Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Festering Craphole, Month #7

I had high hopes. I really did. I even have a draft post entitled "The Festering Craphole is Complete". But still, here it is, the SIXTH month into my little two-month long bathroom redo which I stared at the beginning of October, and the kids are still trashing the guest bathroom instead of their own.

Sure, we all know what "they" say...that your average home project will take twice as long and cost twice as long as it should. But we're approaching the SEVENTH month into my project of redoing the kids' bath. It was supposed to be done before the spring thaw (folks standing in the freezing Fargo floodwaters, yes I realize I still have time based on your temperature gauge).

So what's taking so long? Well, life, of course. You know, the daily grind, sick kids, trying to keep my job in this down economy...the usual thing. But this weekend I had the highest of high hopes. All that's left is to paint and install a couple of cabinets I made, hang some towel racks and a ceramic fish, and it's time for the big reveal. No brainer, right?

But then LIFE happened again.

You'll notice I'm writing this on a Saturday morning before 7am. I'm currently waiting for the coffee maker to finish it's job of supplying me with fresh Columbian that I can take with me on my drive to Lowes. This weekend I have three projects that trump the bathroom. First, the garage door opener decided to go into retirement. Second, I've got a hillside that needs some repair before the weeds move in. And third, the real kicker, is the faucet in the guest bathroom is now broken. Yes, yet another plumbing job. As fast as I can build the new bathroom, that's how fast the others are falling apart. Only two weeks ago I was ripping piping out of the powder room sink to remove a ten-year-old clog that had finally gotten the best of us. Before that, I was re-seating a leaking toilet in the master bath. I won't even mention that the vinyl floor in the guest bathroom is bubbling up, a result of dried out adhesive. Or that the paint is peeling. No, those are projects for another day. Or another seven months.

Well since I still don't have a big reveal, here's a teaser. It's the shelf unit I built to go where a window used to be in the kids bathroom, completely unsanded and unpainted, but at least it's proof I've gotten SOMEWHERE.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The real reason sheep are nervous

(Kid friendly despite the implications of the title...)

Imagine what'll happen once PETA gets wind of this.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I've seen the's name is Facebook

I'm convinced that this recession (depression?) we're in has been caused almost single-handedly by the good folks running Facebook. It has to be. Have you seen Facebook lately? It's like no one works anymore. Everyone's either busy updating their status with information about their latest bowel movements, Answering the the latest quiz about the type of invertebrate they are, or whining and moaning about how far our nation has digressed as a result of the new Facebook user interface.

Have we all gone insane? I mean seriously, while the hardworking lads in India are researching solutions to our planet's greatest scientific problems, my fellow Americans are taking the "Which Facebook Quiz Should You Take" quiz. Seriously.

I'm also convinced that Facebook is nothing but a front for the CIA and Homeland Security to gather information about each and every one of us. Think about it. By letting people know that my porn name is Magnum Delmar, the Feds can now deduce my dog's name and the street where I grew up. By listing the states I've visited, spies can now track my travel habits and determine where I'm planning on delivering my next batch of yellow cake. By answering the question about my worst fear in life, they can bury me alive and cover my face with tarantulas until I admit that I'm a terrorist plotting to do evil against my local township. These quizzes take us only a few steps away from providing the world with my mother's maiden name, my social security records, and the list of communist defectors I once got high with. I've never clicked, nor do I plan to click, one of those "allow this application to access my profile" buttons. Call it paranoia but what, exactly, are you planning to access? Why does a digital snowball need to know the list of people I dated in High School? Who are you working for??!! TELL ME???!!!!

And don't get me started about Twitter.

A couple of fine examples of why society is doomed

First, there’s the latest fad in the automotive pimping industry, the Whistle tip (or as I like to call it, the Wizzleteat). Make sure to pay attention to the test drive at the end:

Then, there’s the neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama (where else?) that's convinced of the existence of a leprechaun. Don’t expect to see it in the video…it will disappear if a light is shone on it. I especially like the antique leprechaun whistle, made of high quality PVC. I bet it would sound swell attached to the muffler of my Supra.

I take it back. We're not doomed. We're already dead.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Planning to have kids? Better rework that budget.

Some advice for all you expectant parents out there. I'm sure you're giddy with anticipation over the prospect of a new little one in your life. someone to love, to care for and, most importantly, to pay for. I'm sure you've got the nursery all ready, the pantry stocked with Enfamil and various jars of pureed vegetables, and the budget for the next several years solidified and ready for the little one to invade your life. You're ready to be Supermom and Superdad, right? We laugh at you, you silly young waifs. Here's a few things I bet you never thought of for that budget.

Birthday parties.
No, I'm not talking about your little one's birthday party. That's enough of a financial drain in itself, what with the required passage through the worlds of Build-A-Bear, MyGym, and giant backyard BBQ's. I'm talking about the friends' birthdays. As your child enters toddlerhood and begins to attend preschool, it's a requirement that she invite each and every classmate to her birthday party. Likewise, she's obligated to attend each one of their birthday parties. Each birthday party will out-do the last, and don't think for a MOMENT that you're not required to do the same. So plan on about twenty bucks a kid for presents. Plan to spend each and every weekend being dragged by your toddler to Build-A-Bear to go through the same ursine manufacturing process you did the previous week until she's amassed a quantity of stuffed bears no human should have to tend to. My advice to you? Train your child to become a pariah, loathed by each and every one of her classmates. It's cheaper in the long run, and scars will heal. Who knows, your socially awkward child might grow up to write a blog or something.

Kids love to draw. Expect that your printer will never be in proper working order. Expect that the paper tray will always be found on the floor under your desk after your kid has ransacked it in an effort to obtain clean media for her latest bit of artistry. Plan on about a ream of paper,per month, per kid. With the economy the way it is, save money by swiping paper from the office, since chances are good your company won't be around in the next fiscal quarter anyway. Oh, also consider space allocations in your home, as every flat surface in the house will eventually be piled high with your child's artwork. There's the stuff she makes at home, the stuff she makes in preschool, the stuff she scribbles on the back of the Denny's menu...none of it can be thrown away as it's all entirely too special and important and your child will still be healing from the wounds of not being invited to her classmates' birthday parties so don't injure her pride further by throwing something out. That sheet of 8-1/2" x 11" with the two messy crayon circles on it? Better get it out of the trash right now and put it up on the fridge before she notices what you tried to do. As if to demonstrate my point, Jessica just walked up to me asking, "Dad? Can I have a piece of paper?" I'd tell her to check the recycling bin, but if she does she'll find the pile of her drawings I threw out the other day and call me an evil ogre for doing so.

Another advantage to making your child the preschool outcast is that it will enable her to avoid physical contact with other children. If your child is unlucky enough to have a friend or two, then plan for the worst. By the 3rd day of the first school year, she will have her first ear infection. The following week will bring a case of strep. After that, another ear infection, with diarrhea. And just in time for your upcoming vacation, she will pass all those diseases over to you, knocking you flat on your back for the rest of the month. Get to know your local pharmacist. You'll be there often. I should also mention that you should plan to add an extra closet to the kids' bathroom dedicated to the storage of Childrens' Tylenol, Vaporub, and humidifiers in the shape of Hello Kitty. As I write this, my wife is picking up Jessica's latest prescription, this time for an ear infection with pus on her tonsils.

This one has been discussed by many a blogger in the recent past, but it's worth mentioning again. As a dutiful helicopter parent (a term I just learned last night), you will need to make a multitude of decisions about how to get your child out of the house when school is done for the summer. But telling your child to simply go play outside is NOT an option. There are evil things in your neighborhood. A skeevy man with thick glasses and beady eyes is camped out at the end of your street at this very moment, waiting for a lone toddler to wander just a little too far from his front door, so the child can be swept up and shipped to an overseas white slavery ring. There are packs of wild dogs roaming your neighborhood right now, on the hunt for an afternoon snack. And since chances are good little Timmy has some syrup from this morning's breakfast still on his new outfit from Childrens' Place, if the wild dogs don't get him the swarm of bees will. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, camp. Start writing checks now. There's preschool camp. Bible camp. Art camp. soccer camp. Acting camp. Piano camp. Attitude Adjustment camp. Band-Aids and Booboos camp. Learn to be a Vegetarian camp. Send your child to all of them, for if you skip even one, come fall your child will be even more of the social pariah than she already is, having missed out on an opportunity to learn how not to fend for herself over the summer. Oh and of course, don't you dare try to schedule your own child for camp independently of the scheduling of the other children in her class. If your son's best friend is going to Paint Your Own Pottery camp, you'd better damned well send your son there at the same time, even if he thinks painting your own pottery is for sissies.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

This is Apple Support, what are you wearing?

I’m working at home on our iMac today. For the past several weeks the little scroll ball on the Wireless Mouse has given me trouble, refusing to scroll in any direction except up. I finally got tired of ignoring the issue and called Apple support. After saying the words "Wireless Mouse to the voice recognition system without it being recognized, I finally got myself transferred to a human, who forwarded me to a guy with a southern drawl (and, no, not southern India, more like Alabama). He asked me an interesting question.

“Sir, what kinda pants are ya wearing right now?”

I told him blue jeans.

“Perfect. Sir, I wantcha to take the mouse hold it upside down on yer blue jeans and rub it around on your pant leg so the ball spins real fast.”

I did.

“Is it workin’ now?”

Yup, sure was.

Best support call ever.