Thursday, June 28, 2007

Funeral Attire

So.... I went to my Grandfather's funeral today. He passed away early Tuesday morning. My folks called to let me know that I'd be one of the pall bearers. My first thought was (I mean aside from the sadness and grief) what am I going to wear? I am still not completely unpacked. There are probably 3 large wardrobe boxes in the sunroom, which wouldn't be a problem, except 3 bookcases, 17 rubbermaid totes, 2 office chairs, an end table, a dresser, and a mountain of crumpled packing paper blocked the way to the wardrobe boxes. I'm not too sure there would have been many more choices in those boxes anyway. I mentally catalogued the clothes in my closet and called my mom to ask if wearing a navy suit would be okay. She replied, "Yeah, I think it would be fine..." I interrupted, "I do have a black suit, but it has black fringe, red satin, and rhinestones. Do you think that would be okay?"

Out of respect for my Dad and Porter Wagoner, I opted to wear my navy suit. I mean, it's not like I was going to wear the hat!

My Singing Cowboy suit was created for a murder mystery dinner party that some dear friends of mine hosted last October. They hand picked the part of Dusty Diamond for me. It's amazing what you can do with a bedazzler, 3 yards of red satin, a few dollars worth of fringe, and an old black suit (that you think you won't need anymore).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mirror Mirror

So.... I'm rehabilitating my house - not quite a remodel, mostly cosmetic stuff. The master bath has two separate vanity areas each with a large nondescript wall-mounted sheet of mirror. I was wanting to go for a different look, so I decided to remove those mirrors (hopefully reuse them somehow) and get matching framed mirrors for the new vanity tops.

I measured very carefully and determined the appropriate size. I was hoping to get 3 matching mirrors for not too much money. Garden Ridge is the place to go. As I was looking through their ramshackle display, I saw a mirror I liked, pulled it out from behind another one and held it up, deciding if I wanted it. Just then two old ladies came around the corner with an identical mirror in their buggy. With my peripheral vision I could see them spying me, and with my normal hearing I could hear them mumbling about "him getting it." I asked, "Oh, were you looking for a matching one?" The white-haired lady said, "Actually, that's the one we saw first. We have been looking for and finally found a matching one." Her gray-haired friend with a toucan on her blouse nodded in agreement. The mirror not being worth a Shopping Showdown in Garden Ridge, I replied, "Well, I'm not in love with it yet. Do you want me to put it in your cart for you?" They smiled, accepted my offer, and dawdled off, mumbling how they got there just in the nick of time.
I'm sure you're wondering, "Has Aaron ever been in a Shopping Showdown?" The answer is yes, but it was over something much more important than a mirror. It involved some Christmas Tree Ornaments at Wal-Mart. So.... last October (when all sane people buy Christmas decorations) I had picked out some small brass reindeer ornaments to go on my tree and had set them in my buggy. I then left my cart and walked down the aisle to look at something else because there was a big pole in the way (why do they put those poles in the middle of the aisle?). After looking at the tree toppers, I turned around to find some old lady (it's always me versus the old ladies - we're the only ones in Wal-Mart with good taste) starting to shop out of my buggy. I quickly returned to my cart and said, "those are really nice reindeer, aren't they? There are some similar ones over there that are sparkly." Realizing she had met her match, she begrudgingly removed her hands from my merch and decided she needed a fiber optic Frosty instead.
Anyway.... I did finally find a mirror I liked, and there were several identical ones (that's nice because you can find the least damaged ones). They looked big enough and the price tag stated it was a 30x40 mirror which would work out perfectly - one over the small vanity and the other two side by side over the large vanity. After purchasing the three mirrors and a bag of Crunch&Munch (why do they sell that at Garden Ridge), I went to the car. These were really big mirrors, and I tried several different ways to get them in the car (I occasionally "want" a little sports car, but I wouldn't be able to even carry groceries home). I tried the trunk, sideways in the trunk, layed the back seat down, slid, spit, and sweat -it was hot. Well finally I got all three of the mirrors in the car.

I had almost as much difficulty getting them out. And one by one I carried them into the bedroom, thinking these are really big. After getting them out of the car and into the house, I decided to measure them. 30x40 would be perfect. The mirrors themselves were 30x40. However, the frames around the mirrors add some serious inches (37.5x48 to be exact). Don't worry, I don't think I'll have to return them; I'll hang them horizontally instead of vertically.

So.... always take your tape measure to Garden Ridge, and never leave your Wal-Mart buggy full of Christmas decorations unattended. Watch out Old Ladies, I'm ready for a Shopping Showdown!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Car Oil

So.... I had to get an oil change. Getting it changed today meant I was still within the 3 month time period but a couple of thousand miles over that 3500 recommendation; I drove from Tennessee to Arkansas and back several times in the last three months, oh, and to Louisiana twice. Fortunately, there is one of those ten minute oil change places here in Arkadelphia, and it's the kind where you sit in the car while they change the oil. I think the customer sitting in the car makes the oil changers work faster; therefore, I prefer sit-in-the-car oil changes.

I feel a little like an airline pilot when I pull into these places because the attendant will wave you over with little hand signals and guide you into the bay (so you don't drive your car down into the pit). So apparently, there is also a hand signal for pop the hood which the attendant had to repeat a few times before I realized what he wanted me to do. Actually, there was a little scowl and a slight raising of his eyebrows the last time he motioned. I felt a little embarrassed at first, but then realized he should feel embarrassed because I had my window down the whole time - he could have just said, "pop the hood."

The girl who works the cash register came over to ask me what kind of oil I wanted. Dumbfounded by this question, I smiled, giggled, and replied "Car Oil?" She promptly reached inside the car, pulled the plastic-cling sticker from the windshield, then informed the attendant what type of "Car Oil" I wanted. After working under the hood, the attendant checked the air pressure of the tires. Almost scolding, he said, "that air pressure is awfully low." I commented, "well, that's why I brought it to you guys. Fill 'em up!" I wanted to tell him to put some "Tire Air" in there.

Now the one thing I know is that even if you stopped in the parking lot of the oil change place and replaced the air filter yourself right before pulling into the bay, they will still tell you that your air filter looks pretty dirty and it needs to be changed, otherwise, the gas mileage will decrease, the air conditioner will fail, the check engine light will come on, the radio will stop working, and the air bags will deploy when you turn on your blinkers. My favorite thing to tell them is that "It's okay. I like dirty air filters."

I have never claimed to be mechanically inclined or even a driving enthusiast, and I fully recognize that I am "automotively" inept - that's why I was at the oil change place and not doing it myself. However, I have been called a wonderful cook (I'm really just a mediocre cook - it's all in the presentation). And I absolutely know for sure that I would never saute anything in 5W/30.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Jack Russell Terrier Time-Out

So.... I lived in an extended stay hotel for about three weeks after I sold my house in Tennessee (I loved that house). Travis, #1 Canine Sidekick, was obviously out of his element in the Crestwood Suites (so was I, but I didn't let him know that). We had to stay on the third floor in a smoking room; no, not because Travis smokes (he quit a year ago), but, more discriminatorily, because he is a dog - why doesn't the ACLU take on important issues of canine prejudice.

Anyway, at some point, he realized that I kept food on top of the fridge. He assumed his treats were up there, so he started doing his stand-up-please-please-please-beg-dance for the top of the fridge. I finally gave in, picked him up, and let him sniff the top of the fridge. After I put him down he started again with the stand-up-please-please-please-beg-dance. So, I again let him sniff the top of the fridge. After setting him down, he started with the dance again.

So what's an owner to do? I sat him on top of the fridge...

Don't worry - I only left him up there long enough to take the photo. Maybe those fancy dog trainers should consider using the fridge technique for time-out. I certainly didn't learn it at those 2 months of puppy school at PetSmart. Of course, my question about canine time-out is do you leave him up there a minute for each year old he is or do you leave him up there seven minutes for each year old he is?

By the way, after I got him down from the fridge, he started the stand-up-please-please-please-beg-dance.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Amos 4:13

So.... I was going to go into this long diatribe of how I've had a crummy week, but I decided against it. So suffice it to say, I was having a crummy week, and having an even crummier time last night paying bills (plumbers make a lot of money). I was thinking of how crummy everything was, and wondering "why was I in the place in life that I am now" (btw, I'm totally cool with where I am in life)? That's when I opened up one of my little plastic file boxes to search for the auto insurance file or the umbrella policy file or something, when I saw a slip of paper with the verse Amos 4:13 written on it, which I had placed in that file box five months ago.
"He is here: the One who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, the One who makes the dawn out of darkness and strides on the heights of the earth. Yahweh, the God of Hosts, is His name."
So, why am I at the place in life that I am right now? Not real sure, but God is here. Who am I to argue?
Ok, so I probably saved that slip of paper because it had someone's phone number on it, but that verse was totally what I needed last night. Oh, I blurred out the last part of Lane & Kate's phone number, so don't try to call them - their kids are probably sleeping.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Washer and Dryer

So.... I started developing the idea for this blog 2 months ago, but I really haven't made the time to actually post anything about my recent move, handymanning, new job, or culinary exploits. I'll try to catch everybody up, and I'll try to stay in chronological order (maybe).

We'll start with "The Washer and Dryer." The last time I moved, the moving company hooked up my W&D. Since I was paying for the move myself this time, and went with the "K-Mart" of moving companies, I was responsible for the appliances....

The Washer: I highly recommend the nylon pipe tape that can be wrapped around the threads on the end of a plumbing pipe, joint, or faucet. It is $1.97 at Wal-Mart. If this isn't used, water could (very quickly and unexpectedly) spray all over your laundry room. Also, make sure you put the waste water hose from the washer into the drain before running a load of clothes (again, to prevent water from unexpectedly going all over the laundry room).

I also recommend cleaning all the gross caked on fabric softener and detergent goo that accumulates on the washer at least once every ten years. The washer hasn't looked this good since the summer before I started medical school.

The Dryer: So, the big deal with the dryer is that the plug was not compatible with the outlet. When I moved out of my apartment in Little Rock to my house (I loved that house) in Tennessee, the mover guy charged me extra for a dryer cord because the outlet at the house had holes for a 4-prong plug (the dryer originally had a 3-prong plug). When I bought the house in Arkadelphia, I did have the foresight to check what kind of outlet there was - a three prong. So, I made sure to buy a new plug (not a new dryer cord), just the plug from Home Depot. Well, apparently "just the plug" is designed for use by rocket scientists (and probably electricians) - lot of cutting, splicing, stripping and bending of wires involved.

So, the internet says you can buy a whole new dryer cord, which you can at your local Sears for less than 17 dollars. It actually comes with instructions. You just have to take the back panel off the dryer, detach the old cord, and then attach the new cord (with a 3-prong plug). Of course, this is very easy, if you don't continue to drop each of the screws and bolts which hold the cord in place to the electrical connection, and your #1 Canine Handyman Helper doesn't try to eat the screws and bolts as they fall to the floor.

Of course it's even easier if after losing those screws and bolts (I really don't think Travis ate them), a home improvement store is open on Sunday afternoon in your town, so you don't have to drive 40 minutes to a Home Depot for the second time in less than 24 hours. By the way, while you have the back panel off of the dryer, go ahead and clean out all of that 10-year old lint that has accumulated (magically) in there.

After installing your new 3-prong dryer cord, it's time to make sure the dryer works. Place the plug snugly in the outlet and start the dryer - Wait, I recommend 2 things prior to checking if the dryer works: #1 hook up the lint-vent-pipe-conduit-thing (so the lint actually goes outside - not in a dusty, puffy flurry in the laundry room), #2 actually take the old lint-vent-pipe-conduit-thing out of the dryer (where you conveniently stored it for the move).

So the dryer works, but then I thought, hey I bet that lint-vent-pipe-conduit-thing (lvpct) is probably 10 years old, maybe I need a new one. Well the internet says that the kind of lvpct I had was the worst you could possibly have. Apparently dryers spontaneously combust if they come within ten feet of a plastic lvpct. This very much scared me. Not wanting to set my house on fire, or more importantly not wanting to run from my blazing house at night in my underwear, I went to Wal-Mart, and for less than $10 I bought a new metallic one which internet lvpct-fire guy says is the smart thing to do.

Now I do totally recognize that I had that plastic lvpct on my dryer for 10 years without a fire, but as they say "better Safe than Traipsing around your neighborhood at midnight in palm tree boxers while your house burns down."