Thanks

We moved to our new home on Saturday. It was 93 degrees and the heat index was in the hundreds. Fortunately, Kit let us all borrow his extremely damp t-shirt to towel our brow and to suck a few drop of sweet sweet Kit nectar from its cotton folds.

I think I just made myself sick.

Thanks to:
Russ- who brought steaming hot White Castle coffee on a 90 degree day (he was also the first to arrive and the last to leave.)
Kit – for the above mentioned shirt and for taking on the role of load foreman
Carl and Toni – for making the beds and not running away when my dad started telling stories.
Erik- who made fun of all my stuff and hit on my 8 month pregnant wife
Chris- Thanks for not stealing anything
Josh and Sarah – Josh, thanks for trying to keep up with Sarah and not pointing out that my porn collection consists of one very used VHS tape. Sarah, you can have your VHS tape back.
Greg – for showing up in a collard shirt and always volunteering to lift the heavy stuff
Jessica and Dan- What doesn’t destroy a relationship, only makes it stronger
Cheri – Thanks for watching Greg and for helping Miss Sally
Meshelle – For taking 3 laps around 270 before realizing that it doesn’t dead end into Cleveland Ave. It’s the thought that counts! (Sorry I didn’t answer my phone.)
Mom and Dad- “When we moved into the house on Beck’s Knob we only planned on staying for two years… “ Thanks for driving up and the kind words about the new digs.

Thanks friends!

Photo Follow-up

I recently mentioned Swedish Fish and the
JESUS
ISREAL sign.

Shorty and I had a business trip to Dayton this morning. On the way back, we stopped at a REAL gas station (no pecan logs here and 23 varieties of beef jerky.) There we bought Swedish Fish!


I also took a crappy photo of the JESUS ISREAL sign.



It was a productive day.

Large Pizza with Swedish Fish and Mentos

The call came at 10:00am on Saturday morning and I was soon to be giddy as a school girl. Erik was able to go to Stu’s with me. We would leave at 3:00pm.

Erik asked if he should bring anything. My mind raced back to a story Kit told about his packing for a dudes’ trip to Chicago. Kit’s wife was on a conference call in the kitchen. Kit came down stairs and said, “I’m all packed and ready to go!” In his right hand he held a tooth brush, in his left, a box of condoms. Her brow furrowed and she glared right through him. She silently, though brusquely, beckoned him over. He stepped forward and she swiped the toothbrush out of his hand. “Now you’re ready.”

So I told Erik to bring a toothbrush and condoms.

I drove to Erik’s and threw my bag in his car (though for the entire 21 hour adventure, I only opened it to pull out my camera and later the TUMS.) He pulled out his bag and said, “I brought a condom like you told me.” Really? “I didn’t want to forget it so here…” He turned his bag over to reveal a condom safety pinned right through the middle to his bag. Nice. The trip was off to a banner start.



As we drove, I phoned Stu to tell him I was on my way. Stu only thought I was driving over. I thought it would be a surprise if we didn’t tell Stu that Erik was coming. Except that I kept saying things like, “ We’ll be there in two hours,” and “Where do we park.”

"Who’s we?" Stu’s no dummy. He said they would be on the roof waiting for we.

Along 70, we stopped to buy beef jerky, the required fare of road trips. It was at a combo BP/Dairy Queen/Stuckey’s. I forgot that Stuckey’s was like a firecracker stand that only sells pecan logs. It seemed the store went out and bought a bunch of crap from 7-11 and Cracker Barrel and then put “Stuckey’s” sticker’s over the manufacturers’ names. We chose two varieties of jerky, sodas and Gatorade, mints and a big old bag of Swedish fish.

I was double giddy at this point because Swedish fish are formed from the nectar of flowers that grow in heaven. Like liquid sex molded into red fishies. As we drove off, I popped one in my mouth and it tasted like sugar turd. These were knock off Ju-Ju fish. Fuckers. Fortunately, this was the worst part of the entire trip. (Unless you are Bob.)

We passed a billboard that said “JESUS IS REAL” except that the JESUS was at the top and IS REAL was at the bottom and those letters were crammed so close together that it looked like it said:

JESUS
ISREAL

I thought it was an interesting misspelled religious dichotomy. Erik thought it was a sign that I should repent.

Wow, we haven’t even made it to Stu’s yet. Oh, here we are.

We parked, grabbed out bags and went up and out on the rooftop deck. Stu and his wife Ann Marie as well as Stu’s sister Sarah and husband Dave were there. Stu also had four of his work buddies over. Everyone was drinking and preparing to head over to the Broad Ripple Street Festival to see Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s. Any band with a name that long can’t be good, so I wasn’t very excited, though Stu said they were really good. Stu almost won a Grammy, so I was willing to give them a listen.

**Sidebar** On the drive back, I was discussing with Erik how I was extremely happy that he came on the trip, but that (no offense to Erik) the trip would have still been fun without him, just different, as you always have a great time with Stu. This led us to two discussions. One: without Erik there, the Mentos and Diet Coke (about to be mentioned) would never have happened. Two: if Stu is a catalyst for fun and exciting stuff to happen, does this mean that every day of his life is fun and exciting to the people around him and thus to him as well? Does Stu always have a great time because he is with Stu?

Somewhere between the roof and the street fair, Erik brought up the Mentos / Diet Coke 2 –liter video that’s been zipping around the internet. Only a few of the people at the party had seen or heard of the fun stuff you can do with those two items. Erik thought it might be interesting if we did some Mentos related hands on activities later.

We headed over to the street fair and ate meat and shrimp and crabcakes while waiting for the concert to start. Anne Marie, Erik and I discussed religion while Erik and I took sideways glances over at the two chicks in old school roller skates and very small skirts. Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s came on a we listened.

They really sounded great. Hold that. For part of the show, they sounded like frozen pea soup. Their music was awesome. Really awesome. The dude running the board was not smart or there were technical difficulties. I don’t know anything about music, but some instruments were too loud at times and some vocals were non existent. I also thought someone let their epileptic/autistic 17 year old on stage with a tambourine, but it turned he was a dude in the band. I downloaded the album as soon as I got home. Take a listen if you get the chance.

We decided to head back to Stu’s to drink beer that wasn’t $4 a cup. On the way, we stopped at Krogers and bought $55 worth of diet coke and Mentos. Instead of buying a bunch of 2-liter bottles, we settled for the 16oz bottles so that we could experiment. We also bought floss and more beer. The floss was to assist with dropping the Mentos in the Coke. The beer was beer.




Back at Stu’s, we gathered a drill, various bits and tape together. Holes were drilled through the Mentos (and kinda through the countertop) and the floss tied them together in a mostly straight bunch. We tried different variations of holes in the caps and tested them outside. It was no Fountains at Bellagio, but we had a lot of interesting results.

The best was when Stu suggested a duel. We taped one 16 bottle to one guy’s head and another bottle to a guy’s back with the help of a back brace. They stood 10 feet apart and we pulled the floss. The head attached bottle worked great.

The back attached bottle shifted positions and basically shot ¾ the bottle into the back of the guy’s head.


Revolutionary War Reenactment Purists would have been disappointed.

While the Mentos thing was dying down, some of Stu’s work buddies began to catch quarters off their elbows. See photos for details.

THE STACK


THE CATCH

We circled up and started going around, starting with one. As the coins increased, more and more dropped out. I lost at 11. The winner caught 13. That was the standing record. Everyone tried to get 15 and we all failed. Our rules were that you had to catch every quarter for it to count. We then went for a second round and this time The Dark Horse (my nickname for the night) finished first with 13 coins. I was challenged to break the record with 15. I stacked them and without a flinch, caught them. Someone suggested I do 16, but I stacked on 20.

And caught them.

Then 25. Caught. The crowd were going wild!

Silence. 30 stacked.

30 CAUGHT! In the moment we were all carrying on like this all meant something. And for the moment, it did. High fives. Cries of disbelief and awe. I think I saw Erik tear up a little.

At the time, it seemed like I couldn’t fail. I was a GOD!

I stacked 35… they were hard to position. They were up. I quickly snapped my arm down and my hand grasped shut.

A defiant quarter tipped off my finger and shot into the darkness. 34 caught, but you had to catch them all.

I tried several times in vain to break that record. I couldn’t even catch 15. Could have been the drink or the ten minutes it took to find enough quarters in the dark. I’m not sure if it is a reflection on the quality of my life, but that was the proudest moment I ever had in my life. Oh wait. My marriage was first, then the catching 30 quarters. Oh. First my marriage, then Greg being born, then the quarters. (Ad nauseam, a la Steve Martin’s A Holiday Wish 1991.)

That done, we went inside and took our blood sugar. Sarah was checking hers and I asked if I could check mine. We borrowed the safety pin used to attach the condom to Erik’s bag and heated it up with a match. It seemed too easy to draw blood. My blood sugar was at 108. Erik ponied up with claims that he could beat mine. He registered 123. Ha! One of us won depending on who you ask.

We then left for the bar, our pockets jingling with quarters, our poked fingers just starting to fight off the infection from the poorly cleaned pin. We went to the Broad Ripple Tavern, which is exactly 57 feet from Stu’s apartment. Stu’s buddy is a manager, but wasn’t working that night. This turned out poorly for Bob. As we stood in line with the other intoxicated cattle, Bob was looked over and told he was too drunk to come in. Bob debated the point with the gentleman at the door. The gentleman at the door countered. Bob riposted. Stu intervened with some clever dialogue concerning why Bob should be let in. A second gentleman came to the door and interjected. Bob redoubled his efforts. The second gentleman brought over an officer of the law to suggest the Bob kindly leave the premises. Bob established his position with the officer. The officer took Bob’s words to heart and told him to leave or he would be arrested. Bob conceded his defeat and walked away. And that was that.

Until five minutes later when Bob tried again to talk his way in the bar and he was promptly handcuffed and taken away. Bob lost the debate.

At the time, we were all in between bars, leaving the one Bob couldn’t get into and going to one with a less stringent Bob’s Drunk Policy. None of us knew he had been arrested. So we kept drinking. Sorry Bob.

We finished up the night and headed back to Stu’s. In transit, we stopped at doorway that was pretending it was a restaurant that sold Gyros. Erik’s meat was cut fresh from the slab. My was dredged from a pot sitting on a burner. Erik’s melted in his mouth. Mine was part gravel and part lava rock. Unsatisfied, I stated that I needed pizza. Stu pointed me towards a general direction. I went to the general direction and did not find pizza. Luckily Stu was still in the parking lot with Erik and he walked me to the pizza joint.

Inside, it was packed with people in the ORDER HERE line. Stu walked right up to the PICK UP area which was much emptier.

“Order for Stephens,” he demanded of the pizza dude.

Pizza dude looked at the monitor. Frowned. Looked at the boxes waiting to go out. No Stephens. “Sorry buddy. No order for Stephens.”

“Impossible. Look again.”

Pizza dude took a casual glance at the monitor. “Sir, there was not an order for Stephens. What pizza did you order?”

“Large. Cheese. Check again, please.”

Pizza dude looked at the boxes. Nothing.

“Sir, there is no pizza for Stephens and there is no large cheese.”

“Are you sure?”

“Sir, I am going to have to ask you to leave.” Then pizza dude stopped. Looked at a box and said, “How long ago did you order it?”

“About half an hour.”

“This pepperoni has been sitting here for two hours.”

“We’ll take it.”

Pizza dude picked up the box and started to ring us up. Stu added, “Don’t forget the breadsticks.”

Minutes later we gorged on pizza and breadsticks dipped in thick garlic butter. I stayed awake long enough to pass out on the couch. Anne Marie had put a sheet over the couch. I’m sure it protected the couch from me rather than me from the couch.

In the morning, we said out goodbyes and drove back to Columbus. Somehow, neither Erik nor I were hungover.

---- -------

See photos of the night at Flickr

Coin catching web site HERE

Listen to Margot and the Nuclear So and So's on MySpace HERE

Diet Coke and Mentos - Double Squirt on YouTube

Must read weekend

What a tremendous weekend. I was only able to write about ½ of the story before I collapsed. (Collapsed = ate a cheese stick and fell asleep in front of the TV watching re-runs of The Man Show.)

I will post tonight. Really. Hold your horses.

Until then, check out Margot and the Nuclear So and So's

I’m going to Stu’s

I’m going to make like the Israeli army into Lebanon and invade Indianapolis for a few hours this weekend to see Stu. Erik and I had an ingenious plan for both of us to be able to drive over together, but we have been foiled by my moving homes and a birthday party for some little shit. Looks like I'm going solo. I weep because Erik will never get the chance to see Stu’s bachelor pad. Stu’s bachelor pad (even though he’s married) is right above his work. In the morning, he rolls out of bed, walks down the stairs, and starts churning out the million dollar ideas. This last bit was probably his downfall as the owner is moving the office to an upgraded facility. That’s why when I roll into work, I churn out the thousand peso ideas. Wouldn’t want to jeopardize my 20 minute drive to work. There’s a 500 sq. ft. deck that is perfect for holeyboard and a couch that has all ready been broken in by my drunken farting. Sorry Erik. Have fun eating cake.

Now, I’m not home free either. We have to start packing up our house. Miss Sally has been having Braxton-Hicks contractions and if I’m three hours from home, drunk out of my hat and Sally’s water breaks, I’m (well, SHE’s) fucked. The issue is that if I am away, Miss Sally might stress out which would cause labor issues. I need a plan…

Here’s the plan: On Friday, we sign papers to sell our house. That night, we’ll begin packing for our move the following week. I’ll start to drop hints Friday night that we are running low on tape and boxes. Saturday around noon, I will casually mention that I am running out to buy boxes and tape and moving blankets and beer. Out the door and take 70W for three hours. Every half hour I will call and ask Sally if she needs anything from the store. Repeat 48 times. Sunday morning I will walk in the house and say that I left the boxes and tape and moving blankets and beer at the store. Genius. I’ll have puke on my shirt and my pants on backwards, but it’s still genius.

That’s all that I have to say except that I am sorry Lia! I thought I was going to head to St. James Tavern tonight, but Miss Sally’s womb said no way.

Next week… and I’ll get some material together. Really. I promise. Unless I need to run out for tape. And boxes.

Shifted may have contents during flight

Allen, Joe and I were heading on business trip to LA. I had pathetic luggage and asked Shorty if I could borrow his suitcase that had wheels. He told me to stop by that afternoon to pick it up.

I popped over and Short and Fee were lounging around watching TV (they were both unemployed at the time and I can only assume they were taking a break from masturbating.) Short said he forgot I was coming over and ran upstairs to get the bag. Twenty seconds later he was back down. I grabbed the bag, said thanks and started out the door. Shorty stopped me quickly and said, “Hey, you may want to check the bag to make sure there’s nothing in it.” I could only imagine the dirty sock and soiled underwear that might have been in the hidden pockets of the bag. I set it down and unzipped it.

The interior was empty and I gave a quick hand pass through the top pocket. My hand rammed something that was metal and gun like. I pulled it out and found out why it was gun shaped. It was a Beretta. A real Beretta.

Jerk.

Further inspection revealed a grenade. OK, a fake grenade, but it was metal and heavy. Not your bottom of the Capt. Crunch box grenade.

Fucker.

I searched every pocket as Shorty laughed. A small baggie with an unknown white powder was the last item found. Not sure if he meant it to be cocaine or anthrax. Knowing Shorty, probably anthrax.

Asshole!

We actually had a good laugh devising the possible scenarios of my passing through airport security. Luckily I know show tunes.

The next day we met at the airport. Allen had three bags and asked me to carry his bag with the scripts. I only had the one bag so it wasn’t a problem. On the plane I threw it in the overhead along with my other bag that was now not filled with guns and anthrax.

Take off. Peanuts. Land.

We had a two hour layover in St. Louis so we went to our gate and found a seat. Joe suggested we go over the scripts. “I’ll get the scripts out of the bag! The non-descript bag that looks like any other bag.”

The contents of the bag had magically changed from papers to medical equipment and prescription drugs. That or I grabbed the wrong bag off the plane. Joe and Allen were a bit unhappy but slightly amused. I went to ticket counter where three airline women were working. I sheepishly told them what happened and they scolded me! “You did what?” “Didn’t you look to see if the bag was yours?” “Don’t you know your own bag?” They called the gate where we landed. “There is a very upset woman looking for her bag. Go to the baggage claim office.” I slithered off.

As I waited at baggage claim, I listened to a pissed off chick from some other flight argue with an attendant about a lost bag. They would not give her any vouchers for her lost luggage because she lived in St. Louis. She was coming home from college and didn’t have any clothes or toiletries at her parents’ home. The airline couldn’t help her and the attendant made her quota of un-happy customers.

I knew immediately that the extremely upset woman striding towards me was the owner of the bag I held. She threw my bag to the ground and ripped her bag from my hand. She sat it down on a chair and opened it up to examine what I had stolen or broken. I tried to apologize, but she didn’t say a word and stomped off when she was satisfied I had not disturbed her possessions.

I took the bag back to our gate. We reviewed the script.

To this day, I couldn’t tell you what that medical equipment was. There was something that looked like a saline drip IV bag with fluid in it and a lot of stainless steel rods with plastic or Teflon bits. There were at least four bottles of medicine.

I am now one of those fools with the big ribbon tied to my bags. Just so I know exactly where my gun, grenade and anthrax are.

Moving on up

The good news is that our house is in contract. The bad news is that our house is in contract. We need to get out by the end of the month. We have three options:

1. Buy a house and move in by the end of the month.
2. Rent an apartment. Buy a house at our convenience.
3. Move in with Miss Sally’s mom or my mom. Buy a house before we kill mother/in-law.

Option one would be the best we could hope for, but trying to find a home, sign papers, get inspections and have the current occupants move out by the end of the month will be almost impossible. We have a house that we really, really like. I think we will be making an offer tomorrow. Four bedrooms, two and a half baths. Let’s see if handsome Joe can work some magic for us.


Option two is such a pain in the ass. It would require two moves and all the hassle that is buried in with switching utilities, mail and two cats. It is a good option so that we don’t rush into a house that we haven’t researched or can’t afford. It’s a costly option for the reasons I mentioned above, plus we do not know how long we’ll be staying and could have moving out early fees. What a pain. I forget what apartment life is like. I remember liking it 10 years ago with no kids, cats or sobriety.

Option three makes my bowels turn to water. We would not have to worry about apartment woes, but holy crap what a nightmare. My whole routine would be screwed up. It would be a 45 – 60 minute drive to work every day. I wouldn’t be going out in Columbus at all. My masturbation schedule would be completely whacked. And there’s nothing worse than getting nagged in person rather than over the phone. (Just kidding ma!) It’s a cheap option… but at what cost?

To top all this off, Miss Sally is due September 21st. Even if we signed papers tomorrow, we still would be very lucky to be settled in and building a nest by that date. With our luck, Miss Sally will go into labor caused by hauling my computer monitor up the stairs. I’ll be searching through all the moving boxes, opening the linens box for blankets and the boiling water box for boiling water. Months later we’ll find the Midwife box and laugh about how it could have made things so much easier.

Wish us luck.

David Banner doesn't have to feed the Hulk soup

I hope that Miss Sally remembers that we went through a period of don’t ask, don’t tell when we first met. It was very early on in our relationship and we were long distance dating and I’m sure she didn’t have insurance.

Omaha, Nebraska. I won’t beat the town up too much. I arrived there after spending a summer in Boston. No comparison. It was also fall rolling into winter. Not the most gleeful time of year. When I would arrive in a new town, my first goal was to represent my company in the most professional and engaging manner. My 0.5 goal was to find who drank and when and could I buy them a drink. Enter Jane. She worked at the museum as an operations/education type. She was about my age and she had friends that liked to drink. It seemed that many of the people in Omaha were just as depressed as I was about being there. We all drank together. Me and Jane’s friends. And Julie, too. Especially Julie.

I knew that Jane’s friend Julie and I were going to hit it off when we argued the entire first night we met. My take on women is that the more you can aggravate them, the more they like you. (Except Freckled Jen’s friend Tracey. Man, she really hates me.) The second clue was when Julie mooned a group of us as they drove by at the end of the night. The third clue was when we hooked up two nights later.

It was a very casual relationship. We’d go out for drinks and make out back at her place. We’d lie in bed and she’d tell me stories about some guy she dated nicknamed Peanut. He was born several weeks premature and the poor guy was cursed with a small weenier. But she said that when he came, he would shoot either across the room or on to the ceiling depending on the angle and if the fan was on. She was a very fun girl.

The best part about Omaha was leaving to go home and visit Sally. After a month in Omaha, I went home and hung out with Miss Sally for a few days. I really started to like Miss Sally a lot more after that trip home (you should read my journal… I was pathetically in love.) When I went back to Omaha, I told Julie that I still wanted to hang out, but that I was in love with Miss Sally and I couldn’t continue our current relationship. (i.e. I can’t let you suck my dick anymore. Sorry.) She was very understanding. (i.e. Fine. You can’t eat my pussy.) And that was that.

Except for this side note: You will soon be familiar with a Seinfeld episode called “The Alternate Side.” In that episode, amongst other things, Elaine dates an older man named Owen. She was about five seconds from breaking up with Owen when he has a stroke. Because they were still dating, Elaine was obligated to sit with him in his vegetative state, stay by his side and feed him Yankee bean soup. Several weeks after I returned from Ohio with excuses to call off my half-assed relationship with Julie, she had a very traumatic day at work. Julie worked for a company that would collect used American clothing and ship them overseas. The clothes were gathered in huge bundles that weighed over a ton and stacked in a warehouse before shipping. Julie was in the warehouse when a forklift operator on the opposite side of a stack of clothes bundles knocked one over on top of her. This was a ONE TON bundle of cloth that fell from at least 8’ up and she was trapped underneath. The driver, only knowing he had knocked something over, walked to the other side of the stacks to see her unconscious under the ONE TON bundle. The guy then picked up the one ton stack of clothes and moved it off of her. (One of those David Banner wishes he could lift the car off his wife moments.) Paramedics were called and she was taken to the hospital with head injuries. When she got out a few weeks later, she was just not the same. Very functional, just a different personality from the girl I’d met three months prior.

Moral to this story? I’m a shallow son of a bitch because I got to deal with that situation as a guy who was leaving town in a month, rather than as a boyfriend. I’m sure I would have used the “moving on to the next town” excuse to break things off when the time came. I’m just happy I didn’t have to feed her soup.

Damn. I am a complete asshole.

Oh yeah. In that Seinfeld episode, Elaine does break up with Owen while he was still in a vegetative state. Later, she bumps into him on the subway where she learns that he has had an almost full recovery. That’s also when she learns that he was just using her for the sex. Maybe I’m not such an asshole.