Saturday, June 30, 2012

Making Waves

A few weeks ago some of the guys at work piled into the young Captain's Dodge truck to grab some lunch.  It was pouring rain out, but we weren't going to let that keep us from getting some Chinese food in our bellies.  We enjoyed a decent meal and conversation, then got back into the Ram for the trek back to work.  It was raining so heavily that there was severe flooding on the roads, and like the big kid he is, Mike decided it would be fun to drive through the water at high speed, driving close to the cub for maximum throwing effect.

We all enjoyed the feel of the heavy truck plowing through the waterlogged streets like some kind of hybrid aqua-machine, and got some good laughs from the height and distance the water was carrying as it sprayed out along the side of the road.  Then as we came up to an intersection there sat a lady in a Buick with a cigarette hanging from her mouth and her window, presumably to let the smoke out of the car, rolled halfway down.

Seeing the lady, Mike pointed at her, and shouted through his windshield (as if she could hear him) "roll your window up, lady!" and kept driving.  I initially thought he was going to slow down, but he simply let off the gas a bit as he shouted for her to save herself, and we all watched as a tsunami rose from the Dodge's sides. The last thing we saw was the wave cascading down towards her open window.  Had we been decent people we would have all sat silently aghast, but of course the car broke out in laughter at the combination of the lady's bad luck and Mike's inability to process the information fast enough to slow down and save her from the deluge.

I don't know if she saw it coming and quickly rolled up her window, but I'll never be able to erase from my mind the image of that wall of water rising up and blocking her visage from sight as we passed by, with Mike pointing at her and shouting helplessly.  I guess he at least gave her an incentive to stop smoking.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Day Haiku (or Two)

In honor of dad's everywhere, I bring you today's piece of poetry: a Father's Day Haiku.  Finally, life's most overlooked holiday and the most overlooked form of poetry come together in one epic celebration.

Lying on the couch
Or lounging in your chair
This day's for you dad!

Ok, that doesn't feel like quite enough to honor the most important man in our lives, so let's add a bonus Haiku.

Your role in my life
More than a sperm donor
Thanks for raising me!

I don't know why my Father's Day Haikus end in exclamation points, but I hope you found them as rewarding to read as I did to write.  Remember, you can't find Father's Day Haikus at Hallmark, only here.  Happy Father's Day everyone!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dinner and a Movie, All at the Same Time

This week Heather and I tried out a new place in town (new to us, at least), a movie theater that also serves up food and beverages.  I'm not talking about waiting in line for 5 minutes to buy a tub of popcorn or Sam's Club sized portions of Milk Duds, but actual food that you eat in the theater.  Want a burger and a beer?  They've got that.  They even have tables in front of each row of seats for you to put your food on so you're not balancing it on your lap.

I don't know if we would have gone to this theater, but we had coupons from our Realtor for free tickets, and since we were apparently the only two people in America under the age of 40 who had not seen the Avengers, we decided to have a Monday evening date night.

I'm not sure which was more novel, going out on a Monday night, or eating mozzarella cheese sticks with a chocolate-peanut butter shake while watching a movie at the theater.  Heather had chicken strips and fries.  And no drink.  It made me thirsty just watching her eat that.  Of course, I was watching with my peripheral vision, since my main focus was on watching the Incredible Hulk destroy an alien race by pounding them into submission.

Overall I give the experience and the movie 2 thumbs up, even though the food was a little on the pricey side. My shake was delicious, and the food was pretty good too.  It was a bit distracting having a waiter ducking his way down the aisle to get payment an hour before the end of the movie, and it's not the easiest thing to calculate a tip and write it on the credit card receipt in the flickering dark, but it was still a lot of fun.  And the movie lived up to the hype for once.  I'm using that space in my brain to erase the collective disappointment of the Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers sequels.  Thanks Avengers!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Reel Mowing

I have always been intrigued by reel mowers.  There is something appealing to mowing your yard with no sound other than the quiet whisping of the blades slicing their way through your lawn early in the morning.  Not having to keep a container of gas in the garage and replenish the mower with each trip around the yard would be pretty cool as well.  Plus the whole thing has a romantic 1920's feel to it.

When my current mower, which is 10 years old and was a pretty cheap model to start with, began having issues with the engine, I figured it was time to get a new mower.  I could probably invest some money into trying to find and fix the cause of the white smoke and surging power, but it's just not worth it on a device that's probably nearing end of life that was only about $150 to start with.  So I took the plunge and bought a reel mower.  Not your grandpa's model, but a top-of-the-line version.

As I assembled the mower (essentially connecting the handle to the base) I was amazed at how closely the blades come to touching without actually doing so.  It really is a marvel of engineering to design a product so that several spinning blades of metal come within a millimeter of hitting a stationary blade without actually coming in contact with it.  I couldn't wait to try my new mower, and when I hit a test strip in the back yard that I had left unmowed as I used my old gas powered model for the last time, I found that it was very effective in chopping the grass down to the same level without an overabundance of effort.

Unfortunately, the next day I moved on to doing the front yard.  The front yard is much smaller than the back, but has a couple of trees with mulch to work around, and the grass is thicker.  45 minutes of pushing, stopping, tilting to remove whatever twig or piece of mulch had stopped the blades cold, backing up, making another run, getting bogged by thick grass, etc, and I realized this was going to be a lot more work than I bargained for.  I though perhaps if I mowed the lawn twice a week, it wouldn't be so bad, but as I lay in bed with my back killing me, I realized I would be making a return trip to the store and upgrading to a gas powered lawnmower.  I may even go for the self-propelled model to help with going uphill.  I don't know if I'm ready to embrace that level of lazy, as I have no problems pushing my current model, but then again, I'm not getting any younger.  I'm sorry to see the reel mower go, but I'm afraid I have to get a real mower.