I open the shower curtain to find out that I left my towel hanging on the door. I have to step out of the shower onto the bare floor to get it. I’m OCD about some things and this is one of them. I hate stepping out of a shower wet. It really bothers me. I like to dry off before stepping out.

Having gotten past the OCD crisis I put on my deodorant. I raise my left arm and apply the deodorant with my right hand. The top of the deodorant pops off and plops into the toilet. I reach down and flush the toilet. I am not sticking my hand in there.

I open the bathroom door and step out onto Topaz’s tail. The yowl of pain start just before my foot landed on her tail. I jerked my foot back, lost my balance and went shoulder first into the wall. Topaz darted off without being touched. Heart pounding, shoulder throbbing I reach my room.

I yank a shirt off of a hanger. The plastic hanger retaliates by snapping off of the metal bar and hitting me in the forehead. I take my time and get dressed without hurting myself or breaking anything.

I would like to say that my bit of bad luck ended there, but it didn’t. I made myself a cup of coffee and managed to scald my hand when I picked the cup up quickly. The hot liquid sloshed over the top and onto my hand. Then I took a big sip of the same cup of coffee that just scalded my hand. Yep, I scalded my tongue and mouth also.

Life is just hundreds of little things stacked on top of one another. Every now and then the stack teeters and falls. Don’t forget to duck when that happens.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stupid Global Warming

The last week has been interesting. It began to snow on the 26th and did not stop until the 27th. When it was done we were covered in about a foot of the nasty cold stuff. Not only did we get buried, but now I had to eat a great big piece of karma pie.  My Mother and Sister cheerfully served that up to me as they pointed out that we have had more snow in Virginia then they have in New York this year.

Dearth spent the night at our friend’s house so I took the pickup truck to go get him. The snow was still coming down pretty hard when I arrived and I pulled into the drive way without thinking. There is a large dip in the front of their driveway. The pickup is rear wheel drive. When the front of the truck went into the dip the back tires could not get enough traction to move it out. I had my friend jump in the driver’s seat and Dearth and I try to push it out. Just as we were about to start my boss calls my cell. He needs me to cover for the other over night guy. He is snowed in and cannot make it in. My boss is from the same general location of NY that I am. He also knows that I am not afraid to drive in the snow. I tell him that I will go in after I get the truck unstuck and get a short nap (it was supposed to be my day off). Two of my friend’s neighbors lend us their backs and we get the truck unstuck. I didn’t get the nap.

I make it to work and find that one of the city plows had done the same thing that I did with the pickup. To add to his pain three more plows were there to help. That entertained me for a few hours as I watched them try to get the big truck unstuck. I didn’t even know the city had that many plows. Of course they do not know how to plow. Single tracks down the middle of three lane roads, unplowed exit ramps and long lines of snow piles in the road are just a few of the things you can look forward to when they plow. When I tried to leave the next morning three lines of snow about a foot and a half high were in front of the parking garage exit. I did my best Dukes of Hazard impression coming out of the garage. I got a little bit of air, plowed through the snow and fish tailed as I made my escape. I only regret not having a horn that played Dixie.

You may remember that I said that I didn’t even own a snow shovel? Well I don’t. So I had to use the small flat shovel in my shed. I used it to shovel off our front sidewalk and three of my neighbor’s. The shovel is about half the length of a typical snow shovel. This means that I was bent over for the entire time. On top of that it is made of metal. It is excellent for breaking up the ice, but snow sticks to it. To keep the snow from sticking I had to give the shovel a pretty hard snap to shake the snow off of each scoop. The next day was painful. I could hardly stand up straight. I’m sure there were some muscles that weren’t tender, but I couldn’t find them. After the sun dried up the little bit I missed, maintenance came by and salted the nice dry sidewalk (morons).

It has warmed up again. I only needed a sweat shirt to go outside today and most of the snow is melted away. Hopefully that will be the last of it for some years.  Happy New Year everyone!