July 2, 2015
This all started because I had to move the internet from my old office (or as it is more commonly known my son's room) to the new facility on the front of the house. I got a flyer in the mail from a competing company that also offered business class internet service at a much lower price. I called them to see what the catch was and it all checked out. So I called the not so good people at Comcast and asked them to move my service and match the price. The person on the other end of the phone treated me like I was an idiot.
Okay, so what you are saying is that you are going to charge me to move the connection AND that you cant match the price unless I call back and want to cancel my service? If I do that you are "pretty sure" they will match the price? You and your company deserve every bit of bad press that you get. I am going to hang up with you now and order service from your competition. If you make me call back it will be too late as I need a seamless transition. Are you sure you or anyone else on the other end of this phone can't help me? Thank you for your complete lack of assistance and before you ask if there is anything else you could help with I have some suggestions that involve your rectum if you really want to make me happy.
Internet is in, carpet is in, I will be canceling with them as soon as the computer and phone successfully move later today. When I call back I really want to see how far up the chain I can escalate. I might even claim to be one of those recorded every call in the hopes of going viral blogger types to see what that gets me. None of it will work however as I just signed a year contract that saves my company five hundred and sixteen dollars a year. But Tom with time off loves a good tussle.
July 1, 2015
Something about her sisters boyfriend, abuse, and jail. They were hatching a plot to get him busted when he bought his weekly supply. At one point I must have been staring, mouth agape, frozen in time, because she realized that I was completely tuned in and started whispering. Dammit, I need to invent a remote microphone and corresponding phone app that can be casually flicked at a target and it sticks. I don't need forever battery life or unlimited range, just the ability to completely violate the privacy of another person... OK, unreasonable. But someone turned the channel on me just when things were getting good.
If I keep going at the current production pace I could be in the new office as early as next week. There will be a couple of brief intermissions like tonight (our anniversary) and that pesky firecracker holiday where we will be at the lake, but other than that I am ahead of schedule. I hit the road again next week in an effort to fund the final push and get ready for the fall. I will try and get better about posting but every time I sit down there is something else to do.
June 28, 2015
My daughter is gay and if you don't like it you might want to keep that to yourself.
Yup, my daughter is gay. I believe Lesbian is the technical term but now I’m just being cute trying to delay the writing of this piece. Before you even think of responding without reading this entire thing be warned: I could give a flying shit what you think. I do not need your condolences or understanding I would just like you to read what I have to say or don't. I’m writing this so my child has a record of what was going on in my head during this time in her life. If you have some sort of deep belief or opinion that makes you opposed to other sexuality save yourself some time and fuck-off right now. Don't bother reading the rest, it's not for you.
It was just after New Year's Eve where we allowed my eldest child and her friends to head over to the lake house to celebrate without supervision for the first time. Eldest was pressing to leave for the trip even though the weather services were predicting snow. We didn't want her to go if it got bad but she insisted and marched all of her close friends into the van and off they went. They got there without incident and by all accounts had a great time. They had some trouble leaving because they were snowed in but got home in time to see me off on a business trip.
Wife and Eldest were going to drive me to the airport and I know it seems like I’m giving a lot of boring details to delay the actual content but bare with me then my bride decided that the whole family should make the trip. My flight was canceled and I took a car home because the next one out wouldn't leave until late morning. When I got home I changed my clothes after five hours in O’Hare and Eldest walked into the bedroom and asked me if we could talk. This was strange because we had already hashed out her terrible first semester at college so I wasn't sure what was going on.
She sat on the bed and started to cry immediately asking me to promise not to be mad at her. My mind was racing. maybe they broke something at the lake and she was confessing but that wouldn't usually mean tears... I told her that I couldn't promise not to be mad but she could tell me anything. Then she asked me to promise to still love her and my heart broke. My mind immediately went to pregnancy and how it was going to be with a baby around the house and what about her future and who in the hell was the father “Daddy I’m gay.”
Completely locked me up for a second. Holy crap! Who cares?
I hugged her as tightly as I could and told her that I didn't care at all. I was overcome by the fact that she just told me that. I can't imagine the pressure of telling your parents when you have no idea how they will react. Especially your Dad who makes fun of everyone and everything out loud at every chance he gets. Once we both stopped crying I asked her how long she had known and she said 4 or 5 YEARS! That upset me more than anything. The fact that she carried this around all by herself for all that time absolutely killed me.
It turned out that the lake trip with her close friends was where she chose to come out to them. They were all supportive and helped her screw up the courage to come home and tell us. It was supposed to happen in the car on the way to the airport but her siblings riding along ruined that. And I have to say I’m a little bit thankful for that. I Can’t imagine a tougher flight not to mention my wife home alone with no one to help her cope. As it was I had to leave the next morning and sitting alone in a hotel room with plenty of time to think wasn't so fun. And speaking of my bride I think for some reason this is tougher on a mother regarding a daughter. Everything was great and I think we are all closer but theirs is not my story to tell. I even felt uncomfortable about this because I am like an extra who gets splashed by a puddle during a high speed chase scene so I sent it to my daughter for her approval before posting.
My biggest problem with this whole situation is she will be walking a path I know little about and there is nothing I can do to protect her. Dad’s just want to fix things and not that anything's broken but I have a strong urge to follow her throughout the rest of her life with a baseball bat in case anyone has something negative to say.I know that is not realistic but I am coiled and ready for my first confrontation. I love this child, so brave, and a much better person than I will ever be but this is not going to be easy. She’s strong and she’s smart and I know she will be OK but it's my job to worry.
I wasn't kidding when I said that this child is a better person than I could ever hope to be. She is truly gentle and kind, caring and empathetic to a fault. This might explain her calling toward social work. Anyway, I just wanted to put this down because I am so pissed at some of the tiny minds exposing themselves all around me. My greatest line during that whole coming out thing was a knee jerk reaction to try and diffuse the tension. Just after she told me I automatically said "that's great honey because I don't like to think about any of my kids interacting with a penis."
June 27, 2015
This same thinking also goes for my wife. I've written before that she never reads this and a couple of people have tried to call bullshit on this fact. I swear, she has absolutely no interest. I also think that there might be a small part of her that thinks I complain about our life together on these pages even though I've told her time after time that I don't. So if I do happen to slip something in about her it is not negative if I can help it. Besides I know I bitch a lot but its mostly about idiots who cross my path not the people I choose to have around me. Again, she didn't ask for this, and if she wants a story told the internet is a big open space. That being said I am going to write a bit about her right now. Forked tongue much?
I told you that she is heading back to grad school. When you are gone for a certain number of years there are things you need to do again for some schools. The one she wants to get in required her to retake the ACT. That would be enough to dissuade this guy. There is no part of me that would ever want to take a test like that again. But my wife took the challenge head on. Studied like crazy, got a tutor for the math section, and ended up beating her high school score by recording a 27. I am officially impressed.
This was the hardest I've seen her work at something in a while. In the middle of the test prep journey I thought she was going to give up. I lost count of how many practice tests she took and those early timed efforts ended with a lot of tears. But she powered through. And now here we sit on the precipice of yet another college tuition. Unplanned. Not prepared for in any way. Holy crap I can take a good mood and turn it on a dime. It's like a really shitty super power. Worried about money guy would not sell a bunch of comics. I need a mental reset button. Time for a beer.
June 26, 2015
June 25, 2015
The unit I'm having installed is a cassette mounted on the interior wall connected to a small condenser outside that looks kind of like a suitcase. A little bigger and holes to dissipate heat but you get the idea. The perfect spot for the outside unit is directly behind the other. Side of the house completely surrounded by fence so no one can see it from the street. BUT NOOOO. If I want to put it there I have to have a variance hearing for the SIX INCHES closer to the property line than is allowed. Who knows how long that would take so I am just going to bow to their stupidity and relocate it around the corner. Further away... costing more money... FACK.
I might be paying a penalty for constantly disregarding their "opinions" and asking what the law or building codes require me to do. I have been having these little battles throughout this process and all of the inspectors have a whole pile of notions as to spending my cash. When pushed, the way I got things done was perfectly up to code but to quote more than one of these folks "not the way I'd do it."
To hold my gaze steady and keep from talking I imagine elaborate fight scenes in my head. I got to the point where I could have a full on daydream while leaving an expressionless resting poker face. Oh the horrors I delivered in my mind. I just keep telling myself that its almost over, its almost over, its almost over. I need this to be over.
June 24, 2015
June 22, 2015
Yesterday was a working Father's Day as my bride had to haul ass to the lake house for cleaning duty. She had renters checking out at eleven and the next set arriving at three which left me to prepare the day for the family. Not a huge deal but definitely harder than sitting around like a lump while everyone waits on me. All went well and ultimately I just had to do some light straightening and grilling. Two things that really don't annoy. But while I talking annoyances I think the house on the lake might be in peril.
I know you might be thinking "why don't they just find someone to clean it for a fee?" (do you like how I made your quote all fancy? for a fee. like you've ever said that...) well that is easier said than done. I have no idea what people in that weird part of the country do for work but it isn't cleaning and can't have follow-up or deadline requirements. Someone who did their work when scheduled and within a reasonable amount of time could make a killing. The problem is that if you live there year round and not on the water it doesn't cost very much to maintain a pretty comfortable lifestyle. When your movie theater charges a flat five bucks and that includes your pop (popcorn is fifty cents more if you make the initial two dollar investment in their bucket) it is a good gauge to relative cost of living.
I think the work required to make it cost neutral plus the fact that we can barely enjoy it are wearing away at her. Yes it is one of the last physical memories of her family but in the end it is just a thing and not the people themselves. I think the kids might be bummed but the realities around life haven't really begun to hit home for any of them yet. Even the recent graduate is just dipping her toes into the waters of un-sheltered adulthood and finds them ink black and ice cold.
I love the place and love hosting my friends up there but it is one maybe two weekends a year and that is a tough return on investment justification. Time will tell but I will probably begin the slow might-not-be-around-for-long justification process. You never know though. I could still be bitching about the place 20 years from now...
June 19, 2015
Cab ride was another treat as my driver ate something that didn't agree with him. To the extreme where I asked for all windows to be rolled down. When that didn't clear the funk I let him know that he might want to take himself out of the rotation while he cleans up whatever accidental collateral damage is going on in his pants. No apology or disagreement. Just a professional driver who shit himself during my particular ride home.
This was also by the way my first ever zero dollar tip. I let him know that I was not a big complainer so there would be nothing formal reported to his company but if he thought I was going to tip him after driving home in his colon he was terribly mistaken. Again, no real argument. Nice quick transaction. I really think there was an unexpected round in the chamber and he was off to freshen up.
I feel like it's still in my nostrils somehow and am contemplating putting some hydrogen peroxide on a Qtip and cleansing that way. I have got to do something or I will be dry-heaving in my sleep.
June 17, 2015
I could have sworn that I was in the 4th largest metropolis in the country but the news here is some horrible and entertaining stuff. It seems like this is a tiny market regarding news reporting talent. Holy shitsticks some of these folks can't get through 2 complete sentences in a row and no one seems to care. A guy just said "shoot" after a flub and I could tell it wasn't the first time.
The storm changed classification into a tropical depression. Full name Tropical Depression Bill. ridiculous. And if there were a drinking game attached to those words I would have been hammered by the time I left the hotel room this morning.
Now that it has stopped raining it's like breathing under water. Sweat when you step out of the shower hot. If we ever have an outbreak of some kind it will grow in a climate like this. The bugs look at you like they are the least of your worries.
Houston is a cool city but there are a bunch of reasons why it's cost of living is so reasonable and liquid air is one of them. I was down by some swollen stagnate waterway and it was like breathing in the earth's perspiration left on a toilet seat.. sorry, gagging on chewable air was new for me. Just trying to share the experience.
June 16, 2015
And that is a shame after the high of last nights Stanley Cup finale. I don't know what it is about hockey but it gets me almost too cranked up to watch. At least when I'm in a bar there are other people and alcohol to take the edge off. I could not feel at ease until the last seconds ticked off the clock. And even then I couldn't stop watching. Something about that awkward ceremony was anticlimactic but the celebrations afterward made it up. I should have punched out much earlier than I did but I felt like savoring the moment was apropos.
And now I sit in a hotel room staring out the window at biblical floods. I have ordered room service because venturing out would mean listening to the endless GPS girl recalculating as I am detoured around washed out roads. So I will eat overpriced average while I prep for tomorrow's work. The first night of any trip is the worst night. It's all down hill after this.
Now I get to have the same annoying "Is there a tip already on this room service bill?" conversation. The one where I ask that as a way to let them know I will be writing a zero in the additional gratuity line and then they tell me that yes in fact 18% has been included automatically by the hotel. Implying that they get none of it for gathering and wheeling my already-priced-more-than-the-same-thing-if-I-went-down-to-the-restaurant meal to me. This is after they flip the lock on the door to hold it open in case I want to trap them in the room. I am always tempted to go and un-flip the lock, close the door completely, lock all the locks, and grin.
June 14, 2015
So I'm at Dick's already annoyed because I'm shopping in a section I haven't seen in a while and hoped to not visit again when I had to wait to look at the pads. There was a sizable older gentleman kind of blocking my ability to read the packages. It was like he was doing it on purpose. As I would move to start flipping through the things he would edge close, break my personal space bubble, and flip through the same row that I was. I couldn't figure it out.
Then I thought it might be someone else, maybe a players grandpa, on the same last minute supply run for a forgetful player and in an effort to figure out what was happening I asked. He answered with the weirdest thing. "I know you are looking for the same pad that I am. Velcro straps and a hole in the knee. They are discontinued but this store is supposed to have one left and I got here first."
I assured him that I was on a different mission but he didn't believe me. I stepped back in an effort to let him look through the complete rack. There were probably only thirty different packages in total but the size I needed wasn't visible. When he stopped looking I had enough and reached in digging for a L/XL. The old coot gave me a half-assed hip check. Like a frustrated little kid. (me and him) So I pushed on.
I found the size I wanted and dug it out then he made a grab for the pads. I felt compelled to comment at that point. LOOK DUDE, I WILL LET YOU SEE THE PACKAGE I'M TAKING BUT IF THIS GETS WEIRD I WILL THROW YOU TO THE GROUND AND NOT THINK TWICE ABOUT IT. He just glared at me as if I were trying to pull a fast one. So I turned to go check out. I said something like Good for you - still playing volleyball and he yelled something about needing the pas for work.
Maybe the greeters at Walmart are like a roller-derby gauntlet now? If I had had more time and patience I would have figured out exactly what was going on with my instant adversary. Now I'm left to fill in the blanks myself.
June 12, 2015
I am only here right now as one last practice test needs printing. The silence and random swearing during the timed tests is terrifying. I think I will offer to run and get dinner for everyone. from Wisconsin maybe...
June 11, 2015
I think I mentioned that Google Chrome thinks I'm in Mexico. I flipped out thinking I had some kind of virus or Malware so I burned a ton of time scrubbing my computer clean. Luckily I found out that its something to do with the google servers and my IP address before I took a match to all of my technology and started from scratch. When your already on edge computer troubles escalate quickly. At one point I was flipping out at a Comcast representative to the point that I would have hung up on me. Maybe their recent rash of recorded customer service issues upped the training or maybe I just got someone who is used to folks flipping the flock out. Either way, a rare bright spot yesterday.
And before you think I am just taking the Comcast "not our fault it's theirs.." line of BS it turns out that this is a thing with the all knowing Google. They even have a page for reporting the problem. Knowing this happens doesn't make you feel better when it tells you at the top
"We'll investigate your report and, if necessary, pass the details on to our engineering team. Updates to IP addresses may take more than a month. We won't follow up with you individually but we'll do our best to resolve the issue."So I guess I just switch to Bing for the mean time and check back in on the Google every once in a while to see if the .mx has gone away. You don't realize how much you use a thing until every time you try it shoves Spanish up your hind end and tries to break it off. good times.
June 10, 2015
I am being overly dramatic because I want someone to feel a touch of the anxiety that is coursing through me right now. Its my own fault. My family doesn't have a financial panic button because I've done a pretty good job insulating them from the valleys that appear now and then in our financial journey. Right now I find myself in the midst of a spending perfect storm. Nothing to do but hold on and try to stay afloat.
In other sort of money related news I have decided to push up my move in deadline for the new office. I have given myself until the end of July to get everything complete. That means I will be using some spare time to complete the things that are within my core competency. Calking and priming are the first things on my list and that work should begin by this weekend. This is going to take a while as everything is new dry and thirsty. I think I'll wait until my next travel block ends to get the bad news on carpet and the mini-split.
I absolutely hate having no money and it has put me in a mood. I am trying not to whine so much in this thing but that ship has sailed. Time to take a night and think my way out of this pickle.
June 8, 2015
June 6, 2015
A good friends Father in Law died this week so she did her normal over the top helping out. Add in that great news from the internal revenue people plus a couple other things and your hair starts to stand up when she's around like during a lightning storm before the big show starts. The boy had his last day of school Friday so he came home in typical fashion and just threw everything everywhere. When asked to go out and mow the lawn he told her he had plans with his friends and he would get to it tomorrow. This was the match in the paint thinner factory.
Luckily his eldest sister was smart enough to recognize DEFCON 5 so she went out an started mowing. The youngest child was hiding in his room afraid to move. I got him working on removing all last day of school traces from the house and just shutting up. Head down, do work.
By the time I talked to her she was kind of burst talk crying as the frustration would not let her formulate more than a couple words at a time. The kids were both texting me but I don't read those while driving so the noise was just annoying me and they were receiving no help. One of her things was the overall condition of the house and she was not wrong. We have clumps of Francine (the constantly shedding but now much worse white Samoyed) hair blowing around like tumbleweeds and I am attempting to straighten up while she is at the lake house cleaning.
Ya, she is renting the house out to make it at least cost neutral during these challenging financial times. Someone checked out this morning and the new folks arrive tomorrow. Middle is taking the train out from the city for a doctor appointment that I will be handling...
Good times around here right now... back to work.
June 4, 2015
Last night I snuck off by myself to watch the Hawks game. The first bar I went to was completely contaminated with my students. I put in my time and answered a bunch of questions, received a couple of free drinks, and then disappeared like a vaudevillian magician minus the puff of smoke.
I know I did it right when people ask "What happened to you last night?" I found a bar far enough away that I was safe but for 2 periods the Hawks failed to score. So between periods I decided to change the juju and move to another bar. (much less creepy than asking a random patron to switch seats with me) I walked way too much last night and am paying for it today. This has nothing to do with the amount of beer consumed either. Just a coincidence.
I am seriously creaking like the Tin Man pre-lube on the yellow path. I am currently three Tylenols deep and thinking about a fourth. I might do my bathtub foot soak when we finish. Tonight is the big team dinner so I need to strap in for a three hour meal. It's hard to serve fifteen people simultaneously and when the company is buying I have some coworkers who are not shy about ordering every possible course available. Drinks-starter-salad-soup-entree-desert-aperitif-coffee. exhausting.
HEY, they are ready for me.
June 2, 2015
It started with the local building inspectors. As they were walking through the tiny little office I'm trying to build every sentence out of their mouths somehow spent more of my money. You should, you need to, why don't you, not single discount suggestion in the bunch. I wanted to start screaming about the actual building codes they are supposed to be enforcing because they wanted to talk about everything but. And you cant fight them because they hold all the cards. The one idiot was trying to tell me something that I know will cause mold so I will put that one on the ignore list with the rest I can't afford. All of that took three hours most of which was waiting for them to show up. Suffering shitsticks just thinking about that wasted morning is elevating my personal threat level.
Then when the mail arrived I got the nice audit notice from the internal revenue service. I have no words for the things boiling up inside. This is where I was ready to write my manifesto. Even now I could start rolling down a hill and end up on a dozen more watch lists. I am teaching my solo class this week so night before tensions are high anyway. I need to get some restless.
May 31, 2015
Case in point; my phone. I really like this thing even if I did buy it last minute on my way out of town due to another one shitting the bed. It has been a great all around device. But since I began to think about a move back to Apple little things are beginning to annoy. First up my email randomly crashes. No rhyme or reason it just stops working and gives me an error message. The internet has been a bust so far with a fix so I am left annoyed. I had a tech support person tell me that it would most likely be addressed in the next update. "when will that happen?" I asked to which he replied something about definitely in the next two months. That sounds both definitive and vague all at the same time.
Secondly (crap, is that even a word and am I using it correctly?) I'm getting all kinds of other little things annoying me as well but they are boring and technical. What this boils down to is the thing that I use the most isn't reliably working. I mentioned that tech support gave me no satisfaction so I decided to go to one of the dedicated Samsung kiosks or whatever they are called inside of Best Buy. These people work for Samsung directly as they will tell you ten times during any conversation like they are better than the store where they spend all of their time. This is weird inside of a retailer but what the hell do I know? When asked they gave me the same update nonsense that the tech support guy at AT&T told me. Then when I pushed things got bumpy.
We start the dance and I explain whats going on and am immediately hit with a pitch to upgrade. I counter with things about them working for the company and knowing less than the average person on the street about tech support. Back and forth leads me to mention that I'm thinking about switching back and that's where I touched a nerve. The dude's face changed into a scowl. I got some immediate pre-loaded nonsense about specs and performance and when I countered with why the other companies stuff just seemed to work most of the time he was disgusted.
So much so that his coworker cut in and took over dealing with the difficult customer. (Me) More back and forth didn't fix any of my problems but I had a ton of suggested tips and tweaks. Things about all of the customization I could do and blah blah blah bullshit. I feel like my eyes have been opened. My android experience has been about all of the different things I could do TO the phone. Man I can make this thing look awesome. And widgets are handy but no more so than an app doing the same thing. No crap this thing is customizeable (?) and powerful but...
The android world is fractured and has a bunch of layers. They put out an update then all of the companies who sell their phones take that update and change it to fit their phones. Then the carriers get involved for some reason and the entire process means that you get an update around 3 months after it gets put out. I am rambling on this rainy Sunday afternoon so I will shut this down but it strikes me that this next couple months or so that I wait to change phones is going to drag a bit as I get more and more disgruntled.