Thursday, February 21, 2013

Interviewing: Why I suck at it.

After viewing my last two posts, it might be obvious that I had a few glitches in trying to run my own business. It turns out that my research before quitting my job and doing "My own thing" was good. There was, in fact enough work to keep me busy. The work returned a profit almost always. I found the work fun, rewarding and enjoyable. But the one thing I didn't account for was how MUCH time it would take me. By the time I bought a phone, ordered parts, waited for parts to arrive, fixed the phone, listed the phone, shipped the phone and then dealt with any extra issues -- I had put an entire day's worth of work into one phone. When I started out, I was worried the work wouldn't be scalable. That I wouldn't have enough work. Never did I think I would have too much work. I had enough work to keep one person busy, full time buying phones. One person busy fixing phones. One person busy selling phones and one person busy dealing with all the documentation and fine details of business operation. But I couldn't afford to pay anyone other than myself. It took me a month to turn around product that I needed to process in a week. Financially it was the equivalent of bungee jumping without a bungee cord.

However, after saying all of that. I cannot refute the overwhelming feeling that doing what I did was the correct decision. Laying on my back in the chilly dark chasm staring at blue skies through a thin slit in the opening of the canyon walls from whence I just fell. I am filled with peace and a calmness that I sometimes find eerie. When I think about the financial mess we have landed in. I stand there anticipating the waves of panic and despair to wash over me. Nothing. Acceptance. Serenity. This emotional reaction to stress. I don't know what to make of it.

So I have sent my resume out to dozens of companies that are hiring for positions. Most of them I am well qualified for. However, none of them are calling me for interviews. This is when I panic. That tells me the job market is that competitive. That most of the applicants that are well qualified for a position are not even getting an interview. That means if I do get an interview, I am going to have to be a good interview. Folks -- I SUCK at interviews. Here's why:

Think of my brain as a giant housing complex. There is an entire gamut of characters residing there. Everything from an alcoholic bum to a hoity-toity, top hat and monocle wearing billionaire. All of these characters are equal shareholders in me. When I talk, there is a guy standing in front of a conveyor belt. He is wearing a denim apron, he has thin, gold rimmed spectacles that he wears on the end of his nose and he is wearing a visor. He is the editor, content manager and copywriter all at once. He doesn't do well under pressure. When panicked he starts sending the wrong words down the conveyor belt and those mistakes fluster him more until he just opens up his cabinets full of words and starts to heave anything and everything onto the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt feeds down into the back of my throat and empties onto my tongue. My tongue doesn't know any better and it just says whatever word lands on it.

In an interview situation, this guy... we will just call him The Word Operator. He assembles everyone together in a town hall meeting and he says "Listen up everyone. Tomorrow is a big day for us. We have an interview" A hush of eager whispers rustles through the crowd. "We all need to help out on this one. It is going to take effort from each one of us." The alcoholic bum screams out "Yeow!" and then belches. The word operator tilts his head up so that he can see the crowd through his glasses "Uh, except you alcoholic bum. We don't need any input from you on this one" The alcoholic bum groans in despair, turns to a neatly dressed woman sitting next to him who is in charge of all interior design and says to her "Well hello." She blinks repeatedly as if her eyelashes are able to fan away the foul stench of his breath. "You wanna come back to my place. Mmmmaybe bring some wine with you?" He smiles and sways as he stares at her through glazed eyes. After a moment of no response he staggers away "Ffffine. Have it your way. Your loss."

So the day of the interview arrives. Everyone assembles in the warehouse where all of the words and ideas are stored. The word operator is already flustered. He quiets the crowd. "Everyone, this is important. So no lies and crude comments. OK here is the first question. 'Why should we choose you for this position?' Scientist, Egotist, Philosopher and Storyteller. We are going to need your help on this one!" The redneck throws his hat on the ground and stomps on it "Sonuvabitch I hate that galdurn question!" The word operator turns and starts to throw down the words the redneck just said. Everyone roars "NO! Don't send that down!" The Egotist speaks first. (He's Russian. And has a thick Russian accent. I don't know why) "This  is eezy. We is the bee-est. Thet is why." The Scientist speaks up next "Actually, with 6 billion, 973 million, 738 thousand, 433 people on the planet. The likelihood that we are the best is highly unlikely. Without actually knowing how many people applied for the position, or their qualifications. We really can't say with certainty that another applicant isn't better than us" The Philosopher doesn't say anything. He's thinking about how we are connected to the universe simply because we breath. He's concentrating on his breathing. The Storyteller begins "It was a cool day in the spring of 1993..." The Word Operator snaps "We don't have time for your story! We gotta send something! Now! Anything! so he grabs a few strings of sentences and crams them down the conveyor belt. Everyone listens intently as the words being spoken echo off the chambers of the warehouse. "I think you should choose me because I is thee bee-est. But probably not. I mean, you probably have interviewed someone better. You should hire them. That is if  they are what you are looking for. Because we are all breathing and if you hire that person then we are all connected in the universe, so it is just like hiring me. So since I am connected to everyone on the planet. I am the best person ever. I guess I am the worst person too. I am your dream come true. I'm your worst nightmare. Hire me! Please!"

By the time the interview is over, the warehouse looks like the stock room floor on the day of the worst stock market crash ever. Most people have gone home to cry themselves to sleep. A few stray spectators remain slumped over in their seats. Head in their hands and gripping handfuls of hair. The Word Operator is smacking himself in the head with his fist repeating "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!..."

So, I ask for your prayers. Your job leads and your Word Operators. I would like to trade mine.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scams, beggers and scam/A-hole updates

I came to a point in my life where I sat in a darkened corner surrounded by a haze of lament and inhaling the putrid fumes of despair. What have I done to become the scam magnet? I wouldn't consider myself naive or careless. I considered myself on the upper end of bell curve on being savvy.  

But here I sit duped by some guy in Vietnam and just recently about $1,000 lighter in the checking account via a series of 17 consecutive unauthorized "INTERNET SHOPS" transactions that we just discovered this morning. They are disputed, but it can take up to 45 days to have the charges reversed. Oh wow! This is awesome! Maybe I will go beg for money to finish up Christmas shopping and live on for the next 45 days? Those guys seem to be doing pretty well. 

Maybe it isn't just me? Has anyone else noticed a huge influx of people asking for money and scams recently? A few weeks ago I was on a trip to Salt Lake. I had arranged to purchase an iPod with a cracked screen. I forget this person's name -- so we will just call her Brunhilde for the rest of this story. Brunhilde sent me a text. "I don't have a car can you meet me by my house at the 7-11 on 17th and Main?" I said sure. Sounded fairly safe. Lots of traffic. Lots of witnesses if I get mugged. 

I pulled into the parking lot and looked around for someone that seemed to be waiting for someone to meet them. I saw a guy with pants riding down to his knees. He seemed to be casing the joint for an opportune moment to rob the store. There was your standard issue crazy cat lady bumping along down the sidewalk yelling at people that only she could see. And there was what appeared to be a pimp, probably out purchasing refreshing beverages for all of his hoes. They do those types of things right? After assessing the situation, I decided that I did not want to be parked forward in the parking stalls. I wanted to be facing outward, so that I could see people walking to the store and also so that I only needed to put the car in drive and accelerate rapidly should I find the situation -- um, less-than-ideal. Just to be safe, I took every dollar, (except for the money I was using to buy the ipod) credit card and form of ID and stuffed them in my shoe. Should I get mugged, I would only be out my fresh values card and my wallet. 

I waited and and no one was approaching the van. I began to think this person was a no-show. A group of young adults walked up and went into the store. One of them was like 7' 18" tall. She had the stature of night club bouncer. If she were ever shot, she would brush the  lead particles off of her jacket, grimace and then crumple the shooter up like paper bag and discard them carelessly in some nearby bushes. She had on a long woman's coat and a hot pink, knit hat. Next to her was, well I don't even know how to describe her other than your stereotypical lesbian. In tow behind Paula Bunyon and Lucy Lesbian were two tweekers. They were wasted. They were staggering along like two chihuahuas out for a walk, just marveling at this huge big world outside. They both wore all black, baggy clothes and had chains hanging from every article of clothing and content of their pockets. Their mouths were fully open, eyes half shut. 

They came out of the store, loitered for a bit and then started approaching my van. "Yep, I'm about to get mugged" I sighed to myself. Paula Bunyon smiled, looked at me and produced an iPod from her pocket. "This isn't Paula Bunyon." I said to myself "This is Brunhilde" I got out of the van so that any witnesses would see the entire homicide not just a large woman quickly reaching into a van as she snapped my neck. 

Brunhilde showed me the phone and told me how it got broken and where she had bought it how she liked to use it to watch movies. Brunhilde talked with a slight lisp and I began to realize two things. 1. Brunhilde might just be a little slow mentally. 2. Brunhilde was no she. She was a dude. 

I just wanted out of there. Finally Brunhilde handed the iPod over and I reached in my jacket and produced the money for the iPod. The tweekers lit up like they had just seen an angel of the lord. They marveled and were amazed, as if I had just produced the sword of Gilgamesh from it's emerald encrusted sheath that I wore on my back. "Whoa!" They gasped in delight. "That's like $40!" one of them shrieked. The other followed up with "That's like $40,000!" I wasn't in the mood for explaining finances to these two gentlemen. So I jumped in the car, started it and drove away like I was being chased by zombies. 

Next I was off to meet my brother. I stopped at the Sears downtown so that I could text him and let him know I was on my way. I was interrupted mid-text by a tap on the window. There stood a Hispanic man. Filthy clothes, hair unkept. He motioned for me to roll down the window. I did so begrudgingly because I was certain he didn't want to ask me how my day was going. "Excuse me sir. Can you help a homeless man. I'm hungry and I haven't worked in months."  My money was still in my shoe. I looked around to see if I had anything to eat, some money. Something. Then I remembered the change slots in the console. I reached in there and removed all of the large change. It was somewhere in the range of $3-5 that I gave him. It felt pretty generous to me considering we were about 15 feet away from a taco stand selling tacos for $1 each. He looked at the contents of his hand, looked at me, sneered, shook his head and walked away. Dude, I didn't kick you in the spleen, why are you acting like a did a disservice? 

After meeting my brother I ran a few more errands. It was starting to get late. I had been so busy that day, I hadn't eaten yet. I was hungry. I found a Carl's Jr. I wasn't delighted, but it was the best thing I had seen in a quite a while. That should tell you right there how poor my previous selections were. I ordered and pulled into the parking lot. It seemed like a decent neighborhood. There was a Hotel and a sizzler next to the carl's Jr. I sat in the car and began to eat my food. I noticed an empty lot next to the hotel. There was a trail through the lot that came from an opening in a fence behind a residential neighborhood. An average looking man appeared through the fence. He was carrying a small cooler and looked like he was just getting home from work. He slowly shuffled along the trail and walked behind my van. When he got behind my van he stopped. I watched him nervously in the rear view mirror. He backed up and seemed to be looking at my van. He was staring like he was trying to see who was in the van. He walked back and forth several times and then left. Around the corner of hotel a tall black man appeared. There was a short older man with him. They paced back and forth near the corner of the hotel as they sucked on cigarettes. They kept looking at me and making gestures. I could tell they were talking about me. 

You know when you are outside. Maybe on a hike and you look down and you see a red ant, then you spot another one, and suddenly the ground comes alive as you notice you are standing on top of their hill? This is what happened to me at this instant. I looked in the field and there was another man working his way toward me. He was walking slowly but with purpose. He kept steady eye contact on my van. Your standard issue crazy cat lady burst around the corner of the sizzler. She didn't have any teeth and she walked with a swaying hobble. She was walking straight for my van. This was all to much. Danger alerts were going off everywhere in my mind. I didn't know what was going on, but no outcome was good if I stuck around. I tossed my burger on the passanger seat, threw the van in reverse, then slammed it into drive and squashed the gas pedal with my foot just as the crazy cat lady made it my window. She threw her hands up in the air "Hey!" she yelled "Excuse me! Sir? HEY!" I didn't even give her eye contact. I was out of there. I drove a few blocks away. 

and found a business complex. It was still under construction and the neighborhood seemed pretty nice. "Finally, I can finish my food" I thought. No sooner had I parked, then a hispanic man emerged from behind a building. He had a young child with him. He kept his eyes on the van and was walking right for me. "What the hell?" I grumbled. I felt bad, but I threw it into drive and left. I just finished my food as I drove.

I had one more place to stop in Bountiful, but the urine level in my bladder was getting to critical. Plus I wanted to make sure that maybe I wasn't dragging a dog, my tire wasn't flat or some other reason to make everyone feel the need to come running up and talk to me and beg me for money. I even thought that perhaps the first man had somehow marked my van that told the other beggars that I was beggar friendly.  That seriously crossed my mind. 

I found a Shopko. I parked and circled the van. Looked for anything that seemed out of place or indicative. Nothing. I went inside and used their restroom, came out, got in the van and "tap, tap, tap" on my window. Standing there is an older gentleman. He doesn't have a coat on and is wearing shorts. It is cold outside and starting to snow. I am absolutely stunned. This is beyond uncanny. I talk to him and tell him the truth. I don't have any money that I can give him. I watch him for the next few minutes as he approaches shoppers coming and going into the store. I can see him motioning and gesturing to a car in the parking lot. A few times he goes up to the car and talks to the occupants. It is apparent that this is his car and he is just canvasing the area. This is just excellent. 

Any one that read my last blog entry knows about Turd McGittens that purchased an iPhone from me and qualified himself as the most annoying person I have ever dealt with. I believe I have some finality to that story.He left negative feedback on me. That pissed me off because I have done everything possible to right the transaction. I sent him a message and told him that I need to know what he is doing with the phone. Is he going to keep it or send it back. No response. So I reported him to eBay for inappropriate feedback, extortion and abusing returns policies. He sends me a message. "I am returning the phone to you"  Yesterday I finally received the phone back from him. I refunded all of his money and blocked him from contacting me and having the ability to bid on or purchase any of my items ever again. May our paths never cross again, lest I find myself scraping his feces off the bottom of my shoe again. 

And finally -- an update on the phone that I sold, The buyer reported as fraudulent and then had it shipped to Vietnam where I had no ability or hope of ever recovering my phone again. I sent a message to PayPal that in summary said "Hey! I did everything in my power to get the phone back, I followed procedure exactly to qualify for 'Seller Protection'. So what are you going to do to protect me?" The next day they deposited the money back into my account and said the transaction was awarded in my favor. I should tell my friend in Vietnam that I have another buddy that is now looking for a phone after he returned his to me. They would be instant friends. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Something I gotta vent before I eh-splode.

Have you ever had to be nice to someone, but you really just wanted to punch them in the throat, but you couldn't because you had never met them?

This is my story of such a time that happened to me today. I hope you enjoy.

I do a lot of buying and selling. For the most part I buy high and sell low. That way everyone, except me of course, is happy with their transaction. 

A few weeks ago I bought a phone for more than I should have paid for it and sold it for less than I should have. (Stick with what you know, right?)

Monday I get the following email from the buyer:

you need to send me something so I can send this back to you. it is still activated on another line. I will report you if this not get taken care of

If all of the whiny little turds in the world gathered together and elected a leader and spokesperson. This is the guy they would choose. I read the email and just marveled at how badly I wanted to physically harm him.His ability to use his communication so effectively for the cause of annoyance was almost superhuman. Who was he going to report me to again? What is wrong with the phone? I couldn't understand because my knuckles were popping and grinding from squeezing into such tight fists.

What I wanted to say was:

First of all What is wrong with the phone? Second of all, I don't need to send you anything. If you desire to return something, you pay for return shipping. Third, you are walking a fine line on the verge of extortion here. I should be the one reporting you.

What I said was:

Dear ____________,

I am sorry to hear there were issues with your purchase.
Please send your return(s) to:

You will receive a complete refund when the item is returned in it's condition that it was shipped to you in.

Thank you,

His response:

The phone I active on someone else's account that's what it said and yea I contacted Verizon about it.

I've read this line dozens of times. I'm still not 100% certain I know what it means. All I know is that if he reported me to the customer service rep that he talked to in India, my life is ruined!

I now more than my next breath of air, just wanted to have the phone back and not deal with this person any more. In an amazing act of charity, benevolence and uncontrollable urgency to end all interaction I issued a refund sufficient enough for him to return the phone to me USPS or UPS. His choice. Relieved I sat back in my chair and waited for the confirmation of the shipment. The next day I received this:

could you maybe call and see if they can deactivate it some how I still would like it but not if it does not work

Hey what's this? a correspondence that has some semblance of civility and maybe a hint of cordiality? My heart softened. Maybe he was inflicted from birth with an amazing resemblance to Gary Busey. Maybe he had an irrational fear of french fries. You just never know. I contacted the person I bought the phone from. The person I bought it from asked if I could get the MEID # so that he could call Verizon and see if he could straighten the whole thing out. I was grateful. Maybe this whole thing could be worked out after all and everyone could gallop through fields of clover aloft unicorns and there would be rainbows and leprechauns tossing gold coins and we would all be laughing because we were all so freaking deliriously happy. I send:

Will you do me a favor and give me the MEID # on the phone? If you go into "Settings", "General" and "About" it should list the MEID #. I am going to need that # to get that cleared up for you

Tonight he sends:

___________ meid this needs done ASAP I'm tired of waiting

Wow! I mean WOW!!! I just went from leprechauns and gold coins and fields of clover to dizzying heights of eyeball seering contempt in less time than it takes for a humming bird to fart.

I wanted to reply:

You ingrateful, fetid ball of hog fat. I haven't seen this much sense of entitlement since last week when I gave that guy who professed to be homeless man, all of my money and he gave me a look of complete disgust (Blog coming about that later). I am just going to tell myself that you are an absolute dope. Because my poor little heart can't bear to think that you are out there, trying to find your way through this big old world of ours and are an asshat and a dope. I just can't.

I sent the MEID # to the person I bought it the phone from. A few hours later he informed me that the MEID# I gave him was not ever activated under his name. I checked the MEID # with verizon's website, which tells me the phone is eligible to be activated. I no longer know which way is up. I don't know who is telling the truth. Sigh. What what what, oh what did I do to attract the burning gaze and festering attention of the King of the Whiny Turd Club?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Utah State University

Growing up, it was a fall tradition in our house. My dad would put on his BYU hat, grab his radio and plop down in front of the TV. He liked to watch the game, but he liked Paul James, the radio commentator better than the Craig Bollerjack or whoever the TV commentator was. Shortly after kickoff, dad would start out slowly with a heavy sigh or a “Come on!”. The jeers slowly ratcheted up from there. As a child I was convinced Lavell Edwards was the stupidest man on the face of the earth and every ref was a vindictive, deceitful, BYU hating turd that was picked on incessantly as a youth and had grown up a shifty, resentful jerk who could see no better than Stevie Wonder.  Refs were useless and every play that Lavell called, my dad quickly labeled as the most ridiculous and asinine blunder since Custer strolled onto the battlefield at Little Big Horn. Everyone on the field was simply a huge conglomeration of blubbering buffoons who couldn’t pick a football out of a line up of sticks and garden vegetables. Every game was thee single most frustrating and aggravating ordeal the old man had witnessed. About the moment he would lunge forward at the TV and blurt out “Lavell, what the hell are you doing? Oh come on ref! Geez! No! No! No! NOOO!” I would slink out of the room for fear some of that frustration would be directed at me. Besides, who wants to see a group of nit-wit dopes smash around on a field when an otherwise perfectly good Saturday was wasting away. I never really felt like I needed a huge source of frustration in my life, so I never gave much interest to the sport. So, it is ironic that a BYU game would probably be the most life altering event in my life.

My brother Shawn was attending USU and he invited me and dad up to watch the USU/BYU football game. It was the day before Halloween, 1993. For anyone that is a USU fan, you know where I am going with this. USU has a solid record in football. They consistently lose year after year after year. BYU almost always does well enough to be ranked in the top 25.  When BYU plays USU it is almost always a sad day for USU. I didn’t know any of this. I barely knew where Logan was. Shawn got us into the game and brought us to the USU student section. He kept leading us further down into the belly of the stadium, until we reached the second row on the fifty yard line. Dad was sure to be on his best behavior stuck in front of 50 or so drunk frat dudes who hated BYU only slightly less than they hated an empty keg.

The game got underway and the one thing I didn’t like about watching a live game, without the commentators telling me what was going on, I almost had no clue, what was going on. I get the quarterback, the running backs and the receivers. but then there’s this whole other mess of guys doing stuff and apparently doing things wrong that caused penalties. Without the benefit of the aerial camera views, I just watched the ball. Whenever someone made the ball go into the end zone, I know a score was made. That’s not to say I was bored or confused.

Being that close to the USU football players, you could plainly hear the words you thought you saw them say on TV. I will simply say that the USU players were displeased that the BYU players were alive, and they expressed a desire to remedy that situation. This was certainly entertaining to watch. Being in front of the entire student section I also had the luxury of hearing their cheers. That too was entertaining. Then I noticed the USU mascot Big Blue. I first took note of him when he climbed up one of the light poles and began shaking the whole thing violently back and forth. Security and police stood at the bottom of the pole ordering him down before he hurt himself or someone else. He climbed down and disappeared. Then I saw him sledding down the stairs.  Then he was crowd surfing. Then he was darting over to the BYU side. There was no way this wasn’t going to be simply awesome. And it was. He ran up behind the BYU cheerleaders, grabbed one of them, tossed her over his shoulder and ran back to the USU side while she kicked and screamed. The BYU mascot wasn’t going to watch an abduction without  trying to do something. He gave chase. When he caught up to Blue, Blue let the cheerleader go, grabbed his own tail and held it out like a sword and began sword fighting. I was more than entertained. My eyes were opened to the exciting world of truly great mascots. Something I never knew existed.

With every touchdown USU made, they shot off a cannon and the crowd ritualistically proceeded through a series of cheers and claps and yells. This game was turning out to be truly awesome. The game continued. The crowd got more vocal.  The players in front of me became more energetic. by the end of the game, the entire stadium was searing. I had never been to a game where the crowd melted together into a unified mass. It was like watching a scripted riot where every person knew their part. and I was in the middle of it. I actually felt sorry for the BYU players and the fans. Like they had unwittingly wandered down the wrong darkened alley and were now surrounded by a mob with itchy club fists. I could literally see the fear in their eyes when the crowd jeered them. I imagined they kept one eye on the time on the Minutes Remaining clock and the other eye on the exit portal. When the game was over, I was sure they were going to sprint out of the stadium, race on the bus and scream at the bus driver frantically “GO! They’re coming after us!”
The game ended. The score - BYU 56, USU 58. BYU sprinted off the field and the USU band erupted with three long blasts of their horns that sounded like The Horn of Gondor.  Then everyone burst into some song about Scotsman, thistles, something about blue, something something something, where the sage brush grows... and then they growled out some other song “ Something something something...Utah state, hey aggies all the way, go aggies, go aggies, hey, hey, hey!” and with one single motion, everyone poured onto the field. We slowly swam upstream and picked our way out of the stadium.  Before we left I watched the pulsing crowd pull down one of the goal posts. I was completely marvelled. “So THIS is Logan?” I thought to myself, as a smile crept across my face. “This place rules!” (This was in 2010, but it gives you a good idea of the reaction) 

Dad went home and left me with Shawn. I am sure he cried and cursed out that good for nothing Lavell all the way home. Shawn took me to eat at A&W. “You gotta get the Big Blue” he said with a wide grin. I ordered the Big Blue. They brought me out a burger the size of my head with three huge patties. Cheese dividing each layer of meat and smothered in slap-your-momma good fry sauce. The burger was balanced tediously on a huge mound of fries and it came with root beer float served in a chilled, frosty mug. Each bite, the juices ran down my arms and dripped onto the fries. Logan was quickly becoming my most favorite place on earth.

Afterwards, Shawn took me up to a cave in the canyon where we went spelunking. One of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen. at some points we were wading through standing water. Other times we were looking up at crevasses that extended hundreds of feet above us beyond the reach of our head;amps. And other times we were crawling through holes that were just barely larger than my chest.

I went home wondering how I had never heard of Logan where they obviously knew how to have a good time, knew how to eat and had spectacular recreation opportunities within arms reach in any direction. I would have to be as thick headed as Lavelle to not go to school at USU. And so I did. No idea where I would have ended up had I not gone to that game. I suppose I would be living in a van down by the river.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chucky's back!

I was sitting here in this very spot looking at a few classified ads, when something yellow, something hideous, something menacing caught my eye. I clicked on the ad and to my moistening eyes, appeared one of the most glorious visions I had ever seen.  There he was, draped in sunflower yellow and looking as tenacious as ever -- my old snowblower, Chuck. My fingers began quivering as I opened the image gallery. This wasn't the exact Chuck.  This one was covered in years of dust and dirt.  But gleaming under that layer of filth and grime I could see decals that were in place that Chuck had long since lost. Bolts still in place where Chuck had years since lost his. Chrome still glistening where Chuck had began to rust. This wasn't Chuck.  This was Chuck's younger, more hungry, girlfriend just left him because he lacked all sensitivity, looking for a fight, scrappy, brother. (And he's pissed that he's missed a few seasons)  And better yet, Chucky was priced at a bargain basement price of $50. Even though it was late, I made the call to the seller as I was putting my shoes on and trotting out the door.

45 minutes later I was backing out of the previous owner's driveway, smiling to myself the way a bank robber would after a completely successful heist. I had done it. Purchased another truly spectacular snow blower for a completely reasonable price. 

Old Man Winter I am sure is sitting in an ice cave somewhere in the Antarctic looking over a map of North America placing tiny pieces that indicate cold fronts, snow storms, ice storms, avalanches and bitter cold temperatures. Planning a strategy for this year's attack. At some point tonight I am sure a penguin will waddle in, salute and say "Wah wah" (Chuck's back) at which point Old Man Winter is sure to violently ask the penguin to repeat what he just said, Then sweep all of the pieces off of the map in a tantrum and then collapse on the floor sobbing silently to himself. He can cry all he wants.  I will have winter in my yard under my conditions, strictly enforced by Sheriff Chucky. Hot turds on a tin roof! You hear me? Chucky's back!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I got to thinking.  It must be really tough being a baby.  I am glad I don't remember my experiences. Aside from the obvious perks, sleeping all day and having the ability to just crap your pants whenever you feel like it and then have it magically just whisked away, the rest of it seems pretty rough.

First of all, can you imagine reaching your arms up and having your head so big that you can neither touch the top of your head or touch hands together when reaching around your head?  So, now you got this giant head on this tiny little, weak neck.  Your head is flopping all around.  Strange people are picking you up and talking in annoying voices to you.  You open your eyes to see what is going on and all you see are fuzzy shapes.  Now everyone is laughing at you.  While you were trying to check things out, apparently you inadvertently went cross-eyed.  Laugh it up jerks.  I got fresh poopie that I am sending into the diaper right... about... now! Kapow!

Now you are hungry.  You are thinking some pizza sounds nice.  Maybe some steak.  Nah, you get a super duper big gulp the size of your giant head (that equates out to be like a 300,000 oz) drink of the nastiest thing on the planet... milk.  Worse than that, there is a good chance it came from a powder mix, blech! Hey you big turd! I hate milk, so guess whose brewing a nice, juicy mess in the ol' diaper? That's right!  This kid is! Kablow!  Take that! I am so gonna wake up 10 times or more tonight when you are trying to sleep.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Last week Mandy and I had to spend the night at the hospital. It wasn't because either one of us was sick.  The pediatrician just wanted us to spend the night at the hospital so that we could be there for every one of the twin's feedings all through the night, which are every three hours.  I am not sure why.  Perhaps so that they can make sure we know which end of the baby to put a diaper on and which end to plug the bottle into.  Perhaps so that they can laugh at us as we waddle in on 2 hours of sleep and try to feed two kids.

At the hospital they have something called "Hotel stay".  It costs $15 and you need a doctor's order to stay there.  They stuff you in a labor recovery room or a broom closet.  There is a couch that they claim you can sleep on, but it is too short for anyone except a midget. And then there is a hospital bed, with the side thingies and the buttons and everything and the plastic covered mattress.  There is also a TV and a bathroom.  The TV didn't work and the light switches were scattered in random places all over the room, so it took me about 5 minutes to figure out how to turn them all off.

Before they will let you stay, they want you to pay your $15.  Because I was checking in at night, the only place in the hospital that can take your money is the emergency room.  I am instructed to go to the other side of the hospital through several very dark and extremely creepy hallways of the hospital.  I was actually more surprised that I did NOT see a ghost of a skinny old frail man in a robe towing an IV pole behind him pleading for my soul, than if I actually would have seen this.

Finally I make it over to the ER.  There is a desk with two attendants.  It looks like a regular admittance desk to see a doctor.  There is a wood divider between the two admittance clerks, that affords a portion of privacy between two people if they were checking in at the same time.  Just enough privacy that the two can not see each other, but can still hear everything each other is saying.  As I enter the room there is a girl staggering towards the desk.  She is in her pajamas, her hair is swirled and twisted like the sky on a stormy night.  Her face is gaunt and her jaw is hanging open like a worn out handbag. When she reached the desk she collapsed forward and caught herself on the edge of the desk with her arms and her head resting on the desk.  I paused and considered the situation.  If I were her, I think I would just want people to A. Don't talk to me. B. Leave me the Hell alone and just get me a dang bed! So, I casually wandered up the the other admittance clerk and told him that I needed to pay for a hotel stay.

On the other side of the divider I can hear the other clerk "Can I help you" "Ug...'t feel good..." Not looking up from her monitor the clerk kept asking her questions "What's your address?"  The poor girl played along and jumped through the hoops that were asked of her speaking without pausing like every sentence was one word "eleven-forty-two-East-three-hundred-south-Logan-Utah-eight-four-three-two-one. Ug"  Finally she began ending her sentences with barf.  I didn't know what she was puking in, but I could tell it was in some sort of container and not the floor.  The clerk was just getting warmed up and was not going to stop until they had all of her insurance information, contact information and emergency contacts.  I completed my transaction and left.

As I walked away I thought "It is a good thing she didn't have a stab wound, a severed limb or stroke"  mainly because I would not have been able to deal with blood or freaky symptoms less than I did with the puking. But because I couldn't help but think that if there is any place that should have the policy of "Let's get you comfortable and not dying or feeling like dying before we go through the minute details of something like "So, let's talk about how you are paying us, and then we will see what we can do based on what you tell us."

As bad as this sounds, I just couldn't see a government employee or agency sitting there being more attentive or more capable of helping.  You know because I always get such wonderful customer service when I go to the DMV, call the IRS or need to go to the court house. I'm just saying.

Now watch this.