One Man's Trash Can

I never wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be the person behind the curtains, moving the set of the play around and altering your reality. I never wanted to be the diner, I wanted to the waiter in the back of the kitchen, watching sauces and meats and vegetables come together to create plated art. I didn't want to own the fancy car; I wanted to work in the garage where they tune the cars up. 

I like knowing how. I like understanding why. I am motivated by motivation. I want to know the story behind the thing, whatever the thing is. I want to know the painter, the foreman, the COO, the scientist. I'm fascinated by the psychology behind creation, the small spark of thought that turns into a movie, a meal, a trash can. 

When I was in my 20's, I lived in an apartment building with a guy who ended up being my kids' godfather, but at the time was just a cute twenty four year old boy in a band who really liked playing XBox with my kids. One day I go to pick the boys' up from Grand Theft Auto Hour and he's got this giant shiny trashcan in his tiny little apartment. He told me how much he paid for it and I was all Trash Can, You are Drunk and he was all Shut Up and I was all WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU PAY THAT MUCH FOR A TRASH CAN and he was all BECAUSE I NEVER WANT TO BUY ANOTHER TRASH CAN AND THIS IS THE BEST ONE. 

So last summer I'm staying with thirty four year old him and his wife in San Francisco for the summer and sure enough, there's his trash can, looking and working exactly like new. EXACTLY. Like, not a fingerprint, not a dent, not a scratch. 

So I bought a simplehuman trash can, duh. Or two. And a plastic grocery bag holder, too. Because. #accessories

And then simplehuman invited me to come to their offices to learn about why and how they make them and we've already established that I am all sorts of into that so I went and now i'm going to be working with them for like the whole next year which is awesome because they're really interesting people AND I might be giving away some products over the next year and that's called a run-on disclosure statement.

I will buy a trash can because I saw one didn't age a second in over 10 years, but I will love that trash can and write about it and tell my friends about it because I know this guy is walking around California looking at the stuff the rest of us ignore and trying to figure out why we ignore it, and how to get us to stop that, because he loves doing little things better. 

I will love a trash can bag because these guys spend their Thursday afternoon swinging bricks around over their heads in trash bags they engineered, just double dog daring them to break. #osha

I love people who love the crap out of what they do. These people love the crap out of what they do. They don't just make trash cans, they make the little things we all have to use every single day of our lives pretty, elegant, easy, and badass. They are scientists and engineers and font-enthusiasts who are making trash sexy. They are also making drinking wine easier, which wasn't even humanly possible. #superpowers

And that dishrack holds more than my entire dishwasher, not kidding. Which is kind of good, because my children are barred from ever so much as looking at my dishwasher again. 

Which was probably his plan all along. Dammit.

Two Down, One To Go

So, you know how your son has an emergency appendectomy on Friday night after you've just worked the Longest Recorded Workday on a Friday, from home, so you haven't even bothered to shower since Thursday at lunch because that's what you do on your lunchbreaks now and then on Saturday morning your soon-to-probably-be ex husband comes to the hosiptal and relieves you to home for a well-overdue shower and meal and so you take off all your clothes you've been wearing since Thursday night and while you wait for the shower to warm up, you breath for the first time since Friday afternoon when you realize something was very wrong indeed with your child, and you take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and that's when you realize that you could bring the three-toed sloth off the endangered list with the rainforest you're regrowing between your legs (see, soon-to-probably-be ex) and then you see his good clippers sitting there on his side of the counter, completely at your mercy for the next hour or so, and so of course you pull the little tiny useless washroom wastebasket over to where the bathroom socket is, which happens to be right in front of the washroom door, and while you're straddling the wastebasket, clippers grasping in one hand and pasty white belly rolls cinched up in the other, directly in front of the washroom door, you know how that is the exact moment your six year old daughter must walk into the washroom to ask you something that starts in Mom and ends, MOM? 



OG Related Post Widget Thingy Called "Memory": I wish this was the first time something like this has happened. 

Two Weeks, Four Days and Counting

My Christmas tree is not yet up. The only candies in the Advent calendars are the ones my kids found in them from last year. Which, how does that happen? I have yet to buy one Christmas present for any of the onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten people I have to shop for.

I have, however, managed to launch two strategic strikes in the Wish War. Priorities, I haz them.

I'm hosting the Houston Blogher holiday meetup on Saturday at my house (please, for the love of god, come) and my mother in law arrives here on Christmas Eve. And luckily for me, the day before my six week checkup when my hoo-haa doctor was supposed to clear me for normal activity which includes, but is not limited to, vacuuming, steaming the carpets, putting the large dishes away, lifting big ol' cars and big bails of hay* and test driving the new equipment, I got an infection in my throat the likes of which left me huddled in the fetal position at urgent care for 2 1/2 hours, which leads me to believe that they and I share different opinions on the meanings of both Urgent and Care, to eventually get one antibiotic shot and one injection of steroids in my fat, white ass, which was almost more painful to bare in front of the 5'2", 23 year old never had a baby or a birthday cake nurse than the shots were or the infection was. Almost.

And now I am back on a series of drugs that, though don't make me crack whore space cadet like the narcotics did, do interesting and colorful things to my intestines and their natural ability to regulate themselves. Which, I suppose, makes it a blessing that I just got some brand new intestines to go with the new cervix and vagina and perineum and labia, I guess. Everything has a silver lining.

Even better? My daughter has the same infection, but lacks the ability to willing take medication or wipe her own ass.

I guess my point is that I am simply not ready for Christmas. And that all I really want is a case of Purell and some Lysol.

*If you don't know where that comes from, well, I just weep for your childhood.

My Parents Went To LA And All I Got Was This Stupid Blog Post

So I've been out of town this week on business, and shut up. No one is laughing harder at that statement than I am. I mean, really, people....the only 'business' I am qualified to conduct is more along the lines of this business, and by qualified, I simply mean I've seen it done on the internet a few times and imagine that I can learn by example. Like crafting the perfect rap video.

I was supposed to go have dinner with The Queen of Spain while I was in town, but it turns out that when you say "I live in LA", that's about as specific as saying, "Oh, I'm right down the road from the Milky Way" and my house is closer to the hotel I stayed in than Erin's is. And Little Miss "I'm too enlightened for credit cards" can't exactly rent a car, so yeah, that didn't happen.


I did get to go have dinner with a few close friends while I was away, and the best thing about having kids is that at some point in your life, all your friends have kids, too, so when you go to dinner with them you get to spend an entire evening teaching those kids how to get the plastic lids off off their kids cup and once they've got that down, you can teach them how to blow really huge totally awesome milk bubble towers with their bendy straws and the only downside of that is that you have to suck all the bubbles up from out of their cup before they all fall in your lap because you don't exactly have any other clean jeans for the next day and you just realized that you're fairly certain your dairy allergy has decided to host a revival right in the lining of your intestines and oh my god your stomach. Maybe milk bubbles over the first Mexican food you've had in two years isn't the smartest idea you've ever had. But at least you had a really big hotel bed with tragically fluffy blankets all to yourself to trap the toxic fumes away under, all night long.


Until, of course, you roll over and *whoops* let the air escape from under the blankets. One of my eyeballs actually melted right out of its socket that night.

And then the next day that little girl recorded me a note that just said, "Thank you for blowing milk bubbles with me, tante. I miss you." I seriously doubt her parents echo that sentiment. The fact that I told her she could steal all of Jesus' rocks didn't help either, I'm sure, but that's a story for another day.

All in all, the trip was a success. I pulled off Professional Shannon as well as I could have hoped to, and they even let me sit in a board meeting. And talk. I don't even know who I am anymore. I learned a lot about the job I've been pretending to do for 6 months now, which just means I have to stop pretending and actually do it, so yeah...I screwed myself. Whatever; I can learn how to do that on the internet, too. I learned that in the modern business office, employees can communicate with each other from cubicle to cubicle, from office to office, from continent to continent, simply by logging in to Windows Messenger. I learned this by asking a guy named Tony who was trying to teach me something very important to my job, "Hey, are you im'ing other employees?" He so totally looked at me like I was on crack, or from Canada, and said, "Um...yes?" And that's when I realized that the last time I worked in an office, there was no internet.

And then I took a Geritol and got on with the rest of my work day.

I got everything done I'd hoped to for work, and came home with enough new projects to keep me from blogging for years, so sorry about that but they're paying me and you're not. And I just realized I like shoes. To excess. I didn't get to do a few things I'd have liked to personally, partly because holy shit was I ever busy, but mostly because of this guy.

Almost famous. But not quite enough.

I saw him in the holding pen at the gate for my departing flight. He had bright red sneakers on and he kept looking at me, probably because I kept looking at him thinking, "Oh, shit, did I sleep with that guy?" because every time I see someone I know but I can't place, I take 3 seconds where I'm all ohmygod did I sleep with him and forget?, which is only funny because yeah, never done that actually. That I can remember. Anyway, I couldn't figure out where I knew him from and then the woman sitting right across from me kind of twitched her head in his direction and mouthed, "Is that who I think it is?" and I thought, "Oh, fuck, did I sleep with both of them and I forgot?" but yeah, see 62 words back.

That's about when I realized he was a celebrity, and he was wearing brightly colored footwear, and that I was hosed. I don't exactly have a great track record with flying, especially when oddly dressed famous people insert themselves into the equation, but I was at the gate, I had my passport, and we were 10 minutes from boarding. I'd make it through the critical stages of my trip and figured I'd gotten lucky this time. Famous last words.

Five minutes after we were supposed to board, they said that something broke on the plane. Not, we're having mechanical problems or we ran out of mixed nuts packets but Something Fucking Broke on the plane that is supposed to hurl us through the atmosphere at decently fast speeds. They said to sit tight for 30 minutes while they figured it out.

45 minutes later, they asked us to move to the next gate down. Which had no plane at the end of the jetway. They said it would be "about an hour", and I said Fuck It and went to Burger King. Because everyone knows what "about an hour" means in airportese and it's not like I stood a chance in hell with the famous actor in red shoes who's name I couldn't remember (and still can't), or even one movie he's been in (and STILL can't) anyway, so why not, really? Extra mayo, please.
I don't know what time it was when we got on the plane, or when we landed in Los Angeles, because I'm too cheap to go to Walmart and buy a watch and the last time I flew, the airplane ate my cell phone, so I never know what time it is anymore, but it was way after when I was supposed to get there and the only thing I needed more than a drink by that point was anything but Burger King, so I went to the first place I found to eat. Which was Marie Callendar's.

And then I took another Geritol and had a great week at a real office doing a real job and laying real mexican farts in a really cozy bed. I didn't see any real boobs, but maybe next trip.

A Post For Revenge?

I'm Chris, the guest blogger of 12/30.  I cannot begin to describe the amount of trust the Queen Blogger is displaying by giving me the wheel here.  It rather makes me wish I wasn't in the habit of deleting emails...

While I haven't been in Mr Lady's life for long, I do have the pleasure of being in the room while the song "Whiskey In My Sippy Cup" was written and recorded.  I also had the pleasure of meeting her son T while doing laundry.  He was golfing down the basement hallway and asked me for change for the soda machine.  I gave him some quarters and then we golfed.

T is the ulitmate wingman.  And T is how I met Mr Lady:

Back when she smoked, she and her children spent ample amounts of time on the apartment stoop (stoops are a wonderful thing, by the way).  I could never get past the stoop without interacting with them.  One day, T was telling some crazy story about running really fast and then Mr Lady responded with, "Next kid, less crack."  I honestly thought she was serious.

Six years and one kid later, I still suspect she was serious although I'm not convinced she held her promise. :)

But anyways, since this blog is about...parenting...and whatnot I feel I should say something about what I've learned about it from Mr Lady.  But understand that I'm only a parent to a dog, Lucie, and she's more of a roommate than anything.

Mr Lady's kids are awesome.  I love them.  I have their pictures in my wallet, and I helped them win a Pinewood Derby and a Raingutter Regata and taught them how to play Grand Theft Auto.  From them I have relearned how to imagine.

When I met them they lived in a 900 sq. ft. two-bedroom basement apartment with security bars on all the windows.  It was very cramped for four people and very depressing.  Their playground was the sidewalk -- I often heard people in the building talk about how sad it was they had no place to play.  They attended school in the worst district in the state.  You wouldn't think a scenario like this would yield three kids that are kind, respectful, incredibly smart, and academically focused.

But what they do have is a father that puts tremendous effort towards providing for them, and a mother who anchors the household as firmly as any I have known.  The house is always clean (or being cleaned), a home-cooked meal is always prepared, and there is always a schedule.  They have a set bed time and a prescribed time carved out for TV and video games -- after homework.

When I compare Mr Lady's household with others, single-parent or not, and privileged or struggling, what I see is that the homes with schedules and good meals always have children that are a pleasure to have as friends.  The homes with no structure always have children that are nothing but birth control for guys like me.

Now that I'm an uncle, I am enjoying the opportunity to confirm my theory about schedules.  Whenever my sister and brother-in-law stray from the schedule, I hear reports about the rough days that followed.  I also get to see how challenging it is to keep a schedule and that it takes more effort than probably anything else in Life.

So if I'm ever lucky enough to talk a girl into going on a date with me, and then charming enough to get her to alope to Las Vegas for a Buddy Holly wedding, I'm going to make sure at least one of us is an anchor for the family.  We'll have bedtimes and a daily schedule that trumps anything, including colds, vacations, movies, puzzles, visitors, and Sunday dinner with the grandparents.

And maybe somebody will enjoy having my kids as friends, just like I enjoy B L and T.