Archive for April, 2008

Wes

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I make it a point not to write about work, but then again, what are they going to do, fire me?

Here is an actual conversation I just had with Wes, the greatest carrier dispatch operator in Texas -

WES: Hey Steve is Vonnie in?

STEVE: No. Some car hit her grandparents house so she stayed home to clean it up.

WES: Wow! Is everyone all right?

STEVE: I think so. Just damaged the house.

WES: I’ve been thinking about putting yellow posts up around my house.

STEVE: Good idea. So what’s up?

WES: One her loads is running late. The driver got really sick and his replacement will be a day late.

STEVE: Got it. I’ll call the customer and let them know.

WES: Thanks man. Hey you know I would never lie to you about why a load was late.

STEVE: Like a car hit your house?

WES: Yeah that was it! No wait, what about the yellow posts? It was a motorcycle! He went right between them.

STEVE: Yep, the bike is in your living room now. And then the guy raided your fridge.

WES: Biker scumbag.

Gutters

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

I have one simple rule when it comes to yardwork. If there’s no risk of death, it’s not worth doing. Last time out I played with a chainsaw and somehow managed to avoid chopping myself into little pieces. This time I embraced a challenge that could have easily ended in a broken neck. I cleaned out the gutters.

If I said this before, it bares repeating – I should not be allowed to own a house. I have the handyman skills of a potato. I have no clue how to fix or maintain anything. I also struggle mightily with cause and effect. When I first moved in I was only aware the gutters existed at a subconscious level, much the way you are aware of your liver. You know you have one and it probably does something but when it comes down to it, out of sight, out of mind. “Go about you business Mr. Liver and leave me alone. Now where did I put that tequila?”

Not once did I spare a single thought for my gutters. That is until last summer when I was shocked to find water streaming down my basement walls. I couldn’t comprehend it. The building inspector said the basement had never flooded. How could this be happening? It was only then that I learned that gutters are more than roof decorations. So I paid my handyman to clean them out and moved on with life.

This year I no longer have the services of my handyman (let’s call him Mr. Eunuch Noballs) due to reasons far too dumb to go into here. When the first real thunderstorms of the spring hit, choking the gutters with debris, it was up to me to clean them out. As always I began with the simple question “How hard can it be?”

It was a crisp 35 degrees out, so I bundled in layers and went for the yard ninja look.

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I dragged out the painters ladder, tried to steady it on the uneven ground and climbed up. I went as high as I felt comfortable, which unfortunately was a good foot shy of the roof. At 5’6″ I am vertically challenged and had to stretch my arms up to feel inside the gutters blindly. This wasn’t very effective.

Steeling myself for an inevitable trip to the emergency room, I went up one more step on the ladder. To my dismay I saw the gutters were jam packed the entire length of the house. It became clear there would only be one way to deal with it. I had to climb on to the roof.

There was at least one inch of roof edge to hold on to as I gingerly climbed to the top of the ladder. I crawled on to the roof belly first and then laid there for a moment to confirm I hadn’t fallen in a crumpled heap. I stood up and noted that on the roof there was a great view of the neighborhood and also nothing to block the strong gusts of wind trying to knock me to my death.

I went right to the task at hand – cleaning out the gutters. As in the gutters which hang off the edge of the roof where all the gravity is kept. I bravely crawled down to the gutters. On my belly. This untucked my 18 layers of shirts resulting in what is technically referred to as “plumber’s crack”. It wouldn’t be yardwork though if I wasn’t somehow indecently exposed to the elements.

The gutters weren’t overly bad until I got to the backside of the house. In the back yard lives The Magnificent Tree:

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The Magnificent Tree poops it’s leaves and branches magnificently all over the roof. After an hour of crawling on my belly scooping it’s doody out, I fantasized about chopping it down and having a Magnificent Fire. The Magnificent Tree must have sensed this and it attacked me.

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I wrestled it and punched it in the branch. Ultimately we called it a draw. Mark my words Magnificent Tree, this is far from over.

The leaves were still soaked from yesterday’s rain and soon I was a muddy mess. It occurred to me there were probably tools to deal with this chore. That’s what competent homeowners do right? I’ll just grab the gutter cleaner tool thingy and it will be done in a snap! But I would never own such a device and it was too late now. I resigned myself to my homeowner ignorance and continued to plod along.

By the end of the gutter I was cold, hungry and had to pee. Still I was impressed by how much had been accomplished.

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I chucked all the piles off the side of the roof. All that was left now was get down. Somehow. I went back to where the ladder was. I dangled one leg off the side but couldn’t reach it. I dangled my left leg and my right ankle off the side. This only succeeded in making me look extra retarded. I determined this plan was the fast track to a broken skull, so I re-evaluated.

There is a small storage shed off the side of the house that is about a foot lower than the rest of the roof. I climbed on to it, inched my legs off the edge and gradually slid all the way down landing safely on the ground. Woo what a rush!

I took the ladder back into the garage and lifted it onto the storage shelf. There I found myself face to face with this:

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Son of a bitch!! If only I had known I owned this I could have used it to beat on The Magnificent Tree!

Just because

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

For the second time I have had one of my best friends send me an email expressing their appreciation. It makes me feel like the richest man on earth. It also makes me realize I don’t tell the people in my life that I love them nearly enough.

From Mark:

Steve,
After all the drama and work with this movie that have gone on over the past years, I’ve really come realize how much I value your friendship. You are the only friend I have that I can honestly say has never asked me for money, never talked about money unless I bring it up, you never ask me for anything. You’ve always just been there. We talk, you listened, you understand. We’ve had our differences, but our friendship has remained. Not many people can say they’ve had a friend since kindergarten, and still consider them a best friend.

So I guess what I’m saying is, thanks for being a true friend, who loves me for me, and being there whenever I’ve asked or needed. Thank you for being who you are.

I just thought I should share with you how much you are appreciated for being you. In the end, it’s not what you have, or what job you have, but it’s who you are. You are truly special and deserve the best. Thanks for always being there and being such a great friend. I truly treasure our friendship. Thanks for being my friend.

Your friend and love always,
Mark

April Fools

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

I am the most gullible person I know. Almost.

When it comes to April Fools, my mom is money in the bank. It’s not just shooting fish in a barrel. It’s shooting fish wearing fin cuffs and straight jackets, blindfolded and duct taped to the barrel.

Email to Mom:
Just when we made it in the clear with Biscuit, we have new cat drama.

Pumpkin is pregnant!!

Fortunately the pink bathroom is already set up to be a nursery. We will definitely be taking donations though for kitten formula and litter!

***

Mom’s Reply:
Pregnant? I thought all your cats were fixed? She doesn’t go outside, how can she be pregnant?

***

This one was way too easy. I once almost convinced her I had been abducted by aliens, so Pumpkin’s immaculate conception wasn’t much of a stretch.

To Mom’s credit though, she proved she can play the game. After she learned she had been fooled yet again, she decided to reuse the joke on Dad. That night she told him straight faced that Pumpkin was having babies. Dad responded with a rant, how can he take on more cats, enough is enough, etc.

Yes these are the genes I am forced to deal with every day.