Monday, November 30, 2009

Ow, Quit It. Ow, Quit It.

As I write this I cannot feel the right side of my face. I am the physical embodiment of that Bill Cosby bit. Last year when I was getting my cleaning done I mentioned some pain that I was having in one of my toofs. After knocking on it for a good 10 minutes with a tiny hammer (so not awesome), my dentist announced that I have a cracked tooth and that he would recommend that I get a crown put in. This was just before Thanksgiving of last year. I nodded and agreed that boy-howdy I should totally ruin my Thanksgiving and have dental work done. He popped in a temporary filling and I blew him off for an entire year while learning that chewing on one side of my mouth wasn't so hard to do. Cut to earlier this month when I was back at his office getting my teeth cleaned and I mentioned that maybe I should get that crown done y'know?

And that's what I did this morning. I've never had this done before and if you have not either let me tell ya, while it certainly isn't horrific, it is far from pleasant. There was a lot of drilling and poking and use of that little evil vacuum thing. I don't know how many shots of Novocaine or whatever they use now I got but it still didn't quite take all the pain away. There were a few times when he hit close to a nerve and my death grip on the arm rests of the seat tightened. My dentist is a good dude and I know he noticed (hold on a sec...I'm drooling again) the furrowed brow and white knuckles and he checked in with me to see if I was ok. I wasn't really but c'mon Doc, let's just get this over with ok? The drilling went on forever. Did you know that dentists run the risk of going deaf because of the noise that the drill makes? That seems fair to me.

So now I have a temporary crown jammed in there and I have to go back in late December to have the real deal put in. The temp is a bizarre color, sort of off-white and almost yellow-ish. I'm hoping that the second appointment is quicker and less shitty. I'll have to wait and see. In the meantime I want to have my lunch but I'm afraid to chew. Hold me?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quick Post of Limited Interest

Not much going on as of late that I'd think would be blog worthy. I've just been working and trying to not get fired. So far, so good. I do have a couple updates I suppose:

1) The Sour Kraut: The project that never was is officially no more. I know, I know. Last week it was hauled away and it no longer can taunt us (AW and myself that is) with our lack of manliness. We didn't really get anything done on the project (unless you count cleaning it a bit and opening the hood a couple times). The long and short of this is that the car needed work that was/is waaaaaay out of our collective skill-set. Adding to the complications was the fact that we didn't have a garage to work in. All we had was AW's lawn and that really isn't good enough for a project car of, caliber (read: giant piece of doo-doo that needed to be almost completely redone). So lesson learned ($400 a piece lesson by the way...ouch. Although, we figure we got about $375 worth of laughs out of it): if attempting a project of this scale, get a garage space to work on said project first. Then maybe, just maybe you'll be able to get the work done.

We may still attempt a much smaller scale engine rebuild in the form of my lawn mower. I know it's no where near as cool as an old Mercedes but we can work on it in my basement all warm and dry. I'm trying to not be too bummed out about failing to be a man. You'd think I'd be used to it by now but it still stings.

2) The Crack: Oh, and speaking of totally not being a man, the Wiff and I have hired a dude, who clearly IS a man, to come and fix our shitty kitchen ceiling. We're also having the mud room cleaned up. Basically we're gonna tart up the mud room in hopes that when the time comes to sell (c'mon economy, you can do it. You can help me get the bloody hell out of Lynn!), the people looking won't notice how wonky the kitchen/pantry set up is if everything is shiny and cleaned up. We should have this thing done by Christmas and that's a decent timeline.

That's about it I suppose. We're headin' up NH to our friends the Peplinski's place for Thanksgiving this year. I'm really looking forward to that. It's going to be nice and low-key and I plan on getting loaded. You have to set your goals and then follow through, people. Have I not taught you anything? Sheesh.

Hmmm, I'm-a-gonna throw in a 5 Song Shuffle here too just to pad this entry. I'm a giver. I give and give.

1. Stiff Little Fingers - Barbed Wire Love
2. The Frames - Keepsake
3. Q-Tip - Do It
4. Dub Trio - Felicitacion
5. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Rifles

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh Sweet! Is That the New LionMaster UP Challenger?

Hello and welcome to more evidence of my stupidity. Not long after I quit my job at the video store my mom was out pounding the pavement trying to find a job for me. I know how that sounds but it's also the truth. My mom was very dedicated to getting her stupid son a job and she did not discriminate. If there was a salt mine nearby, my mom would have talked the foreman into giving her son whatever crap job was available. Basically she knew I was lazy and she wanted me off her couch. Can't say I blame her.

She came home one afternoon and told me that I was going to be applying for a job at this company that makes toy trains near our apartment. "Oh. Uh, ok Mom, " I responded thinking all the while that who knew there was a company that made toy trains in Malden? Not me that's fer shu-ah. I took the application form that she gave me, filled it out and the next day went to the place to lay on the ol' O'Malley charm. This place was just behind a car dealership in a pretty new and sizable building. It was not only a manufacturing plant but it also had a huge warehouse and a little retail shop at the front. I figured they'd want me to work in the little shop and snarl at their customers (since being forced to interact with the public had been the bulk of my work experience up to this point) but when I met with the guy who owned the place he had other plans for me. "You'll work in the warehouse," he proclaimed and so I did for a whopping $6 an hour.

What I hadn't expected was that he would put me to work immediately. I had come dressed for an interview not understanding that he would want me to start moving boxes around that day. I had on what in my world constituted a nice shirt, decent pants and my one and only pair of dress shoes. He took me to the back of the enormous warehouse and pointed to this bay that had piles of crushed boxes in it. "Clean that out and then come find me. I'll give you something else to do." And then he stormed off. The owner dude was this guy who was an ex-Marine and he would walk around looking like a puffed up bird with his chest pushed way out and his arms splayed out at a comical angle. I think he was trying to create the illusion that his chest was still larger than his enormous beer gut. Yea, that would be a fail.

That first day was a little microcosm of what my employment at this company was going to be like. After cleaning out the bay (which took a lot longer than I had anticipated and I got a bunch of cardboard paper cuts on my delicate lil' hands) I was told to help this guy Karl unload a 50' truck that had just pulled up. Karl was this doofus with a big ol' belly and the shortest legs I have ever seen on an adult (and no, he was not a little person. He was just freakishly dis-proportioned). He fucking LOVED trains. He was already inside the truck when I got there and he was in the process of opening one of the boxes so that he'd be the first one to see the new train engine or some nonsense. He ripped open the top of the box, grabbed one of the trains inside and sniffed it. Go ahead and let that sink in for a sec. He fucking SNIFFED the toy train engine. This is a fetish I did not want to explore any further thank you very much. He let out a huge "Aaaaaaaaah!" and said that he just loved that smell (I did not ask him to elaborate) and we got down to the business of unloading this truck.

Did you know there are several different scales of toy train and each has it's own track made specifically for it? No, of course you didn't know that because you are not a spaz. The front of the truck had a couple pallets of the new, allegedly fantastic smelling train engines and behind those was a number of pallets of train track. That shit is freakin' heavy. We had one of those pallet jacks to haul the stacked pallets out of the truck but of course one of them had shifted and we couldn't get it to budge. We then had to unload that mofo box by box and re-stack it in the warehouse on another pallet. So Karl, some other guy who's name escapes me and myself formed a chain and started shifting the stock out of the truck. Karl (who had a habit of dousing himself in cologne rather than say, bathing) stayed in the truck, I was next in line and then the Other Guy Who's Name Escapes Me was last (inside the warehouse and doing the actual re-stacking bit).

These boxes were I think about 15 pounds apiece and Karl was tossing them from the truck to me and then I would toss them to OGWNEM. We had a nice rhythm going until there was a hang-up at the re-stacking end of things and I had to wait for that guy to get ready again. Of course Karl being a moron did not wait and hucked another box to me just as I was turning to say "HOLD UP KARL!". I got as far as "Hold up Ka–" and then the box of train track nailed me in my left shoulder hard. It spun me around and I almost fell off the loading dock. I dropped the box I was already holding and it just missed my foot by inches. Please keep in mind that not only is this my FIRST DAY but it's not even lunch time yet. I saw red and charged at Karl to beat the living snot out of him. He was saying "Sorry man! I'm sorry! I didn't know! I'm sorry!" over and over and trying to scramble over the boxes to get away from me. Those tiny legs of his weren't much help on that front. I didn't hit him though. I thought about not only losing the job my mom got for me in record time but probably also getting arrested for assault and decided that calling Karl a fucking idiot was a better idea. I still regret that decision. It would have been so much better if I had ended up shoving that new train down his throat (or maybe he'd like that?). And yes, my nice shirt was all jacked up.

I worked there for probably 7 months or so and I even got my friend Shawn a job there in the warehouse with me (sorry about that Shawn). It was a mindless job and that hit to the shoulder hurt for months afterward (no, I never did go get it checked out) and the only joy I had was the weekends when I would go out to UMass Amherst to see my friends, hang out and drink way too much beer (I had already failed out of U/Mass the previous semester...another story for another time perhaps). But on the plus side I discovered an area in the back of the warehouse on the 2nd floor where I could take power naps. The best line still goes to Shawn when we were talking about the fun we were going to have that upcoming weekend because we were going to go to UMass. He said "Oh man, I can't wait to get there. I'm going to drink puddles of beer." He paused a second and said, "Wait, puddles? Puddles are SMALL!" Ah yes. Much simpler times indeed.

And now for some conversation whiplash: Check out this hilarious video.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So, Do I Install the Active X?

Jesus Christ. I was going to start this off with another installment of Vocational Errors by Your Host Mark (an extremely popular feature here at Flunky Boy...not sure what to make of that) but I've been getting my ass kicked by my current job lately and I can't seem to focus on my ridiculous past occupations. I'll spare you the details but basically I've been attending a whole slew of trainings lately and my function during these sessions is to act as support for the presenter (usually my boss). I stand in the back of the room and wait for people who are having computer problems to call me over. I then scurry (yes, scurry) over to them and hopefully fix whatever issue they are having as well as get them caught up to where the rest of the class is.

Most of the classes have been rather large (30+ people) and although I know that one of the reasons that I even took this job was that I wanted to step out of my "comfort zone" and experience/learn new stuff...holy hell is it draining. We had a small group at a training this morning and I honestly don't know that they have ever used a computer before. I was going from user to user answering some really basic questions:

"How do I get the screen to look like his?" (usually while pointing both at their computer screen and the projected image at the front of the room at the same time. Oh, and their computer screens typically have hundreds of smeared fingerprints all over them)
Um, you click on the folder here.
"What? The little blue link?"
Yea, ok, sure. The little blue link. Click that. It'll open and you'll see what is up on the big screen there. No, you have to actually click on the...yea. Right there. No, use the mouse...and..
"Ooooh!" (and then they beam up at me like I'm magic)
Fuck me.

All of this takes a lot out of me. I know intellectually anyway that doing these trainings will get easier with regard to doing the presentations and getting the message across and all that happy horseshit but I don't think it'll get any easier on my mental energy depletion. After being in one of the sessions I want to go to a nice quiet place for the rest of the day. But most likely I will not be able to do that. Stupid mortgage. I also can't understand why people in these trainings, most of whom are of reasonable intelligence simply CANNOT follow simple directions. At the beginning of each training we mention that they might get prompted to install an Active X control thing and they should go ahead and install it. Literally 5 minutes later I'm running over to someone who has fallen behind because they did NOT install the file and now the program is frozen. "Oh, I saw that but I didn't know I was supposed to install it." Sigh. I'm telling you it hurts me.

Last week I attended a training, not as a presenter OR support staff but as a student. It was one of these touchy-feely classes that companies love so much. Basically the gist of the thing was that people typically fall into several categories based on their personalities and this was a class on how to recognize those personality traits and how to interact with someone who looks at the world differently than yourself. Sounds almost helpful there doesn't it? The problem I think is that I am clearly an introvert and as an introvert I'm fairly certain that I will not use this method to help me "read" people. I don't like people so why would I want to understand their point of view? They annoy me and waste my precious sitting by myself and reading time (and by "reading" I mean playing Grand Theft Auto). I'm not shitting on the class or even the concept of the program but I just know that I personally did not find much useful information there. It really wasn't bad, it just wasn't for me is all. Meh, at least I got a free lunch out of the deal.

So work is still challenging me and right now I think I'm experiencing my typical "change makes me cranky" phase. I don't know when this phase ends as I have always been cranky. I just feel crankier than usual lately. They did find a permanent place for me to sit finally but the rub is that I still ended up with someone sitting directly behind me. Granted there is a little more room in this space but I still get that uneasy feeling of knowing that there is someone else just over my shoulder. Next time I'll post about the time I worked in a factory/warehouse that made toy trains. For reals.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Goodbye Aunt Edie

My family lost a great lady a couple of days ago. My Aunt Edie (who is my mother's sister) died after a brief illness. We will all miss her very much and my thoughts are with my cousins during this hard time. She was one tough and funny lady and I'm going to miss her tremendously.

During the summers when I was growing up, Aunt Edie and Uncle Woody would have us all over for cookouts almost every weekend. They had a huge backyard and a pool, one of those above-ground circular jobs, so all of us kids (meaning all the cousins) were thrilled to go there. My mother's side of the family is pretty big (my mom was one of 8 kids, all of whom started their own families) so these summer weekends at the Wood's house were pretty crowded. The house I grew up in was pretty small and although there was a decent sized backyard, our landlord fancied himself a gardner and therefore wouldn't allow us to play in most of the yard. So when we would go to Aunt Edie's (yes, I know it was Uncle Woody's place too but I always called it "going to Aunt Edie's") it was amazing because we had full run of the whole yard.

Aunt Edie had a really dry wit and most of her joking around was lost on me as a kid. Kids look at most situations literally so I totally didn't understand most of what she said to me back then (unless she was telling me to stop doing whatever destructive thing I was doing. That shit I understood quickly. Never piss off a McAleavey). I'm really glad that later on I was smart enough to actually talk to not only her but all of my aunts and uncles and get them to talk about their stories. I wasn't quite smart enough yet or maybe I just didn't get enough time to actually talk to my own parents the way I was able to talk to Aunt Edie and other members of my family. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to listen to her and get to understand that she really was a smart and funny woman who raised her family and dealt with what life threw at her with a determination and will that I think is pretty rare.

I poke fun at my family but in the end, they are a great bunch of people. Don't get me wrong, they're all completely batty but I think that's a good thing. If they weren't the mixed bag of nuts that they are it would be really boring at reunions. When we all get together (like we just did this past summer to celebrate Aunt Edie's 75th birthday) I think what shines through is that we all understand that we're in this together. We can lean on each other and look to each other for support during hard times with the knowledge that the help will be there. My family hasn't been the best at communication over the years but I think we're improving. The torch has been passed from our parent's generation onto us and although we've had some missteps I think we're on track. Aunt Edie would be proud.