Friday, November 13, 2009

“The Joy of Nature” or “When Birds Attack”

My wife and I had gone through this song and dance before. We open the door to our house last week only to find the tell tale evidence that a bird had broken into the house yet again. We saw bird-poop on the tile floor and smears on the glass sliding door from the bird slamming into it trying to escape. It wasn’t a matter of if, but a matter of where the bird was hiding in the house.

I being the consummate “Manly-Man” told my wife to stay near the door as I Elmer Fudded my way around the house looking for the bird. I didn’t hear any chirping or flapping but after about 15 minutes, I was ready to tap out. I figured, “maybe he didn’t break in.”

WRONG! As I’m heading to the couch, the bird takes flight 2 feet away from me, and I spring into DEFCON 5 mode. I yell for my wife to open the door and get outside. I then call for a weapon, and my wife answers, “There’s a broom in the closet.”

Armed with a broom and my wits, I proceed to poke, prod and yell at this stupid bird to stop slam into window and fly out of the friggin’ door! Now mind you, I haven’t run since…5th grade. I’m a taller guy with some size, so as opposed to having to run away, I prefer to intimidate.

Unfortunately, this bird preferred to fly around the house from room to room and duck and dodge and flap around the house. Since the bird gave chase, it required me to run upstairs and downstairs, in closets and out of closets. After the first trip upstairs, I started shutting doors to keep from drawing the bird back upstairs. At this point I’m angry, annoyed, and covered in sweat. Then the bird takes refuge in the corner of my dining room and perches on the crown molding. Then I remember that I have an equalizer…from the groundhog incident…THE B-B GUN!

I dart upstairs and grab that beloved pellet gun that my finally even my flightless odds against my winged nemesis. I then took it back downstairs and allowed those little green pellets to do the convincing for me. So I was comically armed like Dirty Harry and King Arthur, the bird finally left our humble abode. I went upstairs and collapsed in a heap. Running Sucks!

Sidebar: Ladies…? Why is it we have to be aggressive “Manly-Men” when danger rears its ugly head, but when we’re doing our duty to defend your honor when another guy comes sniffing around, we’re being “ridiculous.” One minute you want us to be the cultured, sensitive, guy who shares his emotions and feelings and the next you want us to unleash our inner caveman.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day

Hey yall,

I just wanted to tell you guys a little story about my Dad. Fairly recently, my Dad's uncle, Buddy, passed on, and my father wished to go to the funeral. Considering he had just had hip replacement surgery, the braintrust and I didn't think it was a good idea for him to go alone; especially with a long drive on a new hip. So Sis and I drew straws, and it was easier for me to go.

The day started bright and early for me at 4 a.m. which give me the time to get to my parents house by 4:30 and for us to leave for the funeral by 5:00. Due to eating habits and meal necessitites, we left the house at about 6:15. It kinda defeated the purpose of me waiting at 4, but that's water under the bridge.

A little background, if you please...

Dad and I haven't always seen eye to eye on most things. Part of it is generational; part of it is bravado, and the other part is that we are so alike, we drive each other crazy. So one would think that getting in a car and driving 6+ hours with only each other would be a most tempestuous mistake. Surprisingly, I couldn't be further from the truth.

Losing someone in your family is never a happy occassion, but this trip did a lot for our relationship. I would go as far to say that this trip did alot for us, or for that I thank Buddy.

Sidebar: Skeevy roadside Bathrooms.

I know what you're thinking. "Hello! Earth to Darian! It's called a ROADSIDE BATHROOM for a reason!" Maybe I'm mythologizing my youth, but bathrooms didn't look like this when I was little. We used to make roadtrips all the time, and with a child-sized bladder, I've seen my share of rest stops and roadside bathrooms. Some of the bathrooms we saw practically required a shower immediately upon exit.

The first bathroom we came upon was in a small town in southern Virginia. We had a choice: McDonald's or Amoco. Now the McDonald's must have had everyone on the eastern seaboard eating inside. I have never in my life seen a McDonald's so full. It also had an extra large parking lot tha was full! Like they expected their popularity! Seeing the sea of cars and people, we opted to go to Amoco which in stark contrast, was completely empty.

Upon entering the Amoco, we were greeted by some guy on his cellphone. We ask for the bathroom and he points. We enter, and this place was pretty bad. You would think these places get inspected, but it was not as bad a the Subway gas station combo that we pull into about 3 hours later.

Oh...My...God. I couldn't believe that this place actually served FOOD! As soon as you walk in the door, there are flies EVERYWHERE! Thankfully the urinals were ok, but the bathroom stalls looked the battlefield of a fecal war. Now, last I checking, the aim of the roadside bathroom/restaurant game is to have a pristine bathroom experience for potential customers. The last thing you want is someone to lose their appetite and lower their perception of your restaurant's cleanliness standards by keeping a bathroom that's a biohazzard. I consider it a lesson learned: Only use a bathroom in an establishment where you would also eat.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Back like I left something...

Well folks, I'm back for a lovely trip to the beach, and I did enjoy myself, but it wasn't without its moments! I'll explain.

So T got us one of those deals with a Timeshare company that my In-laws use. They give us a room in a Hotel on Main Street 4-days and 3 nights for about $160 and in exchange we "sit through their fabulous tour and timeshare offer and we get $50 bucks back if we accept or decline the offer." In my humble estimation, not a bad deal right?

So we arrive at the hotel and it looks a little "sketch." I'm willing to push this assumption aside until I saw the room itself. You can't judge a hotel by it's lobby and elevator. So we get to the room, and the view is gorgeous, but something didn't seem right about it. T & I stretched out legs about the beach and the surrounding area after our LONG drive.

We got back to the hotel, and I, unable to sleep in a strange place on the first night, stayed up for most of the night and watched TV. I went to bed 4 hours after the wife at about 12:15 pm.


I wake up, startled and it's about 4:30 in the morning. The siren is what I would liken to Star Trek: The Next Generation. You know, the siren that goes off anytime the Enterprise is attacked? Imagine that noise on about 4 hours worth of sleep. Not good.

T & I throw some clothes from our respective Twin beds (No Kings or Queens in this hotel!) and follow the masses downstairs and outside into the breezy and frosty air. Looking around, we definitely made the right move in getting dressed, because there is some seriously half-dressed and half-asleep folks around. Four minutes later, 3 Fire Trucks with full sirens, lights, and uniforms show up to the hotel and they begin to search the building. Security shows up and tells everyone that we're free to walk down to a neighboring hotel lobby and wait for the Firemen to finish searching the building and give us the all clear. We groggily shuffle to the hotel lobby and wait along with a few other fellow early risers.

So about an hour later, we're back in our Hotel room with no chance of getting back to sleep and zero apology from the Hotel. So we head back out the next morning for more "vacation shenanigans" and that afternoon we have our meeting with the Sales people. T and I have plenty of experience with these "sales meetings" and we would advise to always wait until the final offer to turn down the deal, because they will do everything to try to make you buy, even in THIS economy. They made an offer we couldn't refuse, and I can say that we're the new proud owners of a timeshare that we had no plans of purchasing, but have no buyers remorse.

Heading back to the hotel after our spontaneous purchase, we find some other guests at the hotel have taken up residence in our room: roaches! Mind you, this is only after our toilet breaks! At my wit's end, and being a brand new timeshare owner, I refused to sit up in the roach motel with septic issues!

We called our Timeshare company to shed some light on our plight. These guys are champs in my book, and here's why:
  1. They apologized profusely for the roach infestation and the "septically challenged" bathroom.
  2. They put us up in their poshest Vacation Property with a view of the beach that would make God smile!
  3. They offered us an extra day's stay (which we gladly partook!)
  4. They allowed us to check out immediately after the phone call.
Turns out they had no idea that their hotel was a living reenactment of "Good Times." That was when our vacation truly started and we had a ball! I guess everything has a balance, a little bit of hell and a whole lot of heaven.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

We're all Adults here...right?

I'm sorry that this may seem like a mish-mash post, but this just happened to me and the wounds are still fresh. I was just at my local supermarket, and apparently I was looking extra sketchy, because I got the hairy eyeball from one of the night stockers.

As I shot into the Health and Beauty aisle, he stared at me as I pretended to shop for lotion and other body creams. I say this not to skeeve you out, but because my mind was elsewhere. I was shopping for Condoms.

For some reason, at my local market, and every other place I've worked part time, (CVS [props to Shannon, the Dissaffected Scanner Jockey, see Noteworty Bloggers] and Shoppers Food Warehouse for example); condoms always seem to be front and center at most Groceries and Pharmacies to a point where it feels like your on stage when you go shop for them. For example, at the particular market, they were right next to the Pharmacy window.

What do they think? We're going to ask for directions or opinions? Do they feel that the male bravado is so high that we need to announce to the world that we're "gettin' some?" Call me crazy, but are the overwhelming majority of Pharmacists female? Would the average male feel more comfortable buying Condoms with a cute young pharmacist eyeing their purchase? Why would they deem that necessary? Don't they want our youth to use them?

Maybe you think that I'm taking the purchase of Condoms too seriously, but Newsflash: WE DO! Think about the many different types of Condoms that are out there: Trojan, Durex, Lifestyles, Latex, Lambskin, Polyuerothene, Polyisoprene, Lubricated, Spermicided, Ribbed, Contoured, Ultra-Thin, Extra Strength, Pleasure Tipped, Studded, Flavored, and a vast sundry of others. This is not a purchase we take lightly, because a crappy Condom is like a bad haircut. It's not cheap and it's an error that you have to live with until you get another one.

I once went as far as 2 counties to purchase Condoms from someone that doesn't personally know my Mother. That's how real it is for me!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The "Big" red line and the little Blue Light...or that old reliable Ex-Girlfriend

For some reason, during my Groundhog Adventure, I noticed something very strange about my shopping habits. I live in one of the few towns that has both a Wal-Mart and a K-Mart. I do a bulk of my shopping at the Wal-Mart because it is of the "Super" distinction. Getting my groceries among other things is so much cheaper there than anywhere else.

However, when the chips are down, or I'm looking for something a bit more obscure, I end up going to the lonely, run down, dimly lit K-Mart.

I guess part of it is that it reminds me of my childhood. When I was growing up, the closest and largest store in our town was a K-Mart. I know that's not saying much for my town, but it was a very small, and very young town. I guess the other part is that the price point is lower and the items they carry are a bit more obscure. As opposed to name brands, they prefer to carry brands that you slightly recognize. Like Craftsman, or Die Hard.

The only problem with the K-Mart "go-to move" is that they consistenly disappoint me by:
  1. Not carrying the item I was looking for at all.
  2. Carrying the item with very few alternatives
  3. Setting the price point so high, that I'm better off going to Wal-Mart, and kicking myself because that's where I should have gone the first place!
I always keep having the same conversation with myself, asking "Why the hell did I come here?" "What was I thinking that they would carry that?" "Who in their right mind, buys something here that has a higher price point AND lower in quality?"

Maybe I'm too forgiving and fiercly loyal of brands that I grew up with as a child. When I was little K-Mart was the be-all, end-all. If I couldn't find it at K-Mart, then they hadn't invented what I was looking for yet.

But WHY DO I KEEP GOING BACK?!?! Am I that proverbial guy keeps giving that ex-girlfriend chance after chance, and she keeps breaking my heart. Despite the fact that I've moved on, and I have other options that have what I need and treat me better than my ex? Am I that guy?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Groundhog Adventure

So, you're old buddy boy, Darian had taken off from the Office and his side job one day.  I'm hanging out around the house and just wallowing in my own filth.  It wasn't like I was heading anywhere, so why take a shower?  I was making my morning jaunt to get the morning paper on the lawn and what do I see digging next to my stoop...a giant Groundhog.  

Now, keep in mind, those that know me, know that I'm not the nature type.  In my case, it usually ends with scratches, stinging, or just a bad time.  So the Groundhog stops digging at my foundation, looks at me, and then starts digging again.

I yell, I scream, I response from Mr. Groundhog.  So I go in the garage and grab the lawnmower.  

I figured, most wild animals hate loud noises and he would scurry on back to Groundhog Town after my vacuum cleaner.  I was wrong.  Apparently, he's used to it. He paused briefly, and then continued working on his hole.  

I then went to the garage and wheeled out my lawnmower.  It's WAY louder than my vacuum cleaner and a lot more annoying.  NO DICE!  He paused one again, and then continued his carnage.  Then I reached for the hose.  Sprayed him right on the head.  He FINALLY STOPPED. He then shook of the water, and continued.  

I then accepted the fact that he was going to dig no matter what I tried.  I went back in the house and opened up the phone book, and came to a startling conclusion.  Apparently my town doesn't have animal control.  So I searched for a professional company that dealt with critters and varmints.   I called and told them what was happening.  They said, "Well Sir, we won't be able to get anyone out there today."  I pleaded, "but he's digging NOW!  Whatever, how much?"  The gentleman said, "Well it would be about $250.00 to set a trap, and then another $150.00 to take the animal away."  "Thank you. Bye!"

 So I start thinking about projectiles.  What can I shoot at this thing without killing it and having to clean up a dead animal?  Thinking back to my childhood, I thought of those dart guns with the suction cup tips.  Something to annoy that animal...from a distance.  I'm not friggin' Grizzly Adams here!  I don't generally deal with woodland creatures, and I don't know how it may react.  I'm sure I can win a fight against a Groundhog, but at what cost?  Rabies?  Hell-to-the-Naw!

So I head to the Dollar Store expecting to find the dart gun section teaming with different automatic and semi-automatic options.  It's been a long time since I was little.  Surely they've stepped up on the Dart Gun technology.  Unfortunately, no dice!  They didn't have any!

So my search leads me to K-Mart.  They don't have dart guns either.  Something about "Young Children" and "Gun Safety."  Anyway, I then begin to wonder...instead of Darts...what about...Pellets?  Surely they're faster than dart guns, and probably more painfully annoying!  I purchase a pellet gun and safety goggles (Safety first, even in Pest Control!) from K-Mart and still find the Groundhog digging away. 

I unwrap the packaging, load the gun and then attempt to do some test fires.  The gun jams.  I call the 800 number in the instruction manual and they tell me I may have a bad gun.  Take it back to the store and get another.  I go a step further and get a refund and leave the ex-girlfriend that is K-Mart and head to good 'ole Wal-Mart.  

Not to get too geeky but I found an inexpensive .25 caliber Colt (a recognizable firearms manufacturer as opposed to the more expensive and less recognizable K-Mart brand of Crossman) that can hold 15 shots and worked just fine during a test fire.  Wal-Mart even had more expensive versions with laser sights, Combat models, and 

Upon my return to my home, I find NO GROUNDHOG!  I went into the house, happy that the Groundhog was gone, but crestfallen that I couldn't get avenge the hole in my yard on that stupid creature.  Maybe it's for the best.