Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Went Away With My Kids And Thank God We Didn't Bond

I have taken “guy trips” that have included stops in: Vegas, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, Chicago and Baltimore.  I can assure you they all included copious amounts of alcohol and activity that was borderline hedonistic.  I usually came home exhausted and broke.  One time I came home without a driver’s license and credit card and a very bad limp.  (That was the New Orleans trip and I am still trying to put together the timeline on that one.)

These trips were memorable and epic.

When I mentioned to my wife that I wanted to take another “guy trip” with my two boys, my wife did everything but make a hotel reservation for me amid proclamations that sounded a lot like, “They won’t be young forever.”  (Or it could have been, “You won’t be young forever.”)

Dylan, Chris and I Being Awesome
A week later, Dylan, Chris and I were in my car heading across Pennsylvania Route 6 toward Wellsboro, PA, an area known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.  We were going to spend three days in the 
mountains hiking and biking and basically guying it up. 

It would be easy to be nostalgic about a trip like this and wax on about father/son bonding.  But really, there was none of that.  That’s right.  We did not bond.  At all.

Bonding can be defined as “join or to be joined securely to something else.”   Well, we really didn’t need joined.  I found out we are joined.

We hiked the gorges and rode bikes along the trail next to Pine Creek.  We had lunch on picnic tables with not a soul in sight.  We ate Italian two nights in a row.  We did a little swimming and I caught up on some reading.  We argued about whether or not the bird we saw was an eagle (it was) and we did some ball-
busting – which is an awesome guy thing to do.  We just had fun.

So we didn’t “bond.”  For me this trip was validation.  It was validation that I have two awesome kids who are well adjusted and can laugh at themselves (when not laughing at each other).  It was validation that we (though they would never admit such a thing) get along pretty well.  It was validation that trips don’t have to end with a limp and a call to your credit card company to prove you had one hell of a great time.  And it was validation that, thankfully, we didn’t need to bond.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Painting Is Not An ED Commercial

You know the commercial that shows a young couple walking into one of those big box home improvement stores where they are excited and notably hand in hand?  They stand in front of the thousands of paint choices and laugh and giggle like they are picking out cupcakes.  They go home, still laughing, and start prepping some room for painting – maybe she dabs paint on his cheek and you wonder if this is an erectile dysfunction commercial because all those ED commercials are like that.  Some couple is “folding laundry together” and then a glance, which in the real world means, “get away from me” but in the commercial leads to sex.  But this couple isn’t having sex – yet – because they are having a great time painting.  And the room looks awesome.  They pull the tape off and the husband painted the Last Supper or some Andy Warhol work.  The couple hugs and smiles and are so proud of the really fun day the husband grinds up a bunch of Viagra and snorts it off his wife’s bosom. 

That’s bullshit.

When Bonnie and I were in our local home improvement store today she was holding two paint swatches which were dissimilar only in the way that a one additional drop of tan added to a fifty-five gallon drum of light tan paint would make.

“Which one do you think?" She said.

“I want nothing to do with this,” I said, “whatever.”  I was filled with despair.

What a difference, huh?
One of the things I hate about painting is that you have to prepare for it like a goddamn shuttle launch.  Curtains have to come down, cover plates have to come off, holes need fixed – then sanded, and baseboards need taped.  Furniture needs moved.  Basically you spend an hour doing things and you haven’t even opened your paint.  At least when you dig a ditch the very first thing you do is dig.

All I think about as I am carefully – and by carefully I mean not really giving a shit – painting is that when I am finished I will have another hour of work.  It's almost unnerving.  Those silly curtains and cover plates, well, they don’t reinstall themselves.  And then you have to clean the paintbrush.  Fortunately we have a slop sink in our furnace room that is perfect for this sort of thing.  Unfortunately, the furnace room is full of nine years of various boxes/accessories/Costco 300 packs of toilet paper so I end up straddling parts of a bunk bed and an old speaker while I clean the brush. 

And even then it’s not over.  All the photos and shelves and other stuff bought at those godforsaken parties your wife goes to has to go back up on the walls.

When I finally finished I wasn’t feeling joyous and what I felt like snorting wasn’t Viagra.  Forget The Last Supper, I was just happy I didn’t drip any paint on the carpet.  Those commercials really are bullshit.  Imagine that.

(Aged Parchment.  We painted the family room Aged Parchment.  Add a drop of tan to a fifty-five gallon drum of light tan.)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dave Finally Buys A Damn Pillow - An Update

There is no way that being in Kohl’s department store should make you feel like an elitist, but as I stood in front of a wall of pillows that’s exactly how I felt.  There were all these pillows for queen and twin beds, but not a damn one for a king.  It’s not my fault we have a king size bed.  It’s not like we bought it to shove it up the ass of the bourgeois.  We just own a big bed, okay?  But now, I can’t find a king pillow and I am losing my mind. 

I spent thirty seconds massaging one of those Tempur-Pedic pillows, and man, they seem really badass.  But I feared that their weird shape, with that dip in the middle, would prove a costly mistake or possibly suffocate me if I fell asleep drunk.

What gets me is I wouldn’t even be here if a) my cheap pillow would have lasted longer than eight years, b) I could learn to love sleeping on something that felt like shredded corrugated cardboard, and c) I would have manned up at Bed Bath and Beyond a few days before (and as tragically outlined in my previous post.)

I was only at Kohl’s because I hate the thought of going to Walmart – whose parking lot I just pulled into.  The entirety of Kohl’s could fit into our local Walmart’s bathroom.  The only thing our Walmart doesn’t have is a hotel and spa.  Although the store is so massive it could be I just didn’t see it.

After walking three miles, and then back one mile since the pillows are decidedly NOT where I was told they were (thanks elderly greeter) I was in front of more pillows.  And by now, the entire experience had started to weigh on me.  I was exhausted and exasperated.  (However, on a fun side note, I was using the bathroom at Walmart – the one with Kohl’s inside of it – and while I was washing my hands a woman walked into the men’s room.  The timing was either good or bad depending on how you look at it.)

Stoned Sheep
As much as I hate to admit it, Walmart has their inventory issue solved.  Within thirty-seconds I found what I was looking for, a super firm pillow.  I was happy.  And then I read the package.  It said it had a “3 inch gusset for back and side sleepers.”  I’m a dedicated stomach sleeper, and what the hell is a gusset as it relates to a pillow?  Does anyone even look for such a distinction?  And if you do, are you crazy?  I buried that away the same way I ignore the warning labels on alcohol.  But the other weird thing was the picture of nine sheep on the plastic cover – all looking like they just came off a forty-eight hour bender at Studio 54.  Wigged out sheep does not inspire visions of Kate Upton dreams.  The whole thing makes you question the real meaning behind counting sheep (of all things), doesn’t it?

But since I had already spent too long on this endeavor and since I was becoming borderline manic, I bought the beast.  When I got home, I wrestled the pillow case on which made me feel like I was putting a condom on a flaccid elephant. 

When I crawled into bed that night, I tossed caution to the wind and turned onto my stomach, didn’t think of sheep (mostly) and embraced my elitism.  I don’t know if it was the beer or the pillow, but damn, I slept well.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

We Should Have Went To Home Depot - How Dave Loses His Battle To Buy A Pillow

Remember that scene from Old School where Will Ferrell’s character says, “We’re gonna go to Home Depot, buy some wall paper, get some flooring.  Stuff like that.  Maybe Bed Bath and Beyond.”  Remember that?  And how funny it was?  Well, it’s not so funny when you find yourself at a Bed Bath and Beyond with your wife.  And it’s really not so funny when you find yourself there because you said, “I need a new pillow.”

So, on a blazingly hot afternoon, we strolled into the air conditioned and well lit confines of our local BBB.  And just like you can’t get just one lap dance, neither can you go into BBB and just purchase one thing.  Apparently, we needed a new dish rack.  I say, “apparently” because I had no idea there was a problem with our old one.  It seemed perfectly capable of performing its sole task, holding dishes.  But Bonnie insisted that though it did indeed hold dishes sufficiently, it was becoming moldy.  (Guys are just awful at recognizing this sort of thing.)

“I want to get another bamboo one,” she said, “I like bamboo, they just get funky after a while.”

Being a guy and what I consider a voice of reason, I said, “Well, why don’t we get one of these wire kind?”

I can’t express how quickly the next sentence came out of Bonnie’s mouth.  As soon as I enunciated the “nd” in “kind” she said, “I want bamboo.”  She did not at all express this in a way that was terse, rather, it was stated in a way that sounded like, “Your opinion is not at all welcome.”  So we compromised – and got the bamboo.

Bamboo dish rack in hand (and pillow nowhere in sight), we now were looking at wine glasses.  There is something to be said for a beautiful crystal wine glass.  Usually it’s, “Damn!  I just broke that beautiful crystal wine glass.”  Bonnie and I drink a lot of wine and we usually get so drunk we are always breaking the glasses.  I jest.  We were looking for something somewhat elegant that also had the durability of Tupperware.  Or, the four glasses for ten dollars.

Finally, after we passed the Soda Stream machine and the griddle that allows you to cook 300 pancakes at once, we arrived at the pillow section.  It was here that I broke down.  I have about a five-minute window in any one store where I can function like a human.  After the five-minute mark, my sole desire is to run like the building is on fire.  And now, here we were at an entire section of pillows.  Different sizes, different material, different whatever it is you use to describe how hard or soft it is.  It was fucking overwhelming.  And the prices?  Everything from $15 to $80. 

Sensing this was going downhill faster than an Obama fundraiser at the NRA, Bonnie said, “You really should get something.  It will help you sleep.”  I felt like saying, “Do any of these say, ‘cure for neurosis?’”  Instead, I said, “I don’t know what I want, let’s just go.”

We left BBB with a dish rack (that I didn’t know we needed) and wine glasses (that have a shelf life of about two months.)  We didn’t leave with a pillow (my own fault – see above comment about neurosis and add anxiety and despair).  Will Ferrell said he and his wife were going to go to BBB, “if they had time.”  I wish we didn’t.