Selected pairing for this post: Enjoy!
Hey, thanks for having me over. I hope you don’t mind, but you did say, “Make yourself at home.”
- Performed maximum quaffage on every partial bottle of whiskey.
- Deleted all West Wing from your DVR and recorded a full season of Honey Boo Boo.
- Adjusted the hot water heater to maximum.
- Rubbed every towel on my butt rather than use toilet paper.
- Let your cat outside.
- Used your wi-fi to download the entire Metallica library with BitTorrents.
- Dug your coffee can of cash out of the backyard.
- Unlocked the windows and the side door on the garage.
- Licked your ketchup bottle clean.
- Went “two turntables and a microphone” on your collection of LPs.
- Pushed over your hoarding piles in the garage and took a nap.
- Spent your remaining iTunes balance on Demi Lovato.
- Cleaned my genitals with your toothbrush.
- Used your mom’s ashes to refill the litter box.
Don’t be angry. All of these are considered normal back home.
We recently renewed the contract for another year on the house we rent. We politely inquired directly with the owner about cutting the property management company out of the deal because they’re stark raving assholes and don’t do jack shit, but she said no. I figured it would have been a good deal for her since she wouldn’t have to pay them for doing nothing.
They only handled one issue from us all year and that was a broken 35-year-old hot water heater. In our defense we do need hot water several times a year.
The owner felt she “didn’t have time” to manage the property herself. Eh? Wazzup?
Then the other night came a very alarming sequence of events.
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This is one of those topics on which I harp on from time to time. And by “harp” I pretty much mean the instrument my family members must be playing up in Heaven. Right after they accidentally burned down the family tree with a carelessly discarded lit cigarette.
Apparently I’m the proverbial apple that fell far from the tree. Or, in Taker family terms, I’m a mutant. Ironically, at least in this context, I’m a dying breed. You see, I don’t smoke and I never have.
I grew up in the “typical” American family. Our core family unit consisted of mom, dad, a sister, myself and 2.3 cats. Assuming the smoking rate back then, the math is already amazing. For simplicity’s sake we’ll say the odds of an adult smoking were one-in-three back when I was a youngling. Based on that, the odds of me being the only non-smoker in a family of four was about 1 in 27.
But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. My sister had some children. 4 out of 4 of them are smokers. I had a son. He’s a smoker. My wife had a son. He’s a smoker. My son just announced his pending nuptials on Facebook. Nearby was a picture of the lucky couple. Both were proudly holding cigarettes.
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The people in the self-described “weird” city of Portland, Oregon are serious about many things. Like roses, microbrew, recycling, bridges, kale, bicycling, front yard gardens, cafés with garage doors, beards, fedoras, the Trailblazers, dogs and, last but not least, trees. These are but a few of our favorite things.
We were lucky enough to be the recipients of a new tree in our front yard courtesy of a non-profit organization that plants and cares for trees in metro areas. We also routinely have a CAR2GO parked down the block but that’s another story.
What we didn’t know was that this tree was the harbinger of a new long-term relationship in our lives. These trees like to put down roots.
Taking on the responsibility of a tree is a serious matter. It’s nothing to bark at.
We recently received our second report card (in the form of a flyer on our door) based on a personalized visit to our home. Yes, in a crazy mixed-up world where abused children often go unnoticed and sadly fall through the cracks, our baby tree is lavished with love, support and attention. If only the government could run with this much efficiency.
I thought I’d end this post by leafing you with a description of our tree parenting grades. I told my wife we should have redshirted the bastard but no one ever listens to me. Now our graduation ceremony marking us as successful tree companions is in danger of going timber.
Soil: Mixed. Ours was rated “a little dry.”
Mulch: Thumbs down. Ouch. But they said they’ll take care of it.
Root Zone: Thumbs up.
Bark: Thumbs up.
Canopy: Thumbs up.
Sucker Growth: Thumbs up. (Apparently we got a waiver for me to remain on the property.)
Overall Grade: Double secret probation.
There was nary a gold star on our report card. Apparently we’re falling down on the job. But we did get a nice thank you doing our part to help the “urban forest” grow.
In the comments section they also noted that we have failed to properly christen Junior with a name for his root certificate. I’ve purchased some baby name books and we hope to accomplish this soon. I’ve already got a bottle of champagne ready to smash on his/her trunk. Hopefully the christening procedure won’t hurt our Bark Rating.
No trees were harmed during the creation of this post.
I recently completed my first year of working at home as a contractor. Although not as good as my dream of doing nothing, the year was still pretty good and … I had no complaints.
What’s good about working from home? No phones. No walk-in customers leaping in your office. No floor sales. No public toilet across the hall. No attending awkward pizza-only lunches on every employee’s birthday. You don’t spend your day using company-owned equipment. (A previous boss liked to joke he was logging my keystrokes. That was a real damper on my twitter activity.) You get your very own chair. No boogers from other employees on your stuff. There’s an ottoman where two cats sleep and the view out the window is squirrels playing.
When my one-year contract expired, of course I wanted more. It was a no-brainer.
These are the actual and verbatim excerpts of the official transcripts of the negotiation process. I’m sharing them because I don’t mind being humiliated in public.
I am ready to keep things simple and renew the same deal, no changes needed on my end, with all the same terms (another 12 months) excepting a modest increase of only $x.xx to the hourly rate for COLA. That’s $xx.xx/hour up from $xx.xx. Other than that I can’t think of anything else.
It’s official. You all know my salary now. I literally make $X amount. Note my colorful use of marketing terms like “modest” and “only.” Ha ha ha! Player at work! Also, thinking I was being clever, I provided dollar amounts and not percentages. This was a deliberate attempt to confuse and astound. -Ed
Make the jump to read additional communiques from the “negotiation” process and the surprising twist at the end.
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The local TV news, which consists of 18 minutes weather, 2 minutes news and 10 minutes commercials, has been telling us for months that practically every single day is setting another local weather record. In winter we had the warmest winter days ever. There have been lots of rainfall records along the way, including one just a couple of days ago. And now, finally, record heat days are occurring on a regular basis.
I think we’re setting a record on setting new records. Somebody check the records. This has got to be true.
Living in Portland means, of course, there is no air conditioning in our house circa 1950s. I think they hates them, they do. Maybe things were cooler in the 1950s so people didn’t think they were really needed? Bioswale floors, walls, ceilings and roofs constructed out of organic kale didn’t exist back then, did they?
Whatever the case, when the heat hits our house like an oven on broil, the windows, reluctantly, have to be placed in the “open” position. And that’s when the shit goes sideways.
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Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?
OK. I’ll do my best. I’m a professional and I still have a job to do. I have taken the Advice Columnist’s Oath and that means, basically, I have to take it. Each and every time. Very well. Out of respect for the craft I will give this question a serious response.
What do I grab?
First Item: “Screen.”
I grab the screen. Get it? Screen grab? Woo hoo! I crack myself up. I’m a real hoot. My house is on fire and I’m cracking some of my best improv material ever. It’s a win win.
Professionalism be damned.
Uh, what was the question again?
Seriously, though. I’m not kidding. The 42″ flat screen LCD TV is obviously the first thing. I’m not insane. An American is nothing without his TV. And I can carry that puppy under my arm, all by myself. I’m sure it won’t be too heavy because I’ll be all hopped up on adrenaline from the flames.
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