Tag Archives: humor

Shop Vac


Things accomplished today:

  1. Odd-colored patch under the light fixture we replaced in the kitchen: painted.
  2. Peeling ceiling paint in the bathroom: scraped and re-painted.
  3. Warping and de-laminating bathroom door: liquid-nails’ed back into shape.
  4. Slow drain in upstairs bathroom: de-slowified.

Things I learned:

  1. Popcorn ceiling is terrible, in that it’s basically impossible to match an old application with a new one, and thus, if it ever needs to be repaired in any way, you almost have to re-paint the entire ceiling in that room.
  2. Popcorn ceiling is kind of awesome, in that it hides imperfections in the underlying surface, so the previous ceiling paint I didn’t entirely scrape off just kinda disappears.
  3. How have I lived 36 years without knowing about liquid nails? That stuff could fix the holes in the Titanic, I’m pretty sure. Never going to be without some in the house again.
  4. Kids will stuff anything down an open drain, just for the curiosity of it.

Things I may or may not have shop-vac’d out of the kids’ (and my!) bathtub drain:

  1. Seven pounds of hair (interesting as I don’t have any)
  2. Two matchbox cars
  3. A collection of bathtub markers
  4. One missing cat (alive)
  5. One missing cat (deceased)
  6. A previously undiscovered Dead Sea Scroll
  7. Five dollars

Liechtenstein!


It finally happened; I’ve had a visitor from Liechtenstein!

Actually, a lot of folks landed here after the interweb dumped them out of the tubes from Eastern Europe. Funny story actually.

Turns out, some douchenozzle hijacked a photo of my son from my blog. You know, the gross one — the one immediately following his birth, where most of his small intestine is in a toothpaste tube attached to his belly button (he had gastroschisis, but don’t worry — he’s fine now). Said douchenozzle then used said picture to fuel one of those garbage social media posts. You know the ones. Look at this suffering baby. Like = 1 prayer, Comment = 10 prayers. Essentially, a ploy for attention and clicks using my son to bait the faithful.

Which is shameful, but I guess not shocking. The internet is a place for all sorts of deplorables to get together, after all. Funny thing, though? That picture is lifted from my “Why I Am an Atheist” post. Which goes to show you — not that it’s shocking or anything — just how hard this particular deplorable worked when he stole my picture. (Spoiler alert: not hard at all. Searching that picture brings you straight here.)

But wait!

The hits, it seems, are coming from this site — which is in German, thanks Google Translate — which appears to be something of an aggregator for skepticism and debunking fake news. Two of my favorite things! And somebody at that site saw the post, researched it, found out it was a load of hot garbage, and pointed out the proper home of the picture. Along the way, they cheekily pointed out that the picture, property of an avowed godless heathen, was being used to garner prayers. Ha!

So a handful of Eastern European atheists — a gaggle of Germans, a smattering of Austrians, and my one Liechsteinian (that’s so much fun to say!) are landing here. That kind of makes me smile.

Although I have to wonder how well the stories about toddler poop hold up when they get translated into German.


Don’t Talk About the Weather


We went into yesterday girding our loins for a snowstorm that was supposed to be amongst the nastiest on record here in Atlanta. Many school systems — mine included, whee! — dismissed early, with visions of the five-day clusterfargo commonly known as “Snowpocalypse” dancing in their heads.

This is what it looked like three years ago in Atlanta. Images are property of Fox 5 News Atlanta.

This is the part where Northerners smile and chuckle to themselves a little bit, because virtually the entire metro area of Atlanta — the city and its suburbs — was literally brought to its knees and locked down by about two inches of snow. We’re notoriously underequipped to handle winter weather down here. It’s just a thing we don’t bother to deal with; being prepared for a blizzard in Atlanta makes about as much sense as keeping an elephant gun on hand in case Bigfoot wanders through my backyard.

Still, snow is a thing we secretly get excited about in the South, though: kids and grown-ups alike. Sure, it shatters our infrastructure, but holy carp, we can make snowballs and listen to that foomp sound when we walk around and, most importantly, catch a day off from work and school.

Helena had been knocking on the door for several days. We had been warned to plan for being “snowed in” at least three days. We had been warned to clear the roads by four PM, to clear out before the ice starts to accumulate. Weather reports, even when the precipitation had barely started by four PM, called for anywhere from one to five inches of snow (though any guy will tell you, it ain’t about the measurement; it’s about what you can do with it).

Seven PM, still no snow.

Eight PM, still no snow.

Nine PM, still no snow.

It got to be 10 PM, which is bedtime even for the adults in our house, and we still hadn’t seen a flake. We checked the local news — reporters in their bulky winter coats dutifully stood outside in the drab rain, anticlimactically holding aloft sticks sheathed in ice to show us just how dangerous the roads could be, despite the total lack of any actual winter weather happening at all.

We went to sleep, dreaming that maybe the blizzard would strike while we slumbered, that the day would break and we’d have to reach for our coats and boots and hats to brave our front yard. But when we woke, it became clear that we’d been misled. (Sidenote: I learned recently that it’s actually pretty common to misread “misled” as mize-eld, the past participle of the non-existent verb “misle,” which of course means to trick or deceive. Especially if your only experience with the word is in print. This actually makes perfect sense, since English in general makes none.) The yard is, at most, highlighted with frosty tips like the spiky protrusions on the Backstreet Boys’ bed heads. The road looks like somebody spilled a particularly large salt-shaker across it. But there is no snow in Atlanta, and we’re all very sad.

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It’s like when your parents told you they got you a new car for Christmas, except it came in a match box.

The roads are still icy, though, so we all have the excuse we wanted to hunker down for the weekend and binge-watch Westworld. Except we already did that over the Christmas holiday. (So good!)

Despite all that build-up, our winter coats and mittens and hats will remain in the closet to gather dust, and we Atlantans will have to content ourselves with dreams of the white stuff.

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.


Discomfort Lasts About Thirty Seconds


Is Georgia officially in a drought?

It seems impossible that we wouldn’t be, given that we’ve basically been in a drought for every year I can remember, though I can’t specifically remember hearing about it this year. Given that this is a stream-of-consciousness post, I won’t be stopping to do research on that, but it seems fair to assume, especially since, prior to this week, it had been about six weeks since we glimpsed a raindrop.

Yup. Most of October and basically all of November slipped by without even a sprinkle here in the Greater Atlanta area, so the rains of the last two weeks have been welcome.

But as you know (maybe), I’m a runner, and one that won’t be confined to the indoors for a run even in the worst of conditions. (We do own a treadmill, but feh. That’s for if you’re 1000 steps short of your daily goal and you still have an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine to watch. And yeah, there’s gym memberships, but paying money to go to a sweaty room and run indoors is sort of the antithesis of why I run to begin with, so, nope, no gyms for me.)

So of course it happened: the first rain in over a month, and to boot, some of the nastiest to come our way came about on a run day, in the wee hours of the morning last week.

And while running in the rain can be delightful in the summer, in the winter (inasmuch as winter actually exists in the Southeastern United States), it’s not so much. Damp shoes mean blisters. Sodden clothes mean chafing. To say nothing of the sheer demoralizing cold that can seep into your bones in the throes of a windy, whipping rain on a thirty-five degree morning.

It’s more than a runner should be asked to bear, in other words, and it inspired in me that rare notion: that I could, I really could, just take the day off. Nobody would know but me. I’ve been diligent of late, and at this point, I know that missing a day doesn’t mean I fall off the train for good — a fear I had in my early days as a runner and that I still occasionally have as a writer. And, apologies to any readers north of the Mason-Dixon line, being an Atlanta native for basically my entire life, thirty-five degrees is cold. Add rain and wind and it’s prohibitively cold. In other words, this was an excellent candidate for a sleep-in morning (although sleeping in, in my house, means you’re up at 5:40 instead of 4:40. God, my college-aged self is spinning in his sheltered little womb just thinking about it.)

And, come to think of it, that’s how a lot of my writing days have felt of late. It’s rainy out there, and dark, and cold. It feels like harder work than I want it to be. The blank page doesn’t offer you much in return, and man, it sure would feel good just to take the time that I would have spent writing and use it on something else. An extra thirty minutes in bed. Getting some lesson planning done (how am I always so far behind? Oh yeah, because in my free time, I run and write instead of planning lessons). Reading. Squeezing in a nap.

But, y’know, I’ve gotten to the point that it’s not so much about convincing myself to do the thing that looks uncomfortable from the outside. Nine mornings out of ten, I’m just going to go for the run. I don’t have to berate myself, call myself a fat slob, chide myself about how lazy I’m going to feel … those days are gone. I know now, intrinsically, that the day is always better if I run. So I run. And, likewise, I don’t have to talk myself into facing down the blank page anymore, either. I just do it, as naturally and automatically as kicking my shoes off when I get in from work. It just feels wrong if I don’t. Getting the daily word count in is just the thing I do now.

All of which is to say that, despite the fact that it was a great morning for not getting the run in, I got the run in. It was as miserable as advertised. Within two minutes I was soaked through two layers. Half-blind from rain in the eyes. Feet squishing in my shoes. Huffing and coughing and slogging it through the cold, grinning wanly and shaking my head at the lonely cars driving by in the dark, laughing at what they must have been thinking seeing me out there.

I finished with nasty blisters on both feet (I almost never get blisters — not even from my six-mile mud run), which are still ailing me a week later. I had sore, stinging nips that itched uncomfortably under my shirt for the rest of the day, despite the band-aids I covered them with (nobody ever said running was glamorous). My chest-rattling cough resurged … the one I’ve been tangling with since October.

But it reminded me of a thing I already know: no matter how daunting the run looks, or how intimidating the blank page may be? Once you get over the fear of the thing and get into the guts of the thing, all of a sudden, it becomes a lot easier. In fact, once I got over the initial shock of the cold and the rain (which took about thirty seconds), it became just another run like virtually any other. The discomfort doesn’t last. After it passes, you just put your head down and go to work.

In short? The first step, the first word, the first day, the first anything? That’s the hardest. But once you’re in the thing — the run, the writing, the new job, whatever the challenge is — it becomes easier. Shockingly quickly, in fact, it becomes bearable when just moments before it was unthinkable.

It’s always better to take that first step despite the fear. (Well, I guess, unless that first step happens to be out your front door during the zombie apocalypse. In that case, maybe do sleep in.)

 

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.


My Dog’s Stream-of-Consciousness on a Stormy December Night


*snores*

*whimpers*

*chases imaginary bunnies through imaginary fields of fluff*

(a light misting begins outside)

*wakes up*

Woorf? What’s that? *gets up, pads around the room* *sniffs at the door* *sniffs at the window* Noise outside. Probably an intruder. Better see if the humans wake up. *waits for the humans to wake up* Humans not waking up. *stares at humans some more* *nudges human’s foot* *waits some more*

Hmm. Guess it’s nothing.

*goes back to sleep*

(rain intensifies to a moderate sprinkle)

*wakes up*

Humans, do you hear that? *gets up, scampers around the room* *sniffs at the door* Nobody out here. Better bump it to make sure. *bumps the door* Hello? Cats out there? Hello? *bumps door again* What is that noise? *peers out the window* Woorf, it’s dark. Can’t see anything. Better see if the humans wake up. *waits for humans to wake up* Humans not waking up. *stares at humans* Maybe if I bump the bed, they’ll wake up. *bumps bed*

(my wife throws a pillow at the dog)

WOOF HEY YOU’RE AWAKE THERE’S THIS NOISE OUTSIDE AND I’M NOT SURE WHAT IT IS BUT I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT AND…

(we are asleep again)

Humans?

Me: (mumbling) Shut up, dog.

That… that noise, though? It’s okay? Okay.

*goes back to sleep*

(rain intensifies to a bona-fide light rain)

*wakes up*

HUMANS? That noise is louder now. *sniffs the door* *looks out the window* I can’t tell what it is, but it’s definitely louder. Don’t you hear that? WAKE UP. *stares at sleeping humans* Maybe if I run five laps around the room, they’ll wake up. *scrabbles around the room seven or eight times [dogs can’t count]* Humans? *stares at humans who are determinedly pretending to sleep* Okay fine, I’m hiding from the noise in your closet.

*burrows into the clothes hamper*

GUYS? I CAN STILL HEAR THE NOISE IN HERE.

*burrows deeper, scattering clothes everywhere*

IT’S REALLY FREAKING ME OUT OKAY?

*flings a few more shirts around for good measure*

I’ll just wait here until the noise goes away.

*goes to sleep*

(rain continues)

*wakes up*

HUMANS HOW CAN YOU SLEEP WITH THAT NOISE GOING ON, I SURE CAN’T *jumps out of the hamper, scatters the rest of the clothes* I’m going to hide behind the toilet for some reason *clack-clack-clacks into the bathroom* WHOA IT’S LOUDER IN HERE that’s kind of scary I’m going to chew some toilet paper, I hope that helps *devours half of a roll and makes a nest out of the rest* whoa that looks comfy, maybe if I cloak myself in it I can protect myself from the noise *wallows in the scraps, gets most of them stuck to her body* This is fun as hell but it isn’t actually helping. HUMANS I NEED YOU *stares, covered in toilet paper, at humans, who are resolutely, definitely sleeping or at least trying to* HUMANS *takes a lap around the room* HUMANS *takes a lap in the other direction* HUMANS I THINK IT’S OUT THERE IT’S GONNA GET ME *bashes the door a few times* *stares at humans*

Okay, whatever, hope we all die.

*goes to sleep*

(rain is now a meager shower)

*wakes up*

HUMANS WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU DON’T YOU HEAR THAT

*runs about twenty laps around the room* HEY *runs about thirty laps in the opposite direction* HUMANS HELP *flings more dirty laundry around* HUMANS I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME *clacks into the bathroom* Ooh cat litter I’m gonna chomp some of that, that sure seems like a good use of my time right now *chomps some cat litter, LOUDLY* Woo that was refreshing, now back to business HEY HUMANS WAKE UP *more laps* WAKE UP *more laps* HUMANS *laps* HUMANS *laps* HUUUUUUMMMMAAAAANNNNNSSS

(Finally I give up and wake up)

Oh thank DOG you’re awake, did you hear that noise? Do you hear it? It’s going on right now, right outside the door and the window and the everywhere, I dunno what it is but I’m —

(I lead the dog out of the room)

Hey, yeah, it’s out here, how did you know? COME ON I’LL SHOW YOU

(I follow the dog downstairs)

THIS WAY HUMAN LET’S GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS

(I follow the dog to the porch door)

YEAH IT’S OUT THERE I CAN SEE IT, CAN YOU SEE IT? I CAN SEE IT IT’S RIGHT THERE

(I open the door)

*stands there, frozen to the spot*

…Oh, it’s just rain? That’s … that’s a surprise.

Me: (groggily) Well? We’re up. Go ahead. Go pee.

You … what? You want me to go out in that?

Me: (growing impatient) I didn’t follow you down here to not let you go out. Go out. GO.

*whimpers and heavy-foots it out onto the porch, then turns right back around*

It’s raining out here, dude. Come on. This ain’t cool.

Me: (really angry now) Oh, you don’t have to go pee? Dammit, dog. Let’s go.

THANK GOODNESS. It’s cold out, too.

*gleefully leads the human back upstairs*

Oh look, my bed. Man, that looks comfortable. It’s a mess in here, though. Watch your step. I might have knocked that lamp over.

*goes back to sleep*

(rain slows for fifteen minutes, then picks up again)

*wakes up*

OMG WHAT IS THAT?

#

#

#

Yeah, that’s my dog. It’s worse when there’s thunder. So much worse.

Bloody idiot.

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Traumatized.


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