Monday, June 11, 2012

Today at work the Human Resources department hosted a two-hour meeting to teach us all about sexual harassment (more of a "Don't" than a "How To").

I sat down in an empty chair next to our corporate lawyer, Thomas, and asked for a favor.

"Thomas!" I whispered, "I have ONE GOAL for this session and that's to keep my mouth shut the whole time.  Don't let me say ANYTHING.  If you see me even begin to look like I'm thinking about uttering syllables, just elbow me, ok?"

Thomas laughed nervously.  He doesn't really get me.

"Seriously, Thomas, you don't know how tough it's going to be for me not to make smartass comments during this!"

Just then another coworker, David, sat down.

"Oooh! I want to sit by Mike during this.  Should liven things up!" he said gleefully.

I explained to David that I was going to be silent for the next two hours.  No puns, no repartee, no smart-alecry.  No sexual comments.  No masturbatory gestures.  No "that's what she said"

Just then the VP of Human Resources stood up.

"Thank you all for coming!" she announced.

I clamped my mouth shut.  Two hours to go.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

After our last 4-digit repair bill our mechanic suggested that it was probably time to stop investing money in our 13 year-old VW Passat.   When your mechanic tells you that, it probably means two things:

  • You have a very good mechanic.
  • A great mechanic probably would have told you this a couple of repairs ago.

So, Hank and I prepared to buy a new car.  We did a ton of research online and visited many dealerships to test-drive certain models.  Mostly what I learned from this experience is that being a salesman on a car lot is probably way more annoying today than it was the last time I bought a car (back in the 20th century).

People don't buy cars the way they used to.  I can sit at home in my bathrobe, look up invoice prices, compare features, email dealerships asking for price quotes, and not leave my house unless I either need to see a car in person, or am actually ready to buy a car at a pre-agreed-upon price.  What's left for the guy on the lot to do?  Narrate my test-drive and hope that the next customer is less annoying.

For example, we strolled into the Hyundai dealership and asked to test-drive an Elantra one afternoon.  The salesman was super knowledgeable about the car, telling me about the various buttons while simultaneously announcing haughtily that he didn't care for the look of the new Porsche.  I interrupted him early on in the test-drive and explained that we only had a few minutes available for the drive.

"Oh... ok, "he said disappointedly.  "Well, I definitely want to let you see how the car handles, so we'll check out the turning radius, go up some steep slopes, and drive down the REAL curviest street in San Francisco."

Sounded good to me, so we took off.  After about 60 seconds, the salesman said, "Uh... do you always... um... drive this way?"

Given that I was driving exactly the way I always do, which is pretty damn reasonable, I said that I was.  We continued the obstacle course of a test-drive he had planned out, and then I reminded him that my time was about up.  

He suggested the best route back to the dealership and then as soon as I changed lanes to get into a shorter red-light line, he said, "Wow, um... you know, you are NOT going to get the stated gas mileage if you drive THIS way."

I didn't end up rejecting the Hyundai BECAUSE this guy criticized my driving, but I would have liked to.

Meanwhile, the Acura salesman made no such faux pas.  By this time, we had narrowed down our choice to two cars, the Mazda 3, and the new Acura ILX.  I explained to the Acura salesman that we recognized that his car was nicer than the Mazda, but there was a large price gap between the two.  We had not had any luck pre-negotiating a price online with this car due to its newness.

"How much flexibility do you have on the price?" I asked.

"Zero.  I have no flexibility on the price," he stated firmly while simultaneously making a zero symbol with his thumb and forefinger.

"Zero?" I repeated, "You can't move the price at all?"

"Nope," and he crossed his arms across his chest.

"Well," I said, looking over at Hank.  "I guess we need to to figure out exactly how much more this car is worth to us over the Mazda 3.  It costs about $7,000 more, so let's see if it's worth it to us."

Hank agreed and we launched into our calculations in front of the salesman.

"It's got a fairly quiet ride," I started, since I knew that was a plus for Hank.  "That's probably worth about... $1,500?"

Hank agreed while the salesman watched.

"And alloy wheels!" the salesman added.

"That's worth zero." I replied.

"Alloy wheels are worth zero?!?!" he asked, stunned.

"Look, I don't care how much they cost to make.  They're not worth anything TO US.  This calculation is  about how much more this car is worth to us."

"Alloy wheels improve your braking distance!" he insisted.

"Ok, but this car is hundreds of pounds heavier than the Mazda 3, so it could very well have worse overall braking.  Unless you can show me that the braking is better, alloy wheels are worth zero to me."

The salesman shook his head in disbelief as Hank and I continued our calculations.

"Oh!  Remember that you noticed that dome light in the car is further from the front?" I noted to Hank. "So when Daisy turns it on to read in the backseat, it won't bother us as much!  How much is that worth?"

"That's worth about $300," Hank replied.

"What??" the salesman sputtered, "A dome light is worth MORE than alloy wheels?!?!"

"Yes, worth more to US," I explained again.

We continued down this path, adding in arbitrary amounts for incalculable things like "overall niceness" and "ipod integration".  By the end of the process, we had made up about $3,500 of the $7,000 difference between the two cars.

So, we're the proud owners of a Mazda 3.  Can't wait to do this again in a dozen years.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I messaged my buddy, Scott, when I got home:

Me: Well, that was an unpleasant doctor's visit!
Scott: What did you have done?  Did they rotate the tires or check the oil?

I stared at his messages for a moment, trying to decide how to cleverly convert his car-maintenance quips into the analog of what was done to me during my check-up.  It soon dawned on me that he had already done that.

Me: Oh... uh... I DID have the oil checked!
Scott:  Ewwww!
Me: Hell, I had the tires rotated too!

I guess I was a timing-belt change short of a full 90,000 mile tune-up! Anyway, the point is that I had one of THOSE check-ups last week.  You know, the kind that men start to have in their 40s?  The kind that would be called sex had I been in a relationship with my doctor?

I sat in the examining room, ready to recite my list of aches and ailments I had accumulated since my last trip to the doctor three years earlier. Just like last time, the doctor came in, gave me a quick look up and down and pronounced me healthy.

"A young healthy guy like you doesn't need much of a check-up!" my doctor announced, seemingly trying to convince us both of that fact.  "We'll just talk about a few things and then the physical exam will be VERY minimal."

She said this as though I was sitting there begging her to put her hand up my butt and I needed to be talked out of it.  It was very apparent that she intended to keep herself as far away from my butt as possible.  That's probably a generally wise strategy for non-dog mammals.

So, we chatted about my family's medical history and the fact that my mother's doctor-avoidance strategy now consists mainly of her saying, "I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow."

"Anything else you'd like to discuss?" the doc asked.

I then launched into my list of injuries and health concerns from head (nose) to toe (foot tendons).  After hearing the full list, the doc let out a defeated, "Oh... ok", asked me to get undressed, and slowly shuffled out of the room to get a large tube of lube.

She came back a few moments later and explained very clinically how she was going to examine my testicles.  (This would be the "tire rotation" part of the metaphor).  I can't recall exactly what she said because I was mostly wondering whether I was going to get an erection during this procedure.  As it turns out, the specter of the upcoming "oil check", made all the more prominent by the industrial-sized tube of lube on the counter, pretty much killed the mood.  It was a boner-free examination.

After my testicles were given the sexy all-clear, the doc asked me to get up on the examining table.

"Please hop up there, lay on your side, and curl up facing away from me," she suggested gently.

"Really?" I asked, "We do this with me in the fetal position?"

"Well, it seemed more humane than just asking you to bend over."

The humane part of the examination ended exactly right then.  At that point, a woman, with whom I have spent roughly 25 minutes over my entire life, stuck her hand up my ass.  Jesus Sphincter-clenching Christ, that was odd.

The good news is that my prostate is smooooooth and healthy.  The bad news is that I'm still having flashbacks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My manager sent me a warning email last night.  She explained that she's being interviewed by a news program and they were going to be in the office this week.  The interviewers wanted to be present during one of her team meetings so that they could see how she was one of the few females in our male-dominated technical organization.

I told this story to my daughter, Daisy, during dinner tonight.

Me: So, basically, my boss needs me to be my manly self during our team meeting for this interview.
Daisy:  Oh, so it's a pants role.

My hearing has never been particularly good, but it seems to have gotten worse the last few years. Plus, Daisy doesn't always enunciate perfectly well.

Me:  What?  Did you say, "pants role"?
Daisy:  Yeah.  Pants role.
Me:  What's a pants role? A man thing where I wear pants? I got that covered.
Daisy:  No, "pants role" is a theater expression. It's where a woman plays a role written for a man.

Dang.  That's a pretty good zing.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

When I came to work the Monday after breaking my nose, and repeatedly told my tale, I occasionally followed it up with, "and that was the second worst thing that happened to me this weekend."

Here's the first.

Daisy, who is in the 7th grade, has had a tough time at school this year. She has one good friend there, and a few other kids she likes, but there's always been a group of kids that gave her a hard time. This year things got stepped up a notch or two.

Daisy increasingly found herself the recipient of taunting.  She's got a few quirks and the other kids were pretty relentless about pushing her buttons. Any one incident could easily be regarded as kids-being-kids, but as a whole Daisy began to feel increasingly isolated at school.  Nighttime stomachaches became commonplace and she'd dread school days where she knew she'd have to interact with these kids.

Hank and I brought this to the attention of the principal, pointing out that Daisy was being bullied, and they dutifully called some kids into the principal's office and admonished them, but then things just seemed to get worse.  Although casual bullies laid off, the more serious ones were incensed that Daisy had told on them.  She began to routinely have her things stolen and was verbally confronted on a regular basis.

We continued to inform the school administration about these things, and the bullying just seemed to escalate.  The Friday before I broke my nose, Daisy came home with a note she had found in her locker (which she keeps locked with a typical combination lock).  The note said something to the effect of, "You're a bitch and everyone hates you.  If you tell on us again, we'll kill you!"


Although I was pretty damn sure that 7th graders weren't going to murder my daughter, this was an alarming development.  Given that every time we talked to the principal, the bullies stepped up their mistreatment of my daughter, what was the next level after a death threat?  Plus, now my daughter was scared to go to school.  Plus, Hank was pretty emphatic that we were not going to send her back to that school ever again.

So, we yanked her out of her school that weekend.  We had been eying a private school as a possible location for next year, but we fired off a bunch of emails that day, asking if Daisy could begin the following Monday.  Thankfully, they had space, and their admission policy seemed to center around accepting a tuition check.

Placing Daisy in a school we knew little about, in the middle of the school year, seemed pretty terrifying to me, but leaving her where she was seemed worse.  So we held our breath and pulled the trigger.

Daisy has been there for over a month now, and I have to say that it was a fantastic decision. The kids there accepted her literally with open arms, and the performing-arts based curriculum is right up Daisy's alley. She's made more friends there in a month than she had after 8 years at her previous school.  She gets dance class and choir multiple times a week and just kicked some butt in her first multi-school speech contest.

Having gone to public schools for my entire education, it was a little hard for me to swallow sending my kid to private school, but, man, this has been great.  Such a freaking relief.

(This has been just one of many things keeping me occupied and stressed while not blogging over the last several months.  Just catching up here.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Saturday, about seven weeks ago, I headed out for a 10.5 mile run.  At roughly the 3.6 mile mark, heading downhill, I looked down at my GPS-enabled watch to see how far I had gone.  As I began to work through the usual arithmetic I do on a run, estimating how long it would take me to sheepishly turn around and walk home, not paying attention to any potential tripping hazards, I found myself plummeting towards the gravelly sidewalk face-first.  I stuck out my emaciated computer-programmer arms and grazed my hands on the ground as my face stuck the landing.  I have a vivid memory of uttering the sound, "Nuuuuummmmmfffff"

I laid there for a moment, in the gravelly dirt, lamenting my lack of grace.  I've tripped many times in my years of running, but I've never landed face-first before.  I got up, slowly, and wiped my face which I discovered was covered with blood and dirt.  I stood there for a moment, embarrassed, considering whether to turn around or soldier through the next 7 miles.  Meanwhile, my nose and forehead dripped blood onto my shirt.  I staunched the nosebleed but acknowledged that perhaps this was a sign that I should abort the run.

What I lack in grace, I make up for in preparation.  I had grabbed a $20 bill before leaving the house that day, as I often do on a long run just in case I need to take a cab home.  Unfortunately, I was in a part of town with no cabs, no nearby houses, and no open businesses.  I trudged up the hill, towards a large apartment complex, figuring that someone would be on staff and could call me a cab.

What I discovered on that walk is that if you are bleeding from three separate wounds on your face, and are literally covered in blood from your forehead to your chest, it will not go unnoticed by the good people of San Francisco.

The first person I saw on the street, a nice man with his small child in tow, stopped and asked if I needed some help.

"I'm not sure," I replied.  "I think I'm ok, but it's hard to tell."

His kid stared at me, open-mouthed and wide-eyed.

"You dont... uh.... would you like me to take a picture of you with my phone and show you what you look like?" the man asked

"Sure!" I answered, delighted to use an iPhone to diagnose my condition.  Turns out, the only thing I diagnosed is that the iPhone 3GS is completely incapable of taking a adequate picture in direct sunlight.

The man asked if he could call someone to come and pick me up, and remembering the $20 in my pocket, I asked him to call me a cab.  Two minutes later, he was on his way, with his child's mouth still agape.

I sat down on the curb, waiting for the cab.  Cars drove past, slowly and horrifiedly.  Many stopped and asked if I needed help.  One woman thrust out a pile of napkins and asked if I needed them.  I accepted them and spent the next few minutes dabbing at my face.

Another woman stopped and asked if I needed some wet-wipes.  This seemed like an obvious upgrade over dry napkins, so I took those too.  She grabbed a box, started at it, calculating for a moment how many wet wipes I might need, and then handed me the entire box, telling me to keep it.

I waited for the cab for around 40 minutes.  It never showed up.  Another woman approached me and asked if she could help me.  I explained that I didn't think I was very injured and was waiting for a cab.

"Your nose is broken," she said, staring at me with concern.  "I think you need to go to an emergency room.  I'm calling you an ambulance."

I talked her into just letting me use her cellphone instead, and I called my wife, who was downtown at an appointment, asking her to find some way to get me home.  She called me an Uber Cab, which is an upscale cab company with great service.  They arrived soon thereafter, with bottled water and towels.  I had them bring me home so I could grab my wallet and phone, and then drive me to the emergency room in their fancy town car.

I finally got to see a nurse in the emergency room who asked me insightful questions like, "Are you the victim of domestic violence?" and "Do you have suicidal thoughts?" (cleverly hypothesizing that I may have been trying to kill myself by face-planting into gravel).  Meanwhile, some kid walked past me, caught a glimpse of my face and could not help himself from exclaiming, "WHOA!".  His mother shushed him.

Another nurse picked the gravel out of my face and wiped the remaining blood off me.  As I waited for the doctor, I took this picture of myself:

I spent about 5 hours in the emergency room, but as it turns out, there's really not much you can do for a broken nose unless you get to someone very quickly who is capable of setting noses.   No such luck.  They did a cat scan and determined that my brain was still intact despite its inability to convince my hands to break my fall.  They also urged me to see a nose doctor once the swelling had gone down.

I sheepishly went to work two days later, with several band-aids on my face.  EVERYONE asked what happened.  I rotated through a few different stories:

- I asked the barber for just A LITTLE off the top....

- So, I went in for my monthly Botox and....

- The staff meeting did not go well this morning.

Turns out, none of those stories are remotely as funny as the image of a programmer tripping, failing to break his fall with his hands, and face-planting into the ground.  THAT is good comedy.  Somehow, however, despite the simultaneous laughter and sympathy generated by my face, I managed to get through the work days.  I interviewed people, conducted employee reviews, and performed all manner of tasks best executed by people engendering respect and not pity.

The following week I had an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor.  (Amusingly, despite the fact that my injury was obviously the giant wound in the middle of my face, the dude still shined a light in my ear and looked at my throat.  I guess if you've got 3 hammers...).  The doc examined me and then described in graphic detail what the operation was going to be like to fix my nose.

When I asked him if getting my nose fixed was medically necessary, he stared at me, completely stunned.

"Oh, uh, well... I mean, I just assumed you'd want to get THAT fixed," he stammered.  "Is it medically necessary, well, you're still getting oxygen to your brain, but... well, I would never recommend that someone get vanity surgery!"

"But that's what this would be, right?  If it's not medically necessary, then it's vanity surgery that we're discussing here?"

The doctor stared at me again, flummoxed that I would even consider not getting THAT fixed.

"I would not consider it vanity to want to get the nose back that you had for the first 43 years of your life," he answered.

That was a pretty good way to spin the issue, but I wasn't convinced, and I'm still not.  It's been about 7 weeks, and things look better, but I still need to figure out if I want to get things fixed up.  My nose, with its semitic origins, was never pretty, but it it used to be more symmetrical and generally less wounded.  I might be snoring a bit more, but it's hard to say.

My wife, with polished tact, states that she doesn't care if I get it fixed or not.

My father, who sees himself as my nose's manufacturer, claims that I have violated the terms of service on my nose and unceasingly demands that I return it back to its original specifications.

My daughter, who is nearly a teenager, wants to know if we can go to Hawaii for vacation this summer.

I'm undecided.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

No, this blog has not been abandoned.

Yes, I am a terrible blogger.

These days it seems as though the things that are worthy of blogging would be inappropriate or unwise to post. Hopefully that will change sometime soon.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Jesus, I suck at this.  Here's all I got.

The day before Thanksgiving break, I chatted with a few co-workers about their Thanksgiving plans.  When they asked about my plans, I shared with them that I'd be taking Wednesday afternoon off from work so that I could clean up after Hank and Daisy's epic pie-making effort, which would undoubtedly cover the entire kitchen with flour.  I phrased it unfortunately.

Me:  Well, I think I'll be spending the afternoon deflouring the countertops.

Confused Coworker:  Deflowering your countertops?  Uhhhhhhh, I don't think you know what that word means.

Me:  What?.... Oh, no!  Jesus, I am NOT going to be having sex with the countertops!

I am not respected at my job.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Not long after the recent tsunami in Japan, which subsequently caused the Fukushima nuclear plant to leak radiation, I was contemplating the practice of renaming city streets after famous people.  Renaming a street causes all sorts of logistical havoc, so I was wondering what other ways we honor accomplished individuals.  This eventually led to a family discussion where we named all the rooms in our house after famous people who are in some way related to the activities in that room.

The kitchen?  The Alton Brown Kitchen

Upstairs bathroom?  The Albert Pujols Bathroom

Master bedroom?  The John Scalzi and Nina Totenberg Room

And because the toilet in the downstairs bathroom has a penchant for overflowing (which caused the great Poonami of 2011), we named that room Fukushima.  Obviously we need a new toilet, which is why I found Hank browsing toilet web pages yesterday, which led to this perfectly normal conversation.

Hank: What makes this difficult is the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The ADA compliant toilets are taller and I've talked to too many people who remodeled their bathroom, put in one of these ADA toilets and then ended up with various bowel issues and hemorrhoids.  It's just not natural for the body to poop while sitting so high up,  right?  So that limits which toilets...

Mike: Wait.  You have discussions with lots of people where they tell you have they hemorrhoids?

Hank: Uh..., sure.  It comes up.  So, the number of toilets which will...

Mike:  Talking about hemorrhoids "comes up"?  I don't think I have EVER discussed hemorrhoids with someone and you've had many people mention it?

Hank:  Yes, well, women talk about more things than men.

Mike:  Like hemorrhoids.

Hank:  Yes.

Mike:  Ok, so these many people who talk about their bowel issues like hemorrhoids, then they all follow up with, "and it's because of those damn ADA toilets"  This is a Thing?

Hank:  Well, they don't say that in so many words, but I piece it together.

Mike:  So, it goes like this.  They say, "Hi, Hank, I have hemorrhoids" and then you say, "Cool.  Hey, totally unrelated, have you recently remodeled part of your home and installed a toilet compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act?"

Hank:  Sort of, yes.

Mike:  Wow.  I have learned something very unusual about you and your hemorrhoidy friends.

Hank:  Oh, you'd be surprised at the conspiracy theories I have.

It's kind of nice to have a little crazy in the marriage.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

After a long run one Saturday morning about two months ago, I noticed that my foot was aching.  I rested it for a few days and then tried to run on it again.  No dice.  I pounded Advil for a few days, and rested for a week and tried to run again.  No dice.   Three more weeks passed and I tried to run again.  Nope, still hurt.

So, after two months of not being able to run across the street without feeling pain, I finally visited a podiatrist.

Before I tell you about that visit, may I first ask why someone would become a podiatrist?  Who wants to spend their whole life looking at damaged and diseased feet?  Podiatry school takes four years, which is the same length as medical school.  So, with three or four years of graduate school one could become a doctor, or a lawyer or.... a podiatrist?  Crikey, if I'm going to spend that long in school I had better come out of it with a degree in astronautology or maybe richguyicine instead of a being a foot doctor.  Is it that podiatrists want to help people but only if it doesn't involve creepy body parts like elbows or ears?  Just bizarre.

Anyway, two things were interesting about my visit.  First was that we chatted about my foot pain for a few minutes and the doc said, "Ok, I think I know what's going on, but let's take a look at how you walk first." Before I hopped out of the chair, I mentioned the fact that my foot hurt quite a bit first thing in the morning.

"Oh, right after you wake up?  That's quite significant!" he said, looking at me and nodding.

Seriously?  This fact that I barely remembered to mention was key to the diagnosis?  Were you about to diagnose foot cancer and recommend amputation when all of a sudden I rocked your world with this morning fact?  Maybe you could have asked?

I often mock the term "computer science" as being completely unscientific, but moments like this make me want to retract the science term from "medical science" too.

The second interesting thing about my visit was what happened after I showed the "doc" how I walked.  He was stunned, flummoxed even.  It was as though the field of podiatry had not yet invented the vocabulary to describe how I walked.

"Wow, your gait is very.... uh.... well... " and then he kind of trailed off, mumbling something about "rotational" and "pronate" but ultimately rallied with a conclusion of, "Your gait is atypical!"

This is not the first time I've heard this.  When I went to a high-end running shoe store a few years ago and showed them how I run, the employee was stumped.  He ultimately concluded that I had several opposing flaws in my gait and that no modern shoe could address them all, so it was best to just buy something comfy.  Similarly, when my running club held a biomechanics clinic, my coach all but forbid me from attending, explaining that it was only for people with fixable problems.

So the phrase "atypical gait" was what the doc kept returning to.  "Well, it was just a matter of time with that atypical gait" and "You're lucky that you didn't suffer more injuries with that atypical gait" were what he kept saying over and over.  At the end, when he was writing out my prescription for an anti-inflammatory (because tendonitis appears to be what was actually causing my pain), he had to pause for a moment, chuckle to himself, and say, "And, of course, there's your atypical gait."  It was as though he was anticipating being the center of attention at the bar that night while describing my walking style to all his podiatrist buddies.   Oh to be a fly on the wall at that gathering.

Well, it appears that the streets of San Francisco are safe from the sight of my unseemly running style for a few more weeks yet.  Enjoy while you can, fellow San Franciscans, for I well terrorize you with my atypical gait soon enough!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Here's what I knew about parenting going in:

1) There would be a period of years where I had to wipe someone else's ass for them.

2) Teenagers suck.

I knew there would be a bunch of stuff in the middle, but I figured that part was unknowable.  I mean, the rearing you do for a kid who ends up being an accountant is probably different than the rearing you'd do for a kid who ends up being Charlie Sheen.  What I've learned, however, is that in between phases 1 and 2 from above, there is a multi-year phase that all binds almost all parents together.

I refer, of course, to the lice years.

Ever since Daisy started school, we've received announcements several times a year warning us of the latest lice outbreak.  It's apparent, at least in big cities, that lice never goes away, it just moves around from one gaggle of children to another.  The cycle takes just long enough to make you think that maybe you're finally past that phase of parenting.  It visits Daisy's school a couple times a year.

We always check in with Daisy when we hear these announcements to see if her scalp is itchy.  Usually it isn't, and we figure we're safe.  This last time, however, she felt itchy.  Very itchy.

"Oh no," said Hank, "I feel itchy too."

This was not what I wanted to hear.  I scratched my head in thought and... Dammit!  I was itchy too!  Argh! I made a mental note to never touch my child again.

I don't know if you've ever checked another human being for lice, but it is a time-consuming, frustrating, and generally ooky-feeling activity.  It makes me feel incompetent and dirty (but not in the same way that sex makes me feel incompetent and dirty).

So, last week we paid to have someone come to our house and check us for lice!  Like we're apes with money instead of a social group!   I'm so proud.

Turns out, we're lice-free!  Daisy's new shampoo probably makes her itchy, while Hank and I probably suffer from psychosomatic itchiness.  Man, even just thinking about that lice makes me itchy RIGHT now.  Don't you feel itchy thinking about your scalp crawling with lice?  Contemplate that for a moment.

Nobody ever thinks about this part of parenting when they're putting their penis in their wife's vagina. Imagine how many fewer children there would be if people had to read this blog post before having sex! My blog is the ultimate birth control.  You are welcome.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hank and I walked into the movie theater lobby and noticed the enormous line at the ticket window.  Thankfully we had bought our tickets online, so we sashayed over to the ticket machine (because the ladies love it when I sashay), I swiped my credit card, and we grabbed our tickets.

"You guys getting a refund from that machine?" one of the guys in line asked

"Refund?  No, we just bought our tickets.  Is that line for refunds?!?" I replied, a bit confused

"Yeah!  Did you notice the fire alarm going off?" he asked, gesturing to the flashing lights.  "The theaters all got evacuated."

I blinked at him a few times.  I looked down at the tickets I had just received.  I turned to Hank.

"This is the first movie we've made it out to see in forever.  This theater is NOT on fire.  Let's go see our movie."

We strode across the lobby (an evacuation is no time to sashay) and got to the escalator leading to the upper floors where the theaters and concession stands are.  A security guard stood at the top of the escalator.  I turned to Hank again.

"Well, they didn't turn the escalator off.  I guess it's ok to head on up to our movie," I suggested, grabbing Hank's hand and leading us onto the Up escalator.

The security guard's eyes bugged out of his head and he made a u-turn gesture with his hand, implying that we should somehow turn this thing around.  We continued riding up to the top.

"What are you doing?!?!" he asked, "The theater is being evacuated!"

"It doesn't really seem like the building is on fire.  I figured they'd turn off the alarm soon," I stated, willing it to be true.

He sternly suggested that we go back downstairs and leave the building.  So, we rode the Down escalator as he searched for the button to turn off the Up escalator.  We then waited back on the lobby floor, as the security guard made shooing motions towards us.

About 60 seconds later a bunch of firefighters exited the upstairs theaters and came down the escalator.  The security guard rummaged around a bit and turned the Up escalator back on.  Apparently the fire alarm was over.  So, Hank and I rode the escalator back up, followed by a horde of other moviegoers.

We made our way to the concession stand and were first in line.  And we waited.  And we waited.

Whatever employee had been assigned to this stand was no longer around.  All I really wanted was some Junior Mints and a water.  We waited a bit more.

"This is a stupid amount of time to wait for Junior Mints and water," I declared, looking around for a solution to the problem.  The cases holding the bottled water were all locked, but the swinging gate leading to the employee side of the concession counter was open.

So, I went through the gate and magically appeared on the other side of counter.

(Note, when I was telling this story to my rule-following daughter the following morning, when I got to this part, she dropped her head into her hands and muttered, "This did NOT happen".  Apparently she has inherited her desire to make things true by saying them from me.)

"Ok, where are the Junior Mints?" I exclaimed, rubbing my hands together in excitement at my new career.

A woman on the sucker-side of the counter pushed forward to the front of the line.

"Can I PLEASE get a diet coke?" she begged, grabbing a cup from the stack and handing it to me.

I filled up the cup and then belatedly asked if she wanted ice.  Turns out, I was still learning the job.  She didn't want ice, so I handed her the cup, issuing my first comped drink of the day.  I figured as the sole concessionaire, that sort of thing was at my discretion.

Now it was Junior Mint time.  Those buggers cost $4.25, so I slapped down a $5 bill and retrieved the mints from the candy counter.  I was still stymied by the locked cabinets with the bottled water, so I decided to just get some Sprite instead.  I filled up a cup and left another $5.00 on the counter, overpaying for this drink which I didn't really want anyway.

It was right about then that an actual theater employee walked up.

"SIR!  WHAT ARE  YOU DOING?" she asked, somewhat alarmed at finding me serving up snacks.

So, I told her.

"Well, I wanted some Junior Mints and water, but you guys locked up all the water so I had to get a Sprite instead.  I left $10.00 here on the counter," I said, pointing at the money, "but really I'd prefer to get a bottled water.  Would you mind fetching the water and getting my change?"

This was maybe the smartest thing I have ever said in my life.  This is kind of like when a dog starts viciously barking at you, and you stand your ground and yell, "SIT!".  Hearing a command out of context like that will sometimes reset the dog.  It worked the same way with the theater lady.  She promptly fetched the water and gave me my change.

"Thanks!" I said

And, as I exited back through the swinging gate, to the land of customers, several people in line broke out in applause as the theater employee simultaneously called for security to come to the concession stand.

Hank and I quickly snuck into our theater, sashaying all the way.

And Cowboys and Aliens was kind of weak, but I had a great time.

*update*  Here's a pic Hank took me fetching the Junior Mints

Monday, September 05, 2011

There are moments in your life when the ground underneath you shifts a bit.  Maybe one of those moments was when you got your first job and felt a little more grown-up.  Maybe another was the first time you got dumped and discovered a canyon of pain you never knew existed.

One of those moments happened to me last month.  It was shortly after the VP of Marketing at my job sent out an email that said something to the effect of: "Next Wednesday will be our first monthly themed dress-up day.  For the first one, everyone is encouraged to dress up as one of our company founders!"

Eep.  Dress-up day.    When I see "morale boosters" like this, I think of one of two things:

1) When Marge on the Simpsons got a job at the nuclear power plant and suggested that they do a "Funny Hat Day."
2) Flair from the movie "Office Space"

Terrible, just terrible.  Trying to boost morale this way at a tech company is like trying to boost morale at a McDonalds by telling employees that you're doubling the amount of RAM in the cash registers.  It's just the wrong approach for that audience.

The most terrible part of this, however, was the realization that since I'm now a manager, rather than getting to sit in the back of the classroom preparing my spitballs of mock,  I needed to support this bucket of lame.  Oh, how the snarky have fallen.

So, I managered-up and came to work that day festooned with a hastily-grown goatee and the cheapest and least blurrying eyeglasses I could find at the drugstore.   I then spent much of that day explaining to my apparently unobservant co-workers that, no, I don't normally have a goatee, and no, I don't really need glasses.

"Are you sure you don't need glasses?" one woman asked.

"I'm sure," I sighed, launching into my well-worn speech about how the only good sense I have is my sense of vision blah blah blah.

"If you don't need glasses, then why do you hold your iPhone like this whenever you look at it?" she asked, holding her phone at arm's length as though she were an old person looking at a tiny, blurry, and unnecessarily new-fangled gadget.

That question stopped me dead in my tracks.  I didn't hold my phone that way.  Why would I?  My vision is great.  Someone was projecting.

The next morning, as I was making breakfast for Daisy, I stared at the comically teeny print on the sticker on the plum.   Why did they make it so tiny?  The print reminded me of how over the last few years the font on medicine bottles has become ridiculously small.  I shook my head at the idiocy of people who make labels and their battle to out-small each other.

I paused during this hilarious internal monologue and walked over to my backpack where I had thrown my costume from the previous day.  I grabbed the eyeglasses and peered at the plum again.  Crystal clear this time.

Dammit!  I need glasses!  I'm oldening!

Stupid dress up day.  Stupid passage of time.  Stupid 3-point fonts.

Next theme dress-up event?  Dress like a pirate day.  Can't wait to find out that a peg leg works better than my real legs.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hank:  So, what do you think you'll do for your mid-life crisis?
Me:  I'm not sure.  What am I allowed to do?
Hank:  How about a nice fast sports car?
Me:  Eh, I don't drive much.  Plus, that sounds expensive.  What else you got?
Hank:  Ummm, maybe some inappropriate hugs with your friends?
Me:  Did you say "hugs"?
Hank:  Yes, with your guy friends.
Me:  Uh, no.  How about something with hookers?
Hank:  You are NOT allowed to be alone with hookers.
Me:  How many hookers do I have to surround myself with before we're not "alone"?
Hank:  Let me rephrase.  You may only be in the company of hookers in a public place.
Me:  Like a sex club?

Hank stared at me, calculating.

Hank:  Yes.... like a sex club.
Me:  So, I'm allowed to go to a sex club with hookers?

She snorted.

Hank:  Sure.  Go for it.
Me:  You know that they have sex in sex clubs, right?
Hank:  I know THEY do, but you?  You'd last about five minutes in there before running out the door.

So, I guess that's my mid-life crisis plan, then.  Maybe I should have gone for the sports car.