Killer Kitchen

  Renovating is killer. It takes a lot of money and time. We are nearly on a first name basis with the people at Home Depot. Honestly, the last time we went, they said “Two times in three days? Your brave!” and “You’re back, we are hiring! Maybe you should just start living here.” Which one of us might, as we have heard that kitchen renos are pretty damn stressful. Along with that was said, that if you can reno a kitchen and not get a divorce, you can get through anything. Seems like a pretty steep bet. Either way we will need the kitchen renovated, either for our enjoyment or for liquidating our assets.

  If you are a noob like us, kitchen renos can be extremely confusing. There is a lot of different information and varying opinions, depending on who you talk to. We have been told that counters should be done after cabinet refacing, a faux paux at best. Unless you are getting laminate, to which I say, “What do I look like, a slum lord?” We were told to cut the tiles and drywall out of the wall and then patch with a new piece. Which would certainly cause repainting, where there is a slim chance we can remove our tile backsplash and possibly not have to repaint. We have been told that any sink can be undermounted, which simply isn’t true.

  Speaking of the sink, we went to a few different places and kept chickening out or just not finding the right size. We did have some fairly rigid dimensions that we wanted. We could have got them, had we felt like spending a thousand dollars on a sink. Our dishwasher didn’t cost that much and it does that damn dishes for us. A thousand dollars! Are we doin’ blow off of this stainless steel starlet? In the end we got a sink whose box had already been open, they said they would knock twenty bucks off. Twenty minutes later it was forty as there was an inventory system problem. In the end, we paid nine dollars less, including tax, than the sticker.

  My wife had a dream later that night. In it, we were looking at kitchens in other peoples houses. When she first told me, I thought it is kind of weird, but no big deal. That was until she told me that every single kitchen had had a murder in it. Furthermore, that seemed to be the attraction to the kitchen. “Hey, someone was murdered here! Let’s go checkout the kitchen!” It isn’t all due to the stress of the kitchen. It certainly hasn’t helped that she and I have been watching American Horror Story or Hannibal a lot for the past few weeks.

  As of tonight everything has been measured. All of the orders have been put in. The installers and refacers have been hired. The credit cards have been whipped out. It is time to drop our socks and grab our, caulking guns. A bit premature, but we will use them eventually.

Last Saturday: Literally, A Shitty Morning.

  Don’t worry, the guy in the picture is fine. An impromptu vet visit and some medication. He is all plugged up now. I didn’t sleep well Friday night. I had too much rich food at dinner. I kept drifting in and out of sleep. Around three or four A.M. I thought I smelled something.  I my dozing state I sniffed my beard and fell back asleep. Although, my thoughts kept drifting a bit. No way I thought, it can’t be. The dogs didn’t poop in the house did they? Speaking of dogs, both of them were both noticeably absent from the bed. That wasn’t like them. Especially for Bleu, the guy in the picture. He usually lays right in between us. The smell subsided. I fell back asleep.

  When I got out of bed on Saturday, I had forgotten about the incident. I strolled into the hallway and found Bleu right by the door. Which was my first alarm bell. Then I looked down at the tile floor and spotted his handy work. Just in time too. One more inch and my barefoot would have been in it.

  Bleu started to walk toward me. Miraculously, he managed to avoid stepping in anything. As I picked him up and carefully stepped into the kitchen, I saw through our interior window into the living room. There was more, plus vomit. Four unique piles. One on each corner of the rug. Possibly some bizarre dog ritual.

  I could tell Bleu needed to go outside. That he still wasn’t finished yet, but I had to clean up the hallway first. I didn’t want our other dog Jake stepping in it when he got up. So I put Bleu in the bathroom and got to work. It was some vile stuff. Once I got started, I figured I might as well power through the rest.

  As I was throwing everything away putting cleaning products back, I got a whiff of something. It had climbed above the clean scent of lemons and beaten it into submission. Back and better than ever. Out for revenge. I knew that I should have taken him out!

  As I opened the bathroom door the stench smashed me right in the face. Luckily, he had jumped into the bathtub and done his business in there. A trick he used to do all the time when he was young and being housebroken. I was thankful he still remembered it.

  After rinsing and hitting the tub with some cleaner I figured I should wash both our feet. Just to be safe. Bleu’s foot bath went off without a hitch. Then it was my turn. I stepped in, fully clothed and turned on the water.

  “Don’t pull the hoobajoob that turns on the shower head.” I said to myself.

  “Don’t worry, I got this!” I replied as my left hand reached out to do just that.

  I realized the error of my way immediately and took a step back. It wasn’t enough. Apparently close counts not only in horseshoes and handgrenades, but also standing in the shower in your clothes.

How Soon Is New Year Well Wishing Old?

  Yay! It’s 2015 and has been for about a week now. It could be more or less depending on how quickly I get this post nailed to the wall. Everyone is still wishing everyone a Happy New Year, Happy Holidays, and – the one that is most feared by the politically correct – Merry Christmas. Yes, even on the ninth day of the new year, Christmas well wishing is still floating around. I am an extrovert and I am exhausted or is it boredom? Exborestedom?

  Sometimes I just respond with the traditional mimicked response. I am sincere, I don’t want anyone to have a  bad year. The conversation doesn’t usually end there though. What did you do? Where did you go? Who did you see? What did you get? To be fair these questions are all well a good the first couple of days back to the grind. Then it turns into some kind of fan made Groundhog Day, but not really. So how long do we keep saying this stuff?

  Well according to my math, which includes using a calculator, Photoshop, rounding, and guesstimation, at least another two weeks would be acceptable. As when a year is put into the same scale as a week, we are still somewhere in Monday morning. The math isn’t exact. I didn’t account for February. I didn’t care that I lost half a month. Is it a leap year?

  For those of you thinking I am out of touch and cynical, here is a little exercise for you. Imagine yourself on a Monday or whatever day it is that is the beginning of your work week. It is the “worst” day of your first world life. All you want to be doing is whatever it was you were doing the days prior. Instead you are at work. All day long, literally everyone you run into says “Happy Monday!” or “Good Morning!” Even after the sun has gone down, at three in the afternoon because you live in Canada!

  Now that we are all good and cynical together, here is an example of a conversation with some snappy things to say. You are on your break and run into that person with the smile on their face because they were smarter than you and took extra days off. “Happy New Year!” they exclaim. “You wishin’ or askin’?” you inquire rhetorically. Next, you immediately add something like “I don’t know, it is too early to say,” or “How about I let you know in 350?” Honestly, you have to start getting a little creative after the umpteenth instance of this conversation. You will go nuts if you don’t. A couple of roughly guesstimated weeks is a long time.

She Said, He Said: Free Speech, Assholes, and Everyone In Between.

  I am going to be honest. I’d never heard of Charlie Hebdo before the shooting. I suspect that a majority of my continent hasn’t. Sifting through the articles, I don’t fully understand what the comics are saying. I pick out words. I draw conclusions from the images. I find a lot of articles stating Charlie Hebdo is racist, xenophobic, homophobic and every other kind of phobic there is. Which I suspect, is how people without senses of humor view satirists. Ultimately, that isn’t what this post is about. I want to talk about the reaction and the subsequent reactions.

  Free speech gives the freedom to say what one wants. To be critical, to be edgy, to be challenging. The right to say what one wants, is there to protect the people with the unsavory statements. Saying nice things, doesn’t have to be protected. Everyone likes to hear nice things, even dictators.

  The other side of the coin is the responsibility to listen responsibly. Which means if one wants to exercise their right to free speech, they in turn, should listen to the otherside. If they disagree, they are free to refute. If they get too uncomfortable they are free to ignore the other side. To change the channel, to not read the work, to just walk away.

  There is a practice both sides should exercise. A quality that seems to be so easily lost, that it makes me wonder if it ever truly existed at all. Empathy. Empathy is the practice of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Seeing the opposing view’s side. An attempt to understand the other side. A key part of empathy is respect. If not for the other person’s view then, at the very least, enough respect for them as a human being.

  What happened on January 7th, 2015 wasn’t the flip side of the coin. It wasn’t responsible. It was an escalated reaction. There was no respect for the other human. Say what you will about Charlie Hebdo. It is a satirical magazine that makes fun of seemingly everyone and everything. Those were artists that were killed. They disagreed, they challenged, and they were killed. That, is fucking scary. Just because a few assholes didn’t like to be challenged? Those asshole’s actions have tainted an entire people. Slanted views. Thrown fuel on other assholes fires. One side’s extremists have riled up the other side’s extremists and the ones in the middle are going to be the ones that suffer. That, is even scarier. Empathy.

Hipster, The Realization.

  That word, “hipster.” So current, so derogatory. Everyone seems to hate hipsters. No one seems to fraternize with them. Hipsters are kind of like Nickelback fans. I don’t know any on a personal level, but somehow the subculture manages to thrive. I’ve never identified myself as being a hipster. Yet somehow, and ironically so, the hipster motif  has somewhat aligned with my own.

  That’s right, hipsters have been created in my image. I am a god! Black framed glasses, flannel shirts, and a large beard are three of my physical traits commonly found in the hipster visual bible. Its a good look. I have been doing the look for years, decades in some cases. I can see why they would incorporate it. Plus, I get to reap the windfall and go to cool restaurants and bars. I fit right in.

  That is, until they look down at my boots. That is when they realize that, not only are they not vagabond student approved, but my jeans are boot cut. Not skinny, no cuff. The jig is up! I have to say something super cool. Perhaps I bring up an amazing new band I just discovered or just announce that if I wore skinny jeans, I would look like a light bulb. Not those silly LED or CFL, but a good old fashioned incandescent bulb. The more handmade, the better!

  And that totally proves it. I am not a hipster. I am just a simple guy who likes to be warm and realizes that boot cut jeans were made specifically to be worn with a boot. Yes, I like art. I am employed as an artist, went to art school and the whole nine. So what if I have a soft spot for whimsical indie published books. Who doesn’t? I don’t have a vinyl collection, due to a lack of space. Yeah, I like craft beer and have even brewed a few of my own batches. Big deal! Sure, I have foodie tendencies, but who doesn’t can their own salsa and make their own stocks? I don’t have any ironic logos on my shirts, just solid colors from American Apparel. I don’t have a haircut that makes me look like a squire from Camelot. I just keep it short and combed to the side, like something out of the 1800’s.

  Oh mother stuffer! Really? I am not a hipster! Come on! They’re boot cut. Fine, I admit it! I may be a hipster, but I liked all of those things before they were cool. Oh god! I don’t see what the big deal is. At least I am cooler than you! Wait a minute, you. What about you? Sitting there. Reading my blog before anyone has heard of me. I can keep a secret if you can. Hipster.

2015… And So It Begins, I Guess.

  I am tired. I stayed up too late. For some reason I couldn’t pull my attention away from the train wreck that was Stacy “Two-Face” Fergie Ferguson and whatever show it was that she was joltingly hosting. Sloshing quickly between poses. Resembling video game animations from eight years ago. Always turning to the profile to remind the world she wasn’t wearing pants. Perhaps that meat suit just wasn’t fitting the buggy alien correctly. Either way, I hated every god damn second of it until I picked up my phone and got on twitter.

  It was the first time I had ever done the whole watch something and tweet at the same time. It diverted my attention and filled me with such joy to read that other cantankerous bastards were also hating Fergie and Jenny “I Love Polio” McCarthy. After awhile I started coming across people’s resolutions. I am going to be more happy. I am going to work less. I am going to work out. Devote more time to my kids. Use social media less. Spend less money. Vaccinate.

  You get the point. People were putting themselves on the hook to improve themselves. Which is a noble gesture and at the same time it is a great way to get set up for soul crushing failure. Three hundred and sixty five days is a long time. Especially to hold oneself to self-improvement. Resolutions are rigidly worded leaving them brittle. One misstep and the whole thing could shatter. Which leads to a why even continue, why keep trying mentality. By February, resolutions are defeatedly schlepped off to the side and forgotten. Left to be picked up next year or never attempted again.

  Relatively speaking, New Year’s is kind of like Monday. Except seemingly everyone – for some reason – seems to love New Year’s. Yet, if each week is treated as a new beginning, one can set smaller, more achievable goals. Also, if someone is being an over spending, kid neglecting, depressed ass hat in July, shouldn’t something be done then? Why wait five months?

  In years passed, I half heartedly made resolutions. I failed them all quickly. Until four or five years ago. I came up with a resolution that I have kept making year after year. Each year I succeed. Each year, I think I get a little better. What is that resolution? Don’t die. It is certainly something I don’t want to fail at. I figure, unless I party with Motley Crue, I can only fail once. Every year, when I scream Happy New Year, I know that I have once again succeeded. All I had to do was look both ways when crossing the street and stuff.