Thursday, December 26, 2013

What were they thinking?

I suppose I could go ask, but I'd feel stupid if the answer is something as simple as it seems (they were high on crack so they weren't really thinking).

But I can imagine the events leading up to it.

Tuesday afternoon, December 24th 2013.  It's Christmas eve and all the mechanics at Meineke Car Care Center have had a crazy busy day.  Well - all of them except for the asshole manager who gives himself the day off.

So after the shop closed for the night, the workers decided to unwind a little before heading out for some last minute shopping.  As always, when the boss is away, "unwinding" involves whatever drugs were brought in.  Usually it's just a little liquor or dope, but on special occasions (like Christmas Eve), Santa always provides something a little bit more "festive" to the good men and women of Meineke Car Care Center.

Last year, it was a shitload of smack and 2 years back ...  the stockings were stuffed with meth.

As the 2013 Christmas Eve crew worked their way to the back room where the company Christmas party is always held, they agreed the day was right for some good ol' fashioned crack cocaine.

They were just settling in around the back room table when the phone rang.  It was the manager.

"Oh thank god you're still there.  Before you go tonight, I need you to change the sign," He said.

There's a big sign out front.  It has the company logo and below is a board for customized messages.  Normally - these describe whatever "special" is going on.  

No matter what time if year it is, changing the sign is a miserable job.  But in the winter, it's the worst.  It involves a long pole with a suction cup on one end.  The suction cup has to be dampened so each plastic letter in the message can be attached and hoisted into position.  If it's windy - and a letter falls, there's the added horror of the letter slicing through the air to the ground, pausing only briefly to gash your face.

On this night it was just about 9 degrees fahrenheit and nobody wanted that job.  Whoever got stuck doing it would first have to take the other letters down.  The water from the bucket would freeze his hands something horrible.

They asked the boss if it couldn't wait.  He refused.  It was no use.  It had to be tonight before they left.

Gus, the lead tech, volunteered to do the job if the rest of the guys would stick around and get all coked up with him while they decided what to put on the sign.

Those boys all agreed to that.  How hard could it be?  Especially once the creative powers of the drugs took over.

So Gus and the boys smoked crack and brainstormed.  After about 3 hours of smoking and storming, they had it narrowed down to a couple they "sort of" liked but there was no universal consensus.  

Finally, Gus said, "Maybe we need to be a little bit more wasted.  Sol, hand me that quack - er, crack  pipe!  Uh - huh huh, huh huh huh."

At this, of course just about everybody fell over laughing at how funny Gus was.

Then Stewart, who they all called "Professor"  because he was the smartest of all of them - said, "Did you just say 'quack'?  What's Quack?"

And the problem was solved. The sign was finished a short time later and they all had a very Merry Christmas after all.
Omaha Humor.  Stay Classy Omaha.

Friday, December 20, 2013

FRiday night Extra: Sometimes, you just have to read your Spam

Otherwise, you'd never know about things like this:

Hello FRed,
I got in this thing for some finances and…
I’m embarrassed to say, but I traded
like playing the roulette -> I ain’t got a shit!

So when I first heard of this
Profitin60seconds software I was like
C’mon, give me a break.


Anyway, I joined the 30-day free trial and
got so much that…
I wanted to punch myself in the face for
not trying it earlier!

FRed, don’t do like me
==> Go profitin60seconds NOW!

Cheers mate,

* Yeah, the upper case 'FR' in the title is intentional.  That's how all the cool kids do it.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Honestly, I just wanted to say 'tousled'

I don't know what it is lately, but these seem to have Dad in them somewhere.  Hey, I don't write 'em, I just ...

Ok yeah - I write them, but I'm pretty much limited to whatever crosses my mind immediately after I say to myself, what the hell am I going to write about?

A few weeks back on a Saturday - Jack, Abe and I were trying to figure out how to kill some time.  I thought it might be fun for them to "walk all the way to Iowa."

To their credit, when I brought it up, they said something like, "That's sound horrible/fun."

I don't know which one thought it was a good idea or which one expressed his opinion first, but you must know that it has a 100% chance of being rejected by one and accepted by the other.  No matter the idea.

As the deciding vote, I drove down to the foot of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.

After we crossed the bridge, we found a way to get to the river's edge.  It seemed low and slow compared to other times I've seen it, but it reminded me of something.

When I was about 10 years old, my dad and I were standing at the other side of river's edge.  We were in Dodge Park.  The river was high and flowing rapidly that day.  My dad asked me what I thought would happen if I tried to swim across.

"Do you think you could make it?" he asked as I watched the angry southern flow.  I was an extremely strong swimmer and it didn't look too far to me at the time. Of course I now know that I would have promptly drowned if given the opportunity.  But that wasn't what my dad meant.

"Do you think you'd end up over there," he asked, pointing straight east to the far shore, "or way down there,"  now pointing considerably farther south  of where we were standing.  I understood what he was saying.

"Oh yeah.  The current.  I'd definitely be way down there,"  I said.  It was obvious.

Then he said, "So when you swam back, you'd be right back here, right?"

I laughed.  He said, "What's funny?"

I said, "Well no.  You'd be way farther down, but back on this side."

At that my dad smiled, tousled my hair, and said, "You're a smart boy.  Smarter than your old man."

I was confused.  Of course he also knew the silly answer to his funny questions.  I shrugged it off.

My dad did a lot of things in his younger years that he later realized were extremely dangerous.  Some of them he told us about, but others he kept to himself for fear that we might try to emulate him in some misguided way.

Eventually, he told us the rest of the stories - but not until he felt we were past the age of extreme foolishness.

I don't think he remembers the day at Dodge park.  Once when I was about 20 or so he did tell me about the day he swam across the Missouri river.  Twice.

He was up at Dodge park.  He was 18 years old.  He had driven there and was wondering if he could swim across the river.  He hadn't counted on the current carrying him so far south on his way across.  Anyway, he got it wrong in his brain.  Something told him that the swim back would somehow even everything out.

As he was telling me this, I was remembering the strange conversation from a decade before.

He had stripped down completely naked and jumped in.  He swam to near exhaustion.  The current was stronger than he thought.  He did not drown.  When he reached the other side, he was roughly a mile south of where he had started.  Naked, in Iowa, and terrified of his dad, he felt he had no choice but to swim back.  No way he could call and tell his dad what had happened.  He didn't know if he had the strength to make it back, but he'd rather drown than take whatever he had coming from his dad.

He rested for a while and began his way back.  On the swim back, he had to rest a couple of times, floating helplessly south as he did.

He survived his second crossing of the Missouri that day and ended up somewhere south of roughly what would be Bellevue today.  It was nothing but farms back then.

He walked north along the shore for a while and knocked on the door of the first house he found.  An old farmer opened up and upon seeing the wet, naked 18 year old, said, "Out swimming in the river, eh?"

The old man got a kick out of the fact that my dad hadn't died and loaned him a blanket to wrap up in.  He offered to call my dad's dad so he could come pick him up, but my dad refused.  He said he'd rather walk naked back to his car several miles north than face his dad after such a stunt.  The old man had pity and gave my dad a ride back up to Dodge park, his clothes and his car.

I was glad to learn what was behind my dad's initial questions.  I doubt my grandpa ever knew about it or he wouldn't have been bragging to us about swimming across Lake Manawa.  Twice.  Well actually that's pretty cool, I guess.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Extra: The Plot thickens

The Following is new information that has come to light about Yesterday's post.

It has to do with something I have no recollection of from when I was a child.

If you look at the Photo, that's my Brother Steve in the Blackshirts shirt.

This was posted on Facebook.  I commented about the cool shirt.  Steve remembers a lot about this.  I will paste the relevant exchange below:

So my new theory is Dad's prank is 35 years in the making.  I made such a big deal out of not getting the "Blackshirts" shirt,  he's making me buy one that he's going to give to me once he has the one he wants from Michele.  That's why he was so careful to make sure whatever I got him said "Blackshirts" on it.

Now I'm thinking, I won't even give it to him.  I'll just keep it.  Hahaha!  I win!  Me!  
Who's a happy husker?

Thanks for finally doing the right thing Dad.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Grandpa Handsome's Opus

I've been thinking about my dad this week.  His birthday is next week and Christmas is the following week. 

He has 3 children (that he knows about - Hardy har har!) and he has always told us not to get him anything for either Christmas or his birthday.  Normally we'd get something for him in direct defiance.  Usually we chip in for something.   Last year for Christmas we got him a Roku so he could watch Netflix.  It was a good gift.  We got him logged on to my sister's Netflix account and other than sports, that's all he watches.  

He's told me several times that it was the perfect gift.

Well last Sunday, he asked, "You know how I always say don't get me anything for Christmas?"


"This year I have an idea of something I'd like but I don't want to pay for."

"Let's hear it, pops," is paraphrasing what I said.

Then he went into great detail about what he wanted.  He was so clear, that it was not easy to find what he asked for that met the exact specifications.  Maybe that was the real reason he asked.  Maybe he couldn't find the exact item himself and he knows I'm good with "The computers and internet and that crap".

He wants a Huskers related sweatshirt.  A black Huskers sweatshirt.  Not a hoodie.  Crew neck.  It should say "Blackshirts" on it in a simple design.  Size large.

Ok - I figured that would be easy enough.  

But an online search was not too helpful.  I had expected a bunch of name brand sweatshirts that fit the description, but I didn't find any I could be sure about.

So I figured I was going to have to do actual walking around in an actual store.


So I went to Husker Hounds where I always feel like the smartest person in the room.  

But before I chat about Husker Hounds, I want to say at this point that my dad's contribution to my DNA was in full force.  I was buying the sweatshirt with the full knowledge that my sister had already bought him one.

The day after Dad told me he wanted this shirt, my sister called me to tell me that she had already gotten him one.

Dad had called her for some other reason and "casually" mentioned that he told me he wanted that shirt.  Michele was confused because he had told her the same thing 3 weeks before.  She figured he must've completely forgotten.  Maybe he was drunk. Maybe.  But Michele kept her mouth shut about it.  She figured she'd just let me know.

When she told me, I asked Michele if the sweatshirt she bought for dad said "Blackshirts."

Aha!  She fucked up!  I'm the better!  I'm the better!

But only because he never said anything about Blackshirts to Michele. He only said Huskers.  We all know every Blackshirt is a Husker, but relatively few Huskers are Blackshirts.  

So I said, Fuck it.  I'm getting him one anyway.  Maybe he wants 2 of them.  Maybe he was drunk when he called me too.  Maybe.  Maybe in his theoretical drunkeness, he was trying to say "Black sweatshirt," but it came out "Blackshirt sweatshirt. hic!"  I don't know - but he's getting that damn shirt.

Except they don't have any of those at Husker hounds.  

After a thorough search of the place, I found some 2013 Nebraska Vs UCLA t-shirts at the incredibly low price of $3.  (UCLA beat Nebraska that game).

I'm sorry - I have to back up a second.  I was purposely omitting something from the story to torment Brady.   But I can't do it any longer.  It's about when I mentioned Netflix above.  My dad refuses to call Netflix "Netflix".  He can only pronounce it as "The Netflick".  Now we all do.  Because it's funny.

So after looking around for about 20 minutes, I went up to the counter of Husker Hounds and gave the particulars of what I was looking for.

"I have a ton of them that are hoodies," She said.

"Hmm.  No.  He was pretty clear on that."

"Your dad needs to embrace the hoodie.  What is it with old guys?"  She said.

"Maybe they don't want to look like fucking douchebag teenage gangster types,"  I posited.

I didn't really say that (I was thinking it) but it's true.  She really did make that statement.  The thing is, when you are young, you think everybody will look cool in what stupid high schoolers like to wear.  This is not true.  Everyone should dress age appropriately or be considered pathetic.

Perhaps the Husker Hounds lady knew that sitting in the tiny little unheralded shop a few blocks away was exactly what I was looking for.  

I walked into Huskers Express and about 2 minutes later was leaving with the garment that perfectly matched Dad's extremely detailed description.

Then I got home and the phone rang.  It was Michele.

She told me that after she got off the phone with me (to tell me she already got dad a sweatshirt) , he called her and said, "I have an idea of something you can get me for Christmas."

I'm sure you don't need a timeline at this point, but I do.

3 weeks ago: Dad tells Michele he wants a sweatshirt for Christmas
Sunday: Dad tells me he wants a sweatshirt for Christmas.
Monday: Dad tells Michele he told me he wants a sweatshirt for Christmas
Tuesday: Dad tells Michele he has an idea of something she can get him for Christmas
Wednesday: I buy a sweatshirt for Dad knowing Michele already got him one.

Later Wednesday:

So Michele tells Dad she already got his Christmas gift, but what did he want.   He refuses to tell her.  She really wants to know not because she'll get it for him, but because if he says he wants a black Huskers sweatshirt, we're really going to laugh at his failing mind (we're a close family).

She promises not to get whatever he asks, but he still won't say.  He has seemingly not only forgotten that he told her a few weeks ago what he wanted.  Now it seems like he's forgotten that he told me that he wanted the same thing.

Hang on - it's about to get weird.

Michele figures that it's ok, because Dad will probably call one of us the next day and tell us what he wants for Christmas (he did).  Then we can know if there were 2 different things or it was about the sweatshirt again.

The thought is that it could be something completely different from a sweatshirt because he's forgotten that he told Michele what he wanted.  Also - if it's something different - I could maybe get that instead of the second sweatshirt (I'm not falling for that trick, by the way).  

I'm rooting for the sweatshirt.  Michele is too.  But we're both wrong.  Sort of.  More on that later.

But I'd like to think the whole thing is a setup.  My dad is and always will be a prankster.

When we were kids, if he went to get fast food for everybody, I could usually count on there being a big bite out of my hamburger as I unwrapped it.  Then Dad would get indignant about the people at the fast food place taking a bite out of my "sammich."

"I'd be mad if I were you.  Those assholes at Burger king took a bite out of your sammich! Can you believe that?"

"No.  I can't"

Anyway, all week, I've been emailing back and forth with my therapist about my dad.  It's nice to see my situation from another point of view.  The therapist hit upon something that brought to light what is actually going on here.  Seriously, Keyser Soze would be impressed.

Dad knows us too well.  Here's what happened:

Dad hates getting gifts from us.  He's always told us that.  Over the past few years, he's given us incredibly generous gifts of cash. But still, we insist on getting something for him.  

He never knows what it's going to be because he never tells us anything.  He receives the gifts graciously, but there is anger behind those dark eyes.

This year he figured he'd finally get his revenge.  He had to tell Michele earlier because she gets her shopping done.  He had time with me.

After telling me what he wanted, he had to let Michele know about it so she'd call me.

When she didn't remind him that he had already told her he wanted the same thing, he knew he had us.

I don't know if he knew that I'd go ahead and buy the sweatshirt or not.  But he had it covered either way.  That's why he added the "Blackshirt" detail to his request for me.

If I did buy the shirt - he could say, "Two of the same thing.  Nice"
If I didn't he could say, "I wanted one that said 'Blackshirts' too."

Trust me.  He'd do it.

Then when he told Michele there was something he wanted, but wouldn't tell her what it was.  He knew she would have already gotten him the sweatshirt and that maybe I could get him whatever this other thing was.  That was just for added torment.

Next and what I just found out just now because I called Michele to ask her about the order of the events of the week.

Dad called her yet again and said it was towels he wanted.  Just plain old non-hoodie towels.  But not to get them because he already got them for himself.

Yeah, right.  Now I' going to get him towels too.  I'm on to you dad!

And that's the true meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Now Yous Can't Leave

I've talked about my dad from time to time.  He has his stories about confrontations in bars and bowling alleys.  Maybe that's why "this scene" is about his favorite scene in any movie.

When I was looking for this video clip, I came across some analysis of the scene about life choices and mistakes and blah blah blah.  Just enjoy the scene for God's sake.  Because it's badass.  End of story.

Anyway - I think of the punch line "Now yous can't leave" every time I feel like - by my own actions and loud mouth - I get myself into an uncomfortable situation.  That would be today.

I don't know how many times a day (at least a couple of dozen) a line from a movie comes into my mind.

I can tell you that no matter what I weigh,  I think of "American Werewolf in London"  every time I step on the scale.  I see what I weigh and I think, "What's that star on the wall for?"

See what I did there?

Hmm.  So what else is going on?  Oh:

Jack and Abe have recently started taking gymnastics.  They both like the classes, so we'll keep them in there for as long as they want to go.  The only other sport they really get into is lounging, so we'll take gymnastics.  Who knows?  Maybe they'll be the first 6'5" gymnasts at the Olympic games.  I have visions of Jack - his arms outstretched as he holds the still rings impossibly still, his arms perfectly horizontal while the cries of "foul" are shouted from the finest athletes in the world.  "His feet are totally touching the floor!"  They'll yell.

A father can dream.

So last week - they said, "Uh yeah - we need to move Jack up to intermediate ..."

"Fair enough.  So that's at the same time as beginners, right?  So we don't drive clear the fuck out here and hang out  for two hours while the boys tag team bitch for an hour a piece about how bored they are? Right?  Right?

No.  Not the same time.  Different time.  Different day.  Intermediate is on Wednesday (beginner's is on Saturday).

So after Jack gets out of School on Wednesday, I take him directly to gymnastics.  

So no bike commute on Wednesday.

Yesterday was the first of the new class for Jack.  I needed to go directly from work to pick Jack up from school.  Normally, they take the bus.  Also - yesterday was pretty cold.  Not as cold as today or tomorrow, but pretty cold (just now, I thought of Pulp Fiction. - I'll be back before you can say blueberry pie - ok maybe not that fast, but pretty fast.)

There's this guy at work.  I have been introduced to him, but I can't quite recall his name.  It might be "Smuggy."  He's taken a great interest in my bike commute.  Rather - he's waiting for me to fail.  He seems to be rooting for the elements against me.

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking to the building from the bike rack and he was there (walking from his car to the building).  He cheerfully commented, "Not much longer for bike riding to work, eh?  Hardy har, har!"

Also - I think he writes for Chick publications.

Tuesday, I rode in, but didn't see the guy on my way in.  No - it was at some point in the afternoon.  I passed him in the hall and he said, "I see you're trying to get in every last day possible!"

"Yeah,"  I said, shifting my eyes nervously about.  Did I forget to take off my helmet or something?  Have I been walking around at work all day in my bike shorts?  How does Creepy McSmuggerson know I rode the bike in today?

Eek!  I have a bike stalker!

So yesterday morning sometime, he said "No biking today, I see."  Then he kind of chuckles because he's thinking - of course he didn't ride in today.  It's like 20F or something.

Anyway - I ignored the obvious fact that this guy seems to be monitoring the bike rack and said, "I would have ridden in today, but I have a thing I have to do ..."

He thought I was making an excuse/joke.  He clearly didn't believe me and I didn't care.  I don't need to explain how my son is on his way to becoming the greatest gymnast/basketball player the world has ever seen.

When I went over to Jack's school to pick him up for gymnastics, I saw his teacher from last year.  She is an avid cyclist.  She said to me, "Please tell me you didn't ride today."

My big fat mouth said, "I didn't - I would have, but I had to pick Jack up."

Well today (Thursday) I had to meet some friends for lunch in midtown.  No way I could get my bike there and lunch and back in a reasonable time.  So I didn't ride today.

I didn't know if creepy office stalker guy would see me today. He did.  This is 2 days in a row I didn't ride because of obligations.  Well today - I probably would have driven anyway because it was really really cold out.  So he says all sarcastic like, with a smuggly smirkly grin,  "I see no bike again.  You must have another 'thing' ."  When he said "thing" he brought out the dickfingers to pantomime the double quotes.

Now (like every day) I'm a little irritated.  He's all mocking and everything.  What's this guy's problem and why is he always scoping out the bike rack?

So I'm like, "Actually - yeah I do have a thing.  I have to go see a friend of mine in the hospital.  He might not be there tomorrow."

When I saw how awkward I had just made the moment, I softened my lie - "I mean he'll probably be released.  Anyway - I'll definitely be riding in tomorrow.  Yeah - it's cold, but I've got the gear.  No sweat.  Literally."

What was I saying?  I don't want to ride tomorrow.

Right now, is saying that it should be about zero fahrenheit when I leave for work tomorrow morning and 13F with a 15 MPH North wind as I head home (to the north).

But see - now I's can't leave.

I have no excuse other than the cold.  There is no snow forecast.  

So if anybody wants to grab some lunch or needs a ride to gymnastics or anything, let me know right away please.  Because otherwise I'm bike commuting and it's really cold out.  Dammit.

That last sentence is in clear violation of the V - my apologies.

Oh yeah - and I should mention.  Ain't no effing way I'm riding tomorrow.  But to save face, I'll take my bike in my car and park it at the bike rack for Bike Rack Stalker guy's benefit.

If I haven't said it before, I'd just like to take this opportunity to say that it's been nice writing this post and having you read it. I'll see you next week.  Believe me when I say with all my heart, goodbye.