Posted tagged ‘curmudgeonly rants’

Bad Reputation

August 10, 2017

shower.jpgWe have recently been doing some renovation on our guest bathroom.  As is often the case in tract homes, the builder used a cheap bathtub that rusted through and began to leak water into the garage, which is directly below the bathroom.  Some heavy-duty caulking stopped the leakage for a while, but in July, the drip-drip-drip started again.   We called our friendly neighborhood plumber (he really is, here) and had our tub replaced with a high-quality cast iron one.  The plan was to remove the lower portion of the tile tub enclosure, but when that was done, it revealed some water damage to the framing behind the tile, so we had the entire enclosure removed and the framing replaced.  Then it was time to call our friendly neighborhood masonry guy (also really is, here) to redo the enclosure.   This was turning into a marathon (to the tune of the ka-ching ka-ching of money leaving our bank account). (more…)

Smog Check Hell

July 22, 2017

2007smog No one would ever accuse me of being an environmentalist but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it when measures imposed by our government successfully improve the environment around me.   When we moved to California in 1971, there were days when the smog tinted the air brown, it hurt the eyes to go outside and the simple act of breathing burned the lungs.   In the car-obsessed L.A. metropolitan area, automobile exhaust was the primary cause of such days, and … although having to have my car smog certified every two years is a pain … the smog check program has dramatically improved the air here in Socal.   As I sit here in the park on a sultry summer day, the air around me is colorless and the sky is blue. (more…)

Just Breathe

June 16, 2017

breathMy sister is a trained Yoga instructor.  If you have ever done Yoga … or practically any meditation technique … you know that proper breathing is part of the way to a relaxed, mindful state.   Through the nose, breathe into your belly, then gently expel through the mouth.  Notice how it feels on the inhale and how it feels different when you exhale.  Breath in light.  Breath out negativity.  You get the picture.  When my Dad was in assisted living, his primary caretaker was my sister, since she lived less than an hour away, while I live in California and our brother lives in Ohio.  Whenever my Dad was agitated about something, my sister would say, Just Breathe, Dad.  Just Breathe.  My Dad, disinclined toward Yoga or any other New Age nonsense, would answer, I am breathing.  Sometimes, I am breathing, dammit. Interestingly, though he never followed my sister’s suggestion, his annoyance would distract him enough from whatever was bothering him and he would indeed end up less agitated. (more…)

Nothing To Do But Write

March 6, 2017

It’s 1:45 in the afternoon and here I sit, in the Dallas Fort Worth Airport, American Airlines Terminal B, to be specific.   Back in the days when I was a regular business traveler, I was a member of the Admirals Club, a private lounge for American Airlines travelers willing to pay a hefty fee … in dollars or miles.  The Club has comfortable seating, private working areas, and snacks … plus sandwiches and drinks for a price.  If I was stuck with a three hour layover … like I have today … it was better than sitting at the gate.   Quieter, for one, at least until business travelers starting bringing their kids along.  Today, I am sitting at a counter with USB ports in the Gate B5 waiting area.   I have no special attachment to gate B5 but there are no flight scheduled for the next several hours so it is relatively quiet.   For about ten minutes, the alarm on an employees-only door kept going off, a high pitched squeal that leaves my teeth vibrating.   Desperate for power for my laptop, I waited it out.  A speaker on the ceiling over my head is prattling on about the madhouse that has become our national government.  It is only slightly less annoying than the alarm.   Terminal B mostly serves American Airlines secondary routes … like those to Huntsville, where I’m headed, so in front of me passengers trickle by in ones and twos, hunting for their departure gates or talking quietly.  Even with occasional gate change announcements, it’s not a bad place to write, especially when there’s nothing else to do.  It’s not the Admirals Club, for sure, but it’s better than the madhouse in terminal A, where I arrived from Socal.

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Earth? Flat.

February 21, 2017

flatI was a bit astounded, even in this age of alternate facts and pseudo-science, to hear Kyrie Irving express his belief that the earth is flat.  My first reaction was what my Dad used to say when someone said or did something that was ridiculous …. What and idiot!   But of course, I know Irving isn’t an idiot or is he dumb.  He attended Duke University, for Pete’s sake, even if it was to play basketball.  I wondered if he was joking or trying to make a subtle point about fake news, but given a chance to retreat, he stood by his assertion.  Several other players, including LeBron James, defended his right to believe that the earth is flat.   It is certainly his right but why would he … or his friends … want him to look incredibly uninformed in front of the world, especially when there are so many simple ways to see that the earth is indeed round?

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The Glass Man

February 6, 2017

tmp_26154-th41331107174I have never liked to use the phone. Conversations and transactions, whether personal or business, that I easily conduct in person become loathesome by phone.   I don’t know why.  Perhaps it is because I come from a family of phonophobes.  I don’t think I have ever had a conversation of more than five minutes with either my father or my brother, and while my mother and sister were more that willing to converse on the on the phone, neither seemed to know that it was a device that could both place and receive calls.   On the other hand, perhaps it is a characteristic of most men. In my Thursday Night Men’s Group, calling the guys, whether it is for help with a problem or just to talk, is part of the program.   Whether it is the dislike of using of the phone or of asking for help, most of the men refer to the phone as too heavy to pick up.  Having lots of company doesn’t make being a phonophobe any more acceptable at home. (more…)

Razors

January 25, 2017

gilletteWhen I was about sixteen and headed off to a high school dance with a date … which means it was probably a prom … my Dad stopped me and told me I should shave before I went.   In a town that was largely Italian, I may have been two or three years past the usual first-shave age, but I was thrilled none-the-less.   Every boy wants to be a man until they’ve tried it for 20 or 30 years, at which point he realizes how much fun being a boy was.   My first shave was with my Dad’s electric razor.   As my beard thickened, I got my own Gillette double-edged safety razor, just like Dad’s.   You may not know that King Camp Gillette was the inventor of the disposable double-edged blade and was the supplier of safety razors to American troops during World War I.  Because GIs were allowed to keep their razors when the war was over, Gillette had a guaranteed customer base for his blades, making Gillette the dominant force in shaving supplies. (more…)