Log Entry No. 103: Did you really sign that Rental Agreement!

When you take that long awaited vacation to the beach, rent a 8 bedroom, 8 bathroom house, and take the extended family, you never, never, never should be the one to sign the rental agreement. Why? When something goes wrong… the owners and/or authorities are looking for you!

As usual, a great house… game room, hot tub, bars, home theater, and of course the ocean beach across the street. The week was filled with games, pranks, and mucho foolery. The group — parents, teens, and some smaller ones. It was not the group’s first rodeo, so they were warmed up before the week started, arriving in full-on mode!

Launch headquarters

Clearly without a lot of thought and bordering on bad judgment, someone packed a 200 yard water balloon launcher / slingshot for the beach trip. The launcher had many applications. The preferred location that offered the greatest strategic position was from the second story deck on the house. Very popular was harassing people returning from the beach on the public beach accesses. It was not popular with everyone, at time resulting in a variety of easily recognized hand motions and signs.

A target rich environment!

The family was three days into the beach week. It was late evening after 11 pm, still up were the under 30’s, teens, and a few others who were thought to be in bed. Three of them were on the upper deck in control of the launcher, with other onlookers. Across he street was ocean front row. The launch team could see, through a side window, two houses down, on ocean front row, an adult watching TV. Having fine-tuned their skill by this time in the week, they hit the window dead center on the first volley; the adult came straight up out of his chair. The window didn’t break. Of course they lost it, rolling around on the deck in a spasm of laughter, according to the onlookers. They did it again and missed. Not satisfied, they took aim at the house directly across the street and put a missile through the breakfast room picture window.

It is now 1 am, I am out cold, and there is a knock on my bedroom door, the message, “No one is hurt. The police would like to talk to you. They are on the front porch”. Just perfect! Why me? …because my name is on the rental agreement. Down two flights of stairs, I pass the three fools responsible for this in the entryway, ranging in age from 30 to 15. As I pass I promise, “I will find out who is responsible for this”. I join the cops outside, third shift professionals, carrying bullets in their shirt pocket. “No officers, I was sound asleep, I know nothing about slingshots or water balloons.” One of them holds up a spent missile, the other, using his flashlight, points out a disgusting collection, in various colors, of more spent balloons littering the walk, front yard, and street. It was over. The cops confiscated the launcher.

The “perps”: front row, last three on the left.

The next morning I sent the perps over to fess up, apologize, and offer to pay for the window. They returned later, said the people, also renters, were really nice, and offered them juice, coffee and donuts. What? The people said their kids were running around until all hours. They thought their kids did it.

Don’t sign the rental agreement, get some sleep!

***** S&E *****

Log Entry No. 144: “Toilet Paper? You’re Kidding!”

Harry worked in a building that was four stories high and home to four significant operating divisions that together made up about a $1 billion global manufacturing business. All the manufacturing locations were spread world-wide.  It was headquarters then for the business, about 400 professionals and managers in the building, and Harry was the headquarters HR manager.  In your wildest imagination, you can’t imagine the complexity of the job.

One of the key roles of the HR Leader, Harry, was of course to drive the importance of and practices that supported good employee morale.  That required Harry’s diligent and constant monitoring,  making sure that the operating divisions treated employees in the building consistently. However, as was the case, each division head, a corporation vice president, liked to do things their way so Harry’s job was, as they say, like herding cats, high level cats, with fiefdoms! And, egos to match! Although it may defy logic, some chose to treat their employees differently, without considering the impact across the building.

One example of the type of issue that Harry dealt with: One of the VP’s decided that flex time would be nice, and never talked to Harry.  The VP implemented it and the fact that his fiefdom had flex time and no one else in the building did traveled like wildfire through the building, via email and the watercooler networks.  Harry had a line outside his office.  “Why do they have it?  We don’t have it! We want it? Who’s in charge here?”  Unhappy employees, pissed off managers.  Mess!

So there is Harry, with significant employee issues surfacing like dead fish.  At times Harry found himself on the receiving end of perverse humor that found its way to his desk from the deep, dark, mysterious depths of the building.

“You wouldn’t buy this stuff for your family”!

In the office, Harry is going through his internal mail, opens an envelope, and finds a piece of toilet tissue stapled to a handwritten note on an 8.5 x 11 piece of printer paper.

“Harry, this is a headquarters building.  This is a professional environment.  This is a billion dollar business running manufacturing concerns world-wide.  So I’m in the building pooper this morning, doing my thing. In the process of ‘cleaning up’ afterward, my finger goes right through the wafer thin toilet paper provided in the stall!  I now have a finger full of %!*?# !  Paper thin!  It’s so thin you can see through it.  You wouldn’t buy this stuff for your family, why would you expect us to use it.  Please upgrade!”

In the building cafeteria, the same day, Harry, looking a bit down.  He is seated with several building professionals and one asks Harry “How is it going?”  Harry: “Sometimes I just can’t believe this job!  I have huge issues and I get an internal note from some fool complaining about the toilet paper”!  As Harry related the detail, the table lost it, the culprit was there, clearly guilty to all, and the laughter just got worse.  

Harry laughed too!

***** S&E *****

Log Entry No. 87: Really Nice Dad!

Cooter purchased an older house. There were a long list of projects, mostly repairs and some improvements, which included doors, windows, deck, finish basement, and on and on.

There were only two cable TV outlets in the walls, living room and family room. As the months went wore on Cooter’s kids, Soot and Creek asked for TV’s in their rooms. Cooter, anticipating this was going to be a done deal, purchased the necessary cable, wall outlets, and plates to install the cable outlets in their rooms. To do so, he had to drop and pull cable lines through the attic and down the inside the walls of bedrooms.

He started the install on Saturday. Cooter pulled down the ceiling steps on the second floor hallway ceiling and climbed up into the attic with a collection of hand and power tools to begin the cable job. Accessing the walls studs from the attic went fairly well in most rooms, except for one. There is always one! To access the wall studs in the “one” he had to crawl into the attic area on all fours as the pitch of the roof narrowed to meet the attic flooring. With some difficulty and time he was successful in locating the wall joists, drilling the holes and dropping the cable line.

In the meantime, unbeknownst to Cooter, his 5 year old Soot, had climbed up the attic drop-down stairs and quietly situated himself on a storage box to the watch his dad work. Cooter finished the last room, was crawling backwards out of the narrow work space and in the process of raising his head ran a protruding roofing nail into his skull. Cooter in excruciating pain, called on his full vocab, loudly expressing how pissed he was for not remembering roofing nails protrude through the roofing plywood.

Soot, sitting on the storage box adjacent to his dad, could clearly hear the extended, continuing string of foul language. It was Cooter’s best effort. It included body parts, lewd acts, and religious references. Soot in response, loudly called out, “Really nice language, Dad!”

There is no moral to this entry. If the kids don’t learn it from the old man, the kids are fully language capable, thanks to their peers, by the time they reach first grade. In the case of Cooter’s kids, they learned it on the school bus.

***** S&E ****

Log Entry No. 91: Driving School

Edie Thompson would scare the ghost out of you if you were riding in her van’s passenger seat. Most of the neighbors experienced this multiple times. They now refuse to ride with her, all offering to drive if the group is headed to a card game, a round of domino’s, or an afternoon of Mahjong. The driving situation has been building over the years. So as April Fool’s day approached, it offered a grand opportunity that could not be missed. So the letter below, logo and all, was sent to Edie.

Edie’s husband was warned in advanced. He picked up the mail from the street mail box and set it on the kitchen counter. He was there when Edie opened the letter. As she read, she was heading toward boil. He had to leave the room when the vulgarity started, not to expose the prank by laughter.

Edie actually called the phone contact number in the letter only to be told there was no such driving program for seniors. She was not happy! Her husband hours later, broke the news to Edie advising her to look at the date on the letter. There was an immediate search for the author.

April 1

Law Enforcement Services Section Education, Division of Senior Roadway Program, 4235 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4235.

Dear Ms. Thompson,

Our Traffic Division Section records indicate that you have received multiple warnings, in lieu of citations, for various vehicle operating violations over the course of the last 18 months.

Although citations and fines were not issued, our division remains concerned with senior citizen vehicle operating safety and tracks non-citation events.

Our purpose here is not to highlight driving errors but to take a preventative approach to a safer future for driving seniors. To that end, you have been selected to participate in a driver’s safety course to be held in May each year. You have several options as to attendance dates so please visit our website at http://www.dps.seniorsafety.gov/ed . There you will find options as to dates and times for you to schedule your 3-day driver’s education class at your convenience. Please note that attendance is mandatory, per ncdot reg no 324.23 sec 2, pg 2, p4.

Your cooperation is expected and appreciated.

T.H. Sizemore, Administrator

Human Resources, 919-716-3800

***** S&E *****

Log Entry No. 318: Friends and Duct Tape

They were (and are today) best of friends. This entry takes us back to them at, ages 12 and 15. We’ll call them then, 12 and 15. They grew up on the same dead end street., three houses apart. At the dead end, acres of woods. A creek ran through the long back yards. Behind the creek at the end of the yards, woods and a hill that was perfect for sledding and tubing in the winter.

They occasionally smoked. 12 kept the stash in his second floor bedroom, in the heating duct work which had a removable vent in the floor. There was a small ledge available in the duct work, just under the vent, to keep the stash.

They head to 12’s house to do a little. 12 removes the floor heating vent to access the stash on the ledge, and to his dismay, the stash falls down into the duct system, straight to the basement. This is an emergency calling for drastic actions.

12 and 15 head to the basement. They find it has a suspended ceiling. Kids don’t notice ceilings much but this is a special situation. The remove the ceiling tiles, one by one, searching for where the duct work from 12’s room meets the basement duct. It was trial and error. But, not to be discouraged, they find the union. Taking advantage of 12’s dad’s handy work shop, with both parents at work, they start cutting sample holes in he duct work hoping to locate the fallen stash. It required a few sample cuts but not to be denied, they located the bag. It took several cuts, opening up a significant enough hole (think of star shape cuts that form a number of flaps) to recover the bag. They made the duct repair with what else but duct tape. It required feet of duct tape. The repair was ugly. They reinstalled the ceiling tiles. Who would ever know !

Months later: It is heating season. Cold! Furnaces are running. 12’s parents were sitting in the living room. 12’s mom, and not the first time, complains to 12’s dad that there is a draft in the room. He says something about sweaters. After sufficient prodding, on the weekend, he goes to the basement. Of course, nothing is easy. This won’t be either as the duct work, which 12’s dad suspects is at the cause, is covered with the suspended ceiling tile. Hours later he finds the patch work quilt of tape on the duct work. The patch has now collapsed, hanging freely, as the adhesive on the tape has dried out from the heat, the adhesive now a white power, a gaping hole the result, The hot air that is escaping is significant.

How could this happen? The parents suspect 12. He is confronted. And as all kids learn early on, denial is the key to making great escapes. This time being no different. The “rents” stopped short of fingerprints and prosecution, knowing it was hopeless.

***** S&E *****

Log Entry # 211: Jean Will Pick You Up.

My kids in their 30’s and some of their friends visit on some holidays. This Memorial Day was no different. Three of them arrived on Friday with JH arriving at our tiny local airport on Saturday. It WAS going to be memorable for JH!

JH called us at 2 pm from his connecting airport about an hour away to say he was in route and his flight was on time. We told him to call on his cell when he arrived.

He called upon arrival and noted that he would be out shortly after picking up his bags. We told him that we already had too many shots and beers and a friend of the old man’s was coming our way from the airport area and would pickup him up. Her name was Jean. We told him she was a nice lady, in her 50’s. There was no Jean. We didn’t know a Jean.

Actually we were all fine to drive. We loaded into the SUV, drove to the airport, got a first row spot in the short-term parking lot. We had a clear view of the arriving passenger area and the doors that JH would use to exit to get his ride.

With our clear view of the passenger pickup curb, we could see the cars waiting for arriving passengers. We saw a beige Lincoln Town Car with an older, female driver. Perfect! So when JH called from baggage claim we were able to tell him Jean was waiting for him just out side in her beige Lincoln Town Car. There was no Jean, we didn’t know the driver. There WAS a beige Lincoln Town Car!

JH exits the airport, sees “Jean” in the Lincoln. Smiling, he heads to the front windshield. He lightly taps to get her attention. She looks at JH like he’s a criminal. He looked around, checking to see if he had the right car. There was only one beige Lincoln. JH, having a positive personality, stepped to the side window and repeated his tapping to get “Jean” to recognize him. She didn’t, she’s now starring straight ahead probably hoping he would go away, undoubtedly thinking pervert, maybe police.

In the SUV we are doubled over, disabling laughter, in stitches, watching the Lincoln–JH–Jean event unfold.

We hopped out of the SUV and started waving and shouting, “Hey dumb ass we’re over here”, the side-splitting laughter loud enough to be heard from some distance. As the line goes in “A Christmas Story”, JH wove a “tapestry of vulgarity”, which would make the best of the best proud.

JH heard about it all weekend. We never let JH forget this one…

***** S&E *****

Log entry # 76: “Woody’s Theo”

There is a fairly well balanced amount of good-natured bashing among our friends. And most topics are fair game — aging being one of them.

Here is a birthday piece that was written for our friend Woody.  Over the years Woody was nicked named “Clark” as he was a bit of a klutz, regularly screwing up, or spilling something or, searching his mind to finish a sentence. So the “Clark” came from Clark Griswold fame from the movie, “Christmas Vacation.” There were numerous other items and gifts that were created/made and presented over time to Clark to honor his bad recall and physical ineptitude.

On one of his milestone birthdays the piece below was created, framed and presented (ready aloud) to Woody in the presence of the many that were present to celebrate his 75th.

Woody, “Clark” was loved by all… friends, work colleagues, and family. He passed last summer, 2019. The above, in its original Walmart two dollar frame, along with other stuff presented to Woody, was displayed at the family gathering at the house following the memorial service.

***** S&E ****

Log entry no. 141 “A food-related note from Urge”

My buddy Urge had his 18 something granddaughters visit recently.  Just prior to that 10 of us returned from an eat-a-thon and drink-a-thon at an all-inclusive in Jamaica.  Since the return, we were all trying to dump the poundage we packed on in the tropics.

So Urge sends me this email:

“Jennifer and Samantha leave today which is good since all they wanted to do is eat fried shrimp, oysters or anything coated with crumbs and boiled in grease. I’ve gained what I thought I had lost from the Jamaican trip. Oh yeah, lunch today at MJs restaurant and guess what they wanted, yep fried oysters”.

Knowing Urge needed some advice for the future I suggested to him that those kids are just trying to get him to eat himself to death so eventually they don’t have to change his diapers, wipe up the drool, and pay to board him in an a “home” that smells like skin dust from old people (I’m old, I can say that).   

I further suggested that the next time they come to visit that Urge feed ’em health food and the stay will be shorter and likely they won’t want to come back often!

***** S&E ****

Log Entry No. 8: “Zone 3”

Tom is visiting his son, sitting on the back porch deck, under roof, doing some beers. It is 90+ degrees.

wifi irrigationHis son has an irrigation system in his yard.  It is an older house and so is the system, so he is in the process of replacing some sprinkler heads in the front and back yard.  He also replaced the control box in the garage which controls each zone and the sprinkler heads.  The system has 6 zones.

The new control box installation is of course high-tech.  Both of Tom’s sons are good with tech since they are 40 years younger than Tom.  In this case the new control box is Wi-Fi driven.  Very cool, you can be anywhere in the yard, open the sprinkler system’s app on your smart phone, choose the zone you want to enable and that zone comes on.  The system is great for testing individual sprinkler heads in zones and / or scheduling certain zones or all zones to operate on a weekly schedule. If you enable a certain option in the system it will interact with the local weather station and control the sprinkler system so the yard and planting areas only receive the correct amount of water.  (I would not take that to the bank!)

There is also another application!

While they are sitting on the porch the dog (100 lb Golden-doodle) heads out into the yard, as it happens the mutt is standing in zone 3 of the WiFi controlled sprinkler system.  And Tom’s son demonstrates a feature of the system that is not illustrated in the manual, he calls it – “cooling off the dog”.  So it is, “the dog is in zone 3”, open up the app, enable zone three, and the mutt gets cooled off.  Hugely funny.  If the dog moves from one zone to another, well…

Occasionally is OK, but overdone the mutt probably would not go in the yard.

Before anyone calls the ASPCA – this is not done frequently, and, it’s only water, and on hot days it appears as if the mutt loves it.

As soon as Tom returned home from his son’s, he installed a WiFi control box for his irrigation system.

Tom has a dog!

*****S&E*****

Log Entry no. 111 “Pine Boughs”

I always enjoyed seeing Thor at work.  Even, better, I enjoyed hearing of Thor’s’  boys at “work”.  More often than not one of his two male issues would have provided a great story for Thor to relate to his co-workers.  Some of the stories are humorous now but at the time created great stress for Thor!

StressThis one is one of Thor’s remembered experiences… if you see him just mention “pine boughs”

It is 8:30 Saturday morning and Thor heads out to one of his three cars, destined to the hardware store.  The last car in the drive is Thor’ 8 year old Honda Civic.  It featured broken mirrors inside and out, stains on the headliner (don’t ask), dash, and cloth seats.  Add to that a dent here and there and damaged paint.  Obviously the kids car and Thor knows his oldest son drove it last, getting home a hand full of hours ago, in the early morning.

Above all, Thor notes the several, very green, very noticeable pine boughs protruding from the front bumper and sides of the Civic.

Pine BoughsThor put his thoughts aside, drove to the hardware store, made his purchases and headed home, taking the other entrance into his housing development.  He entered and came to the first  intersection and stop sign in the development.  Before continuing down the street he glanced to his left.  Up the short cul-de-sac he observes a local police cruiser, with the cop standing in the homeowners front yard.  The cop and the homeowner are both looking at what remained of a couple of 5-6 foot pine trees and some minor lawn damage leading from the street through the yard.  And there sat Thor, a couple of houses away, in clear sight, with pine boughs jetting out of the bottom of the car.

Pine boughs!

Pine boughs 2Thor slammed the car in reverse, did a 360, exited the housing plan, and entered through the other entrance nearest his home.

Later,  Thor recalled his son being severely short-changed on monies due, by the very  same homeowner, after doing some lawn and shrubbery work at the very house where the two small pines formerly stood.

You never want to screw with the kids in your neighborhood.  They have endless ways of exacting revenge and pounds of flesh!

Thor’s first issue denied any knowledge of the pine boughs and suggested the boughs stuck in the undercarriage might be remnants of a recent hunting trip.

Sometimes if their lips are moving…..

***** S&E *****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***** S&E *****