Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Shitter's Full"

We have been invaded by the local news media. Here they are in front of our house. Been there all day.

I was tempted (and actually encouraged by my wife) to throw on the "Cousin Eddie"

grab my three-legged dog

and see if I could get a little air time. I couldn't find any cigars or my white belt. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Want to Live Like a Refugee

This post is for all you Ass-Facebook friends. ; )

Last night we were refugees. All right, not really, but we were evacuees. The story goes like this. About 1:30 I come home after a lunch meeting to a closed off street and a cop camped out. I park my car and ask what's going on. He explains that a crew was using a horizontal boring machine to lay some cable along the busy street that is near our house (I had seen them working earlier.) Somewhere along the line they nicked a gas main (the BIG gas pipe) and they were in the process of excavating down to fix it. He went on to tell me that we were safe and could be in our houses, they just didn't want cars driving down the street.

So I walk down to my house and run into a utility worker and ask him what's up. He says they are excavating down to get to the gas leak, but that we are safe because the gas is venting and there shouldn't be any danger, but be sure to let them know if we smell gas in our house. I had another meeting at 2:00 so I grabbed a couple of things and left for an hour. When I came back the street was still blocked off, but now there were flames shooting out of the street (or so it seemed from a distance) and there were fire trucks and all my neighbors were walking up the street towards me. I stopped one and she told me that the house on the corner had exploded and was completely gone. I didn't know which corner - on our side of the street or the other side? She said that everyone was being ordered to evacuate because it was still dangerous. I talked to the cop and told him my dog was still in my house and he let me down the street to get him. As I am going into my house another cop comes up and says I have to evacuate and I tell him I need to get my dog and I will be gone. He waits while I get the dog and leave.

While I was sitting in my car with the dog trying to get a hold of my wife so she knew not to come home the mobile units from every TV station in town pull up and park, effectively blocking the street. What a bunch of douchebags! Luckily the cop was on top of it and told them they had to park in a parking lot about four blocks away. See ya, suckers!

When we were finally able to get back into our house this morning there were three news trucks parked in front of our house and in the middle of the street totally preventing anyone who lives on the street from getting to their homes and, god forbid, if there were another emergency no first responders would be able to get through. To make matters worse, every person who walked down the street was accosted by a reporter asking for a comment. I just scowl and give them the "stink eye" and they avoid me, but my sweet wife ended up on the tube. She's much cuter than I am anyway so she is a much better representative for our family and neighborhood.

The house that exploded was across the street and two houses away from us. We lived in the house behind it for eight years.

Here are some pictures:

We were evacuated until midnight last night, but we just stayed at my in-laws (they are vacationing in Florida.) It was a terrible night's sleep. First, they have a terrible bed. It's one of those "Sleep Number" beds and is so uncomfortable. Second, it was my in-laws bed. It just felt weird to be sleeping in their bed. With their daughter. Ick.

Now we are back in our house and the main street is open (but not ours) and every morbidly curious person is slowly driving past, getting-off on some poor family's tragedy. I just don't get that. At least everyone is safe.

And this is why I couldn't do my bike or swim (yes, the pool was open but I wasn't about to chase around and find my suit and goggles with a cop watching me through our front door.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Getting to Florida

So this trip to Florida started out as a damn fuck-show. We pull into the parking ramp and as we are getting our bags out of the car A realizes she doesn’t have her license in her billfold. We pull all the cards and crap out of her wallet and have it strewn about the back of the car searching and searching again for something that isn’t there. I was surprisingly calm. What are you gonna do? Shit happens.

In a fluster we decide that I will take the kids and get checked in. (We were checked in but our seats are all over the plane so we wanted to see if we could get a couple together anyway.) A gets in the car and speeds home.

I take the kids into the terminal and then realize that A still has their boarding passes. Then I realize that I have no easy way to access their tickets to get new boarding passes because A has the credit card she booked the tickets with along with my credit card which she took to get out of the parking ramp.

As I am standing there slowly calculating my next move I look over and see this woman. She is immediately familiar and I do a double take. Now, A watches this show called “Millionaire Matchmaker.” I occasionally watch with her and on the most recent occasion there was this CRAZY woman millionaire looking for a man and now she is standing in front of me.

Here she is at the airport.

Here she is on the show. (Nice fake lips and too much Botox, bitch!)

It finally dawned on me that the only thing I could do was get in line to meet with a “ticket agent.” Oh, joy of joys. That fucking line was a million miles long. While in line I called Delta to see if they could rebook us on the good chance we would miss our flight. Although not surly they weren’t particularly bubbly either. I guess I won’t complain – at least I didn’t get verbally abused. Turns out if we didn’t make this flight we wouldn’t be able to leave until tomorrow night. “Kids. Start saying prayers.”

We get through the line and I’m pissing around with a kiosk at which I can get my information but nothing for A or the kids. Then my phone rings and it’s A. She is entering the parking ramp and I tell her which side to park on and which door we are closest to. I cancel out of our check-in and A comes down the escalator and we get together, get through security and run to the gate. (I walked quickly. A and the kids ran.)

Gate agents – Pissy. Can’t/won’t help get us seats together. “You’ll have to rely on the kindness of strangers.” Thanks very little for your customer service.

My darling children’s prayers were answered and although we aren’t sitting together, we are all on the flight. (Why didn’t I say a prayer? You should all know me well enough, I am piloting that rocketship to hell remember and god probably would hear my request and laugh and laugh and laugh.)

A is sitting in a middle seat next to a gargantuanely fat guy. You know, the guy who is so fat his lily-ass white, hairy, inevitably sweaty belly oozes over his belt and out from under his too small shirt. I am surrounded by babies. They’re cute and, for the most part, quiet, but a crying baby drives me up a wall. I know that sounds intolerant, but I don’t fault the parents or the kids. I remember being there. It ain’t easy traveling with little ones and, contrary to popular belief, they have minds of their own and don’t obey, like dogs. (I know, inconvenient, right?)

We made it to Fort Meyers and are off to get our rental car. As soon as I get off the plane I lose my cell signal. WTF!? I hate Florida and this is only making it worse. We go to rent a car and our credit card is declined. WTF!? I call "customer service" to find out what is going on and try to calmly inquire with A as to when she paid the bill. (It wasn't received well. I am assuming it was a combination of the situation and perhaps my delivery.) Turns out we are over our limit. So I start to question the "customer service" person about recent charges. (The thing is, we never use this credit card except for travel and special large purchases, so we are befuddled as to why we would be over our limit.) I get online and see that A has indeed paid the bill by BillPay, but it hasn't cleared yet. I tell the "customer service" person, and they suggest we do a phone payment, but it won't clear until Sunday (it's Friday night) so I tell him forget it. (Why would I pay the bill twice, you dope?)

Now, to rent a car we can use our debit card, which I checked and has plenty of funds, but we need a return itinerary so we have to go back to the ticket agent and get this, which takes way longer than it should. Finally, we get a car.

We open the door of our "non-smoking" car and it smells like a fricking ashtray. There, in the middle of the driver's seat, is a cigarette burn. God I hate Florida.

(While driving, A and I have a calm conversation about the credit card. Turns out we returned a huge purchase that has not been credited back to the card yet. Neither of us thought to check. Then we laughed because as we were getting in the car to get the kids out of school A had said, "I can't believe how smoothly this trip is going." She admitted it was the kiss of death.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Partial Sunshine State

We are heading down to Florida in a couple of hours for an extra long weekend. As has been well established, I am a fan of none of the following things: air travel, Florida, sitting around by the pool or on the beach. A and the kids will be staying a little longer than me. I am sure there will be many "interesting" adventures to report on.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh Monday - You Can Suck It!

Well, not unlike many other areas of the country, it's snowing again. Enough already. I am supposed to have a rest day and now nature is forcing an unscheduled weight and core workout on me. Bastard.

I am sure you are all wondering, "Assface, what do you do on a Monday such as the day you are currently experiencing?" And to you I respond, "It's MR. Assface to you!"

Seeing as how the dog has been cooped up too much lately, I took him to doggy daycare. This should tire him out so he won't have any energy to chew socks, mittens, LEGOs, Barbies, my Garmin and the endless numbers of dirty Kleenexes my wife is producing.

Yes, my wife is sick. My wife never gets sick so this is somewhat blogworthy. She currently has a bad cold, that I really hope doesn't develop into something worse, like pneumonia, because that could happen with her. (Compromised immune system, which is, strangely the reason she so rarely gets sick - she gets a monthly treatment that gives her IS a recharge.) With her cold comes endless nose blowing and Kleenexes, then the dog hovers around like she is dropping bacon bits from her nose. We have stopped chasing him. He just chews them until the flavor is gone, they are soaking wet and then he shreds them to bits. Stoopid dog. (
He is chewer and a shredder. I have to give him credit for not actually "eating" the stuff he destroys. I know because I "check" - dog owners, you know what I'm talking about.)

Later on the docket is ART practitioner #2. #1 didn't seem to know what he was doing. When I reported that it really didn't hurt coach said, "Well, that can't be right" and her ART person concurred. This guy had better know what he's doing!

All right, I better get in the car and on the road since a drive that takes 10 minutes on a normal day will now take an hour in this weather. Stoopid winter.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Don't Think I Did That Right

We got back from Las Vegas a couple of days ago and I have to say it may have been an epic failure.

That is not to say that I didn't have a good time with A and no kids and our friends and their new baby and JS. I mean, there was no drama or scandal or gun play or gratuitous nudity or hostage situations or blackmail or need for massive doses of antibiotics.

The flight there on Delta/Northworst Thursday night was actually fairly pleasant. We had a male flight attendant who was incredibly helpful and patient and, dare I say, friendly. The return flight on Sunday was not that way.

We flew back on US Airways, which is undoubtedly the WORST airline in America. (That "honor" changes depending on the airline I've flown on most recently, so for now US Airways "wins.") First off the planes were totally "ghetto" - looking like they hadn't been cleaned or updated since the late 1980's. And then there were the employees. WTF!? If you hate dealing with people, don't work for an airline where you have to "WORK WITH PEOPLE." These were some of the surliest, most redneck, fuckups I have ever seen working for an airline. The gate agent makes an announcement that the flight is full and there may not be enough space for carry-ons so they would allow you to check your bag at the gate free of charge. I had a fairly large carry-on so I walked up to get a gate check. This BITCH looked at me like I was the biggest piece of shit she had ever seen, rolled her eyes and said, "Yeah, I suppose." Well, FUCK YOU for doing your job - she had a hand full of luggage tags - that is what she was DOING! Then A says she can take hers, too. She looks at A like she is slightly smaller piece of shit than me and says, "Yours will have to with the regular luggage." No explanation why. Nothing. FUCK! (There. That is the requisite "airline" rant that you have come to loathe and expect whenever I have to travel. It's cathartic for me. Thanks.)

There was food. We ate at Nobu on Friday night. Now, I love sushi and Japanese food, but I was expecting a less than exciting experience considering the reputation Nobu has - that reputation being amazingly fantastic. Well, I have to say that it lived up to the hype. The food was phenomenal and we had a great time sitting around laughing and people watching. Saturday for lunch I insisted on In-N-Out Burger. It was my first and won't be my last. (I was aware of the "secret menu" and now I wish I would have taken some time to research it so I could have ordered something a little less "standard" - next time.) The place was packed. We took a cab from the Premium Outlet Mall (the baby needed to get out and get some fresh air after all that time in the casino) and stopped on the way back to the hotel. The cabby was super cool and said that he would stop the meter for 10 minutes, but ended up leaving it off for the entire time it took us to get our food.

I had a great cabby who drove me to the outlet mall (our "party" got separated because I was getting a massage.) Due to bad traffic on the highway he took me on back streets. There were a lot of welding shops, car service shops and other light industrial. I commented, "Well, this is a part of Vegas I haven't been before," then we ran into the strip clubs, "never mind, I have been here before." He laughed.

There was a suite. We stayed at the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay. Yes, that sounds fabulous (and it was) but the price was right - two nights with the third night free and an upgrade to a suite for $50 - all for less than the price of hotel rooms we have stayed in in Chicago.

There were a few spa visits. That sounds kind of "metro" I am sure, but my visits consisted of two massages and too much time on an elliptical machine. I had the same masseuse both times and both times, she was standing on her toes with her elbow in my glute. I think she may have needed a nap after - she looked a little worn out. (OK any massage therapists out there - when a massage therapist says, "That was great. I could work on you for another hour," is this a compliment? Meaning you can really get in there and don't have to hold back or does it mean I am really messed up? I have gotten that a couple of times.)

We also went to a show. We saw the Cirque du Soleil show "O" at the Bellagio. I really enjoyed it. I am sure there was supposed to be some sort of a "story" but it was lost on me. Once I stopped trying to figure it all out (after about 5 minutes) I just enjoyed the spectacle.

We gambled at Mandalay and the Hard Rock. A thinks she won, but I lost so the family is probably "down" overall. It's not that I am necessarily a "bad" gambler (I did take a couple of questionable hits) I was just getting the shittiest cards. Lots and lots of 2s, 3s, 4s. We were all playing well enough to remain at the tables for a few hours each time we went, so we got our money's worth of fun. All the dealers we had were WAY cooler than I remember them. Except for one - Gary.

What is it with "Gary?" I spent 12 hours in Madison chasing "Gary" around and now in Vegas "old dealer Gary" was hitting on my wife. I wasn't there to witness it having lost and gone to bed earlier, but A and our friend T confirmed it. The first time we met Gary he was pretty entertaining. He told us the story of how a security guard about the size of A came flying into a hog-pile trying to hold down a raging Wesley Snipes and broke his arm like a twig. He also introduced us to another player who joined our table and he turned out to be a bee keeper from northern California. Some comment was made about this guy's hands and he explained that they were dirty and cracked from handling bees and wax and it was probably permanent. Normally that would totally gross me out, but I was kind of fascinated by the fact that the guy was a professional bee keeper. (And I don't drink, so it wasn't an alcohol induced fascination, which I realize makes me sound like even more of a lunatic.)

Having read this post several times I realize that my 67 year old mother had a more exciting time the last time she was in Vegas. I have become a stodgy old poop WAY before my time. Sorry to have bored you all for this long.