As mentioned in a Smirk last month the first weekend of August held the celebration of my 20th High School Reunion. Initially I was concerned that the Facebook might alter the overall experience of seeing people I have not seen in 10 to 20 years. As it turned out, it was a lot of fun and Facebook didn’t mess things up at all.
There were a few people that I would have liked to catch up with but didn’t get around to it, and some that I wasn’t expecting to chat with as much as I did, but was glad we did. Then there were some conversations that came as a complete surprised. Things like “Yeah, I work for NORAD.” or “Did you know I live in your house?”
Turns out one of my old class mates ended up purchasing the house I grew up in when I parents left town. They had done some remodeling over the years and mentioned they discovered a few things in the walls as part of the process. Hammers and screwdrivers were my first two guesses. It only made sense, since the house I grew up in was initially a duplex that was turned into a one level house, when we then turned into a two story house. For all I know one of those hammers was left in the wall by me while we were putting up sheet rock.
Apparently they found one section of a wall that was full or double edged razor blades, the kind that fitted into the razor my dad still uses to this day. Why a wall in our house would be filled with them was a little perplexing though. Thanks to a conversation I had with someone who was just three years older than my dad it turns out that back in the day, it was common practice to have a small slit in the medicine cabinet or the wall of the bathroom where these dangerous razor blades were disposed of. The logic was that kids could get into the trash and hurt themselves, but there was no way of the kids getting into the walls. If I had to guess the wall they opened up was in the remodel was the wall between the old master bedroom and the bathroom before the second floor of the house was build.
The most surprising conversation I had was actually a confession of teenage high jinx that took place at my house one night, which included a wizard, the silhouette of a bunny’s head, and a telephone. Here’s how the conversation went:
“Hey, remember when a group of us were over at your house playing DnD? I came over with ‘so and so’ and we had brought a page that we had ripped out of the back of a Playboy that had a bunch of chat line numbers on it. The game really wasn’t our thing so while you and the others were playing ‘so and so’ and I went into another room and started making a bunch of calls from the ads on the page we had. I was just wondering, did you ever get in trouble for that?”
I just laughed it off and said I didn’t get in any trouble, but . . . okay first off, what compels someone to confess that they called a bunch of sex lines using your home phone one night twenty plus years ago, because they weren’t that interested in pretending to be a wizard? Okay, so maybe I see his motivation, but it’s still an odd conversation starter for someone you haven’t seen in 20 years. I mean does the statute of limitations run out after two decades on something like that, which means you can finally start talking about it?
Secondly, if I didn’t get in trouble for that, so who the hell did? Was there some kind of ‘sex line’ phone bill conspiracy of the late 80s that I was not privy to? Had one of my other brothers taken the blame for this dirty talk high jinx, or perhaps even my old man? This was going to require some investigation.
Well, after two days of investigating the matter, neither my brothers nor my parents remember any sex line related phone bill conversations. This leads me to believe that this guy and his friend were either using 800 numbers and hung up when they asked for credit card information, or mistook me for someone else and there is still some more chap from our high school days that twitches every time he hears the words phone and sex used in the same sentence.
If it was done at my house, I guess I can be thankful that those two didn’t seen my Mom’s purse nearby and decide to use her credit card to help them chat with their “solo” mate. On a plus note thought, at least I get to tell everyone what he confessed to. So, I’d say that about makes us even.
Google Images, keywords: class of 92 reunion, razor blade slots in medicine cabinets, wtf look, and dating chat line.
Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy
When you find yourself entering into a long term relationship, you discover that there are certain jobs associated to ones role as male or female. My Smirk on throw pillows is a prime example of this. As the male in the relationship I am in charge of things like taking out the trashcans on garbage day, and bringing them in when I get home that evening.
I’ve also learned that I am the token electronic guru in the relationship. If a new DVD player or sound system needs to be hooked up to the television, it is up to me to do so. I am also the tech support guy. I am in charge of making sure my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh’s antivirus software is up to date on her computer and that all her updates are installed. If the internet goes down, I am guaranteed to hear my name echoing throughout the house followed by, “The internet’s not working!”
Then again, she is the laundry leader and is always so good about making sure I have a laundry basket full of my clothes for the upcoming week. The basket usually gets slowly emptied throughout the week, although every once in a great while I do get around to putting my clothes away in my closet. I’ve noticed it’s much harder to find things when I do that though.
She is also the website guru, and it is thanks to her that I have my own website to share with the world. She knows all about the hosting, and name purchasing, and widget and themes installing. She can even help do some HTML coding if needed, which I’ll admit is something I really don’t care to know. She is also the life giver, as in she waters our . . . her plants to ensure their life continues. After her last trip (a three week stay in North Carolina) I picked her up at the airport and first thing she said when she walked through the door was, “It’s so good to be home.” The second thing she said was, “Did you even water these (plants) while I was gone?”
To which I honestly replied, “Oh yeah, we have plants.”
So after 10 years of being together there’s a certain understanding of who does what when it comes to household chores. And yes occasionally there are some things you are in charge of for a week because you lost a bet, but for the most part we know and adhere to our roles, until last week when a new one trickled into our lives by way of a leaky toilet. Apparently it was my job to fix it, which was a bit of a surprise to me.
My logic was that Angela’s dad is a builder; he has built homes for most of his life so it seemed to me that having her ask him what might be wrong would make the most sense. From her perspective, I needed to call my brother, who has been a home owner much longer than we have and has probably dealt with this type of situation before. You can see how we found ourselves at an impasse as to who was in charge of fixing this problem.
The deciding factor happened as a result of Angela pointing out that she had a conference coming up, which she was getting ready for and that if I had enough free time at night to play games on my PC then I had enough free time to fix the toilet, which she was working in her office. Emotionally, this did not feel right in any way and I strongly disagreed, however, logically she did have a pretty sound point to which I conceded. Damn you, logic!
After studying the inner workings of the toilet’s tank for three whole flushes, I shut off the water and emptied the tank. Then I removed a few screws and with the top piece of the part of the tank that seemed to not be working I set off to Lowes to see if I could find a replacement piece, or at the very least get some info on the matter.
Once inside I made my way to the plumbing section and found a guy in a red vest and a name tag, two encouraging signs that he worked there. I told him I was having some trouble with my toilet and he asked me to explain the problem. Here’s what I said:
“The long white piece on the left that has the long stick and the floaty ball on the end doesn’t stop. When I flush the water starts to fill up, but once it gets to the line on the middle white drainy pipe a shhushhhh blub, blub, blub noise happens and the floaty ball holder piece starts bubbling from the bottom as water keeps coming in until it starts draining at the top of the middle drain thing.”
“Well I really don’t know that much about plumbing, but you could try replacing the piece that is bubbling up. I don’t think it that’s right.”
“Umm . . . okay. Thanks.” And I did just that.
Once I got home with a new floaty ball holder piece I started dismantling the old one from inside the toilet. Soon I discovered that part of it unscrewed from the bottom outside of the tank. I check my tool supply and as it happened I had nothing that would fit it, so there was no way to unscrew it. It was after ten at this point so I called the repair job for the night. I told Angela if she needed to bathroom that she had better use one downstairs since the one I was working on was not user friends at its current stage. I left all the pieces of the toilet littered across the floor as a reminder that the toilet was not to be used until I had a chance to work on it again. I then washed my hands four times (since I had been playing in toilet water) and watched some television.
The next day, on my way home from work I picked up a wrench and once I got home finished removing the old piece and installing the new one. “Damn I hope this works” was all I could think of as I sat and watched the tank of refill with water. I had fully drained the tank once and really didn’t want to have to do it again if this didn’t fix the problem. It involved using a sponge and sopping up all the water that didn’t get sucked out when I flushed. Sure, playing in toilet water as a three year old was awesome, but once you are in your thirty’s it does lose all its appeal, and is actually kind of gross.
I squeaked a little in joy when the water level stopped at the designated line on the drain tube. I gave it one flush to test the waters and again it stopped at the designated ‘water stops here’ line with no bubbles and no additional filling. I had fixed our porcelain throne! And you know want? It felt pretty good too. It’s not something I’d ever thought I’d have to do, nor is it something I’d want to make a habit out of doing, but it was satisfying to know that I had gotten something what was misbehaving to function properly. The way I see it, we should all be proud of our accomplishments, no matter how trivial they might seem. You took the time to make things better, and to that I say well done.
Google Images, keywords: battle of the sexes, dead houseplants, looking inside toilet tank, and kid playing in toilet.
Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy
With the start of the new month it is once again time to look closer and learn a few things you may not know about our eighth month of the year. August is one of those months where there in not a lot going on, as far as big US holidays go. There is one event, however that is the big event for the month, and if I had to guess I’d guess that most parents consider it one of the best holidays of the year. Of course, I’m talking about back to school day. The summer kids running amok and treating every day as if it is Saturday, is something that I imagine is quite exhausting. Having them go back to school, is probably a grand holiday for any parents that stay at home, or have to deal with day care.
Apart from the parental joy of having their kids leaving the house to learn a few things for a few hours each day, I was curious to learn more about some of the other holidays in the month of August. Here’s what I found out, August is also:
- Admit You’re Happy Month – I’m not sure on this, but if you happen not to be happy this month, I think it’s okay to lie and just admit that you are.
- Family Fun Month – I recommend going on a picnic.
- National Catfish Month – I’m sure that Animal Planet already has a very special Hillbilly Handfishin’ episode all ready to air in honor of this month.
- National Eye Exam Month – I see no point in this . . . sorry (/hangs head in shame).
- National Golf Month – Also known as Curse like a Sailor for No Good Reason At All Month.
- Peach Month – Which reminds me, I have a peach tree in my back yard. I should probably go check on it.
- Romance Awareness Month – All I ask is that people refrain from doing anything in public that brings attention to your romance. I promise, most people just don’t want to see that.
- Water Quality Month – Does this mean that the rest of the year we are just supposed to ignore the quality of our water?
- National Picnic Month – Woah! What are the odds!
When it comes to week long celebrations apparently the first week in August (so this past week) is National Simplify your Life Week. And by skipping a week that encourages people to simplify their life, I did, in fact, simplify my life. Hooray me! Week two just so happens to be National Smile Week, which is the perfect segue for me to encourage you to share my blog and Facebook (Authors) page with all your friends that you feel could benefit from a daily dose of smiles. You can even continue to encourage your friends to check out my work thanks to week three’s Friendship Week. Introduce your friends (everyone you know) to your other friends (me) in an act of friends becoming friends. Okay, okay, the shameless self-promotion is now over. Week four is Be Kind to Humankind Week, which, in the event we ever get invaded by aliens, is the week I hope they decide to invade.
As for special days in the month of August, I managed to find 40+ different day celebrations. Today happens to be Left Hander’s Day, which is rather serendipitous, since I am left handed! I even wrote a Smirk on the subject. As for the rest of the days, for the sake of avoiding a ridiculously long list, I’ll highlight just a few of my favorites:
- August 6 – Wiggle Your Toes Day – Okay so how many of you started wiggling your toes the second you read that? I sure did.
- August 8 – Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day – I’ll tell you, in Utah this is almost a pandemic, and is more like a month long cruel joke under the guise of ‘good intentions’.
- August 9 – Book Lover’s Day – If you missed it, go out and buy a real book, one you can touch, and smell and place on your shelf as a trophy proclaiming your literacy. Just remember, it’s okay to love your books, just don’t ‘love’ your books.
- August 15 – Relaxation Day – I wonder if I could get away with working from home this day, and by working from home I mean waking up at noon, checking my email once, and then spending the afternoon in a hammock, swinging gently as I bask in the shade of a tree.
- August 16 – National Tell a Joke Day – This one is kind of a freebie since I try to do this every day with my ‘Thought of the Day’ posts I do. Still, if you know any good jokes I’d love to hear one.
- August 18 – Bad Poetry Day – I have so much bad poetry I could share with the world! Hmm, that is a Smirk just waiting to be written . . . truth be told, most of it is already written, all I need to do now is to find some of my poetry notebooks from high school.
- August 27 – Just Because Day – I figure the main motivation for this celebration was, you know, in the title of the holiday, and is also the reason I put this on the list.
- August 30 – Frankenstein Day – I think I’m going to have to watch Young Frankenstein on the 30th to commemorate this day, which as long as eat a sandwich while watching it, is a perfect way to wrap up National Picnic Month and Admit You’re Happy Month, because, I promise, every time I watch Young Frankenstein, I openly admit to being happy.
Well, that’s it for my highlight of a few August Holidays. I hope you found a smirk getting a little more awareness about this month, and I truly do how you can all admit to finding yourself happy this month. Cheers, and a Happy August to you all.
Google Images, keywords: August, admit you’re happy month, group of people smiling, wiggle your toes, and Young Frankenstein.
Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy
With the start of the new month it is once again time to look closer and learn a few things you may not know about our seventh month of the year. In the US our big holiday this month is the 4th of July, the day we commemorate when we declared our independence from Great Britain way back in 1776. As it turns out we are not alone in claiming our independence in July.
Here are some of the other countries that have obtained their independence in the month of July:
- Abkhazia – Independence from Georgia in 1993
- Algeria – Independence from France in 1962
- Argentina – Independence from the Spanish Empire in 1816
- Bahamas – Independence from the United Kingdom in 1973
- Belarus – Independence from several years of German occupation in 1944
- Belgium – Independence from Netherlands in 1831
- Burundi – Independence from Belgium in 1962
- Cape Verde – Independence from Portugal in 1975
- Colombia – Independence from Spain in 1810
- Djibouti – Independence from France in 1977
- Laos – Independence from France in 1949
- Liberia – Independence from the United States in 1847
- Malawi – Independence from the United Kingdom in 1964
- Maldives – Independence from the United Kingdom in 1965
- Peru – Independence from Spain in 1821
- Rwanda – Independence from Belgium in 1962
- Sao Tome and Principe – Independence from Portugal in 1975
- Slovakia – Declaration of Independence in 1992
- Solomon Islands – Independence from the United Kingdom in 1978
- Somalia – Independence from Italy in 1960
- South Sudan – Independence from Sudan in 2011
- Vanuatu – Independence from the United Kingdom and France in 1980
- Venezuela – Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1811
Apart from the Independence Day celebrations that take place this month, July is also:
- National Blueberry Month
- National Anti-Boredom Month – This is not a good idea. Whoever came up with the idea of putting Anti-Boredom Month during the same month what state laws towards the purchase of and use of fireworks becomes quite lenient clearly didn’t think this one through. This might also explain why some of my neighbors have been lighting off fireworks every night this past weekend, once the sun goes down they get bored and want to blow something up.
- National Cell Phone Courtesy Month – I appreciate this one, unless that means we need to be more courteous towards people on their cell phone, but I’m guessing that isn’t the case.
- National Hot Dog Month – Of course since the 4th of July is the biggest barbeque day of the year it’s not surprising that the month is dedicated to the consumption of these vile icons of America’s gift to the culinary world.
- National Ice Cream Month – This one makes sense, especially considering how warm it is lately. I’m not a big fan of ice cream, but over the past week I have consumed ice cream on three separate occasions.
I did want to add one more celebration to this month. It’s not an official or nationally observed holiday, but in my experience July is also Family Reunion Month. I’ve already attended one family reunion this month and most of my friends seem to have one scheduled sometime this month as well.
When it comes to week long celebrations apparently the second week in July (so starting today) is Nude Recreation Week. My recommendation, find yourself a hammock, preferable in someplace secluded (no point in being the reason for your neighbors start going to therapy), and spend an hour or two relaxing in the hammock while in the buff. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
As for special days in the month of July, I managed to find 50+ different day celebrations. Today happens to be National Sugar Cookie Day, which I’ll be skipping. I’m not really a fan of sugar cookies. As for the rest of the days, for the sake of avoiding a ridiculously long list, I’ll highlight just a few of my favorites:
- July 1 – Build a Scarecrow Day (which is the first Sunday of the month) and International Joke Day. – Sadly, I’m not sure I know any international jokes . . . unless of course you want to talk about America’s foreign policies over the last decade.
- July 2 – I Forgot Day and World UFO Day – I was a little bummed about missing World UFO Day, but when I realized it was also I Forgot Day, I didn’t feel too bad about it anymore.
- July 8 – Video Games Day – Check (and didn’t even know I was supposed to play video games this past Sunday). Yeah, I rock.
- July 11 – Cheer Up the Lonely Day and World Population Day – Doesn’t having those two on the same day seem to imply that the recommended way of cheering up the lonely is an activity that could result in world population. I recommend just giving them a plate of cookies and asking them how their day is.
- July 13 – Barbershop Music Appreciation Day – In a word, YES!
- July 20 – Moon Day – I think it’s important to mention that this is in reference to the Moon that orbits the Earth and not the youthful or more commonly drunk frat guy activity that insists that flashing people the quick view of your bare derriere is the epitome of comedic genius.
- July 27 – Take Your Pants for a Walk Day – I’m going to borrow my sister’s stroller on this day. That way I can just put all my pants in the seat and take all of them for a walk in one go.
Well, that’s it for my highlight of a few July Holidays. I hope you found a smirk getting a little more awareness about this month, and maybe, apart from grilling hotdogs and eating ice cream, you’ll get a little more out of this month than you have in years past. Cheers, and a Happy July to you all.
Google Images, keywords: July, anti-boredom month, feet in a hammock, and barbershop music.
Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy
You know how sometimes you’ll make a statement that you were in full support of, but then find yourself in a situation where that previous statement becomes null and void. I think the most common example of this is the morning after a night dedicated to the mass consumption of alcohol. I had a roommate that would wake up at least twice a week and mutter, “I’m never drinking again.” Usually it just took offering him two aspirin with a can of beer to wash it down to change his mind, but every once in a while he meant it for at least a day.
Well, yesterday I found myself it this type of situation, except without the hangover, or the night of drinking, or the alcohol, or . . . okay it had nothing to do with that type of situation. See, in a past Smirk I talked about my first and only experience getting a pedicure. I had no plans on ever going through that experience again . . . at least that was the plan until my sweetie-baby-cutie-wifey-pooh felt compelled to get one yesterday as part of her birthday—and well, umm . . . so maybe my toenails are now blue and have glitter on them, but in my defense it was her birthday.
It wasn’t as painful as last time, which was about 5 years ago, and that was a definite plus. For the record though, I am never doing this again . . . you know, unless it’s my sweeties birthday, or I lose a bet or something.
This experience was very different from last time for a few reasons. First, I was not at a beauty school being worked on by some shy girl that was clearly not keen on poking, prodding, picking, clipping, and rubbing my feet. This time it was a place in the mall and was staffed by Asian women who spoke in broken English.
The lady that worked on my feet made up her mind what my toenails were going to look like even though Angela and I had mentioned at the beginning that we wanted matching colored toenails. Oh no, purple toenails were not acceptable for my toes and my “toe lady” (I’m not sure of the correct term to use here) informed me repeatedly while working on my toes that I needed to get fireworks painted on my big toenails.
When the time came for me to get them colored, the lady working on Angela’s toes was using the purple nail polish that I was expecting to be used to paint my toes. Instead of waiting my “toe lady” went to the wall of colors and grabbed the bottle of blue fingernail polish that she wanted to use for my toes, and a bottle of glitter polish.
When she came back she held out the blue and informed me, “You get this color.” She then sat down and got to work painting my toes. Then she asked me again while nodding her head up and down in a no so subtle attempt at Jedi mind control, “You want firework?”
She clearly had her heart set on painting a scene of fireworks exploding in the night’s sky. I figured, why the hell not, gave up and conceded to her “suggestion”.
As she started painting the scene on my toes, exclaiming, “See, I told you, firework beautiful!” the stranger sitting to my left finally lost her cool and started giggling. This in turn got Angela and I laughing as well.
My toes are now ready to celebrate the 4th of July. I haven’t felt this patriotic about the holiday in years. Who knew that getting theme nail polish would help out with that?
I love my wife and was happy to get my toes done with her in celebration of her birthday. I just hope she never has the urge to do an impromptu legs waxing one of these years.
Google Images, keywords: sleeping in funny positions, pedicure tools, and
a picture Angela took using her cell phone.
Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy
Sometimes it’s the simple acts that create memories that last a lifetime. When I was a kid it always felt like my birthday was the last one of the year. In truth, it was always the first one of the year, but due to the way the birthday season in my family works out my birthday was always last. Yes we have a birthday season in my family. It starts with my sisters, who were both born in September, then my brothers, both born in October and finally my parents who were both born in December. Then there was me, leading up the rear as the only one with a birthday in January.
I was probably six or seven when I first realized that my birthday was last. As a typical six year old, being last is not something I was ever fond of. If I could get away with it I’d sneak an extra 100 from the Monopoly bank when I passed go, and when playing Yahtzee if one of my dice fell on the floor and came up the number I needed then of course it counted, but if I couldn’t use it, then it was obviously a do over. As a kid that hated losing, I tried to get the edge when I could. I’m happy to say this didn’t last.
The next year when birthday season started, so did my realization of being last. This resulted in me whining relentlessly to my parents about how unfair it was that my birthday was last. I may have even whined myself into a crying fit once or two about the subject as well (not proud of it then, not proud of it now). It got so bad that even mentioning the word birthday would set me off, which made planning upcoming birthdays a little difficult.
Finally in a last chance effort to shut me up about it, my parents came up with a solution to my complaint. With a smirk on his face my dad offered to trade birthdays with me. Instead of the week after Christmas, my birthday that year would be in the first week of December. I eagerly accepted and happily stopped complaining about the matter.
I couldn’t believe it. My birthday was going to be almost a full month earlier than it had been in the past. It also meant that it was three weeks before Christmas! As a kid with a birthday a week after Christmas I can tell you nothing sucks worse than having a birthday close to Christmas. More often than not when you are given a gift it will have both Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday written on it. Then you have to pretend to be grateful when all you are really thinking is, “You cheap bastard.”
Giving two toys (birthday and Christmas) to friends each year only to have them reciprocate it by giving you one gift to cover both occasions is one of the most distressing forms of adolescent injustice that any child will experience. Any child with a birthday close to Christmas will tell you the same thing. It’s complete and total crap! The prospect of having my birthday earlier meant that the chance of me getting separate Christmas and birthday presents was quite high. It was a realization that would even Eeyore would smile about.
When my “birthday” rolled around and my friends started arriving for the party, there was something I hadn’t expected. I had a feeling that kept lingering in the back of my mind. It was there through all the games, singing, the blowing out the candles and making a wish, and cake eating. Through all of that I couldn’t get past the feeling that it really wasn’t my birthday.
I’ll admit I was excited to get gifts that just said “Happy Birthday” on them, but it wasn’t my day. This feeling was reinforced when New Year’s finally rolled around and as a family we had to sing Happy Birthday to my dad instead of me. Turned out I liked that feeling even less than getting just one gift for both my birthday and Christmas.
I didn’t like having someone take my day. It took me a while to realize that my dad might like his day just as much as I liked my own. Who knows, maybe seeing me happily celebrating his birthday as my own was what made it worthwhile to him and a day worth remembering. For me, I didn’t need someone else’s birthday after that. My dad definitely deserved his own day where we all happily celebrated him on the day he entered this world, and do did I. When I told my dad I wanted my birthday back for next year, he happily agreed, but let me know if I wanted to trade again it would be okay.
I never complained about being last in the birthday season after that. I think it is what started my appreciation for birthdays in general. People deserve to be celebrated and what better way to celebrate them than on the day they were born.
I know that Father’s Day just passed, and as groovy of a holiday as it is, it pales in comparison to the day my dad was born. A day he gave to me as a gift one year so I could learn about the importance of my own day, where I said hello to the world.
Google Images, keywords: sad at birthday, throwing a tantrum, birthday and Christmas, and dad hug.
Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy