I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cynical me

Just call me cynical, but I'm not one of those who automatically believes everything I'm being told.  Here's an example.  Last evening we had a female customer come to the paint desk and order 12 gallons of our most expensive paint in different colors.  That's a nice sale, let me tell you.  However, every color needed to be adjusted down.  She had paint swatches stapled on top of paint swatches and scribbled notes on all of them.  Three of the swatches had no notes because she'd just pulled them from the 'color wall.'  As she handed them to me she said, "this one needs to be adjusted down 65%,  this one 75%, and this one adjust down as much as possible."  When I told her there was no way of telling how what they would look like, she said, "it doesn't make a difference, they just need to be adjusted."

She then asked about 'frosting' applications for windows.  One of my female associates took her back to show her what we had.  When my associate came front I said to her "that woman has special needs."  My associate said, "but you don't know, she has a teenage daughter who's quadriplegic, she, herself, has Lyme Disease and my possibly lose her arm, and they've been evicted from their home because of mold."  "Right," I responded cynically.  At this point the customer returned to the paint desk and said, in a very rushed voice, "I can't wait for my paint to be finished.  I need to go home.  My caregiver is leaving."  And I said "your paint is finished, let me load it in your cart for you."
After the customer had left the desk, my female associate said, "oh, that poor, poor woman."  And I said, "that woman is nuttier then a fruit cake, and she just handed you a slice."  It was either that or she was trying to get free paint.  Ah, just call me cynical.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Close shave

I'm off today.  That means my daily routine is more relaxed.  There is no set time for me to get up, and when I do, things get done at my own speed.  Sometimes I shave on days off and sometimes I don't.  This morning I decided to shave.  I keep my razor and shaving cream on a small table in a walk-in closet off of the bathroom.  So, I pulled them out and set them on the sink and went on to enjoy a long, hot shower.  Stepping out of the shower, I lathered my face with shaving cream only to discover the razor seemed to have gone missing.  Shit.  Wrapping the towel around me, I began looking for it, first of all verifying that I did, indeed, take it from the table in the closet.  Then I padded down the hall.  Checking the computer room / gym and still finding nothing, I proceeded to the bedroom. There, on the bed, I found the razor... well, not the whole razor, just the handle.  Shit.

The razor

As you can see, it's been chewed up...  And of course I knew exactly who to blame, Lilly, the little Boxer.  So I started the search for the blades.  As I looked, I knew there was a distinct possibility I might be calling the Vet.  And I began to wonder what the cost of x-rays would be, and if they did prove she'd swallowed the blades, what the cost of the surgery would be, and, while I have no problem with the expense, this is not the way I prefer to have points put on my Amazon credit card.  While I could write a check, I hate taking that much money out of the bank, so I decided earning the points would be better.  As you can tell by my thinking process, and while I do say "shit" a lot, I am not one who panics, at all. This is why, when anything serious does happen, I am the one everybody calls.

The culprit
So I wiped the shaving cream from my face, got dressed, and went down stairs.  There, on the living room carpet, were the razor blades, chewed but still intact in their plastic sheathing.  I checked Lilly's mouth and it was fine, no nicks or cuts.  The end result?  My razor is now in the trash and I'm back to using my Braun shaver.  Dogs.  Do you think Lilly realizes how close a shave she had?  Not at all.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Not bad for an old fart

As with many companies, the mega home improvement retail chain I work for provides health coverage for their full time associates.  And, as lot of other companies do as well, they provide a way in which you can receive credits to reduce your monthly payments.  We need to do a Health Challenge, which is a three part program.  You need to complete a health assessment on the computer, participate in a health screening (where they draw blood), and work your way through a health challenge that isn't too challenging.  I do all three since it's a $600 yearly deduction.
Anyway, you need to 'fast' before the blood draw since they're checking your cholesterol.  Now, I like my coffee in the morning, and while I prefer it with milk, I can drink it black.  On the morning of the draw I had about 4 mugs of black coffee.  The little nurse who did the draw squawked when I told her.  "That's going to raise your blood pressure!"  Right.  My blood pressure was 112/78, which is not bad, and I am not on any meds.  Yesterday I received the results of my blood work in the mail in a snazzy guide.

My blood work came back fine - total cholesterol is 166 which, I suspect, would be lower if I weren't eating a gallon of whole milk ice cream every week.  The cholesterol / HDL ratio is 3.5 which, according to the guide is "highly desirable."  In fact everything was either good, better, or best. and it's all done with out any meds.  Of course I do tend to watch what I eat (except for the ice cream) and exercise on a regular basis.

Some of my numbers

As you might guess, one of my main goals is to live as long as possible without needing to rely on medications.  I hate pills.  And, in case anybody is wondering about my age, I'll be 63 this year.  Not bad for an old fart.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

A little snow = free cardio

We had a little snow last night... actually, we had a little snow with slush.  Total accumulation was about 5 inches, however 1 inch of that was wet, heavy slush and the other 4 inches were wet, heavy snow.  I don't mind shoveling snow.  I always tell people it's nature's way of giving you free cardio and they usually look at me as if I'm a bit odd.  Truth be told, it is free cardio, unless you're one of those individuals who sits on his duff until you're more dumpling then human, then it can be fatal.  This morning, to prove my point, I wore my HRM while shoveling.

This is what it looks like.  I averaged about 111 beats per minute.  My heart rate went up when I got to edge of the driveway and needed to shovel all of the snow plow debris, an area 12 feet x 3 feet and 1 foot deep, of heavy, plowed snow.  Besides the driveway, I shovel the sidewalk from the house to the front sidewalk (20 feet) and then I have 75 feet of sidewalk across the front.  Was I tuckered out?  Tired?  No.  I did sweat a lot, but that's fairly normal for me.  I burned 153 calories in about 22 minutes.
I suspect the reason most people dislike shoveling snow is because it is work.  You need to exert yourself.  It's so much easier to pull out your snow thrower and clean your sidewalks that way.  Of course there is a price for easy, isn't there?  Turning into something that's more dumpling then human is not a good thing, yet a lot of people would do that rather then grab a shovel.  Me?  I'll take the free cardio every chance I get.  This is a good thing, since we're supposed to get another 5 inches tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On men eating men

While at my local Giant Supermarket this morning, I saw they had set up their Valentine's Day candy display.  Since I plan on buying candy for my 81 year old mom, I strolled down the aisle expecting to see the standard chocolate chickens and bunnies and candy Easter eggs.  However, I was more then a little surprised to see "The Perfect Man" among the candies.  Of course, he was milk chocolate, but he was only wearing boxer shorts patterned with little red hearts.  That's cute, I thought, snapping a picture.  It wasn't until I got to their fresh meat section that it struck me as being a little off.  Besides straight women and gay men, who else out there would want to eat another man?  Where were the chocolate babes with big titties for all those straight men and lesbians who want a sweet treat?  Now I happen to work with a pretty boy named Troy who was, unfortunately, born with a voice that modulates up and down like a chicken's.  Were I to put a bowl of those chocolate men in the break room, you'd hear him squawking from one of the building to the other:  "Where the babes?  Where the Babes!?

And you do know that if they did have chocolate babes with big titties for sale, certain women would start cackling about sexism.  I'm surprised they only put out milk chocolate, because you know there are certain individuals who prefer dark chocolate and others who want their chocolate white.  Or maybe they tried to cover the white chocolate base with the boxers.  It sort of puts a new spin on the phrase "eat my shorts."  Truthfully, you don't even know what grade of chocolate was used.   Good?  Bad?  And it's just plain chocolate.  No nuts.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Everything changes for a reason

My friend Betsy drives a very old Ford Taurus, circa 1998, that is when ever it's not in the shop.  Believe me, it is in the shop quite a lot.  She bought it used 8 years ago when her aging Oldsmobile, a car which was also spending a lot of time in the shop, unceremoniously died on the highway.  "I can't afford anything else," she lamented when she took ownership of the Taurus.  And, of course, the expenses started adding up the first year.  Four new tires were needed for it to pass the Pennsylvania state auto inspection.  Last year a the electrical system developed a short.  Two new batteries later, she still refuses to accept the fact that nothing will save it.  Tomorrow she's taking it to some guy who claims he can fix it.  I called and left her this message:  "So, tell me, does he also pull bunnies out of his hat?"  She did not find it funny.

And it's not as though she can't afford a new car payment, she can, though that's the excuse she uses.  She just singing that same old lament.  More precisely, I suspect, it has to do with change.  A new car would mean new buttons, new dials; she'd need to learn how to work the radio in order to listen to those AM talk shows she likes so much.  There are a lot of people out there who are just like Betsy; they need the 'same old, same old.'  I see it at the paint desk, people bringing in ancient cans of paint, long since dried up, labeled "hallway," or "living room," or "Johnnies bedroom."  This is something I don't understand.  I will be the first to admit I hold onto my vehicles for a long, long time, but the second I get a hint of an large, impending expense, you'll find something new sitting in my driveway.  Should I need to patch a spot of paint in my hallway, or living room, or where ever, I will repaint entirely and change the color while I'm at it.  I haven't a clue why someone would choose to live their lives in a changeless rut.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Evil Staples will suck the money from your wallet

One of the things which needed to be taken care of, in regard to my new gaming PC, was connecting the computer to the monitor with an HDMI cable.  Like most people, I don't have them laying around the house.  This necessitated my using the one connecting my blue ray player to my TV.  Having off today, and needing to go to the supermarket, I decided to hit Staples while I was out and pick up a replacement.  Before leaving the house I checked on in order to get an average cost (about $12 for a decent  6 foot cable).  When I got to Staples I was shocked to see that their least expensive HDMI cable was priced at $34.55, and that was for their average rated 6 foot cable.  Their 'good' cable was over $55.  Now I realize Staples is going to charge more, you pay for the convenience.  But, if you if add in the freight charges to the Amazon cable, their cost is $17.  Something is wrong here.

Too many people don't think outside of the box.  For them, Staples is the 'go to' place for all of their home office, computer supplies.  About a year ago my friend Deb bought a new PC from them.  Till all was said and done, she paid more for hers then I did for my super charged, blow your socks of graphics, gaming computer.  She doesn't even have 1000 GB memory.  But, they did transfer her files from her old computer to her new computer at no charge.  When I asked her why she didn't do a little research first, maybe see what deals Amazon was offering, she said "but Staples is right down the road."
Too many people don't understand that "Easy" has a cost.  They don't understand that given the chance, Evil Staples will suck the money from your wallet.
As for the HDMI cable I needed to replace?  I picked up a 12 footer at K-Mart for $19.99.  Believe me, it will work just as well as any of the cables being sold by Staples.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Producer's failure

There's a lot of finger pointing going on right now regarding the film "Selma," and its failure to garner more then one Oscar nomination.  Personally, I feel those fingers should be directed at the producers for bungling the timing of the release so terribly.  Last year saw 2 films with black casts receive multiple nominations, of course "The Butler" was released in the spring and "10 Years a Slave" in late August, which gave them months to generate good 'press.'  This was not the case with "Selma," which was released to 19 theaters on 12/16, expanding to 22 theaters for the first week in January, a time when its Box Office actually declined.  The Box Office did pick up on 1/9 when the film was released nationally, but by then most of the Academy voters had already sent in their nominations.  Another issue compounding the last release mistake was the fact that DVD's of the film were not sent to Academy voters ahead of time.  The producer's excuse was that the film was released too late for them to do that.  What were they thinking?

There was a time when many of the nominated films were released late in the year, mostly because the studios wanted to make sure they remained fresh in the voter's minds.  Then a little movie called "The Silence of the Lambs," which was released on Valentines day in 1991, went on to sweep the Grand Prix of Oscars (Actor, Actress, Director & Film).  It proved that memorable films, those which truly merit awards, are not easily forgotten.  And, of course, this doesn't mean films released late don't get nominated, look at "Into the Woods" and "Unbroken," however it does indicate that if you release late in the year, you need to go deep and wide into the nation.  Twenty two theaters isn't going to get you squat.  The movie industry waits for no one.  It is constantly moving forward, because even now there are people thinking of next year's awards.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Interview, for better or worse

I saw "The Interview" last evening and... it really was actually rather funny.  And, and this is probably what's most important, I saw it at a movie theater.  That isn't to say it doesn't have its flaws, it does, like a long scene involving an Siberian tiger.  What's wrong with the scene?  Unless you're from Mars, you know exactly how it's going to end, so you sit there waiting, knowing there isn't going to be a money shot punchline.  More of a farce then a satire, which is what I think they were going for, there are serious bits interspersed between the laughs.  While I don't have to speculate what it is about the film that pissed of the North Korean government, their reaction was, perhaps, a tad to extreme.  I probably wouldn't have gone to see it if the 'hacking' thing had not taken place.  In fact I'm sure millions and millions of people would have simply ignored it.

Of course I might be totally off base, but it might just have been James Franco's performance they found so aggravating.  He was grating at times.  This is not to say he wasn't funny, he was, but sometimes a little of him can go a very, long way.  Eventually, everybody is going to see it, or at least the funny bits on YouTube, in fact, I suspect they're already there.   

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar, Eddie, and the Crappy Cadillac ads

Oscar nominations came out this morning and it didn't take long until the 'snub' word started making the rounds.  In fact this word gets bandied about so frequently most people fail to realize it's one of the most primary definitions of "sour grapes."  No individual should get a nomination because they're female, or Black, or Hispanic, to do so would mean bowing down to the god of Political Correctness, and that's a fail.  The awards are about quality, not about getting a nominations because you're a minority.  Believe me, a liberal Hollywood is far more fair then a conservative Hollywood, and a vast majority of the Academy voters are liberal.  I can't even imagine what the nominations would be like if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were run by the GOP.
Anyway, if you want to see how the nominations stack up this should take you there.  Just be careful, be very, very careful, other wise you're going to be stuck watching a shitty Cadillac commercial.  When you get to the website only click on the 'nominee' button.  Should you want to watch a trailer for any of the nominated films be forewarned, you will have to watch a shitty Cadillac commercial before the trailer begins.
The Best Actor nominations are, I think, the most interesting simply because 3 of the actors are playing 'real life' people.  Historically, the Oscar has almost always gone to the actor or actress playing a 'real life' person, no matter how outstanding the other performances were.

Steve Carrell's DuPont was too wacko crazy in a creepy sort of way.  Benedict Cumberbatch's was too sympathetic.  Eddie Redmayne's Stephen Hawking is a survivor, besides, Mr. Hawking is probably going to be in the audience on the night of the awards (won't that give the tear ducts a squeeze?).  So, I suspect it'll be Eddie walking home with the gold.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A funny thing happened at the paint desk

Just thought I'd check in since I haven't written anything for a couple of days.  It's been one of those bad scheduling weeks.  A funny thing did happen at the paint desk last week, though.  A customer called in and talked to one of my associates about faux finishes, specifically water based stains and how to blend colors.  Practicing really good customer service, he explained things as well as he could over the phone.  About a half an hour later this customer shows up with a magazine and showed the associate the effect she wanted to achieve.  He went to work, tinting by drops to make sure he got the specific colors of blue and green this customer wanted.  After about 45 minutes he handed her 2 quarts of stain.  Through out this whole time she continued to praise him profusely.

About an hour after she'd left the store, Jeff, from Hardware, stopped over and said "hey, someone left you a late Christmas present in Hardware."

And he set down one of the cans of water based stain which had been mixed.  It seems she changed her mind.  Oops.  And instead of dropping the can off at the desk and telling us she'd changed her mind, she pulled front 2 boxes of nails and hid the can behind them.  Did she really think we wouldn't find them?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Managing your parents

I went to see my Mom today.  This is not unusual, I go see her every week.  What made today just the slightest bit different was that my sister called yesterday evening and informed me that our 'Mom' wanted me to shovel the snow off of her driveway, her car, and her sidewalk.  My Mom is 81 years old so we tend to monitor where and when she drives.  This is not the kind of weather we want her driving in, gusty wind blown snow.  Anyway, I was about 5 minutes into my visit when she told me what I needed to do.  Mind you, she didn't ask.  My Mom will ask on occasion, but mostly she just says "I want you to do" what ever it is she wants you to do.  When the removal of her snow came up today I simply said "no."

This is my Mom and her very fat cat named... Kitty Cat

It's not that I'm being mean, I'm just managing her.  You see she pays this landscaper, named Ed, quite handsomely.  He fertilizes the lawn in the spring, mows it all summer, cleans away the leaves in the fall, and, most important, takes care of her snow removal in the winter.  He does a very good job, too.  Of course, she was a bit miffed, believe me, I'm used to it.  You see she wanted it done now.  As my brother says, "she likes to be dotted upon" in a very major way, meaning she likes to give orders and have you obey.  Neither my sister, my brother, nor I do, however I do seem to be the only one who says "no."  When ever she tries to button hole either one of them into doing something, some how, the responsibility always seems to come rest with me.  And, most of the time, I just say "no."  Why?  Because if you do not learn to manage your parents, they will quite often always try to mange you.
Oh, and in case your wondering, about 20 minutes into my visit Ed arrived to do what she pays him, quite handsomely I might add, to take care of her snow removal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hell in a dentist's chair

One of the things that is now on my list of things to never, ever do again in my entire life, in fact it is quite near the top, is to go to the dentist while still recovering from a cold.  That's what I did this morning.  I thought everything would be fine.  Sniffles were gone, running nose had dried up, and I hadn't sneezed in days.  I felt fine.  As he numbed me up, I reclined back in the chair, listening to the inanities of the Today Show (that's right, there are TVs in every room).  Very rarely do I watch morning television so I was truly surprised by how much was geared for a 12 year-old mindset.  And he began to drill.  Things were going so fine... until I felt the need to cough.

And there I was, with Al Roker making chicken noises on the TV, and my dentist drilling away at the back molar nestled in the rear, roof of my mouth, using a drill sounding very much like one of those drills they use to dig subway tunnels, when something unmentionable slid down the back of my throat and caught on my Adams Apple.  I said "I need to cough," but it sounded something like "rwoar cahh," and my dentist said "Yeah, that Al Roker really is a card."  At which point the air pressure from my lungs burst up, past my Adams Apple, and out my mouth.  It was not pretty.  I do suspect that Dr. Glossner will long remember the day he said to me "tilt your head a little farther back.  Good.    Open a little wider... towards me."  Believe me, you don't want to start off your morning with hell in a dentist's chair.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Germ Warfare

Today is a rather unusual day for me.  I called off sick.  About two weeks ago I developed a mild cold, runny nose for about a day and a half, that's all.  This is how colds normally effect me - here today and gone tomorrow.  On Friday one of my associates, the one who looks like Santa Claus, came in complaining of a vicious cold - sneezing, coughing, bad post nasal drip.  I told him "if it's that bad you should have stayed home."  We constantly deal with the public.  We want to sell them stuff, not make them sick.  Anyway, yesterday morning I noticed the beginning of a sore throat.  Shit.  So about 3 AM this morning, when I woke up to find swallowing very painful, I decided to take the day off.  Around 7 I called the store manager and told him I wouldn't be in.  His comment "I don't have any problem with you taking the day off."

Here it is, about 5 hours later, and my symptoms are pretty much gone.  My glands are a teeny bit sore yet, but my nasal passages are clear; breathing is easy.  I don't take medications, one of my little quirks, unless prescribed by a physician.  Anyway, I probably could have gone into work.  Maybe spread around a little contamination.  Shared a little of my discomfort with a lot of other people.  Practiced a little germ warfare on the unknowing masses who stopped in to buy a gallon of paint.  Nah, it was much easier to make a phone call and go back to sleep until the little dog decided to jump up on the bed with squeaky toy and shove it into my face.  Isn't this why we have 'personal days?'

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I've seen the cookies and the damage done.

Well, it is that time of year, you know.  You do know what I'm talking about, don't you?  The day I climb up on the scale to see how much damage the holidays have done.  Since I tend to track a lot of my personal information, I can tell you the last time I weighed myself was on November 21, 2014, just before Thanksgiving.

I did cringe a bit before stepping onto my Ironman this morning.  You see, during the holidays I'm always on a "see food" diet:  I see food and I eat food.  Except for those terrible Christmas cookies I had at work, everything tasted scrumptious, and I'm including quite a lot here.  There was Boston creme pie, and red velvet cake, and coconut cake, and snicker doodles (love those), and sand tarts, and chocolate chip cookies, and... well the list goes on and on.  You'll notice I'm not including two turkey dinners and and a pork and sauerkraut feast.  Anyway, this morning it was time to see how much damage was done.

And the total cumulative gain I'd wrought was... 6.2 pounds.  To be perfectly honest, I was quite relieved.  I was expecting a much higher figure, since I really do love to eat.  I'm not too concerned since the weight should be gone in about 2 - 3 weeks.  In fact, the first thing I did after weighing myself was set up a cardio / weight training regime.  Believe me, I'll be fine, just as long as no one waves a croissant in front of my nose.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The saga of stupid paint customers continues...

Well, we're now in 2015 - yippee!  The change in calendar year does not mean people buying paint have gotten any more intelligent.  Take yesterday, for example.  A woman comes to the paint desk with a detailed drawing of a living / room dining room she and her husband are going to paint.  She spreads it out on the counter and asks me how much paint she's going to need.  After looking at it carefully, I asked her how high her walls were.  Long seconds started passing as she pondered this evidently nearly impossible question.  Her eventual response was, "well, my husband is 6' 5"," which failed to answer the question entirely.  So I asked again "well, how high are your ceilings?"  At this point she stepped into aisle 6 and yelled for her husband.  When he joined us at the paint desk she asked him the same question.  He promptly stuck his hand up in the air, over his head, as though trying to touch the ceiling, and said "Gee, I don't know."

Sometimes I see this....
For those of you thinking of painting a room, know the height of your walls since that's what you're going to be painting.  Unless you're painting your floor, telling me your room is 10 x 10 tells me nothing.  We eventually decided their walls were between 8 and 9 feet high and I mixed their paint.  When it was sitting on the counter waiting for them to pick it up, this same woman comes back to me and asks if I've mixed their paint yet.  I pointed to the mixed paint on the counter.  She said "gee, I forgot to tell you about the big picture window and the large archway, they weren't in my drawing."