Monday, December 27, 2010

Being pregnant stinks OR If your wife is pregnant, good luck trying to eat anything

Pregnancy has turned my wife into a super-powered mutant. Her sense of smell is so heightened that she can smell tater tots up to 10 miles away.

I say tater tots because, in addition to super mutant olfactory senses, my wife also now cannot stand the smell of all kinds of things that don't bother normal people, like tater tots. Tater tots seem innocuous enough, but to a pregnant woman you might as well be putting ketchup on a skunk dipped in sewage.

Speaking of which, do you know what makes my mouth water? The smell of spicy chicken curry. Do you know what makes a pregnant woman retch and reach for the closest thing she can puke into? The smell of spicy chicken curry.

When I get home from the gym I must hop directly into the shower before my wife starts gagging. Once my wife got pregnant she promptly decided that her body wash smelled almost as putrid as chicken curry, so she started stealing mine. This confused me quite a bit, because I was like, “Hey, that’s new! You smell like... me? Wait a minute!”

I didn't want her perfectly good body wash to go to waste and she was using mine up, so I tried using her old stuff. Not very well thought out, I know. The minute I was out of the shower and dressed she said, “Get away! Get away!” like she was Dracula and I was the biggest clove of garlic in all of Transylvania. I had to go shower all over again.

My wife also cannot stand the smell of bathrooms, even clean ones. At first it was just public restrooms, but now she can't stand the smell of our bathroom at home, which is relatively clean. We tried cleaning everything in it with Lysol but the smell of Lysol makes her gag even more, so it looks like she just might have to hold it until the baby is born, poor woman.

The upside is that I now have an extra stream of income because I contract my wife out to law enforcement agencies to help them track fugitives. We’re undercutting all the bloodhounds in town on prices and making a fortune.

Pregnant or no, are there certain smells that make you gag? Leave a comment if you please.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A little potato for Christmas

My wife contracted a parasite that is making her violently sick. It’s leeching nutrients from her body, growing rapidly and is currently the size of a lemon. That’s right, clever reader, as a good friend of ours used to say, my wife caught “baby.” There’s no time like the present to reproduce, I always say.

For those of you who are unsettled by the thought of a little Jesse running around just remember that it is only half me, so you can all breathe a sigh of relief.

When Wifey called people to tell them our good news they kept saying, “Aren’t you so excited?” She was excited, but she felt guilty for being afraid too. She also felt guilty for being a little grossed out by the whole process.

There’s, like, a little thing growing in there!” she said to me. “It’s like some sci-fi movie where the alien thing grows inside the human host and then violently bursts out covered in blood and guts!”

She has a good point, but all joking aside, we are very happy. However, what a lot of expectant parents won’t tell you - but we will - is that with the happiness also comes a fair amount of pure terror. I think paralyzing fear is an intelligent and appropriate response to finding out you are going to become a parent. We wanted and planned for a baby, but now that it’s actually under construction we are scared to death.

My face has broken out like never before, and sometimes I wake up in middle of the night thinking, “How are we going to afford a baby? What if we make sucky parents? What if our baby turns out to be a bratty troll child?”

Sometimes I think, This is crazy! Maybe I just dreamed that we were going to have a baby. And just when I had convinced myself it was a dream my wife got her first ultrasound, which was pretty clear proof that something was in there. An ultrasound doesn't have a lot of details, you see. It basically looked like someone had tried to photocopy a potato or a chicken nugget.

That’s a baby?” I asked the ultrasound tech. “Are you sure?”

She assured me that it was a baby and politely labeled the head and bottom, which was good because I wasn't sure which was which.

For parents: How did you feel when you got the big news? 
For non-parents: Do you plan on having kids? Why or why not? 
Leave a comment if you please.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Merry Christmas is just not in the cards


I dislike Christmas cards, or rather I dislike sending out Christmas cards. It is not my idea of fun to spend my holiday season rounding up addresses, trying to think of something meaningful to write in each card, addressing envelopes and licking stamps. Now if people sent money after receiving your Christmas card, like a graduation or wedding announcement, I’d be all for it. But they don’t, and I’m not.
Therefore when my wife announced she would be sending out Christmas cards I groaned within myself. I tried to talk her out of it. I tried to deter her by saying that if we were going to send out Christmas cards we would have to include a family newsletter called the “Barben Beacon” that details everything we have done this year along with a color photo of ourselves in festive sweaters. It was a bluff, of course, but it only made her more determined to send out Christmas cards and very angry.
Here I will pause and ask a question: when two women argue, who wins? I ask because it has been well documented that when a man and a woman argue, the man will lose every time. But if two women argue, will the argument go on indefinitely until one of them dies of starvation because there is no man around to lose said argument? But I digress.
As you may have gathered, we’re sending out Christmas cards. I told my wife not to bother with my side of the family or my friends because I communicate with them regularly throughout the year and I say that is good enough. We don't need to get Hallmark involved. Plus, they would be suspicious if they started getting Christmas cards from me all of a sudden.
“I already sent him money when he graduated and when he got married!” they would say. “What more does he want?”
I dislike Christmas cards so much because they are one of many sinister things that put unnecessary stress into a season that should be calm and happy. I get sad when I hear people complaining about how the holidays are so stressful. If Christmas is stressful for you it is because you are making it stressful and you need to chill the heck out and stop trying to do everything.
Here are no-stress ideas on how to handle common holiday tasks:
Christmas cards: E-mail. (You will save a fortune on cards, postage and holiday sweaters.)
Shopping: Gift cards. Or cash. And purge a few people from your shopping list.
Baking: Pillsbury.
Dinners: Chinese take-out.
Parties: Skype.
See? It’s as easy as that. You can thank me later.

Is anyone else anti-Christmas card? Do you have other ways to de-stress for the holidays? Leave a comment if you please.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's just as I feared, my beard has disappeared

Well, I have shaved off my beard, and, after a sufficient period of mourning, I have found the courage to write about it.

Don’t blame my wife because it isn’t her fault. My wife is very sweet and told me that I am a grown person, can groom myself however I want and if I want to look like a homeless drifter it is my business. That is fortunate, because if she had demanded that I shave I would have grown the beard longer just to spite her. I am a man and I am in control of my own face! More or less.

I decided shaving was in my best interest (see the “Spousal Kisses versus Beardity” graph) so I just got out the shaving cream, cried a little and did the deed. I don’t miss it too terribly, but it is strange to see my own face again. Plus, shaving a beard adds, like, 30 pounds to your face. And my face always feels cold now.

Not only did my wife hate to kiss me when I was bearded, but she is also half-Cuban and believes that all bearded men are communists. (Fidel and Che ruined it for everyone. Thanks for nothing, fellas!) My wife got this deep-seated political beard belief from her mother, who fled Cuba in the ‘60s to escape Castro’s regime. As you can imagine, the beard made my mother-in-law very uneasy.

But now the beard is gone and family relations are once again firing on all cylinders. It’s not over, though. I told my wife that she hadn’t seen the last of The Beard, and it would likely return when she least expected it like some villain in a bad movie sequel. I told my wife I will probably re-grow it when we’ve been married a long time, are bored of each other and aren’t kissing anyway.

Problem solved.

Have you ever done something you didn't want to do for love? Leave a comment, if you please.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pardon me, I'm a turkey

Today is Thanksgiving where I’m at and I've had one question nagging at me: Why turkey? Why not meatloaf or fried chicken or a big crown of broccoli? Why did turkeys get selected to be the sacrificial celebration animal? Is it because they are ugly and the pilgrims figured no one would miss them if they cooked them to extinction?

Some people say there was an abundance of wild turkeys in the Plymouth Colony. This explains how turkey got on the menu, but not how it came to be the central food, the Thanksgiving MVP, if you will. I’ve googled and googled without a satisfactory answer, but I did come across some interesting stuff.

For instance, my good friend Rush Limbaugh says that when you are saying grace over your Thanksgiving feast there is one thing and one thing only that you should be grateful for and that is: free enterprise. That's right, he claims that the “real” story of Thanksgiving starts with the pilgrims having a socialist economy where they shared everything, which caused them to starve because no one had motivation to work. Then someone got the bright idea to switch to a free enterprise system and suddenly everyone had food to spare, so they threw a party to celebrate free enterprise and this is what we now know as the First Thanksgiving. I don't know if I believe this because it sounds like everyone ate, and that's not a very conservative way of doing things.

I also found out that since 1947 the National Turkey Federation (yes, there is such an organization) has presented the President of the United States with several turkeys in a ceremony known as the “National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation” (yes, there is such a ceremony). Past presidents have simply eaten their turkeys, but in recent years presidents have been pardoning the turkeys, as if they were guilty of something other than being ugly. After the turkeys are pardoned they go on to become the grand marshal in a Thanksgiving parade and then get sent into turkey retirement at Disneyland. Seriously!

All of this turkey talk is making me hungry, which makes me glad that my turkey did not get pardoned.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Does anyone know how turkey came to play such a central role in American Thanksgiving? Or if you live someplace other than the U.S. do you celebrate Thanksgiving and how is it different? Leave a comment if you please.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"The Haunted Treadmill" and other weird tales OR Sweat Ghost Coast to Coast

I went to the gym the other day and I came back looking like this:

Can you see it? Can you see the sweat on my shirt that forms a terrifying face? My wife discovered it when I came home.

“You have a face on you shirt!” she said in a panicky voice. “A face! A face! Get away!”

I looked in the mirror and conceded she was right. I thought it was totally cool, but she was terrified. This was because she had just been watching trailers for scary movies, one of her favorite things to do. She's too squeamish to watch the actual movies, so she just watches tons of scary movie trailers instead. Then I wake up in the middle of the night with her on my side of the bed, latched onto me like a octopus.

I've had experiences with ghosts before, so I figure what happened was a guy got killed at the gym in a treadmill accident (it happens!) but the gym covered it up because they didn't want to lose business. Now the sweaty spirit of this poor spectral jogger inhabits the treadmill where he died, hoping some chubby guy who is trying to get back into shape will bring his sad story to light. When I was running he manifested himself through my, uh, sweat stains. Gross, I know, but he's a ghost and he just wants to get closure in any way he can.

Currently the ghost is haunting my laundry hamper. What do you use to get ghost out of your laundry? Shout? Club soda? Maybe you just wash them in really hot water, like you do to get rid of bedbugs.

It's creepy, and it gives me an excuse to stay away from the gym for awhile.

Has anyone else had ghost problems lately? Or does anyone have any scary trailer recommendations for my wife? Leave a comment if you please.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Stealth Beard

As you may know, I really like beards. My wife, however, is not a big fan. The other night she was watching an episode of Bones that featured Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top sporting his trademark waist-length beard. Knowing my affinity for beards she promptly read my mind and said, "Don't get any ideas!" without even looking away from the TV.

But I figure it's my turn now. We've been married now for six months and I've been clean shaven the whole time, not to mention all the time before that while we were dating. I figure we can have joint custody of my face: six months clean shaven, six months bearded. Everybody wins.

When my wife went to Alaska for a week to visit family I immediately stopped shaving, and when she got back the beard was already pretty well established and there wasn't a whole lot she could do about it. Pretty stealthy, eh? Plus, I told her that she agreed in her marriage vows to accept me, beard and all. She didn't question it because a marriage ceremony is so long and has lots of unintelligible flowery language. Who knows what all they said in there.

So the beard is here to stay, at least for a while. I've gotten a few compliments on the beard, but I always unintentionally make it awkward. Here are a few of my poorly worded responses:

"Thanks, I'm saving a fortune on shaving cream."
"Thanks, if there's one thing I do well, it's grow hair."
"Thanks, it's kind of blond around my upper lip and chin so it looks like I've spilled something on my face, but other than that I like it too."
"Thanks, you too!" (To a woman)

The downside is I think the beard is hurting my game. From this graph we find that my wife kisses me less when I have the beard. 

Maybe this is because she's been sick since she got back from Alaska, or maybe she just hates the beard.

I wish I had paid more attention in my college research class.

Anti-beard or pro beard? Leave a comment if you please.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Exercise" and "discouragement" are often used in the same sentence

Tonight a friend told me, “Hey, you've lost some weight!” and it was bittersweet. Sweet because, yeah, I really have lost some weight, and bitter because, yeah, I used to be a lot fatter than this. I've struggled with weight for a while now and it was nice to get some recognition.

If you too want to look... uh, less fat, just follow my simple step-by-step instructions and see pitifully small results that don't seem proportional to the amount of effort you're putting in, and only after several weeks and months of hard work! It's easy and fun!

Step 1: Grow a beard, which goes a long way toward covering up a double chin. (If you are a woman or a sissy man skip to step 2.)

Step 2: Stop consuming soda, candy, ice cream, fast food, etc. A good rule of thumb is, “If it tastes good, don't eat it.”

Step 3: Make yourself exercise. One of the best things you can do is join a gym because once you begin paying handsomely for the privilege you will be much more likely to work out. That's what motivates me, anyway.

One of my preferred (the one I hate the least) exercises is running. I prefer to run outdoors, but this time of year it is too cold to do so and now I have to run on a treadmill, which I hate for the following reasons. First, treadmills are merciless, feel no pity and if you can't keep up they will buck you right off; and second, once you get done running on a treadmill your top half still feels like it is moving forward at running speed while your bottom half feels like it is wading through peach Jello with Mandarin oranges imprisoned in it.

At my gym the treadmills are placed near a large window that overlooks the pool and I know it's only a matter of time until I get thrown off, crash through the window and land on the unsuspecting people swimming laps.

How is everyone else doing on their physical fitness? Making any headway? Or are you one of those no good, low down, dirty, rotten people who can eat whatever they want, never exercise and stay skinny? Leave a comment if you please.

And you might be interested to know that our upstairs neighbor continues to increase in creepiness and we've decided he might be the West Mesa Bone Collector.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Money talks, but when my co-workers get a hold of it all it ever says is "goodbye!"

My coworkers are robbing me naked. I can't go to work one day without somebody hitting me up for money.

The worst are the people who treat their co-workers as a captive audience. You know the kind, the ones who are always hustling raffle tickets, cookies, candy bars, coupon books, wrapping paper, crappy jewelry, makeup and so forth and so on to infinity. And I think it's really unfair when a person in a position of authority over you asks you for money. What can you really say to someone who has the power to promote and/or fire you? I usually end up saying something like this:

“I'd like to advance my career, so of course I'll buy the Girl Scout cookies you are selling for your granddaughter!”

Or “You're about to give me my annual performance review, so of course I will buy an expensive raffle ticket to support your pet cause!”

Birthdays are also a huge drain on my wallet. Someone says, “It's Coworker's birthday tomorrow so we need to pitch in and take her out to lunch, buy her a card, buy her a cake and buy her a gift card for that one place we think she probably likes.”

Can't we just do one of those? Maybe just lunch, or maybe just a nice card. Must we do all four? I know I hate shelling out money for birthdays, so I tried to lighten the financial load on my co-workers. I told them they did not have to get me anything for my birthday, but that did not go over well.

“So you're trying to weasel out of birthdays now, is that it?” they accused. “You think by saying that now you don't have to buy us stuff on our birthdays? Think again, sucker, 'cause on our birthdays we still demand cake, card, lunch and gift certificate. We'll just take the money we were going to spend on your birthday and put it towards ours.”
And last but not least is The Moral Committee. They meant “Morale,” but state employees can't spell, so now it's the “Moral” Committee, which sounds like some kind of religious group. They raise funds by asking us to “donate” food, turning around and putting it up for sale and then asking us to buy it back from them. This is to improve morale. The profits then go towards an office party, which I never wanted in the first place. I see my co-workers enough as it is. I do not want to see them at an extra, after-hours party.

I come to work to make money, but I'm just barely breaking even.

Is anyone else getting swindled by their co-workers? Pressured by their superiors to buy things? Leave a comment, if you please.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend

Last Halloween I splurged and bought tons of good candy to give out to trick-or-treaters. I had some dream of being that house that kids want to come to because the candy is so plentiful and delicious and they tell all their friends. But it was not to be.

One of the first kids to come through looked into his pillowcase after I had given him the candy and said, “Ugh, I don't want that!” So I said, “Fine! Be that way. Next year it's Smarties for everyone.”

This year I'm not spending a dime. A metric ton of Smarties costs about as much as a few potatoes (which I also considered giving out, just to spite the little punks) and that's all I'm willing to spend on these ungrateful brats.

Trick-or-treater: “Hey, what happened to the good candy from last year? What's up with all the Smarties?”

Me: “Well you can thank Mr. Bad Manners over there for ruining it for everyone. You're lucky I'm not giving out toothbrushes!”

If any kids give me attitude this year I'm going to take them to some Republicans and say, “This kid was asking for a handout.” That kid won't stand a chance.

Honestly, it's all for the best. If I have a bowlful of nasty candy, I am much less likely to eat it myself. Last year I almost ran out of candy and I blamed it on greedy kids. However, if I am completely honest I must admit that I ate a fair amount of it myself.

Miniature Snickers are like crack cocaine.

Am I overreacting? Smarties were the bane of my childhood trick-or-treating but does anyone else like them? Leave a comment if you please. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

He's just being neighborly

I've been withholding judgment for a while but now I've come to the certain conclusion that our upstairs neighbor is a serial killer. Don't believe me? Here is the evidence:

First, he lives one the third floor, we live on the second and he is always sitting out on his balcony and smoking. Sitting on a balcony and smoking is not creepy in an of itself, but he watches us from the minute we get out of our car to the minute we go inside. It's not a flattering type of watching like, "Look at that attractive couple," or even a mocking sort of watching like, "Look at that funny-looking couple." Instead it's a creepy kind of watching, like, "After they go missing, I wonder how long until someone calls the cops?" or "I wonder what I would look like wearing his skin as a suit" or "I'd like their eyeballs for my collection, I believe I have room in my freezer."

Second, any time I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or get a drink of water I always hear him moving around upstairs. It's not regular steps, either. It's more like dull thuds, heavy footfalls and slow, creaky shuffling. What is he doing at that late hour? Oh, I don't know, maybe disposing of a body! What else would someone be doing at 3 a.m.?

Lastly, he starts playing his music at top volume at 6:30 a.m., even on weekends. That doesn't sound like a hardcore serial killer trait, but it does show his psychopathic disregard for other people. It is clearly sadistic behavior to wake people up on a Saturday morning with a muffled "Kiss On My List" by Hall and Oates coming through the ceiling, along with other classic hits.

In my half-asleep state I start playing "Name That Tune" and it drives my wife nuts.

"'Wheel in the Sky?' Is that Kansas?" I will ask my wife.

"No," she will say. "Journey. You always get those mixed up. Now go back to sleep!"

Now you have the evidence, so you be the judge. All I'm saying is if I quit posting, you'll know whose freezer to look in.

Anyone else have creepy neighbors? Annoying neighbors? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Candy candy candy

As I've mentioned, I'm pretty excited about Halloween, specifically the candy part of Halloween. I bought some the instant I saw it on shelves, which gave me an idea for an ingenious experiment.

I didn't think of the experiment right away, though. It was September 15 and I had a HUGE stash of Halloween candy. I knew I had better do something or I'd eat it all myself, so I bought a candy dish and put it on my desk at work with the hope that my coworkers would eat it all for me.

Once my supervisor spotted the dish he started coming into my office more frequently. Much more frequently. He would come and chat personally about things he used to e-mail me about, all while helping himself to giant fistfuls of candy. While my co-workers were getting photocopied memos delivered to their mailboxes, I was getting personal visits from the boss, and he was getting all of my Mr. Goodbars. I tracked how often he came in and came up with this highly scientific graph:

As a side note, more and more employees are getting candy dishes now that we are in October. Since then, I've busted my boss sneaking into their offices while they weren't there to raid their candy dishes, no joke! As the boss he has a key to all the offices and he is breaking into offices to steal candy. I know he must do that to my dish also because my candy practically evaporates and I can't refill it fast enough. I think he has a candy problem and I should stop enabling him.

Anyway, I put apples in my candy dish just to see what would happen. So far I have not seen hide nor hair of my boss.

Is anyone else a candy addict or a candy enabler? Leave a comment, if you please.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This might be an overshare but...

It is super easy to get fat but it is pure agony to try and get un-fat, and I may just quit trying.

I guess I don’t quite consider myself “fat” just yet. I like to think of myself as “chubby,” but I know with depressing certainty that “Chubby” is just a rest stop on the highway to Fatty Acres. It’s a super slippery slope because they road into Fatty Acres is paved with delicious things like donuts, pizza and ice cream; whereas the road out of Fatty Acres is bristling with miseries like exercising, sweating and healthy eating. It’s no wonder a lot of people arrive in Fatty Acres and retire there. It’s like the Hotel California.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to discover that it is not easy changing lifelong habits. Currently I’m on the road to Healthier Living but it is horrendously bumpy and my willpower keeps breaking down. I really miss all my friends back in Fatty Acres, too. Little Caesar doesn’t call as often as he used to. I send Ben and Jerry letters sometimes. Dr. Pepper still texts me now and again but it’s not the same.

Despite all this, my wife says she loves me just the way I am. The only reason people get skinny is to find a partner, and I’ve already got one locked in for forever. If my wife loves me the way I am, then why do I need to keep trying to be fit? Nobody likes an overachiever.

I think my reasoning is quite sound.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Revenge of the nerds: This time it's personal

I got a virus on my computer and went to a local electronics chain to see about getting it removed. There I found a bunch of nerds nursing decades-old indignities and exacting revenge by overcharging people for even the most routine of computorial tasks.

“Remove a ‘virus’? Are you sure it’s even a true virus? Perhaps instead it is a Trojan, worm, rootkit or just spyware.” the Chief of the nerds said in a successful attempt to make me feel monumentally ignorant. “Either way, that’ll be $200 bucks to fix it. Make it $250 because I don’t like the look of you. Maybe more depending on my mood.”

“Whaaaaaaaaaaat?” I swooned. “Isn’t that, uh, really high?”

“You should have thought of that before you mistreated people like us in high school,” he sneered, as his fellow nerds chuckled and egged him on. “Who’s laughing now, cool guy?”

“But I’m one of you guys!” I tried to say. “I have contact lenses now, but I’m still one of you! Back in high school you were nerds of the computer persuasion, and I was a nerd of the marching band persuasion. I guarantee we got the same amount of butt-kickings, though. I’m a brother, a friend!”

The nerds grumbled amongst themselves in technological nerd-speak.

“I never bullied you, I promise!” I whined. “Now I’m a social worker and I get even less respect than I did in the marching band! Why don’t you overcharge that former jock over there and give me the fellow-nerd discount?”

They would not lower their prices, so I did what any good man would do and told them I was going to take it home and fix it myself, never mind that I had no idea how to do it and would probably make it worse. Why pay someone to do something when you can probably maybe sort of most likely do it yourself for free? The nerds let me go on my way, laughing amongst themselves about how I would certainly return sheepishly a few days.

And I probably would have gone crawling back in a few days but I found a website run by kinder nerds who are less stingy - or perhaps still seeking acceptance - and it had step-by-step instructions on how to fix my problem. I wanted to go back to the nerds at the store and say something like, “In your face! I did it myself! D.I.Y., we neva die!”

But I don’t want to burn my nerd bridges as you never know when you might need a nerd to save you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mental dental torture

Today I went to the dentist for my bi-annual cleaning and I felt like a spy being tortured. They sat me in that chair and put that light in my face and started asking me all those questions, such as, "How often do you floss? What kind of toothbrush do you use? What is the secret formula? What are the access codes? Talk! Talk!"

Unlike the stolid spies in the movies I crack immediately and blubber, "I skip flossing occasionally! I have a huge bag of *Halloween candy sitting on my passenger seat right now! One time I fell asleep without brushing! Now leave me alone, I've told you all I know!"

In my defense, dentists break you down psychologically. Guantánamo Bay has got nothing on my dentist. Each dentist's office is kept at a mean temperature of 33 degrees faranheit, just warm enough to keep the Novacaine from freezing. The first thing they do is put a bib on you, a grown person, and you sit there feeling like at any moment someone is going to start spooning strained peas into your mouth while making airplane sounds. Then they ask you questions while they have both hands in your mouth and you are powerless to anything but mumble or gurgle incoherently in response. Then they put you in a heavy lead vest and make you bite down on painful plastic things that cut into your mouth and take 5,000 x-rays, agonizingly changing the position of the plastic things for each x-ray.

And all the while the interrogator aka "hygienist" is sitting there with her tray of torture implements.

"If you don't tell me what I want to know you're going to meet my little friend The Iron Hook."

And of course my gums immediately retract in fear and I tell them what they want to know.

* Yes, it's true. I've already bought Halloween candy.

And I noticed that I've written a ton of blogs about dentists. Creepy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

If anyone else asks me to play Santa Claus somebody is getting hurt

I know it is way too early to talk about Santa Claus, but at a recent staff meeting my co-workers were discussing the upcoming office Christmas party. The issue of who would play Santa Claus came up and the role of Santa was offered to me with the following justification:

“You have to play Santa because Male Co-worker and Other Male Co-worker are too skinny. You have the, uh, right build.”

Rude! Asking a man if he would like to play Santa Claus is like asking a woman if she is pregnant. It is impolite and should not be done under any circumstances.

Furthermore, am I the only was who was horrified to find out about - as I like to call it - The Santa Claus Conspiracy? At a tender age I started to realize that the whole Santa Claus story didn’t add up and angrily confronted my parents.

“Just what are you trying to pull here?” I demanded.

My parents – who never once suspected I was onto them - spilled the red and green Christmas beans and I was mortified, speechless with horror. Parents, relatives, made-for-TV-movies, the rest of the media at large and adults in general had conspired against me my whole life to make me to believe that an obese elderly man in festive red attire would land his livestock on my roof and bring me free stuff, asking nothing in return. I should’ve known the story was fake all along because nobody does anything nice without expecting something in return!

After Santa Claus was debunked, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Great Pumpkin, Albuquerque Turkey, Kermit the Frog and all of their contemporaries fell in short succession. What else had my parents and everyone else lied about? What other dark conspiracies were there, and how deep did they go? Did the President of the United States, the Pope or Oprah know about Santa Claus and similar frauds, and, if so, why weren’t they taking actions to stem the large-scale deception of children?

It will be a long time before my wife and I are foolhardy enough to have children, but when we do we will have to decide whether or not we carry on the treacherous tradition of Santa Claus. Obviously I am avidly Anti-Santa but my wife is a staunch Santa sympathizer and advocates lying to little children. I sense we have a heated debate in our future.

I, of course, refused to play Santa for moral reasons as I cannot in good conscience take part in perpetuating this holiday hoax.

And it’s insulting. “The right build” indeed!

If you are the Christmas celebrating type, are you Pro-Santa or Anti-Santa and why? Will you do Santa Claus with your children? Leave a comment if you please.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pandora's box is full of knives, sharp pencils and fat jokes

I think I might be the last person to discover it, but you can stream TV shows on Netflix! Netflix + WiFi + Laptop = Me watching The Office in my bathroom.

Weird and too much information, I know, but what a discovery! It’s been kind of like opening Pandora’s box, not because it has taken over my life, but because I am watching something no matter what I’m doing and that has proven to be extremely problematic.

For instance, I was loading the dishwasher while simultaneously watching The X-Files. I distractedly put a very large and very pointy knife in the utensil basket-thingy with the point facing out. I continued loading dishes, the knife long since forgotten, when all of a sudden I became a foul-mouthed stigmatic, blood flowing profusely from a knife wound in the palm of my hand and profanity flowing profusely from my mouth. Distracted dish washing is no joke, people! Take it from me.

Later, I went home to see my family. Having forgotten the sharpened pencil in his hand, my younger brother put his arm around me to show that he was almost as tall as me and accidentally jabbed the pencil into the back of my head.

Bleeding from the palm and head, however, was nothing compared to what was coming. The pencil-stabbing incident coincided with a little family get-together to celebrate a third brother moving back to New Mexico after he had lived in Cleveland for two years. He went down the line congratulating all my other siblings on how good they looked, but when he got to me he said, “You look, um, heavier.”

What he had wanted to say was “fat,” but I give him points for attempted tact. I knew about the fat thing already and had taken steps to remedy it. I’ve always had an on-again, off-again relationship with exercising and eating healthy. Fortunately, I’m currently in an “on-again” phase, and after that little “heavier” comment I have committed to redouble my efforts.

They say you can’t go home again, but you totally can. Just be prepared for what you might encounter there.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My narrow escape

The other night my wife and I went out to dinner where I ordered a “bottomless” lemonade and got my money's worth of free refills. After dinner we went up to Sandia Crest to see the wonderful view of the city of Albuquerque and the surrounding area. The drive up to the top of the mountain takes a little over an hour and we arrived at the top in good spirits, took in the view and prepared to drive back down.

Part way through the drive down I realized I had drunk one lemonade too many.

“I think I need to pull over and 'use the restroom,'” I announced to my wife.

To my surprise she was horrified.

“You can't just wander off into the mountain wilderness and expect to come back alive!” she said. “Haven't you seen any movies?”

I told her I had, in fact, seen some movies.

“Then you know that when you gallivant out there a killer, monster or mutant will kill you in a horrific fashion. Then I have to call for you awhile, be really scared and then go out looking for you, only to get killed in a similar manner. Or maybe the monster will initially bypass you and devour me first because I'm Latina, and everyone knows that minorities die first. So you better just hold it because I'm not getting eviscerated tonight because you don't know when to stop drinking lemonade.”

I had to admit she had a valid point, so I had to hold it all the way down the mountain. All in all, a very fun trip.

* This post was "clipped" by Hippest Snippets, which makes me happy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Eggs and all of my false hopes

You know that Mitch Hedberg joke about cinnamon roll incense? Well one of my co-workers has achieved it! Except this raggedy chump uses cinnamon raisin toast scents to mess with me. He has this air-freshener-wax-melter device that smells precisely like hot, buttered cinnamon raisin toast and never fails to make my mouth water for some every time I walk past his office. My nose deceives me every single time and my senses are thrown into tailspin.

My nose: “Cinnamon Raisin Toooooooooooooooast!”
My brain: “No, no! It’s that one air freshener, remember? How many times must we have to go through this?”
My stomach: “Stop messing with me! I can’t take much more of this!”

I wanted to make some cinnamon raisin toast, so I went to the store to buy eggs. I carefully opened several cartons and scrupulously examined each egg until I found a carton with the perfect dozen. I have broken many an egg accidentally by setting the milk or another heavy grocery item atop them, so with my raisin toast in mind I carefully set the carton of eggs in the baby seat of grocery cart.

I paid for my groceries but knew I was not out of the woods yet and I was still in the egg danger zone. I’ve broken lots more eggs by recklessly placing them in my trunk with the other groceries, and when I take a turn too fast the eggs become a trunk omelet and turn my trunk and other groceries into a yolky mess.

This time I carefully placed the eggs on the roof of my car while I loaded all of the other groceries into the trunk. I had every intention of moving the eggs from the roof into the passenger seat and buckling them up for safety, but I totally forgot and drove off. I don’t know what became of my eggs as I did not realize this until I was halfway home, but I assume the eggs promptly fell off the roof and splattered all over the highway somewhere.

So I guess the smell of cinnamon raisin toast is as close as I will get for now.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Slowing down but not quite signing off

I regret to inform you that I will no longer be posting weekly. I'll still blog periodically when I think of something funny, just not every week. The reason is a few other things are demanding my attention:

1. I am trying to learn Spanish.
2. I am trying to write short stories and -as silly as it sounds- a novel.
3. Starcraft II just came out and ohmygoodnessitisAWESOME!

Like many of you, I have found that there are just not enough hours in the day. Free time is kind of scarce and even though it only takes a few hours per week to research, write and edit a blog, I think I would like to put those hours toward other things. And truth be told I am having a hard time coming up with stuff to blog about anymore.

I started my blog right after I graduated with my bachelor's degree because I had so much fun writing for the university paper and I wanted to keep up my writing momentum. After over two years and 116 posts I think I have kept up that momentum and now wish to transfer it to the aforementioned short stories. Perhaps I will post them here at a later date if no one buys them.

Maybe I'll start vlogging, or start a new blog about recipes, fashion, popular TV shows or my ultra-conservative right wing political views. I'm kidding.

Anyway, if you haven't already, please download the most recent Avenge Apollo (the band I'm in) album for free. (One last plug.)

Thanks to everyone who has read and commented over these last two years! Stay tuned for random posts.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Just say "no" to toads OR Making money in a really weird way

America has lost the “War on Drugs,” and if you don't think we have, just ask my parents’ dachshund.

Her name is Holly, and she’s not even a full dachshund. She’s what cutesy dog breeders call a “Dorky” because she is a cross between a Dachshund and a “Yorkie” (Yorkshire Terrier). My parents don’t even like dogs, but they still have children at home and feel obligated to have dogs for their kids to play with. And picking up dog poop builds character.

My parents live near the Rio Grande river, so toads are always making their way into our yard and into Holly’s mouth. Toads have poisonous skin and after biting one Holly will immediately foam at the mouth like a rabid, furry sausage. Other dogs have had run-ins with toads, but they usually learn after the first time. Not Holly. As far as we can tell, she seeks out toads and tries to bite them and is foaming at the mouth more often than not.

We just assumed Holly was the stupidest dog ever and that her doggie brain was a few sizes too small, but then my mom found an article saying that dogs can get addicted to the hallucinogenic effects of biting toads, no joke!

"I can't help myself."

It must be true. I know Holly has formed a habit because now she's dealing. I've seen her on the corner slangin' toads. I can hear her saying, in a low voice, “I got them toads, I got them toads. I got Colorado River toads, Sonoran Desert toads. Way stronger than the ones I sold you last week.”

If it gets much worse, we’re going to have to have a puppy intervention, and it won’t be pretty.

Parents: Holly, we’ve brought you here tonight to talk about your toad problem.

Holly: I don’t have a toad problem.
I can quit whenever I want and I'm not hurting anyone. It's my life! So what if I want to go an bite a toad from time to time? Doesn't everyone?

Perhaps there is dog rehab. They have salons, spas and resorts for overly moneyed people to take their child-substitute dogs to, so why not doggie rehab? If there isn’t one, I will found the first Canine Drug Rehabilitation facility –which would also treat cats with catnip problems– and become rich beyond my wildest dreams.

Since I’ve been paying so much attention to my parents foaming, delinquent puppy lately my wife has accused me of being a “dog lover,” which is just uncalled for. I think she is afraid I’m going to bring a puppy home without asking her, but she should know that I never do anything that might get me in trouble without assessing her reaction first using the Busy Busy Busy Marital Anger Scale. It goes from 1 to 10, with 1 being something I will get forgiven for pretty quickly and 10 being divorce court. For example, I might say, “How mad would you be if I pushed you into this pond/used our savings to buy a killer guitar/quit my job to play Starcraft II full-time?” Then she tells me her number, and I decide if it’s worth it.

Wifey doesn’t need to worry because I only like dogs right up to the point where I have to pick up poop.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beard, Bathrooms and Bears, Oh my!

Every time I use the men's restroom at work and go to wash my hands I am greeted by a light dusting of gray beard trimmings all over the sink. This means that one of my co-workers trims their beard in the public restroom and doesn't even have the decency to clean up their beard shavings.

I hate washing my hands with beard everywhere, but mostly I hate being reminded that I share the space with about 15 other people. I like to pretend that I'm the only one who uses it but when confronted with castoff facial hair or an un-flushed toilet this illusion quickly evaporates.

Everyone knows that public restrooms are unsanitary. Dr. Dipak Chatterjee of India even said that public toilets are so unsanitary that it's better to use adult diapers, but most of us have to use them out of necessity. I just can't hold it a whole work day.

So I do my best to get by. First, I've tried to track down the beard trimming guy, but out of the 15 men that work in my office, 11 have gray beards, meaning there are 11 suspects. I now hold the clean shaven and dark bearded guys in higher esteem because they are follicularly responsible.

Also, let me say that the little paper “seat protectors,” so called, are a joke. I can't go while I'm sitting on a piece of wax paper. I feel as if I will slide right off the seat.

The most important thing a person can do when using a public restroom is lock the door or stall. At my work it seems like someone is always trying to open the door while I go. I guess we all feel the urge at the same time. They don't just gingerly try the knob, either. They try and break the door down like they are some horror movie monster and I'm the stupid teenager who picked a poor hiding place.

At one office building I spent time at each restroom was unisex and sealed with an electronic lock that all the employees knew the code to, so anyone could get into any restroom at anytime. Each restroom had a two-sided sign with one side colored green and the other colored red. To prevent awkwardness, people were supposed to flip the sign to red when they were using the restroom and green when it was vacant. However, people were always forgetting to flip the sign appropriately and walking in on each other (Yikes! Hey, Boss.) or waiting patiently at the door of an unoccupied restroom.

The good news is people are taking matters into their own hands. Jack Sims of Singapore has founded the World Toilet Organization which has a mission to improve toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. He also has started the World Toilet College to provide training in toilet design, maintenance and sustainable sanitation.

I'm going to write the WTO and see if they can do something about my work restroom and I request a World Toilet Organization bumper sticker.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I believe in a thing called duct tape

I had my heart broken this week. I thought it was Friday but it was really Wednesday, which was heartbreaking.

I was at work and people were yelling at me and making all kinds of demands, but I was calm and serene because in my head I was like, “Yell and demand all you want, suckers, tomorrow is Saturday.”

Only it wasn't. After that, it felt like Saturday was never going to come. And just like that, my heart was broken.

I wasn't able to fix my broken heart, but there was some other broken stuff I was able to fix. Let me first say that I believe in the power of duct tape. When my wife's car window broke, I used duct tape to fix it, and later my music recording device went bad but I duct taped it back health.
Duct tape is an American institution, like apple pie, overly large cars and credit card debt. I once used duct tape and JB weld to fix a friend's carburetor on his '72 Ford Maverick, no joke. I estimate that between my father and I we have used approximately enough duct tape to stretch from the earth to the Planet Formerly Known As Pluto and back, so I wanted to research duct tape a little.

As it turns out, “duct” tape is a misnomer and duct tape is actually really not meant for use on ductwork, go figure. Duct tape scholars assert that “duct tape” derives from “duck tape,” which was the products' supposed name shortly after it was invented around World War II because it repelled water. Say it ain't so, duct tape.

There is a “Duck” tape club, and every year, “Duck” brand duct tape holds a contest in which high-school students create prom dresses out of duct tape, which sounds like way more fun than I had at my prom. The winner receives a $3,000 scholarship for college. I would have loved to go to college on a Duck tape prom dress scholarship.

Duct tape can be used to cure warts, although – like all medical discoveries – that fact is disputed. Duct tape has been used in the NASA space program and on the space station, so I feel totally legit using it to fix my Geo Prizm.

Springfield, Missouri, is the unofficial Duct Tape Capital of the World, because it claims to have sold more duct tape per capita than any other place in the world. I get a hunch there's not a whole lot going on in Springfield, Missouri.

Things I've used duct tape to fix: bike, chair, shoe, headphones, flip-flops, car stereo, toaster oven, refrigerator, relationship, clock radio. If you combine duct tape with JB weld and WD40 you have, like, the Triumvirate of DIY Fixing Power.

And, um... can you tell that I couldn't think of anything to blog about? Does it show that bad?

The moral of the story is that duct tape can fix everything, except this blog.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Placenta. It's what's for dinner

I set out to write about eating lethal amounts of frozen custard but I ended up writing about eating placentas. Strange, I know.

Here's the story: Chillz, a local custard place offers a “challenge,” which is to eat eight scoops of frozen custard, eight toppings and eight waffles. If you do it in 30 minutes they take your picture and you get it free. If you can't do it, you have to pay $25 for it. I jokingly mentioned this to my brother and he seriously suggested we try it. Now I knew it was a stupid idea, but when I'm around my brother my competitive side comes out and I agreed to do it.

We knew we were out of our depth when we arrived at Chillz. We announced that we were here to do the challenge and the girl behind the counter said, “Have you been training?”


“You know, like going to all-you-can-eat places for several weeks, drinking several gallons of water in a sitting, eating drills. Stuff like that.”

Uh-oh. As you can imagine it was pretty much downhill from there. As my brother and I tried to kill ourselves with custard, the owner of Chillz talked a lot about “competitive eating,” where there are leagues and people stretch out their stomachs on purpose and compete to eat ridiculously large quantities of food in ridiculously short quantities of time. Competitive eaters run the risk of stomach paralysis and stomach perforations. “Competitive eating” is basically a cool name for Binge Eating Disorder that sounds better on ESPN2. The perversity of it all was too much for me to bear.

And speaking of perverse eating habits, around this same time my wife was doing a little research and was horrified to discover “placentophagy,” which – not unlike “competitive eating” – is a fancy word for something disgusting.

Placentophagy means “mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth,” which is fine if you are a goat, cat or woodchuck, but there are human women who advocate a mother eating her own placenta to prevent postpartum depression, no joke. Supposedly the practice has its roots in ancient eastern medicine, and if there's one thing hippies love, it's eastern medicine.

We had a lot of questions about placentophagy. For example, does a pregnant woman go to the delivery with a doggie-bag and say to the doctor, “Can you wrap this up for me, Doctor? I'd like to save this to eat later.” What if they mixed up the placentas and accidentally give you someone else's placenta to eat? Has one mother ever said to another, “Are you gonna eat that?”

These placentophagists aren't totally crazy, though. Instead of eating the placenta raw they say to freeze-dry it, grind it up and then put it on pizza or stir it into your coffee. (“How do you take your coffee?” “Cream, sugar, and a spoonful of placenta, if you please.”)

Which begs many more questions: Are there placenta recipe books? Does eating placenta give you “placenta breath”? I would not come within ten feet of someone who had been eating their own placenta, there is not enough mouthwash in the world.

And what do you use to grind up a placenta? A blender? Once you've ground up a placenta in a blender, you can't use it for anything else ever again. Not smoothies, not anything.

One placentophagist argument is that, “All mammals do it, humans are mammals, so humans should do it.” I took an English class in college, and that sure sounds like a “logical fallacy” to me, especially because other mammals live in holes, eat insects and clean themselves with their tongues, and I am not about to do any of those things.

The moral of the story is you are what you eat.

Monday, July 5, 2010

D.I. Why?

My wife and I are trying to buy a house and I've decided I'd rather live in a cardboard box than go to the trouble of actually buying a house.

The first problem is that buying a house or even just making an offer on a house is death by paperwork. Your realtor locks you in a room stacked floor to ceiling with paperwork and you have to sign your way out and hope that you can sign everything before you die of starvation.

The second problem is that house flipping and home makeover reality shows, in conjunction with the Home Depot, have given a lot of unskilled people the idea that they can turn their average home into a dream castle by themselves. Do-It-Yourself-ing is cool, the only problem is some people really can't “do-it-themselves.” Looking at houses in our area we have seen all kinds of amateur monstrosities, and in order to buy them we'd have to put in a bunch of work to fix what some wannabe has already “fixed.”

For example, one of the homes we looked at was painted “Burning Orange” from floor to ceiling. That's right, someone had used a large quantity of drugs and proceeded to paint every room in their home bright, glaring orange. When I looked at the house I started to bleed from my eyelids due to retinal hemorrhaging.

The third and most irritating problem of all is: mortgage brokers. Mortgage brokers are professionals whose job it is to promise potential homebuyers the moon without a single intention of delivering. Here is a sample question from the Mortgage Broker Certification Exam:

As a mortgage broker you must be:
A. 10% full of crap

B. 20% full of crap
C. 50% full of crap

D. 100% full of crap, unable to speak the truth under any circumstance”

And of course, the correct response is “D.”

If I sound desperate it's because I am. I want to get into a house so my wife and I can buy a bigger bed. Right now we are sharing a “full” size mattress. It's not luxurious by any means, but it's not too bad when we go to sleep together. We fit the space allotted.

In chemistry the process of “diffusion” will take a group of concentrated particles and distribute them uniformly.
In like manner, if my wife goes to bed before me she will “diffuse” from her side of the bed until she is miraculously taking up every square inch of our bed. And then when I come to bed she is impossible to wake up or move.

I need that new bed, man. I'd even move into an orange house at this point.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hot dog blog

It’s summertime, the sun is out and I feel like grilling, which got me thinking: why do men get so excited about barbecuing? Not all men love to grill, but only men love to grill. I’ve never seen a woman get super stoked about grilling up some burgers and dogs. They don’t even get that excited about steaks or ribs. They’ll eat them, but they’re not that interested in cooking them.

(This is my Roswell, NM apron)

Where does Man's primal urge to grill things come from? Like many things, it can probably be explained by evolutionary psychology and dates back to Caveman Times. (“Caveman Times” is a scientific era. Look it up, smarty.)

First of all, in Caveman Times the men were the primary hunters. Back then women didn’t concern themselves much with throwing spears and running herds of animals off cliffs. They were more into shoes and handbags.

Second, the Caveman had just figured out how to make weapons and hunt right around the time he learned to make fire. Throwing a freshly-dead animal on a crackling fire was the pinnacle of caveman civilization up to that point. It kept the Caveman and his family fed, perpetuated the Caveman species and resulted in lots of Caveman high fives. It was evidence that Man was evolving and it was not uncommon to hear a caveman say, “They’ll stop calling me a Neanderthal after they’ve had a taste of my smoky barbecue ribs. The mammoth falls right off the bone.”

Thus, the deep-seated need for men to take raw meat and cook it over an open fire has been passed down through the generations as an evolved psychological mechanism. We have even evolved propane, match light charcoal and the George Foreman Grill.

I received the latter as a wedding present. I like nothing better on a summer evening than to take the George out on my balcony, plug it in and grill me up some sausages made of leftover animal parts. That’s right: hot dogs. Hot dogs are actually made of “meat slurry,” which sounds delicious, don’t you think? I think “meat slurry” is an evasive way of saying, “Seriously, you really don’t want to know and if you research any further you'll be sorry.” I find the best way to eat a hot dog is to not think about what you are eating because you enjoy it a lot more.

Once when I lived in Eugene, Oregon I accidentally stumbled onto a vegan cookout. There was nothing but grills, smoke and vegans as far as the eye could see. It was marvelous. They all had lids on their barbecue grills so I couldn’t see what they were grilling. I was dying to know what it was because it smelled delicious. I chatted politely with the cooks awhile, but none of them volunteered. Finally I had to come right out and ask them what the heck a bunch of vegans could possibly be grilling.

“Eggplant!” several of the cooks responded in unison, as if grilling anything else was ridiculous.

A cruelty-free cookout! You eggplant-eating geniuses. I felt kind of bad for assuming that a cookout had to have meat, like that was kind of racist. Or meatist. Foodist?

You know what I mean.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm not on probation anymore OR More talk about getting older

This week is the one year anniversary of me getting my first “real” job since graduating from graduate school. I approach this momentous occasion with mixed emotions.

(me as a student intern in Fall '08)

The happy emotions are that I am no longer a “probationary” employee. Being on “probation” just makes you feel crappy, you know? You haven't done anything wrong except for being new, but you're on probation like a criminal. Now that I'm not on probation I am 10 times harder to fire. Before they could've just said, “Get out of here!” but now they have to, like, document my mischief and misdeeds, write me up a bunch of times and hold the obligatory overlong bureaucratic meeting before they can even dream of canning me. My how the tables have turned. These days I just strut around the office all cocky, knock things out of peoples hands and say, “Try and fire me now, punk!” My boss isn't thrilled, but what can he do?

(me as a full-fledged employee in my glamorous office)

My job is a good job but still a job. I like what I do, but it's not like I get all excited on Sunday night and think, “Alright! I get to go to work in the morning!” If you get paid to do something, does it automatically become un-fun? I think so. If I got paid to eat Ben & Jerry's and watch Battlestar Galactica on DVD for 40 hours a week plus health and dental, would it cease to be fun? I don't know, but I'm willing to find out. If anyone knows an ice-cream-eating-DVD-watching place that is hiring please let me know and I will get them my resumé.

The sad emotions are that I am getting older. My 10-year high school reunion is coming up next month and I am still not planning on going. My wife wants to go because she thinks it will be hilarious to talk to my old high school friends about what a dork I was in high school. I was toying with the idea but it turns out that it costs $50 per person to go. I didn't want to go when I thought it was free and I am certainly not going to go if it costs money. I am not paying money to remember high school.

Also, my wife keeps finding new gray hairs for me. I don't think they really are coming out of my head. I say she takes one of her gray hairs (which are fewer than mine, but longer) and cuts it up into sections and then plants them on me.

That's not realistic because my wife is sweet and wouldn't do anything like that, but when your vanity is at stake you'll make up any excuse.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crying over spilled milk

This past week was the worst of my career. Nothing was going right, nothing I did was good enough and it was time for our monthly office meeting. If I were into crying, I would have cried.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse our boss told us that our unit was responsible for bringing food. I got assigned to bring two dozen doughnuts which meant I had to pay money out of my own pocket to feed my co-workers and get bored into a coma in a super useless meeting.

I was feeling pretty low when I arrived at the doughnut shop. Like a true sugar addict and emotional eater I ordered my own little stash of doughnuts to make sure I got some before my co-workers descended on them like so many velociraptors. I also got a bottle of milk to top it off. I was so depressed I splurged and got whole milk.

I loaded everything into my car and headed off to work. While driving I tried to open my milk bottle and it proceeded to rupture and spew milk all over the place like a lactating volcano. Most of the milk landed in my lap and the rest splashed all over the steering wheel, which made steering a tad bit tricky. I was able to keep control of my Geo Prizm and I was ok, but I couldn't say the same for my pants, which had absorbed enough milk to feed a small calf.

After the milk dried my pants smelled like rotten milk. Fortunately this happened at the beginning of the day so I didn't have time to go home and change and I got to go through the day smelling like a cow with udder incontinence.

While I was being bored to smithereens I flashed back to when I was ordering the doughnuts. The doughnut place also sold cupcakes and they had one species called “Ticklebelly” cupcakes. I was really curious what a Ticklebelly cupcake was and what it tasted like, but I wasn't about to order it. I couldn't bring myself to say “I'd also like a Ticklebelly cupcake.” I just couldn't do it. All my manliness would be gone.

Basically I can't order anything that sounds stupid. For example, at IHOP they used to have this one dish called a “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity” breakfast. Now I don't care how much fruit comes with it or how fresh it is, I would not order a “Fresh and Fruity” breakfast if it were my last meal. I'm not about to say “Can I please have the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity?” out loud to another person. I just can't.

If I ever spent time in the U.K. I would be up a stump because some traditional English dishes are called Bangers and Mash, Bubble and Squeak and Toad in a Hole.

Maybe I could order some online or over the phone, like a Ticklebelly Toad in a Hole place that delivers. Mmmmm-mmm.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I've got baby fever and the remedy is hermit crabs

Ok, everyone listen and listen good: Wifey has baby fever for real and I'm panicking. I don't know what to do. I need help.

It's not her fault, really. We're getting more married friends now and a lot of them have babies. When there are copious amounts of babies around you end up holding them and the trap is sprung.

Let's face it: babies are cute. All babies are cute. Even a baby rhinoceros is probably cute.

Yikes. Or not. Most babies are adorable but let's not forget that babies grow up. Nature is the ultimate false advertiser. Talk about a bait-and-switch: cute baby turns into nasty, dirty cranky adult. And the parents have to be there all along the way to clean up after them though all the middle parts.

But baby fever forgets all the “terrible twos” and teenage years. It's kind of like a zombie plague how it infects almost everyone it comes into contact with. Wifey is infected and if I have learned nothing from zombie movies it is that people who are infected take an active role in infecting others, i.e. chasing them down and biting them. Any minute now Wifey will be coming after me, trying to give me baby fever and I am afraid. In movies if your friend gets infected you just have to man up and shoot him in the head, but I think that is a little extreme for this particular situation.

Wifey rated her baby fever as a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, but I've seen her look at babies and I fear that it is much higher than that. My situation is dire.

The best solution I can think of is to get a pet for us to care for, like a hermit crab or something. Hermit crabs are unique because they fight a lot amongst themselves, which is a lot like kids, isn't it? Breaking up fights and mediating shell disputes would be good practice for parenting, I think. I'm not sure Wifey will go for it because, for one, they aren't cute enough.

Also, they “moult,” meaning they shed their old skin periodically. I don't imagine she'll want to clean up old crab skin, but I say if you can't clean up crab skin then you probably can't hang with poop and vomit either.

Perhaps we could get a baby on a trial basis. We could rent one for a weekend and I bet that would get rid of baby fever right away. The only problem is baby fever comes back.

My brother does child care part-time and he said he'd let my wife come over and hang out with a plethora of snot nosed two-year-olds for about an hour. He thinks that will cure baby fever almost instantly.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Baby buying brings big benefits

Despite what you may have heard, my wife and I did not, in fact, steal a total stranger’s baby. Certainly we thought about it, but we did not go through with it.

It all started when we were sitting in church. As is often the case, it was a little boring. I was easily distracted by a little baby girl who was sitting a few rows in front of us who kept giving us adorable toothless smiles. Her mother was keeping her quiet by cramming Ritz crackers into her mouth like CDs into a CD player.

She was easily the cutest baby that I had ever seen (sorry relatives). I can say with great certainty that she was abnormally cute because I am NOT a baby person. I don’t like them, as a rule. I am not generally interested in anything that cries, poops and vomits as much as babies do. Even so, I found myself very enamored with this baby. I thought it was just me, but I looked over at my wife and she was a puddle.

Of course, when faced with such cuteness we immediately started to think that we needed a baby. At first we thought about just stealing her. Her mom was always leaving her unattended and she was in a stroller so we could’ve just wheeled her home.

Next, we thought about making a baby, but that seemed like an awful lot of work. We consulted my pregnant cousin and she confirmed that it is, in fact, an awful lot of work.

The obvious alternative is to buy a baby. That could mean adopting if we want to be scrupulous, or the black market if we feel a little less scrupulous, want to save a little cash and avoid all the legal red tape.

In college I had a friend who majored in business and I remembered him talking about a “build versus buy” analysis, which is used to determine whether it is more profitable to build something from scratch or purchase it “off the shelf.”

I went to a business website and found some questions that help a business determine whether to build or buy and answered them in the context of a baby.

Q: Is your development staff large and skilled enough in the technology and standards to build in-house?
A: Yes. I passed health class and I think we have the right equipment.

Q: Are your resources best spent developing a homegrown product?
A: No. We’d rather spend those nine months relaxing, reading books and watching The Office.

Q: Is the business need unique?
A: No. Lots of people want babies and lots of young couples have baby fever.

Q: Do any off-the-shelf products exist for this business function?
A: Yes. There are babies all over the place.

Q: Can the off-the-shelf product perform the same functions as a custom, in-house build?
A: Yes. One baby is as good as the next, right?

Q: Does an off-the-shelf product cost the same or less than building you own?
A: Yes. I figure the cost of buying a baby is roughly equivalent to the cost of buying the weird food that pregnant women crave and medical bills.

So it would seem, after this analysis, that “buying” is our best option, but after much thought and consideration we have decided to wait a while.

(We want to save up and get a really awesome baby.)