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.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Scrabbling for two OR Denver on my mind

I’ve been married for about a month now and the number one question that people ask me is, “How is married life?”

That’s good, because for the longest time the number one question was, “When are you going to get married?”

When people ask me how married life is, I invariably reply, “Great,” because it is. After I say that, though, a lot of people have something derisive to say about marriage, like, “Great? Well that won’t last long. I give you about a year,” or “You’ve only been married a month.”

There are two schools of thought: pro-marriage and anti-marriage. Pro-marriage people are cheesy and annoying but I prefer them to the anti-marriage people, who take a kind of perverse pleasure in raining on your marital parade and telling you how naïve you are.

I don’t know why. It’s not so bad, I promise! They are like the Grinch, only they hate marriage and they’d steal it if they could.

“And the Marriage Grinch snarled with a sneer,

‘All the cakes that they bake and the pictures they take!

I say it’s a mistake and it makes my head ache!

I like ice skating and I like snow sledding

But the best thing to do is stop people from wedding.’”

I think some people have had a bad experience and are understandably disenchanted, but their bad experience doesn’t mean I will have a bad experience also. Them hating on my marriage is kind of like this:

“Hey I heard you were going to Denver for the weekend and I just wanted to tell you that I went to Denver once and it sucked.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah I had to go to the bathroom and we were stuck in rush hour traffic and I had to hold it for three hours. Then we went to a restaurant and I got a cockroach leg in my menudo and an antennae in my chorizo.”

“So that’s gonna happen to me if I go?”

“Most likely. Denver is just really ugly and stupid and 3Oh!3 are from near there. What more can I say?”

Being married is awesome for lots of reasons, most of which I will not go into here at the risk of being corny. One of the unexpected perks of being married is that when my wife and I play team Scrabble we dominate. With our powers combined we are unstoppable. When I was single I was pretty good at Scrabble, but now that I'm married it's like Me + Wifey = UNDEFEATED. We are like supervillains in some summer comic book movie. We wield Zs and Qs with devastating effect.

However, marriage is not all beating everyone at Scrabble and making them feel bad about themselves. Recently we have been engaged in the labor intensive task of buying a house, which is weird. It feels like an awesome new beginning but also a violent, gory end, like, “Wow, my youthful carefree days are SO over. Here are 1,000 square feet of proof.”

But the triple word scores make it all worthwhile.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Horror movies, fruit snacks and chocolate chip waffles

I have a secret: the other night I ate SEVEN packets of fruit snacks.

That means I have a problem with fruit snacks and have hit rock bottom. Rock bottom is when you can finish the better part of a whole box of fruit snacks and not even flinch. I need to go to a 12-step fruit snack program and get a fruit snack sponsor. Can somebody be my sponsor?

Actually, the problem is whenever I'm doing something AND eating, I always end up eating approximately 10 times what I would normally eat. If I am watching television I will eat whatever is in front of me and anything that wanders into my line of sight.

When I consumed my seven packets of fruit snacks I was putting a vacuum together. By the time it was finished I realized I had eaten all the fruit snacks in the house. When I tried to go to sleep all of the fruit snacks congealed in my stomach into one giant fruit snack about the size of a football. I had eaten a seven layer burrito earlier in the day and together with the ball of fruitsnack it boiled and seethed and turned my stomach into seven layers of gastrointestinal rage.

I took some Tums and they started to fight the Fruitsnack/Burrito Axis of Evil. The Tums were winning, but the battlefield was my stomach and the Tums victory was hard won, let me tell you. I thought I was going to die.

Thankfully I'm not the only one with stomach problems. My wife, all of my immediate family and all of my friends have gotten some kind of puking stomach flu. I haven't gotten it yet and that makes me like the last surviving teenager in a horror movie. It's only a matter of time until the killer/monster comes for me.

Some squeamish people can't handle vomit and they say it makes them sick to even see it. Throw up is kind of a part of life, especially if you're from a big family like me. When I was growing up it seemed like somebody was always puking, so vomit is not a big deal, nor is cleaning it up. So cheer up, get your mop and try not to think about it.

How do I ward off a nasty stomach flu that makes you throw up for several days? I don't know, but I'm very open to suggestions. I figure I need to boost my immune system with lots of sleep and healthy food. I started off by making myself a plate of syrup-drenched chocolate chip waffles because chocolate has, like, antioxidants and crap, right? It is practically a stomach flu vaccine.

More importantly, chocolate chips make everything taste better. Chocolate chips would even make liver and onions taste better.

Yuck. Speaking of puking...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Going back to work is scary OR This is what it sounds like when your appliances are inhabited by evil spirits

I just got back from a week-and-a-half long vacation and the adjustment from not working to working is the worst. After sleeping in every day for 10 straight days, the sound of an alarm clock is the most blood-curdling, stomach-ulcerating, liver-gelatinizing sound that has ever befallen my tender ears. It was awful.

I came in to work and tried to lay low for a while. I figured they had gotten used to me being gone and wouldn’t notice I was back. My hope was that they would leave me alone for a day or two so I could ease back into work life, but no such luck. A supervisor spotted me in the first 15 minutes and loaded me up with work like a sturdy pack mule. It also turns out that they had been assigning me things to do while I was gone, so I had a bunch of overdue assignments greeting me upon my return.

It’s great to be back.

Other employees wasted no time telling me how much work it was to cover for me while I was gone. They thought they deserved a Presidential Medal of Honor, Purple Heart and a Grammy, even though it is only fair because I always cover for them when they go on vacation. “Keep whining and I’ll go on vacation again!” I told them. It quieted them down, but was totally a bluff because I used up every drop of my leave and I am not going anywhere for quite some time.

The real problem is my attitude: I hate working. I tried not working for a while and it really suits me. I had a real talent for it. I just need to find a way to not work for a living.

On the upside, I got new shoes. Back on the downside, when I walk one of the insoles makes a sound like heavy breathing, like someone is prank calling my foot. Depending on how fast I walk my shoes also can sound like a depressed sigh or an out of shape person climbing stairs. It’s kind of embarrassing.

Also, since I’ve returned to the office an evil spirit has inhabited my CD player. I’ll be listening to a CD and my CD player will randomly change songs. I thought that the CD was scratched but I checked and it was flawless. I’ve tried other CDs and they change tracks too. I think the CD Player Poltergeist is just picky about what it wants to listen to and changes tracks according to its mood, like some kind of Phantom DJ.

This is not my first experience with haunted appliances, though. In one of my old apartments the fridge used to make noises that sounded like the beat for “When Doves Cry” by Prince. I tried to call Ghost Hunters to get them to document and investigate my icebox haunting but they said they don’t cover musical appliance phenomena.

“Does it also play ‘Little Red Corvette’?” they asked.

“No one likes a smart aleck,” I replied. “And no, the fridge only plays songs from the Purple Rain album. ‘Little Red Corvette’ is from 1999.”

“What about songs from when Prince was ‘The Artist’?”

“No! Just Purple Rain, man! Listen to what I’m saying!”

“Well, call back if it starts playing ‘Let's Pretend We're Married.’ I love that song.”

Ghost Hunters think they’re so clever.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Getting married and getting old OR Phones stress me out

I'm back and all the wedding stuff was great. Our wedding reception crowd was made up of four types of people: 1) family 2) friends, 3) our parents' friends and 4) people who came for free food. Add that all together and you get a heck of a party.

We got tons of presents, gift cards and cash from almost everyone and it really amounted to lots of stuff. We had quite a pile of loot. Getting married is very lucrative, as long as you don't think about what you and your parents paid for dresses, suits, flowers, cakes, food, music, decorations, etc.

Our honeymoon was excellent. I kept trying to get stuff for free by telling people we were on our honeymoon, like, “We're on our honeymoon, can we get this pizza for free?” It didn't work, but when a receptionist at the Art Museum was rude to us my wife told her that we were on our honeymoon and she had to be nice to us from then on.

We went to the New Mexico history museum and learned how Spaniards and other fair skinned people killed absolutely every indigenous person they could get their hands on.

What we did most was EAT, or at least that's what I did most. We ate at some pretty nice places, and I just ate everything the waiter suggested: bread, huge entrees, drinks, desserts. At one restaurant we discovered “cinnamon roll french toast,” which is probably in the Top 5 Most Delicious Things I Have Ever Tasted. Whoever thought of putting a cinnamon roll in batter, frying it and covering it in syrup is a Nobel Prize-worthy genius in my eyes.

I think I gained some weight, and not in an attention-seeking-bulimic-cheerleader kind of way. I REALLY gained weight. I know because we took a bunch of pictures. When we came home and finished sorting through our gifts we got some Ben and Jerry's. I was eating some “Chubby Hubby” and thought, “It's an ice cream flavor and my identity too.”

Coming home was good too, except we had a bunch of errands to run. We went to the Verizon store and tried to get me a new phone. Everything they had came with internet, hoverboard and teleporter, none of which I need nor can I afford. I asked the salesman if I could just get a regular phone and he pointed me toward a sad little corner with three sad, cobweb-covered little phones. He said, “Sorry there are not a lot of options. The only people who really buy those phones are old people.”

I think he was partially speaking the truth (all of the phones said “hearing aid compatible”) and partially trying to shame me into buying a much more expensive phone with all the bells and whistles in some misguided attempt to feel younger. I could see him mentally spending his commission.

The rest of our time off was spent trying to defraud the Motor Vehicle Division. My wife was getting a new license and had failed the vision test. She could've just put her glasses on, passed the test and received a “corrective lenses” restriction on her license, but pride and vanity wouldn't let her do it. Instead we drove around to several different Motor Vehicle Division offices until someone was sloppy enough in administering the test to pass her. With a little squinting (actually it was a LOT of squinting, but don't tell her I said that) she passed with no restriction, but it sure was a lot of work.

We're only 28 and 25, but after this week we feel much older.