Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No One is Looking

Replacing your hot water heater... sealing your granite counter tops... matching your socks...

There are things in life we do that most people don't notice. Sometimes they are for our own piece of mind. Sometimes, they are just because we feel good about doing them.

This weekend, I did two of those tasks. If you swing by my house or work with me, you'd never recognize that either had been touched even though I spent 8 hours on each job.

As exciting as a three-day weekend can be, I spent most of it fixing people's titles in our membership database and regrouting our patio. Exciting huh. Yeah, welcome to the gay agenda; totally boring, isn't it? But also I know that two jobs have been well done.

As a marketer, There is great importance being able to connect with the right people. Sadly, that same feeling wasn't really inside our database manager before he left. Although, I have tons of work on my plate right now, it's getting done right which will benefit me and company as a whole in the long run.

Three years ago when we put in our patio, we took the cheaper route and had it laid in sand instead of concrete. Big mistake. The weeds began growing through the next year and it's been a constant battle since. So now I'm mixing concrete in 1/2 gallon containers and removing dirt & sand with a screwdriver. You'll be happy to know it took about eight hours to do a 20 x 10 section of cut flagstone. I estimate only 20 hours to go.

On the surface, both are pretty meaningless to the average person. But to me, I can look back and see what a difference they will make. It feels good to look at what I've done even though you would glance right over it not even noticing the difference.

Don't avoid something just because you think it doesn't have meaning. It most likely does...if not to anyone but yourself.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Modem Operandi

Well, the damn thing is working as you can tell. Verizon sent my new modem which was about 1/4 of the size of the last one (from 2002). Pretty soon those things will be the size of a dime.

I plugged all the wires and cables and ...nothing. The only screen I had said I must reactivate the account which should only take 15 minutes. (For the love of all things holy and good, I hate this company.)

Midway through the activation process, it freezes and gives me the tech support phone number. I dial and figure that I could get a few hours of sleep before connecting to someone, however much to my surprise a very nice woman comes on the line. For all my troubles, let me just say that Verizon has some of the nicest tech support people. (Verizon---you need to pay them more.)

We spent the equivalent of a first date together with neither of us having felt the slightest bit violated. She walked me through everything until we talked about passwords.

"What password are you using?" she asked.

"The one the guy gave me last week when we discovered the modem was broken."

"Hmmm, our passwords are only good for 24 hours. I think we found the problem."

"Thank God. My fans were getting restless. I write a blog and everyone was really missing me. I promise to write good things about you tonight."

"Great. Just make me younger...and single."

Our first date and she's already leaving me for another guy.


Lunch with the Goon Squad

Last Friday, I had the great fortune of meeting Claudia and Ian, otherwise known as Sarah's Goon Squad. What man couldn't have been happier then to be surrounded by three year twins, french fries and someone he's considered a dear friend (without actually having met her in person until then).

As I stood there on the porch of Sweetwater Tavern (yeah Tony, the same one you went to), I wondered if I'd be able to recognize Sarah given that I've only seen her in pictures with her Hello Kitty guitar. But there, kids dragging in tow, she arrived.

Sarah has been one of those bloggers high on my list to meet. In addition to being absolutely hysterical, she blogs at an incredibly rapid rate on her own site, Strollerderby and BlogHer. We also are both fed some mucho-product from our good friend Charlie.

We spent most of the lunch keeping the Goon Squad occupied, whether it was picking up fallen crayons, explaining that toothpicks shouldn't be used to poke eyes or calling each other "hey you hamburger head." In between, we'd laugh about the products we had reviewed (or turned down) and how we so enjoy meeting bloggers in real life. As in all of our past meetings, we both felt that we'd been friends for life instead of just having met an hour before.

Ian and I totally buddied up between the "hamburger head" name calling and even getting the privilege of carrying him to the car. (Who knew Northern VA had parking lots that big?)

As we walked through the parking lot, I asked Sarah which car was hers. She hit the button on her keys and about 50 feet away, two minivan doors opened to reveal a pile of toys, books and sippy cups. "Take one guess."

Parents unite!

I will continue to marvel on how much I enjoy meeting of all of you. You are the people I truly enjoy spending my time with.

Sarah and I also discussed the idea of a DC Blogger Picnic. Would any of you be up for it?


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Random Nothings

My modem at home conked out. It kept phasing in and out for a few weeks. All of sudden I wouldn't have Internet access and there would be a screen saying "you have a billing error". First, I yelled at Larry since he's in charge of this bill, but he proved it was being paid. So I would reboot and connect again.

Yesterday morning...nothing. Yesterday night...still nothing. So at 6:00 AM this morning, I called customer service (oxymoron) and after waiting 35 minutes, connected to a person who was able to tell me the problem. We tested everything including creating a new password. He actually wanted me to wake up Larry since "it is Verizon policy to only reveal the password to the primary account holder." I first explained that Larry doesn't even have his own log-in and could do nothing with a new password. Then I explained that I was Larry's partner.

"Partner in what?" he asked.

God help me.

"Partner like as in a wife, but I'm a man." Get it? (I almost said 'like a wife, but with a penis', however 35 minutes is a long time to wait for another tech person.)

"Oh.......I see," he responded.

After 25 minutes, he tells me that the modem is broken. "I can see that through our network."

I sighed heavily. "Ummm... if you can see that through your system, couldn't you be proactive and email or call me to let me know it was broken? Then you could just order me another one."

"No, sir. You'd have to order one through the billing department. Here's their number but they don't open until 9 AM."

Verizon, you could have a monopoly if you only had thinking people.

Moving Out
Our office moves tomorrow so as of Monday, I'll be in the same building I was back with Imagine. This time I'll actually have an office with a window, but I still feel like I need to do another exorcism. The last one I did was with Jennie and Penzy spices. This one might just kick off with bagels and orange juice.

This new building also has a fitness center. I'm going to definitely be hitting that....for at least the first week or so.

Getting the Boot
Melinda Doolittle voted off? Another reason why I'm glad I stopped watching American Idol this season. (OK, I did watch LaKisha's and Melinda's performances on YouTube the next day. Sue me.) I'm just getting tired of America being so stupid.

We Finally Meet
Due to the move, I'm only working a few hours tomorrow. And then... I have lunch with Sarah. It's like meeting a legend.

Don't look for much from me this weekend. With no modem or office, I'm destined to be at coffee shops or stealing wireless from the neighbors.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

A Tale of Two Sittings

Breakfast has never been my strong suit.

It's not about being tired. When I wake up, I could do my taxes. I'm that annoying guy who bounces out of bed in the mornings and if I had to choose between sleeping in and getting online, well... you've seen how early some of my posts are.

What sucks for me is preparing my morning meal. Before turning 40, it was easy to just eat doughnuts, bagels & cream cheese or cinnamon rolls every day. And now having Corey, it's easier to eat waffles.

I traditionally have the same thing for breakfast everyday; a shake made with OJ, bananas, frozen strawberries and soy powder. I had probably eaten that for 8 years. As you know, I'm a creature of routine, but even my body was screaming, "Dude, try something else for a change."

(We call each other 'Dude'.)

A month or so, my friend Charlie sent me some cereal bars to review which have now anchored my mornings. However, he seems loaded with morning meal products and asked me to try two cereals...two healthy adult cereals.

Traditionally, I'm not a cereal guy. Consistency is a huge problem and I don't do mushy things. Flan, cottage cheese, mango, eggs over easy...I can't get them down. And cereal, after it's been in milk for about minute, works the same way. For years, I'd douse my cereal in orange juice. It may be disgusting, but the flakes stayed firm for a few minutes longer. For Charlie though, I would test them in milk.

The first cereal was Nature Valley Oat's & Honey. This by far is probably the healthiest thing I've ever put into my body. As I said, I'm not a huge cereal fan, so my biggest test was having it stay firm in milk. It lasted longer than most cereals, but after a few minutes, this also became too soggy for my taste buds. I tried another bowl sans liquid and enjoyed the taste much more.

I decided to pull an oldie but goodie and thought, "Hey, I'll give it to Larry. He'll eat it. He'll eat anything." He gave it three stars (outta four) indicating it was healthy by his standards, but that there were two competing tastes that didn't actually work well together. But it was 100% natural and met his health standards. It also comes in a cinnamon flavor for those of you who agree with him.

The second cereal was Fruity Cheerios. This was so much more my style. I was expecting (hoping?) that my first bite would be reminiscent of Fruit Loops, but it was little more healthier tasting since it wasn't heavily ridden with sugar. (It says 25% less sugar than most cereals.) Honestly, it felt better to eat than the breakfast lifesavers normally marketed to kids

Again, it didn't stand up to my milk standards, but the "O's"did great in OJ. I actually ate the entire bowl. Corey had a bowl as well and then snacked on about three cups of dry cereal throughout the day. This one is made with whole grains and is made from 100% real fruit juice. So he feels like he's eating fruit loops, but I know he's not.

We continue to prove I'm not a cereal guy, but at least there are ones I can eat dry if I had to.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Three Ducks

As you know, I'm a purger. If we haven't used things around our house, I get rid of them. Sometimes I get money for the items; many times I just list them for free. Nothing collects dust at our house. This is why Larry makes certain he's constantly in a state of perpetual movement.

Our office is moving in 10 days so many things have been hitting the garbage cans. Since I'm also an avid recycler, I try and keep as many things out of landfills that I can. So I've been listing more items than usual. And getting even more bizarre people come to my door.

This week, I listed three rubber ducks. Staff were given these to get excited about our conference last summer in Hawaii. (ummm, it's Hawaii...trust me, I'm already excited!) But the conference is over and I don't want them any longer. But Marie did.

Marie picked up the ducks last night. As I opened the door, she did these baby claps and bounced a little as she said, "Oh, more ducks; more ducks." It was rather disturbing to watch. She then proceeded to explain that she had an entire bathroom devoted to rubber ducks called her 'Rubber Duck bathroom' (if you could imagine that) which featured five shelves of these guys.

I'm realizing the world is full of collectors; some collecting more low-end items than others. For the most part, we aren't collectors. Larry & I each have one thing I'd consider collections. He collects depression glass wine glasses and I collect nativity sets from different countries. Each has a special meaning to us, however we don't go overboard trying to complete the collections. It we find one we like, we buy it. But we don't purchase every item we see.

Duck lady made me realize the obsessive nature of collections; sometimes you just don't know when enough is enough. Or when you sound like an absolute lunatic.

What do you or your spouse collect? Are you obsessive about it or is it just a fun hobby?


Friday, May 04, 2007

Happy 40th Birthday Mr. Big Dubya

Kara, over at Cape Buffalo is throwing a virtual birthday party for Mr. Big Dubya. Sarah brought some beverages and we already know what Mrs. Big Dubya got him, so I thought I'd bring along the music from back in our day.

Have a great one, my friend.