Mostly about my amusement

Category: Humor (page 2 of 12)

“Don’t freak out when you come home”

That’s what Lily said to me on the phone the other day. I thought that was odd because I knew what was going on at home.

Back in January a gutter froze and created an ice dam that forced melting water into the wall. That leak came out of the dinning room and into the bedroom above it. The bedroom wasn’t too bad though the carpet needed to be replaced. The dinning room looked like the ceiling was going to collapse. The wall needed to be taken down and a portion of the wood floor was ruined.

You never want to hear your handyman say that you should call the insurance company. The damage extended to the basement and caused mold down there. After the weather got warmer we began the repairs. This turned into replacing all the old carpet with wood flooring on the second floor. We’ve been in this house 10 years and a little remodeling was in order.

The day Lily told me not to freak out was when my bedroom was gutted.

I’m part cat on my grandmother’s side. Cat’s do not like change and if I could have managed it I would have crawled under a couch and sulked for hours. Part of my routine was to come home, head to the bedroom, change and relax in front of the PC. (Yes, I had a desk and PC in the bedroom. Shut up.)

The whole house has been turned into a construction zone. The dinning room was emptied into the other rooms on the first floor and my desk was moved to the living room temporarily. It’s going into the office/guest room when we’re done. Lily and I took over our daughter’s room and she got to stay with her grandmother.

Today I worked from home and the contractors were doing their job well. And loudly. Ever see on those shows how flooring is laid? The put the board down, WHAM! it with a mallet and use an air driven nail gun to hold it down. TV shows don’t show how loud it gets.

But today there is progress and I’m typing this in my bedroom on my MacBook Air. The room is done and we’ve put the furniture back. We still have everything in boxes but it’s something. As a cat I’m considering coming out from underneath the couch. But no loud noises, I can run back to safety any time I feel like it.

Really? Congratulations!

I get odd solicitation calls but occasionally people dial it up to eleven to try and sell things.

Yesterday Lily got a call at the store from someone looking for me. It happens and I’m pretty sure that Googling my name might lead you to the store’s WordPress site.

What was odd was that they’d pronounced my name perfectly and seem to have a Polish accent.

Lily got the phone and had this conversation.

Sales Monkey: Can I speak with Jan Dembowski?

Lily: He’s not here. Who is this and why are you calling?

Sales Monkey: Do you know when he’ll be back?

Note to Sales Monkeys everywhere? When my wife asks you a direct question just get to the point. Do not make her repeat herself. She can track down your boss, call him if she wants to and hurt you in “ways”.

Lily: Why are you calling?

Sales Monkey: Does he speak Polish and have life insurance?

Ah ha! Yep, Sales Monkey. This is the same person who called me at the house looking to speak to and sell life insurance to my late Dad. That was a fun conversation.

In short order Lily explained that we’ve got that covered and stop tracking me down. I don’t speak Polish and these are not the marks you are looking for.

Sales Monkey: (Incredulously) He does not speak Polish? He is not from Poland?

Lily: He doesn’t and he was born here in the United States.

Sales Monkey: Oh. Congratulations!

I had no idea I was special for that reason. I alway thought it was my carefully honed sense of humor.

Praise The Monkey!

Some work stories you can share. Years ago I had a production change and I didn’t quite implement it correctly. It was fixed quickly but the user wanted what happened.

User: “In the least technical language possible can you explain what happened?”

We were on speaker phone in the support center. My pal thought for a second, looked at me and with all the seriousness he could muster replied like so.

Pal: “The Monkey pushed the wrong button!”

He emphasized “The Monkey” and “wrong button”. Fortunately she had a great sense of humor and we all laughed. Most people do enjoy a little levity in the work place.

I’ll always be a transplant from Queens

Queens globe photoPhoto by Mr.TinDC

You think of a lot of things during a 15 minute drive to the train station. I will never be mistaken for a native Long Islander.

I grew up in Queens, attended high school in Brooklyn, went to City College on 136 street in Manhattan and eventually Queens College (very long story). I didn’t get my first car until I was 24 or so. I lived in the 5 boroughs and I liked taking the subway and trains to anywhere I wanted in NYC.

We moved to Long Island because we needed a bigger house and wanted to send our kids to a better school district than the one in our Queens neighborhood. It’s a great house in a good neighborhood.

That said, I will never get used to Long Island.

There’s no sidewalks anywhere

Part of my weekend routine was having breakfast at the Dunkin’ Donuts near St. John’s University. We lived just a few blocks from there and we were just a little more than across the street from the school. I like being able to walk to shopping for groceries and things.

There’s not anywhere I can walk to. Everything is at least a 10 minute drive. If I was feeling brave I might use my bicycle but less than mile away a cyclist was left as the victim of a hit and run. That pretty much rules that idea out.

Some of the drivers are the worst

Not all of them of course but a lot of them. My biggest pet peeve is the yellow line is perceived as a suggestion. I always drive on my side as I don’t think getting in to a car wreck is a good way to meet new people.

A fun example: I come out of my side street and head to the light. Another driver rounds the corner and is almost half his car width into my lane. I stop my car and put on my least offending “What are you doing?” face and the other driver swerves out of my lane. Usually I get the “What? I didn’t do nothing wrong!” look but on one occasion I got flipped the bird. Maybe he was from NYC too?

People who drive by their own rules irk me too. I’m at a light, it turns green and I advance into the intersection signaling a left turn. I’m waiting in the intersection* for the opposite car to either turn or go straight. That gets me a blank stare and the other driver eventually makes hand motions indicating I should turn in front of him. I usually make my own hand motions right after that.

The grass really isn’t greener and I’m not moving anytime soon

I do like the privacy and it’s a great house on a great property. Also I’ve met some amazing Long Islanders and our friends are the best. Lily and I do like living here.

But I’m typing this on a LIRR train. This leg of the commute is long enough that I can draft up a 600 word blog post from scratch. It’s an adjustment and after almost 10 years I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to do this commute. But I’ll still miss some of the convenience of living in Queens.

*NOTE: Yes, I invented my own intersection driving rules. In NY you are not supposed to enter the intersection until you can successfully make the left turn. It’s my blog and I can complain about what I want. 😉

 

Kids? The no snow today is my doing

This is something that’s bugged me since yesterday and I figured I’d post a public apology to my children. You see, they really wanted a snow day today or at least a delayed opening.

I’m going to take the chance and hope that my kids can someday forgive me and understand this mighty burden that fate has placed on my shoulders.

Letter to my kids

Dear kids,

I know you were looking forward to not going to school today but you are old enough to learn the truth. Your father has the super power of being able to prevent things from happening merely by preparing for them.

I’ll pause for a moment while you take that in.

I know. Right now that your eyes are wide open in shock and you may even yell out “I knew it!” but please think of your Grandmother. It’s too early for that sort of outburst.

I discovered I had this ability when I habitually carried my umbrella everywhere I went. It was tied to my backpack and I would forget I even had it. It never rained those days or if it did it would stop as soon as I hit the street.

But the day came that I switched bags and left the umbrella at home. That day on the way to Penn station we suddenly got 11 inches of rain in 30 minutes and I was soaked to the bone.

Seriously, I was wet for a week.

Now, your mother may tell you something like “Some people never learn to stay out of the rain” but please understand that she’s only trying to protect you from the truth.

Yesterday, fully armed with the knowledge of the Impending Snow Apocalypse™, I went to the gas station and filled up the portable tank. We now have enough gas for the snow thrower for the next 2 years at least. I moved the car in and put the snow thrower in right at the garage entrance.

I did this not out of malice nor did I intend to rob you of your cherished snow day. But I’m told the older generation has had it with snow and I’ve learned with enough Adult Supervision™ you have no choice but to be “grown up” about these things.

As a result of my actions we got almost half an inch of snow. If I had merely not done anything then I am sure we’d have had easily 14 inches.

So now you know the truth. When I prepare for something it is a hard guarantee that it will not occur. I hope you can forgive your father someday for robbing you of that snow day.

Your father,

Jan Dembowski

P.S. This may be the last communication from me for a while. I switched bags today and noticed that I left the umbrella home today.

Afterwards

I hope they take this letter well. It’s really cold enough today and I hope that Lily doesn’t mind my revealing myself like that to them. Or the world! She’s always concerned about what other grown ups may think about what I reveal about myself.

I’m not asking, but if I did ask what would be the answer?

My 12-year-old has gotten into trouble at home and even though he’s grounded it’s alright. He’s 12 after all and I got into LOTS of trouble when I was his age.

My parents had 4 sons and the whole family is opinionated and we all fought everyday. I learned at an early age where the line was and exactly how far over the line I could go before I got into real trouble.

This is a skill I carry with me in the workplace and for the last 6 years I’ve not gotten into that sort of trouble at work. That’s despite saying some extraordinarily ballsy things too. My sense of humor just comes out at the best times.

It’s good to know where the line is and how far you can stretch over it.

So I was really amused when my son came home this afternoon and said this.

“Dad. I know I’m not allowed to use the computer. And I’m not going to ask if I can. But if I were going to ask you when I can use the computer what would your answer be?”

My reply was along the lines of “Don’t push it kid” but after he left I laughed. He’s a smart kid but I do worry that his generation doesn’t have to deal with consequences at an early age. Later on yes, but every infraction can be fixed quickly. My son hasn’t yet learned that the plate is hot and you don’t put your hands on it cause it hurts.

Meh. There’s no rush. The kids will grow up soon enough.

Grosse Pointe Blank moment

Every now and then I read something online that makes me reply “Grosse Pointe Blank moment!” which is not necessarily a good thing.

Martin Blank: Who’s the ghoul?

Marcella: Whoa. This guy is a badass. Felix LaPoubelle. An accomplished amateur with the Basque Nationalists.
Few odds jobs with the Algerian Separatists. Went pro with a stunning debut aboard an elite Caribbean cruise liner.

Martin Blank: Oh, that’s where I know him from. He’s an asshole.

See, there’s a lot of wisdom in John Cusack movies.

People? Don’t be Felix La Poubelle.

Seeing movie connections in all the things

This tweet

Made me think of this dialog.

Debi Newberry: So, is there a Mrs. Mysterio?
Martin Blank: No, but I have a cat.
Debi Newberry: It’s not the same thing.
Martin Blank: Well, you don’t know my cat. It’s very demanding.
Debi Newberry: “It”? You don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl?
Martin Blank: I respect its privacy.

It’s not my fault, I’m on vacation and I’ve had good wine. 😉

No singing today? I can fix that

*Turns to Lily who’s reading the instructions to new her juicer*

Me: See? Who needs Facebook? This is why there’s an Internet.

Lily: That’s nice dear.

Well I like the Beatles anyways.