Friday, October 31, 2008
As a result, I got a lot of hand-me-downs. A LOT. I'm sure that half the shoes I wore in elementary school should have been on a girl's feet.
The same was true for my Halloween costumes. You could always tell what my family members were before me by looking at the progression of costumes. From around 2-4 years old, I was a clown. That costume was horrific. It had this huge ruff (Is that what you call the thing that goes around the neck?) that was SO itchy. I hated wearing it and couldn't wait until I could get it off. The next few years involved the Batman cape my mom made. I was pretty much in love with that one, and tried to figure out how I could wear it the rest of the year without getting beat up at school. After that, I spent several years as the Grim Reaper.
Now, this costume was perfect for creating indelible memories. the robe was big enough, that it could be folded up on itself and tied with a belt around the waist. As a result, I got many more years of use out of that sucker than any of the others. The down side? The fabric for the robe was brown. Combine that with the "no weapons" policy at school, and you've got a perfect recipe for embarrassment. I'll walk you through it.
No scythe (There's your fancy word of the day.)
Yep. Every single kid in my class thought I was a monk for Halloween.
Combine this humiliation with the fact that my robe was made of some arctic thermal fabric that was 3 inches thick, and it was like I had my own sweat tent to carry around with me. I'm sure it was only 85-90 degrees that day, but in that thing it felt like I was walking around on the surface of the sun.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Those who are older, are probably exasperated by the title of this post, saying, "If you think you're old now, just wait until you're [insert larger number here]!"
My point is not in the number but in the distance I have now moved from all that is young, hip and cool.
I was never cool, as you're probably starting to realize from my previous posts. In high school, my only claim to fame was that I looked remarkably like the AP History teacher. Thankfully, he was a popular teacher, but not because he was cool. He was that nerdy, funny guy that everyone laughs at/with (but more at).
Not only do I groan involuntarily when I have to heave myself out of a chair, but I realize I'm completely out of touch with my teenage nieces and nephews. All this texting and MP3 players and the return of 80s fashion choices is making my head spin a little bit. If I remember correctly, we all came out of the hairspray fog of the 80s and realized what a mistake everyone made with stirrup pants and shoulder pads when they were exposed to the harsh light of day and the heavy handed critique of common sense.
Now, these things are returning combined with a fresh load of crud I don't understand, and it makes me want to go hide under my bed and hide.
So ... yeah. I feel old. Old and crotchety. Someone had better come by soon to give me my medicine. I don't know if I can read the giant letters on this weekly pill organizer.
... and I may need one of those Life Alert buttons.
I bet you never thought there could be two of these in one post, did you?
It doesn't help matters that I already have a ton of gray hair. It started in high school and the three I had back then have started breeding like rabbits.
In an odd way, this is actually a good thing. Since I have the face of a 12 year old and 99% of telemarketers call me ma'am (I'm still waiting for my voice to change), at least I'm getting something to put a little age on me.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
My wife is nice about this. Rather than calling me out as the nerd I am, she says this is a gift. She is an amazing musician and feels like me (when I listen to music) when she performs a good song. I guess in this we're well matched. She can do all the performing, and I can do all the listening.
This is getting a little sappy, but I guess that is inevitable.
I've always said that if I could do anything I wanted in life, I would be involved in the music industry. Unfortunately, if I tried to get into that market, I'd probably be on the look out for a cardboard box big enough to fit my family. As a result, this is just my hobby, and it's going to stay that way.
So, music is awesome, and sometimes is the only thing to get me through the rough days.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It was 2 a.m. on a cool night in the late fall my freshman year of college. I had to return a video to Blockbuster, and I didn't want to do it the next day, so I hopped in my car and started driving down the street. There was no one around, and I wasn't really paying attention to my speed, when I noticed a car make a U-turn from a parked position on the opposite side of the road and start following me. The car was black and white, and all the blood immediately drained from my face. I had never been pulled over before (I wasn't just making up the grandma reference). I immediately checked my speedometer and it registered at 35 mph. I was in a 25 zone. Sure enough, lights flashed on the roof of the car, and I had to pull over. He hit me with a spotlight and got out of the car. After taking my license and registration, he asked me if I knew how fast I was going.
At this point, I wished I had some reservoire of "getting out of tickets" stories. As it was, I had no idea what to say or how to explain I wasn't a psycho teenager, but was in fact one of the much rarer boring variety ... the kind that spent many evenings playing Skip-Bo with his parents.
Wow, that sounds lame. It is amazing how normal I feel until I start typing. Now that it's written, it's like I'm shining a bright spotlight on my dull teenage years. Don't get me wrong. I'm fine with them the way they were. I'm just starting to wonder about the wisdom of cluing everyone else in.
I don't remember what I told the cop, but it resulted in a $40 ticket, so it can't have been that good. I've never gotten a ticket since, and I haven't even been pulled over, but parts of me feel a little gyped when I hear people talk about how many times they've been pulled over and are still "ticket-free."
Monday, October 27, 2008
In any case, I was thrilled to go and wanted to document every part of the day. I had a manual Kodak camera full of film, and I wasn't afraid to use it. All throughout the day, I took pictures of all the exhibits. I probably looked like the biggest goof ball running from cage to cage in my thigh high socks and Cub Scouts baseball cap.
The two days waiting for the pictures to be developed were agony. I had visions of becoming a National Geographic photographer and was sure I got some sweet shots worthy of publishing. As soon as my mom brought them home, I tore open the envelope to see my masterpieces.
What I found was an entirely different story. I had 36 prime shots that looked just like this:
On a rare occasion, I was able to get a shot over the fence. But without a zoom on my cheap-o camera, they turned out something like this:
Yeah ... little did I know I would get a face full of fence. Now all I have are the memories of my first trip to the zoo. That, and a bunch of pictures of the fencing around the habitats.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
My wife and I both know we don't belong in classy joints. We're pretty homespun, and we like it that way. I'm sure people at work think I'm a nerd when I come into work with yet another plaid shirt/khaki combo, but eventually they realize it's not going to change.
Chinese food rules.
I wish I owned a Panda Express.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
I know organizations that have ignored building more open relationships with customers. I've seen firms that had not once held a town hall meeting with employees. Their rationale was: Business is good, why should we mess around with this "other stuff?"
There you have it. Now you see how boring my life really is.
That's probably not all that funny to anyone who doesn't know me, but all you have to know is that Jack is basically a stick figure with a big white head.
Yup. That's me. I guess I don't ever need another Halloween costume.
My point in all of this is that I was blessed/cursed (depending on whether you are a woman/man) with an insanely fast metabolism. Girls are always trying to be twigs, so they typically wish they had it, and guys pity me because they all want to live in the gym and subsist on protein shakes and egg yolks.
The one time I set foot in a gym (this was also freshman year), I saw a guy working out with a 100 pound weight chained to his waist ... that's right, a chain. His arms were bigger than my waist and yet he was still obsessed with making them bigger.
All my life I've been teased about my weight. I can't remember most of the jokes, but here are a couple of my favorites:
- When I was little, my brothers would always ask, "Hey Nathan, what are those white strings hanging out of your shorts?" It took me a minute to realize they were talking about my legs.
- When I was in high school, one of my brothers told me I would be the perfect biology display skeleton.
- One time, one of my brothers (are you sensing a theme?) said it must be easy for the doctor. When I asked him what he meant, he said, "Well, the doctor probably doesn't need to spend any money on x-rays. He can just hold you up to a light and see right through you."
- Another popular one during basketball games or ultimate frisbee came from my teammates. Inevitably, I'd get the warning, "Nathan, whatever you do, don't turn sideways. If you do, you're so thin we wouldn't be able to see you."
Now, for a contest, even though I don't have any cool prizes. I have never met anyone skinnier than I am. I've met people who weigh less, but they are significantly shorter than I am, and when I divide their weight by their height, my ratio still comes out skinnier. I'm going to divulge my weight and height to anyone silly enough to read this blog. If you know an adult who beats me (without some tapeworm growing inside him or some other horrible circumstance), I'd love to know and end my reign as the skinniest man alive. Bear in mind, I'm healthy. All the doctors say I shouldn't be concerned ...
So, here are the stats:
Weight: 120 (on a good day with all my clothes and shoes on)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
At church, I sit near this guy with a daughter in the same age range as my own. All of his kids just sit. They don't ever move. EVER. Every week, I watch in shock as this little girl starts closing her eyes and nodding her head until she falls asleep. All without a peep. Meanwhile, I spend the entire time in a wrestling match with my little one. By the time I go home, I need about a gallon of water to replace all the fluids I lost from sweating.
At one point, I mentioned how jealous I was that his daughter would just sit there and fall asleep. His response?
"Oh ... well ... It's because this is her nap time."
Are you kidding me? I wanted to reply with one word. "Exactly!"
My daughter fights her naps at church every step of the way. She's a prize fighter in this, and I suppose I should get her a giant gold belt. I guess this guy didn't realize that the squirmy girl in my arms was tired too. Tired and cranky.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Wasps and mosquitoes have made the short list. I cannot for the life of me understand their purpose. I was told once that wasps keep down pests in the garden, but I can definitively say that this summer we had a backyard full of them, and we still managed to have every bug under the sun crawling around our plants.
And don't even get me started on mosquitoes. While living in Canada, I spent most of the summer fending these suckers off with everything I could. I have a theory that the unfathomable cold up there manages to kill almost everything, but somehow, it makes the mosquitoes grow bigger. Most of the ones I saw were the size of a nickel. Any bigger, and they'd probably be able to pick me up and take me back to their nest. Repelant did nothing. I have a sneaking suspicion they've developed some kind of immunity to the stuff and it has become like some kind of perfume.
The point of this rambling post? All summer, there have been a steady flow of wasps hanging out by the front door. It's great for solicitors. The wasps are almost as effective as one of those huge guard dogs. The down side is if we have anyone else come to the door. Well, we just found out why we are the lucky ones to have so many black and yellow friends. It turns out there is a small chunk missing from the foundation of our house. Those inventive little buggers decided that was the perfect spot for their new mansion, and those punks got in there and reproduced faster than any rabbits. Now I just have to wait for the winter and then I'll seal up the hole. Until then, I'll try to make the most of it, so if you have any solicitors you want to send my way, just let me know. I'll try to aggitate the hive so we might even get to see a good stinging.
Monday, October 20, 2008
For better or worse, here they are:
1. When I was little, I hated ... and I mean HATED ... any wrinkles or folds in my socks when I had them on. They would always inevitably bunch up in my shoes, and it drove me crazy (OCD much?). As a result, I spent about 5 minutes each morning yanking those puppies as tight as I could before slipping them into my shoes. The result? The knee-high tube socks my mom bought me (so I could wear them forever while I shot up like a weed) quickly became thigh-highs. The saddest part? I didn't even notice and spent my days in elementary school wandering around the playground with what looked like tights on. I'm just glad there are no blackmail pictures out there ...
2. Some mornings, especially during the winter, I just stand under the shower for a few extra minutes. I will have already finished with the soap, but I can't bear to turn off the water and grab my towel.
3. I like to watch Gilmore Girls. This was my confession on Mindi's blog a little while ago, but I figure it still counts. My wife got me to start watching it, and now I can't stop. It's hilarious, and I don't care if the entire male gender looks down on me. I have a feeling that most of them are just afraid to admit they like it too.
4. I would rather eat a plate of fudge than drink a Slurpee any day of the week. My wife is the exact opposite. We've decided that people typically like rich flavors or sweet flavors. She can barely finish a piece of chocolate cake and after three sips of a Slurpee, I'm done. In contrast, she can down an entire Slurpee in 5 minutes, and I often embarrass myself when everyone can't finish their dessert and I'm about to start licking my plate.
5. I can't grow facial hair. I think my face still thinks its 12, because the only thing that comes in is peach fuzz. Back in the day, it was a little embarrassing, since growing a scraggly beard was a status symbol in high school. Now, I love it. I can go without shaving for a couple days and no one notices. It reminds me of The Suburban Juggernaut's post about his Crocs (it's hilarious). He feels like he's beating the system when he wears them, and I feel like I'm pulling one over on humanity when I step out of the house looking clean shaven, even though a razor hasn't touched my face for a day and a half.
6. I have musical instrument ADD. I started piano lessons when I was 8 years old. After that, it was percussion, trombone, violin, cello and viola. The question you're all dying to ask: Can you still play them? With the exception of piano, Heck No. I wish I was that good. I'm not. Having me play these instruments today would be like trying to get a toddler to do calculus. It's just not going to happen. Maybe someday when I'm independently wealthy, all the kids are out of the house and my brain still works like it did when I was in college. Translation: Not in this lifetime.
Those are my six. Now that I've stolen two minutes of your life that you'll never get back, have a great day!
I know, that puts me only one baby step up from being a spawn of the devil, but just hear me out.
I grew up in a “No Pets” zone. My dad was allergic to anything with fur and was emotionally allergic to everything else. My parents did concede at one point and gave me a hamster, but that was an abnormality. Thanks to this upbringing, I never even thought about having a pet that didn’t stay in a cage. It just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t like the hair. I don’t like the smell. I don’t like having to figure out where we’re going to stick it while we’re on vacation (to me, there was just something wrong about needing a pet babysitter in order to leave the house for more than a day).
Fast forward to marriage. My wife grew up with two cats and a dog. I don’t know if she ever planned on having an animal in the house, but she never really brought it up. However, when we were having trouble getting pregnant, I started to notice she was getting more and more stressed out.
It really is hard for people who want to have a baby so bad and can’t seem to succeed, and all around them, they see teenagers who have a one night stand and manage to have twins. It just doesn’t seem fair sometimes.
I knew she loved her cat when she was little, so I surprised her one Saturday with a trip to the animal shelter. We were just planning to go look, but managed to find the perfect cat. Now, I’m going to say some things that may sound mean about our cat, but it’s the truth, and we love him for it.
Our cat is a special needs cat. He doesn’t jump onto window sills. Instead, he sticks his paw in the tracking and yanks himself up. He also plays fetch and loves to get his tummy rubbed. (Sounds more like a dog than a cat, right?) We keep him as a strictly indoors cat because we know he wouldn’t last a day out there. I always tell people that natural selection missed this one.
Anyway, to make a long story short, this thing had one moment of brilliance. Cats usually pick a person to idolize, and ours picked me. He knew my wife would love him no matter what, and somehow managed to figure out that if he picked me, it would improve his chances when he did something he shouldn’t.
It has now been several years, and I can’t imagine living without him. I know, I’m a big softy, and you all are probably thoroughly disgusted, but it’s the truth.
It helps that all the issues I thought were going to be a problem actually don’t exist. Our house doesn’t smell like a giant litter box, and I don’t have to pick hair off me all the time. He’s pretty low maintenance, which also helps. He goes in a box, and I don’t ever have to walk him. He doesn’t overeat, so I don’t have to worry about how much he’s stuffing his face when I’m not looking. He’s nice to my kid (if he wasn’t it would be a deal breaker). And lastly, he does some pretty cute stuff.
Moral of this post (that is entirely too long, and if you’re still reading, I probably owe you a candy bar):
Cats aren’t evil. As a former cat hater, I’m swallowing my pride and coming clean. Everyone has a prejudice about cats, but I think they’re missing out.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I was a spaz as a kid. My mom always tells me how much she loved having me and watching me grow up, but I think she’s repressed most of the memories and is left with only a fuzzy timeline including the 10 minutes I behaved in church strung together with the times I finally passed out on my bed at night.
I also grew up with several older siblings who indoctrinated me into the cult that was 80s music. My favorite song through my entire childhood was “Take On Me” by Aha. I loved that song. LOVED. IT. My brother was finally kind enough to record it onto a tape for me, and I nearly wore out my Fisher Price tape recorder listening to it over and over again.
Now, I was an inventive little shrimp. I remember starting to get annoyed every time I had to hold down the rewind button so I could listen to it again. It just took too long, and I didn’t like having to wait every time I wanted to hear the song again.
That was when I had a flash of ingenuity. I realized that if I could somehow get the song on the tape twice, I’d only have to rewind every other song and would get two listenings in a row without any effort.
Here’s where the whole experience went into a tailspin. A smart person would have gone to the same brother who made the tape in the first place. A smart person would have asked him to record the song again right after the first one.
Evidently, I’m not smart.
I had already seen the big red record button on my Fisher Price, and a light bulb went on in my head. I could just record myself singing the song. That’s right … you heard me. I was going to sing the song myself.
Well, I did it. I recorded myself muddling through the words and trying to hit that high note. The really sad part? I totally didn’t even notice the difference between the two versions. I spent years after that happily listening to both, even though on my version, more than half the words were wrong and the synthesizer was replaced with “Nah-nah-nah-nah … nah … nah … nah … nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah …” (you get the idea).
I still have the tape somewhere, and I figure it will turn up at some embarrassing moment, like my 40th birthday.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
For example, let’s say a few coworkers are going out to lunch. If we haven’t extended the invitation to everyone in the entire office, I spend the whole time wondering if someone is hurt because they weren’t included.
This isn’t new. One of these days they’re going to scope my stomach and find it’s lined with ulcers.
My coworker, Gladys (whom you met in a previous post), loves to tell me I need to just let go. I suppose I should, but it probably won’t happen until my little girl turns 45. Until then, I think I’m going to be a basket case.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Unfortunately for me, my parents sound like an entire troop of loggers when they fall asleep. I guess it's good both of them snore because it would be torture for the one who didn't. I remember one particularly vivid nightmare about spiders and trying to make it down the stairs before they all got me. I sprinted into my parent's bedroom and asked if I could stay there for the night. They mumbled something that sounded like approval. Not two minutes later, they were both sawing logs, and I realized that I could either wake them up enough so I'd have a chance to get back to sleep first, or I would have to endure the noise pollution for the rest of the night.
Needless to say, I was back in my room five minutes later.
I guess it was worth the risk to have those spiders get me if it meant I didn't have to hear that noise.
I know I'm a wimp.
Every year, I think, "Nathan, you've lived in Canada. Surely you can handle a measly little Utah winter!"
And every year, I make it about three days into the cold snap and lose it.
This year, It's barely fall. The leaves haven't even hit the ground yet, and I'm already looking for a way to pack up and move to Arizona or maybe Costa Rica.
I hear people all the time talk about what kind of a temperature person they are. "Oh, I'm a cold person." or "I prefer the heat." I'll man up and say it. I don't like either. Give me 72 degrees and I'll be happy.
Yeah ... not going to happen. I guess I'd better go get my coat.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
If I was smart, I would know that all this bad karma I'm building up would eventually come back to kick me where the sun don't shine.
I'm not smart. In fact, I fall for pretty much every gullible joke there is. I even fell for the, "Did you know the word gullible isn't in the dictionary?" Yup. I fell for that one ... twice.
Another favorite is ... (when pointing to the ceiling) "Hey, who wrote the word gullible up there?"
Back to my karma beating ...
One day a few weeks ago, I had to work from home. That afternoon, I got an IM from my coworker (we'll call him Francis). Francis wrote: "You picked a good day to work from home. They just laid off two people." I (of course) took his bait and his hook and swallowed them immediately. The IMs continued and a couple more people were let go when suddenly Francis said he had to go because he was being called into the HR manager's office. At that point, my other coworker (we'll call her Gladys), took up the story and told me how pale Francis looked and how awkward the office was. They're all in the office giggling like a bunch of school girls, and I'm at home sweating buckets wondering if I'm next. Suddenly, my computer screen fills up with IMs from everyone involved, saying "GOTCHA!" It's probably good they didn't keep it going all afternoon, or they probably would have had to talk me down off a ledge.
Fast forward a couple weeks.
I was in a particularly long meeting (of my own making ... for explanation, see the title of this blog), and when I came out, Gladys and another coworker (who we'll name Cletus) had done a bunch of little things to my desk (i.e. covering the optical sensor on my mouse so I would think my computer had frozen). What I didn't know is that all of these things were to conceal the fact that they had removed one of the wheels off my chair. Gladys and Cletus couldn't have planned it better because as soon as I finished fixing all the junk around my desk, I plopped down in my chair like a walrus doing a cannon ball. With one wheel missing, it launched me into my cubicle wall. Did I mention our office is quiet? I mean QUIET. I can hear people chewing gum on the other side of the room. Me hitting the cubicle wall didn't do any other damage than bruising my pride, but it sounded so loud that our HR manager came out of her office wondering if someone was hurt. We all had a good laugh over that one.
So, here is the moral of the story. A good person would take these experiences and learn from them. Maybe ... I don't know ... bake cookies instead of filling their cubicle with balloons.
Me? I can't wait until Cletus and Gladys go on vacation ...