Maybe I need new glasses.

I was riding my bike headed toward the forest preserve where there is a crushed limestone path. When I was approximately a block from the entrance, I noticed a person coming out of the forest preserve. I had one of those internal discussions and it went like this.

“Hey look at that guy! He’s carrying his dog out of the park.”

“Wow, that guy carrying his dog has some unfortunate hips.”

“Wow (oops), that girl has an unfortunate hair cut.”

“Oh, that girl is carrying her jacket.”

“Maybe I need new glasses.”

“Spring” of 2012

“Spring” of 2012

I don’t like to talk about the weather. I especially don’t like to share my weather opinions via social networking, however, I have some serious concerns and they are as follows.

1. We are missing out on some dynamite jacket weather. Jackets are awesome — mainly because of pockets. But still that’s a good reason to have not-so-hot weather. I can wear a light jacket that looks cool AND can help me find a good place for my car keys.

2. I should still be using my garage as a fridge. Who has fridge space for 3+ varieties of …soda and a 24pk of bottled water? Not me. This is dumb.

3. If it’s 80 now, what will it be like when it’s supposed to be 80. 120? That’s bad! All this weather is not helping to disprove my theory of an inevitable insect related apocalypse. You just wait. In August we’ll have t-rex mosquito’s and when our civilization has died out and been reborn some future scientist is going to discover one of those t-rex mosquitos perfectly preserved in a deposit of amber and use it’s DNA to fully construct an amusement park where they grow people from the 21st century. Only we’ll be way smarter than they anticipate and overrun the park and kill a whole bunch of people until a few futuristic and annoying bratty kids (who also happen to be computer hackers) will save the day to an outstanding score by John Williams.

I Get The Cat.

I Get The Cat.

My roommates have gone on a trip to Maine and so I am responsible for dealing with the cat. I am not a cat person. I don’t feed it, clean it’s sandy poop hut, brush it, or any of that. I will play with tease it as I pass through the house and that usually ends up with the cat biting me and then me either getting mad because I was just bit by a stupid thing that doesn’t even know its own name or with me taking my athsma medicine because I’m alergic to cats (but who can resist rubbing their fuzzy bellies?!).

Even though Since I’m not a cat person, I thought it would be good fun to journal how a non-cat person takes care of a cat. Also, I don’t really like posts about cats and I find people who really like their cats to be a little weird. Irony, folks.

I Get The Cat. Day 1:

5:00pm – I just got home from a 5 day trip and the cat just looked at me like I wasn’t even gone. There is no reason to believe that the cat, Grayson even noticed. Stupid cat.

9:00pm – I fed the cat. He acted all excited by rubbing his face on everything but when I gave him his food he ignored it. I don’t think this is his regular food.

9:20pm – I notice he’s pushed 1/2 the food onto the ground and I don’t think he’s eating it. Oh well. Goodnight.

11:45pm – I’m in the bathroom getting ready for bed. The cat pushes his way into the room and then jumps into the tub. He looks at the spout expectantly. No, I’m not turning on the water, freak.

11:47pm – I walk out of the bathroom and the cat darts across my legs and jumps in the keyboard case to hide. He thinks we’re going to play. Think again.

I Get The Cat. Day 2:

8:30am – I go down to feed the cat. I 1/2 expect there to be food in his dish, but it’s all gone. He still has water. He must get water from somewhere else in the house.

11:00am – I try to get the cat to bite me before I leave for my lunch meeting. Success.

4:45pm – I sit down to watch a movie. The cat moves from the dining room floor to living room. BORING!

9:45pm – I pull in the garage and through the screen door I can see the cat standing on his hind legs in the middle of the kitchen trying to figure out who is arriving home. It’s me. How exciting.

9:50pm – The water dish is bone dry. Oops. I decide to quickly wash the dish. I see a sticker on the dish saying the dish is microwavable safe. Why the heck would you microwave anything you want to feed a cat. Cat people must hate money. Wait a tick…why am I looking at new cat dishes anyway? That’s gotta be the 4th set. Was the cat complaining? What’s wrong with the old dishes?

The cat immediately starts drinking water when I put the dish down. I give him some food, he seems pretty happy about that.

10:53 – I realize that I should probably include some pics of the cat for this post. I’ll get on that tomorrow.

I Get The Cat. Day 3

8:40am – It’s time for a feeding. When get downstairs the cat walks up and then lays down on my foot. I’m too tired to bend down to pet him, so I just wiggle my toes. He immediately bites my foot. Awesome. Here’s your food. Smile for the camera!

20110730-085204.jpg

5:58pm – The cat just meowed at me. That’s the first I’ve heard of him since this morning’s feeding. Right now he’s sitting on one of the dining room chairs, but other than that, he’s been sitting in the same exact spot for the whole day.

9:27pm – Evening feeding. Nothing to see here. I spilled his water a bit when I put it down and then after giving him the food he started wiping the water away like he didn’t want the mess. Of course he then immediately scooped a paw-ful of cat food onto the ground.

I Get The Cat. Day 4:

7:02am – I’m only giving the cat water as I get the coffee ready. But he sure is being snuggly. It’s pretty pathetic.

7:26am – now that my coffee is poured I’ll give the cat some food. He is purring like crazy. I think it’s finally sinking in (to the cat) that I am currently the only supplier of sustenance for the time being. He’s not really going for his food. He just furiously rubs his face on everything including my shoe.

2:46pm – I’m downstairs and the cat came out from one of his favorite spots to see if I’d play with him. Sorry dude, I’m off to go swimming.

10:34pm – I finally get home and feed the cat.

I Get The Cat. Day 5:

12:01am – I can hear the cat darting back and forth in the loft area. He’ probably playing with himself since nobody has played with him in 4 full days. He just meowed at me and then ran off. I’m going to go rub his tummy.

12:15am – The cat just jumped on my bed. Cat will henceforth be dismantled.

8:37am – feeding

8:47am – I’ve been feeling a bit bad about ignoring the cat for a few days, so I got out his toys for him to play with. He especially likes the catnip ball.

11:14am – I totally just picked up the cat and pet him for 20 seconds.

5:26pm – It seems like the can comes out every time I am around down stairs. This has resulted in more frequent pettings and I find myself talking to the cat like a moron. Also he was jealous of me sitting outside cutting my toe nails while he had to sit inside.

9:42pm – feeeeeeed meee.

I Get the Cat. Day 6 (Final Day)

8:52am – I’m on the phone and I can hear the cat bouncing around. I give him food, he purrs and rubs his face on things. He’s not eating his food, because he found a little toy mouse. Oh and here’s a pic of us having SO MUCH fun together.

10:55am – The cat visits me in the bathroom.

11:54am – The keeps plopping down in front of me.

11:55am – Let’s see if the can likes Cheetos. Nope. How about a piece of lunch meat? We have a winner!

12:04pm – The cat is getting a little comfortable with my lunch. Oh now he’s on the table! BAD KITTY! You better get down or you’ll be given away or incinerated!

not okay
touch it and I'll end you
Soon I'll have enough evidence to justify termination.

5:16pm – The cat is very interested in my running things out to my car. He’s sitting on the kitchen table and rubbing his face on the toolbox.

10:27pm – Final feeding before the roommates get home.

———————

Overall, I’ve realized it doesn’t take much to take care of a cat. I didn’t clean out his litter box, because I knew Lucas would really enjoy that when he got home from his trip. I don’t want to hog ALL the fun. Anyway, the positive from my research is that you can almost completely ignore a cat and nothing bad will happen. You don’t have to pet it, give it toys, dangle a strand of yarn in front of it.

Unlike some dogs, a cat will not proceed to destroy your house if you don’t give it enough attention. But one has to wonder, with a “pet” so wonderfully independant of your attention and affection what is the point of keeping it in your house in the first place? Isn’t the point of a house pet to have an additional companion and friend? As far as I can tell, cats mostly use us for free food until they can figure out how to murder us (on a global scale) in our sleep. Do you think Grayson is declawed for the sake of the furniture? No, it’s for protection against possible and probable murderous intent.

I Can’t Have A Garage Sale!

I Can’t Have A Garage Sale!

1. I don’t have nearly enough junk

I vividly remember my move-in day when I began college. Everything I owned fit in half a 10×12 dorm room. I remember thinking to myself, “wow this is it? this is everything?” When moving out of the dorm my sophomor year, everything fit in the back of our family Ford Aerostar van. Everything. My thought was, “my whole life fits in the back of a van. great.”

slightly less depressing than living in one

Now, over 10 years later I can report that my whole life still fits in one room and a bit of shelf space in the garage for the junk I didn’t unpack because my roommates already had spatulas and dinner plates. I don’t think I could fill a 10×10 storage space with everything I own (minus the vehicles). I’m okay with all of this. It’s kind of nice actually. Well until I have no more roommates and my makeshift couch will be two aluminum lawn chairs duct taped together.

2. I can’t handle the rejection

When I go to a garage sale (it’s usually by accident) I always feel awkward walking away purchasing nothing. And with my status of not owning much junk, other peoples’ junk is vastly uninteresting to me. And I feel extremely awkward for the person who has in a flash of transparency and vulnerability spread his life out on the front lawn. I can know what kind of books he’s read, movies he’s watched, clothes he once thought were stylish, and unfortunate purchases he’s made over the years.

When people meander around the merchandise tables with a bored look on their faces it’s as if the seller is silently begging people to understand that all this junk on the lawn is because everything inside is interesting and tasteful and, “NO, I didn’t collect every single Beany Baby. Those belonged to my grandmother and I’m just selling them for her.”

people used to fight over this junk

So if I were to lay my past consumer choices down my driveway for people to pick over and silently judge, my little ego couldn’t handle it. The irony would simply be too great. I want to believe that things that I have acquired over the years are a result of good investment and taste and are therefore worth good money, yet YOU can have it for $1.50.

3. I’m probably too good of friends with the garbage

Let’s get to the bottom of a garage sales. You don’t have a garage sale to make money, you have a garage sale to get rid of your junk. Your baby clothes, toys, 70s furniture with that weird smell, knick knacks you picked up at someone else’s garage sale, broken sports equipment, picture frames, blah, blah, blah.

a good thing

I don’t have any of that kind of stuff to sell because either I’m still using it (like the bed and mattress that’s older than I am that came out of my grandmother’s basement) or because I throw stuff away. As soon as something becomes inconvenient to store or move, I throw it out. When I buy a new article of clothing, I donate one that I already own. I’ve also moved 7 times in the last decade so many things that could’ve piled up as junk for an embarrassing garage sale just fell apart or broke in the move.

Bottom line: I’m the opposite of a pack rat. I throw trash away.

4. I’m a sucker for negotiations

If I think something is worth 100 dollars and you say you want to give me 90 dollars, I’m going to give it to you for 90 dollars. Here’s why.

I have a hard time rejecting someone who seems genuine in what they think is fair. Sometimes, if you are just a friendly person I’m willing to negotiate just because I want you to think I’m a friendly person too. In matters of monetary exchange, I have this annoying “golden rule” attitude and I just want someone to be pleased with doing business with me. I want to sell something to a nice guy or gal even if it means my wallet takes a hit. Likewise, when I’m buying something I get scared off negotiating because again, I don’t want to walk away feeling like the person is glad they’ll never see me again.

it's sad, but in my world, he wins

5. I’ve heard of eBay (have you?)

I sell stuff. I sell it on eBay. People on eBay decide the price of the junk I have (less pressure!) and so many people can view it. I also rarely have to offer up an explanation of why I got the item in the first place. I’ll get more money from the sale and because I can set things up as an auction, people will bid against each other. This means the other buyers are the bad guys for negotiating a higher price, not me. People can pay electronically and any cost of shipping is adjusted into the final buying price. I can set the terms of the sale and there’s a fairly good system in place to discourage buyers from bidding and not paying.

Ok that seemed a bit too much like a commercial for eBay, but with the power of the internet (Craigslist, Freecycle, and other selling/trading websites) it seems crazy to me to spend all that time setting up and stressing over junk when the payoff seems little.

If you can read this blog, you can be more successful in getting rid of you junk. Now go, my peoples who are crazy! Go and sell your junk!

this.

It’s Curtains for Me…

I decided to put up curtains in my bedroom. My room faces East, so each morning I have to deal with the sun making a joke of my cellular blinds. I like it dark when I sleep. So I went to T***** to get something to block the unwanted light.

I’ve never hung curtains before so I knew I would learn a few new things. I came home with curtains, a rod, and high hopes for a new look in my bedroom. I figured it would be a breeze since the packaging on the curtain rod suggested a 30 min installation time. Here’s what I learned.

Lesson #1: It takes longer than 30 minutes.

It took me more like 2 hours. The curtain rod packaging had everything laid out in about 4 simple steps. These are the steps they left out:

a. search the garage for your roommate’s drill. (5 min)

b. search the garage a second time for the drill bits. (3 min)

c. go get that step ladder you forgot in the garage. (2 min)

d. WHY DOESN’T THIS TOOLBOX HAVE A PHILIPS HEAD SCREWDRIVER?!?!?! (1o min)

e. oh there it is… (1 min)

f. return to store and exchange the curtain rod for one that is the correct size for your window. (30 min)

g. install the second drape rod. (30 min…maybe)

h. clean up the mess you just made. (pending)

I’ve made the following chart to help you understand the timing of curtain hanging a little better.

tpac research

Now provided the normal installation steps go smoothly (they don’t) you’ll be set!

Lesson #2: Drywall anchors could bring down the walls of Jericho.

I drilled the pilot holes to the correct specifications. I then noticed the drywall anchors are 10 times bigger than the pilot. I couldn’t screw them in by hand, so I had to use the power drill. The first anchor screwed all the way in and then the top twisted off snapping the rest inside the hole. The second went in 90% and pulled 10% of the wall out toward me. The third anchor couldn’t go in far enough because I hit one of the metal screws used to mount the preexisting cellular blinds – geez. The fourth went in but not without a fight and a crumbly, cracking mess. The final two went in and were almost flush with the wall.

it's been a problem for centuries

I couldn’t believe the destruction I had just caused. Surely it can go easier than that! The second time I hung the rod, I just left the anchors in the package. This worked better in every way imaginable.

Lesson #3: “Double Panel” means there’s two.

I bought two packages because on the back it said that I needed “two panels.” It didn’t say “you need a double panel package – in other words this one package is fine.” Why would they call it a double panel and then the very next line say you needed two panels. I realize it means the same thing but I was shocked when I opened the first package and found two curtains. I didn’t need two, I needed one double panel. I had to return the other package which was okay because…

Lesson #4: You should pay close attention to the dimensions listed on the box.

Otherwise, you might buy a rod that at its shortest length is a good 2 feet longer than your window. This will lead you to repack that rod and try not to look suspicious when you are at the guest services counter returning what only looks like an unopened package.

Lesson #5: Some sunlight is good.

At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself since I pulled the drapes shut and realized that they only blocked about 1/2 of what I was expecting.

not pictured: darkness

Lesson #6: I’m a better cook than drape hanger.

I whipped up a few salmon fillets and brussel sprouts in 30 min. I didn’t have to return anything, and I didn’t cause any damage to the stove, utensils, plates, or table. Mess is pending.

I'm the only one I know that likes brussel sprouts

My Favorite Coffee Mugs

I drink coffee just about every morning. I never buy coffee from Starbucks or Panera or Dunkin’ but only because it costs so much compared to making it at home. I use a CoffeeMate coffee maker that I’ve had for several years that I picked up from Target for less than $20. It makes great coffee, but what really gets me jazzed up about my morning cup of Joe is the coffee mug that I select.

I realized that the mug makes the difference about 5 years ago when I was living with my parents and I started noticing that my dad and I would always go for the same few coffee mugs. The Harley Davidson mug, the black lab mug, the one w/ the tree that changed colors when something hot (like coffee) was in it. We always grabbed these first and if it wasn’t for my mom, I’m sure the dainty, flower-print mugs would never have been used. I even remember having a conversation about which mug was our favorite. I’m extending that idea onto my humble blog. Enjoy.

Mug #1: SpiderMug

I got this mug as a gift from my old roommate Eric. Spider Man has always been my favorite super heroes, so I always get excited when I grab this mug from the shelf. I just know my morning is going to be a web-slinging good time and the Spider Man Mug always puts me in a good mood. It’s slightly bigger than a standard mug and is a little thicker so the coffee stays hotter longer. This is without a doubt my go-to coffee mug. If it’s clean, it won’t be for much longer.

#2 Tyler Mug from Kenedy Space Center

This is currently the oldest mug in my possession. As you can see the mug was made specifically for me (or any of the other thousands of Tylers that might visit that particular gift shop). I remember that when I first spotted this mug (I was only a kid – maybe 8 years old) I was surprised to see my name on it. At the time, you just didn’t see the name Tyler on mugs and key chains and fake license plates and that kind of thing. It was a souvenir that I never actually used for consuming beverages until about 6 years ago. I keep it around for sentimental value and also it has a ROCKET SHIP on it.

#3 Marvel Comics Mug

This actually isn’t my mug. It’s Lucas’ and he doesn’t ever use it because he doesn’t like coffee. I’ve taken control for now but whenever I move out I will be forced to leave it behind like a sad dog that stays with the farm b/c there’s no room for him in the new city apartment. Lucas got this mug as a gift for being in a wedding party. Even though this isn’t my mug, I still choose it over most of the mugs in our cabinet because it has sketches of tons of cool comic book characters…which you know, totally brings out the flavor of coffee.

#4 The Bulbas Mug (from Starbucks)

The name for this mug was coined by my old roommate Eric and is a parody of the pokemon, Bulbasaur was a stocky little plant/animal. Anyway, I guess he got the idea because the shape of this mug is round and stocky. The best part is that because of its shape it holds way more coffee than a regular mug. This is a great Saturday mug because on Saturdays I’m more likely to lounge around with a cup of coffee than drink it down real fast. More time with the drink = I should just have more drink. The other cool part of this mug is that I actually have 5 of them. That’s right, five bulbas mugs. I bought one several years ago and it flew solo for a good many months until Christmas. I had mentioned to my parents (who are always asking for a wish list for Xmas) that I liked mugs…especially ones from Starbucks. So they went out and bought me 4 of the same kind. Luck would have it that they were the same kind as the mug I already owned. So I have a set! The Bulbas Mug is always my first pick for hot chocolate.

#5 The Travel Mug

I don’t like travel mugs. I especially don’t like plastic travel mugs. I especially especially don’t like plastic travel mugs with sippy-cup tops. Here’ s the problem:most travel mugs are narrow and therefore hard to clean. Plastic travel mugs make your coffee taste like plastic. Sippy-cup tops are a mess and I only work 10 min from home so I don’t actually HAVE to drink the coffee when in the car. All I needed was a non-plastic, wide, non-sippy lidded coffee mug. So that’s what I bought. The mug is slightly wider than a standard mug, so it is easy to fit a dish cloth, or sponge inside for cleaning. It’s made of aluminum so no plastic flavoring. The lid doesn’t screw on (you just press it down) and you can’t drink out of it. The mug is simply for transporting a decent cup of coffee from one location to be drank in another. That’s all I want, to drink my coffee at the office when I don’t have time to drink it at home. It’s perfect.