Saturday, November 17, 2018

Throw Another Log on the Fire

It looks as if our woodpile is shrinking. And because we almost never have fires anymore I automatically assumed our neighbors are stealing wood from us. 

I am insane. 

The neighbors aren't stealing anything. That doesn't mean we think the neighbors are "ideal". At times their parking choices make it tough on our mail carriers and their dog barks too early or too late and, despite gestures we've made, they're not particularly friendly toward us. I'm sure if you had a conversation about us with them they'd also have complaints. But the point is, the problems we have are minor. Insignificant. Despite this, when we think about our new neighbors, we often think about how much we miss our old neighbors. 

This is dumb. I'm ashamed of how easily I can conjure thoughts of my neighbors dancing around our burning logs and laughing about how much they hate us and how they're going to burn our ugly patio furniture next (I kind of wish that last part was real). 

Truth is, it's not the imagined wood theft that really bothers me. It's the fact that there are people living next to me that don't particularly like me. I'm going to stop typing for a second and reflect on how egocentric that thought is. . .  Okay - I'm back. I feel bad that I have allowed myself to slightly demonize good people primarily because I'm convinced they're doing the same thing to us.

And I don't even know their names. 

The reality is I'm pretty sure they don't spend a lot of time thinking about us and it's clear we don't spend a lot of time thinking about them (until the dog barks at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday or we irrationally accuse them of trespasses that never really happened). 

If I was a decent person, the next paragraph would describe my plan to better communicate with our neighbors. I'd outline a few simple ways we could make an effort to get to know them and allow them to see we're nice and helpful neighbors (like we've done in the past). 

I'd relearn what their names are.

After that, I'd provide some bromide about how the world could be a better place if we'd all make an effort to reach out and get to know one another just a little bit better. 

Instead, I'm thinking of moving our motion-activated camera to the side of the house that has the woodpile.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ten Minutes

I left a small container of hummus residue in my daughter’s lunch bag. It must have been in there for at least four weeks. I popped the lid and it didn’t really have a smell and it just looked like leftover hummus inside. This makes me wonder if hummus is resistant to bacteria. I could test this. The next time I cut myself I’ll pack the open wound with Sabra.

My daughter’s lunch bag is primarily pink and covered in green leaves and multi-colored owls. Allie and Julie went through a very brief owl stage. I think the lunch box, some pajama bottoms and two wooden craft owls are all that remains of this period in our lives. I’m not sad or glad that it’s over. I suppose I should be thankful our home wasn’t overrun with reproductions and representations of owls but I could have lived with an owl proliferation if it had occurred.

I get comments from my coworkers when I bring the owl lunch bag to work. They try to rattle me with insinuations that the lunch bag isn’t age or gender appropriate. I don’t really think they believe this would bother me all that much particularly when my usual bag features a Batman symbol and a small, black cape that flaps in the wind if I walk fast enough. But that doesn’t stop the over-the-top gushing about how pretty my lunch bag is.

I love my Batman lunch bag, but its shape squishes my sandwiches. These days I usually pack a container of hummus with a generous squirt of sriracha, baby carrots to dig into the hummus, a sandwich, a piece of fruit and some chips or nuts. The pretty pink owl lunch bag is a better choice to haul this food to work.

I’ve thought about trying to find the perfect lunch bag, but because of the comments I get, I refuse to give up on the owls. I might even double down and try to find a pretty pink owl backpack. Truth is, I probably won’t because I’m currently toting my laptop in a backpack with NASA patches stitched to its exterior. If I left my gear unaccompanied, on a bench, you’d probably think it was the property of a twelve-year-old girl. That’s fine. It’s just the way my “everyday carry” has evolved.

I’m staring at my backpack and the lunch bag right now wondering why I just spent ten minutes thinking about them. 

I bet you are, too. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Is it too late to bathe?

Nobody cares what you think, and that's okay.

Not being the center of the universe takes a huge load off your shoulders. Unfortunately, it also means that many of your ideas and thoughts about this and that won't amount to much. Sure, you can put time and energy behind the stuff you care about and it'll make a dent, but all the throw-away thoughts just evaporate.

That's too bad, because my idea to provide universal health care was a good one despite the fact it relied on me having supernatural powers. 

Yes - I'm depressed. I'm feeling crappy and I almost certain it's the meds that I'm on for high blood pressure. Also, I'm wondering what life is going to be like when my kid leaves for college.

Lately, I don't have much of a problem with it because she's not being very considerate around the house. Cleaning up her messes and glaring at her when she's being rude isn't fun. But, I know those feelings are going to vanish as soon as I drive away from her dorm. Of course, they'll return quickly when she's back in the house, but in the mean time I'll walk by her empty room and wonder what she had for dinner or if she's keeping warm.

She's not going to school across the country. She'll be 25 minutes away. -I know, right?- I will see her when she wants to see us. She will need things or want to know about the huge number of fun activities we'll be doing now that she's out of the house.

Julia is standing next to me wondering what she should make for dinner. She has no idea what's in store for her. Neither do I, for that matter. She will become the only child and Deb and I will invest all of our time scrutinizing her every move and offering ample amounts of criticism and advice to get her through her days without a sibling.

It could wind up being the opposite. We'll completely ignore her. That might be incredibly liberating. The freedom of finishing out her high school days with little or no parental intervention. She'll experiment with all sorts of drugs and dangerous behaviors like mascara and Fortnite on an Android phone.


Finding a new refrigerator is just as scary. Our 20 year-old G.E. has a bacterial incubator for a water reservoir and it's incontinent in that its drainage lines get clogged and it pees on our laminate floors.

Laminate floors and refrigerator pee are a bad combo and that's enough to get me to try to find a fridge that's less that 68" high and 33.5" wide. Try it. You'll find refrigerators that will fit, but we'll need to hire an iceman to come by everyday and fill the cooler box so Allie's cranberry juice can be served at the proper temperature.

She drinks a lot of diet cranberry juice. It's always flavored with grapes, lemons or something that makes it taste unlike cranberry juice. I pray that her food service provider knows Allie is coming and that diet cranberry will be made available. But, I'd also like to see what her dining hall would look like in flames - so I'm torn.

I went to the local (as in four blocks away) appliance dealer to try to find a fridge. While I was there a dog came up to me and licked the awful rash that's on my shins. I felt awful, for the dog and for myself. I'm guessing he was trying to heal me and that made me feel a little sorry for myself.

I told you I was depressed.

Should I go to bed? I haven't bathed. It's 7:23 p.m. That's not too late to take a shower. I'll take a bath, put on one of the many ridiculous t-shirts that I own and try to sleep the fog and ache away.

Trust me - I'm not as bad as I think I am. I'm just trying to get you to lick the rash on my shins.   

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Pardon me, kind sir, but you won't find Pop-Tarts there. . .

I am a deeply flawed person with many bad habits. One of my bad habits is being fed by the availability of old Supermarket Sweep episodes. Deb and I used to watch the show when we were first married. We’d tell each other we watched for the program's high kitsch value. The truth is, we love the excitement of watching people scramble around a grocery store trying to grab as many gold-wrapped hams or four-foot salamis as they could in two or three minutes.

Now that reruns of the show are available to us, we’re watching them with the girls. The difference now is I’m screaming obscenities at the screen. I noticed that when I said something horrible about one of the contestants, it seemed to amuse Deb and the girls. If a little was funny, then a lot had to be hilarious - so I escalated. Now I find myself ranting, yelling and saying some truly awful stuff about everyone on the screen. 

It's not necessary. There are exceptions, like the guy who was looking for Pop-Tarts in the freezer section. We all have carte blanche to roast this useless moron. But, most of the time, I’m just mean and obscene.

It’s time to stop. I’ve taken shock value and inflated that balloon until it burst. Now I’m just pumping foul smelling air into shredded latex. I will miss the catharsis but I should be getting that at the gym. The real problem is, my game show rants are seeping into everyday life with regularity. I always swear a little during my morning commute, but today I unleashed a string of truly foul words on a person in a Ford Escape. She didn’t hear me, but that only made it worse. I wasn’t just a lout, I was a cowardly lout. Plus, it was clear she didn’t really deserve any hatred at all.

I put my hand on my chest and said, “Whoa.”

It’s clearly time to clean my act up. It will be difficult but, I think a kinder, more civil Greg is worth it.

So, the next time you’re at the store and you hear that beep, think of all the genteel and supportive things you’ll hear me softly say when I watch Supermarket Sweep!