Friday, July 29, 2011

Stick I.T. - NAS Device

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


This is a post about poop, and the fact I cannot handle it. I'll do my best to make it easy to read without making anyone uncomfortable, cause in earnest, I've got a very low threshold for it myself. I won't make anyone read anything I wouldn't read myself.

I know that no one (except some real whack-jobs) likes shit, but I really can't stand it. I was so happy when my first kid no longer wore diapers. Shortly thereafter, we had another. Small price to pay really, diapers... Still not something I do without difficulty. If I can't pull my shirt up over my nose, I actually gag a lot.

My hat goes off to my wife... She works in an assisted living home, and frequently has to clean older folks. No way in hell could I ever do that. They'd have mushrooms growing out of their arse before I even considered changing them. I'm sorry, but there are just some things that some people cannot do. That is such a thing, and I am such a people.

I don't even like when *I* go. I can't stand the smell, so I give myself a courtesy flush... the water is already swirling before I deploy, and I never look... I could be bleeding for all I know. Ignorance is bliss.

I hate that some people can talk about it at any given time. It frequently comes up during dinner, and it doesn't seem to phase anyone but me. Shit is the last thing I want to think of when I'm eating beef stew, thanks.

About a year ago, I was working and in the middle of a conference call. 2 of 2 who at the time, I think, was around one year old, was up in her crib napping. I felt badly, cause she'd been in bed a while, and had I not been so busy, I'd have considered getting her up, but I figured, eh... she's sleeping, let her sleep. She'll holler when she wakes up.

Then I heard her playing. She was tossing some jingly animal of hers around, having a great time. I was about forty minutes from the end of my conference call, so I figured, eh, she's happy... Let her play.

My conference call came to an end, and still she was laughing and cooing, and just generally sounding happy. I still felt a little guilty about leaving her in her crib, but I knew she was safe, and she was happy, so no harm done...

Sitting here on the couch, probably in the same exact spot I'm sitting right now, my nose detected that feint whiff that only a parent of a child in diapers, a child who was recently switched to solid foods, could detect... The "There's a dirty diaper upstairs and on the other end of the house" smell.

"Ah shit," I muttered, not intending a pun, and having no idea how prophetic the word was.
As I climbed the stairs, the degree of stink changed gradually. As I started, it went from "A dirty diaper upstairs" to "A dirty diaper... did I leave one ON the stairs?" halfway up it changed to "omg, what'd she eat", and at the top, I'd pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it must have leaked through the diaper, and I was going to have to give her a bath right that moment.

2 of 2 had experienced an adult size movement, removed her clothes AND her diaper... To say there was shit everywhere, would be unfair to the level of effort my daughter had put into making sure it was, in fact, everywhere it could possibly be, given her limited play area. Hair, face, neck, walls, crib, floor... everywhere.

I spent the next three hours cleaning, and the following four days SWEARING I could still smell it on my hands, even though I wore gloves.

So that's my shitty story. Anyone else got one they'd like to share?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Leftovers, The Color Orange, and Eye Pain

Like I said a day or two ago, we recently had a big cookout for the kids' birthdays, and we were left with an exceptional amount of food and drink. Tonight is the last night I will consider eating meats that were cooked for the party, as it's now 6 days ago, and some might argue I've pushing the envelope even still. Tell you what, if I die of old meat tonight, you can say "I told you so".

One of the items that I have in surplus is soda of many kinds. I don't usually drink regular soda anymore, I don't want my kids drinking it, and my wife's diabetic, so she can't anyway. Still, I hate to pack it all up and give it away; it cost me money, dang it! So I've been indulging a little. I have rediscovered a long-forgotten love for orange soda, but I almost choked when I saw 50g of sugar per can. No wonder I was up so late last night... I thought I was safe since it is caffiene free...

Pretty much the only food thing left, aside from a little pile of cold slaw and a small baggie of pasta salad was a sizable tray of buffalo wings. 1 of 2 declared only just this afternoon that she loved buffalo wings. "Well good," I said. "Now I know what dinner will be." 2 of 2 however, would not have eaten them. I set her up with a sippy cup of milk, and an orange that I peeled and made little bits out of. Happy was she.

The three of us settled in to eat our foods and watch "Toy Story" on tube. Which... doesn't actually HAVE a tube... but anyway, I realized halfway through dinner, 2 of 2 was having more fun painting her extremities with bits of orange rather than eating them. Fortunately she stopped and ate, and everything went fine from there, but we could have had some Ben Stiller caliber shenanigans there... Had she gotten orange in her eyes, things would have gotten quickly stressful, as my hands were covered in buffalo sauce...

I get nervous when eyeballs are concerned. Such a delicate thing, the eye. If given the choice, I'd probably choose to lose a limb than an eye. Here's hoping I never have to choose!

I've had things in my eyes at various times in my life... I get eye lashes in there sometimes, that bury themselves in some remote corner of my skull so obscure that I can't get them out. All I can do is wait until it stops hurting some forty minutes later. My eye is always swollen, red and running for a day or so after that.

One of the worst things I've had in my eyes was sunblock. What a nightmare that was, cause you close your eyes to let the tears wash it out, but when you open them, it's so bright it hurts your eyes, and if you didn't properly clean your face, the junk goes right back in. That debacle probably took me a good hour to rectify.

When I was a kid, I was given a nice tool set... and I mean young, like 5. I remember sitting on the picnic table in our yard, trying to pry pebbles out from between the planks with my metal file, only to triumphantly dislodge the pebble and jam the file in my eye. I scratched my cornea and wore an eye patch for a few days, if I recall correctly.

I can't handle tooth pain, and while I'm waiting for attention from the dentist, when I got tooth pain, I use the clove oil that you dip the cotton balls in, which you then jam into the cavity. That is not something you want in your eye.

I once tried a new aerosol deodorant. I sprayed it into the cover, and sniffed the cover to sample the scent. There was something like dust or some sort of particle in the cap, and I inhaled it , resulting in a short gust of exhale... which blew into the cap, and sent some of the residue left by the deodorant into my eye... I called the poison control number on the back of the can while my high school buddies watched in hysteria. "What are the symptoms?" the woman asked. "What ar... my eye hurts!" I shouted, sending my "friends" into explosive laughter.

But without doubt, the worst eyeball pain I've ever endured was inflicted upon me by a friend as a prank. I was perhaps twelve, and a smart-ass-and-a-half. I'm sure I provoked it, possibly by throwing his cigarettes into the local swimming pool (I did that to him bi-weekly). He'd just bought a 20oz Coke, and was hanging out with my cousin and I talking. He opened the coke bottle, and in one quick motion he thrust it at my face and squeezed. I felt the ice cold Coke rush in, under my eye lids and past my eyes, like carbonated hellfire. Never before, and not since, have I experienced pain from foreign agents in my eyes. I don't recommend it. I did get him back, I snapped him with a wet towel so well, it actually drew blood. I still thing I got the worst of that exchange though.

What's the worst thing you've ever gotten in your eyes, or put in your "friend's" eyes?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unexpected Dinner Guest

Whoof, what a few weeks!

I know it wasn't much of a hiatus, only ten days, but I haven't written a single thing at all since the 10th, and even then, it was just a comic that I'd written previously and scheduled... I had good reason though.

Daughter 1 of 2 turned 6 on the first of July, and 2 of 2 turns 2 on the 26th of August, and we had a big cookout on the 16th.

The summer officially kicked off with the weekend of the 4th, at least for us. When I was a kid, I made friends with a neighboor, and his family quickly became a second family to me. They own a cottage on a lake up in New Hampshire, and I'd spent many a weekend (and some school vacations) up there with them.

It was easily my favorite place to be. I swam, I fished, I hiked (which anyone who knows me understands how strange that sounds...) and there was a girl of whom we do not speak. I won't get into all the details... suffice to say, the place and the folks had a lot to do with my life from the age of 11 to 17.

Now, the place is a little different to me than it once was, but no less special, and I get to share it with my kids. 2 of 2 doesn't much care what her surroundings are, being only almost-2-years old, but 1 of 2 had the time of her life. She was given her first fishing rod, a couple bobbers, some hooks, a lure or two, and a dozen night crawlers. She didn't catch anything, but she enjoyed it.

That weekend started my week's vacation too, I took the whole week off to get the house ready for the bash we'd planned. As far as vacations go, it was certainly not what you'd call relaxing. I, my wife, my nephew, and a friend of ours busted our humps. Painting, mowing, weed whacking, lugging of old concrete from a long-ago busted up walk way, power washing... spending... Oh, the spending...

Anyway, we had maybe 40% of the guests that we'd expected, so we have (still) lots of left over food, and not much fridge space. We'd also planned to have drinking games for the adults after the party, but everyone left, so I find myself with a very substantial amount of light beer.

The work we'd done up until and even through the party was very strenous, so the cleanup is something we've been slacking on... All the food that required refrigeration was put away and everything, but coolers still had cans in them, chairs were still out and about in the yard, bags of chips and buns were still on the tables in the kitchen, etc... We do a little bit every night. Tonight,  I did a significant amount of clean. Stacking the soda cans on the shelves, freezing of extra hot dog buns, moving half-eaten dishes from the big tray to a smaller bowl to reclaim some more fridge space, etc..

The inspiration for this post was as I was finishing the night's cleaning spree. I walked out onto the deck with an empty cooler, which I took to the middle of the deck and left open, so that in tomorrow's ridiculous heat, it would dry out. I put it down, and turned to go back in. "There," I said to myself. (I talk to myself frequently when alone.)

I heard some rustling which my mind wrote off as a cat, since I'd been out on the deck literally a minute before, and threw a chicken salad roll to the two adult cats to fight over. "How's that chic..." I started, only to realize that I'd walked within six feet of a rather large raccoon, gorging itself on the trash bag I had just filled a few minutes before. This thing was perhaps around twenty-five pounds.

"Well, hello..." I said startled. I began considering the fact that I was walking around in shorts, shoeless and shirtless. I was in no position to boot this thing if it decided to charge. My only hope would be (again, IF this thing decided to come after me... which may have been a silly notion, I have no idea what sort of behavior to expect from a raccoon...) to get a fist full of the back of it's neck, and hold it down. ...until... ? I'd have to just pin it down until it died or something... and I don't want anything dying...

I wondered if it was threatened by me. Little known fact: raccoons are members of the bear family, although I don't know what it is that makes them so. I know bears see standing erect as a sign of aggression, but I don't know if raccoons concur. Naturally, I was standing, so if they did, I was sending the wrong signals.

I realized after that little conversation with myself, that I'd been standing there for about forty seconds, and this thing clearly didn't feel like I was much of a problem. It knew I was there, and even looked up from it's dinner to regard me, although it didn't stop chewing. It wasn't tense. It wasn't alarmed. I got the idea it was looking at me, standing there in my shorts, and thinking, "Hey man."

Still, I wanted this thing to go away. Now, I'm not upset that it was eating my trash, I mean... I threw it away, after all, I obviously didn't want it. But, I'd rather my deck wasn't a popular spot for this creature, so I started thinking about how to shoo it away. I do have a bb rifle, but it's old and doesn't work very well. I think the previous owner may have pumped it a bit too much. I considered the broom, and immediately got an image of the big woman chasing Tom (Tom and Jerry) out of the house beating him on the head with the broom yelling "Thomas!", that's not me...

I thought about the cats, and the fact that several minutes ago they were out here eating... I looked around, and saw the two of them lounging not six feet away from the guest. "Lotta help you two are... " I said.

The dog! I have a beagle, who barks. She barks when strange cars enter the yard. She barks when people come to the door. She barks when strange noises happen. She barks at turtles wandering through our yard. She barks at squirrels and chipmunks. She barked for forty-five minutes one day, at a leaf. If anything could annoy this thing outta here, it would be the dog. I thought it odd, that she wasn't at the door barking as it was.

I went into the house and collected the dog. I didn't have a leash, so I held her. I opened the door, and she wanted nothing more than to go back to her bed. I cupped her face in my left hand, and pointed her head toward the raccoon. Their eyes locked. The raccoon regarded her, chewing contentedly, and the dog resumed her campaign to get down and go back to bed.

"...Really?" I asked her. "What are you two old friends?"

Nothing to do but let it eat it's fill. Turned out it was gone in the next couple minutes, and didn't make much of a mess, so as long as I get everything taken  care of it shouldn't be a habit.

I've posted before about the wildlife that comes through the yard here, but a raccoon isn't really as unusual as a snapping turtle or a flock (gaggle? pack?) of turkeys... Have you got any raccoon-related stories? I've got another, I will post it in a few days, I think.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teenaged Idiots

Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew were staples in my diet through high school, and most of college, although in college, I was rather poor, so I would settle for the Wal-Mart versions, Dr. Thunder and Mountain Lightning.

When I was little, I had my first Dr. Pepper, and I loved it, but one of my brothers told me it was disgusting, so for some reason, I agreed and stopped drinking it. Years later, a fellow student named Alec, with whom I would become good friends, swore by it. I was reintroduced, and and re-hooked.

Dr. Pepper became sort of symbolic to me, because it was that soda that is not always available, and that not many people seemed to like... Perhaps in addition to the taste, I liked that it was sort of an identity thing. That, and if Dr. Pepper was around, I probably wouldn't have to share it much.

One night, Alec and another friend of ours who went by Grundle... If you know what that means, don't ask... If you don't know what that means... don't ask.) and I were driving around Grundle's 83 Buick Park Avenue (the thing was a big, white, couch on wheels. It was not uncommon for me to nod off in the passenger's seat. Freakin nap waiting to happen.) for some reason at about 2am. I don't recall the appeal to driving around with no destination these days, but back then it was a great time. We'd just get in the car and go. Didn't need to know where we were, had no idea where we were going, and had no need to be back at any particular time.

This one particular time, we found ourselves puttering around on the streets of Wilmington MA. I don't think I've ever been there since. As we passed a small plaza, I happened to notice through the window of some business, a Dr. Pepper soda machine! I'd never seen such a thing, and couldn't believe that it actually existed. Alec didn't see it, so I asked Grundle, the driver, to turn around.

We turned around, pulled into the parking lot, and up next to the window of the place. There it was, a big, red Dr. Pepper soda dispensing machine, glowing bright red in the otherwise dark place of business.

"Wow!" he said, just as surprised as I was. We lingered a moment or two, and shuffled on our way. We pulled back out onto the road, and started off again. Moments later, we were pulled over by the Wilmington Police.

This was one of the first times I'd ever been in a car that was pulled over, so I didn't really know what was going on. The cop came to the window, and wanted our I.D.s. "You guys have any weapons or drugs I should know about?" We didn't. The worst thing we ever did together was Dr. Pepper. "No," we all said in unison.

The cop looked at Grundle, who had long hair and a Nirvana shirt. "So if I told you I smelled weed on your breath, I'd be lying??"

"You'd have to be," Grundle said with a shrug and a grin. "I haven't smoked weed since New Years Eve." Grundle was asked to step out of the car.

It was then that I realized how strange it was that two 17ish kids and one 21 year old (Grundle was a older) were driving through Wilmington MA at 2am... Especially since we had no destination, Alec and I were from Brookline MA, and Grundle was from about an hour deep into Maine.

Grundle was asked to stand outside the car, with his hands on the roof, while the cop went to his car and ran our licenses. A Volkswagen Jetta filled with teen girls went around us, and beeped. Grundle put on a big smile and waved, "How ya doin ladies?!" he shouted, which got him an immediate holler from the cop to put his hands back on the hood.

Long story short, we were all good kids with no history of problems, so the cop let us go. I asked Grundle what he was asked, and he said the cop wanted to know what we were looking at in the parking lot... I asked what he said, realizing it was sort of an unbelievable truth... "I know it sounds stupid, but my friends really like Dr. Pepper, and they saw the Dr. Pepper machine, and wanted to get a closer look."

Boy am I glad I wasn't the one to have to answer that question...

Have you ever been approached by a cop who misunderstood what was going on?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Most Useless Machine

I posted this many moons ago, but I just saw it again, and remembered it's greatness, and thought I'd repost.

Seriously, I want one!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Humorous Blogger Award


So it would appear that I've been given The Humorous Blogger Award.

The requirements are that I tell what impact humor has had on my life, and I must award the Cat's Ass to another such blogger whom I feel deserves it. This is a teriffic question.

Humor is a very important part of my my life and who I am. I love to laugh, and I love to have others join me in it, even if it's at my own expense. If you can't laugh at yourself, you've no right to laugh at anyone else.

Humor has gotten me through some pretty tough times. My father's last statement to me on his death bed was "I hear they were considering making a stamp commemorating lawyers, but no one could figure out what side to spit on." Just last month, I was told that one of the last things he told my brother, who was just starting his family was "Be good to your kids. One of them might be me."

I've always gravitated toward that one person in every group who is always cracking jokes, and always getting people to laugh. I've always felt like if I could get that person to laugh at one of my jokes, the day was a success. 

I think it's important to find the humor in a bad situation. I had a friend who lost his father during the month of March. On father's day his Facebook status was "Guess who got to save money by not having to buy a father's day gift? ...too soon?" and I thought "good for him." While there may have been some who found it in bad taste, it was just how he dealt.

I'd like to give this award over to Wendy - Keeping Up With The Pickles