Sunday, December 09, 2012

What a Rip

With heavy heart, I began to dismantle the old entertainment center this morning.  I got most of the "removable" parts off, and then I started trying to remove the glued in parts.  The entire top, with shelf, came off surprisingly easily, being held in with just a few screws and gravity.

MaxieC worked to dismantle the top while I strategized on the rest of the case.  He had a great time using the power drill to remove all the wood screws. Funny thing, though.  As we got farther and farther into the dismantling, I found more and more parts that were not solid wood.  In fact, it seemed like nearly everything was press board with a very high quality wood laminate on the surface.  The only things that turned out to be actually solid wood were the four corner posts and the trim frame around the top.  Everything else was fake.

When I bought this from a name-brand furniture store, it was sold to me as solid wood.  But the whole damn thing is fake.  Very high quality fake, mind you, but still fake. What a rip.

Well, when the entire purpose of carefully disassembling the piece is premised upon saving the wood, and then you find out that there isn't actually any wood to save, there's a tool specifically designed for that.  It's made by Milwaukee, and if you load it up with a blade called "The Ax" that is designed for demolition, well, hell, things get fun real fast.

MaxieC tried to bash it all up with a dead blow hammer, but achieved only limited success. I suggested he get the 12 lbs. sledge, but he didn't want to. You can lead a horse to water...

We then spent about an hour putting together the new, much much cheaper entertainment stand that will hold whatever goodies we get this Christmas.  It says the top can hold 200 lbs., but is not allowed to hold a tube TV .  Odd, as my tube TV doesn't weigh anything near 200 lbs.  The corner TV mount arrives via UPS on Tuesday.  Once I get that up on the wall, I'll probably have to decide on which TV Santa will bring.

Obsolescence, Get to Know It

There is nothing sadder than obsolescence.  Well, other than maybe friends and family dying.  Or a pet dying.  Or The Bills going to four Superbowls in a row and losing all of them.  Or, perhaps, one of your single friends telling you he's getting married.  Or having to sit through any of The Twilight movies after the first one.  Or going to the garage refrigerator only to remember you've run out of beer.  And then realizing you're also out of bourbon, too.

There are many things sadder than obsolescence, but still, in the greater scheme of things, obsolescence is sad.  Though in a good way, because it only happens when something better comes along.  Like how nobody eats a Whopper anymore since the Whopper with Cheese came along.


Obsolescence is one of side effects of the great march of progress called "Creative Destruction" that happens largely in capitalistic societies where people are continuously striving for improvement.  Both incremental improvement and revolutionary improvement.  Creative Destruction is one of the best things ever to happen to society, and it has liberated more people from poverty than any Live Aid concert could ever hope to.

Still, it's sad when it happens to you.

For instance, when you bought a beautiful oak and cherry entertainment center that could hold an outrageously large 32" TV.  And you bought high quality furniture, because you didn't want any of that screw-together particle board crap.  No, you wanted something that was going to last and last.  And you took it from your first house to your second, then to your third.  And in the third house, it kinda ended up in the rec room in the basement, cuz there was a built-in nook in the family room that would hold a 43" DLP widescreen TV just fine.

And then one day, out of the blue, your son says, "I want an Xbox 360 for Christmas."

Well, the Xbox 360 is a fine piece of machinery, but tailored more for older children.  Ones who have graduated from high school and are still living in the basement.  We're a PlayStation household, having owned the original and then two of the PS2's.  And the PS3 plays Blu Ray, a big cost saver right there.

"OK, I want a PS3 for Christmas."

Well, son, the PS3 really wants to be run with an HDMI output onto a widescreen TV, and the rec room TV is a 14-year old analog tube TV, and it doesn't have any HDMI inputs at all.  Now, the surround sound system I have down there has 4 HDMI inputs, cuz when my old stereo reciever (though I bought with money I earned drying cars at a carwash between high school and college) died, I got it anticipating that one day we'd probably get a new TV and game system, but it can't convert HDMI inputs to analog outputs for DRM reasons..

"Yeah, OK Da.  We'll just get a new TV, too.  That'll be great!  Should we go shopping right now?"

You know the thing about a 32" tube TV with a beautiful oak and cherry cabinet?  There's not one goddamn person in northern Colorado who wants one badly enough to carry it out of the basement of someone else's house.

Another sad thing is that I'm old now.  It just happened kind of all of a sudden.  This blog used to be about all the fun little fix-it jobs I used to do and the wacky hijinx that ensued, but I have really slowed down a lot in the last couple years.  I hardly do anything.  And the thought of trying to lug this giant entertainment cabinet up the curvy stairs from the basement is itself awfully tiring.

Yes, I lined up three other guys to help, but still, I am struck with the futility of this.  There are a couple donation places that will take the furniture (but not the TV), and only if I put it in the driveway for them so they don't have to carry it out of the basement, but who will really want this?  No one.  Even poor people don't have tube TVs anymore, and the cabinet is useless for anything else.

So, I've decided to do something drastic.  I'm going to dismantle it and try to get as much good lumber out of it as possible.  It's a damn shame, as the tracks for the sliding doors that cover the TV are works of art just by themselves.  Time stands still for no one, though.  I need to take Ol' Yeller out in the woods and shoot him.  

I toyed for a while with the idea of cutting the top off and saving the bottom cabinet, but I'm not sure what I would do with it.  Who needs a cabinet with sliding drawers that have inserts to hold VHS tapes?  No.  It's a goner.  I'll try to be gentle, as gentle as one can be with a Sawzall...

Saturday, December 08, 2012

For the Humor Impaired

It has come to my attention that I may have overestimated the intelligence of my audience.  I try to never do that.  When I write my posts, I try to picture myself with a blank stare, the only light glinting off a bit of drool escaping from the corner of my mouth, the rest of me with the dull patina of dirt and stupidity.  Oh wait, no, I channeling Christopher Moore.

But today, someone said to me, in the standard, hyper-critical way, "You know you spelled 'sanitary' wrong."

I blinked a bit to see if it was a joke, cuz I'm never really sure when humor will appear in an otherwise barren  landscape, but it was not.  It was a serious statement.

So I said, "I did that intentionally cuz it was about Santa.  Santa-ry.  That's what makes it funny."

"Ooooohhhh.  Santa.  I get it now.  No one is going to get that."

[Sigh]  Maybe I'll just go back to shooting videos about the weather and setting them to Yakety Sax.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Santary Products

MaxieC still believes in Santa.  This is probably not ideal, but here at the CherkyB household, I have surprisingly little input into such decisions.  I know, I know, you're shocked, Shocked! that this could be the case, but there it is.

HannahC is still mad at us, not for having ever led her to believe in Santa, mind you.  No, she is angry that we only were able to keep up the ruse until she was 10.  She believes we have cheated her out of a "magical Christmas" now that she knows the real deal.  And she has dedicated herself to making sure MaxieC doesn't find out.

Bless her heart.

Well, round about this time of year, purely by coincidence, a lot of little packages from Amazon seem to get left on the front porch.  The Mrs. dutifully brings these in and, if they are things she has ordered, she squirrels them away unnoticed.  However, if they happen to be addressed to me, she leaves them just inside the front door and announces their presence the moment I walk in from work.

Cuz, you know, I work.

Imagine,if you will, the excitement of a little boy who has just been reminded that there are unopened packages at the front door and that the person who owns those packages is now around.  There is jumping up and down.  There is hanging on my arm.  There is shoving of said packages into my face.

What there distinctly is not is any way to squirrel away the packages unnoticed.

However, I am a resourceful man:
MaxieC: "Daddy! Daddy! Open the package!  Open it!"

Me, CherkyB: "No."

MaxieC: "What is it? Open it! Open it!

Me, CherkyB: "No. I have to take this upstairs."

MaxieC: "Why? What is it? Why won't you open it?  What is it? What is it?"

Me, CherkyB: "Your mother has discovered that tampons are really cheap from Amazon.  Why don't you open this up and put it under the sink in the master bath upstairs?"

MaxieC [running away]: "Ewwww!!!  Yuuuck!!!!"

Friday, January 20, 2012

Advice from a Stranger

I was sitting in the Sacramento airport in the A-terminal bar last week, having a bit of lunch while waiting for my flight home. You know, and maybe a beers. Hard to say for sure. Well, a feller sits down next to me and begins to talk to me.

Now, as you all know, I'm not a very friendly person. It's not that I don't like people. I'm just absolutely terrible at chit chat. I watch a little football, but I don't memorize any of the games. Other than that, I don't really follow sports. I follow politics, but I don't make chit chat about it with strangers (or, for that matter, with fambly anymore given how much of my fambly is raging leftists or, at the very least, buys into the popularly-held misconception that liberals are smarter than conservatives, or that conservatism is just thinly veiled racism, or both). While I am an astute follower of the weather, one runs out of weather observations rather rapidly. So mainly I smile and nod and pay close attention to see not so much if I can learn about the subject being discussed as I can learn about how to make idle chit chat without feeling like it's completely forced.

At this I am a failure.

But after a beers or two, I can nod and smile very convincingly, and I can inject wry little witticisms into the conversation for color. Like this:
"That's great. And I thought the best thing that could happen today was that .223 ammo went on sale at Cabela's, and if you order $99 or more of anything and enter the promo code "12FREE" on the checkout page, you get free shipping this weekend only. And you know how expensive it is to ship ammo. That stuff weighs a ton. It's like they filled the box half up with lead or something."
See that - useful information followed up immediately with sarcasm. It's like I have a gift, just not for chit chat.

(I'm required to tell you that Cabela's has not paid me any fee or consideration for promoting their sale. I just finished ordering some ammo moments ago, after Slushee text messaged me about the sale, so it was on my mind.)

Well, we're chatting some of the standard airport-bar chatter about whether you're going home or leaving home, and whether you're actually from the place you're going to or coming from. Blah blah blah. Then, out of the blue:
Guy at Bar: "So, how long have you been married?"

Me, CherkyB: "Wait! Don't tell me! I know this one! Uhhh..."

Bartender: "You damn well better know this one if you expect to stay married."
See, the thing is that I, CherkyB, am a man. Therefore, I remember things the way a man remembers things - I remember when they happened. I don't remember how long it has been since it happened. Somebody says to you, "How long has it been since the Declaration of Independence?" You go, "Hmmm...July 4th, 1776. It's January 2012. 235 and a half years." You don't just know that's how long it has been. And believe you me, the signing of the Declaration of Independence is a hell of a lot more momentous an occasion than any particular person's wedding - yes even more important than Princess Di's.

So, I'm doing math in my head. While taking shit from a bartender. Who I guarantee doesn't know how long he's been married, he's just making chit chat.
Me, CherkyB: "Oh, a little over 15 years."

Guy at Bar: "I made it 18 in mine. Lemme tell you something."

Me, CherkyB: "What's that?"

Guy at Bar: "Divorce. You should try it. It's like the best thing in the world."

Me, CherkyB: "Hmm."

Guy at Bar: "Yeah. I thought it was going to be horrible. But it turns out to be fantastic. Fan-f*^king-tastic. You really should try it. If you don't like it, you can always get married again."

Me, CherkyB: "Well...I'm not really thinking about getting divorced at the moment."
At which point I may have added, "because my darling wife is the best thing that ever happened to me, and we love each other more every day, and she's one of the last people who avidly reads everything I write in my blog," or, "I have kids."

One of those.
Guy at Bar: "Let me tell you - I was telling my girlfriend how I wanted to quit my job and start my own business, and the next day she had deposited $10,000 into my account to help pay for startup costs. And look at this:"
At which point he starts digging in his wallet and tossing credit cards onto the bar.
Guy at Bar: "This credit card is hers. This is hers. This one is hers. She pays for everything. You should seriously try divorce."

Me, CherkyB: "Well, I'm glad it's working out for you, but I can't imagine being without my dear, beautiful wife who hangs on every word I write on my blog so that she can discuss it with me and/or her mother as though it was some sort of literary masterpiece."

Guy at Bar: "Yeah. OK. I'm just saying. Hey, have you seen this online game? It's like a war strategy game where you have armies and have to equip them and fight battles against other players? It's the best. You've got to try it."
I bring out the best in people. It's my gift.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

CherkyB, Father of the Year

Yes, it's a fresh new year, and this gives us the opportunity to grab the much-coveted Father of the Year trophy, even if just for a brief moment.

You see, yesterday for whatever reason, The Mrs. decided she would clean out her closet of all the "old clothes" that she "never wears anymore".

All you married people, of course, know that that is code for something that cannot ever be mentioned, not even in a whisper. But the fashion industry exists in large part to create a built-in reason to get rid of old clothes - they're "out of fashion" - so that marriage can exist happily without anyone ever having to mention the unmentionable.

She spent hours up there yesterday, and she even vacuumed the walk-in. When I went up there last night, she had wiped out about 90% of her clothes. It was vast expanses of empty hangers and space the likes of which we haven't seen since the moving van arrived the day after we got here.

Well, my darling Childrens spent most of that time sitting in the fambly room with me watching the last 6 episodes of Top Shot off the DVR (that we've been saving up for a special occasion) and waiting for the New Year, so they didn't really know the fury that was ongoing upstairs. Fast forward to this morning, where I am blissfully asleep in my nice warm bed when all of a sudden:
The Mrs.: [poke poke poke] "Hey, I'm going to see the king."

Me, CherkyB: [startled awake] "Huh? What? What king?"

The Mrs.: [speaking very slowly, as if to an idiot - which I hesitate to even write here, as this has actually been her normal way of communicating to me since she had childrens and decided I was largely superfluous, though she hasn't figured out how to replace my income yet and is thus filled with resentment] "Iiiiii'mmmmm goooooiiiiiinnnnggg sssshhhhhoooooppppppiiiiinnnnngggg. Alone."

Me, CherkyB: [rolling over to go back to sleep] "Great."

The Mrs.: "There's pizza in the garage fridge that needs to be eaten."

Me, CherkyB: "Bye bye."
Later, I got up. I was in the kitchen making my coffee, which is much easier now that we have a Cuisinart machine that does single-serving K-cups. MaxieC asked me where Momma was, and I said, "She moved out." He laughed and went back to watching TV.

A few minutes later, after some consideration, this happened:
HannahC: "Really, Daddy, where is Momma, and when is she coming back?"

Me, CherkyB: "I told you, she moved out. She's not coming back."

HannahC: "Oh, come on."

Me, CherkyB: "Yeah. She packed up all her stuff and left. She even packed up all her clothes. Have you seen her closet?"

[HannahC runs upstairs...checks closet]

HannahC: "Daddy! What's going on? Did Momma actually leave?"

Me, CherkyB: "No. She packed up all her old clothes to give to the Goodwill, and now she's gone out to buy all new clothes."

HannahC: "Daddy!!! You're a jerk!!!"
Then she burst into tears and ran into her room. I haven't seen her since.

Maybe she moved out.