thisworldofhurt

Archive for July, 2014|Monthly archive page

It Cost How Much?

In children, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, Investigations, life, Makeup, Men, Moms, Uncategorized, wives, Women on July 24, 2014 at 11:51 pm

My wife’s grandmother loves to host family gatherings. Periodically she will prepare large meals, and family members come from all over to simply partake of good food and great company. This is great for my family in that we happen to live just a short walk from all of the festivities. Despite this fact, my wife and I are almost always late to these events. It was during the preparation to attend one of these events that I made a most alarming discovery.

People who know me on a personal level would attest to the fact that I have more than one obsessive compulsive tendency. I like labels to face the same direction, I prefer things arranged in categories and in order from greatest to smallest, I hate for my food to touch, I eat one thing at a time and I’m not an overt fan of odd numbers just to name of few of these little eccentricities. On the other side of the coin, my office space is a train wreck of paperwork to any one other than myself, and I often appear to be a little more than scatter-brained in more than one aspect of my life. For that matter, if it wasn’t for doing certain things in a repetitive fashion, I would constantly loose most of my personal items. I am aware of this flaw, and as a result I have developed myself into a creature of habit to cope with my forgetfulness. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even be able to keep up with the contents of my pockets once the pockets are emptied. My wife has developed similar routines for things like her make-up bag.

Mascara, eye liner, base, blush, lipstick, eyebrow pencil, deodorant, toothbrush all have a specific place. They are each used in the same way and in the same order everyday. I am unclear as to what the order is—and truthfully I don’t really care—but I am aware that there seems to be a level of efficiency within this order. I also know that when it comes to this beautification ritual, my wife has a few dashes of Asperger Syndrome mixed in. Do NOT mess with the order of things.

So, the family begins preparing to head over to the Grandmother’s house—we call her Ree by the way—and join the rest of my wife’s family for food and socializing. About 10 minutes after my wife told everyone to get ready, I was ready. My son was ready about 4 minutes after that. It took him a little longer; he has hair. Around 6 minutes later, during the final sequence of my wife’s procedures she realizes: the next item is missing… Dun, Dun, Duuunnn!

There is a sudden explosion of vocal prowess as my wife assumes the persona of the Great and Powerful Oz. And when I say this I don’t mean the “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” feverishly pulling levers and turning cranks. I am talking about the full on bellowing voiced, floating apparition beset by spurting jets of flame. “Who took my deodorant?!” came the voice of OZ. And the usual stream of accusations ensued.

The eldest daughter is always the first to be blamed when something of mom’s goes missing, and more often than not, she is the culprit. The scene unfolded as usual. The eldest is blamed. She denies it. She almost always denies it. Especially when she can’t remember where she put the item she has taken. But she also says she never eats or drinks in her room or takes items from the house, yet we seem to find all the missing cups and bowls lined up along her dresser, and she drives around in a car full of spoons. Nevertheless, she denies the deodorant theft. Others get blamed. They deny.

“She took it!”

“No I didn’t, it was her!”

“Nuh uh, it was probably, so and so. She always takes other people’s things.”

“It wasn’t me! Mom probably just lost it, and she’s blaming us!”

The boy looks at me. I look at him. We both shrug.

“It doesn’t matter who took it,” proclaims OZ, “No one gets to eat until my deodorant is found!”

This is where I begin to question the accuracy of my character parallels. We have to head up an investigation, or we don’t get any food. What’s next? Fire balls at my straw-filled friend? Threatening my miniature K-9? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m hungry.

Where do I begin? The oldest daughter’s dresser? In one of the youngest’s many bags or purses. Perhaps one of the two middle girl’s beds. Both of them seem to actually sleep in the bed with all of their most prized possessions. But then I think: hold the phone. Someone has taken the deodorant, and that someone knows that they have taken it. I can wait this out. I look over at the boy, and I can see that he is thinking the same thing. We stand up, and move quietly to our respective rooms.

I can’t say what he was doing in his room, as I was not present, but I can tell you how I had handled the situation. I was laying prone on the edge of the bed attempting to remain aware of the progress of the ensuing investigation while focusing on the interior functions of my body. I was willing my heart to slow its beat, keeping my breathing deep and steady, clearing my mind of thought, hoping to coax my body into some sort of deep, zen-like state of consciousness in order to stave off the inevitable hunger pains.

The investigation drug on. The verbal finger pointing continued. Deny, deny, deny. My brain was working on some Cliff Note version of Chongg Ran while my stomach was acting like a three year old who’s crayons got taken away. I was growing hungry, and it was jacking up my inner peace. The girls were searching the house like a forensic team and arguing like senators. The house was shaking and banging, and full of indecipherable squawking and sniping. It sounded like a room full of construction workers and seagulls.

I had to do something before I starved to death, and raking the imaginary karesansui wasn’t working anyway. I got up, and went off to see the wizard. “Come on baby, it’s just deodorant. Let’s go eat.”

“Not just any deodorant. It’s clinical strength, and it’s thirteen dollars a stick.”

I had no response. Surely, surely this cannot be correct. She must have simply overlooked the decimal placement. A dollar thirty sounds much more reasonable. After all, I have seen her deodorant stick next to mine on a few occasions. In my mind’s eye I can recall that her stick is perhaps slightly less wide and about half as tall. Mine cost around two fifty. So a buck thirty sounds about right. I asked for clarification. She repeated and confirmed that thirteen dollars was indeed the price.

She applies this deodorant on a daily basis. Not weekly. Thirteen bucks for a half a stick of deodorant. For that price you should swipe it under your arm Monday morning and should be sweat free until Saturday afternoon. I am reeling at this new knowledge.

I try to justify this expense in my head. After all it is “clinical” strength. That seems suggestive of some kind of intense laboratory work, pointy heads in lab coats, grants and special funding, animal testing, things like that. Maybe there is some kind of medical prescription process that has to be met, and if so, perhaps our insurance covers the majority of this additional cost… No, this is a ridiculous thought process. You wipe it under your pits!

I had to leave. I went to find my brother-in-law. I was certain he would agree at the ludicrous price of thirteen dollar under arm wipe. And in fact, he did, but he was able to bring some previous unrecognized logical parallels into the mix. He asked two questions, and two responses later, the world became right again.

“Would you pay 150 bucks for a torque wrench?”

“If it was Snap On, sure.”

“Would it make you mad if somebody borrowed it without bringing it back?”

“Sure it would.”

“Well, there you go.”

Finally, somebody that can bring a little sense and clarity to This World of Hurt.

Chicktography

In Chicktography, Codes, husbands, life, Men, Uncategorized, wives, Women, Writing on July 10, 2014 at 12:24 am

It is somewhat debated among scholars—at least the ones who study such things—when the earliest forms of writing occurred. It seems that when the scientific community believes that they have discovered the beginning, an earlier form is uncovered. Of course all forms of writing seems to be predated by the use of numbers and pictures. However, all of this is irrelevant for that in which I elude. My point is, that as soon as mankind began to write, there also was a need formulate ways to keep the writing from being easily discoverable. It would seem as though man began to write on Monday, and began to formulate cryptography on Saturday.

Secrete codes have been utilized in every society, on every continent, in wartime and in peacetime for as long as we have been using written communication to exchange thought. Mankind has been a clever bunch.

However, there is a form of cryptography that predates them all, and has seemed to go practically unobserved by even the most well studied and devoted scholars. Interestingly enough, roughly half of our world population is so well versed in this obscure form of communication that it is truly like a second language, passed down from generation to generation through intuition and observation. The other half of the population is so ignorant to this form of communication, that in most cases, the attempt to decipher the true nature of the hidden encryption can cause short term—and on rare occasions irreversible—madness. This extraordinarily complex form of communication has been a long time fascination of mine. I have studied it for decades now, and despite years of intense observation and mental documentation, I am only marginally closer to understanding how it truly works. No, that’s not accurate; I have no clue at all how it works, only that it does indeed exists. I have, however, at least given it a name. I call it Chicktography.

Chicktography is the encrypted form of communication that women use—perhaps unconsciously—imbedded within all dialogue. The complexities of chicktography are vast, and these complexities are compounded by the fact that there is absolutely no consistency whatsoever. It would also seem that all members of the female gender seem to have some form of biological decryption device that allows them to communicate with each other unimpeded and with a lack of confusion as to the meaning to that in which they speak. The male gender is not equipped with this decoding device. Nor is there any written key that I am aware of. Additionally, I have discovered through years of trial and error that just because a woman is speaking, it does not mean that they are using code. Conversely, when she is speaking it does not mean that she isn’t.

For instance, I am notorious for being a night owl. I do some of my best writing at night. But I also read, or research some topic of interest, perhaps play the occasional video game or maybe watch some movie that my wife won’t let me watch while the children are awake. My reason for staying awake is irrelevant. The point is: my wife will ask a seemingly simple question… Or is it? I will hear her draw back the covers and slip into bed. The she will ask, “Babe, are you coming to bed?” And there you go. “Crap!” says my male brain, “what does that mean?”

I begin to analyze the tone, inflections, speed of the sentence and anything else I can think of. Did she pause slightly after the endearment, babe? How did she use the word? Was it soft and delicate? A motherly tone, soft and gentle, calming or persuasive. Like a request in itself, “Babe, I love you so much. I need you to do something for me.” Did it come out more like a bark? Like the tone she would use to scold the cat for climbing onto the counter. Perhaps there was a softening of the consonants in the word bed, opening up the possibility for a completely different interpretation of the meaning. Crap! Crap!

What is she really asking me here? Is she looking out for me, reminding me that I have an early morning, and it would be in my best interest to power down and get some much needed rest? Is she saying that she would really like to make love to her husband, provided that he isn’t too daft to figure it out? Perhaps she is telling me that the cotton is cooler than normal, and some additional body heat would be appreciated. Maybe it’s just a precursor sentence that actually requires an answer in order to ask a followup question.

Such as, “Babe, are you coming to bed?”
“Not yet.”
“Well I forgot to turn off the light. Could you turn it off for me?”

Or, “Babe, are you coming to bed?”
“Yes, I’m about to brush my teeth.”
“Okay, could you bring my phone when you come. I need to set my alarm.”

Or maybe she she’s just curious to know whether she is going to wake up to read a new blog post. She always gets to read them before you do. Seems only fair since she is the one who has to put up with me day in and day out.

At this point I’m beginning to think that I have over analyzed this whole situation. So I just roll the dice, power down the computer, or whatever it is, and go to bed. I slip into bed, and my wife says, “You didn’t have to stop writing, I just needed you to bring me my phone so I could set my alarm.” Or worse, I stay awake until the the early hours completing my writing, or finishing the movie or what have you, only to find her grouchy the next morning because I so clearly misread the perfectly obvious hints that she was dropping about the fact that she was really in the mood.

Stupid decoder ring… I got to get that thing in the shop.

I have often been just simply biting the bullet, and just asking if chicktography is being used in the communication that is taking place. “That wall just seems so empty,” she will say.
My response will be, “Baby, is that girl code for you wanting me to hang a picture, or move a mirror or something.”

If anyone out there has a code key for chicktography, or an improved decoder ring, or special glasses that will let me read between lines, or for that matter some device that will let me know when these lines that need to be read between are present, I will pay top dollar. After all, chicktography is the native tongue here in This World of Hurt.

 

Hello Joe

In Coffee, Dads, husbands, life, Men, Mornings, Uncategorized, wives on July 4, 2014 at 12:13 am

securedownload         Some days start in in such a way that makes you consider whether or not you would like to pursue the day, or return to bed. Every day is different, yet they all have varying degrees of similarities. In each home across the world these daily rituals exist. Different of course from one home to the next. Some rituals present in one household will be completely void in another. Despite my desire to be a a somewhat unpredictable person, the truth is: I am a creature of habit. And the habit that controls each of my mornings, 365 days a year—I am sure that I’m not alone in this—is my devotion, or should I say addiction, to coffee.

This morning began like the all of the preceding days. After a few attempts my wife successfully woke me. I am not a rise and shine kind of guy. I would say that I don’t like mornings, but this isn’t quite an accurate statement. A simpler way of stating it would be to say that I’m just not an overt fan of waking up. Whether in the morning, or perhaps just an afternoon nap I don’t like having to return from my unconscious state. But either way, coffee makes it all better.

Normally my wife gets up quite early, as she has rituals of her own, and she persists in repeatedly waking me from my slumber until I finally climb from our bed, stumbling to the kitchen in my quest for my old friend Joe. However, my wife has the week off and has no need to rise from bed at the same hour as myself. Therefore, with the exception of my wife informing me that it is time to get up, I am largely left to my own discipline to get out of bed. You might think that it’s unfair that my pregnant wife has to wake me up in the morning on her week off, but it is that assumption that is unfair. I would be more than happy to set my own alarm to wake myself, but my wife won’t allow it. Understand that an alarm powerful enough to truly wake me would also generate a noise so loud that it could in fact wake a good portion of the western side of the county. My wife would never allow such an infernal contraption to break her slumber.

The alarm that I would require would go off like an air raid siren. My wife’s alarm sounds very much like a set of muted wind chimes. My alarm clicks on screaming, “ALERT, ALERT. INCOMING FIRE. ALL PERSONNEL, GET TO YOUR STATIONS!” My wife’s alarm goes off in a gentle whisper, “Psst. I must apologize for this, but it is indeed time to awake.” How she manages to wake up so easily to such subtleties is truly mind boggling to me. But despite the fact that she has the week off, she sets her wind chimes, and wakes me up each morning. After that, I’m of my own.

And that’s just what happened this morning; just like all the other mornings. And after an attempt or two, I climbed out of our bed, and I shuffled to the kitchen, depressed the power button on the coffee pot, and as I headed to the bathroom to take care of other morning necessities, I could hear the water beginning to reach it’s optimum temperature of around 200 degrees. Perfect.

A few moments later my bladder empty, teeth clean, pits deodorized and bald pate moisturized to a shine, I returned to the kitchen to fill my cup. The window above my sink looks out to the western sky. It’s nice in the mornings. No harsh morning sun baking the pre-dawn kitchen, and equally true in the evenings as the gorgeous West Texas sunset casts the room ablaze in a wash of rich colors that can only come from that particular place at that particular time. Unique, every time, and the only time of day that you could call West Texas absolutely spectacular. As it is an absolute truth that we have some of the most stunning sunsets in the world. My coffee pot sets along the counter on the adjacent wall to the right of the sink.

As I approach the coffee pot, what do you suppose I saw there in the three foot of space between the sink and the coffee pot? Clean dishes dried overnight and awaiting to be put away? Neatly folded stack of dishtowels? A cutting board somehow overlooked, remnants of fresh baked bread scattered along the score marks left by countless slices from a perfectly sharpened knife edge? No I didn’t. What I saw was my coffee decanter, heavily tarnished by weeks of use; rinsed daily, but rarely washed.

Most coffee decanters are somewhat aggravating to me in that the manufactures of the things haven’t seem to grasp the fact that if they would increase the size of the spout, even by fractions, that there would be less spillage during a rapid pour. I know that right now you are probably saying to yourself, “Well Jeff, if you would just take a little more time, and pour evenly you wouldn’t spill a drop.” I see your point, but when it comes to coffee, I say, “Screw patience.” And it should make no difference, as the mouth of the decanter should simply be wider. I mean, for goodness sakes, have we learned nothing from Mickey’s? However, in this particular situation, the problem wasn’t the size of the spout, the problem was that the decanter was resting on the counter between the sink and the coffee pot.

My sleepy mind registered the decanter on the counter, purely recognition, similar to the way your brain would recognize the face of a roommate as you passed them in a hallway on your way to the morning shower. An eternity of microseconds later my brain flooded with with a surge of adrenaline as I suddenly became aware that the counter between the sink and the coffee pot is not where the decanter should be located. My head whirled to the right, hoping against hope that I would’t see what I knew deep down that would see. And see it I did.

A steady caramel colored ribbon of precious personality stabilizing nectar flowed from the filter basket into a widening pool. A pool now directed by gravity across the countertop, around the base of the decanter, across the thin strip of wood between the rim of the steel sink and the edge of the counter. The weight of the liquid no longer held back by the surface tension sent droplets in some places, short streams in others, cascading down the front of the cabinet doors to the hard floor where it began collecting in pools once more.

My only consolation was that no one was awake to hear the less than prestigious choice of vernacular that I had chosen to relieve the frustration at my oversight. Nevertheless, I did manage to repeat the choice word several times as I waded through the pools of coffee at my feet.

Somewhere in the midst of the wiping, and the sopping, the ringing and the rinsing, I managed to get a good deal of water into my wife’s rubber dishwashing gloves. I’m sure that I’ll have to answer for that later. Wish I had a kid around to blame that on. But a saturated towel and five minutes later, the counter and floor was once again clean, and the coffee pot restarted. Ten minutes after that, I was sitting at the table with my old friend Joe, who was doing his part to reconstruct the framework of my mind to be more amiable. Not the worst morning I have ever had, not by a long shot, but not the greatest of beginnings. Just another questionable morning in This World of Hurt.

 

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