Wednesday, September 28, 2005

That Didn't Take Long

I heard from Aveda regarding my attempt to get some free stuff for telling you how great their shave gel is.

The free stuff wasn’t my only motivation. I truly think this gel is a better alternative to regular shaving cream and wanted to let you know about it. Regardless, here’s what Myrriah, from Aveda wrote:

Dear Greg,

Thank you for visiting the Aveda website.

Although we appreciate your kind comments regarding Rosemary Mint Shave Gel, we do not provide gifts for customer comments, rather positive or negative. We apologize for any disappointment this may cause you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you need further assistance.

For a greener planet,

Aveda Web Relations

I am disappointed. . . Of course I’m disappointed. In fact; I’m freakin’ devastated. But after my recent G4 boon I should count my blessings and move on. And to prove that there are no hard feelings I’ll avoid pointing out the fact that I think Myrriah may have wanted to use the word either instead of rather but that’s neither here nor there. After all I’m certain Myrriah responds to calculated, mercenary bloggers like me in several different languages each day while I can barely manage my own monolinguality.

I just can’t help but picture everyone who works at Aveda walking around corporate headquarters in remarkably similar, flowing, white tunics. They all speak to one another in hushed tones while gently smiling and nodding a lot. There’s soothing, new age electronica softly playing everywhere and the scent of freshly pressed homeopathic herbs wafts throughout the entire building.

Holy cow. I wasn’t that far off. Check out this link.

Considering how serene a company I imagine Aveda to be it would feel rude to suggest they could have at least sent a coupon. That aside, I should mention I do feel badly that I bashed Procter & Gamble a little while bolstering Aveda’s product. This is especially true when I know Procter & Gamble would have at least sent me a coupon if I had said something as equally positive about Gillette Skin Care Products.

Now I’m starting to get a wee bit pissed.

Horst M. Rechelbacher, the founder of Aveda is Austrian. Now I can understand why his sensibilities wouldn’t jibe with my American, lottery winning, something for nothing (or at least very little) mind set. But the guy’s bio says he lives in Wisconsin and New York.

I live in Wisconsin.

I’ve been to New York.

I've eaten Vienna sausages.

I make bazillions of dollars by selling Rosemary Mint Shaving Gel with a 500% margin to an easily duped, hype-gulping, brand-addicted consumer base.

Okay; strike that last one - but I would have sent a coupon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Rosemary Mint Shaving Gel

If you need to shave every other day like me, or every 30 minutes like my friend Dwayne, then you need to get a tube of this crap from Aveda.
I’m not making money by pitching this gel. I’m just letting you know I’ve discovered an easier way to do something that is a genuine pain-in-the-ass for a lot of men. Women, too. So if you ladies want to give your legs, pits and (for some of you) upper lips a break then read on.

I like the Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo that the lady who cuts my hair uses. So one day I went into a shop where they sold nothing but Aveda products to buy more shampoo. This shaving gel was right next to the shampoo so I decided to give it a try.

Here’s the deal: I’ve been using Edge for years. It worked okay but even though it comes out of the can like a gel, it’s still basically soap. The blade of my razor still caught on some of my more robust whiskers and dried-out patches of skin. I winced. I cursed. I bled.

Then I tried the Aveda Rosemary Mint Shaving Gel. It’s a little weird at first because there’s no foam. But my razor glided across my face effortlessly. The shave was close and my skin wasn’t irritated or dried out as it sometimes was after using Edge.

Face it (heh), the only reason you’re using shaving cream is because your dad did. And that because S.C. Johnson and Procter & Gamble convinced his dad their products were the way to go. Back in the 30’s Gillette might have been state-of-the-art shaving gear. It’s not anymore.

You can buy the shaving Gel for $12.50 online ( But I got it for $9.50 at the Aveda store.

Remember. I’m not being compensated for becoming a shill for this wonderful goop. But I’m working on it. I’ll let you know how things work out.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Let me read what you wrote. . .

I didn't write anything, Debbie.

She assumed that because I've been on the computer I wrote something. All I was doing was Googling for an explanation for why our Bose Sounddock crackels and hisses whenever we dock the iPod. I wasn't writing anything. I barely have the ambition to sit upright let alone tap on the keyboard.

I'm tired. I have band-aids over the holes my tennis shoes made in the back of my heels. I caught a cold in Orlando and it's reaching it's crescendo now that I'm home. I'm still grumpy because I got lost on the way home from the airport.

The girls are sitting on the bed looking at old pictures. It's raining outside and there aren't too many things for them to do other than follow us around in the hope that we will do something - anything - interesting.

Allie just walked over and held a picture up to my face. "My butt," she said as she pointed to an image of her bare bottom we took when she just learned to walk. "I have a rock star butt," she said.


It's almost 11:00 a.m. and I still haven't showered. This isn't uncommon for a Sunday, but today it seems to be more of a symptom than a choice.

Right now I'm staring at Debbie's feet. That's the kind of ennui that drives people to violence. In fact, Julia just bent over and quietly bit Allie on the shoulder. Allie screamed and Deb put Julia to bed as punishment. Now Deb is applying ice to Allie's wound.

Suddenly it's quiet.

Now I'm watching Deb try to breathe through her clogged sinuses. She just told me to stop scowling at her. I wasn't aware I was scowling.

If she was any closer, I'd quietly bite her on the shoulder.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Disappointed and Relieved

I don't have a lot to write about regarding this trip to Orlando. So far the only barely interesting things have been I packed two left shoes and ripped the crotch out of my pants.

I packed another pair of shoes, so I'm okay in that department (mismatched, but okay). And ripping the crotch out of my pants usually wouldn't be a big deal but I'm standing in front of people holding a microphone each day. This means the potential for people to notice my crotch might be higher than normal.

Fortunately my blowout occurred at the end of the day yesterday so the only people who noticed were my co-workers and I didn't mind if they knew my dangly bits were dangerously close to being exposed.

The best part of my day is when I get to call Debbie.

More later. . .

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sleeping in Airports

Thursday we left Julia with a baby sitter and Deb, Allie and I went out to dinner. Allie bellied-up to the bar and had a kiddy cocktail with an enormous straw and a paper umbrella. She took the umbrella to show-and-tell on Friday. I wonder what the kindergarten teacher must have thought.

Sun Jin (I'm sure that's not the corrected spelling but that's what her name sounded like) was our bartender. She was from Korea. It's amazing the things you find out about strangers when you're with a five-year old. If your kid likes you, then you must be a fairly good egg and therefore a person sometimes decides to share a little bit about his/her personal history. It's one of the perks of hanging with Allie.

Raul was from Acapulco. He was our Japanese hibachi chef. I can't remember the last time I had a chef of Asian descent at one of these restaurants. I have no issues. As long as he/she can juggle pepper grinders, create a flaming volcano fashioned from inverted onion rings and fling shrimp tails; I'm happy. Plus, the woman next to us kept speaking to Raul in Spanish which made the cultural potpourri all the more potent and fun.

I didn't really need much to have a good time, though. I loved being out on the town with Deb and Allie. The food was great and I'd polished off two very large bottles of Asahi beer. I don't drink much. So these two big bottles were enough to make me feel really good about the fact that my gut was about burst. It was a good kind of suffering.

I'm glad I had a great birthday week because next week isn't going to be much fun.

I'm typing this from the bedroom. The old G3 was far too cantankerous to handle OSX so I decided to put it out to pasture. I found a great deal on a newer G3 that I hoped would play nice with OSX. Unfortunately the company didn't want to ship that computer so I canceled my order. I still haven't heard from Surplus Computers so who knows, in about a month I might get another box. I hope not because I found an even better deal from a company called PC Exchange.

They sent me an email and told me that they were out of the G3's they advertised. They wondered if it would be okay if they sent me a G4 instead.


I'm writing to you on our new G4. Our new, sub-$100 G4.

Yeah, I feel fortunate. But I know I'll pay. Next week I'll be writing to you from the floor of the airport I'm stranded in. That's the way my luck seems to go.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Nobody Likes Bobcat Urine

If God made you he's in love with me.

Sweet jesus!

This has got to be the worst lyric I've ever heard. Match this with some truly awful music and you have Five for Fighting's latest single, If God Made You.

I first heard this song while I was listening to the middle-of-the-road FM station they pipe into the restroom where I work.

I was assaulted by this music while on the toilet.

I've been afraid to go to the bathroom all week. I may never be the same.

If you haven't heard this song then you are among the lucky. If you would like to punish yourself, here's a link to's page for the group's latest album. Scroll down and you can listen to a sample of this song.

While I sat on the toilet I kept thinking the song was some kind of joke or an experiment. Like the kind of experimental music people used to make me listen to in college. You know, a cassette recording of a guy moaning the ingredients of a chicken hot dog for five minutes while someone beats the shit out of a garbage can lid all while holding a single finger at middle C on their Casio MT-70 keyboard.

If God Made You sucks even more than that.

You should know, I'm very tolerant of all kinds of music. I've Polka'd for Pete's sake. But this song is the limit for anyone.

What do I do? How do I save the world from this nightmare?

I can start small. Spread the word on the street that listening to this music could possibly lead to low, birth-weight babies.

This shit is poison. If you hear it, drop to your knees, pull out your iPod, shove in your earbuds and listen to anything by Elvis Costello or, for a more contemporary cleansing, Hot, Hot, Heat.

I blame the meida moguls. How could Clear Channel let this happen? Even these arbiters of mediocre music should know life is far too short to subject a large chunk of the population to crap like this via heavy rotation.

I plan to find Five for Fighting's latest CD in every music store in my county. I'll spray the CD's with a small amount of predator urine. If a little squirt of bobcat piss is all it takes to save some unsuspecting music lover from this song then I'm willing to risk prosecution.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


This week we all took our lunch at least twice. Everyone except Julia, that is. So far it's been ham or bologna sandwiches, grapes, string cheese, snack cakes, Doritos and carrots. Lots and lots of carrots.

A shit load of carrots.

Allie and I have the cool lunch kits. Debbie has a paper bag.

I offered to go and buy Deb everything she needs to tote her lunch. She seems to be happy with the bag. I had something more like this in mind:

Deb's not interested.


On Friday Allie got off the bus and walked to daycare entirely on her own.

Now that she's able to handle the bus we can turn our attention to more important matters, like this group of cows we stopped to talk with last night.

One of the more peculiar aspects of living in Wisconsin is our compulsion to moo every time we see a group of cows. Occasionally, we pull over and start mooing until they notice.

Last night we got this group's attention. They seemed a little pissed off. No. They were pissed. You could feel it. They were glaring at us. Really. So I grabbed my phone and snapped a shot of them. I wanted photo evidence in case they decided to storm the electric fence, tear apart the car and stomp on us until we looked like some of their relatives after a trip to the rendering plant.

All we wanted to do was say hello. Look at the photo. If cows participated in rumbles, this is what the start of it would look like. There wasn't any reason for them to be so hostile.

Suddenly I'm craving a hamburger for lunch today.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Her Permanent Record Starts Today

I do three things when I'm nervous.

Stage One: Coughing. It's a response to the slight tickle in my throat. I walk around sounding as if I were cleaning chalkboard erasers.
Stage Two: Gagging. Largely a result of the coughing. The tickle gets more intense and I start subtly retching every now and again.
Stage Three: Diarrhea. The butterflies in my stomach not only make me nauseous, but they churn whatever happens to be in my G.I. tract into pure liquid angst.

This morning I was at stage three. I sat on the floor in the closet and tried to figure out why Allie's first day at school was causing me to do things like sit on the floor in the closet. I thought about when we sent Allie to daycare for the first time. I didn't react well to that transition either.

It doesn't take me long to adjust. [You can click on the photos for a much larger image.]

Nothing is ever as bad nor is it ever as good as it seems.

I hate thinking like this but somehow these words got into my head and (more times than not) they do seem to be true. In this case, Deb wrote me an email and I immediately began to chill the hell out.

Here's part of what Deb wrote about Allie's morning:

She did fine. She was so happy and talkative when we first got there--we met up with Chris and Rochelle and their girls. She was practically hopping continuously.

We waited what seemed like a long time to make sure all the kids were there and the other lines of kindergarteners went in. Allie started leaning on me. She said she didn't know what she would do first.

I said she should take off her backpack, and that Mrs. Grady would tell her what to do, that she just needed to listen to Mrs. Grady.

As they walked in, she started to get that crumpled face thing going on but I don't think she actually started crying. She's going to be just fine.

Tomorrow should be better. I took some pictures. She's growing up, honey.

Love, Debbie

Wanna see what she had for lunch?

I took part of the afternoon off to meet Allie at her bus stop. I got there more than half an hour early. Part of the time I waited with another parent. She told me she was the chairperson of the group that put on the ice cream social last week. I don't remember if I seemed appreciative. I probably alienated her. But I was focused on other matters. Like the four buses that zoomed around our corner simultaneously.

Fortunately Allie had her face pressed against the window and when her bus stopped I immediately knew it was hers.

We walked to daycare. Allie moaned part of the way and asked me to carry her. She was tired. I refused. I even made her carry her back pack. "I won't be here tomorrow so you need to get used to carrying your things," I told her. I felt like a shitheel. I knew one day wasn't going to toughen her up enough to make a difference. But I thought I should at least clue her in to what she would be in for each day.

She had art class and music. She met a friend and doesn't seem to remember how to pronounce her name (but I'm positive she'll have it down by tomorrow). She didn't get to sleep during nap time and this pissed her off. She had chocolate milk with lunch. She played a game she made up with a girl she knew from tumbling class called, Run Around the Playground Real Fast or something like that.

Tomorrow will be just as much fun as today for Allie. Tomorrow will probably be easier for both Deb and I. Tomorrow might not even merit a mention here. Tomorrow comes way too fast.

By the way, Karina said that Julia never asked for her sister once at daycare.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day Weekend

originally uploaded by gnureg.
Everyone had a great time up north with Grandma & Grandpa Leege. You can check out some of the photos on the Flickr Photostream if you're interested.

Deb's idea to hit the Bay Beach Amusement Park was inspired. It took two ¢25 tickets for attractions like The Scrambler or The Tilt-a-Wirl. Allie giggled the entire time we were on The Scrambler and screamed non-stop while we were on the Tilt-a-Wirl. Auntie Cat bought T-shirts and Grandpa treated everyone to lunch.

This amusement park has changed a little since the days when people would rent bathing suits for a dime. You can't really swim in the bay anymore and if people could I'm pretty sure they'd bring their own suits. But there aren't too many places left that our family can have loads of fun and leave without my wallet being at least $30 lighter than before we walked through the gate.

I drove Cat and Mike's new Corvette. I went for a ten mile bike ride along Lake Michigan with Glenn. I got an early birthday song and cake combo. We made a half-assed attempt at building a sand castle. We ate baked beans.

Yeah, I had a good time. But so did the girls. It was a nice last fling before Allie starts school.

I know. It's not like we're shipping her off to boarding school and I'm sure once she starts it'll be no big deal.

Yeah, right.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

No Calls Before 11:00 a.m.

Last night we took Allie to an Ice Cream Social at her new school. We walked around the school and eventually wound up in Allie's new classroom. Her teacher, Ms. Grady, was there greeting her new students. Ms. Grady had studied the photos that were taken of Allie when she went to Kindergarten warm-up earlier in the year and knew who Allie was when she walked through the door. Allie blurted out something about her sister loving to play in a jumpy (there was one full of bouncing children outside the window of her classroom). It was a nice effort to break the ice. I was proud.

By the way, Ms. Grady is a lot better looking than her official Web site photo. Some of the guys I work with have kids at this school and, creepy or not, we're all in agreement regarding this point.

Deb, Allie, Julia and I did a scavenger hunt that told us where to deposit Allie's school supplies. At each drop point we would encounter an Allie's name printed in perfect, D'Nealian, Kindergarten teacher, handwriting. One where she hangs her jacket. One where she sits. One for Allie's "mailbox". Another that marks what Allie's job will be for that week. Her fist week, Allie is in charge of recording the temperature (beats the crap out of sleeping mat helper, I think).

Julia was busy with a toy cash register and pushing a fairly mangled dolly around in a wooden cart.

We wandered around the school. Ran into some people we knew. Eventually we made our way to the cafeteria/gym and grabbed bowls of ice cream. We sat down next to a couple who really weren't interested in becoming school kid parent buddies. I made a glancing attempt at small talk which they quickly dissolved. So we sat there and ate our ice cream while they discussed the results of some reality TV show that were to be announced that evening.

After ice cream the four of us leaked out on to the playground. Allie looked a little bewildered among all the kids. After a while I found her crying. She panicked because she couldn't find us. Then when we made motions to leave she started crying again because she didn't get to spend as much time at school as she would have liked. All the other kids stared and pointed at Allie.

Okay; there was no staring or pointing. But I felt bad she cried.

So we went back this evening for a one-on-one meeting with Ms. Grady.

Kindergarten is complicated.

I could go into detail, but this post would become very, very long. I think we do feel a little better about Allie getting on the bus. And we established some goals. Chief among them is to have Allie reading by the end of the school year. Ms. Grady doesn't think that will be a problem at all.

What were Allie's goals? She wants to learn about body parts because she wants to be a doctor and she wants to learn to read. Ms. Grady said people will call her Doctor Allie. Allie seemed to like that idea.

At the end of the forty minute meeting Allie got a T-shirt and a bag from Ms. Grady. The bag contained various objects and a note explained the significance of each object (a lifesaver so you'll know you can always come and talk to me, a star so you'll always remember to shine brightly, stuff like that). It was too cute for words.

Allie's excited. Deb and I are sad, nervous and excited. Julia doesn't give a shit. She should though. Before this evening, Deb and I hadn't really considered the effect school is going to have when Allie is no longer with Julia for most of the day. It's going to be an adjustment.

School starts Tuesday. I'm sure by 11:00 a.m. Deb and I will be able to talk about it without getting choked up.

Please don't call us before then.