Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What to Do

“Joe, What do you feel like doing today?”
“I don’t know, honey. What do you feel like doing?”
I’ve been very busy at work as you may already know. We’ve attended weddings the past two weekends. A day in front of the TV, just relaxing, was at the top of my list of thing I’d like to do. But I know better than to show my cards too early.

“Joe, I have a few ideas. Would you like to hear them?”
“I’m not sure. Will I like your ideas?”
You see what I just did? I answered her question with a question. I used to be corrected all the time for doing that. But I’m not little JoJo any more. I’m setting her up to re-think her ideas before she expects me to answer. Hopefully she will not end up suggesting the things she knows I don’t care to do.

“Joe, stop answering my question with a question. Hasn’t anyone ever taught you not to do that? Now, I would really like to get those blinds hung in the bedroom.”
Crap! … not those stupid blinds. I hate this shit. I’d have to use a ladder, use friggin’ screwdrivers … I’ll have to make holes for screws so I’ll need that pointy thing … I’ll have to struggle because all the work is up high … so I know my arms will get tired … I'll have to measure stuff … line things up … I always screw these projects up and then have to do it over and over again … never getting it right … settling for a half ass job because I don’t know what I’m doing. And did I really type s-h-i-t? I need to turn this around. Ive got to come up with something quick.

“Hon, it’s nice out. How about going one last time to the beach before it gets too cold?”
“Hmmmm? Yes, that's a good idea, Joe. We can go for a nice long walk.”
Long walk? I was thinking more like lounging by the water … doing the Sunday crossword … napping … that kind of day at the beach. Jeez, doesn’t she remember the open bar at the wedding and all those rum and cokes? I need to recuperate not exercise.

“Sweetheart, how about we catch up on some shows that we DVR’ed?”
“Joe, how about we catch up on the laundry?”
“Honey bunch, why don’t we relax and later go out for dinner?”
“Joe, why don't we go food shopping and then cook something?”
“Sugerplum, we can go for a drive.”
“Joe, my love, we can clean the house.”
“Baby doll, we could cuddle on the couch.”
“Cuddle? That's a great idea! And ... you can watch football.”
“Muffin, We can … huh? … What? … Cuddle and football?”
“Yes Joe ... After I help you put up the blinds.”
“And we can order pizza too?”
“If we get them both up without you breaking anything.”
Damn she’s good!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

“Joe, where have you been?”
Don,t worry. Everything is fine.
I've just been working long hours getting ready for this ...

And them ...

I expect to see these lovely ladies as well ...

We're preparing to deal with the likes of these ...

You can see we're really into the spirit as well.
This is inside our restaurant.

Here's a little more ...

The next month is going to be a tough one.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Coming Full Circle

“Dad, the baby was up all night … again!”
“Ma, all day long, she hangs on my leg and I can’t get anything done.”
“Dad, she won’t stop crying, what do you think it is?”
“Ma, what did you do when we wouldn’t eat?”
Ah, the great circle of life, it took so long to get here.

“Joe, you know, God doesn’t make grown-ups, God makes babies.”
Everybody loves babies. I’m not wrong making that statement, am I? Sure, some people are more excited about the thought of having kids than others, but really … aren’t babies adorable? I’ve yet to see one that isn’t. And don’t they always smell so good? Well … Almost always that is. I love it when they look up at you and smile. The best is when they grab a hold of your finger. (Although, my kids later learned not to fall for that one.) Babies are so tiny and dainty. They have little itsy-bitsy fingers and toes … little rubbery arms and legs … and very small noses (probably for their own survival). Babies are born little angels. So then … what happens to them?

“Honey, we did our best. There is no such thing as completely childproofing your house.”
I was really missing the days when my kids were babies. Some of my fondest memories are of them being toddlers. Our first experience with children came in the form of “double-trouble”. There was no fighting over who would hold the baby. My wife and I had one apiece. But when they became toddlers, they defined the phrase “the terrible twos”! We were both “on duty” at all times. Suddenly it was like there were two of us and twenty of them. It was a job keeping them out of harms way. It wasn’t too bad during the crawling stage, but when they took to walking, we’d have to split ourselves in two when they headed in different directions. And if I recall correctly their first words were … “Me too!” That of course is because everything we did … we had to do twice. They made sure of that!

“Kids really brighten a household. They never turn off any lights.”
During their school age years my kids were very much like me. Come to think of it, that could be the other way around, my wife still yells at me for not turning off the lights. But seriously, the pre-teen years are full of surprises. Parents really learn a lot at this stage. We come to realize things like … when you hear the toilet flush and then the words, "uh-oh!", it’s already too late. You learn that Play-Doh and microwave ovens should never be used in the same sentence. Super Glue is forever. And back then (yes I’m old) … VCRs do not eject Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches, even though TV commercials showed they did. What we’ve learned was that a good sense of humor was essential for getting you through this stage of your child’s growth.

“Joe, remember adolescence? That’s the age when children try to bring up their parents.”
It doesn’t really matter how experienced you are by the time your child becomes a teenager. It’s during a child’s adolescent years when most parents turn gray. It’s the age at which children stop asking questions because they know all the answers. And parents, thinking they got a handle on parenting at this point, learn yet a few more interesting things. Like cleaning the house while teenagers are at home is like trying to shovel the driveway during a snowstorm. And they learn there are three ways to get something done … do it yourself, hire someone to do it, or you could forbid your teenager to do it. A friend of mine summed it up nicely … Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.

Don’t you agree … having kids is fun? I'd really like to know.

“Honey, don’t you wish we had more children?”
“Sweetie, Don’t you remember all those times we told our kids … to just wait until they have kids? Let’s just be thankful we’re still around to enjoy the show.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Look of Worry

“What’s wrong Joe? You look a bit distant. Something happen at work today.”
“No honey, it’s nothing. I’m okay.”
“Joe, you’re not okay. Something’s up ... what is it?”
The only advice I can offer to myself is practically wisdom at best, while words of inspirational wisdom coming from old African proverbs suggest that ”It’s not work that kills, but worry.”
“Joe, cut the crap! Tell me what’s on your mind.”
“Sweetie, I just told you, everything is fine.”
“If it’s not work, is it about bathroom? Cause I just about had it with that shower. Did you call the landlord today?”
Hmmm. Oh yeah, I was supposed to make that call today. She’s really pissed because not only are the loose tiles in the shower causing it to rain in the downstairs family room but when she was showering the damn heavy porcelain soap dish became unattached from the wall nearly smashing her foot.
“Well, what?”
“Did you make the friggin’ call? About the shower? What’s wrong with you?”
Why the hell does she think something’s wrong? Does she think she has some special powers? She thinks she knows me. She thinks she knows everything. Well she doesn’t! I’m just fn fine!
“See, what?”
“It’s written all over your face. It’s bad. It’s really bad. Did someone die? You’re afraid to tell me, right? Did someone die?”
“No! Honey, no. Nobody died. At least nobody I know.”
“Then what is it? I can tell when you’re worried about something. Talk to me. I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think. Sometimes you worry about nothing.”
“Really, hon, it’s no big deal. It’s nothing.”
“I knew it! What’s wrong? You better tell me right now!”
“Alright! Alright! Jeez! I’ll tell you.”
“Okay then, tell me. What’s bothering you?”
“It’s my blog. It’s being reviewed. I’m afraid they won’t like it. Sometime’s they’re mean … I asked for it a while ago … Since then I keep going back … Every day … To see the reviews of other blogs. I admit it. I’m worried. I’m worried about what I’m about to receive. This could be disastrous. I may end up scarred for life. I … I … ”
“WAIT! Hold on! This is about your friggin’ blog?”
“Well? Yeah. Aren’t you listening? They may not like it.”
“Joe, For heaven sakes! Grow some canolis. And stop scaring me half to death. Stupid blog.”
“You know, you could be a little more understanding.”
“Stupid blog.”

Ask And Ye Shall Receive (gulp!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

In the Toilet

“Joe, I think there’s some confusion over by the restrooms.”
“Thank you, mister bar patron, I’ll look into it right away.”
During the past week my stress level has risen a bit and the reason for the spike appears to have “toilet” written all over it. Yes, what I’m saying is that it has been a bad week for the bathrooms, johns and restrooms in my life.
You may ask …
“Joe, what do you mean when you say these lavatories are part of your life?”
“Well, inquisitive reader …”, I’d say, “ … they are, at least these, in particular.”
The ones I speak of, I enter, for one reason or another, at least once a day, more often than not, a few times a day.
“So, Joe, when you say bathrooms, how many are you talking about?”
“Good question, unknown person who is asking, I would be talking about seven different bathrooms.”
Yes, that’s right. I have seven different bathrooms in my life right now that I personally oversee. I have a responsibility to make sure they are in tip-top working condition on a daily basis. Seven! Three at home and four at work.
Oh, and that’s not all. Two of these seven bathrooms account for six commodes and two urinals. You may have guessed, these two bathrooms are none other than the men’s and lady’s restrooms for our customers at the restaurant where I work. Many a person’s private parts have closely inspected these premises of which I speak. It’s not an easy job making sure that all feel comfortable when they visit. Maintenance for the expected optimum experience in these essential rooms is challenging indeed.
“Excuse me, Joe. Are you kidding? It’s the head you’re talking about, right? What’s the big deal?”
“What’s the big deal? I’ll tell you, man who is probably homeless, the big deal is a matter of dignity. That’s right. Dignity.”
Let’s face it, no matter what type of living quarters you occupy it is almost certain you have or at least share a bathroom. And just like any other room in the house, you care for it. You clean it. You decorate and furnish it. You occupy it for deeply personal reasons. You share it with other family members and visitors. It’s an important room. It needs to function properly. It needs to be fully operational at all times. Without it, you would feel less than human.
“Alright, Joe, so you are in charge of the toilets. We get it. So what’s the big stressful problem?”
“I’m glad you asked, inquisitive participant in my story, I’ll be quick and brief in my explanation.”
So it all started in the lady’s room where someone had to cover the toilet seat with toilet paper before they sat their ass down to do whatever and then decided they would tidy up by pushing all the paper from the seat into the toilet along with whatever else they already deposited and flushed it all down but it didn’t go down but instead overflowed all over the floor. The next female patron who knew enough not to use the stall with all the dark water spreading out from under it decided to use the stall at the other end of the room because the next stall she looked in on was already filling to the top with backed up water and after using the only toilet with less water than a swimming pool she thoughtfully flushed her whatever which now came back at her like a tsunami and so she fled the scene yanking up her pant legs and within a few minutes water crept like the blob from under the lady’s room door until it soaked the rug in the hall. Did I mention I had to attack the problem with an old plunger with no success? (G-g-g-gag!) Soon the men’s room bowls were filling and joined the party. For the rest of the shift we had to march customers through the kitchen and up to the employee bathroom. Then later in the week we closed down the lady’s room to gut it out and remodel it resulting in the commotion mentioned earlier when we had to make the men’s room a unisex bathroom resulting in long lines and embarrassing moments when parents escorting young daughters into the men’s room had to answer questions like … “How do you pee in that, mommy?” … And would you believe that some women were mortified to have to use a men’s room while other women admitted to never, ever having to step into one before? And then the bathroom upstairs had a problem where the water wouldn’t stop while refilling the tank and I had to reach in the tank to repair a broken chain link. And at home the upstairs shower is seeping into the loose tiles in the shower causing water to drip down from the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom causing two bathroom problems at once. And then the …
“Whoa! Whoa! Joe. Take a breath. Hold up a second. Calm yourself down. Stop already.”
“Oh, thank you, reader who recognizes the signs of oncoming heart attacks, I appreciate you looking out for me.”
Anyway, There’s more work to be done, both at work and at home to make my facilities most welcoming. But, it's my nature to look at the bright side. At least I don’t work in the restaurant shown below.

Now, if you would please excuse me ...
Got to go. Got to go. Got to go go go!