Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, May 30, 2011

What did we come in here for again?

It's official. Thing One and I need a chaperone to keep us from buying out the store when we go shopping. (At least we didn't go into any furniture stores this time.)

There's always something new at Dwight's second-hand store when we go in. (Either that, or things move around so we see them better.) The good news is that I bought just two owl figurines. The bad news is that I have to go back next weekend for the three train prints because I didn't have my plastic with me this weekend.

We stopped by Big Lots to see if they had any benches for Thing One's garden. Oh, she needs another storage tub that matches the one she bought before. Hey, and I can get one to store the crew's Gatorade packets at work (and that one matches the ones I bought to store the coffee packets). You know, I have that flag bracket on the front porch and no flag, and she doesn't have a flag, either. Ooh, I haven't seen that brand of snacks since leaving the Philadelphia area. I'm not into kite flying, but I could simply open that owl kite and hang it against a wall, instead of a piece of artwork. Um, what did we come in here for again? Nope, no garden benches.

After eating (at the most decent Mexican restaurant we've found), we went to K-Mart because they had sneakers and bathing suits on sale. Uh-oh. How dare they put plants outside the door to distract us green-type people before we even cross the threshold? Well, we got something tall and white for one of Thing One's planters. Then we got something tall and purple for the other. Ooh, they have hollyhocks, which I figured would look perfect on either side of her gate! And then she saw a type of hydrangea that had blue, purple, and white flowers simultaneously, and they were marked down 80% (even though they were perfectly healthy), so she got two. Finally inside the store, we had to get her a watering can, a soaker hose, and some fertilizer. They had a composite, garden bench, but we could go back to Dwight's and get that antique, cast iron one for the same amount. (Thankfully, there was no "yard art" either of us found appealing.) The home improvement section had some really nice bathroom cabinets that she might get, rather than the crap in the house now, but this paycheck had already been reserved for her haircut, rent, and a dollar limit on landscaping (which we stayed within, thank you very much). Ooh, I found the USB-plug desk fan I've been wanting, and it's half the price I saw online! Um, what did we come in here for again? Oh, yeah. They didn't have any walking shoes included in the sale, but I did pick up three swimsuits that weren't so stylishly long that I can't swim in them.

Seriously, we need her mom to sell the house back in Las Cruces and move out here now, before we really get ourselves into trouble.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

These people probably couldn't even "earn money from home".

My friend Betty blogged about a recent doctor visit, in which the phlebotomist had an "oops" moment when drawing blood. It brought to mind a similar moment in my life, when I had to show a new phlebotomist where to find the veins in my arm. Hint: look for all the other needle marks (um, from years of blood donations, not from illegal drug use). If you can't find a vein in my arms (and I once had an RN at a blood donor center say I have "excellent" veins), you probably shouldn't try to earn a living by drawing blood.

On Monday, my new bed was delivered. (The warehouse shipped some of the wrong parts, but that will be another blog post entirely.) The truck driver phoned from his previous stop to verify directions to my house. I took a book out to the front porch and read until he arrived. Except that he didn't arrive. I went back inside and saw my answering machine blinking with a message from the driver that he couldn't find my street. (At this point, it had been an hour since I expected him.) He didn't bother leaving me his phone number, though, so I called the shipping company and got it from them. When the truck driver arrived, he said he had made a right turn instead of a left turn. Now, if you started at 23rd St. and headed for 13th St., wouldn't you notice, say by the time you reached 40th St., that you had turned the wrong way? This guy needs a GPS in addition to his cell phone.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You could say I bagged my first wild animal.

We had time to kill between our final prep of the building where commencement was held on Sunday morning and moving tables and chairs back into the dining hall after the reception the night before, so I roamed around campus, pulling weeds and emptying trash cans.

One of the cans outside the dorm was full, so I tied up the bag and put it into the back of my utility vehicle. I had just taken a few steps away when I heard and saw the bag move. It wasn't just settling because of gravity; it was shaking violently. After letting out an exclamation that probably wasn't the best thing to say outside a dorm of a Christian, boys' school at 7 a.m. on a Sunday, I figured that I must have trapped an animal inside the bag. I then debated how best to untie or tear a hole in the bag without getting my fingers bitten, but, after a third spasm, a squirrel emerged from the bag, leapt off the cart, and scrambled for the nearest tree.

After that, pulling the weedy vine that would not end (no, not kudzu) off the shrubs and trees was relaxing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mira, Mir on the Wall

As an unexpected follow-up to the quiz about pronunciation, a lunch table conversation ground to a halt when neither Froggy nor I understood Miss Kitty. She said something about a "mira".

For those of you who don't know Spanish, mira is a conjugated form of the verb "to look", as in s/he looks or you (formal) look.

Honestly, that's what I thought she was saying. After repeating herself fruitlessly, she said "looking glass".

"Oh!" Froggy said, "Mir".

Mir? The Russian space station?

It's very interesting that two people born and raised within scant miles of each other in small towns north of The Noog can mispronounce the same word two different ways.

In the meantime, I'm imagining an astronomy buff in one of the many Spanish speaking countries with a poster of Soviet satellites adorning his/her room.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Would you trust a brownie recipe from the Pentagon?

This A.P. news story claims that the U.S. government will be required to produce public documents in simple English. How could they? Don't they know how many lawyers that will put out of work?

Wait a minute. Aren't a good number of politicians lawyers?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Can anyone tell me one of the genera of geese?

Ooh! Ooh! Pick me, teacher. I know the Anser.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where's y'all frum?

This online quiz is frighteningly accurate.

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on

Northern. Whether you have the world famous Inland North accent of the Great Lakes area, or the radio-friendly sound of upstate NY and western New England, your accent is what used to set the standard for American English pronunciation (not much anymore now that the Inland North sounds like it does).

If you are not from the North, you are probably one of the following:
(a) A Southerner who hates Southern accents and tries really hard to "talk right"; or
(b) A New Yorker or New Jerseyan who doesn't have the full accent

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

Although I post anonymously, I will reveal that I was born and raised in New Jersey, by parents from the Great Lakes area. (Just how specific can this quiz be? Could it identify which town in NJ?)

I'd kind of like to see a variation on this quiz: one which identifies you by vocabulary, such as Southerners who use "buggy" instead of "shopping cart" or Midwesterners who use "pop" instead of "soda".

If I had known, I would've sent myself flowers.

At our monthly safety meeting on Thursday, Skippy surprised me by presenting me with my 10-year service certificate and the clock/thermometer I had ordered. I thought my anniversary would be either in July (the first time I worked for the company) or August (the time I was rehired). The date on the certificate says May 26 (two weeks from now).

Geez, I know I'm a man, but how could I possibly get the date of my anniversary so wrong?

My best guess is that they added the 15 months of my first term of service to my nearly 9 years of current service, making 10 years at the end of this month.

Now when does my extra week of vacation kick in?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's mine is yours.

Imagine, if you will, finally sitting down at your computer after a day in the field, wanting to compare equipment prices before you order. You figure you could jot down the prices and other data, but maybe you'd better use a spreadsheet, just in case you have to move or change the data. Then, when it comes time to print, you get an error message that the printer door is open or the toner cartridge is missing. "Huh," you say, "I've never gotten that error message before." So, you open the printer to check the door and observe that the cartridge is indeed missing. Who the f--- would enter your office just to take the toner cartridge from your printer? Why remove it? Why wouldn't that person replace it? Then, the biggest question, If no one else is supposed to have a key to your office, how would that person get in in the first place?

This comes after two similar incidents. How would a lacrosse coach get into the shop to take the aerosol paint striper and the wrong type of paint to mark the fake grass field that your staff had painted already with the proper paint? And how would people get into the shop, and the storage cabinet which has a different lock, to take three of the four chainsaws (they couldn't take the fourth because you had already loaned it out), so that when you absolutely needed a chainsaw first thing Monday morning to cut up yet another tree branch that fell onto a road over the weekend, you have no saw available?

Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pay me in science.

I had a fairly normal dream this morning (which is unusual in itself).

I was with my mother outside the house where I grew up, watching fire trucks pull up to the house next door. Then we headed inside, so I could get ready for the first day of school. All the planters in front of our house had been paved over with concrete. As I went upstairs to my bedroom, my mom said that it was windy, so I couldn't wear shorts to school. I looked out the window, and, indeed, it was very windy (trees bent over). I thought that, not only would I have to wear long pants to school, I'd probably need to pack a sweatshirt and sweatpants for gym class, so I wouldn't freeze my /ahem/ off. Someone came to my room and said there was a problem in the forensic lab downstairs. When I got down there, the guy who runs the lab said that their computers had been wiped out, so all their billing records and their case data for the past week were gone. They seemed rather worried that they wouldn't be able to tell who paid their bills and who might say, "Yeah, I paid you, but that was the week your records were lost, so you just don't remember." A young woman who was there to pay her bill (a look at it told me that the lab charged about $100 an hour, which sounds pretty reasonable to me) offered to trade her services in kind. "Can I pay you in science?" she asked.

That's when the alarm clock went off.

I know some of you out there work in science. Some of you discover neat stuff (even if it's not what you hoped to discover). Some of you work in fields that mean $100 bucks an hour is a downright bargain. Thank you for doing what you do.

And, yes, you may pay me in science. Just get the movie's theme song out of my head.

Mission Impossumible

Miss Kitty phoned me yesterday morning and said there was a possum (or is than "an opossum"?) trapped in a 55-gal. drum on the loading dock of her building. I sent my crew to release it.

She called me later and said there was an opossum (or is that "a possum"?) loose in a second floor restroom in one of the buildings. I sent my crew to catch and release it.

I started thinking that this might be part of the annual, senior class prank, like the year they released hundreds of crickets in the library. One of the administrators said, though, that he has noticed possums (possi?) a lot since the big storm. Maybe their favorite trees all came down, and they're scoping out campus for new homes.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Strike Six - You're Out!

Our new office area is about finished, and I'm getting not-so-subtle pressure from Froggy and Miss Kitty to move soon. Yes, they know that we still have large tree trunks to segment and dispose of and that commencement is just two weeks away and that we have our normal duties still to perform. However, they don't make the connection that there isn't enough time in the world to move as well.

The office turned out quite nicely, considering that none of my choices were honored.

Strike 1: Different tile.
Strike 2: Different carpet.
Strike 3: Different proportion of carpeted rooms to tiled rooms.
Strike 4: Different paint color.
Strike 5: Different baseboard color.

At this point, I didn't even try to weigh in on the blinds, since I know they wouldn't spring for the insulated ones to protect us from the west-facing windows. I haven't been down there yet to see what they installed.

Froggy made an offhand remark yesterday (those are the ones he uses to contain the most deadly information) that he wasn't going to put a toilet and sink in the second restroom. (That's moving from fourteen men with two toilets and one urinal to thirteen men and a woman (pending the hiring process) with one toilet.) I'm not sure whether to count that as one strike or as strikes 6, 7, 8, and 9: no second bathroom, not my toilet choice, not my sink choice, and not my faucet choice.

This process reminds me of elementary school baseball, when the gym teachers thought it would be "fair" to let every student swing until they hit the ball (and by "hit" they meant not a foul ball). That was supposed to help those of us who were not athletically inclined. They seemed to think our fragile egos would be bruised by continually striking out. Um, hello? What do you think it did to our egos that we whiffed ten times instead of three? Our peers teased us anyway. Besides, we already knew we would strike out, and we were used to the teasing for striking out, so why not let it happen naturally?

What's the chance of me finally hitting the ball and getting a water fountain? I think it'll be like swinging so hard that I spin around.

Monday, May 02, 2011

I am not dead.

Nor am I injured. I am not homeless. I am not powerless (er, without electricity).

There. I hope that sets your minds at ease.

My friend Gimpy and one of my cousins called me after the Wed. 4/27/11 storms in the U.S. South. Both asked, "Are you okay?" Gimpy said he hadn't seen my presence online for three days and was worried. My cousin wasn't sure how close Chattanooga is to the severely damaged parts of the South. (I wasn't online because I was helping pick up trees.)

We (the school, the neighborhood, even The Noog in general) got off lightly, especially compared to Ringgold, GA, which was flattened. (One of my employees lives there; he phoned to say his house was okay but his mother's and grandmother's houses were gone.) We had some large trees blow down (2.5 cars and a corner of a storage building damaged), including one humongogigantic oak which I need to get a picture of for you guys, since it's so freaking huge. (It's not Redwood size or anything, but the root ball is so ginormous, I plan to have my 6'5", 300+ lb. employee stand next to it for a sense of scale.)

On Wed., we cleared the two campus roads that had trees fall on them (in between tornado warnings, when everyone on campus was sequestered in buildings). On Thu., we cut away at more trees. Fri. was just for branch pick-up. I intend for my crew to attempt to resume the mowing schedule today, but if all that leaves us is Fridays for working on all the other damaged trees, I'm not sure we'll be finished in time for commencement, now just under three weeks away.