Monday, November 28, 2011

They Wait in the Shadows...

When Macy came along, the first thing on my list to get was a crate to train her in. Evidently it wasn't even in the rankings on her list, because there was never a time when she was happy in the crate and would agree to stay. When forced to, she took it into her own hands and literally broke out within an amazing 10 seconds, pulling the entire front of the collapsible crate crate down, where she could easily just walk out laughing.

The crate sat around collecting dust for about 6 months when I decided to finally try putting an ad on Craig's List. That turned out to be a similar fiasco. I really couldn't find a category for dog crates. There were dogs, but no pet supplies. There were pet services, so I tried both and never could find where my ad was placed. I paid $30 for the crate, "used" when I first bought it, but probably spent at least 5 or 10 dollars on gas picking it up. I put my ad in for $45, knowing I had bought it rather cheaply, but I never got a call for at least 24 hours. Finally on Saturday afternoon about 1 PM, a lady called and said she'd be right over. She was prompt and handed me $45 saying it was going to be perfect. The entire transaction took about 3 minutes. The fact is, Macy had not even had time to stop wagging her tail when the woman with her crate in tow, exited. Macy looked at me as if to say, WTF? Not much of a visit!

That's when the strange things started happening. I started getting text messages that asked if I'd take $25, I replied, Nah! When I checked my spam, it was unusually full for just one day and I checked to see where it was all coming from. It was the Craig's List Creeps! The individuals that sit around monitoring Craig's List for potential victims, suckers if you will? "Please supply your email address, along with your password, to verify that you are really you". Then in the browser, it says it's from Alibaba69. The best one was, YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF CRAIG'S LIST RULES BY PLACING MORE THAN ONE ADD IN A DAY AND WILL LOSE YOUR WELCOME ON CRAIG'S LIST UNLESS YOU SUPPLY YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AND PASSWORD!!!" You really needed to have an attorney on hand to undertake such a task as placing an ad on Craig's List The average simpleton COULD lose the family, home along with his savings.

And the madness continued into today with more spam arriving with other insults to my intelligence, but I just delete. I felt pretty good enjoying my profit on something that should never have created one and splurged and ordered a pizza. I know, but I just went crazy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let There Be Light!

Today's wound was from a falling ballast when I dismantled the light fixture in the laundry room. It is the fluorescent type that hold 2 four foot long tubes. When one bulb won't light, it's usually just a bulb, but when both won't light simultaneously, it's either the starter or the ballast, depending upon how old the fixture is. I learned this from a well informed employee of the world famous Home Depot. So today, instead of buying what I thought I might need, I first dismantled the light fixture and found a ballast, indicating the fixture was one of the newer variety. Opening the fixture, after removing the 2 tubes was similar to opening a Swiss watch. Things came flying out, mostly wires reminding me of a jack in the box popping up.

The next step took some nerve. It required me to cut the wires connecting the ballast in an, all or nothing, effort. Then just one small screw held up the hefty item and when it came crashing down to the floor, it cut my arm, ever so slightly. Casualty number one.

I took the old ballast to Home Depot and in no time at all, found an unsuspecting clerk to assist me. Lets call him Clem. Clem looked like every other Home Depot employee that you've ever seen. He wore his orange apron and was very polite. He asked me to wait while he finished up with a customer and I did. Finally Clem smiled and asked how he could assist me. Holding up my old ballast, I pointed out that I thought I needed a new one. He took it from me and inspected it. "Just as I thought Clem explained, it's a PX173945, these are going to be outlawed starting next month. I could sell you one today, but I wouldn't be doing you any favors. That's your government working for you"! Feeling like I owed Clem my life for keeping me within the law, I thanked him endlessly, repeatedly wiping my sweating brow. Talk about dodging a bullet!

Clem walked us over to a selection of the new streamlined ballasts that are approved for extended use. He squatted down to search the bottom shelf creating a sound that I wasn't expecting, kind of a sickly groan. Then he told me that he wasn't used to being old and reached for his reading glasses. I smiled and pointed to mine, part of the "old guys" necessities. That's when Clem started to share. He told me that his daddy told him that after 40, things would start getting tough. He laughed and told me that he was never better between 40 and 45, then all hell broke loose, now that he's turned 50. Trying not to blurt out, "you ain't seen nothing yet", I casually mentioned that I'm 65 and one day, and they don't let you know ahead of time, every square inch of skin on your body changes and begins to look like your scrotum......................... and it happens overnight!!!

That's when Clem looked at me and nothing came out. He was silent, just staring at me. I think this is when we went from customer and clerk to just two guys telling it like it is. Things seemed to move in slow motion as Clem's face curled into a smile and he let out the biggest, loudest belly laugh he ever let out in his 50 years. After composing himself, he asked me, yours got 2 blue wires, 2 red wires, 2 yellow wires, a black wire and a white wire? I said, yes and he sent me to the cashier's. I went home and tried my very best to not electrocute myself. I installed the new ballast, my LEGAL one and got the biggest thrill when I turned the light switch and it actually worked. Let there be light!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Direct TV and Dish Network and Still No Help...

This is one of the few households that subscribe to both Dish Network and Direct TV. I'll get to the reason that I'm telling you that in a moment. Last week I had the miserable job of replacing a kitchen faucet. If you think about it, the working condition leave a lot to be desired. You're squeezed in under the sink with the pee trap and the garbage disposal to keep you company and no matter what you do, you cannot reach whatever it is that you're trying to reach. Once you devise a route to get to said location, you then have to perform a task on that part that requires movement, which is certainly not going to happen. They have devised something called a faucet wrench that we purchased for the job, but I never found the occasion to use it. There's another $12 item that will sit on the table next to it's receipt forever. Now picture yourself reaching up to attache a bolt to the hot and cold water knobs of your sink. Are you picturing where it is? Are you picturing the pee trap and the garbage disposal in their proper place? Now, with only the one hand that can access the thread of the knob, try wrapping silicone tape around the threads. I completed said task, got the bleeding to stop on my head, where I whacked it on the cabinet corner (actually saw stars on that one) and it only took me one afternoon and 3 trips to Home Depot. I told my son at lunch the other day that I installed a faucet in the kitchen sink. All he asked was,"How many trips to Home Depot did it take"? I said 3. He said, "Nice job"! We both laughed because we know that whatever you purchase at Home Depot, for whatever reason, is not going to happen in one trip. My catastrophe was when I was all finished, my hoses that came out of the new faucet would not even come close to the water supply. That required 2 additional trips alone!

By this time you are probably wondering why I started this post with the discussion of satellite TV. Well, in an effort to maybe learn a little bit about installing a kitchen faucet, I watched DIY TV for several days, hoping that they would install a faucet for an example for me. However, it being what you may call boring TV, all they did was mention installing a faucet and suddenly it would appear. Somehow I got addicted to Do-It-Yourself TV. I found it relaxing to watch some poor slob destroy a kitchen that looked perfectly wonderful to me, because it was outdated. I watched them install brass back-splashes, sinks that looked like the urinals at the local YMCA and beautiful granite counters. So after about a week or 10 days of watching DIY channel when nothing more interesting was on, last Saturday I went to my friendly TV and low and behold DIY station now costs money to watch. It was SNATCHED out of my regular programming, which by the way costs an arm and a leg! Not believing my eyes, I went to the room that houses our Direct TV, perfectly lovely 42' flatscreen TV and there it was, my DIY station, still for free.

So here's what I think happened. The powers that be at Dish Network tracked my TV watching and discovered that I had a new interest, DIY. Well, they weren't going to miss a chance at getting a little more money out of us, so in order to feed my new habit, they figured I happily toss in a few more chips to watch some fool demolish his back deck with his overweight daughter hindering his every move! Well, they didn't plan on Direct TV coming to my rescue at $29.99 a month.

The fact is, I don't have Direct TV by choice, but when I had it put in, I didn't know I was signing a 2 year contract, so when I moved, Direct TV moved with me like some unwanted distant cousin that you can't seem to shake.

In closing, I've got 4 more months of Direct TV then they're out of here, if you're attempting to install a kitchen faucet DO NOT watch the DIY channel, but you may feel perfectly welcome to contact me and I can give you advice on how to wrap a bandage and stop excessive bleeding. Good night...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

First Date in Months...

I haven't gone on a date for quite some time and this is the reason why. I've pretty much dropped off of the dating services after years of poor results. Oh sure I've met a few people that were of substance, but the vast majority of them were of substance abuse!  Most of the people on the sites have been there for many years, expecting the next date to be different, but they never are. I present to you, one more night in the life of the "The Dating Guy".

Without ever joining the site, I have been a member of for many years. It was a spin off of when I was a member in 2004. I send their solicitation to my spam folder, but occasionally it slips past the guards into my inbox. This particular day, there was notice of a woman named Sheila was interested in meeting me. Sheila had a postage stamp sized photo that did not tell much about her, but she seemed nice enough from her email and offered me her phone number right from the start. She told me her name and I Googled her to discover that she was only divorced last month, although she told me it was 6 months prior. We spoke on the phone for about an hour and she told me that if we were to meet, it has to be before Thursday, because she's having a small minor surgery then and was expecting to be under the weather for a time. She was reluctant to tell me what sort of surgery, but it turned out that she was putting her boobs in the shop for a tune up, plus a tummy tuck. I wished her well and told her I'd be in touch with her after her makeover.

Time passed and eventually I tried calling her, but she didn't take the call. I left her a message asking if she were still alive. She called back the following day and explained that she really was not doing well and that I probably wouldn't understand what it's like to have a doctor cut you open. I told her I had a pretty good idea but everyone deals with surgery differently. As two more weeks passed, all I heard about was how horrible it was to be cut open. Finally I told her I did understand, as in open heart surgery they do precisely that, plus saw your sternum in halve and remove your heart a little. She was still pretty sure that a breast lift was worse, particularly when accompanying a tummy tuck. I said nothing.

I had pretty much written off Sheila as not my type and deleted her from my Blackberry Messenger system. I no sooner do that and I get an email from her inviting me back and a phone call saying she downloaded a new version of Blackberry and accidentally deleted me. I again said nothing. Finally she called me and invited me out on a date. She offered me the option of just remaining friends on the phone which didn't seem to interest me in the least. I caved and said to meet me at Costco for an early evening of free samples but she only laughed. Damn! Okay, how about meeting me at Earl's, my location for meeting woman from the Scottsdale area. She agreed and I drove what turned to be a 25 miles ride from my Glendale location. As I pulled up to the parking lot at Earl's, I noticed their sigh wasn't lit and I attributed that to a bulb problem. As I entered the parking lot it was more than apparent that it was more than a bulb problem, as the parking lot was empty and the windows were boarded up. Another business bit the dust in this economic disaster.

Immediately I called Sheila and she answered I'm the fat lady right behind you. I actually looked through my rear view mirror. She said she was running late and would be about 3 minutes. Fifteen minutes later she pulled up next to me, the only car in the parking lot and rolled down her window. "Where do we go from here", she said? I said, if you want to get into my car, we can look for another place. She asked if I were a serial rapist? I said I was, but had a headache tonight and can I owe her one. She laughed and got in. She suggested Bamboo Club in North Scottsdale and I had been there prior with a date of mine, the one that wouldn't tell me her last name after 3 dates. We arrived and were seated where Sheila insisted on a booth at a certain location. She obviously had been here before and had certain likes and dislikes. After waiting for a bus person to clear off that booth. The first thing she said was that she was awfully warm and did I think it was warm in here? I said I was comfortable. Hey, I was! She called the waiter over and verbally abused him for a while, while he tried to explain when he opens the door, other people complain that it's too cold. She takes a menu and tears a page out of it and begins to fan herself. You know it's difficult to try to pretend you're not with someone when they're the only other person in your booth. I tried to change the subject to other things, but I think she eventually actually brought down the temperature of the entire restaurant by fanning herself so enthusiastically. She mentioned that her stomach was hurting her and pointed out the swelling that made her look about 7 months pregnant. Then she showed me the tube that the doctor installed yesterday to eliminate the swelling and the bag holding the blood. So much for my appetite, huh? I ordered egg rolls, just because the waiter was so insistent about getting something. Sheila agreed to eat a little so we shared an order. When they came, Sheila tasted one and remarked about how awful they were and the next thing I know she's summoning the poor waiter to let him know they were awful. I tried one and she was right, but I said nothing, just didn't eat anymore. We talked for about 2 hours and it's funny how when you're enjoying yourself, time just flies. Well that wasn't the case last night, but every time I started making going home noises, she thought of a new topic to keep us there. Her wealthy father, the $50,000 her ex-husband left her owing on her credit cards, her rotten daughter-in-law. The topics flowed, as did her open wound as she barely made it to a standing position when we were leaving. I helped her to my car and drove her back to hers, where I felt like pushing her out the door, but came to a full stop before getting out to deliver her to her opened door of her SUV. She kissed me on my cheek as I said my goodbye and I didn't wipe it off until I was safely inside my car headed home, on a 25 miles ride. So much, for "The Dating Guy"!