I was completely thrown off this morning. My day, destroyed. Everything was going fine at first. We got the kids dressed and downstairs. Bags packs. Shoes on. Then we sat down for breakfast. Since we were running a bit late, we had cereal, fruit and juice. That’s when it happened. As we were chomping away in unison, I took notice of the back of the box. “IT’S HARD TO BEAT ABOWL OF QUAKER OATMEAL SQUARES.” Looking a little closer, there was a tiny space between ‘A’ and ‘BOWL’ but nowhere near the spacing between all the other words. How can something like this happen? It’s simple typesetting. It’s basic kerning. There was ample space along the rest of that line they could’ve pulled from without compromising the fully-justified copy – especially between the ‘R’ and the ‘circle R’? How could you, Quaker? You spent millions of dollars researching, developing, packaging and marketing this box of cardboard (this term ‘cardboard’ applies to both the box and the contents inside). But then you let something like this slip. Unacceptable. Needless to say, I lost my appetite. Now, I’m sitting at my desk, starving. Unable to focus or function or write copy with proper spacing. When’s lunch? I could really use ABOWL of spaghetti.
Bootcamp. Friday. 12:15-1:00. New York Sports Club. 48th and 2nd. While other New Yorkers are scarfing down Chick-fil-A, I’m headed here. I get to the locker room with three minutes to spare. The military-man-turned-exercise-instructor just loves that. “When you’re on time, you’re late,” he’s been known to say. I zip open my pack. Pull out my lock. Put away my phone. Shit. I forgot my workout clothes. How could I do that? Now I’m faced with a dilemma. Skip the class - or… (I look at what I’m wearing. Patagonia hiking pants and a fitted black t-shirt from Uniqlo). Could I possibly roll in like this? If you consider me your friend, you already know what decision I made. I rolled up the legs of my pants to just below the knees. I have no idea why. Then I ran down the stairs to Studio 1. The class is full. Mr. Full Metal Jacket is walking everyone through the circuit. I pull on the door. Locked. I go to the other door. Locked. He sees me through the glass. Ignores me. As I’m walking away defeated I hear ‘click.’ A brave soul in the class unlocked the door for me. I walked in, the drill sergeant seized me up and my ridiculous outfit. I’m pouring in sweat from embarrassment before he even blows his whistle. I missed all his instructions, so I don’t know what to do. There were 15 :60-second stations of push-ups, shuttle runs, mountain climbers, burpees and other forms for aerobic torture. For 45 minutes, he singled me out and rode me into the ground. The whole time I’m sweating through my work shirt like a pig, and constantly rolling up my pant legs, still having no idea why I’m doing that. By the end of the class, I was soaked, with nothing clean and dry to change into. I’ll never forget my workout clothes again. I need a chicken sandwich.
On Saturday, we were headed to the Botanical Gardens. But the kids got cranky. Michelle suggested we head home and regroup. I was focused to forge on. It’s orchid season after all. “Why can’t you ever just change the plan?” Michelle asked. Eventually, I conceded and we drove home in a car full of Cheerios and Goldfish. Once a decision is made, even if it’s to go Gardening, I don’t like the change the plan.
This weekend, my mom and step dad were scheduled to visit us. By us, I mean their aforementioned grandchildren. Michelle and I are mere conduits. We got busy preplanning activities for the weekend. We made a geriatric-friendly grocery list (Fiber One cereal topping the list). We reserved passes to the Intrepid Museum and the Stamford Nature Center. We began cleaning and decorating our common areas to create the illusion that our house isn’t systematically destroyed on a daily basis by our two-headed mess-making machine.
A day before they were supposed to leave to catch their flight, my step dad found out that his step mom, Mary Ann, passed away. When my mom called to tell me, I was saddened for everyone involved. Death is shitty. I was also bummed because I knew how excited the kids were for them to visit. I knew we’d have to change our plans. Not my strong suit.
I took a deep breath. In 1-2-3-4. Out 4-3-2-1. “Keep perspective,” I thought before realizing it was no big deal to reschedule their trip. Then I started thinking of Mary Ann. No human being perseveres for 98 years without adjusting plans from time to time. Think of how many moments in a century she must have had to do that. World War II, raising kids in the 50s, women’s suffrage, Nixon, Polio, disco, the beehive (she was a hair dresser), the rise of the VCR, the fall of Blockbuster Video, recessions, deaths, ruined dinner recipes (although I doubt she ever botched her Lebanese grape leaves), decades of marriage, cars without air conditioning/power windows/seat belts/navigation with cranky kids in the back who frequently force you go home and regroup. This week Mary Ann had yet another change of plans. Whatever’s next for her, she’ll be ready. By 98, I hope I will be too.
The New York Times has a ‘Tiny Love Stories’ section on their site. Here, readers are encouraged to submit entries. 100 words max. Here’s one I submitted:
“How about the Spaghetti Warehouse?” “How about no.” Next thing I know, we’re on our first date. Sitting on oversized pillows underneath a starlit ceiling listening to Enya. Shoeless. A rock garden and ceramic plug-in waterfall grace our table. I’m pulling apart oversized Siamese toothpicks for the first time. Stabbing at seaweed-and-rice-wrapped fish the white-hatted chef forgot to cook. Sipping what I can only presume was hot wine poured into the tiniest of teacups. “Try new things,” she urges. That was 16 years and hundreds of strip mall sushi dates ago.
I’m on a journey. Towards self-improvement. Maybe less of a journey and more of a commute. Now that I take a train to work every day, I have newly-found free time. When I look around the train, most people are wasting their minutes scrolling through Facebook or playing Fruit Ninjas on their phones. Not me. I’m reading. A lot. I’ve been focusing on books that might help make my life better. Make me better.
So I’m officially organizing every aspect of my life.
I read, “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.” Now every loose pack of floss has been accounted for and stowed away. Every shoe has a match and is facing the same direction in the area that my wife has designed for them.
To get into shape and find some discipline in my discretionary workouts, I breezed through “Living With A Seal,” by Jesse Itzler. The writer hired a live-in navy seal to train him. I don’t think I’ll go that far, but I do find myself doing more burpees in my daily workouts that ever before.
A few years back I read Tony Robbin’s book, “MONEY. Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.” Recently, I read his follow up, “Unshakeable. Your Financial Freedom Playbook.” Since then, I’ve hired one of his recommended fiduciaries and have a good grasp of how to nurture my nestegg.
For this I went directly to the appropriately-titled, “How to Change Your Mind” by Michael Pollan. It’s about his experimentation with psychedelics and the benefits of taking them. Extreme, sure. But I’m officially intrigued.
One of Mark Zuckerberg’s early advisors tried to warn him about bad people exploiting the security of Facebook’s open platform. He didn’t listen. But I am. I don’t read or react to polarizing news posts and I hardly post myself. Except my articles, naturally. A good but frightening read. “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe” by Roger McNamee.
”How Not To Die,” by Michael Greger. I could write a year’s worth of posts about this book. The first half breaks down all the deadly diseases in America and how a plant-based diet can radically reduce the risks. The studies to support many of his claims seem cherry-picked. The second half of the book is excellent. He goes through all the best foods to eat and explains how they should be sourced and prepared. For what it’s worth, he’s a big fan of dark cherries for their anti-inflammatory properties.
“10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works,” by Dan Harris. This one’s next my list. Hopefully, my sense of spirit will advance beyond my yoga mat and into the realm of enlightenment and mindfulness. Or, not.
In the end, will I really be a better person if I cut down on carnitas, hang all my shirts in the closest in any orderly fashion and know the difference between an index fund and a mutual fund? If I don’t try - definitely not. But if I find a way to change a few things in my life without changing who I am - definitely maybe.
Going for my annual medical exam has always been a point of pride for me. I leave happy. With a clean bill of health. More importantly, I love hearing how young I am. When I moved to New York in 2000, I was 22. I picked a doctor near Washington Square and went in for a checkup. He was eccentric and old school. With Einstein hair and round glasses.
“Why are you here? You’re a baby. Don’t come back unless you have a problem.”
I was flattered. As the years have passed, I’ve noticed something about the way doctors talk about my age during annual exams. This trend is not pleasing.
First, it was:
“You’re a baby. Get out.”
“You’re just a kid.”
I gradually matured to being young.
“You’re so young.”
“You’re still young.”
“You’re relatively young.”
“You’re still on the younger side.”
Then a seismic shift occurred. ‘Old’ subtly and innocently replaced ‘young.’
”When you’re older, we could consider medication.”
“Relax. You’re not that old yet…”
The next thing that changed - how I was addressed:
‘Baby’ became ‘kid’ became ‘young guy’ became ‘guy’ became ‘young man’ became ‘man.’
“Guys in your age range…don’t typically get prostate exams.”
”Men your age should take it easy with the salt.”
Then, the ultimate fate set in. No, please, don’t call me by my surname:
“Mr. Terchila. Have a seat. Let’s discuss osteoporosis.”
There’s nowhere else to go now. No other way to talk to me. No exam needed. I’m a goner.
Let’s talk about baklava. If you’re not familiar, baklava is a flaky, syrupy pastry common to many cultures around the world.
Baklava also happens to be the signature offering at holiday gatherings at the Nasrs house – my neighbors when I was growing up. Dan, their son, was (and still is) one of best friends. When I’d go over to his house around Christmas or Easter or who knows, maybe even National Kite Flying Day, there was Mrs. Nasr - eager to serve a platter of her Egyptian-style baklava. The Nasrs immigrated to America from Egypt in the 60’s or 70s and adopted Dan – their only son.
I’m more of a cookie dough ice cream guy, but I always accepted. I peeled the sticky treat from the paper and devoured it. All the while, Mrs. Nasr stood smiling, seizing this moment of mouthful silence to ask me, ‘Eric, how is your mother, and your father, and your sister? How is school? Are you being a good boy?’ I’d shake my head yes as she offered me another. It wasn’t just small talk. She was genuinely interested.
Mrs. Nasr in many ways was the human manifestation of her own delectable dessert. She was delicate, sweet, traditional, peculiar, layered and existed for the sole purpose of bringing enjoyment to everyone she came in contact with.
I’ve never met a sweeter lady. I’ll miss you Mrs. Nasr. And of course, your baklava.
My hair. It started falling out at an alarming rate when I was living in France. I was 21, with unnecessarily long locks. I thought I was rock star. For the twenty years that followed, I’ve experienced the seven stages of hair loss. Here they are – told through 80s songs.
1. "Holding Back the Years" - Simply Red
The chorus repeats, ‘I’ll keep holding on,” which is precisely what I did. I was in full-scale denial, even as the bathtub drain was sending clear and present warning signs.
2. “Look Away” – Chicago
As my hair showed signs of recession, I showed signs of shame. I walked the streets like Cersei seeking atonement on Game of Thrones. Hats and comb-overs followed.
3. “Can’t Stand Losing You” – The Police
I got mad. Really mad. My dad wasn’t bald. Neither was his dad or my grandfather on my mom’s side. I thought I was cursed. This isn’t how I envisioned my 20-something self-image.
4. “Living on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi
Okay. Desperation time. I cut my hair short (obviously it’s the weight of each strand causing follicle failure). I switched to special shampoos. Most importantly, I became an avid listener of “The Bald Truth” – a radio program the aired every Sunday night. I did all of these things in real life. It’s called logic.
5. “I Want a New Drug” – Huey Lewis
After deciding Rogaine was too messy, I got a prescription for Propecia. I popped the pill for a year or so, but when I discovered that if I ever stopped taking it, I’d lose whatever growth I had accumulated. At $40 a month, I wasn’t ready for that type of financial commitment.
6. “Don't Forget Me (When I’m Gone) – Glass Tiger
Eventually, I began to acknowledge that having a full head of hair wasn’t going to define my future identity. The white flag was raised. I replaced barbershop drop-ins with electric razor self-sessions. I purchased every attachment. I started with 3/4 of an inch and worked my way down to no attachment at all. It
7. “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” - R.E.M.
It wasn’t until I shaved my head with a straight razor for the first time that I was truly happy with how my head looked. After the shaving cream washed away – there were no weird birthmarks. No boney bumps or indentations. Just a reasonably-sized and proportional dome. I’ll always miss having hair, but I least I’m cool with the current “Man in the Mirror.”
Humans have mouths. This gives our species the unique ability to communicate verbally. Sometimes, wrongly. Three are three examples.
1. Michelle and I wanted to find an ophthalmologist (as opposed to an optometrist) for our kids. But most specialist eye doctors don’t accept kids under the age of five. So I looked up a few in our area. When I called an office in Scarsdale they said, “Hello, how I can help you?” I asked, “Um, hi, yes, do you accept little children?” Todd, who works right across from me and was unaware of my intentions, seemed concerned. He thought I might be trying to deal my children on the black market.
2. My wife, feeling charitable at Christmastime, rushed outside when she saw two guys in our driveway who collect trash for the Village of Pelham Manor. She gave them a well-earned tip for taking care of us for our six months in our new home. She greeted them by saying, ‘Thank you and Merry Christmas! You guys are the best garbage people ever!’ So much for semantics.
3. In 1998, my friend Ellen and I were hiking in the Pyrenees Mountains. At that point in my life, I had met very few people who couldn’t not speak fluent English. We’re up near the peak. It’s super windy. We meet an a fellow hiker, around our age. I ask him his name. But he isn’t understanding me. So I ask again, this time I speak slower. And much, much louder. “HELL-O! MY NAME IS ER-IC! WHAT IS YOUR NAME?” Ellen looks at me horrified. “He’s Spanish. Not deaf or retarded.”
Mastering the English language remains a work in progress.
We’ve all heard stories about rock stars who make odd requests to prop their sense of superiority. Eric Clapton toured around with a foosball table. Van Halen had the brown M&Ms picked out backstage. It’s one thing for bigwigs to behave like this, but what about everyday people like you and me? At a recent commercial shoot, a production assistant came around to our ad agency team and asked if we’d like anything to drink. This is a very cordial and customary routine at shoots. One of us asked for water. Another for coffee. Then another (usually quiet, unassuming) coworker chimed in with an oddly specific request:
“I know this sounds crazy, but do you have Honest Tea in the organic Half Tea/Half Lemonade flavor?” The assistant said, “No, but I know what you mean. I can go to the supermarket and get that for you.” This was the perfect opportunity for him to backpedal and say it’s not worth all that trouble. Nope. He doubled down: “Cool. I’d love a case of it, since we’ll be here for a few days.” He then looked over to one of us and said, “Sorry guys. It’s my one thing.” An hour later, he was drinking his Honest Tea – organic Half Tea/Half Lemonade. Van Halen and Eric Clapton and those who go on stage to perform for thousands of adoring fans – they can have their ‘one thing.’ People who make car commercials cannot.
Flash forward to today. I’m sitting in a dark room at a production company working on the post production of another commercial. An assistant just brought in our (free) lunches. I noticed that I ordered too much food. A beef and vegetable bowl, hummus appetizer and fresh pressed juice. So I asked the assistant, “Do you have anything I can take this hummus home in?” She said she’d look around. On the way out, I had the audacity to complain that the hummus didn’t come with any bread. Sure enough, an hour later, she returned – with a brand-new reusable Ziploc container that she clearly braved Broadway in Soho to find, along with fresh pita bread.
Taking my work lunch hummus (and pita bread) to-go. It’s my one thing.
Another year. Of me losing touch with popular music as I gently nestle into my fifth decade of life.
Some themes a note this year:
1. Headline of the year: The girls of Nashville are killing it. Shannon Shaw, Soccer Mommy and America’s next megastar, Kasey Musgraves.
2. Perennial performers took the year off. It used to be easy to make these lists. Pearl Jam, Radiohead, R.E.M., Jack Johnson, Coldplay, Spice Girls (ha ha). Now I find the best music by conducting exhaustive research - listening to Sirius XMU, reading blogs and tabbing through whatever Todd tells me to. I do this for 12 months to the point where I’m perfectly capable of writing a dissertation on the topic.
3. Retro indie rock will always be much appreciated by me. Stephen Malkmus has his perpetual 90s vibe. MGMT wrote an 80s-ish song that could easily have made a John Hughes soundtrack. Shannon Shaw sounds so 60s. Sorry 70s. You’re the forgotten decade. Even in 2018.
4. This year’s list is basically a ‘best new artist’ breakdown. At the start of the year, I hadn’t heard of 13 of these artists. I counted. Which means, there will probably be a bunch of one-hit wonders. Who will be this year’s Chumbawamba? Time will tell. The thing is, many of these songs weren’t even hits. They’re just good, fun, catchy songs. Isn’t that what matters most after this insane year?
Of course, I sprinkled in some humor, Trump jabs (Space Force!) and a token kids movie song. Move over Trolls, Smallfoot rules the Terchila household now.
Listen here. You might need to log in with your Google info, but you don’t need a subscription.
25. Space force - The Gregory Brothers
24. Goodbye Summer - Shannon Shaw
23. Your Dog - Soccer Mommy
22. Wonder Life - Zendaya (Smallfoot soundtrack)
21. Loading Zone - Kurt Vile
20. Just a Fool - Jim James
19. Bike Lane - Stephen Malkmus
18. Me and Michael - MGMT
17. Phone Wallet Keys - Adam Sandler
16. Shallow - Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper
15. Whatever It Takes - Imagine Dragons
14. Look At Your Hands - Tune-Yards
13. How did this happen? - Bodega
12. Tints - Anderson Paak
11. Everybody Wants to be Famous - Superorganism
10. Wide Awake (others) - Parquet courts
09. Boys - Lizzo
08. Tinsletown Swimming in Blood - Destroyer
07. Father and Me - Flight of the Conchords
06. Charcoal Baby - Blood Orange
05. Race You To The Light - Mason Jennings
04. Make Me Feel - Janelle Monae
03. Paper Man - Ray Lamontagne
02. This Is America - Childish Gambino
01. Oh, What a World - Kacey Musgraves
“How can you assure me that these tickets are real?” I asked Will on the phone, after responding to his craigslist post that offered two tickets to the Syracuse/Notre Dame football game.
“They’re hard Ticketmaster tickets bro, and I can give you the receipt too.”
So we arranged for me to meet his sister at the train station. She arrived on time and handed me the tickets. They even had the perforated edges. They could not have looked more legit. So I gave her $160 and drove home.
The next day, I met my sister at Yankee Stadium. We were rocking our orange and blue winter hats and were ready to go. When we got to the entrance of our gate, it was a complete mob scene. A sea of fans cramped together, waiting to get through three portable metal detectors. It was hostile. The aroma of cheap beer filled the air. Everyone was growing impatient. The game was about to start.
Suddenly, empathetic fans inside the stadium came over to the closed gates and pushed them open. We all bum rushed in. There was no way the stadium staff could hold us back. We were in, on time and we didn’t even need to empty our pockets or endure a creepy security pat down. Most importantly, we never showed our tickets.
We went to our seats. Section 126, Row 14, Seats 8 and 9. They are great seats, albeit in the Notre Dame section. Late in the first quarter, Syracuse was already down by double digits. Then things took a turn for the worse. Three guys came into our row holding tickets that said, “Section 126, Row 14, Seats 7, 8 and 9.”
Someone had fake tickets. Take a guess who. Your choices:
A. Notre Dame fans who drove 700 miles with laminated tickets you might see at the Super Bowl
B. Me – the guy who bought his on craigslist well under face value.
A flurry of texts ensued from me to Will (hmmm, I just noticed the receipt says Jason):
As you can see, I received no response from Will/Jason. So I moved on to his ‘sister.’ I got her number when we were coordinating the exchange at the train station.
So is the end of the story. For now. I’ve reported them to Craigslist and will continue harassing them via text and calls until I get through. I’m also watching Craigslist for similarly written posts. The end goal is to catch them in the act. I’m afraid of what I might do if I get that far. Syracuse may have been trounced by Notre Dame, but this game is far from over.
I’m frugal. This is nothing new. Before I buy anything online, I search for coupon codes. In the grocery store, I. buy the peanut butter on sale even if I really want the other brand. I shopped for a new laptop for two years before finally winning a bid on eBay.
But my frugality has its limits….my eyeballs. This Groupon deal that found its way into my inbox reduces the cost of LASIK eye surgery by almost $900. Is this really the time to be looking to save – while deciding whether or not to have a procedure that will permanently reshape my cornea? No. The answer is an emphatic and resounding no.
I’d love to have corrective eye surgery someday. Almost as much as I love a sweet deal. But these two desires should never unite. I’ll skimp on which brand of salsa to buy. I’ll by wines by the dozen to get a discount. But when it comes to my eyes, I’m fine with paying full price.
In early 2016, I set off (like a crazy person) to read every Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner from present to past. I finished last week – exactly hundred years since Earnest Poole won the first award for “His Family.” To accomplish this tall task, I raided the New York Public Library system. Most of the books were available. But as I delved into the deeper decades, some books became harder to get my hands on. Shocker. So I bought a Kindle for the ones that were only in eBook form. As a last resort, I eBayed rare leather-bound copies with built-in bookmarks and gold-tipped pages. In total, this Pulitzer Project required 33 months, a few hundred dollars and about a 1000 hours to complete the task.
1945 – A Bell for Adano – John Hersey.
A story of perseverance over the Fascists in a small Italian town.
1940 – The Grapes Of Wrath – John Steinbeck.
I refused to read this in high school (along with every other assigned book). Reading it now, it’s depressing yet uplifting. Descriptive yet efficient. The last few pages are surprising and more emotional than any other book on this list. Also, it’s about conquering the American Frontier – which is my favorite theme that pops up in many great novels on the list (1950’s “The Way West” by A. B. Guthrie Jr., 1959’s “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters” by Robert Lewis Taylor and 1986’s “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurty).
1937 – Gone With The Wind – Margaret Michell.
Perhaps you’ve heard of this one. Scarlett and Rhett are the best romantic duo in American fiction history. It touches on everything. Romance. War. KKK. Progress. Slavery. Great dialogue. Classic and unforgettable. This was one of many books that I’d call ‘soap opera novels’ – centered around strong yet flawed female protagonists. Others worth reading are 1942’s “In This Our Life” by Ellen Glascow and 1931’s “Years of Grace” by Margaret Ayer Barnes.
1928 – Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder.
The story opens in 1714, as the finest bridge in all Peru collapses and five people plunge to their death. The rest of the novel tells the stories of each of these people that led up to that day of demise. Very conceptual and great storytelling.
1918 – His Family – Earnest Poole.
The first winner and very deserving. Roger must raise his three daughters by himself in early 20th Century New York City. Sounds fun, right?
So what are best novels on this best-of list? Gun to my head, here are my absolute favorites. The best books all come from the first and last few decades. What’s up with that, 1940s-1990s?
5. 1940 Grapes and Wrath (mentioned above)
4. 1937 Gone with the Wind (mentioned above)
3. 2003 Middlesex
Strange, some might say controversial, but progressive and solid storytelling.
2. 2001 Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
If you work in a creative industry, you’ll relate. It’s about identifying and following your passion.
1. 1990 The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
Sexually graphic, coming of age. NYC based. Wonderful read. It’s articulate, culturally relevant, amusing and a book about the American Dream that most people have never heard of.
So that’s it. I’m done. Now I need a new hobby. Maybe I’ll finally finish my own book. Or, I’ll just eat potato chips and binge on whatever I can find on Netflix. Who knows.
Back tight. Eyes weary. 600 miles into a U-Haul trip from Western Pennsylvania to Wheeling, West Virginia to Westchester County. All I wanted to do was get home, eat a hot meal, tuck my kids in bed and watch the season finale of Better Call Saul with my wife. Instead, I got a phone call from her, 40 miles from home.
“We don’t have hot water and the heat isn’t working.”
I got home. Being the handyman that I am, I went down to the basement to do a diagnostic. That’s the right word, right? Yep. The hot water tank and boiler were still where they’re supposed to be. What do I do now? It was 9:00 on Sunday night. So I reached out to my repairman – my step-father on Skype. We (he) figured out the pilots on both were out. He told me to call the gas company and schedule an appointment for the morning.
Michelle called the gas company and told them our problem. We were surprised at their response.
“Take all members of your family outside. An emergency responder is coming to you home right now. Could be a gas leak.”
He guy arrived halfway through the episode, right when Slippin’ Jimmy was arguing to get his law license reinstated. We didn’t go outside. It was cold, the kids were sleeping and we couldn’t be bothered. But guess who did come outside – several of our neighbors when they saw the emergency flashing lights of the truck. The street was lit up like a Fourth of July sky. I, being male, felt a primal urge to convince this guy I know a thing or two about what’s going on. So I start throwing out terms like, “maybe it’s the thermal couple” (I saw one in an unopened pack on the boiler).
His reply, “You’re a new home owner from the city, aren’t you?” Was it that obvious?
At 12:30 am, he finally finished up. He fixed a small leak and gave me a quick tutorial. He told me the pilots most likely got blown out by a backdraft from the chimney. Tell me something I don’t know.
I thought that was the end. Then he told me I had to call an actual repairman in the morning to fix the thermal couple. I knew that thermal couple was a problem all along. Great, I’m going to have to pretend to be a handyman all over again.
Michelle and I shook his hand. Then finished watching Jimmy celebrate getting his law license reinstated and take on his new persona – the famous character from Breaking Bad – Sal Goodman.
I feel like I kind of became a new person today too. A home owner who knows at least one more thing about owning a home.
For years, we’ve had a dry erase board affixed to our fridge. It’s a practical place to write down things we need. It fits nicely next to our travel magnets and save-the-dates. When we run out of frozen kale or dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets or juice boxes or raspberries (or as my son calls them, strawberries) or strawberries (or as my son calls them, strawberries), we jot it down on the board. Could we use our phones like modern-day mamas and papas? Surely. But for this household routine, we’re all analog.
Over time, the marker has dried up and the veneer of the whiteboard has become permanently stained – rendering the board near-useless. Evidently there’s a simple fix to this to-do list dilemma – get a new one. The problem is, we never remember because it’s not written on the board. This also explains why our fridge is empty and our kids are hungry.
…if Apple will ever make longer headphones.
…what a Freudian slip was called in pre-Freudian times.
…if all Spanish music is just one long version of the song, “Yeah, baby, I like it like that.”
…why does quaalude have two As?
…why there’s always exactly one bird in every airport terminal?
…what is the exact age when it’s no longer acceptable for a guy to wear a snapback hat?
…with all their pat downs, if TSA is really making us more insecure.
…what percentage of SUV drivers actually use their cars for sports.
…when a born-again Christian dies, do you call them a dead-again Christian?
…if telemarketers block incoming spam calls.
…if people who work in HR have to lay themselves off.
My 41st birthday party is going to be awesome. It’s happening in Los Angeles, so I flew out here and am staying at the super swanky Chamberlain Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. My party planner did a great job. I heard her budget is in the millions. Must be, she rented out an entire airport hanger. There’s a food truck serving guests whatever they want and they rented tables and chairs to dine at. Tablecloths and all. There’s a buffet of snacks with Sour Patch Kids. My favorite! There’s lots of toys and games that people keep wheeling in on larger carts. And there must be some kind of performance because they built an entire stage just for today. There’s even a professional photographer and videographer capturing the entire event. The cameras they use are crazy. I’m being told they’re going to make a short film and air it on network TV. This is the best birthday ever!
Hello. It’s me. Beef. Remember my commercials from your childhood? The ones that drilled into your brain how amazing it is to eat meat. Mmmmm.
Well, guess what meat eaters of America? I’m back. And I’m featured in a new ad campaign co-conceived by the person who publishes these posts. More contemporary. Certainly more comical. Here's the best ones. Dig in.
Nicely, done. Beef.
Tolerance. It’s one of the unexpected traits you acquire as a new parent. The trouble is, it’s not permanent. When you exit certain parental stages, you revert to your former inadequate, selfish inclinations. This chart proves (what I can only surmise) is a very universal (and hypocritical) hypothesis.
There’s no such thing as friendly cries when you’re flying the friendly skies. Unless, that is, you’re the one holding the baby.