#atozchallenge – Right

I’ve posted before about how much people hate to be wrong. Have you ever been in a conversation where someone said something, and you disagreed. They then start to tell you why they’re right. You point out something that had escaped their attention, which makes them not quite correct, and they continue to defend their point.

When it gets to the point that they’re quite clearly wrong, they just kinda hold on regardless. Or eventually say something “WELL I DON’T FREAKIN KNOW THEN!” or “OKAY, YES! YOU ARE RIGHT! You’re always right! GOOD for you!”

The hell’s up with that? Take a step away, and look… You told me something that was inaccurate, and I pointed it out. YOU were in the wrong, not me! You should be thanking me for stopping you from telling other people this incorrect crap.

I don’t understand why people hate being wrong so much. I’m always the first person to consider that perhaps I’m wrong. I’m wrong all the time! Doesn’t mean I’m stupid or something, means I have incorrect information. If someone tells me I’m wrong, I appreciate it. I don’t want to walk around with incorrect information, I want to be told about it.

Perhaps it’s pride? People like to seem like they know things, and when they’re shown that they don’t, they’re embarrassed?

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#atozchallenge – Satisfaction

The work day today ended like any other, for the most part. I had to pick up Thing 1 from her after school program, so I jumped in the car a little earlier than I had to and stopped at the liquor store. I picked up a bottle of W. H. Harrison Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which is my new favorite. Very smooth, and quite affordable.

I then went on to get the kid. RIGHT next to the place she goes is a smoke shop. I picked up a couple cigars. Partagas, the dark ones, in case you wanted to send me a box of them.

I had a little extra room on the credit card, so I told the lass she could pick the venue for dinner tonight, fearing she’d choose Friendly’s. She did. I said, “Hey, you know the 99 is a lot closer…” She agreed. Good lass.

The waiter came over, looking a bit like he’d been working the bar from the wrong side. He leaned over the edge of the table, a little droopy eyed, a little too friendly, the way some folks do when they’ve had a bit too much to drink. “Hey.” he said offhandedly.

Now… I like to drink on occasion, and frankly I am not bothered by someone else who does. Yeah, I know, he’s working, unprofessional, blahblahblah and he was clearly drunk… but it really didn’t bother me. All he’s gotta do is get the food to me. He was friendly, and nice, etc… Yeah, I’d be singing a different tune if he dropped something hot on us or what have you, but… He took our drink order, and went off…

That however, was the last we’d seen of him. My six year old was thirsty, saying things like “Ugh, C’mon, dude!” but the reality was that we sat there for maybe five minutes before a nice young lass came over and asked, “Did your waiter take your order yet?” He hadn’t, but I told her what we’d ordered for drinks. She said that the fellow who’d taken the drink order had gotten a party of eight, and was a little over burdened. She apologized, and I assured her it was fine.

She came back again, and said that she’d be taking over for him. He’d dropped a considerably large tray of food and drink, and would be going home for the day. Yikes, I thought. Still, I was in good spirits, enjoying my time with my first born.

Dinner came, I got the double BBQ turkey tips, which I highly recommend to anyone, even vegetarians, cause I get a kick out of doing things like that. They tried to give me potatoes in the form of mashed, which I do like, but I’m watching the intake… I asked what else they had, she suggested french fries… eventually, I got broccoli and carrots. When the dinner came they threw in a dinner biscuit, cause god forbid I go without some kind of complex carb, right? Don’t worry, we found a use for it.

The lass got mozzarella sticks, french fries, apple sauce and a side of pickles.

We had a great dinner, goofing around with the crayons, flicking bits of rolled up straw wrappers at one another, telling jokes… being kids.

Thing 1

The manager then paid us a visit, and apologized. I was actually surprised, because in no way was I put out or even peeved. He wanted to make sure everything was OK, and told me that dinner was on the house. He said the waiter had had a bad day, something with his mother and father, etc… and in the course of things we were neglected.

I told him I had no problems whatsoever, these things happen, not a big deal, etc… But graciously accepted a free meal. 🙂

As I had said, I had planned on using the credit card though, so was unable to tip our waitress. I told her I’d feel badly not tipping, but she said not to worry about it, and just get her next time I came in. I plan to. If you’d like, and if you’re in the area of the Ninety Nine restaurant in Taunton MA, ask for Nicole and give her a good tip.

We got home and rejoined the rest of the family, and I retreated to the back deck with a fold up chair, a cigar, and a glass of whiskey, turned on the Red Sox game on my cell phone and listened to innings three through five.

Very enjoyable evening. Here’s my view:

Click for original

So as I thought there, thinking about how perfect an evening it was, my wife brought thing 2 out, (the 2 year old) who told me “Daday! I pooped! It’s dehskustin!”

Thing 2

Butter Scraped Over Too Much Bread

A couple weeks ago, I decided I had enough blogs to make a schedule for them, to see if it kept me motivated to blog on them, so that they wouldn’t go stale. I think we all know how that turned out, since I’m kinda scraping the mold off of this proverbial piece of bread right now. But I do have a good excuse! (don’t I always?)

I’m just plain tired lately. In the words of Bilbo Baggins, I feel thin… Sort of stretched, like… bitter scraped over too much bread.

Our first car was a brand new Hyundai Accent. Tiny little thing. We drove it around for a year and traded it back in for an Elantra, flipping the loan. Then a year and a half later, we traded that in for the car we have now, a 2007 Chevy Uplander which my daughter named “Sheila” years ago. We needed something bigger to fit the whole family. We flipped the loan again, into this used car, which isn’t a terrible machine. I have never really loved it, to be honest. My wife once liked it, but now hates it. It was a necessary thing when we got it.

However, it’s having problems lately.

It decided to stop working some weeks back, completely. Brought it to the shop, they did a tune up, injector cleaning, flushed the coolant, and replaced the ignition switch. Only to find that they put in a bad ignition switch, so they had to get a new one. I’ll spare you the details of us being dropped off there expecting to drive away in the car, only to have to call our ride again, and walk to meet her along a major highway, my wife walking with the 7-year-old, me carrying the 2-year-old AND her car seat. Ok, maybe I won’t spare you the details. Sorry. Anyway, cost about $800.

So anyway, we got the car back, and it worked for two days. Sent it back, they fixed it for free claiming “it was a wire we missed.” Nice that it was free, but it took another five days.

Then, six days before the sticker expired, the engine light came on. Took it back to PepBoys, and the guy (with whom I’m very familiar, at this point) checked the code. It said “Emission system”. He explained that it could be anything, even something as simple as the gas cap not being tight. He deleted the message, told me to drive around for about 60 miles, and go get my sticker… We went over the 60 miles, and at around 74, the damned light came back on. Needless to say, I have a big orange 7 on my windshield. Need to go back and have him do it again. Just haven’t had the time.

The transmission is also slipping a bit… not always engaging when it needs to, so when you pull out onto the road, sometimes the engine revs up, but you don’t go anywhere. If you stay on the gas, it will engage, and snap your neck, and screech the tires. If you let up on the gas, let the engine relax and try again, it typically works out right, however, you run the risk of being rear-ended.

My wife has been talking about getting rid of Sheila for a while, but we still owe two years on it, (which is something like $11k) and nobody will flip that loan for us… Two years isn’t so bad to struggle through either, in my opinion. Well, the wife almost got rear ended while the transmission was doing it’s stupidity, and swore she’d never drive it again. “Guess it’s time for another car”, I said.

But not a new car, and we won’t be trading in Sheila, cause nobody would want it for what we owe. Instead, we’ll be doubling our outgoing car payments… We pick up the new car (a ’05 Buick Rendezvous) on Friday. My wife loves it. I don’t particularly like it much, I think it looks like a sneaker. It’s got a few more miles than I’d like it to, but not terrible.

My credit sucks so we’ll be paying for it weekly. Comes with a 2 year warranty on everything but tires, wipers, and brake pads… Two years of worry free car maintenance… At the end of which Sheila will also be paid off, and I’ll only have one more year of payments on the Buick. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, though it’s REALLY dark where I’m standing right now. At least the family will be safe. I’ll continue to drive Sheila, but at least fixing it isn’t as hot a topic right now.

I’ll be looking for a second job, methinks.

I also have a cold, which makes anything but sniffing, snorting, and snuffling difficult. Mental function is reduced. My head feels packed with wool. Sleeping is very difficult, made worse by the fact that I have a Bi-Pap machine, due to sleep apnea. So as I try to sleep, when my nose runs, I have to take off the mask to blow it, which is difficult, cause I just shave my head (my summer style) and the damned strap that keeps the mask on my head drags across my head stubble and gets stuck.

So my blogging motivation hasn’t been very high. I am still reading your blogs and commenting where I can though. Stick around, I’ll be back and more cheerful in the near future!

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Buying Beer for Cookouts

A Smokey Joe charcoal grill made by the Weber ...

A Smokey Joe charcoal grill made by the Weber Corporation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the beginning of time, or at least as far back as I have been drinking beer, when I think “Cookout beer” I think cheap, watery, yellow American light beer. Used to be because whenever I thought “beer” in general, that’s what I thought, but since discovering my love for Craft beer and everything NOT cheap, watery, yellow American light beer, that’s no longer the case.

Even still though, when I start planning a cookout, my mind immediately goes to cheap 30 packs. Partly because I know that’s what the attendees will drink, but also because… well, it’s cheap.

I do still enjoy a cheap watery light beer from time to time especially when it’s hot out and I’m working the grill. I’m not going to pretend that Craft beer is the only beer of merit, because I believe that although it’s definitely fantastic and the best thing on the market, all beer has it’s place in the grand scheme of things. When it’s hot, and I’m grilling, and there are people counting on me to not burn their food, I go for the light watery stuff because I can drink three times as much of it, stay fairly hydrated, and I still get that carbonated beer belch that I find oh-so necessary.

Still though, I can’t help but wonder if I should be trying to introduce these folks to a solid craft beer instead of the cheapo watery junk. The craft beer folks I know would say “Absolutely!” of course, but I’m not so sure! After all, I am buying it, and what happens if they don’t like it? Then there’s nothing for them to drink, and I feel like I didn’t do my job… But what happens if they DO like it?? Then they drink it, and there’s less for me!

I could get BOTH I suppose, but I’m working on a very limited budget here.

What do you buy for cookouts as far as beer and alcohol? When you attend a cookout do you expect to have beer bought for you? Do you frown upon a cookout host who buys only cheap watery beer for general consumption?

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What’s that Smell??

I got up this morning, a little bit later than I should have. I came down, poured a coffee and threw some frozen waffles into the toaster. I got a couple things ready in the living room where I’ve been setting up shop lately, logged into my computer, started my necessary programs, and I heard my waffles pop up.

I took a sip of my coffee and headed out to the kitchen. As I rounded the doorway I was punched in the face by a memory associated with the smell of toaster waffles. They say smell is the sense most powerfully associated with memory, and it’s moments like this that prove it.

I’d mentioned before that I was never a great student, and that was never more apparent than shortly after the 6th grade. I’d done some hard-core slacking off that year, and got a failing grade for the fourth quarter of Science. I passed the other quarters, but only barely, so I didn’t know whether or not I’d passed for the year. I took it in stride; calm, cool, and collective, as was my way.

Several days later, we got a letter in the mail that my disappointed and mildly angry mother read to me. It wasn’t required, but strong recommended that I go to summer school, as I had passed science by the skin of my teeth with a D- average. Further, was the fact that going to summer school had a price associated with it, and I knew my folks didn’t exactly have cash laying around. Phew! I thought. Summer school would have interfered with our trips to the MDC pool in Brighton that we frequented every day of every summer for the last few years.

I sat at the table, feeling like I was invincible, having dodged the summer school bullet. I was eating my waffles, feeling very pleased with myself and probably acting the part. I was feeling great, right up until I said something, or did something that pissed off my already angry mother. I can honestly tell you, I don’t remember what it was that I did, but I knew I’d stepped in it as soon as it happened… In a tone that tied my stomach in a knot, a tone that I couldn’t begin to describe, she said “…oh yeah?”

She got on the phone and called my father at work. I listened, hoping that he’d tell her to forget it, that we didn’t have the money for it. “I think that’s a good idea,” I heard him say over the phone. Crushed, I started to cry as I tried to eat my now-cold waffles. I tried to ride out the storm, thinking it was a scare tactic. I moved a waffle bit around in the syrup, and squished some butter between the tines of my fork, in an effort to distract myself until it blew over.

Alas, it did not.

I went to summer school a couple days later. I went again for failing science the summer between 7th and 8th grade, and again for failing English (of all things) before entering high school. I don’t remember anything about the events leading up to the second two bouts with summer school, except that there had been no two ways about those two times. I didn’t pass at all, I was going to go to summer school, or stay back a grade. Perhaps having gone through the first round thickened the skin enough that by then it was no big deal.

You might think that reliving that memory this morning, as I walked into the kitchen would be an unpleasant one, but sending me to summer school was the right decision. Were I the parent in that particular instance, I’d have done the same thing without a moment’s hesitation.