Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Musical Beach Day

“So, Joe, you’re back to work tomorrow.”
“Yep, I think I’ll head to the beach today.”
Summertime is my favorite season. I really enjoy hanging out at the beach and I live close enough to jump in the car and be there in just a few minutes. My wife said I spend too much time in my room and I should get out and exercise. So I packed a lunch (egg salad for me and chips for the seagulls), ironed my Speedo (I always like to look good) and grabbed my cap. My wife often reminds me …
“Joe, make sure you leave your hat on!”
“Yes dear, I don’t want to burn my hair.”

So, off I went. It was a beautiful day, the clouds were a bit thick and although there was an invisible sun, I really felt the heat on my back and shoulders as I casually strolled along the water’s edge.
"Owwwwww! Damn kids and their stupid holes in the sand!”
Oops! Sorry, but that hurt. A little deeper and I’d have to learn Japanese (or is it Chinese?)
Has that ever happened to you? You know, you’re not watching where you going and suddenly one leg will just keep on going down.
Anyway, I continued to limp along, humming a tune.
When I got home a few hours later, my wife, home from her day at work, greeted me at the door.
“So, Joe, how was your day? Was it something to blog about?”
“Since you asked, I did come up with an idea. I’m going to post a music video blog.”
I hope you didn’t mind all the links and stayed a while to enjoy the music. I’m pretty tired now so I think it’s time to hit the pillow and head off to never never-land.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Dryer Prep Pole

“Joe, What are you doing?”
“Uh, what’s it look like? I’m starting a load of laundry.”
Between you, and me, I don’t care what she thinks. When it comes to doing the laundry, my system works best. Over the years, although she won’t admit it, she has adopted many of my practices in dealing with the overflowing hamper. But still, she has her own ways that tend to aggravate me. I am practical. She is practically crazy.
Some things that we can’t agree on have resulted in her having her own dirty clothes bag where only her things go. It’s like her safety bag because I’m not allowed to wash anything that sits in it. It’s a rule. I can’t wash any of it. It’s like all her clothes are special or something.
“Don’t worry about the clothes tonight, Joe. I can do the laundry tomorrow.”
“It’s no problem dear, I’m down here on the computer anyway.”
Our laundry room is down in the basement in the same room as my office. So, it’s convenient for me to tend to the laundry while using the computer. We have our own little “Laundromat”. It consists of a washer, dryer, ironing board, folding table and a dryer prep pole. This has been the set up for the past fifteen years. Now you may be wondering, “what the heck is a dryer prep pole?” Well, let me explain. I invented it. That’s right, it was my idea not hers. You see, a long time ago we used an outdoor clothesline. What a pain in the neck that was. You had to lug the wet clothes to the bedroom window, which was located two floors above the laundryroom, and then, using clothespins, take each article of clothing and hang it out over the yard for the world to see. I hated it. There they were, her panties, my jockeys and the laughing neighbors. The clothes came back into the house smelling like “dog” and if it rained, sometimes you were lucky enough to quickly pull in semi-dried articles. If it rained and you weren’t lucky, you’d have to take the clothes back down to the machine and run them through the spin cycle again because they were soaked and so heavy the line stretched so low that the clothes were touching the ground.
Can you believe she still reminds me from time to time that I haven’t put up a new clothesline for her yet? So, using a wooden pole from an old closet and propping it up horizontally between two upright hat racks, I invented the “dryer prep pole”. I then convinced her that it was more practical to just take the clothes out of the washer, put them on hangers and hang them on the dryer prep pole. When they’re almost dry, we pop them into the dryer and add a softener sheet to fluff them up, take out the wrinkles and eliminate any future static electrical shock. Best of all the laundry comes out of the dryer not smelling like dog.
“Joe, you haven’t washed your new shirt yet, have you?”
“Don’t worry. All taken care of dear.”
When she does the laundry she annoys me because she makes things more difficult than they have to be. Like when she has to turn everything inside out before putting them into the washer and then she turns them back outside in before hanging them. I hate turning wet clothes from inside out to outside in. I’m not even sure if it is “outside in” because when you do it you’re really putting the outside back out. I get very confused. Then, she never hangs the clothes with the same amount of space between the hangers when she hangs them on the dryer prep pole. Some items touch making them take longer to dry. I have to continuously re-space them. She doesn’t make sure all the front of the shirts and pants face in the same direction. She doesn’t rotate the hangers for even wear. She hangs socks. Who hangs socks?
When I do the laundry, it’s done right!
“Joe, I just come down to say good night, I’m going to bed.”
“Okay hun, good night, I’ll be joining you as soon as I’m done down here.”
“Joe? Are those my new shorts hanging there? Why are they pink? They were white earlier today!”
“Uhm … what? Er … well I … uhm … huh?”

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Foot Food For Fish

There’s an item in today’s newspaper that caught my eye. A spa in Virginia is offering fish pedicures. After reading this you may ask yourself, “Why would I want to bring my fish to a spa? They ain’t got no feet!”
My thought exactly, until I read on.
It is, in fact, your feet that are soaked in a tub full of fresh water with about one hundred little fish called “carp”. These are toothless creatures that will eat only the dead skin on your feet. Why? Because there’s nothing else to dine on except the dead stinky foot skin you just dunked into their home away from home.
Now, I’m far from being an activist of any cause, but I couldn’t help but wonder where the PETA people stand on this one. Let’s find out.
“All aboard! My Brain Train is leaving the station!”
First … Let me think a second … It is the PETA people I should be looking into, right? That’s the organization of People Eating Tasty Animals? Sorry, I was just kidding. I don’t want to offend anyone. (Click.) Here it is … the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Okay … Search on “carp”. (Click.) Hmmmmm. Did you know that goldfish are a type of carp? They can live up to forty years. I’m not sure if that can happen on a steady diet of foot food. Anyway, Goldfish are more an ornamental type of carp. They usually look pretty and for that they eat well. No dead skin dinners for them. (Click.)
A carp evidently looks at us and sees an endless supply of meals. Our skin is the largest organ of our body. We have layers of skin and the outermost layer is made up of mostly dead skin. (Click.) Every minute of the day we lose about 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells. To carps, our feet are just appetizers. They’re waiting for us to take the next step with full body soaks. They want the whole enchilada!
So as My Brain Train pulls into the next station, I leave you with this conclusion. (Click.) PETA mentions nothing on their website about the cruelty of feeding carp our smelly corn popping, blistering and bunion burdened tootsies. So maybe you might like to try it yourself.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Own Niagara Falls

“Joe, I just left some receipts on your desk.”
“Uh, okay dear. Thanks for letting me know.”
Oh-oh … What the hell did she buy now?
We have money conversations over and over and over again.
I hate arguing about finances, but sometimes I have to put my foot down! The trick is retracting it fast enough so I don’t end up with a heel dug into the top of my foot.
Let’s see what she bought this time.
Oh, it’s a receipt for a Pitcher Water Filtration System.
Yeah, I remember this. She bought it a few weeks ago.
I was aggravated that she decided on this purchase. To her, she was problem solving. Let me explain from the beginning.
“Joe, we need another filter, this one is no good.”
At that time we were using the type of filter that screws into the kitchen sink faucet. It seemed we had to replace it way too much.
After interrogating her on the possible reasons, I discovered she was filtering the water she used to water our nine million houseplants.
When I refused to replace it she suggested we change to having bottled water delivered.
“Joe, let’s go on the computer, I want to see the cute bottle stands they have to match our kitchen, I think they’re free when you set up an account.”
Crap! Why can’t she just take the time to learn to search the web? Or get on-line? Or use a mouse? Or, turn on the computer?
Weeks later …
“Joe, when’s our next delivery? We’re almost out of water.”
We started our plan with three bottles of water a month and ran out quicker than an elephant cannon-balling into a full bathtub.
We increased to four bottles last month and still ran out of water as we dragged ourselves closer and closer to the oasis.
When we recently changed to five bottles a month it was time for a new interrogation.
“Joe, I don’t know why. Honest, the plants seem to be doing okay on regular tap water now. They’ve adjusted.”
“Are you secretly bathing in it?”
“Are you selling it to the neighbors for a profit?”
“No. Come on Joe. Be serious?”
“Are you cooking with it?”
“Well … I do use it to make the coffee.”
“Honey! What the hell! When you make coffee the water boils. I don’t think you need to use bottled spring water. It’s not exactly poison flowing through our pipes.”
“Joe! I’m not using that tap water for our coffee!”
So I gave up. Then the youngest daughter comes to the rescue.
Using calculators, measuring devices and going through two or three pencil erasers they figured out that if we use a Pitcher Water Filtration System to filter our tap water when we make coffee, it would eliminate two out of the five jugs we are being delivered each month.
Therefore, costing us about $10 less a month in bottled water.
See! She is doing her part to save money.
So, last week the new purchase sat on our kitchen table. (Still in the box.) This week it sits on our treadmill in the exercise room. (That won’t be moving too soon.) There is no shortage of coffee in our pot. And, we’re still close to matching Niagara Falls in water usage.
I don’t think we've yet managed to uncover the water consumption problem. The spending problem, well, I’ve only touched upon one of the six receipts she dropped on my desk.
And as far as what my wife is learning about all of this … Just this morning as she was changing the water in the fishbowl using our precious supply of natural spring water, she asked …
“Joe, if you’re running to the store, will you buy me a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee?”

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Arte Y Pico ... My Online Affair

“Joe, what’s all the fuss about? What is it you want to show me?”
“Come here! Check this out on my computer!”
The only time my wife sits in front of the computer is when I practically have to drag her down to my basement office to show her something … even then it’s like pulling teeth. She’s always too busy doing something upstairs like talking on the phone or reading or quietly figuring out how to aggravate me.
“Joe, you’re not going to show me something gross again, are you?”
“No dear, nothing gross. I won something!!!”
Okay … So sometimes I lure her down here for a laugh. Like the time I had her reading one of those emails where you’re really concentrating on finding something small on the screen and all of a sudden … up pops a scary picture accompanied by a dreadful scream! You know the ones I’m talking about. It was a while gaining back her trust after that one. But I did. She loves me.
“Joe, I’m serious. You better not be fooling around.”
“Come on honey, trust me. You’ll be proud of me, really.”
The gross thing she was referring to was one of my first posts … The Truth About Giraffes … She always thought it silly that I don’t find giraffes cute as most other people do. But after watching the video I added to my post … well let’s just say she laughs no more!
“Okay Joe, So what did you win? What the hell is that?”
“It’s a blogging award honey. It's my first! Someone gave it to me. You know … for my blogging.”
So I go on to explain that Heather, of KelticKaos fame was honored by receiving an award for her blogging by one of her readers called the Arte Y Pico Award and she now has to honor someone else, well … five others who have blogs that she likes to read … and I was one of the five bloggers she picked to pass the award to …
“Isn’t this exciting?”
*Crickets (I recently saw this on another blog and couldn’t wait to use it.)
“Joe, let me get this straight. First of all, there are other people doing this blogging stuff?”
“Well … yes. You didn’t know that? You thought I’m the only one?”
“Joe, you never explained that. Who else does it?”
“Hon, I have told you this before, but you’re never interested. I have to practically beg you to read mine. There are thousands … er … millions, who write blogs.”
“So, Joe, Who is this Heather? Why haven’t you mentioned her before?”
“Hon, I don’t know who she is. Honest! Don’t look at me like that!”
“Well she seems to know you. She’s giving you this award. How long have you been blogging to her?”
“Hon, You’re not getting this. She just reads my blog and she likes it. She’s just saying so by passing this award to me. I’ll do the same. I’ll pass it along to some others who write blogs that I like to read.”
“Oh yeah? Like who? More Heathers?”
“Hon, You’re being ridiculous. I’ll probably pass it on to … let’s see … Mooooog … and Bogart … and Dorky Dad … oh … and B-Dog … and Malicious Intent.”
“Joe, really, I’m supposed to believe these are real people? There are more girls too, am I right? You’re just not saying! You know ... your sister told me she has to really watch who your niece talks to on the computer. I think it’s about time I start learning this crap so I really know what’s going on down here.”
“Yes honey. You really do. (Under my breath) … Yeah, that’ll never happen!”
“OUCH! What? What did you do that for?”
“Because I heard that, smartass!”

Monday, July 7, 2008

Feces Species

“Bzzzzzz! Bzzzzzzzz! Bzzzzzzzzz!”
How annoying … there’s a damn fly in this room and it keeps buzzing around my head. There are plenty of lights on in the room. Don’t they like the light? Isn’t that what attracts them? It looks like a common housefly. I think it’s a bit crazy. Can flies be crazy?
“Bzzzzzz! Bzzz! Bzzzzz! Bzzzzzzzzz”
I’ve been swatting at the little rascal for over an hour now.
I shut off the lights closest to me. My strategy was to have it wander to the houseplant sitting across the room under the only light still turned on.
“Housefly, meet houseplant … houseplant, this is housefly. Why don’t you guys hang out a while?”
I figured, both their first names are “house” … why wouldn’t they immediately connect? Besides, doesn’t this fly get the idea I’m trying to lay some hurt on it, swatting at it like a madman? Does it actually think I’m happy to see it as it watches me waving excitedly? I really just want it to leave me alone.
“Bzz! Bzzz! Bzzzzz! Bzzzzzzzzz! Bzz!”
So far I’ve thrown a book at it, sending my cell phone for a ride. Then, when Buzz (Yeah, I named it.) landed on my corkboard, I used a pencil as a javelin trying to nail the little bastard but instead, knocked over a picture on my desk. I’ve even taken off my tee shirt and swung at it rocketing my router off my computer tower and then toppled a half full can of soda onto the floor. Now I have sticky feet. (Not to be confused with “stinky feet” which I also have.)
“Bzz! Bzzz! Bzzzzz! Bzz Bzzz Bzzzz! Bzz!”
Just as I was about to use a can of aerosol spray as a flamethrower I saw the most unusual thing. The fly ascended to the ceiling and just sat there, upside down. How the hell did it do that? I wasn’t sure I saw the actual move Buzz made to get upside down. It was flying right side up but then suddenly it was upside down … and landed.
I had to research this.
Come along with me …
“Aaallllll aboard! My Brain Train is pulling out of the station!”
Let’s see … Google, Lycos … hmmm … … Okay. (Click.)
Housefly: well-known cosmopolitan pest of both farm and home. This species is always found in association with humans or activities of humans. Well this is nothing new except I never thought of Buzz as a “species” or at a farm. But I guess that sounds right, although, the farm-fly we’re talking about here is probably the “horsefly” and I guess we call that one the “horse feces species”. (Click.)
What’s this picture link? (Click.) Wow! Look at these things. Colorful ones … hairy ones … big ones … little ones … hmmm … click on this and … “bad info leads to wrong house and bullets fly.” Okay, not what I was looking for. “Shoe fly?” … No … but “Shoo fly” I’d probably check out. (Click.)
Wait! flies in Vasoline! … One of my favorite Stone Temple Pilot songs . (Click.)
Oh yeah! Crank this baby up. Awesome!
(Then from somewhere upstairs …)
“Joe, Joooooooooooeee!!!”
“Huh?? Wha??? (to myself … Lower the music, quick, lower the music!) … Yes dear, what’s wrong?”
“Joe, please don’t play that so loud … and there’s a freakin’ fly buzzing around me up here, will you help me take care of it?”

*Be sure to visit other Brain Train Stations links.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Beach Snooze

“Joe, come on, let’s go or the parking lot will be full!”
“Yes dear, I’m waiting on you ... (then under my breath) ... as always.”
“Joe, I heard that!”
I had only a few hours sleep because I worked late and I was looking forward to snoozing at the beach. The beach is my favorite place to go and relax. I love the ocean. All my life the ocean has always been just a few minutes away from home. Today, the wife and I are going to swim, sun and relax the day away.
“Joe, do we have everything packed? Please make sure we don’t forget anything.”
“Okay dear, I’ll recheck everything ... (then under my breath) ... this will take another hour.”
“Joe, I heard that!!”
My work schedule often has me working the later shifts, so during the summer I’ll get up early, throw some snack foods, water and a towel into my backpack and off to the beach I go. When the wife comes along it’s like packing for a safari.
Bag #1: Towels ... check. Suntan lotion … check. Magazines, newspapers (the last four days worth ... she likes to catch up) and books ... check. Extra shorts and tee-shirts (WTF?) ... check. Sun hat ... check. Camera ... check. Kitchen sink ... check.
“Joe, I heard that!”
… Huh??? I didn’t say it ... I was only thinking it!!!
Bag #2: Ice packs ... check. Bread ... check. Tuna salad ... check. Chopped onions ... check. Sliced tomatoes ... check. Mayo ... check. (Why not just make a freak’n sandwich???) Tossed salad ... check. Chips ... check. Assorted fruits ... check. Two bottles of water ... check. Soda ... check. Paper plates, napkins, and silverware ... check. Large garbage bag ... check. Hummus, olives and pita chips ... che ... OMG! Way too much food! Is she look’n? I’m sneaking this back in the fridge ... she’s fn crazy!
“Joe, we all set? Did you pack the car?”
“Yes dear, both bags, two beach chairs, the big umbrella not the small umbrella, just like you said ... (then under my breath) ... and one pack mule.”
“Joe, I heard that!!!”
So, off to the beach we go ... with the back of the car scraping along because of all the stuff packed in the trunk. We managed to find a spot in the parking lot and after we unloaded everything from the trunk we strategically adorned ourselves with bags wrapped around our necks and shoulders, an umbrella strapped to my back and chairs in our arms. We made our way through the parking lot, over the boardwalk and onto the sandy beach, all the while my imaginary mule hee-hawed hysterically. We stopped for a moment (before either one of us had a stroke) ... We took a deep breath ... Ahhh ... the ocean air.
Examining the beach in front of us packed with families (and what looked like all their loved ones as well) we were faced with the usual decision ...
“Joe, which way do you want to go to set up?”
Looking left to right, determining the closest distance to the least populated area I opted for the right side. So we trudged through the hot, soft sand flipping shovelfuls into the back of my shorts as my flip-flops, well, flipped and flopped.
Ten minutes later we reached the edge of the crowd and just collapsed into a mound of bags, bodies and beach accessories. We untangled ourselves and after a few minutes recuperating we moved a bit further away from the population giving ourselves a little buffer room to stretch out.
We set up, stripped to our suits, went for a dip, and plopped into our chairs overlooking the ocean. Finally able to relax, I shut my eyes and immediately began to doze under the hot sun ... Ahhh ... this is the life.
“Oh-oh, Joe, don’t look now, but our space is about to be invaded (then under her breath) ... crap!”
“What? What do you mean dear, and did you say crap?”
I lifted my head, squinted my eyes and focused in on a group of traveling nomads determined to be the “new” edge of the crowd. There were about a dozen adults, complete with toddlers, teenagers, a bunch of those annoying nine and ten-year olds and what looked like maybe a high school marching band. They moved single filed creating a path in the sand, which I’m sure looked like a giant sandworm to any aircraft flying overhead. These people were prepared. They had big-wheeled strollers, wagons and carts filled with coolers, bags, blankets and wait!!! ... Is that a volleyball net? Someone was carrying a football. There were already two kites in the air (probably reconnaissance). And, is that music I hear?
“Joe, don’t panic, this will be fine. No need to worry. What’s important is that you go back to sleep.”
“Yes dear, if you say so, but I don’t know how I’m ever going to sleep now.”
The procession passed us and planted themselves closely to our right; setting up like an army bivouac and all I can wonder was how this will change our day of rest and relaxation. Strangely though, my wife didn’t seem very concerned. What’s up wi’dat???
Being so, so tired, I did manage to fall back to sleep.
A couple of hours later I awoke and was surprised to see there was hardly a person around us. How could this be?
“Joe, you’re up, did you have a nice snooze?”
“Yes honey, I have to admit, I did. And all those people ... they moved?”
“Joe, I told you not to worry about it ... (then under her breath) … your snoring does the trick every time.”
“Hey!!! ... I heard that!!!”
“So did they Joe ... So did they.”