July 24, 2010

Atypical Saturday

Some days defy description.  Not because they're unique, but because you have the time to analyze them in detail when they're over.

I woke up to a driving rainstorm, and as often happens, the Rube Goldburg drain system from my sump pump usually comes apart outside.  So I waded out in the yard in the rain ... in my t-shirt and boxer shorts and put it back together.  Later, I crabbed at Jan when she went out on the front porch in her night shirt to save a drowning plant.  A unique double standard on my part.

I was excited this morning when my Saturday cleaning routine went a half hour short because our downstairs bathroom is torn apart.  The biggest charge I've gotten out of the thousands of dollars in renovation costs that I've realized so far is that I didn't have to clean one room.

I had to wear a tie this afternoon because we went to a wedding.  I haven't worn a tie in over a year and I was amazed when I still knew how to knot it.  I guess it's like riding a bicycle or some shit like that.  You never forget.

At said wedding, there was a giant picture behind the stage (or whatever you call it) of a kinda stoned looking Jesus staring at me out of the fourth wall with his hands outstretched to a fellow sitting on a stool, who was studying them intently.  Jan said the guy was Doubting Thomas.  I was surprised because I thought Doubting Thomas was some cartoon character in Highlights Magazine ... sort of like Goofus and Gallant.  Damn ... you learn something every day.

At same said wedding, the bride and groom were both going down the aisle for the second time, and I was struck at how bored they looked, and how they were more concerned with the intricacies of their Lutheran wedding rites than they were joyful at their union.  I decided that I didn't want to get married again if that's all the enthusiasm I could whip up.

We did some grocery shopping at Walmart late this afternoon.  When we got to the parking lot I realized that we hadn't been charged for two cases of Diet Coke.  I felt a slight twinge of guilt, but at the same time I felt delightfully criminal-y.  I wondered if that was the way a bank robber feels as he runs to his getaway car with his sack of swag just before the dye pack explodes.

Anyway, it's really a luxury when you can take a minute or two at the end of the day and mull over the things that happened.  Sometimes I can see why people fear death. They're probably afraid of all the things they'll miss.

I guess they have a point.

July 22, 2010

The Week That Isn't Over Yet

If you regularly check out local and national news sites, you'll often find that they feature wrap-ups of the week's news on Friday.  Usually Friday morning, which seems a bit soon to me, but I guess they figure the earlier they can get out their features, the sooner they can hightail it out of work and start their weekend shit.  They usually title such fluff/filler pieces some crap like "The Week That Was".

Well, I've still got one more day this week, and it doesn't look like it's going to be any improvement over the previous four.  So, I'll run down all the news that matters to me this week, and maybe it will remind me to expound on it at some later date.

Item:  "There's a giant fucking hole where my downstairs bathroom used to be".  And it just has some pipes and wirey shit running through it.  Maybe when this is done at the end of next week (crossed fingers), I can convince Jan to come down off her home improvement high and take a rest for 6 months or so.

Item:  "One of my favorite stalkers has passed on, and I miss her".  Once I'm fairly certain I can write about it without being targeted for hate mail and lawsuits, I can send this classy lady off in style.

Item:  "Idyllic work place found to contain giant asshole".  I tried to give them one more chance, I really did ... but hard core asshole-ed-ness is incurable.

Item:  "I'm officially so over summer".  But I say that about every season (except fall).

Four items for four days.  Not bad.  I'm not even going to speculate on tomorrow's ...

Catch you on the flip side.

July 19, 2010


This morning was a typical summer Monday.  I rose at 5 a.m. and did the usual shower, brush, shave, coffee, watch the news thing before I climbed in the truck and headed out to Giant Pharmaceutical House for another fun-packed day.

Jan, as usual during her school vacation days, stayed in bed and made a feeble attempt to say goodbye when I left.  When I arrived at work, I pulled up my home e-mail and found that our bathroom contractor had left me a message the night before saying that he would start work on Tuesday ... tomorrow.  And even though it was before 7:00, I called Jan to tell her the news and to let her know that we did need that exhaust fan after all.  Supposedly it's village code, even though we're having the almost useless shower removed permanently, making our "three-quarters bath" into a roomier "half-bath".  I guess the village fathers don't want us to have to endure the smell of our own shit when we use the facilities.

Before I go further, I should mention that we had taken the door down from the upstairs bathroom (the one not being torn to pieces) to paint yesterday, and although I figured we would get it back up eventually, I knew that Jan was uncomfortable with the door missing.  After 35 years of marriage, the one thing that Jan still holds as taboo is going to the bathroom in front of me.  And even though she's stopped screaming like a wounded banshee if I accidentally walk in on her on occasion, the whole idea one of us voiding in front of the other is still off the table as far as she's concerned.  I must admit that I find this strange, as the cat's main morning staple is being let into the bathroom in the morning so she can watch Jan take a dump.  I guess the cat and Jan have that "special" bond that I'll never be able to aspire to.

Anyway, if she's uncomfortable with the bathroom door missing with just me in the house, I knew she would be wasting no time in getting that sucker re-hung today if a boat load of strangers are coming in tomorrow.

And about 10:00 this morning, I received a phone call ...

Me:  Hello?

Jan:  Where's the third hinge to the bathroom door?

Me:  Good morning to you to.

Jan:  Never mind that.  Where's the hinge?

Me:  It's on the work bench with the other two hinges, dippo.

Jan:  No it's not.  Where is it?

Me:  Oh shit ... I just remembered, I put it in my lunch sack this morning instead of a sandwich.

Jan:  Very funny.  Where's the hinge?

Me:  I told you ....

Jan:  And I told you, it's not there.  (Silence .... sound of foot tapping)

Me:  Well, what do you want me to do, leave work and come home to find the fucking hinge?  Just go look again, and this time, take more than your usual 5 seconds to find something before you declare it officially AWOL.

Jan:  Well, okay.  But you better not have thrown it away.  Bye.

Me:  I love you too.

Thirty minutes later, she called back to tell me that the third hinge had been on the workbench, right beside it's other two buddies.  But she swore it wasn't there before. I told her that it must have gone out to the garage for a smoke.  I waited for the appreciative laugh, but it never came.

Christ, if she's this wired now, I can't wait 'til tomorrow when the wrecking crew shows up.

I wonder if Rexall sells Xanax over the counter.

July 18, 2010


Old age raises it's ugly head in many insidious ways.  Take this afternoon for example.

Jan and Rob are at the local Piggly Wiggly.  They take their cart to a checkout line with the light on, but no checker.  And there they wait.

Stockgirl:  "Hey Cricket, you have a customer."

Me:  "Cricket?  Who names their kid Cricket?"

Jan:  "Shusssshhhh!"

Me:  "What?"

Cricket comes over and begins checking groceries.

Cricket:  "Hi!"

Me:  "Hi Cricket ... snicker"

CricketPuzzled look.

Cricket finishes checking the groceries.

Me:  "So, uh, that's an unusual name."

Cricket:  "Huh?"

Me:  "Your name ... Cricket.  That's an unusual name."

Cricket:  "My name's not Cricket, it's Bridgette" (points to name tag that says "Bridgette").

Me:  "Oh ... Bridgette.  That's an unusual name too."

Jan:  "Damnit Rob ..."

Cricket/Bridgette:  "Have a nice day."

Jan:  "Why do you always have to embarrass me in public?"

Me:  "Sigh".

July 17, 2010

Eye Of The Storm

There is an unwritten rule known by almost every homeowner that states "If you complete one improvement project, the rest of the house automatically looks like shit."

A few weeks ago, we had all new windows put in our home that we had built especially for us (so did about 40 other people) 23 years ago.  As is the case with builder grade crap used to construct new homes, they should have been replaced 20 years ago.  But there was always an excuse not to do it, and by excuse, I mean money.  No matter what the smiley faced Feldco man says on TV about half-off windows, free installation or a new car with your purchase, they end up costing a good chunk of change.

Being responsible individuals, we contacted three contractors for bids.  The first guy was about 120 years old and we really didn't want him dying in our house, particularly with only half the windows finished, so he was out.  The next two offered the same brand of windows at roughly the same price.  One contractor informed us proudly that he used only Pole installers and not Mexicans.  This puzzled me somewhat, but maybe Poles are born with window installation in their blood, making them the clear genetic choice for the job.  The second contractor brought in a portfolio 10 inches thick. But instead of pictures of his previous jobs, it contained all manor of commendations, including a Better Business Bureau "good guy" certificate, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Iron Cross.  Jan was so impressed, that she insisted that he do the work.  Besides, I think she had a crush on him.

So, on the appointed day, the crew showed up.  And they were all ... Polish.  Maybe there is something in the genes.  Anyway, two days and a lot of hammering and Polish cursing later, they pounded their last nail, packed up, and left.

Holy Shit!

Stosh and Stosh Jr. Are Up To The Task

Finishing Up

And with nothing left of the crew except a faint whiff of kielbasa farts, Jan and I surveyed the work.  And it was good.

But the shades and blinds we had pulled down and planned to re-install were not so good.  With new windows, all of a sudden they looked like something out of an Alabama trailer park.  So all new drapes and rods were ordered and installed.  Then the bedroom was the wrong color, so we painted that.  Then the closet doors in the bedroom looked like shit, so we installed new ones. Then the wall art looked all wrong, so we bought all new.

And at approximately 3 P.M. this afternoon, after 3 weeks ... we installed the last door knob, and hung the last picture.  But our rest is short lived.

Because early next week, a new crew arrives to tear our bathroom down to the stud walls and build it back again from the ground up.

And even though I know it will look great when it's done in two weeks ...

I'm sure as shit something else won't.