Friday, April 29, 2005

How Old is That Paper Shredder?

Yesterday the whole family spent almost two hours in a lawyer's office hashing out who gets what if we, well, you know.

Our lawyer told me our appointment would take about an hour. I knew that's about how much time Allie and Julia would grant us before they started shredding the guy's office. Plus, I didn't have much choice in the matter. I suppose I could have hired a babysitter but I have faith in our daughters.

The girls did great. The lawyer had to speak over some minor whining and toddler babble every now and again. An empty water bottle got tossed around his office a little, but for the most part we were able to conduct business.

Then we hit minute 61.

Julia indicated it was time to go by shitting her pants. The office suddenly smelled like the vent pipe on a portalet. Not much we could do about it so the three adults pressed on. Allie sat under the guy's desk, at our feet and tried desperately to get our attention.

"Daddy. Daddy. Daddy."


"Mommy. Mommy. Mommy."


"Daddy. Daddy. Daddy."

And so on.

Julia went to the lawyer's file cabinet and decided he knew the drawer (the one at just her height) contained files R-Z and no longer needed a label. Once she'd taken care of that, Julia left us and went out in the hall. Allie went after her. Suddenly a paper shredder with a missing safety guard popped into my head and I dragged both kids back into the smelly office. We closed the door. This intensified the scent of Julia's waste.

It got louder and smellier from there. The lawyer kept a pleasant look on his face the entire time. Even when he said, "I basically know what you're after here. I'll draw up some papers and mail them to you for you to look over." The unspoken message we received was, "Please take your loud, fidgety children (particularly the one with the shit-scented Airwick in her pants) and leave so I can go home, find a reputable odor removal service and pour myself a scotch or three."

I'm guessing we'd better look this stuff over very carefully before we sign.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

They Are Used to the Good Cheese Now

Our friend Gris is working to raise money for MS research.

Gris is truly an awful person. This means if he's willing to put any effort at all toward raising money for this cause then it genuinely deserves our attention.

I gave $25.

I thought that was okay and then along comes Bill & Susan Reilly. I don't know who Bill & Susan are but they gave $125.

I gave $25.

That's less than $125.

Could someone please help me make up the difference? I have two girls that demand I serve them really good string cheese (the regular stuff just won't do). Do you know how much that crap costs? It's expensive!

Here's a link to help you get started:
Click here to contribute to the MS Walk on Gris' behalf!
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

There was a time when Gris had his own Web site and could have posted this information there. Then, all of a sudden, he decides to devote his free time to other "more important" things like his family, his career, community service and helping his niece raise money for important, life-saving research. . .

Uh, I'd better go now. I've got to go clean up a park or give blood or something. . .

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

They Also Call it Smack

I scraped the car with the garbage can this morning.

Two big scratches in the side.

It was entirely preventable and yet I allowed it to happened. The car will probably rust prematurely and I'm sure I depreciated it's value by a couple grand.

The scratches will become a huge contributor to my already foul mood and bad attitude. Eventually this will lead to me being let go at work. After we've exhausted our savings I might be lucky enough to land a job interview. The person deciding my fate will see me get out of my scratched-up Pontiac. He/she will decide right there and then that I'm not the kind of person they want in his/her organization. That's when I'll get my first taste of heroin. I'll become a junkie and start selling the girls' toys so I can ride the white dragon.

This entire scenario will play itself out in a two month period. So if you're looking for bargains on Barbies and Leap Pad modules, give me a call in early July.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Why I No Longer Wear Pooka Shells

Last year I called up an old friend I haven't contacted in years and I asked him, "How ya livin' these days?"

This is something I don't usually ask people. I think I heard someone say it on TV earlier in the day. It sounded good when they said it. It didn't sound so good coming out of my mouth.

When I asked my old friend this question he paused and fumbled around a little like I'd thrown him a set of wet dentures. I may have imagined it, but it seemed like his tone shifted. Suddenly I couldn't help but feel as if he was waiting for me to try to sell him Amway products or offer to send him a copy of The Watchtower.

I felt embarrassed. He was polite and cheerful but it was obvious he was glad his parents had come to visit. They provided a legitimate excuse to get off the phone. He was eager to drop the dentures I had thrown him and go wash his hands.

I left him with a number and an email address. I'm not sure why.

I'm guessing this is just another evening when there's not a lot on TV so I find myself reliving humiliating events from my past. I was thinking about the call to my old friend while simultaneously remembering the look on the faces of three really good looking girls as I spit beer on them from my first (and failed) beer bong.

Then there's the time I was at the Elk's Club with my grandparents when I was six. A guy came up to me and asked me if I was a boy or a girl. I had long hair and pooka shells on so in retrospect I really can't blame him. However it was obvious he was not a Partridge Family fan.

Uh oh. Here comes the memory of being shoved off a dance floor by a really pretty girl. I had stomped on her feet one too many times. What's more I wasn't even drunk. She was pissed but still looked cute in her toga.

Oh wait, another one. In high school I was introduced to a snooty doctor's wife in their home. I didn't get off the couch when she came into the room. She asked me, "Do you stand?" I had always prided myself on my manners so when she caught me in this faux pas I felt really awful. I'm guessing my face must have been really red by the time she left the room. She probably felt as if she had taught me a valuable lesson in manners. The truth is all she did was make me want to go crap in the passenger's seat of the new Corvette her husband had just shown me.

There's more. There's oh so much more but I think I'll stop here and go to bed. I'm sure I'll dream about mistaking a guy's girlfriend for his mother (I actually did that one), or nude public speaking (I'm sure that one's coming sooner or later).

Friday, April 15, 2005

Sincerely, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Today I gave my credit card information to someone named Ellen in Paris. I'm usually not nervous about this sort of thing. I've had nefarious charges attributed to my card number before. The credit card company didn't make me pay for them. I'm going to assume that if this happens again I'll have the same luck disputing the charges as I did in the past.

Still, I was a little nervous about sending Ellen my card information. Ellen is the manager at the Hotel Londres Saint-Honore. She let us know she had rooms available for our upcoming trip. The weird thing is she responded to our email with a handwritten fax attached to an email. I can't figure out why Ellen had to send a handwritten note. Was she bound by constraints in available technology or was it an attempt to provide a more personalized response?

It's not important. I got to see Ellen's penmanship. It's cool; like I was getting a note from Toulouse-Lautrec or something. I think it's her Ms that look like stylized Ns.

Wait a minute. . .

Maybe Ellen is the go-to person for English. A front desk clerk, who is perfectly capable of responding but often fakes a lack of language skills to get out of extra work, printed out our email and handed it to Ellen. Ellen was busy going over Tuesday's invoices. She looked at our email and sighed because she knows the clerk could have (should have) handled our request. Rather than make a big deal out the matter Ellen dashed off a quick reply and handed it back to the clerk. The clerk didn't want to take the time to retype Ellen's note and just sent us a copy.

"TĂȘte de fromage," he said as he placed the document into the scanner.

This means I have nothing to worry about as far as my credit card is concerned. I'm confident The Hotel Londres Saint-Honore has everything it needs to handle our transaction securely. And when we get there and the front clerk tries the whole, Je ne parle pas Anglais thing on us we're going to have Ellen, finally, kick his ass.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Huge Savings on Longaberger Baskets

The blogosphere is a lonely place.

It's like sitting in a room and talking to a vent in the ceiling. You know people are there. You can hear them walking by. Occasionally they even stop and shout something about what you've said. But for the most part you're alone in a room talking to a vent.

That reads a lot more bleak than I intended. I'm just a little blog-weary. I won't use the excuse that we've been busy. Everyone is busy. Maybe I could blame the season. Blue skies and warmer temperatures make me feel guilty about spending time down here in the basement.

Speaking of warmer temperatures, I mowed the lawn for the first time yesterday. The grass was not only wet from a recent rain but it is healthy. It's full of bright green chlorophyll that leaked out all over the place and stained everything it touched. The moisture, combined with the fact I lowered the mower deck to a scalping height, meant the Bad Ass Grass Master had a rough time. It sputtered, burned some oil and tried to give up often. I'd push down on the handle and raise the deck a little to give the little Toro who could a chance to breathe. Then I'd plunge the mower back into the grass and watch it choke on the big clumps of wet grass all over again. It wasn't lawn care. It was sadism.

I'm also planning our first garage sale. I'm hauling crap out of the basement and depositing it in the garage. I've displaced the Mazda for however long it takes me to get everything in one place, price it, put an ad in the paper an make some signs. I'm guessing the car will be in the driveway for months.

What am I selling? Baskets. We've got a shitload of baskets; decorative, picnic, Easter, gift, storage. . . we've got 'em all. Throw in, among other things, a couple of old vacuum cleaners, an infant swing, an old serial port scanner, a TV that refuses to show channels two through six and you've got the sale of the century!

If our take on this venture is anything less than $2,000 I won't consider it a success.

The truth is I'm not looking forward to haggling. I should just take whatever I'm offered and feel lucky to get rid of my excess. I doubt that'll happen. I'll probably fold my arms across my chest, shoot the bargain hunters stern looks and slowly twist my head no every time they offer less.

"Will you take $2?"

"Fuck-off lady. Read me what that piece of masking tape says."

"Four dollars."

"That's right, dumbass. It says four dollars and you're not leaving this driveway with that basket until you show me some fiscal respect. That shit's Longaberger. Are you fucking insane or simply as stupid as you seem?"

Maybe Debbie should handle the sales.