"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My weekend affair with john

This was a weekend of hugging toilets. Literally so, but no alcohol, no food poisoning, no absent husband.

Yesterday it was a fight with a cushioned toilet seat, but we finally resolved our issues. I won and it went to the trash. Clients will now be sitting on a good hard seat that's easy to clean and won't allow them much comfort, resulting in lower fees for my services. (I charge by the hour whether they're comfortably sitting in my office discussing business or comfortably sitting on my toilet reading.)

Today it was moving an entire new toilet from a big box store in the big nearby city into my truck bed into my tenant's apartment.

First the back story: The City sends me a letter this week informing me that water usage is way up this quarter in my office building. Friday, I call all the tenants and ask if they hear any noisy toilet tanks that might be leaking water (the usual suspect of high water usage). They all say no, but one tenant does have a small leak in the bathroom lavatory that's been dripping for quite a while. Of course, I had never been informed of the leak until at moment.

A call to my reliable fix-it guy and that lav problem is solved; however, he does notice that the toilet in the apartment is emptying and refilling constantly. The tenant thought that noise was just a neighbor flushing his toilet. Well, common sense would tell you 1. that concrete walls aren't that thin and 2. that's an awful lot of flushing even if a neighbor has a urinary problem. For some reason, tenants often don't have common sense, even the best of them, probably because they aren't paying the bills. There are landlords who are responsible; it's just that some tenants are not. As a result, my water bill is double this quarter, but I digress.

Mr. Fix-it cleaned all the parts and did what he could, but said it may or may not fix the problem. It was fixed until last night when I got a call from the tenant that the tank was making the same noises again.

The toilet in this apartment is probably 40 years old and better made than most modern toilets, but parts are now difficult to retro-fit to these old ones, so I decided to replace it and the fix-it guy could install it Monday.

I knew exactly what I wanted and found the basic white, handicapped, super flush, low water usage stool in stock. I walked across the entire store to get a flat bed cart and back again to the plumbing section. Apparently the labor force is at its minimum early Sunday mornings; no help could be found. OK, I'm pretty strong, but I'm short and this heavy box was on top of another and I can't lift that much weight above my shoulders. I could slide it down, but I was afraid it would crack if it hit the metal cart too hard.

Along came this wonderful large middle-aged man, who offered assistance, despite the fact that he had had a stroke and only had the use of one arm. We got the job done. I thanked him for his kindness and went to check out; still no employee help in sight.

The girl at the checkout called for assistance at the front of the store, while I left to bring my truck to the exit and the loaded cart. No one showed up for 5 minutes. I reexamined the box, but decided it was too big and heavy to lift the 2 1/2 - 3 feet into the truck bed by myself. An elderly couple offered their son's assistance when he comes to pick them up, but I politely refused and went back into the store where the clerk called for help again.

I waited a few minutes more and the elderly couple's son comes to pick them up. "Could I help you load that?" he said and before I could answer that help is probably coming, he lifted the entire box off the cart and into the truck bed. I graciously thanked him, climbed into the bed and slid the box to the back, and drove off to the office/apartment building.

Upon arriving I asked the tenant what time her son would be arriving for breakfast which he does every Sunday. Not coming today; he's on vacation. I can't ask the 65 year old, shorter than me, tenant to help me get the box out of the truck, so what to do.

I found my nephew in his back yard and borrowed him for 5 minutes. As I climbed into the back of the truck to unload the box, I heard a friendly voice yell across the parking lot, "Can I help?" A neighbor (and client) came strolling over and within 2 minutes he and my nephew had the stool in the apartment bathroom.

In less than 40 minutes, there had been four random people who took time out of their morning schedules to help someone. I may have had a tumultuous affair with john this weekend, but I fell in love today with the kindness of strangers and friends and they certainly deserve all my hugs more than the toilets.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The joys of being self-employed

DIY project today: Replace stained cushioned toilet seat in office bathroom. (BTW, whoever invented cushioned toilet seats never had to clean one.)

Tools required: screwdriver Est. time to complete: 10 minutes

Actual tools required: 2 screwdrivers, 2 pliers, wrench, pry-bar, sledge hammer (just kidding), plus four trips back home to get additional tools.

Actual time to complete: 2 hours

I just don't understand

Why parents gripe about their children, when their children are just being children

Why parents yell at their children when disciplining them

Why parents don't teach their children proper table manners

Why parents do their children's homework and school projects

Why parents drive their children to places/events when the kids could easily walk or ride a bike

Why parents don't make their children accept responsibilities

Why parents coddle and cater to their children's every whim

Why parents can't wait for their children to graduate so they can have the house to themselves.

Why parents spend small fortunes on high school graduation parties (It's only a high school degree, folks)

Please understand that I'm not talking about you, but all those other people. Argh!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My week-end in alliteration

1. stained stable stalls
2. planted pretty potted plants
3. chowed on charred chicken
4. munched on Monical's (pizza) with Mom
5. conversed with cousins commuting from Florida
6. applauded academic accolades of niece
7. roamed rural roads
8. pet pretty puppies
9. cleared cluttered closet
10.investigated information on Internet

and more mundane and mischievous matters.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bye, buy newspapers

Most older journalists seem to think they can operate like the old days, when information was not readily accessible and other writers' works were easy to plagiarize. Back then, subscribers and readers were more ignorant and sometimes it took years for the truth to be discovered and corrected in inaccurate news stories.

I am pleased to inform you good ole boys that those days are over. Information is flowing fast and furious and much too quickly for that printing press to keep up. We can get our information and get it updated many times before your hard copy hits the front porch. Hundreds or thousands of versions of a news story are available on line where we can read, watch and hear every biased viewpoint imaginable.

Newspapers argue that they print the truth through in-depth investigation and reporting, but we all know that everything ever written is a reflection of the author's (and/or editor's) bias or prejudice. Paid journalists put a slant on their subject matter as much as any blogger ranting in his underwear at the computer (By the way, that description of bloggers came directly from a newspaper publisher). Editors and publishers pick the stories most favorable to their own viewpoints, no better or worse than any blogger.

The best thing about this boundless information era is that it is so much easier and faster to eke out the truth of what is happening in the world. We don't need local, regional or even national newspapers to tell us. If we hear some news, we can get in-depth front line reporting by reading a variety of opinions, assessments, and theories from bloggers in that locale. We can opt to read numerous on-line news services, but we can also watch real time videos and view photos from ordinary people experiencing the event as it happens. With so much information from so many different sources, there is no way to hide the truth behind a story.

There will always be a need for news and writers. It's just that evolution in media has changed so rapidly that newspaper people are still stuck in the clouds of dust left behind by the new reporters who just happen to be you and me and everyone else in the world.

This is exactly what pure freedom of speech and information is all about. The newspapers should be celebrating that this day has finally arrived.

And yet another so-called journalist gets caught

Sometimes they don't do enough in-depth investigation and other times they just steal words.

Dowd said she heard the line from a friend who didn't attribute it to a blog. Funny that Dowd, a Pulitzer Prize winner, didn't even attribute the line to her friend either.

These are acts of desperation from a dying industry.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The 29'er Meme

Courtesy of Sunday Stealing:

1. What bill do you hate paying the most? I make it a habit not to owe Bill anything.
2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner? Silvercreek, Urbana, IL
3. How many colleges did you attend? two colleges within one university
4. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now? I'm not wearing a shirt. (Don't get excited; I'm wearing a sweater because I was chilly.)
5. First thought when the alarm went off this morning? No alarm. Every day I just wake up nearly the same time and every day think about hurrying to Mom's to put her compression stockings on her.
6. Last thought before going to sleep last night? I'm not sleepy.
7. What do you miss being a child? the Tooth Fairy
8. What errand/chore do you despise? Buying groceries
9. Have you found real love yet? absolutely
10. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart? Nothing. I refuse to go there.
11. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? marriage, yes; commitment, no
12. What famous person would you like to have dinner with? Either Ayn Rand, Mae West, or Dolly Parton. It would be fun to dine with all three at the same time.
13. Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose? Never, for any purpose.
14. Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go? daughter's home
15. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship? It would be easier to start a new career.
16. Do you have a “go to” person? I'm the usual go to person for everyone else. After that it's Google.
17. Are you where you want to be in life? Yep, life's pretty good right now.
18. Over the years, what about you do you think has changed the most? Everything except my eyes.
19. Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life? Of course not and pity the poor person whose life peaked in high school.
20. Are there times you still feel like a kid? every day
21. Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager? the local drive-in
22. Who do you think impacted your life the most? Every single person who uses the word impacted when he really means affected. That drives me crazy.
23. Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you? My Latin teacher. She was always searching for a Kleenex in her cleavage.
24. Do you tell stories that start with “when I was your age”? No. Mine start,"Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away..."
25. What is the scariest thing that has happened to you as an adult? having a loaded gun held to my head
26. What advice would you give to someone about to get married? Get a pre-nup.
27. What advice would you give someone starting their first job? Don't worry, you probably won't work there your entire life.
28. If you could go back and change one thing you did, what would it be? I wouldn't want to change the past; it would probably just screw up everything in the present.
29. If you could go back and change one thing someone else did, what would it be? same as 28

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Media investigation

Last week I listened to a 45 minute speech from a local newspaper publisher extolling the virtues of newspapers in their accuracy, in-depth and truth of reporting, and desperately denying their perceived future demise.

Now comes this AP story out of Ireland that shows just how much in-depth investigation the media does.

And who knows, perhaps this AP story itself is phony.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More fun than memes.

Facebook quizzes are like horoscopes, fun to read but not take too seriously. At the insistence of my various so-called "friends" on Facebook, here are my most recent results:

What kind of dog am I? Answer: German Shepherd. The breed that best describes you is the German Shepherd. You are loyal, strong in heart, and faithful until the end. Even if you do not have a lot of friends, the ones you have you would do anything for. You are bold and confident. You are usually more serious than you are silly. You enjoy working and take pride in what you do. You love being around family and close friends, but you are wary of strangers and may take time to warm up to them. (I always thought I was a yappy little fur ball.)

Which psychiatric medicine am I? Answer: Lithium. You don't mince words, do you? You get right to the problem and smash it with a sledgehammer. Whatever works, right? As lithium, you are a classic, a "Golden Oldie," often overlooked in favor of the shiny new drug, but still doing the same reliable job you've always done, even if it comes with a few bumpy side effects. You treat bipolar disorder and also are good for regular old depression - you keep people sailing on down the middle of the road. (Golden Oldies are the best - go ask Alice, I think she'll know)

If I were a stripper, what would my stage name be? Answer: Candy. You would be the nicest stripper in the entire club! You're sweet, compassionate, very polite and damn good dancer too! All the girls will envy you because you have the looks, the moves and the personality. Your stripper anthem: "The reason - Hoobastank". (I might be the nicest, but I certainly wouldn't get the most tips.)
Which kitchen utensil reveals the true nature of your sexuality? Answer: Kitchen Wisk. You are the "all around" kitchen tool that has been getting the job done for centuries. You adore whipping things into submission, creating that perfect peak (on an egg-white, of course), and you revel in the creamy texture of a good, hard, sensual flick of the wrist. (Perhaps if I used the kitchen skills as a stripper, I would get better tips.)

What is your color? Answer: White. You are pure, peaceful, and kind. You are independent and you manage in your life independently. (Absolutely - just like this:

DWTS Eye Candy

I think most women would agree that one reason to watch Dancing with the Stars this season is Gilles Marini: But sometimes he looks a bit like Craig Ferguson in a comedy skit: