Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Good Friend

A good friend will help you move.
A great friend will help you move a body.

Science nor the British have yet developed an adjective to describe a friend that will help you move a cast iron bathtub.

We were forced into some emergency bathroom renovations. I say forced, because if I didn't yank all the tiles off the wall surrounding the tub in the master bathroom with a crowbar, and subsequently ripped out the blackened sheetrock underneath (FYI, sheetrock is normally white, with brown or green paper on one side and white on the black indicates a problem of almost haz mat proportions), they would've started falling off on their own accord.

Once the studs were exposed, the next step was to remove the frame that was around 2 sides of the 18" L-shaped bench, if you will, that was also tiled. The tiles were attached to a layer of cement in 3 sections (although once I got through with them, it was 5) that were also wet and moldy. Underneath that...wet/moldy plywood. And underneath that, a frame of 2x4's. Those were ripped up (nailed to the concrete foundation) with the help of a 5 pound mallet, a wedge used to split wood (yes, I split wood in my free time), and a lot of four-letter words.

Eventually, all that was left was the bathtub. Halfway through the process, we made the decision to remodel and just install a shower, so we called a friend who owns a container business, and he left a dumpster in our driveway into which we deposited the moldy sheetrock, tiles, some gutters that I removed (and replaced with new gutters), and eventually the bathtub. But first, I called a friend, "R", who is usually good for such projects.

My friend met me last week at our home, and led him to the bathroom. He looked at the tub. He kicked it. He then looked at me and said, "That's cast iron, isn't it?" "Yes," I replied. "Should I have mentioned that?" "No," R said. "Because I wouldn't have come."

Not knowing how much a CI tub weighs, I didn't realize I should've called a couple more friends. We got it disconnected from the drain, and managed to only lift it on its side. Realizing that lifting it up and out of the house was impossible without incurring medical expenses and possibly further renovation expenses, R remembered he has a 4-wheeled dolly that you can use to move stuff like that. Thing is, R lives about 20-25 minutes away. But home he went, to grab the dolly, and come back. We lifted one end, slid the dolly underneath, and rolled that heavy motherfucking tub right out of my house and into the driveway, taking care not to let go, or it would roll down into the road and take out the neighbor's mailbox. I briefly toyed with the idea of riding down in the bathtub, like the guy from "Dr. Strangelove," but that would've been silly and dangerous. In other words, I'm not 20 anymore.

Both R and I would've enjoyed a lot of satisfaction lifting it up and tossing it into the dumpster, and listening to the ear-splitting "KLANG" that would've resulted, but we would've required 2 more friends, so instead we opened the door on one end, slid it in, and slammed the door shut.

If you're lucky enough to have a friend who will help move a tub, and upon seeing it's a cast iron tub he'll leave and then COME BACK to help finish the job, then that's a damn good friend.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Commuter of the Day 2/19/2009: Target-Rich Environment

I was wondering if I was going to have a hard time determining who the Commuter of the Day would be today. At first I thought it was the guy who looked like Shaggy (the cartoon character) at the age of 40, clean-shaven except with a soul patch (and a long one at that) driving a Mazda MPV with a Grateful Dead sticker on the back (cue Don Henley breaking out into song).

Or was it the woman in the giant SUV violating road etiquette? I car made a left turn onto the road I was on, heading the same direction (in bumper to bumper traffic), and I let that person in. The SUV also made the same turn, and crept ahead of me, thinking I was going to let her in too. Proper etiquette says you should let in one car. I'm not about to let in a fleet of them. Needless to say, I refused to budge and crawled past her, forcing her to merge behind me.

But then I saw it. A shiny red Volvo C70 (which I would love to have) with the license plate: LDYBUGZ

Shiny red, tinted windows, LDYBUGZ license plate. Chick car, right? Well, I thought so too, until I passed it and saw the woman in the passenger seat, and in the driver's seat was a dude. You have no idea how much I wanted to roll down the window, throw up the Heavy Metal Devil Horns, and yell, "WHAT'S UP LADYBUUUUUGZ!" in my best Ozzie Osbourne "Hello Cleveland" voice. But no sense emasculating him more than he's doing himself.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Brotherly Dares

The following is a text-message exchange between my younger brother, E, and I. E lives in New York City, so he often witnesses strange and unusual things. Like Ron Howard, for example (he saw him once and texted me about it....I asked him to ask Ron if he's ever going to produce Willow 2).

E: We saw a cat on a leash today, eating grapes. Beat that.

Me: My cat eats lettuce.

E: Put her on a leash, put a bonnet on her, put her in a baby carriage. THEN we'll be impressed. Until then...YAWN!

Me: You never said bonnet and baby carriage, just a leash.

E: I'm saying either/or. This particular cat was on a LEASH.

Me: I can swing the bonnet and baby carriage. Consider it done.

E: Do it, and if you can get a picture without you bleeding, I'll give you a dollar.

Me: I'll get Thing 1 (my 10 year old daughter) right on it.

E: OK, amendment.....NOBODY can bleed.

Me: You're a weasel.

E: You were almost a bad father.

Me: Touche.

I then realized, I don't believe we have a bonnet in the house. Lots of headwear (hats and such) for baby dolls, but no actual bonnets. So I actually had to sit on the phone with E and negotiate a "headwear item of equal or greater degree of difficulty when putting on a cat" in order to get the dollar, which he agreed to. So, this week, in between soccer practice and demolishing the master bathroom (we're renovating), I will be attempting something completely foolish with the cat. Stay tuned over the next week for photos.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Commuter of the Day 2/12/2009: RONIN

Yesterday, on the way home from work I passed a Nissan 350Z with the license plate:


Too bad, RONIN must've already been taken.

Obviously, the message he's sending is that he's a masterless warrior, a lone samurai who reports to nobody. A loner, Dottie. A rebel.

Or, he's a computer games nerd who spends hours in front of a PC playing roll-playing games where he's a ronin slashing through whatever enemies are put before him.

Or, he's a HUGE fan of the movie "Ronin" starring Robert DeNiro and Jean Reno with minor but valuable parts going to Sean Bean (who plays a great bad guy) and Katarina Witt, who could sell ShamWows and SlapChops for a living, and I'd watch her endlessly. But, I'm getting off point. Maybe the fact that "Ronin" has the greatest car chase scene ever (I will not debate this) inspired him to put it on his license plate.

You know what else was inspired? The police officer, 2 lanes over from RON1N. Once RON1N passed him, the cop then whipped two lanes to his right, pulling in right behind RON1N, and followed him onto the road leading into the campus of Kennesaw State University. I'm pretty sure the cop figured that anybody with a Nissan 350Z and a license plate that says RON1N is going to do a false stop at a stop sign, run a red light, not yield to a pedestrian, or something else for which the cop could write a ticket. Of course, the cop might've just been stuck and unable to get over, but I'm pretty sure he was profiling. I should've followed him to see if he hit the lights and pulled over the Samurai Commuter.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Current Events

My elder daughter, Thing 1, was given a school assignment to find an article in a newspaper or magazine, cut it out, read it, and write a summary of it. She found an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the current salmonella crisis here in the US, which is both current and local, seeing as how the source of much of the outbreak is a peanut processing plant here in Georgia.

I found, what I believed, was an even better article. A story in the sports section about our favorite hockey team beating our hated cross-river rivals.

Thing 1 took a look at the story, smiled, nodded her head, and said, "I'm totally changing it to write about this story instead."

If Thing 1 can spread the gospel to a group of 4th Graders that the NY Rangers suck, then I've done my job as a parent.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Airbrushing True Love

I was in Publix (a large grocery store chain) on Sunday. Needless to say, it was like the grand hall at Ellis Island, packed full of people (many from different nationalities) all due to it being Super Bowl Sunday. I was walking towards the produce aisle, when I passed one of those large endcap displays in the front of the store. Leaning against it was a Latino gentleman who happened to have a very menacing look on his face. The kind of look that would make a lot of white grandmothers cross to the other side of the street. He could've been one of the gang extras in "Stand & Deliver".

(Note, I am not suggesting his Latino background makes him evil, he just had a real pissed-off look on his face....he might've been a very nice guy. I play soccer with a Guatemalan who is the nicest guy on earth, and a devout Christian, but when he frowns his natural facial features make him look VERY angry)

OK, my "I'm not a racist" disclaimer aside.....upon walking past him, I noticed his shirt. It was a plain white t-shirt that was airbrushed. The kind of airbrushing that you normally get in places like Gatlinburg Tennessee, Panama City Beach Florida, Myrtle Beach South Carolina, or on many of the boardwalks on the Jersey Shore. The airbrushing was pink, with lots of pink hearts all over, with one huge heart, and inside this heart was the message, "Monica and Jesus Forever."

My first reaction was to stifle the laugh that immediately rose from my belly. Seeing as how I was looking right at him when I saw the shirt and wanted to laugh, that would not have been very diplomatic.

It then occurred to me that this may be why he had a pissed-off look. Monica was in the ladies room, and Jesus (pronounced Hay-ZOOSS for those non-Spanish speakers) was on "purse patrol" while she was away. And Jesus was none too happy.

And then another thought occurred to me...maybe Jesus fucked up. BIG TIME. Maybe Jesus was seen getting a little too flirty with Monica's best friend/sister/arch-enemy, and this is his penance. This may be what he's having to do to earn Monica's forgiveness. She went out and bought the Monica And Jesus Forever shirt, and made him stand right in front of the Diet Coke display, at the front of the Publix, on Super Bowl Sunday, the busiest grocery store day of the year outside of Thanksgiving, to suffer the opprobrium, the scorn and contempt, of the general public, for his misdeeds against Monica. This could be why Jesus is pissed off. That he is in love, forever apparently, with an evil genius.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Commuter of the Day 2/2/2009: Baby Something Or Other

Today's odd vanity plate was on a total chick car (I forget the make/model, but clearly it's something daddy bought her).


When I first saw this, I thought, "Oh, Baby Girl." Then I realized the accepted text message abbreviation for Girl is "GRL". However, this being Georgia, I'll bet a week's salary that BABYGRL was already taken. And, since you can only have 7 characters, BABYGIRL" is hardly an option.

Going with BABYGIR, on the other hand, is just stupid. It's pronounced "baby gir." And that's just nothing. Certainly not as cute as having "GRRBABY" on a car (which I'll bet is also taken).

So, when you can't get your first choice, if your second choice just doesn't make any sense, one really does need to reconsider whether they should get a vanity plate. Because going with a dumb second option just makes you look like a tool.