Thursday, February 28, 2008

I went to Sears

I dropped HannahC off at gymnastics and then went to Sears with MaxieC. The Mrs. was at the doctor for her icky female checkup.

We walked into the tool department, and MaxieC went nuts. He had to look at every single tool and go, "Wow! They have drills! Wow! They have leaf blowers! Wow! They have saws!" We walked all around. I looked at their tag list for dethatchers, and they didn't carry the one I was looking for. They had a different make for $30 more, but not the one I wanted.

So, when some dood came up to me to axe if I had found everything for which I was looking, I axed about it. He said, " probably gotta order that from the website. They gots a lotta stuff we can't get in the store."

Sensing he wasn't the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, I yelled, "Obama!"

Hope. It's a funny thing, if I recall correctly.

I ended up buying a couple of extra blades for the mower, since I manage to spindle those things up all the time, and I never have spares. As I was checking out, the same dood said, "Did you find everything you were looking for?"

I said, "Yeah. Except for the dethatcher."

"Oh. Huh huh. I guess I asked you that already. Huh huh."


Then we went to Lowe's. They had a different brand, 42" instead of 48", but 25% cheaper than the Sears website. I got that. Haven't assembled it yet.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I just wanted to go to Sears

I planned for only one thing this weekend: a trip to Sears. I planned nothing else. Nothing at all. I just wanted to go to Sears. I have gift cards, you see, and they have the best price on the Agri-Fab 48" de-thatcher.

However, first, it turned out someone volunteered to babysit one of HannahC's friends starting at 7:30AM on Saturday. At that same someone spent the whole night before complaining of being sick and needing extra rest, so I figured I was pretty much doomed - especially since HannahC rarely gets up before 8:30. As luck would have it, though, The Mrs. has been suffering from insomnia, so she was up at 6am, and I got to sleep until about 8.

Then, it turned out The Mrs. had volunteered to let two of the neighbor kids come over at 9:30. And we were going to drive everyone over to the roller rink where MaxieC was having his belated 4th birthday party from 10 to noon. We rented out the whole rink, so it was just MaxieC's peoples. That was fun.

Then, as it turned out, The Mrs. had planned for us to go to Little Shop of Physics at CSU, and we took two of the three not-our kids there, along with our two. I got the task of watching MaxieC, who whined and complained the whole entire time. It was mobbed, so you had to proceed around the exhibits in order and wait your turn. The Childrens hate that.

Then, as it turned out, The Mrs. decided we should go to Culver's and get everybody ice cream. Or frozen custard, as it were. That went about as well as you could expect.

Then back home to play in the yard. At last this was my chance. It was warm and sunny, so I got out the garden hoses and did pond maintenance. Then, I started in on the hot tub.

Whoo-wee, it was stinky. And when I put the water clarifier in it, it got a little chunky, too. I hadn't been in it for about a week. The Mrs. used it a lot, and she never adds any chemicals to it after she uses it, so I often get a surprise on Saturday when I open it up to clean the filters. I put in all the junk and ran the pumps for about a half hour, and it wasn't clearing up.

So I decided to drain it. It had been a while since I drained it, as it's not fun to do in the winter. Apparently, I should be draining it about every 60 days given our "bather load". Whatever.

This was a great opportunity for me, as I got out the Bud and guzzled while watching the tub drain, every now and then giving the newly-uncovered sidewalls a rinse with a jet from the hose. It took over two hours to drain, so I got to enjoy my beers. The Childrens all went off and did their thing, as did The Mrs., so it was just me and FreddyC. Ahh, the joy.

I filled it back up while we ate dinner, and the water was 45 degrees according to the digital readout. Needless to say, it did not warm up in time to go in last night.

So that shot the whole day, but at least I could go to Sears Sunday, right?


Sunday came about with The Mrs. complaining even more about being sick. She slept in, I made breakfast. She took a nap in the basement bedroom, I made lunch. Then it was time to start think about smoking the ribs.

I hadn't used the smoker for months, so it was full of nasty coagulated fat and misc. meat bits stuck to the racks. That took a half hour to clean up.

I used a handful of sugar maple, a handful of alder, and a handful of Jack Daniels oak whiskey barrel to produce the very special smoke. I don't recommend you try that at home, as it takes quite a seasoned touch in order to not overload on the JD casks. It was fabulously tasty.

So, now I was ready to hit Sears. Having done some additional research on the web, I determined this was probably a mail-order-only item, but the website has only been correct about 50% of the time in the past, so I always like to swing by to see for myself. I also had planned a side-trip to Lowe's to see if they had anything comparable. Their website claimed they might have something, but it wasn't sure ("will arrive in the store on or before March 8"). I also needed some PVC tubing and glue from Lowe's to fix a laundry hamper that The Mrs. destroyed by accidentally stomping the living hell out of it.

HannahC was going to go along for the ride, but she decided at the last minute that she wanted to play in the mud instead. She made mud pottery.

Thus, The Mrs. said to me, "Can you get all the stuff you were going to get at Lowe's at Ace?" Ace being very nearby, whereas Lowe's is about 15 minutes away.


"Why don't you just go to Ace and then go to Sears some other time? Cuz I'm sick and can't watch both kids."


Thus ends another weekend where I had one and only one thing planned, and I spent the entire weekend doing the stuff The Mrs. planned instead.

I guarantee you I won't make it to Sears next weekend, either.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Turning a new leaf

I haven't had much time for blogging of late, as for some bizarre reason, I've been spending time with my wife in the evenings. We've watched some DVDs and actually sat in the family room reading books with the children in bed. Not like reading the books out loud to each other. We were both reading individual books. The Mrs. was reading Don't Ever Leave Me, which is some trashy novel about a guy who discovers his wife is cheating on him, and then he psychologically tortures her and eventually kills her or something. I only read the blurb on the back.

I spent a lot of the week going, "Hey, I hope you made something special for dinner tonight. Don't ever leave me," and such. The Mrs. was largely unamused.

My genius is rarely recognized.

I read Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, which actually was the book that came before You Suck: A Love Story, but I didn't know that and read them out of order. I've now read nine of Christopher Moore's ten novels. I have the tenth on the nightstand. Then, I'll need to find a new hobby. Like maybe blogging.

This weekend was a very exciting one, as it marked the end of The Week of Disappointment, and it was three days long. We got to drop the kiddies off at the science center for some classes on Monday, and then we got to go buy stuff. I got myself some of those 16-mile FRS/GMRS 2-way radios. They were on sale at Big 5. 2-pack, regularly $139.99, now just $44. Big 5 didn't have everything we were looking for, so we went to Sports Authority, where the same 2-pack of radios was on sale, regularly $59, now just $49. Oddly, I felt a little misled by Big 5, yet I was still happy to have gotten the better price.

I have to fill out some FCC licensing form before I'm legally allowed to push the "high power" button that kicks you up to GMRS from FRS. I pushed it anyways a couple times. Breakin' the Law, Breakin' the Law!

I also got to experience the joy of the Red Phone at Performance Bicycles. I picked something out from their web page that was on big-time President's Day sale ($90 vs. $129.99), and we went to the store to buy it. It was a Performance-branded item (not gonna tell you what, cuz Fat Moother will spill the beans to the kids), and when I got to the store they're all like, "Duhhhh... we only carry the Schwinn ones." But you're a Performance Bicycle outlet, you morons. You don't stock the house brand? When I go to Safeway, they never tell me they only stock Claritin. They have the big gigantic box of Safeway-brand knockoffs right next to the Claritin!

But, anyways, the Big Red Phone is the direct line to the catalog guys. It rang about 50 times and then started howling static. The girl from the store came over, listened, hung it up, picked it up again, and it started ringing again, and she handed it to me and said, "It's ringing now," like I was some kind of big dump fuck who didn't know how to use a telephone. Jesus fucking christ, people get on my nerves sometimes.

And the f'ing red phone guys charge you shipping (to the store) AND tax. WTF?

So we had the next-door neighbors over for "Happy Hour" on Sunday. This was a spur-of-the-moment thing. We were out grocery shopping on Saturday, and when we got back, there was a message from the lady next door saying she hadn't seen us in a while on account of the weather, and just wanted to chat in a neighborly fashion. So The Mrs. called back and told them to come over and booze with us. Which is cool and all, except The Mrs. has once again declared that she cannot stand alcohol.

Which is bound to put a crimp in my marriage, and thus the blogging should pick up substantially.

You know the saying that "good fences make good neighbors"? Well, having 100 yards between houses works just as well, in my experience. I highly recommend it. We love all our neighbors, though only a couple ever drop by for happy hour.

I'm starting to get the spring itch. When I sit outside in the hot tub, I think to myself, "Gotta de-thatch the lawn this year. And get the fountain working. And fix the landscape lights. And put in the rock garden. And move those three sprinkler heads. And power wash and seal the play set. And mulch under the pine trees. And pour the foundation for the smoker." Etc. etc. etc. Nothing like a warm spell to get the get-out-of-the-house-and-do-anything-other-than-play-with-the-kids-all-day juices flowing.

It's supposed to get cold again this weekend. Maybe I'll finish shampooing all the carpets. Only got about 1/3 of the house done on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A funny thing happened today at work

But I can't tell you about it, cuz it's secret-secret. Remind me in a couple weeks.

The Mrs. and I also had a funny conversation about what we wanted as presents for The Day of Grandest Disappointment. But I also can't tell you about that.

Once you delete those two things, I am left without any great things to share. I didn't go to the gym. I didn't ride the erg. I didn't go to the post office. I didn't even have ice cream. There have been no shirt-hanger-related squabbles of late.

Someone has been eating my potato chips while I was at work.

Today I received an email at work inviting me to enroll in a class called "Gender Differences and Communication". I figured it was about how certain nouns have different gender in different languages and how that reflects the attitudes of the population of people speaking those languages. I thought that an odd subject to be offering at work. But then I read further, and learned that it was actually about communication differences between the sexes and had nothing to do with gender at all. The author had just substituted the word "gender" when she meant to say "sex". How very leftist and trendy!

But that reminded me of something that happened yesterday. I was having lunch in the cafeteria with a guy from work, as we both had a meeting with our boss from 11:30-12:30 which rolled right over our ability to leave the building to eat. He was telling me how he had gained 8 lbs. since he switched from unsweatened iced tea to Coke for lunch. I held up my cup and said, "They sell Diet Coke. No calories." Then, he said, "I won't drink that. There's something in artificial sweeteners that's linked to insanity." So, naturally, I replied, "Come on. If that were true, every woman in the country would be insane. [dramatic pause, furrowed brow] Hmmm..."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I have very little to say

But given the overall level of excitement in your lives, I expect you'll hang on every word.

First, let me start out by saying that I was wrong. Not only was I wrong, but The Mrs. was also wrong. It's remarkably rare that both those things occur simultaneously, as having been together for so many year, we have settled into taking polar opposite positions on pretty much everything simply by default. She is the counterpoint to my point, though neither one of us relies heavily on the "you ignorant slut" catchphrase that accompanies a classical point-counterpoint exchange. In fact, we mulled over calling her blog "Counterpoint" for a while, with a theme that mostly gave her side of whatever I blogged about, but ultimately she settled on something else.

What were we wrong about? The Mrs. checked the blog archives for her birthday last year and discovered that I had baked her a cake last year. So I was wrong in my assertion that I bought an ice cream cake for her every year, and she was wrong in her assertion that she had to bake a cake for herself every year.

Of course, her level of incorrectness was greater, in that she has not had to bake herself a cake in either of the last two years - the only two years for which there is any extant documentation. Thus, she has no evidence of her assertion, whereas I was merely was wrong about the type of cake I provided. So, despite us both being wrong, I was much less wrong than she. Therefore, I am clearly the winner.

On a lighter note, on Monday Rico noted how his shack-up-honey always stole all his decent hangers for her clothes and left him with crappy wire ones as well. So perhaps this is simply part of the evil-woman gene and not something unique to The Mrs.

The pressure of Valentine's Day is weighing down upon me. I don't know whether to cancel Fat Camp or not. I said I was going to cancel it, but then there was strenuous objection from peoples. But I doubt these folks can pull off a fat camp without me. (Witness last week, where I had been out of town, and nobody at all bothered to show up because like a big bunch of dumb-asses, they can't understand the idea of something that happens every week at exactly the same time and place and instead insist on getting personal invitations every single Thursday. Man, my friends are morons.)

There have been some questions in the comments on some previous posts about what happened to Diversity Corner and what happened to only blogging about happy things. By a bizarre coincidence, both these questions have the same answer: f^ck you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Do You Have a Mental Illness?

I really don't want this blog to turn into one of those "wives - they say the darndest things" blogs. I'm always very aware of that, because we're all just one step away from becoming the next Me, CherkyB. However, the occasional well-placed The Mrs. quote does little to no harm.

The first words The Mrs. said to me today, on this her first non-counted birthday, comprise the title of this post. My first though was the same as yours: "Duh!" But this isn't a new installment of Duh or No Duh, a sadly neglected recurring segment here. Thus, I get to expound a bit on this.

The Mrs. had apparently just come from the closet, where she inspected her t-shirts and determined that none of them were on my fancy wooden hangers. She therefore felt I had gone out of my way just to be mean to her, and that this could only be explained by mental illness.

I led her back to the closet and pointed to two T-shirts of hers on fancy wooden hangers. She said, "Oh. I didn't look there. That's strange, cuz those are two of my crappiest T-shirts." Upon further examination, she determined they were also two t-shirts that had really big neck openings (which is stylish on a woman's shirt and retarded on a man's), so they wouldn't stay on a regular hanger. Then she wondered aloud what happened to her really big plastic hangers that she "normally" hangs those shirts on.

I don't think we're ready to fully rule out mental illness, though.

On the way home from work, I stopped at the store to pick up a Carvel ice cream cake. They had cakes that had "Happy Birthday" written on them with plenty of room below to personalize. But no one was in the bakery department at the time. So I bought a little tube of matching icing and wrote The Mrs.'s name and a little heart on the cake. I came home and placed in on the counter for her to discover.

When she discovered it, she said, "Oh. I already baked myself a cake. But I was lamenting how we didn't have any ice cream, and now we do, so we can have both."

That was pleasant.

Then, during dinner, she nonchalantly drops the, "Soooo... did your parents call you and tell you to buy a cake?"


"Well, when they called me to sing happy birthday (off key in 4ths, whatever that means), I was baking a cake. I told them I always have to bake my own cake, and they thought that was terrible, so I figured they probably called you to tell you to get one."

But you were already making one. What good would it do to tell me to get one if they knew you already had one? That doesn't make any sense. Except maybe to a person with a mental illness.

We discussed how I buy her an ice cream cake every year on her birthday, and she said, "No. I buy you an ice cream cake every year on your birthday." I could probably search the blog archives for last year for our respective birthdays, but I'm not going to. Let sleeping dogs lie, as they say.

The great thing, though, was that we had candles from The Mrs.'s cake from last year. They were those number candles. Since she didn't get any older this year, I got to use the same numbers. That saved a couple bucks.

Happy Birthday, The Mrs.

It's The Mrs.'s birthday today.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I am the snatch grabber

I really don't want this blog to turn into one of those "kids - they say the darndest things" blogs. I'm always very aware of that, because we're all just one step away from becoming the next Cavagnaro Blog or CJ's Blah. However, the occasional well-placed MaxieC quote does little to no harm.

He explained shortly thereafter that he was very good at snatching grabs, in case you care.

So today marked the official beginning of The Week of Disappointment. I believe I've mentioned before that this is what we call the week that has The Mrs.'s birthday followed immediately by Valentine's Day. A week that always ends with one of the following utterances:
  • "I had no expectations, so I wasn't all that disappointed."
  • "I had absolutely no expectations, and you met them, for the most part."
The Mrs. cranked on The Full Martyr today. Good lord, it didn't matter what I did, she responded with, "Why are you taking shots at me?"

Let me give a couple examples. In the morning, MaxieC had some magnetic darts in the fambly room. He was noting how the yellow and red darts repel each other, much like the red darts repel each other and the yellow darts repel each other. Then, he took his handful of darts and whipped them at the wall as hard as he could.

I said, "MaxieC, cut that out or I'm taking the darts away. I don't know why momma keeps insisting on buying you stuff for you to fling against the walls. "

See, it's a longstanding issue that The Mrs. thinks that somehow MaxieC is quite a bit older than he actually is, and she buys him presents that are for older children, and he just destroys either the presents, or the house, or both. This birthday, his fourth birthday, she got him tons of stuff that said, "Ages 8 and up". He doesn't, for instance, have any where near the muscle control or temperament required for a relaxing game of darts.

The Mrs., naturally, took great offense at me accusing her of buying him something that said, "Ages 8 and up," for his birthday, though of course she did, and then said something to the effect of how I care more about all the dents in the wall than I care about her or blah-dee-blah-blah-blah. I try to ignore her when she tries to go on offense when the puck is deep in her zone.

We had a bit of a thaw this weekend, so I managed to pick up the dog poop. I filled two plastic grocery bags. I couldn't get is all up, as some was still frozen solid to the ground. FreddyC will now have somewhere to poop without jumping the fence.

Then, I had to go to Lowe's to buy landscape light bulbs for our step lights on the deck. We run them 14 hours a day, and three had burned out. HannahC decided to go with me, and as I was getting her jacket down, I noted how her jacket was on one of my fancy wood hangers.

Again, The Mrs. exploded at me for noting this. However, I'd like to officially state my case.

A few years back, I was kind of in a state of the blahs. HannahC was young and annoying, and I'm not sure MaxieC was even born yet. I decided I needed a bit of change. About the same time, I was watching a good deal of TV, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was a brand new show that was getting lots of hype. So I ended up watching it a lot.

I learned many things. For instance, I learned that I was too old to be going around with long hair wearing jeans and t-shirts all the time. So I cut my hair and bought a whole new wardrobe of decent clothes. Not investment banker clothes, but just sort of ordinary adult man clothes. I also learned that you ruin good shirts by putting them on little wire hangers, and instead need thick, wooden hangers to keep your shirts in shape.

So I bought a pack of wooden hangers.

The Mrs. immediately laid into me about how wooden hangers was a complete waste of money, and that the little wire hangers or the medium plastic hangers were just as good.

I bought a second pack of wooden hangers. Now I had enough for all my nice shirts.

The Mrs. again started in on me about wasting money and how she hoped I wasn't going to force her to switch the kind of hangers she used because of some big fuh-gee TV show and all that, and I agreed to only use the nice wooden hangers for my good shirts. For the record, I was perfectly willing to replace every hanger in the house with a wooden one. They don't cost all that much. But I was instructed not to.

Fast forward to last weekend. I was packing for a conference in San Fransicko where I was going to wear my nice clothes (I have, unfortunately, backslid on the whole jean-and-t-shits thing), and I noted how the majority of my nice shirts were on spindly little wire hangers. Odd. I look around. I note that the majority of my nice wooden hangers seem to have The Mrs.'s clothes hanging on them, and the most common thing on them appears to be her T-shirts.

I file this away for later use, as there is no point in starting up a squabble when you're going out of town the next day. Plus, just by the mere fact that you're going out of town the next day, you're in an exceptionally good mood.

So today, I'm heading to Lowe's to get the light bulbs for the step lights, and HannahC is going with me, and I discover he jacket hangin on one of my nice wooden hangers. And I find both of The Mrs.'s jackets hanging on my nice wooden hangers. While my nice shirts continue to be ruined by little wire hangers. So, I non-nonchalantly note, "Hey! Why are my nice wooden hangers in the coat closet when my good shirts that I bought them for are on wire hangars?"

The Mrs. goes ballistic. She comes into the closet and strips her coats off the wooden hangers and throws them on the floor. Then, she starts to mart about how mean I am to her, despite the fact the she is the one who declared the moratorium on buying these hangers and set the rule that they were only to be used for my shirts.

I believe I may go out and buy 200 wooden hangers tomorrow. That'll teach her.

When HannahC and I returned from Lowe's (and other places - HannahC insisted on shopping for birthday presents for her mother as well as valentine's presents for everyone else), The Mrs. picked up an old Target plastic bag and asked my permission to use it as a poop bag for FreddyC (they were going on a walk), cuz she didn't want to use anything I was saving for something else.

Next time she bakes cookies for a party, I'm going to eat them all. And if she complains, I'm going to walk around the house asking permission to use the water in the toilet or the electricity in the lights in case she's saving it for something else.

I wonder, if you've stopped counting the years, do you still get presents on your birthday?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Oh, and yesterday

I forgot our date. The first date we've had since moving to Colorado, and I was running around like crazy at work trying to finish up all this stuff that absolutely positively had to get done by other people this week, but if they didn't get it done, it would be my fault.

HannahC informed me that The Mrs. was very angry with me, but I could kinda tell that.

We're off to see the wizard

All I wanted to do was to go to Walgreens to pick up a prescription. I had ordered it on the web, and it was ready, and I was going to breeze through the drive-through.

Nothing is that simple, though.

First, The Mrs. put into my hand a grocery shopping list. Safeway is diagonally across the street from Walgreens. Safeway doesn't have a drive-through.

Then, I was instructed that I had to take MaxieC with me, though he was busy playing and screaming about not going.

The dog was at the back door whining to go out, so I let him out.

Then I was standing in the kitchen staring blankly at nothing, the way slaves do when they have a moment off. The Mrs. noticed and asked if I was "sick again".

Me, CherkyB: "No, you just don't understand the depths to which I hate my life."

The Mrs.: "Oh. Rats."

Me, CherkyB: "What?"

The Mrs.: "I plugged up the sink."

Me, CherkyB: "Sigh..."
I get the bucket out of the garage and remove the trap. Someone has put an entire strip of bacon down the drain, but no one knows anything about it.

Then The Mrs. asks if I ever let the dog back in. No, I've been under the sink.

"Oh, well I heard a lot of barking."

Call the dog, the dog doesn't come.

Look for the dog, don't find the dog.

Push the audible buzzer on the dog's electric collar, no response. Push the shocker button (level 1 - which only gets his attention), no response.


HannahC starts hollering that she's found the dog. Oddly, he's next door on the other side of the fence and can't figure out how to get back.

I trudge through the snow in my slippers to get him and lead him back.

Bad dog.

Walgreens misplaced my prescription.