More Thoughts On California

Here’s a few more details on our trip to the left coast.

On Wednesday, after deciding that I really didn’t need to see Once Upon A Time In Hollywood for a second time in two days – despite it’s obvious awesomeness –  I decided to head back to Erik’s Deli for lunch before driving the 10ish minutes down the highway to Santa Cruz.  Never been to Santa Cruz so I thought I’d take a look around.  As I mentioned in my previous post,  I didn’t have a lot to do while Mom was at her conference.

So here’s the thing about Erik’s Deli.  They evidently only serve one sandwich.  Oh, they have an entire menu of sandwiches.  Cold ones, warm ones.  Veggie sandwiches and various wraps.  But regardless of what you order, you get one sandwich.  Here’s the deal, Tuesday I ordered a sandwich called the Farmer’s Market.  It’s a veggie extravaganza.  It’s ingredients include 9-grain bread piled high with avocado, sunflower seeds, sliced pickles, mushrooms, grated carrots, red bell pepper, onions, tomato, clover sprouts, lettuce and Erik’s sweet hot mustard.  What I actually ate was a sandwich on 9-grain bread with avocado, turkey breast, Swiss cheese, red bell pepper, onions, tomato, clover sprouts and Erik’s sweet hot mustard.

But it was so good I didn’t complain.  Plus I don’t know the rules about complaining in California and I was afraid there was some state law about offending the sandwich artist’s sensibilities which would get me sent to Progressive Re-Education Camp.

Since I’m a staunch supporter of consistency, I went back on Wednesday.  This time I ordered a sandwich called the Sweet Liberty.  It consists of turkey breast, Swiss cheese, red bell pepper, onions, tomato, clover sprouts and Erik’s sweet hot mustard on hearty 9-grain bread.  Eerily similar to what I ate on Tuesday except it didn’t included the added Tuesday bonus of avocados.

What I ate was exactly the same sandwich I ate Tuesday.

So next time you’re in Scott’s Valley, remember, it doesn’t matter what you order at Erik’s, you’re getting turkey and avocados on everything.

With my new addiction to avocados taking hold, I drove down to Santa Cruz and sorta tooled around downtown a bit before stopping at a Patagonia Outlet and then at the local library to write a blog post and read my book about how Gen X needs to save America from millennials.  Because, well, we do.

Anyway, here’s what I noticed – downtown Santa Cruz is kinda crappy.  They clearly are in the midst of revitalizing parts of it but I’m not sure that’s gonna matter.  Why?  Homeless.  I don’t know how or why Californians put up with this.  As I was in the library at least three dudes wandered around loudly talking jibberish or some kind previously unheard language.  One dude, who wasn’t talking at all, but looked like an out of work extra from a surfer movie, sat down at the table next to me.  Put both hands flat on the table in front of him and sat there nearly motionless for the 30-40 minutes.  Wasn’t weird at all.

When I left to go pick up Mom back in Scott’s Valley – which, by the way, didn’t have any homeless people that I noticed – I had to walk out the front door and into a loosely congregated group of about 20-30 homeless people.  I was happy my car was parked in a lot off to the side so I was able to take a quick left turn and avoid the panhandling.  Don’t really have any thoughts on this other than most of these people don’t appear to be playing with a full deck.  Either they have some mental health issues and/or they’re really into amateur self-administered chemistry.

Geez, California, get your sh*t together.

I grabbed Mom and we headed over to Capitola, which after experiencing downtown Santa Cruz, is evidently the nice half of the town.  We ate dinner and walked around a little before heading to Monterey down Highway 1 to check into our hotel.

The hotel Mom booked?  Well, if you wanted to travel back in time to 1981 it was perfect.  Had it’s own wood burning fireplace, stocked with firewood and newspaper folded into a decorative fan shape and to top it off, we had a complimentary hot air popcorn popper.  Also they leave the door not only unlocked for you when you arrive, they leave it wide freaking open.  Which is pretty awesome for a unit located on the ground floor.  Plus, as a bonus, the windows didn’t lock.  So we unloaded the car and spent the next hour and a-half looking for another hotel.  We reloaded the car and politely checked out.  Ended up with a room a the Holiday Inn Express for nearly the same price and helluva lot closer to all the stuff we wanted to see.  In fact, it was within walking distance of the whale watching cruise we were schedule to do Thursday morning.

After leaving the Burglary Motel, we thought whale watching was going to be pretty fun.

montereywhalesWe showed up on time and the crew gave us the mandatory pre-cruise talk before departing for the 4 hour trip.  The boat’s crew included a couple naturalists and a marine biologist.  Pretty handy in case we see some marine wildlife.  Their talk included some key points of information.  First, most people will get a least a little seasick.  Second, some of those people will throw up.  Third, if you haven’t taken any seasickness medicine, take some.  Fourth, people are going to launch off the back of the boat.  And finally, when you are blowing chow don’t do it from the upper deck or the side of the boat.  Nobody wants to wear whatever you happened to eat for breakfast.  So do it from the back of the boat.

Turns out if you go to school to be a naturalist or a marine biologist and you work on a whale watching boat, part of your daily duties is to clean up barf.  Money well spent on that degree I guess.

So when you go whale watching off the coast of California, you’re on the open ocean.  The ocean is big.  The swells were big enough that when the boat was the bottom of the swell, the water at the top of swell was physically higher than us.  That was, um, disconcerting.  Especially the time the whale was at the top of the swell.  I took a pretty firm position near the back of the boat put my full faith in the anti-seasickness medicine.  I asked one of the naturalists how people normally shoot for distance off the back of the boat.  She said at least 2-3 every trip.  We evidently got lucky because I counted at least 7.

We drove down to Carmel to top off the trip before flying home on Friday.  Carmel is beautiful.  I’m not exaggerating.  It is literally beautiful.  Also expensive.  1,500 square foot houses going for $1.5 million too.  But you get these views.

So after much thought, I’ve decided to just look at these pics instead of dropping the $1.5 mil.  But that’s just me…

I Decided to Tag Along…

I haven’t been to California since 1988.  In fact, I’ve only been in the state a couple times.  Stayed a few days in San Francisco back in April of ’86 and then stayed a few days in Los Angeles for a few days in the summer of ’88.  Not only was that a really long time ago (California actually had a Republican governor during those years) but all I really saw were various portions of each city.  And if I remember correctly…they looked like, well, cities.

But, as luck would have it, Mom has a conference in the little town of Scott’s Valley this week.  We flew into San Jose and stayed downtown for a day.  Then drove down to the conference.  The town has about 12,000 people and sits just north of Santa Cruz.  So far what I’ve been able to tell is that it seems like a lot of towns about that size.  Except there seems to be a lot more people with gray hair who have pony tails.  But the town has a couple grocery stores, a small movie theater and some nice local restaurants.  Got a good sandwich at Erik’s Deli and went to see Once Upon A Time In Hollywood yesterday.  That’s a great movie by the way.  If you didn’t know, there is no CGI in the movie.  None.  Which is just incredible.  And awesome.  Also, in case you didn’t know, Brad Pitt’s character – Cliff Booth – is the coolest man on the planet.  If you care to disagree, well, I’m not sure we can be friends.  I’m serious.  If you hadn’t heard, the morally superior lefty finger waggers hate him.  It’s one of the reasons Cliff Booth is so cool.  Not kidding.  Caitlin Flanagan wrote in The Atlantic last month that Cliff shouldn’t be portrayed as a hero.  Why?  Because he’s a dude.  He’s cool, he’s tough, he drinks beer, he’s doesn’t really give a crap about much, he has a cool dog, he lives in a trailer and is pretty much a badass.  Or as Flanagan writes, “We can’t have a movie like this.  It affirms things the culture wants killed.”  Hmm.  Guess not lady.

I liked it so much I almost went back to see it again today.  But yesterday was Terrific Tuesday at the Cinelux in Scott’s Valley.  So I got a $5 ticket and free popcorn.  And once you experience Terrific Tuesday live and in person, it’s tough to go back to old ways…

roadtoscottsvalleyAnyway, tonight we drive down to Monterey and stay there for a day or so.  Which should be fun.  But here’s the thing I’ve noticed more than anything about California.  California, at least what I’ve seen of it, is beautiful.  I mean it is really, really pretty.  Weather is great too.  But man, there’s a freaking warning label on everything.  Our rental car has a warning label.  It’s says “Look out dumbass, your car might be a Transformer!”  No, kidding, it doesn’t say that.  It would be cool if it did though.  The label warns us that motor vehicles contain chemicals that cause cancer and birth defects.  These chemicals are contained in the fuel, oil, brakes, batteries, paint and the engine exhaust and fumes.  Yet, despite the warning that Californians all voted through Prop 65 to have stuck on all rental cars.  People are still renting cars. Buying them too.  But I guess that might be because there is not a warning label.  Way to go California.  Nothing like do as I say, not as I do.  But you did give us Kamala Harris so I guess that’s not something we should be surprised about.

Die Hard

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Here comes another formulaic take on why Die Hard is, or is not, a Christmas movie.  Plus Christmas was a month ago.  And, the truth is, I don’t care about your opinion on this matter.  Not sure I even care about my opinion on this matter.  But I watch Die Hard at Christmas.  I also watch Die Hard 2 at Christmas.  Also Lethal Weapon.  Because if Die Hard creates an entire conversation around it’s yuletide bonafides then why doesn’t Lethal Weapon?  Totally serious.  I also watch all the Die Hards and the original Lethal Weapon in seasons other than the Christmas season.  Because they’re awesome.  And, I assume anyway, that it is only a matter of time before Maize Hirono and Kirsten Gillibrand, ban them.  But that’s not what I want to write about though.  I want to write about Ellis.  Because Ellis is what we used to refer as a douche.  And we all agreed.  Liberals, conservatives, men, women, old and young.  This was before the progressive left somehow decided it was a sane idea to teach people that being a male was a crime.

Anyway, Ellis, besides being the stereotypical 80’s plot device character, is somebody in every workplace in America.  Ellis, for you non-Die Hard fans or communists as the civilized world refers to you, is the sleeze John McClane meets upon entering his wife’s office with Mr. Takagi.  Ellis is busy using his nose to vacuum up what we all assume to be cocaine.  Then he lies about it in front of not only John but also his boss.  Eventually Holly walks in and Ellis badgers her into showing John the rolex the company gave her.  A gift Holly is obvious a bit self-conscious about.  Ellis eventually is such an annoying douche that even the terrorists tire of him right before they rid the world of his presence.

His character is a snapshot of an 80’s douchebag.  Womanizer, braggart, cocaine sniffer, stupid hair, expensive watch and equally expensive suit.  All wrapped up in telling everybody how important he is.  We all know an Ellis.  Maybe the one in your office doesn’t do cocaine at the office Christmas party but that’s probably because office Christmas parties don’t really exist anymore.  Although that’s another hilariously awesome Christmas movie.  The truth is we all know an Ellis.  Even Santa knows an Ellis.  Donner is the Ellis of Christmastown.  Which got me thinking…

Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu are the Ellis’ of Congress.  Jimmy Haslam is the Ellis of the NFL owners.  Jim Acosta is the Ellis of White House reporters.  The Riddler is the Ellis of the Legion of Doom.  Seth is the Ellis of Pretty in Pink.  Millennials are Ellis’ of generations.  Richard Marx’ 80’s hair is the Ellis of power mullets.  CC DeVille is the Ellis of Poison.

Published in: on January 25, 2019 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Most Depressing Time of Year

Well, it’s the most depressing time of the year.  It’s February.  The worst month of the year.  If you were ranking the months from top to bottom, February is easily 12th.  January is probably 11th and I’m really sure what month would be 10th.  But it really doesn’t matter because February sucks so much.  The only thing worse than February are probably Tuesdays in February.  Because, as we all know, Tuesday is probably the crappiest day of the week.  It serves no purpose other than being the ass end of Monday.  Anyway, the real reason this is the most depressing time of year is that football is gone until August.  Yes, we get the combine and the draft – both of which are awesome – but football is still done.  Although for most of us that happened when our teams either missed the playoffs or were knocked out.  Or in the Steelers’ case, simply forgot to show up for a quarter and a-half in home playoff game against freaking Jacksonville.  Hopefully Roger Goodell will, for the greater good, step down as NFL Commissioner in the meantime.  Since that seems as likely as Lord Vader allowing minor construction delays to go unpunished, maybe he will simply see fit to allow a catch to be a catch.  Jesse James scored by the way.  That was a touchdown.

Regardless, you see a lot of lists this time of year about the top 10 NFL playoff games or the or the top 10 Super Bowls or the Top 10 reasons hair metal was and is better than grunge.  But since I’m an NFL dork I went back and looked for something else.  The best playoff games that didn’t happen because somebody lost a round early.  Granted, I didn’t nerd out on it too much so you may find my research a bit rudimentary.  I mean if you care about looking up NFL playoff games that didn’t actually occur.  But if you’ve read this far I’m guessing you have more than a passing interest in the great “what ifs” of NFL playoff history.  Or you’re bored.  Either way, here’s what I came up with…in no particular order.

1975 Rams at Vikings in the NFC Championship.  Didn’t happen because Drew Pearson pushed off on Nate Wright and caught the Hail Mary at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.  But back in the 70’s contact down the field was just football so no flag.  The real question is what the hell was Paul Krause doing on the play instead of flying over to knock Pearson into the first row.  Nobody remembers that on that game winning drive, the Cowboys converted a 4th and 17 just prior to the Hail Mary…although it is still questionable that Drew Pearson actually got both feet down to complete that catch. drewpearsonhailmary

That ’75 Vikings team was not only going for it’s third consecutive NFC Championship, it was probably the best Vikings team of the 70’s.  But the wildcard Cowboys beat them.  Yeah, the Don Coryell Cardinals won the NFC East that year, not Dallas.  Yet somehow Dallas played their way into the Super Bowl by beating the Rams the next week.  The Rams tied for the best record in the NFC in ’73, ’74 and ’75.  Their overall record for those three years was 34-8.  Their ’75 team had the best defense in the league.  The Vikings had the 3rd best defense, the 3rd best offense and had the NFL MVP in Fran Tarkenton.  The Hail Mary is legendary but it prevented a great, great matchup between LA and the Vikes.

Bradshawchargers1979 Steelers at Chargers in the AFC Championship.  San Diego beat the Steelers 35-7 in week 12.  And had they not inexplicably lost to the Oilers, who were without Earl Campbell and Dan Pastorini, they’d have played the Steelers again in the AFC Championship.  Chargers fans love to talk about this game that never happened as if it’s a foregone conclusion they would have ended the Super Steelers dynasty a year early and went on to their first Super Bowl Championship with a win over the overmatched Rams.  This is of course crap.  The 35-7 victory was not nearly as lopsided as it appeared.  The Steelers had 8 turnovers.  Total yardage between the two teams was 218-193 in favor of the Chargers.  There was actually pretty good defense in this game but the Steelers offense gave the Chargers several short fields due to the turnovers.  And instead of making the game 21-14 midway through the 3rd quarter, Bradshaw throws a 77 yard pick six.  And it’ s 28-7.  Really wish this championship game would have happened as we’d no longer have the Mike Renfro touchdown catch controversy and Chargers fans would have been silenced after the Steelers smoked them in the AFC Championship.

Ericwilliams841984 Broncos at Dolphins AFC Championship.  This is the game we not only did not get in 1984 but…ever.  Elway and Marino never met in the playoffs.  Which is, of course, some sort of cosmic crime against humanity.  I mean this was the match up of the mid-80’s.  Imagine Star Wars without Luke running that trench and ignoring his targeting computer.  Or Huey Lewis without the News.  Or Alex P. Keaton without his middle initial.  That’s what the ’84 Championship was like without Elway.  But thanks to Eric Williams’ interception of #7 late in the 4th quarter of the divisional playoff game between Denver and Pittsburgh, we never got to see Elway and Marino battle it out in the playoffs.  Denver went 13-3 in ’84.  Marino threw 48 TDs and for over 5,000 yards.  We were cheated out of this matchup.  The only thing more 80’s than these guys fighting it out in the AFC Championship game are reruns of TJ Hooker.  Seriously, they were never this close again for the rest of their careers to playing for a Super Bowl birth.  Even though it benefited the Steelers, it ruined a great matchup.

New-England1985Marino1985 Dolphins/Bears Super Bowl.  Long before the Patriots were stealing signals and video taping their opponent’s walk throughs, they were blowing up the 1985 season.  The Bears obviously dominated the fall of ’85 but the Raiders and the Dolphins were both extremely good teams that year too.  The Dolphins famously knocked off the Bears on Monday Night Football ending their run at an undefeated season.  And because the Patriots not only knocked out the Raiders but then went to Miami and knocked out the Dolphins, America’s dream of seeing the Bears-Dolphins rematch was ended.  As an aside, even though I’m a huge Dan Marino fan, he really didn’t take advantage of the years when he was surrounded by a really good team – ’83, ’85, ’90, maybe ’92 when he played in his last AFC Championship.  But outside of the Dolphins inability to build around Dan, his loss in the mud to New England sorta crapped on the end of the ’85 season.

thanksmckyer1994 Steelers/49ers Super Bowl.  Team of the 70’s vs. Team of the 80’s playing in the 90’s for total and complete global domination and hegemony.  Way to go Tim McKyer.  You couldn’t cover me and you gave up a TD pass on 3rd and 14 to cheat us out of this epic matchup.  Blame can also be spread to Steelers offensive coordinator Ron Earhardt for running the freaking ball on 1st and Goal and losing two yards after O’Donnell went 7 on 7 on the drive to Chargers 9 yard line after Tim McKyer’s gaffe.  Whatever.  This was also the first example of Cowher’s penchant for pulling the full Schottenheimer in the AFC Championship.

There are a couple more that I would have liked to have seen but just didn’t think they rose to the same level of frustration as the five I listed above.  For example, the ’83 AFC Championship would have been a helluva game if it was the Raiders and the Dolphins.  But the Killer B’s couldn’t stop Dave Kreig – Dave Freaking Kreig – from going 80 yards in about 45 seconds.  Maybe the ’93 AFC Championship would have been better if the Oilers had managed to get past the Joe Montana led Chiefs that year to set up a rematch of their epic ’92 meltdown against the Bills in Buffalo.

Anyway, is it August yet…

 

Published in: on February 6, 2018 at 6:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We’re Not Good At This

Mom and I have been married for 20 years.  That’s a pretty long time.  Over the course of these 20 years we’ve also learned we’re good at certain things and we’re not so good at some other things.

Here’s an example:  Mom is really good at getting stuff done.  To completion.  She’s also really good at the self congratulations about whatever she completed.  She’ll finish a book, weed the yard or paint a room and she’s pretty damn sure that not only did she do a really good job, she’s pretty sure that you’re sure she did the best damn job.  And she’s going to point it out to you.  When it comes to me, I’m really good at assessing risk.  At identifying the potholes or obstacles and how to avoid them.  Or as Rye would put it, pointing out everything that might go wrong or exaggerating the aforementioned obstacles that may present themselves thereby preventing us from having any fun.  And that’s fair.  Anyway, together we’re really good at kicking ass.  Kidding.  Together we’re really good at making fun of the shows the girls like to watch…like the Kardashians and the Bachelorette.

Here’s what we’re not good at.  If you watch a movie and think said movie is hilarious, you may think to yourself, “Hey you know who would enjoy this unrestrained hilariousness?”  If the answer to that question is Mom and I, you might decide to bring over the DVD or blue-ray because you know we’re too cheap to have Netflix.  You might also decide to leave that DVD or blue-ray in an obvious spot like the kitchen table or the middle of the most active spot on the kitchen counter.  Why?  Because you want us to watch the movie.  Because its funny and rehashing funny movies with your friends is not only funny but it is a wonderful reason to sit around a drink beers.

But we suck at that.  Not the drinking beers, we’re good at that.  Especially when we have no responsibilities the next morning.  But we suck at the whole actually viewing the movie.  Some good friends of ours gave us Ted to watch about 3 or 4 years ago.  We’ve never watched it.  Mom’s sister and her husband gave us The Change Up to watch 3 or 4 years ago.  We’ve never watched it.

I’m really not sure why.  I mean once we get into January and February we have quite a few unobligated Saturdays.  So we have time.  Maybe it’s the whole 2 hour commitment.  As we all know, Mom doesn’t just to do just one thing.  If she’s watching a movie at home, she also wants to be accomplishing something else.  Like reading a book or making her meals for the week or nagging the girls about their homework.  Plus, if she were being honest with herself, she’d really rather just watch HGTV.  All day.  Every.  Single.  Day.

But last Saturday, as luck would have it, TBS was showing The Change Up.  And we watched it.  It was hilarious.  Like watch it 6 or 7 more times hilarious.  Probably shoulda just watched it when the DVD was left in our kitchen.  Next step is to watch the unedited version.  Favorite line courtesy of Ryan Reynolds when he perfectly summarizes helicopter parenting:

“These are called children, or dependents.  Never disparage your own child. Everything they do is miracle from God.   When they’re bad it’s only because they’re tired or going through a phase.  When other kids are bad, it’s because of indulgent parenting or innate defects in the child’s character.”

Then, this weekend, we watched Ted.  Again, hilarious.  And again, probably just shoulda just watched when the DVD was left in our kitchen.  Granted we’ve seen so many clips from it that a lot of the really funny stuff we’d seen before.  But it really didn’t matter.  Not sure how Mark Wahlberg sings the Thunder Buddy song without laughing.  Plus Ted’s derisive observations of the sound of 90’s music along with the fact you can sing any song from the 90’s with just vowels is not only hilarious but a statement of fact.  Because if we’re being honest, 90’s music sucked.  Really, really sucked.  Blues Traveler?  Awful.  Dave Matthews?  Terrible.  Green Day?  Amongst the crappiest music I’ve ever been forced to listen too.  Pearl Jam…Ok, maybe some of this was good.  Generally speaking the best thing that happened to music in the 90’s was that it gave us the death of grunge.  Not that boy bands were any better…

Anyway, I’m thinking there has to be a list of hilarious movies that we’ve missed…or ignored.

 

So What’s Up With This

Am I the only one who wonders why it is that during any week of the year you can easily find some channel showing The Day After Tomorrow?  I mean I went the entire Christmas season and did not stumble across Home Alone a single time.  It wasn’t on.  But I found The Day After Tomorrow several times.  Seriously.  If you chose to do so, you could watch the movie once a week all year.  It’s always on somewhere.  It’s like reruns of Friends.  Except not awesome but really, really awful.  Terrible.  Unless, I suppose, you are an Al Gore groupie or a strident fundamentalist regarding climate change or just a  lefty movie junkie.  All of which are fine.  For you anyway.  That’s just not me.

I do however wonder why The Day After Tomorrow is incessantly available to view while 13 Hours in Benghazi and Patriot’s Day are never on.  At least that I can’t recall.  But I’m 47 and like Kid Rock says, you can’t fight this getting older.  So unless you’re talking about NFL history from the 70’s and 80’s, I forget stuff sometimes.  But I don’t think I am on this.  Regardless, you might be grumbling right now that I’m complaining about commercially produced liberal crap made in the sexual harassment capital of the world (Hollywood) and distributed to unsuspecting Americans while pining for commercially produced conservative crap made in the sexual harassment capital of the world (Hollywood) and distributed to unsuspecting Americans.

And you’d be right.  But it doesn’t answer my question.  Why have I never stumbled across 13 Hours or Patriot’s Day some random Thursday night but avoiding The Day After Tomorrow is like trying to avoid watching Thriller on MTV in December of ’83.

I think its a legit question.  Because Mom loves The Day After Tomorrow the way old people like the early bird dinner at Dennys.  She turns it on like background music.  And listen, I generally like Dennis Quaid.  He was awesome in Frequency, Caveman and In Good Company – where he delivered the best Dad/Husband  advice ever doled out to aspiring Dads/Husbands:

“You just pick the right one to be in the foxhole with, and then when you’re outside of the foxhole you keep your dick in your pants.”

But none of that helps me in my investigation as to why the generally available channels seem to have blackballed 13 Hours or Patriot’s Day.  It may be due to some weird licensing/distribution agreement that some rich guy signed with another rich guy and therefore I can’t watch good movies but instead I’m provided with numerous opportunities to join the militant disciples of climate change disaster movies.

Whatever…maybe I’ll just watch my Red Dawn DVD…

Published in: on January 12, 2018 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hello Christmas My Old Friend

I like Santa.  He’s a jolly old fat man with a snowy white beard.  He’s about giving, hope and faith.  He represents the best in all of us and asks nothing in return.  He shows up regardless of the weather, regardless of how you voted in November and regardless of whether you believe in him or not.

Christmas is the season, to paraphrase Frank Cross, when we’re all a little nicer.

Theoretically anyway.

Mom was in Omaha and Lincoln for most of last week. And her side of the family came to the house over the weekend to celebrate an early Christmas.  Plus Rogue One came out Friday.  Yeah, so Friday morning was pretty much shot when it came to cleaning up the house and making food along with all the other related holiday preparedness chores necessary to accomplish when family is about to arrive.

So that means it fell upon me to get the place ready.  I unilaterally modified that task to mostly ready.  Why?  Because I’m a simple dude.  And a lot of stuff that some people think are necessary, I don’t.  But listen, we kicked Christmas’ ass decorating this place.  It looks freaking awesome.  Our family room looks like HG-freaking-TV was here.  Chip and Joanna, when they’re not fighting off the leftwing twitter lynch mob, would be proud.  The house smells like a yuletide log filled with mistletoe and sugarplums, delivered to the house by a one-horse open sleigh driven by eleven lords-a-leaping, exploded leaving an exquisite ensemble of poinsettias, silver bells and a sea of swirly twirly gum drops.   It’s like Santa himself detailed the Seal Team 6 of elves to come get the place ready for the holidays.  So I figured as long as the house is clean, the beer is cold and there is enough food to prevent starvation, we’d be set.

Yes, there were a few things left to clean up after we got home from watching Rogue One.  But it was Rogue One.  What the hell were we supposed to do?  Wait until next weekend to see it?  Here’s a pic of me getting ready to watch.

theaterrogueone

First one in the theater baby!

Regardless, I was on top of making sure the house was ready.  Thursday night, whilst cleaning up the basement, I thought I’d get all the laundry done too.  Seemed reasonable.  However, there are three teenage girls in the house.  Things which are of deathly importance to them do not always rise to that same level with me.

So, I’m doing the laundry and various clean up related tasks.  I’m about done and getting ready to call the evening’s prep work a win and just go to bed when Rye comes into the bedroom.

“Dad, when you were doing laundry did you go into my room and take anything?”

“Are you asking did I pick up any of the clothes that were strewn about your floor?  No, I didn’t.  I asked if you had any laundry you wanted done and you specifically said no.  I chose to believe you.”

“Ok, well it was Kinsey then.”

“Wait, what was Kinsey?”

“Well, my Lulu Lemon tights got washed in the washer and they are only supposed to be hand washed.”

Quick point of context – Lulu Lemon is the brand that sells tights/leggings that are about $700.  I’m kidding but Rye did save up a bunch of money this summer specifically to buy leggings that were about $100.  Yes, $100 American dollars.  They are so precious but also evidently constructed so poorly that they can’t cannot survive a routine cycle in a washing machine and instead can only endure 19th century clothes washing technology.

“Sorry about that kiddo but I just put whatever whatever was in the darks pile into the washing machine.  I didn’t look to see what was in the pile because I figure if you guys made the rare decision to put your own dirty laundry in the laundry room I was just going to go ahead assume you were serious about that stuff getting washed.  I just unloaded the washer and hung up 3 or 4 pairs of black tights or leggings or whatever.  Nothing like that got put in the dryer.”

“Okay, well, Kinsey must have put them in the laundry on purpose.  I hate her.”

Then she went into Kinsey’s room, blamed her, and then went back into her room and started crying.

So much for there being a feeling of Christmas in the air.  But that is how the mind of 17 year-old upset about her ridiculously expensive black leggings being washed glitches when upset.  She doesn’t think that she may have inadvertently put them in the wrong pile, or absent mindedly picked them up with something else off her floor, instead she tried to pin the blame on me.  When it was obvious that wouldn’t work, she seamlessly transitioned to blaming her sister, for no other reason than malice, for trying to purposely ruin them.

I mean what was Kinsey’s motive?  What did she have to gain by going into Rye’s room, searching for the Lulu Lemon leggings and then sneakily placing them in the pile of dirty laundry in the laundry room.  Where’s the payoff?

After getting blamed, Kinsey comes into my room looking like the media on election night.  She confusedly asks me if I knew what Rye was talking about.  We went through a quick recap and Kinz says, “Why would I do that? That literally makes no sense.”  Aside from acknowledging her use of “literally” in a relatively appropriate way, I just told her to ignore Rye and go to bed.

Which, if I’m being honest, is my go to strategy when dealing with the three teenage girls in my house…

He’s Nothing Without His Choppers

Remember that story I told you about my two front teeth getting knocked out by a line drive off my daughter’s bat about 16 months ago?  Not really?  Okay, quick refresher – took a line drive directly to my face, just below my nose and just above my front teeth.  I assume what I felt was similar to what Hollywood felt when they called Pennsylvania for Trump.

No bone fractures, no cracked teeth, just quite a bit of blood.  And swelling.  Pretty gross.  Also my face is evidently made out of high grade steel.  Not that I’m bragging or daring you to test that conclusion but its pretty amazing that my teeth were fully intact along with the rest of my face.  Anyway, went to the ER and then to the dentist.  After their unexpected exit from my mouth the fugitive teeth were transported to the ER in my pocket and then to the dentist in a cup of milk.  For teeth, milk is apparently like a defibrillator.  After about an hour of being as toothless as Hillary’s appeal in the upper Midwest, the dentist replanted the teeth using sheer brute force.  Afterwards it was clearly explained to me that they had no idea if the replanting would work.  Replanting normally only works in teenagers.  Dudes in their mid-40’s eventually come back in to get permanent replacement teeth because we do not have the bloodflow necessary in our gums for a complete healing process to succeed.

Yeah, so here’s the update.  I had a dentist appointment last week and it was time for x-rays.  By the way, does it cause anyone even the slightest bit of concern that your protection against multiple invisible radioactive x-rays is a flimsy apron infused with lead or a lead equivalent?  Or that the lead apron covers you from mid-thigh to your neck…but they are aiming the radiation at your mouth which is unprotected and, if I remember human anatomy correctly, is really damn close to your brain.

Anyway, I had a new hygienist working on my teeth.  She didn’t know the whole backstory.  I suggested she read my dental history before working on my teeth.  I think she took the comment as skepticism of her ability to her job.  Which, in retrospect, is silly.  If you’re going to pick a fight with someone, it sure as hell isn’t going to be a person armed with sharp pokey things and the legal protection to cause significant dental related pain.  But she still looked at me the same way I looked when the Steelers were eliminated from playoff contention in 1980.  Then she went back to the chart and after about 30 seconds, she turns toward me and says, “So, those are your real teeth back in there, huh?”

Is Samantha Bee a hypocritical condescending douchelord?

After she’s done cleaning my teeth, she grabs the x-rays and calls for the dentist to take a look.  They’re laughing as they come back to my chair.  Dentist says, “I was just going over our, um, history.”  Turns out getting your teeth knocked out by a softball moving faster than the Milennium Falcon making the Kessel Run then salvaging them quickly enough that they can be shoved back into your sockets isn’t something most hygenists are taught to deal with in school.

Dentist holds up the x-ray of my front teeth and describes that inexplicably the gum tissue surrounding my teeth is not only healthy but it appears as if nothing ever happened.  Additionally, the ligaments appear to have reattached.  But mostly importantly it looks as if the roots of the teeth and the bone are fusing.  This is a condition called ankylosis .

So sort of a double edged sword here according to my dentist.  Chances are, as long as things remain healthy, these teeth aren’t coming out again.  They are pretty damn secure.  Which, again, she can’t believe because dudes in the mid-40’s don’t have their teeth replanted, they have them replaced.  But the downside is that if they ever need to come out for some reason, it’s kind of a big deal.  The dentist’s conclusion?

“You’re are an amazing healer.  Your gums are as healthy as can be, the teeth look completely normal and they are really, really secure in there.”

My response?

wolverine“I might be off base here but what I’m hearing you say is that I’m Wolverine.  I have extraordinary healing powers but instead of retractable adamantium claws, I have beaver teeth.”

Dentist didn’t totally agree, but also didn’t completely reject it.  So I’m counting that as win.

Experience, Genetics and Relocation

As far as I can tell, we’re all a product of our experiences with a good dose of genetics mixed in there.  That combination creates the parameters of your particular personality.  What you like, what you’ll put up with and how you view the world.  For example, the entirety of my teen years was spent in the 80’s.  This means I like hair metal, John Hughes movies and judge all presidents against Ronald Reagan.  Although I do have a soft spot for some top 40 nuggets  like Heart & Soul by T’Pau, And We Danced by The Hooters and Dangerous from Roxette.  That being said, another thing I did a fair number of times growing up was move.  By the time I started my junior year of high school I’d moved four times, went to four different schools and went through all the stuff you do when you’re the new kid.  Before you start wondering, I think moving sucks.  Like the ’76 Buccaneers, Howard the Duck and the Big 10’s decision to add Rutgers and Maryland sucks.  I realize some people like it.  Not the Howard the Duck, that’s insane, but moving.  Some people, I’ve heard, even prefer it.  Those people are the ones who have an actual hometown.  Grew up in one place.  I’m not one of those people.  In fact, I’ve always kinda envied them.  Why?  I enjoy stability.  If I listed all the synonyms for stability, they would all sound appealing to me. Steadiness.  Permanence.  Longevity.  I like things you can count on.

Which brings us to right now.  We’re still in the house Mom and I purchased  about the time we were married almost 19 years ago.  I like where we live.  I like not moving.  We are, quite literally, close to just about everything.  And you get spoiled by that.  Especially when you can sit in your next door neighbor’s driveway/garage and drink beers and only have to stumble about 20 feet to your front door.  But, alas, things change.  Injuries pushed the Steelers out of the playoffs in 1980, Lee Majors got too old to play The Fall Guy, and we have almost 5 full grown humans living in the house.  This, for those of you keeping track, creates spacing issues within the house.

So we decided to move.  And by “we” I mean Mom and the girls.  I, as is the case in most major decisions in our family which involve me spending large amounts of money, was the last to agree.  Turns out all I was doing was an impression of the German retreat up the Italian peninsula in 1943 .  It was a delaying action with the outcome never in doubt.

Regardless, a few weeks ago, I stupidly agreed to go look at a few houses with Mom, Kinz and Bails.  Turns out one of the houses we looked at appealed to everybody.  The only reason I even agreed to see the place was because I was curious about what it looked like compared to the older places we’d looked at.  And I liked it.  Not enough to actually move, but I really did like it.  Result?  The part of my brain that governs financial decisions went into full lock down.  Seriously.  I could feel it stringing barbed wire, digging foxholes, throwing up sandbags while it built a perimeter around the decision making switch marked “yes/no.”

It was like my brain was hanging out, enjoying a normal Saturday morning, when suddenly it was invited into a house with a bigger garage, an additional bedroom, a big laundry room on the second floor and a drop zone directly inside the door from the garage to house.  Here’s video of the financial sector of my brain as it realizes what’s happening:

Our house doesn’t have a drop zone.  In fact, my only experience with drop zones was episode 2 of Band of Brothers when Easy Company missed theirs by hundreds of miles and were scattered all over northern France in June of ’44.  A drop zone is the area inside a house where everybody can drop their crap as they come in from the garage – shoes, coats, backpacks, frustration and whatever else you lug around during your day.  I’m joking about dropping your frustration there.  You obviously can’t leave that in the drop zone.  You leave that at the bar.  Ideally a drop zone has hooks, a spot for shoes and best of all, the drop zone is not the ENTIRE FIRST FLOOR of your house.  Which is how it works now.  Shoes go right in front of the door and stay there until they form a small mountain range.

We’re walking around this new house and while I’m thinking about property taxes and utility costs, Kinz and Bails are upstairs picking out rooms and taping off the floor to illustrate where their beds and furniture will go.  They even chose Rye’s room for her.

 

My brain’s reaction:

Then Bails starts showing me how simple and efficient her flow of movement will be on school day mornings as she moves effortlessly from the future location of her bed to the bathroom.  No wasted steps since the closet is conveniently located on the way plus the bathroom has two sinks so her and Kinz won’t fight over space.  While this has a certain degree of logic to it, I’m skeptical about that last part.   Replacing Bo and Luke with Vance and Coy also had a degree of logic and that was a complete disaster.

Meanwhile Mom is downstairs with the realtor talking about how nice the finishes in the kitchen are while mentioning now nicely the first floor flows between rooms.  Then she starts asking questions about how long the house has been listed, who the builder is and long does it typically take get your current house ready to sell.

My brain:

So, to quote myself a couple hours later after Mom let me know that she’d already talked to the bank:

Hot Water

I live in a house with 4 other people.  All girls.  They have lots of things.  Sarcasm and hair top the list.   I’ll take some of the blame for sarcasm.  I speak it fluently.   I may have passed on that gene.  Or they might just all be teenagers.  But when it comes to clogged shower drains or blocked bathroom sinks, I’m not at fault.  I could be standing in a category 5 hurricane and my hair would give you no indication.  None.  That being said, we do share one thing.  Hot water.

When I was a kid, I grew up in a house with 4 other people.  In college I shared a house with 4 other dudes.  Hot water was a commodity.  Like sincerity in a speech by Ted Cruz.  The size, age and efficiency of your water heater helped dictate the acuteness of your hot water radar.  Over the years I believe I have developed a relatively strong sense of how much hot water is available based on the hot water related activities going on in the house.  It’s kinda like the noise level on the second floor when Mom and I are watching TV in the family room.  There is a level of noise, an intensity of clamor, a degree of hullabaloo that we don’t notice.  It’s not that we’re ignoring it, but after many years of parenting we have developed an acute sense of when something is amiss and when something is just…well…the girls “talking” to each other.  We’re aware of what’s going on but we pay it no attention.  Like any statement from Hillary suggesting competence in regards to her foreign policy experience.  If you haven’t seen 13 Hours in Benghazi you should.  However, there is a simple rule of thumb that is rarely if ever unreliable.  When it comes to showers and house full of people, you want to be first.

Sometimes this will require you to wake up early.

Other times it will require you to shower at odd times.

Or you can just get in line and hope for the best.

I have no sympathy for you if you continually chose #3 and bitch about cold water.  That’s like getting into a discussion about hair metal with a millennial and expecting wisdom.  Or telling them that the Ghost video from Ella Henderson bears a striking similarity to Warrant’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin?  Just me?  Whatever…

Anyway, recently, Kinz comes barreling down the stairs to let us know that Rye and Bails have used all the hot water.  They are, and I’m paraphrasing here, inconsiderate jerks with no appreciation or respect for widely agreed upon rules of hot water consumption.  Now we all have our burdens to bear.  The ’83 Steelers had Cliff Stoudt at quarterback.  Hans Gruber had John McClane.  Thundarr the Barbarian had the vile sorcerer Sabien.  It can be tough out there.

But this is not one of those burdens.  This is an inconvenience.  A burden is supervising John Bender in detention on a Saturday.  This is a lesson in the art of acting quickly.  A lesson in immediately diagnosing a situation, devising a plan of action, and then acting on that plan.  Joshua Chamberlain did it on Little Round Top and Kinz needs to do it here.

But Kinz has yet to learn an important lesson.  Over the years I have learned not to complain if I get there and the water temperature is less than what I expected.  Because in reality, you only have two options – bitch about it.  Which isn’t going to make the water any hotter but could make the rest of day less enjoyable as your family dismisses your plight the same way Higgins would dismiss Magnum’s need to the drive the Ferrari.  Or you can go fast.  And I have some experience with this.

A few years ago, in the middle of winter, our water heater went out.  Died.  Quit.  Like Roberto Duran in his last fight with Sugar Ray.  Which meant that, while we technically could still take showers, we spent of the time avoiding the water instead of actually using.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, we could have used one of the other appliances in the house to warm up a pot of water and used that to bath.  Well, and I’m thinking of a word here…that’s just stupid.  What the hell are we?  Pio-freaking-neers trekking across the Great Plains avoiding Indian raids whilst searching for the Oregon Trail?   No!  We have plumbing.  So even the water is like Lake Michigan in January, we’re using it.

Now there are a lot of things I like.  That first taste of a cold beer on a Friday after work.  Youtube videos of 70’s NFL games.  Being 10 feet from Dee Snider singing “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.  But after a few days of cold showers, stepping into a hot one is indescribable.  It’s feels like this:

But none of that helped Kinz.  She stood there whining and complaining about the lack of hot water for shower.  Only I couldn’t really hear her.  Why?  Because before I could unleash my own words of disdainful sarcasm, Mom, Rye and Bails just buried her with it.  It really was breathtaking.

We haven’t had too many issues with shower since.  Sometimes things just take care of themselves.