Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Could You Hold My Tooth for Me?

Christmas is over and New Year's Eve is approaching. I have this week off thanks to my company realizing that people would rather have this week off than an office party. This is the first year they've done this and they claim that it will also be the only year. We'll have to wait and see on that front. I think it'll be too popular to eliminate. But I'm also not that bright so you can take that at face value.

So what's been going on? Just stuff. I'm getting excited about the vacation that the Wiff and I will be taking to Ireland soon. Check this out. This is my schedule from last Monday, December 21st until the end of January: Dec. 21-23 were working days. Then I have 11 days in a row (including weekends) off. I return to work on January 4th. On January 7th I leave for Ireland for vacation. I will be off for another 11 days (7 of them in Ireland), returning to work on the 18th. Then on the 21st I fly to England to do a training at our Oxfordshire office. The Wiff will also be flying out to meet up with me after I'm done with the trainings in London. We'll fly back to Boston on the 24th. Then there's just a week left of January. Oh, and in the middle of the trip to Ireland I'll be turning 40 fucking years old. Crazy.

Guess what I did yesterday? No, not that (ok, yes that too). I made beer in New Hampshire. My friends Matt and Adam (who are brothers by the by) and I went to this place called IncrediBREW and spent a couple hours making our own beer. Ok, so technically it's a recipe that the place provides but we did all the mixing and cooking. It was pretty cool but I'm willing to allow others to brew my beer for me thank you very much. There's lots of steps and everything is so very precise. In a couple weeks we get to go back and bottle it all up and we should get about 4-5 cases of 22 oz. beers. Niiiice. I won't be at the bottling portion of the deal since I'll be in Ireland being a drunk. I suggested that we start our own "Brew your own whiskey" business. People would come in and whip up a nice batch of whiskey from recipes that we would provide for them. And then in a short 12-18 years, they would come back and bottle it up. Matt and Adam weren't convinced that it was genius moment. It may not be the best business model I'll admit but I'm looking into the licensing anyway. So back off people, it's MY IDEA.

On Monday I went back to my dentist to have my crown put in finally. I had scheduled the appointment at 9 am so that it would be over and done and I wouldn't have to think about it anymore. What a silly goose I am. I should have realized that nothing ever goes so smoothly. I've had this temporary crown in for a month or so and it isn't the most comfortable thing in the world. It's slightly wider than a real tooth and the texture is all wrong. My tongue keeps checking it out to see if it has somehow become a real tooth during the last few seconds. "Is it real yet? Nope. How about now? Nope. Better check again. Nope, it's still a giant Lego piece jammed in my face." My dentist has assured me that the actual crown which is porcelain baked over gold (oooh, fancy!) will match my original toof (minus the giant crack in said toof that started this nonsense in the first place). Ok, doc. Let's do this shit.

So I'm sitting in the chair when he comes in and without so much as a "Hey, how are you doing?", he reaches into my mouth with these big honkin' pliers and yanks the temporary tooth out. Um, ow! Thanks for the warning skippy. He then proceeded to use his evil assortment of tools to hose out the area with ice cold water. You know what sucks? Exposed nerves coming in contact with cold water. That sucks. Then his minion used the sucky-face thing to attack my tongue. Seriously. She went right for it. I dunno what my tongue ever did to her (HEY-OH!) but she clearly hates it. Then he did a dry fitting of the new crown. After asking me to bite down on these little strips of cardboard material he then took out his drill (!!!) and started shaving down the crown so that it would fit properly. He then took the crown and left me sitting in the chair staring at the light. Those dentist chair lights always look like the space ships from the original War of the Worlds movie to me.

He came back after a few minutes (here's the extent of the small talk his minion and I shared: Her: "Do you have any kids?" Me: "Nope." Her: ....) and said that because of a defect in the porcelain, he cannot put in ("install"? is that the right word? "put in" seems wrong. "insert"? that sounds about "fasten"? yea, I like that one) fasten the crown. And since the place that made the crown is closed this week, I'm going to have to come back next Tuesday afternoon so he can do it then. Fuuuuuck. Ok, fine. Put the shitty Lego toof back in and lemme outta here. Sheesh.

Cut to yesterday and after we made the beer, Matt, Adam and I grabbed some food at this mexican place up the street from the brewing place. After dinner when Adam and I were headed home (I drove since he lives close by my house and it seemed silly to have us drive up separately), he offered me a piece of gum. "Sure, why not", I said. I'll tell you why not: The toof. Yep. About 15 seconds after popping the gum in my mouth, it yanked the temporary crown out and I had to hand the whole thing over to Adam. That's nasty I know but he has a small kid so he must be used to gross things by now. He separated the gum from the toof and tossed the gum out the window. Luckily it was actually the gum he tossed and not the toof.

And since I was driving and it seemed unlikely that I'd be able to pop it back in with any level of success, he held onto the toof the entire trip home. I appreciate that sir. When I got home I cleaned it up and pressed it back into place. It has this putty stuff on the underside that seems to be holding on for now. I just have to chew EVERYTHING on the other side of my mouth so that it doesn't come loose again. I only have to deal with this for 6 days. I hope it doesn't come out during the night and I end up swallowing it. That would suck ass.

Monday, December 21, 2009

B to the double RR

So far in my nearly 40 god-forsaken years I have only lived in eastern Massachusetts. This area is not the coldest, it's not the warmest, and it's not ... the anything-est really. When summer comes I always forget just exactly what 95 degrees and super-high humidity feels like. It feels like what I assume Satan's taint would feel like if you were crammed down the backside of his underwear for an entire day. Does Ol' Scratch even wear underwear? Prolly not huh? I mean he's got those goat legs and all so the underwear would be rather restrictive. I mean, off-the-shelf underwear would be anyway. I guess he could commission some custom undies for himself but I'm still not convinced that he's an underwear type of demon. What was I talking about? Oh, right...the weather.

The point being that even though it does get hot and humid here, it typically doesn't last all that long cuz we're so close to the ocean. But, when winter comes? Hoo-boy. That shit seems to linger. It's the same deal as summer where I forget exactly what cold actually is. As fall moves into winter and the days get colder and the layers of clothes get thicker, I am sort of lulled into thinking that the change of seasons is pleasant. Then we have a day where the temp does not move past 5°F (that was last week) and I am instantly reminded that winter is a horrible, mean bitch who is hell bent on freezing my face off.

Yesterday we got our first honest-to-goodness snowfall and it was a doozy. In Lynn (the gateway to Saugus) we ended up with just over a foot of snow, blowing around making drifts of 2-3 feet. And no, I do not have a snowblower. Yes, I realize that there are much colder places and yes, I realize that Syracuse NY got 3 feet of snow in ONE STORM, but I submit to you that people who live in those places are crazy. They are fully aware that this shit happens every goddamn year and yet they refuse to move away from there. That is lunatic behavior. You would only have to tell me once that "It's nice here in the summer and the city is beautiful and blah blah blah. Oh, by the way, we typically get 9.5 feet of snow per year." You would never see me again. Simple as that.

I've been yammering on and on about wanting to move to Maine but I think I have to reevaluate that. I might be too delicate for their winters (which start in October to and end sometime in late May). Sometimes I forget that I'm a weenie.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stupid House Stuff

'Sup? Work has started on the Not-So-Great Kitchen Project '09. The Crack committed suicide last Wednesday (the 9th) by finally crashing to the kitchen floor (luckily not taking out a cat in the process) and scaring the bejeesus out of me. It sounded like a whole bunch of plates falling and shattering. It was looooooud. I was upstairs at the time and as I made my way downstairs to see what the hell happened (while actually saying "What the hell happened"), I was met on the stairs by Oliver who's eyes were like huge saucers and Molly who's tail was a giant bushy mess. They were on their way up to go hide under the bed which as any cat will tell you, is by far the best hiding space no matter what the threat. House on fire? Hide under the bed. Ceiling crashing to the floor? Go hide under the bed. Huge bed-moving monster from Planet Eatonlyhidingcats? Your best bet is to hide under the bed.

I must admit that I immediately blamed these two for whatever had been broken since they are most likely the culprits whenever there anything is broken in the house. "Oh, you little assholes," I yelled at them. "What the fuck did you do now?" When I got to the first floor and surveyed the living room, everything looked in order. The TV was fine (which was my first thought when I heard the crash. I figured they'd smashed my favorite appliance in the whole wide world) and Morticia was sitting on the couch looking guilty. Granted, she always looks guilty though. "What was that noise, miss lady?" I asked her. She did a little "MMMmmmmrrrow?" thing but totally did not answer my question. She's been around us for over 15 years now and she still cannot speak a work of English. Whatta dope.

I turned to go into the kitchen and was greeted with what was left of The Crack. A decent-sized chunk of the ceiling had come crashing down and I now had shattered plaster and debris everywhere in the kitchen. There was still some crumbs tumbling down from the 2 foot by 1.5 foot hole in the ceiling. "Oh motherfuck", I groaned. The Crack had become The Hole. "Good thing the contractor dude is coming on Monday." I swept up all the junk and wondered just how it was possible that for 11 years I avoided fixing this stupid thing. The Hole responded by dumping more tufts of horse hair and plaster crumbs on my freshly swept floor.

And so yesterday Mike the Contractor came and made The Crack which became The Hole into The Patch. I think the proper noun status of The Patch will be very short lived as Mike moves forward with blending the patch into the rest of the ceiling, priming and then painting everything to match. It's gonna look pissah. Or at the very least, so much less shitty. What about the mudroom? Well, that room is going to be turned into...are you ready for this? A mudroom. I know. Fucking brilliant right? Previously this room was used as kitchen/pantry overflow and pot and pan storage. But since I took everything out of there so that the contractors can patch, prime and paint the space, The Wiff has decided that she'd much rather have that space used as it was originally intended and she'll find another space to put all the kitchen detritus. I'm all for that idea and we are going to look at bench things so that one can sit and take off/put on one's boots and such. It's like we're real-live yuppie douches!

 From top to bottom: The Hole soon after The Crack killed himself.
                                     The Hole with the ceiling fan (naked ceiling fan! ooh! scandalous!).
                                     The Patch with just mud.

                                     The Patch with some texture (soon to be painted and blended).

Also, The Wiff has given me my Christmas present a little early this year. We have this chair that I bought from the AMVETS thrift store in Allston back in 1994 for $25. I carried that bad boy home upside on my head (the chair, not me) and it rules. I used to call it the Archie Bunker Chair but that's not really accurate since it's a rocker. We've carted it from apartment to apartment and finally to the house. It had this horrible fabric but up until the introduction of Oliver the cat, not one rip had shown up. Oliver made quick work of the front right corner of the chair, shredding the fabric and exposing the yellowing foam beneath. And that's how it sat, looking sad and unloved for a couple more years. When the Wiff asked me what I'd like for Christmas this year, I asked her to get the chair reupholstered. And so a couple a days ago the new cushions (and 3 pillows to boot) were delivered and the old chair has new life! Check it. The pics don't really do it justice (it doesn't look that shiny in person).

naked chair (oooh! risque!)                                                 

New cushions and somewhat fancy pillow!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"The List" or "How I Lost All Female Readers"

My recent business trip to San Diego left me with a lot of time to observe my fellow travelers and it gave me plenty of opportunities to do people watching. I got to see how people for the most part seem to be completely unaware of how their own behavior may impact those seated near them. There was one woman at one of the airports I was in (was it O'Hare? fuck if I remember) who was walking around the terminal blathering at ridiculous volumes on her cell phone about how shitty her boyfriend, job, family and living arrangements were. Mm-hmm. I'm positive it's all THEIR fault. You are totally innocent ma'am. Can you imagine if they ever allow cell phone usage on airplane flights? There will be so much carnage in the skies as people tear out their own eardrums or rip out the tongues of the asshole sitting behind them who is discussing Next Top Model in agonizing detail. I personally will abandon all airline travel if this happens.

There are many games/activities that one can play while people watching. I played a quick game of How Many Times Will This Kid Say "Mom" Before His Mom Actually Acknowledges His Existence (answer: 22). I also had a satisfying round of Spot the Drunk Guy. That was a little harder but I think I spied 2 clearly bombed guys and one borderline tipsy lady. Now at the risk of sounding like a complete creep but in keeping with my policy of complete disclosure: I'm going to talk about The List.

I've talked to several people (granted, all were male friends) and they have all confirmed that they too play this game. I call it a game but it can be serious business depending on the person "playing". Usually The List simply is employed to help pass the time in a boring meeting, in a waiting room, church, or whatever. You name a place where people have to congregate and I'm betting that someone is playing a variation of The List. It is another way to occupy your mind while trying to navigate through your day.

So what is it? The List is the list of people in the room that you would have sex with (some people throw in "under what circumstances" to add another level of complexity i.e. 1 beer, 2 beers, six-pack, etc., but I prefer to keep it more straightforward). It is just that simple and that crude. The List is a very base, very visceral, first impression kind of deal. There is very little, if any, consideration of personality, intelligence or compatibility. There is most certainly zero contemplation with regard to whether the person one is adding to The List would even give you the time of day. That would just be depressing really. I personally call the list "The Ever-Growing, Ever-Changing List of Women I Will Never Have Sex With". Yep, that sounded exactly as creepy as I thought it would. And by "never" I mean two things:
  1. I'm married and well, I wouldn't cheat.
  2. I mean, c'mon, look at me
Look, I'm just being honest here and I'd like to ask that anyone who wants to comment on whether or not they do OR do not play this very same game (or a variation on this theme) to please do so.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Business Travel for a Dummy

I am so glad to be home. Where was I? I was in San Diego helping to run some trainings at our office out there. The big roll-out date for this project was on Monday the 7th and my boss sent me out to do the training for the SD group (don't think that this was in any way fancy. It totally was not). I was to fly out on Sunday the 6th, do the training on Monday the 7th, and then fly back on Tuesday the 8th. This is all fine and dandy but here's the thing: there isn't a direct flight from Boston to San Diego and so I was going to have to catch a connecting flight either in Los Angeles or Chicago. Can you guess where BOTH of my connecting flights where? If you guessed Chicago then you win! Chicago in December...what could POSSIBLY go wrong?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The flights out where fine. I actually had no one seated right next to me so I was less uncomfortable. I refuse to say I was in anyway comfortable because having to sit in a big, metal tube with a couple hundred jackasses as it hurtles through the air while the chick in front of me flings her seat backwards crowding my personal space is in no way my idea of luxury. And I got to have a lovely 2 hour layover in Chicago. Do you know what you can do at an airport with 2 hours to kill? I have no idea. I'm honestly asking. All I did was finish up my book (Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safan Foer. I had started this book awhile ago but never got that far. I tore through it on this trip. It is a really great read) and people watch. I may have mentioned that I don't really care for people but I sure do like watching them.

Airports and air travel tend to bring out strange behavior in people. Either that or perhaps because of the close quarters, these idiosyncrasies become enhanced. I'm the type of person who needs to not only be on time but preferably early for any appointment. So I'm the guy sitting at the empty terminal a good half hour before anyone else shows up for the flight. Traveling stresses me out and so to ease my tension I will overcompensate by checking my boarding pass and gate information a couple hundred times to make ABSOLUTELY sure that I'm at the right place at the right time. I know, I know. Leave me alone. What I do is I'll go to the gate (super early) and sit and watch people. This also helps me chill out and feel better about my own quirks. People is fucked up, yo.

Finally I get to San Diego and you know what they say about southern California and all that crazy sunshine! I got a fucking downpour. It rained and rained and rained. Oh, and then the winds kicked in. The hotel we (I say "we" because the guy I share an office with [Seth] also went out. He works with the group I was going to train and hadn't actually met any of them yet) stayed in was in La Jolla which is just north of San Diego and supposedly quite swanky. All I saw was rain and flying palm fronds (hee! fronds). By the time I got to the hotel after several hours of travel (my plane left Boston at 7am EST and it was now 3:30pm Pacific time, so what's that? Like a day and a half or something?), I was pretty beat. I went to my room and pretty much crashed. I didn't even grab any dinner.

The next day the weather was even worse. All the local news stations were going on and on about how this was the worst storm they had seen all year and yada yada. Great. Nice timing O'Malley. We went to the office, banged out the training (at which I am much improved thank you very much) and then took a cab back to the hotel. We were going to get together with one of our vendors out there and have some dinner but I found out that this was actually more of a meeting rather than an interesting night out. I bailed on that and I'd like to say that I went exploring the area around the hotel but did I mention the goddamn rain? Yea, I stayed in and watched TV. I am a party animal people. Whatever. At least I got to watch Hoarders which is only the bestest show on the planet.

And then it was time to head back. We had the same flight out of San Diego and the same connector in Chicago (we didn't fly out together). As a matter of fact, it was the same plane that would take us into Chicago and then eventually to Boston. And with a 45 minute layover, that should mean that we won't have to get off the plane right (or "de-plane" as the flight attendants called it. Fuck that fake-ass term. This ain't Fantasy Island bitches)? Wrongo. When we finally got into O'Hare after hanging out in a holding pattern for 40 minutes, they told us that we'd have to get off the plane and then reboard in twenty minutes. Sonofa... Fine. The snow was kicking Chicago in it's frozen nuts and I was dreading having them tell us that oops, sorry, we can't fly out tonight. The odds were kind of stacked against us.

But, huzzah! We did manage to get back on the plane only an hour later than predicted and they flew my sorry ass back to Boston. I got into Logan at around 2am and I praised the Wiff for scheduling a PlanetTran car service to pick me up and ferry me home. That was pretty sweet. What really worked to my advantage is that my boss is super cool and told me not to come in to the office today. As a matter of fact, he told me to just take the day to make up for the loss of my Sunday. Schweet. I was so glad he said that 'cuz I didn't get home until 2:40 and I didn't really get to sleep until well after 3:30. I would have been toast at work today. And not yummy toast either. More like stale-ass bread that you hope will be ok once you pop it in the toaster but after a couple of bites you realize it just tastes like sadness. Yup. Just like that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

When There's Lightning...

I like to listen to music when I'm working. It helps me focus and I get more done when I have music playing. Usually I'm just using my iPod but I will also listen to Pandora (which seems to misunderstand what music I'm in the mood for a lot of the time...even if I specify), Houndstooth Radio, or The Late Riser's Club on WMBR (I sometimes have a problem connecting to their feed for some reason. It's super annoying because I'm only like 4 blocks away from them but I can't get a radio signal AT ALL in this building so I have to rely on the streaming feed). This morning it was the trusty ol' iPod's turn to shine. As a crusty old dude who grew up on vinyl records, mixed tapes and eventually mixed CDs, I'm still kinda blown away by the idea of having the bulk of my music collection in one super convenient device. I haven't ripped every CD I own yet (mainly because it is such a profoundly boring task) but I'm more than 3/4 of the way through 'em and I still have a huge amount of space left on this thing.

With it set to randomly play all the songs housed within it's tiny hard drive, what gem do you think it served up this very morn at 8:11? Dio – Holy Diver. Heh. Ok, iPod, is that how the day is going to start out? Bring it. Dio did just that. Check this shit out: "Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he's clean. Oh, don't you see what I mean?"  Um, no Ronnie. I can safely say that I have no bloody idea what the fuck you mean. I don't normally hold songwriters accountable to have their lyrics be literal. I can appreciate a hidden meaning or a clever turn of phrase as much as the next guy. I mean gimme a nice metaphor and I'm on board for whatever you're trying to say. But I suspect that Ronnie might have been just trying to have a tiger in his song cuz he thought they were cool. Especially a clean tiger, they're the coolest.