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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Breaking news: The word "pain" found hiding in the word "painter" 

Meet Willie (name changed to protect the innocent). My nickname for Willie is "the residential Rembrandt." After this man is done painting your house, people you don't even know will stop and gawk at it as though it were a masterpiece. But there's one little catch. Like most great artists, he's nuts. Here's a typical phone conversation:

me: Hi Willie. The house looks great for being half finished. What time can we expect you tomorrow morning?
Willie: No later than 8 David.
me: Perfect. See ya then.

me (at 10:07am the next day, on the phone): Hi Willie.
Willie: David! How ya doin'?
me: Great Willie! I was sorta thinkin' you'd be here by now. You plannin' on stoppin by today?
Willie: David, David, David.. Gosh, I'm so sorry. I got held up. I'll be there this afternoon. Will you be there?
me: Great, sure will.

me (at 9:30am, the next day, on the phone): Willie, this is David.
Willie: David my man! How ya doin'?
me: Just fine. Was it my imagination, or were you not here yesterday?
Willie: David, David, David. I'm so sorry. I'm on my way right now. Give me a few minutes.

me (at 8pm that night, on the phone with Willie's voice mail): Hey, Willie.. if you're there, can you pick up? Willie? Willlllllieeeeeeeee. Alright, if you don't want to pick up, can you at least pick up your 60 foot ladder when you get a chance?

Needless to say, Willie has gone completely AWOL on us. What a bummer. The guy is so good.

So, we've turned the job over to an another painter. Unlike Willie the residential Rembrandt, this isn't just a painter. It's an entire outfit with fancy trucks, different crews, walkie talkies. The whole nine yards. You get the drift. So, when these guys returned every phone call and showed up exactly when they said they would, my wife and I were high-fivin' each other.

But, now that they've finished, my wife and I can't decide which we prefer. Do we take the kooky residential Rembrandt that's impossible to nail down, but will perfectly lay paint on your molding's edges without ever making contact with the wall with his paintbrush? Or do you take the smart looking outfit that's courteous and always on time (and calls if they're running be late), but leaves paint in places it's just not supposed to be. For example, on your moldings (where the wall paint isn't supposed to be), on the brass door hardware, and worse, on your furniture. When you step back, it looks pretty good. But they make smaller brushes for getting in those tight spots, don't they? It must be a pain for painters to use them.

Now we know why the word pain is in painter. What a pain.

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

Barney: The second most hated figure? 

This bit from a story in The Washington Post was irresistable:

'As the U.S. military edged closer to the shrine of Imam Ali and the rebellious Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr vowed "martyrdom or victory," the Iraqi forces that are expected to decide the matter trained in the desert wastes outside Najaf. They practiced marksmanship by firing AK-47s at targets of Osama bin Laden and Barney, the purple dinosaur.'

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Under the thumb of a fish bowl 

Today, I realized that my life is being controlled by a toy fishbowl. It's a Fisher-Price fish bowl that hangs on the rail of the the two-year old's crib. It has real water with fake fish that, by virtue of the way a battery operated motor rotates the bowl, give off the illusion that they're swimming. When in operation -- something that's controlled by the two year old -- the bowl plays lullabyes. I'm beginning to wonder whether the baby has developed an unhealthy addiction to the fish bowl (I don't think I can sue anybody, can I?). As long as he's awake and in the crib, he keeps the fish bowl on. At bedtime, the fish bowl goes for an hour. At 2am, when something random wakes him up, on goes the fish bowl.

So what's wrong with that? Cute kid. Cute fish bowl. Cute music. Awww.. How cute. Until the batteries die. Then, suddenly, things aren't so cute anymore. The phrase "2 year old meltdown" barely scratches the surface of what happens when the batteries die. My wife and I live in fear of fish bowl battery death at 2am. So much so, that we make an educated guess as to the condition of the batteries before putting him to bed. We plan our shopping around the state of our battery inventory. It's the subject of nightly conversation.

me: "Did you hear that"
wife: "No"
me: "that note sounded flat"
wife: "we have batteries, right"
me: (trembling) "I don't know"
wife: "oh shit"

This is a typical conversation about the fish bowl. Bsaed on the cost of the newer model, my wife estimates that the fish bowl originally costed around $20. So far, it has consumed about $200 worth of batteries. I mean, this thing has an appetite for batteries. I should own stock in Duracell by now. Even worse? They're C batteries. Who uses C batteries anymore? Try waking your neighbor up at 2am for some C batteries. D batteries? No problem. Double A's? No problem. C's? Ha ha ha ha ha. Sleep? Ha ha ha ha ha.

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