November 29, 2012

I Have Become Comfortably Numb

In the past, I've posted several (many?) times about my next door neighbor, Hillbilly Ron, and his fondness for collecting junk and showcasing it to his neighbors by displaying it in his driveway, on his front lawn or in his side yard, which borders mine.

At various times, he has collected old refrigerators, bicycles in various stages of disrepair, a decapitated deer head, dead lawnmowers, a leaky boat and a skeletonized Volkswagen.  And during each of these times, the collections have driven me up the wall.  It was selfish on my part, because I had hoped to one day sell my house and could envision a potential buyer pulling up and spotting a bloody, decapitated deer head impaled on a broomstick; and driving off in terror.

But then, Jan and I decided that we really did like this area, the kids had told us they were going to stay in the Chicagoland area and we decided that we had put too much work in the house to start over again.  So, we decided to stay put until the end of days.

And now, thankfully, Hillbilly Ron doesn't bother me anymore.  Case in point; the other day I was out in the yard and overheard HR's wife screaming at him to get rid of some of the shit in the garage so she could at least park one car in it.  "Ha-ha", I thought to myself, when Hell freezes over.  However, the very next day, I looked out of my study window and saw this:

Fifteen Square Feet of Crap Equals Room for One Car in the Garage!

In the past, I would have clapped my hand to my face in a comical gesture and seethed.  But, I just sat back in my chair, and continued reading my copy of "Fifty Shades of Gray", not giving it a second thought.

And then, yesterday, Jan and I were returning from an errand, and when we pulled into driveway, we looked next door and saw this:

Of Course it Doesn't Run ...

Jan tried to bait me by gasping "Oh my God, what the hell is he doing now?"  I thought about it a couple of seconds and then said "Eh, he just likes to tinker."

I don't know what's happening to me, but all of a sudden I've become very mellow.  Perhaps it was turning 60 that did it.  I doubt I'd even bat an eyelash if I walked out this afternoon and saw a decapitated bloody deer head in the front seat and an old, rusty refrigerator in the back.

And speaking of Charmin toilet paper commercials ... these things are starting to run off the rails.  Especially with these fucking blue and pink bear cartoony ones.  At first they weren't too bad ... cute almost.  A blue bear walks up to a tree with a roll of Charmin, places it on a limb and presumably does his business behind a tree.  Kinda cute ... a "does a bear shit in the woods?" thing.

But then, the cartoony bears supposedly bought a house, so now they have a toilet and have started really getting into poo.  In an earlier commercial, Momma Bear checks out Juniors ass when he comes out of the bathroom for flecks of toilet paper, indicating that he used Brand X instead of Charmin.  In a later, more graphic commercial, Junior is actually sitting on the can rolling off reams of toilet paper to clean his ass.  Momma and Poppa Bear give him holy hell to only use one square, when any sane person knows that if you ACTUALLY do that, your fingers are going to punch right through the paper and you're going to get shit all over your fingers.

And then ... this morning I'm sitting at the table eating eggs and sausage when the latest Charmin commercial airs showing Momma Bear sorting her dirty laundry and checking out Junior's underwear for SKID MARKS!  And ... SHE DOESN'T LOOK PLEASED!  I looked down at my breakfast and lost my appetite, sort of like when you're out to dinner and you're digging into a plate of spaghetti and meatballs and your dinner companion starts talking about how her dog has worms and she knows this because she saw them wriggling around in his shit.

Yeah, kind of like that.

Well, for my money, this bear and toilet paper crap has to end.  Charmin needs to go back to that moderately attractive housewife who looks like she's having an orgasm while she's rubbing a roll of TP on her cheek.  That was much classier.

Like I said, I get more mellow every day.

November 28, 2012

Time On My Hands

I just finished making stuffing.  Yes, stuffing like you make for Thanksgiving.  And it's 11:00 in the morning.  Well, I was bored and there were most of the items I needed to make it in the refrigerator and pantry that I had left over from last week ...

This is the problem.  The problem with not being at work.  It's a small problem, but a problem never-the-less.  It's been almost a month since my contract ended at Giant Pharmaceutical House and I'm in the process of finding things to do to fill my days.  It's a fine line to tread between finding just enough to do and not taking on full-blown projects, like painting the second bedroom. Painting the room wouldn't be that big of a deal, but the ceiling should be painted too.  And that ... is a pain in the ass.  You crane your neck upwards for hours and paint gets all over the fucking place, including your clothes, your hair and in your EYES!  I'm usually half-blind after I finish a ceiling.  So I'm going to have to rev myself up for that one.  In the interim, here are some things that I've been doing to make the day worthwhile:

Cleaning the house ... this lasted about a week and a half, because there's only so many times you can clean the house in the space of ten days before you completely flame out and never want to do it again. Better to space it out to ... oh once a month.

Do things at odd hours ... one day I went to the liquor store at 9:00 on a weekday morning for a bottle of wine.  This turned out to be a bad idea.  First of all, it's hard to bluff the clerk into believing you're buying the wine at that hour because you have a romantic picnic lunch planned, especially when it's 20 degrees outside.  Secondly, there are an awful lot of old men there at that hour buying pints of vodka and whiskey.  Makes you feel kind of squicky.

Cruise the internet ... this is the one thing I love doing, because you always have to hide it at work.  No body's looking over my shoulder here at home.  Unfortunately, after I plow through the news, comics and Gawker, it's only been a half-hour and I'm done for the day.

Spy on the neighbors ... everyone is at work.  No one to spy on.

Watch television ... Yay!  Especially morning television. I used to watch "Good Morning America" all the time, but grew tired of George Stepha-what's-his-name and the never ending tributes to the one woman who isn't there now, and I do feel for her, but shit ... that gets old.  So, I switched to the "Today" show, which isn't much better, but at least it goes on until 11:00 in the morning and I'm not subjected to a local show named "Windy City Live", which absolutely blows.  And in the 10:00 hour I can watch "Hota and Kathy Lee" instead of "The View", which is only entertaining if you want to watch a group of women yelling, interrupting each other and their guest constantly and generally being a bunch of assholes.  "Hota and Kathy Lee" is pretty cool because they both have huge glasses of red wine in front of them each day when they start the show and they're empty by the end of the hour.  Plus , they always have one or two segments with someone who brought in a truckload of booze to taste.  One morning I tried watching CBS, but was shocked when "The Price Is Right" came on and Drew Carey was the host instead of Bob Barker.  What the fuck is with that?

Anyway, I'm still feeling out my new found freedom and open schedule.  I'm sure I'll keep finding things to do like fly-casting, knitting or yoga.

But right now, I think I'll go start a turkey to go with that stuffing.

November 08, 2012

Best Halloween Ever!

Yes, it's a little late to be talking about Halloween, but I've been busy, so I'm just now getting around to it.  And no, I'm not going to talk about how many trick-or-treaters showed up at the door, even though there was one awesome kid who actually had a hollowed out, real pumpkin stuck on his head.  Crap, he must have felt really squicky after a few hours.

And no, I'm not going to talk about my previously best Halloween ever, when I saw a bunch of sheep in a pasture, thought they were ghosts and ran face first into a barbed wire fence.

No, my best Halloween ever happened just this last Wednesday when I was laid off by a pirate.

As a few of you know, I work off and on for Giant Pharmaceutical House as an outside contractor. They lay people off, figure out later they made a mistake and then hire me to clean up messes until the mess goes away, then I get a few months off to recover.  On my most recent stint, which took up much of the year, I was ... a Research Chemist ... which is pretty cool because I never took a chemistry course in my life and it looked good on loan and credit card applications and will look great on my income tax form this winter.  Actually, I did do a pH test once a long time ago, but I screwed it up.

Anyway, I was having a great time doing this until just before we left for my son's wedding.  You can always tell when work is winding down, and you start making bets with yourself on exactly when you're going to have your contract cancelled.  Jan and I discussed this during our trip, so we were both ready.

And when I can back from vacation on Halloween Day, I had a feeling the jig was up.  No e-mails, no phone messages, no notes or work on my desk.


So, I settled back in my chair with an excellent cup of Giant Pharmaceutical House Cafeteria Coffee and made a mental note of what to pack in my "brief bag".  This consisted of my "222 Riverside Drive" coffee cup and my magnetic name plate, so I didn't have to make too many mental notes.  And then I waited.

Sure enough, about noon, I received an e-mail from my supervisor requesting a "one on one" meeting an hour later.  I've never had a one on one with him, so I knew this was it.

An hour later, I skipped up the stairs to his office and found him sitting in his chair ...

Wearing a pirate costume.

Me:  Nice outfit.

Him:  Uh, thanks.  I wonder why nobody dresses up for Halloween here?

Me:  I don't know ... you look very dashing though.

Him:  Uh, thanks.

Him:  So, how was the wedding?  Blah, blah, blah, awkward time filler, blah, blah, blah.

Me:  Blah, blah, blah ... Say, why don't we cut to the chase?

Him:  Um, yeah.  We've run out of work for you to do, sooooo .... today's your last day.

Me:  Ooookaaaay.  You want me to stay the rest of the day so I can steal a decent amount of office supplies?

Him:  A-ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ... you're kidding, right?

Me:  Yes I am.

And then there were awkward platitudes and the last awkward handshake ... and I was off.

Elvis left the building soon after, and I know I'll be back one day soon, hopefully with an even more awesome title than Research Chemist, but I'll never have a much better story than "I got canned on Halloween by a guy in a pirate costume".

Shit ... who am I kidding?  Of course I will.

November 07, 2012

Rob Goes Tripping

From the date of my last post, you would think I'd been on vacation for a long time, but I just didn't have any shit worth writing about.  I actually did take an extended week's vacation a while back to attend my son and brand spanking new daughter-in-laws' wedding in Savannah, Georgia (Yes, you can applaud).

Jan and I spent four days on the road in our little cracker box SUV, speeding along the highways and byways of the South, narrowly avoiding death by coked up semi-tractor trailer drivers approximately 5 times and were able to indulge in my favorite travel past time ... eating the free breakfasts at the motels we stayed at along the way.  Did you know that no matter what motel you stay at, they serve those flat, yellow egg-like patties, sausage, biscuits and that shitty white gravy?  Now that stuff really lubes up your insides, which is unfortunate when you're in driving in the middle of nowhere and your sphincter suddenly decides it has to let go.  Here's a traveling tip for you ... always have lots of toilet paper and a camp stool with no seat in it, otherwise things get really messy.

But besides that, Savannah was great, what with all the mansions and narrow streets and tour trolleys and policemen hassling every black person in sight so that their tourist business isn't jeopardized.  And you've seen all that great moss hanging from the trees?  Well, the first thing they tell you when you get there is DON'T TOUCH THE MOSS!!  Why?  Because it's full of chiggers.  Thanks for the tip guys!

And do you know what else you can do in Savannah?  You can walk the streets night and day drinking alcoholic beverages!  That was fun!  Except if you're a black person, then you get thrown into the back of a police car.  I didn't do that though; that is, drink on the street or get thrown in the back of a police car.  They didn't have enough restrooms to accommodate my tiny bladder.  Plus, they have lots of shopping, dining and bums.  The bums sell these little palm bark roses anywhere from 5 to 25 dollars, depending on what time of night it is and how much you fear for your life.

Also, there's no use going to Savannah unless you take a trip out to Tybee Island, famous for it's very own Atlantic Ocean, beaches, over priced parking and fishermen on the giant-assed pier who try to snag you in the face with their fishing hooks as you stroll past.  Plus, there are a lot of these:

This little bastard shit on my head.

And no trip to Tybee Island is complete without getting lost on the way back to Savannah and ending up in a slum and having to stop and ask two policemen who are hassling a black guy and throwing him into the back of their car how to get back to safety.

But, all in all, we had lots of fun and decided that Savannah is a great place to visit ... once.  And now that I'm back in Northern Illinois ... well, I really miss those yellow, flat egg-like thingies.  I wonder if they sell them at Walmart?

Next Post:  Halloween Surprise!!