Friday, April 27, 2007

In 1986 I flew to Ireland with my family. It was my first time in Europe and I was hooked. My world grew with that first trip. A year later I was in Spain, driving cross-country. I wanted to absorb everything. I wanted to be a part of the culture although I knew that was impossible. There was a dry spell in my travels for about 10 years when my life fell apart and slowly was rebuilt. I came back with a vengeance, six times to Europe in the past 6 years. We scrimp, save and do without for the sake of travel. As regular readers of this blog know, France holds a special place in our hearts; we’ve been there three times and will move to Paris in August.

When I first visited France it was the beginning of the war. French- American relations were at an all time low. A woman and I were watching the movie stars drive up for their big walk up the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival- She asked where I was from and how I enjoyed France. I was overwhelmed with her country and all it had to offer but that I was a little nervous about the perception of the French to me as an American. “No one blames the American people for the war- it’s the politicians, it’s always the politicians” I’ll always remember that brief, kind exchange. In Paris, two years later, I was treated to a different kind of person, one that hated Americans. It’s hard to argue with someone who feels all Americans are fat, rich, war mongers etc- I don’t even bother to argue with this kind of ignorance when I’m a guest in another country. In my own country I do discuss it I have not found that many people who hate the French, but I know they are out there. The few that have questioned why I would want to live in France general will cite every old stereotype and clichĂ© they can think of to explain why they don’t like the French. Invariably the people that rely on these stereotypes of hatred have, generally, never been out of their own little world. They have no interest in leaving the safety of their own counties, their own little worlds and their own comfort zone. These people, and I find them very annoying, are always the loudest and speak the most but know the least.

What I have learned throughout my travels is that there are ignorant assholes in every country, but that there are many more kind and interesting people in these same countries. I, too, fell into the stereotype of the rude Parisian. When we first visited Paris, the bathroom in a cafĂ© perplexed my wife. It was just a hole in the floor with two places for her feet. Having never seen this set up she asked a woman, in broken French, how this all worked. The woman explained in French and in pantomime. My wife looked dubiously at the hole and her ability to balance. The French woman held my wife’s hands so she could keep her balance while she used the bathroom. Anytime someone suggests the French are rude I tell them that story and then I suggest they visit New York City*.

*The woman, for all I know, could have been Canadian but the story wouldn’t be as much fun. Canadians are awfully nice people.
I called him Dr. Tom because he once said to me, "I ain't no Doctor but I know when I'm losing my patience" How can you not like a grown man who quotes Popeye? He worked at the Club House and was several years sober. He and I always got along- he looked like a hippy with his long hair and grey beard- he resembled an aged Zonker from the Doonesbury cartoon. Dr. Tom told me this story several years ago which you might have heard- it was new to me.

A guy finds a snake on the side of the road. It's injured and close to death. He takes it home and nurses it back to health, keeps it warm, feeds it. The snake quickly recovers. One day, the snake, out of nowhere, bits the man in the face. The man is surprised, "What did you do that for? After I nursed you back to health- why would you bite me?" The snake responded "Because I'm a snake, you knew I was a snake when you took me in"

I would have forgotten this story except that Dr. Tom, about a week later -fucked up and enraged- beatup of his girlfriend- raped and tortured her. He went to jail for 2 years. It was strange that he told me that story so close to doing that to his girlfriend- it made me feel connected to his actions. I don't want to have any connection to that kind of evil. I started to pull away from the Club House- I was losing interest in being in the front lines of recovery.

It's odd as I re-read this story and a few others they almost sound made up. They fit too nicely or end too cleanly- they are 100% true. This entry is creepy, sorry about that

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Talking about Wheelchair Jerry got me thinking about The Clubhouse. I got sober there, my brother took me to my first meeting there in 1997. I had been holed up for 6 months before that unable to leave the house except to get booze- paranoid, drunk, panicky I don't remember much of that time but things had gotten progressively worse for the previous 10 years and then the final year was a spirally downward plummet. Like a plane falling out of the sky.

Fast forward 2 years. I'm still sober and I'm selling raffle tickets at the Club House- the tickets are $50 each- more than most people here can afford. I sell to groups of 5- "share a ticket for $10". I sell my tickets quickly but I'm also in quite a few of those groups of 5. If I can only get 4 people together I would throw in the other $10 myself. It was a $10,000 cash prize- nothing to sneeze at. The other $10,000 will go to fix the roof- 6 years later that roof still isn't fixed- go figure where the money went. Anyway, one of the many tickets I was in on was with Bones and three others. The night they drew the ticket, they had a dance(there's always a dance in recovery) Our ticket won. We split the pot- $2,000 each. None of the other ticket holder were at the dance that night. At around 11:00 pm the manager lead to the back room. the opened the safe and started to count out $2,000 in 20 dollar bills.

"You're going to give me 100 20 dollar bills?" I asked somewhat surprised.

"Well, yea, how else would you propose we do it?" Was the response.

I was wearing a green army pants and as I left the back room that Saturday night my loose pockets were full of money. I stepped out into the main room of our dark, beat up smokey recovery club house and 200 plus people looked at me with envy. With my pockets bulging from the 20 dollar bills every ne'er-do-well, thief, drunk, drug addict, prostitute, delinquent, punk, pedophile, rapist parolee staring at me and my new found wealth.

"I'll tell you what" Bobby V said surveying the situation-
"you walk slowly to your car and I'll make sure no one follows you."

I walked, as casually as I could, to my car with all eyes on me. As I drove home I kept watch in the rear view mirror to make sure no beat up car with whiskey dings was behind me.

Why the paranoia if these people are trying to quit drinking and drugging? There is a saying that many people have in recovery. You don't have to get good to get better

Which reminds me of another story...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

He wheeled up to the main entrance, pulled himself out of the wheelchair and sitting on the lowest step he lifted himself up each step, backward.

Could you get that for me?” he said nodding to the chair.

I struggled to carry it up the stairs

“Damn, it’s heavier than I would have thought.”

“It’s even heavier when you have to sit in it”- he laughed in a mean spirited way, which I didn’t much care for.

He climbed back into the chair once we were inside and only then did he look at his surroundings. A smokey, beaten down building, once a large, private residence, then a cooking school now a smokey, beat up, recovery center. We called it ‘the clubhouse’.

Despite his initial gruffness Jerry became a favorite at the clubhouse. His drunk stories were entertaining and they always ended with the police trying to arrest him and he fighting several of them either in his wheelchair or sprawled on the floor swinging his arms. He had a huge laugh that would ring out when he told his stories of drunken debauchery.

He had become paralyzed in a car accident and was expecting a big payday after his lawsuit finished out. He was suing his former friend that was driving the car the night they were in the accident. Jerry and his friend had been drinking and drugging all night. His friend was driving the car when they ran into something, I never knew what. Jerry became paralyzed but his friend escaped any major injury. Jerry decided to sue this guy for the loss of his legs. It always seemed peculiar that Jerry blamed his friend, as they had both been drinking and Jerry could have just as easily been driving the car, but I didn’t say anything, because, despite his huge laugh, Jerry was an angry man capable of great violence, even if he was in a wheelchair.

Jerry was one of those who came in and out. He got a significant amount of time at first, maybe 9 months and went out one day when he was feeling sorry for himself, that’s usually how that happens. After his initial relapse he could never stay sober. He would always come back with stories of his exploits- each worse than the last. He was still getting into fights with the police and getting arrested but the stories were no longer funny. He asked me one day, after recounting the tales of yet another weekend of binge drinking, why the people at the clubhouse didn’t respond to his stories anymore. I decided to just answer with the truth, at least how I saw the truth.

“The problem with your stories, Jerry, is that they are happening now. Those kinds of stories are funny only after they are over, when they are happening they are heartbreaking. - That shit going on in your life now isn’t funny’s just sad.”

I don’t think he spoke to me after that. That was about 8 years ago and I haven’t seen or heard from him since. Someone told me that he was in prison for selling crack and that the big court payoff never happened- but who knows- He may be fine. He could be telling the stories about fighting cops that happened a long, long time ago and how he's grateful that he doesn't have to live that way anymore...or not.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You know what's missing from my little writings?
Good household hints.
Do you want to know why there are few household hint?
Because I don't have any household hints

But I remember once reading that the twisty ties on loaves of bread are color coded for a particular reason so I have decided to research this hot topic and call this the first of a long series entitled Household Hints. I've put a little handwritten "PRESS" card in my fedora and I've hit the streets* to get some answers to this perplexing mystery. I mean to write** the best damn household hints article I can and with my favorite fedora hat*** I can't miss.

*When I say "hit the streets" I mean google.
**When I say write I mean cut and paste whatever I find
*** When I say Fedorea I mean I'm going to put on my tattered, old lady robe and dirty slippers.

10 minutes later

Ok, I have researched the topic and I am ready to discuss. Before I explain the Household Hint of the week I should let you know that this will be the last household tip of the week because it was an incredibly stupid idea. It was poorly thought out and the execution was laughable.

How do you know that you are getting the freshest bread in the store? As you may or may not have noticed the twisty tie are different colors on the loaves of bread- the reason for this is to let the delivery person know which day the bread was made and delivered. One company (perhaps its Bimbo Bread) uses the following code.

Monday - Blue
Tuesday - Green
Thursday - Red
Friday - White
Saturday - Yellow

When the delivery guy is making his deliveries he will remove all the old bread using the color code- for example on Saturday he will deliver bread with a yellow tag and, presumably remove the bread with the red tag (baked and delivered two days before) I use the masculine because all drivers for bakery goods must, by law, be male- there is something about the chemistry of women which can cause bread to become unlevened- this is absolutely true (ok, it really isn't). The problem with this system is that there is no universal color code system- every company uses their own color code so while it may aid the delivery person it does us, the loyal consumer, absolutely no good whatsoever. That, my friends, is why I'm moving to France because the bread is baked fresh daily. I am also moving to France because I heard somewhere that there is a place in France where the ladies wear no pants. And that my friends would make a much more interesting post than this.

Thank You Very Much For Your Time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I think we all start blogging for very similar reason. We have something we need to express and our work-a-day roles do not allow for that expression. I began blogging specifically to practise writing- 5 days a week I need to post something. It can be good or bad, and I think you can attest there have been some badly thought out posts, but post I must. I figure its good exercise and something might spark my imagination for a story. The Bones writing did that as did the current video store posts. The video store posts were not at all well received but I liked them, in fact, I giggled like a school girl as I they were written.

There is a danger in blogging and it is possible to lose sight of the pure objectives. Once I added site meter I began viewing how many people were reading my blog. That then became more important then practicing my writing. Always tracking the numbers- that , of course leads to blog roll comparison. I'm shocked at how quickly I can become a resentful, petty person. I'll add someone to my blog roll- that's the list of the blogs I read as shown on the right hand side of the page but if they don't reciprocate I think, "What's up with that shit? Where's the blog love?" Again, the pure objectives get lost and need to be re-found. I think that when the reason for writing gets muddles the writing itself gets muddles and lost.

I am too easily distracted. The number of hits on my site does not matter, adding someone to your blog roll specially to have them add you to yours is just plain creepy and that's not the kind of person I want to be. The blogs I list, I list because I enjoy them, that's all.

Now go out there and tell your friends to visit my little site so I can get those numbers up.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Like most others, I want to put down roots- find the home, raise the family, be connected to the community. These are the things that I associate with being rooted. I've been pondering this idea of being rooted since it was brought up on Sunday Scribbles.

I was raised in a family that was rooted to each other. We were rooted to the home, the community, the church, our Irish heritages. When I think of being rooted I think of safety and connection. Who would argue that these are bad things? Can being too rooted too deeply be a hindrance?Perhaps being these roots can also be an anchor that keeps us from change.

I wrote about my parents selling the house that I grew up in and the understandable sadness for me that followed that sale. My parents had the right idea, they are in their late 70's and those roots had become burdensome. Two people getting along in years don't need a large, 105 year old house that is in constant need of repair. They moved to a small manageable apartment downtown- a guy changes their light bulbs when they burn out. They are still rooted but they have another place to grow. I am so connected to my roots that I would not have sold the house- those deep roots would have kept me firmly in place and not allowed me to do the next right thing. These roots, which are meant to be good, would have instead become an anchor for me.

Anyone who has followed this blog is aware of the never ending story of K- and I selling everything and moving to Paris. The main obstacle in this scary/ exciting adventure is the thought of tearing up the small roots we have nurtured and following an uncertain dream. How many people forgo the dream to keep the roots from being disturbed? Which is more important the roots or the dream? I truly don't know the answer to these questions but I suspect I will find out in August when those roots are pulled.

What I hope to find is that the roots are within- that I will always be rooted to my family, my community and my heritage. What I would like to discover is that, in a spiritual sense, it is impossible to be uprooted.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Man...what a day so far. My tire blew out on the highway so I changed the tire in the rain while trucks screamed by me splashing me with nasty highway water. I need to work on my speed in tire changing, but I've only had ot change 3 tires before. I was pissed at myself becasue I got a little panicky while changing it- but afterwards I thought that being panicky while changing a tire on the highway in the rain is probably pretty normal- (I'm always on the look out for the panick attacks which have left me).

I went to get a hamburger for lunch and the waitress accidently dropped a fry in my coke. "Ooops" she said and reached into my drink pulled the fry out and said , "There ya go" And left without replacing the drink. Again I feel blessed to have witnessed it and I have been smiling the rest of the day. Somedays all it takes it one little serendipitous moment to make everything ok.- the coke tasted that much better.

When I was a boy my dad and I went camping in Indiana- I ordered pancakes at a greasy diner (that's how my family camps) I asked for some butter and she returned carrying the unwrapped butter in her hands- no plate, no nothing- just her bare hands wrapped around a stick of butter. Can life get any better than that???? No..the answer is no.

A woman from Argentina, Arboleda posted a comment on my blog a few posts back. she only has one post up so far but I think its going to be an interesting blog if she keeps with it. Isn't it great to peek into peoples lives from a distance. Especially when the distance is so far.
I had to delete that video because it was causing trouble with my blog. It was funny, but it wasn't that funny.
We had our first couple check out the house today. As I mentioned, we are not going through a Realtor. We did when we sold the rental property but our home is in such a great location that we should get a fair amount of traffic- a year in Paris without working is expensive and we need all the money we can get. If we had a Realtor we'd be paying close to $16,000 for someone to open the door.

A Realtor called and asked if she could show it to her client, in cases like that they get 3%, I don't want to pay them that either but what are you going to do. She came busting in- very aggressive those Realtors, with a contract for me to sign asking for 3 1/2% of the sale of the house.

Misplaced: Yea, we aren't comfortable with 3 1/2%.... 3% is pretty standard.
Realtor: Well- standard for me is 7% so I split the difference.
Misplaced: We'd actually like to only give you 1% so 3% is a pretty nice compromise.
Realtor: Ok, 3% is is.

But she wasn't happy. Then she looked at me in a disgusted manner and said in an incredibly condescending tone "Have you ever tried to sell real estate?"

What the fuck is that about?- granted I did have to look up "real estate" in the dictionary, but that's only because I have a mental block on the word and I'm "special" as we discussed. I'm certainly not disrespecting any ones profession but yea I think I can open the door to the house for $16,000. I'll even throw in a "why, here's the kitchen....ooooh nice flow" and not only that but I wont insult the seller. How's that for earning my commission? She makes it sound like she's a coal miner worried that I might get black lung- so she bugged me the rest of the day.

Anyway, I did like the couple that walked through. Although the first thing the guy said to me was "I recognize you from your picture on the Internet" It didn't really register immediately with me because I was checking out his wife -they were a Billy Joel/ Christie Brinkley couple- you would have looked too. So my time to respond was lost but now I can ask, What pictures of me on on the Internet???? I suddenly had this mental picture of me being passed out and naked while being shaved by fraternity guys. If I was part of some "hazing incident" I'm going to be pissed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

First my little brother and now Penny: "What will you do there if you don't work?"

I had this same question early on and still do upon occasion, I think I may have even written about it. One of the things that made me nervous was the question, "what would I do with my days if I didn't work?" The question bothered me but I could never understand why until it hit me. If I don't have to be someplace would I not know what to do? I think the answer to that is yes, which is sad. I think the majority of people would be at a loss as to what they should do if they no longer had to work. Sure the first few weeks would be fun but what about after that? I'm not 100% certain about the numbers of this, but don't the vast majority of men die soon after their retirement? Granted they are old and old people do that well, but I think they also no longer have direction or purpose after they stop working- maybe their wives kill them, who knows.

I hope to fill my days with things that are more worthwhile than a job that never sparked my imagination to begin with. I'd like to study French, European history, travel to other countries(cheaply), read all day, wander aimlessly, ride a bicycle to the library. Surely we could all find something more worthwhile to do for 8 hours each day then work a crap job.

As for how we are financially doing it, it will be tight. We've saved for it, had the original rental house which we sold recently, and the sale of our residence. It is definitely a reckless, irresponsible financial move- but this was never a money making venture, it's a quality of life issue. I will also have a paypal donation option which I expect Penny to contribute her college fund to (just kidding).
There is a lot to do for this move. For those just joining us I have been beating to death the idea of moving to Paris. K- was accepted into a graduate program there and has a line on a good internship, we’ve both given notice to our jobs, we sold the rental property and just put our house on the very soft market.

I’ve been trying to get insurance for France, which is a requirement for a long stay visa- just applying for the visa feels like a full time job: birth certificates, wedding license, insurance, notarized letter saying I wont work, proof that we have enough money (but they do not tell you how much is enough), fingerprints and criminal record check through the FBI and several things that I’m sure I’m forgetting. All of these documents must be translated into French which is an expensive proposition. We need to travel to Chicago to apply in person and then wait 2-3 months for an 'ok'. I’m taking French lessons, trying to sell the house, organizing a street sale and checking out storage facilities all while trying to stay on a budget- it’s a never ending process.

This weekend my younger brother said, “So really, if you aren’t working, what will you be doing in Paris while you are there?” umm….. It’s a good question. I’ve been so busy trying to get there that I haven’t really focused on what I’ll do while I’m there – other than writing for the year. Hmmm… I may need to get some hobbies. I could train our tri-colored bitch of a cat, Ponette, to dance like Josephine Baker- I may need to start making the banana skirt now…yes, yes my days will be full

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today I was given two Thinker Awards, one from Sharala and the other from Self Taught Artist. Thanks!

Those awards are given to ‘blogs which make us think’. I would have posted this earlier but I was attempting to post the Thinker Award Logo on my site but have been unsuccessful and it took me an hour to link to their sites so it is very clear that, while my blog may help others to think, it has done nothing for my thinking abilities.

Writing is a solitary pursuit and it is nice to get feedback especially if its positive (I'm not one of those that appreciates the negative feedback). Thanks to both of you for the mention- I suspect it wasn’t for my recent limerick or Bimbo Bread.
I mentioned Sister Joseph Ellen in my last post and I thought I ought to write about her. I have been told by my parents that I was a quiet, well behaved child. This may or may not be true- I know that I wasn’t rambunctious and remember being somewhat full of fear about all manner of things, but this may not be any different than it is for all children.

Sister Joseph Ellen would strike terror in even the toughest kid. I was at more of a disadvantage than the other kids. I’m the second youngest of six. So four juvenile delinquents with the same last name as me cut a swath of destruction before me. By the time I got to a grade I was already doomed, labeled a trouble-maker, smart aleck coupled with my inability to learn I was, in short, screwed. My best defense was laying low- hide behind the kid in front of me and pray not to be called on. I found this is also a good defense once you get married.

The only real freedom a young boy has in a school run my nuns is the boys restroom, even the nuns didn’t cross that line. My personal favorite way to let off steam was to wet toilet paper in the sink and throw it on the ceiling, it would stick there with a satisfying “Splat!”. Sister Joseph Ellen must have gotten wise to my antics because as I left the bathroom one day after letting off a little steam and she blindsided me with a sucker punch to the arm. She had pretty impressive shoulders and forearms like Popeye so it was a pretty good hit- having mostly brothers I knew a good Charlie horse when it came down the pike. All I could do was exaggerate a slam into the lockers and feign real injury. Of course feigning injury is lost on a person if they don’t care if you are injured or not. What’s funny about the whole mess is that she didn’t even know I was throwing toilet paper on the ceiling- she hit me because she “knew I was up to something and didn’t appreciate Tom Foolery in the bathroom.”

I saw her 15 years later at a grade school re-union and she was just as nice as can be. I told my dad about how pleasant she was and he said “She’s just old and trying to get into heaven”

Monday, April 16, 2007

This is the kind of thing you don't hear much about in the white bread media. Loaves of bread being pimped out, wholesale, by cute fuzzy pimp bears. It makes me sick and saddened to think of the circumstances that leads a good loaf of bread down the rocky road of debauchery. Well, I can only hope that they use condoments.
Have I mentioned that I always suspected that I have a learning disability? If I was in high school today I’m certain that I would diagnosed with some form of learning disability and be given some drug that would make me ‘get it’. I wonder if my life would be different. I have grown past the ‘less than feelings’ that can be associated with not doing well in school. But, as a kid, its easy to define yourself by those short comings. I always feel bad for fat kids because its hard enough without having ot put up with that crap. Whenever I see a fat parent buying their fat kids a hot dog and a 20 ounce big Gulp from the 7-11 I want to shake the parent and say "This is child abuse!" but I'm afraid the fat parent and her fat kid would beat me up and where would my self-esteem be then?

When I was young, I must not have picked up reading quickly. In fact it must have been so painfully slow that my parents sent me to a private tutor at Mount Saint Joseph College. It was a nun who taught me and I just barely remember the lessons at all. I do remember that the nun was very kind and patient. It’s in vogue to trash the men and women of the cloth in the Catholic religion, and while I’m no longer a religious person I will say they, for the most part, treated me well- except Sister Joseph Ellen who sucker punched me as I came out of the bathroom, but she still makes me laugh with her antics so I can’t be too resentful toward her.

Anyway- As I have mentioned before there were 6 kids in my family. We were by no means poor but I’m sure there wasn’t extra money lieing around to pay for private reading lessons. Every Saturday my mom would drive to the College but before we got there we would stop at a donut shop where I could get any pastry I wanted. This was a big deal, in my family as we weren’t permitted sweets like this. My mom and I would sit on the lawn and eat our breakfast snack and talk- with all those kids my parents were pretty good about spending individual time with each of us. I only remember one conversation we had. I asked my mom if she would vote for Richard Nixon if she were his mother- she said no.

One day after many months of tutoring, the nun told me that there was no reason for me to come back- I was a fine reader she told my mother. She must have been right because I became a reading fool spending great amounts of time in the library. A bagful of library books felt like Christmas to me. I wish I could remember the nun that taught me to read, but I think, more importantly, the time I spent with my mom taught me to enjoy the experience of reading.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sunday Scribble prompt is Secret Identity. It scares me that I actually have 3 things to say on this topic. I’ll draw a blank on the elections, internet civility and avian flu but secret identities I have a few thoughts.

1. I thought a secret identity would be important when I started a blog so I picked “Misplaced in the Midwest” because “Lost in the Midwest” was taken and I was too tired to come up with a new name. Truth be told, I’m neither Misplaced nor Lost but I am in the Midwest so I’m only half a liar. I’m not certain why I thought I needed a fake name, I didn’t think I’d be fired for blogging, I’m in an industry where there are generally two types of people, those going into drug rehab and those just getting out of drug rehab. I haven’t done either in a very long time so I am a shining star in my profession. I think that I created a secret identity for this blog because I truly believed that thousands upon thousands would clamor to read my words and that was the best way to shield myself from the throng of fans. Of course, there aren’t thousands of fans there aren’t even tens of fans and what little secret identity I have is ruined by my posting my picture or hearing my wife saying to an 80 year old Aunt “…its spelled M-I-S-P-L-A-C-E-D” at a family gathering. Auntie will be delighted when she reads I urinated on myself one drunken evening years ago (long before a became a shining star in my profession).

2. All my friends have cool spy aliases. The only name I could come up with was Cricket McGraith. I was informed by my cool friends (but really how cool can you be if you have a fake spy name?) that Cricket McGraith doesn’t steal state secrets and he doesn’t bed Eastern European woman. Cricket McGraith does pick out drapes and re-arranges your furniture in a tasteful manner- Cricket McGraith does track lighting. My friend down the street suggested that I just change my spy name to Mittens McNeill and get it over with. I’d have sent him an angry letter but my spy decoder ring is all gummed up.

3. I have always felt that everyone needs a secret identity including fake passport, license, credit cards, etc. I would also like to have few thousand dollars squirreled away just in case ‘the shit’ goes down. I don’t know what ‘the shit’ might be but if I ever decide to commit a serious crime I’d like to have all the paperwork in order to elude justice. I’m far too handsome to do time and besides that’s how Cricket McGraith rolls.
It was a busy evening. I had my last french class (at least this level) and after that I went to visit my folks in their downtown apartment. My sister and her daughter are visiting from Seattle. She keeps threatening to read my blog but she can never remember the name of it. Her daughter, Gracie, wanted to say a blessing before each course of the meal. She also laid out her stuffed animals in a huge bed on the floor and did a ballet dance around them for our entertainment. At some point she noticed everyone looking at the stuffed animals and chastised us, "Focus on me, not the props" Would this story be as cute if she was 20 years old? Probably not, but she's 5 or 6 so its cute. It might have been cute if I had done it, but I'm a good dancer- not everyone can pull off ballet.

A good friend of the family was there and she had a connection in Paris with an advertising agency- this could be interesting.

If you haven't noticed this is a bit of a throw away post. I'm waiting for Sunday Scribbles to publish their prompt but I hate not having something written for the morning.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut is dead. How about that? Actually I wasn't aware that he was still alive.

I began reading him in high school- we probably had to- Cat's Cradle I think it was- and I was hooked. I read them all in high school and college. What self-respecting college student didn't have worn paperback copies of his book in their measly little libraries.

I brought a Kurt Vonnegut book with me on my last trip to Paris- but I brought it for a different reason. The book was old and the pages worn- I brought it because I wondered if they were as good as I remember and also because I could leave it on the plane after I was through with it.

An unceremonious disposal of a book by an author that once meant something to me but, now, no longer did. So it goes.
K- woke up one morning last week and she was angry at me. It was unclear why. It finally came out after an hour or so of short, sharp answers to very legitimate questions I posed. She was mad at me because in her dream I had an affair. I was at a loss for words- which is rare. So I said what I've learned to say in these circumstances I said "I'm sorry" I also commented that I probably didn't enjoy the affair as much as it might have appeared in the dream.

I was once asked if I'd rather be right or happy. K-'s father said it best when he responded to the same question, "just every once in awhile, doesn't have to be always, I'd like to be both happy and right" That's how I feel.

My French teacher recounted tales of pets dieing on airlines from the U.S. to Europe-I was filled with overwhelming sadness at the potential death of my cat. (yes the same one that puked on me while I slept). She sensed my sadness and was extra nice to me.

Sometimes, right before I fall asleep, I have a flash rememberence of something I said or did that was embarrassing. It doesn't matter that it may have been 20 years ago it still makes me let out a small groan. I wonder if K- knows about this, she must hear it.- I also wonder if that ever goes away. (I mean before death.)

I heard a great argument between two Construction Managers working for the same company. The argument got more and more heated and before it came to a full blown fight one said he was a blackbelt in martial arts and that the other fellow ought to step back. The other responded that he wasn't worried, he was a redneck and would hit him in the back of the head with a 2x4 when he wasn't looking. I felt blessed to witness this fight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I went to the gym today and an old lady got on the treadmill next to me. Suddenly an incredible smell of stale cigarette smoke waifed over the entire gym. It moved like napalm over our small YMCA village. I got to thinking about how much I used to smoke and how badly I must have smelled. How badly must my car have smelled, my house, my clothes? You wonder how smokers can stand it but the truth is they don't even know they smell bad. Like the old stank ass next to me, they are oblivious.

This is a message I want to send to all the smokers out there. I'm not going to lecture- there is no need to get defensive. In fact, deep down inside I am a smoker and always will be one. I started smoking at 13 and quit at 40, 2 years ago. I like smoking, I like smokers. I still think smoking is cool. I'm not kidding- I am the last American that still believes smoking is cool. If I was in high school I would start smoking all over again. When my non-existent kids start smoking, and they will, I'll ground them and lecture them but deep inside I'll say "yea, smoke up you will look so cool with a cigarette dangling from you lips". So this is not an anti-smoking bitch session but just some knowledge I've picked up over my 2 years of being a non-smoking smoker.

It stinks!

It really does. I know that when the mamby-pamby non-smokers wrinkle their noses at you as they walk by the billowing cloud of goodness that bellows from your lips you think "grow up you big babies- it's just a little smoke" I know you think those holier-than-thou, non-smoking, Polly-Purebreds are exaggerating but they aren't. It really smells bad. And when you chew gum to mask the smell you smell like spearmint and shit. It's true and it isn't the nice smell you associate with the taste of cigarettes. It smells a little like a bum's ass- not that I've smelled a bum's ass but it's what I would imagine a bum's ass to smell like. You can't cover it, you can't mask it, Febreeze does nothing, its there- always, it oozes out of your pours.

You think to yourself, 'I'm not getting laid because I'm past my prime, I'm older and less attractive than I used to be'- No! You're hot as hell! You aren't getting laid because you smell like shit. The only thing worse than having to walk passed your Pigpen stink-ass is actually having to kiss you. People want to have sex with you- but you smell bad.

I, for one, am all for smoking- I hope to smoke again- I am a non-smoking smoker. Keep smoking, light one up for me, but know that you do smell really, really bad.

* except for Jay- he doesn' smell like cigarettes at all- neither does Kate.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It was 15 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday, a guy at a party in Chicago told me he hated The Beatles.

I was flabbergasted, really I was. I had never heard of such a thing. I knew that people didn’t believe in Santa Claus but to HATE Santa Clause? I remember just staring at him and saying, "I can’t talk to you anymore" and walked away. I have grown older and I realize that The Beatles aren’t for everyone but they were such a huge part of my growing up that I'm confused when someone else doesn't share this passion.

One of the 'coming of age' moments in my family was the age in which you were considered old enough to work the record player. When that day came for me I would listen to the Beatles non stop- particularly the Sgt Pepper Album. I loved it! Every song was great! A Little Help From My Friends To me that was a song about Dave and Tommy, my buddies at school. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds- I pictured a beautiful lady flying around with massive diamonds on her fingers, toes and around her neck. I learned later the the friends they were talking about were pills and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about LSD but I didn’t care. At the age of ten the image was in my head and would stay there for ever.

My favorite Beatle changed as I grew older. At first it was George Harrison because he looked the coolest on the Sgt Pepper album. He had the kind of hair I aspired to, he wore the red band uniform which was my favorite color. Paul McCartney looked like a nerd I didn’t like at school and John Lennon had shorter hair and a nasty ass lime green uniform on- I did not care for that at all. I didn’t, at this point, know any of their names I just knew what they looked like. By my teens John Lennon was my hero, although I still thought George looked cooler. John remained my favorite Beatle until my 30’s (even though it is decidedly sick to have a favorite Beatle at this age) I began to appreciate Paul Mcartney and realized that John and George would be my favorites, Paul was a better song writer than both (it kills me to say it, but its true) Ringo never quite made the grade for me- he couldn’t sing, he didn’t write songs and most importantly at the time he didn’t look good on the Sgt Pepper Album.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A little over a year ago K- and I decided to get rid of cable TV. It was a difficult decision to make, neither one of us realized how addictive television can be.

The first week I would come home from work and stare at our blank set- not knowing what do with myself. TV, of course, isn’t good or bad its just a thing but my viewing habits had become disturbing. E Entertainment and Access Hollywood run non-stop information on the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, Brad Pitt etc. and, this is where it gets disturbing, I would watch. I’d put off going to bed so I could view how the rich and famous were living their lives. Celebrity news is like crack, just a little bit more and I’ll be satiated, but more is always needed. Standing in line at the check out counter, People and Us magazine turned upside downs and mixed with the other groceries in hopes of disguising my reading habits. I bought Entertainment magazines with the same shame that I bought condoms as a teenager. Britney, Paris, Lindsey, Brad and Angelina, my news didn’t need to mention their last names, I knew them by their first names only, just as I knew my friends.

I have a theory that this type of news drains the soul. It is designed to have us live vicariously through other people- it slowly teaches us that they are interesting and we are not, they are rich and we are not, they are beautiful and we are not, They are everything and we are nothing. There is a withdrawal period when you stop watching entertainment news but slowly you begin to see through the haze. You pick up a book or you take a walk with a loved one. You begin to realize that you were continuously feeding on candy with no nutritional value and that instead of rotting your teeth it was rotting your mind.

Other than movies we rent, the TV generally stays off. Paris, Britney, Lindsey, Brad and Angelina will need to live their lives without my participation. I’m sure we will all be fine (except Britney, I’m worried sick about her).

After I posted this on Sunday Scribbles it seemed vaguely familiar. I worried that I read a similiar post from another blogger and accidently rehashed it on my own blog. After researching it I found that I had written a similiar post 4 months ago- I am a walking example of why people shouldn't drink to excess.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

There once was a man from the Midwest.
With a blog on which he tried to write his best.
His thoughts, one day, went flaccid
in fact, they moved as slow as molasses
putting the loyalty of his readers to the test.
I wonder if other bloggers have this problem.
I have absolutely nothing to say.
I'm racking my brain and finding nothing there.
hmmmm....yep nothing.

I think I need my thoughts to ferment a bit-
bubbly, yeasty creature that I am.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I have a Number 8 to The Useless Things I've Learned list. It came from my younger, wiser brother, Brendan.

A few useless things I've learned

1.Woman who are 100% heterosexual will look at Angela Jolie and say, "I'd do her" (but they are usually lieing)

2.In the gym locker room: The fatter the ass the more likely that fat, bare ass will sit on the bench without a towel.

3. to be added

4. If you want your restaurant meal to arrive, light a cigarette, if you want your boss to walk into your cubical, download porn.

5. Don't admit that global warming seems like a nice idea. Just keep it to yourself, you'll be happier.

6. No self respecting Wiccan would have a "Witches Do It In Circles" bumper sticker on their car (or broom).

7.This is really neither here nor there, but Barney Fife is the funniest character on TV. He once referred to Gomer as being " sharp as a bag full of wet mice" which still makes me laugh.

8. If you are the father and are watching the children while your wife goes out, never refer to it as "babysitting" call it "parenting". My younger brother gave me this advice and I suspect he learned the hard way.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I'm sure that everyone who has ever sold a house has the same regrets.

K- and I started getting the house ready to sell. I looked at the house with new eyes- one closet I had never completed needs to be patched and painted- the storm door on the front door needs to be removed and the front door painted. Basically all the little things that have been put off need to be completed and once they are I will ask myself, why didn't I do this a few years ago so I could enjoy it.

Kelly did a major spring cleaning on the house. In fact the cleaning was so intense and thorough that when she got out of bed this morning she stepped in Ponette vomit. Our little spawn of Satan doesn't like it when the house is cleaned and the cleaner is punished to the full extent of 'kitty law'.

The sign is up, and the house is officially "For Sale".