Friday, May 05, 2006

Things All Men Need To Know

An Early Tribute To Mother’s Day...

Hey all you guys out there…

Yes…YOU…You there…The man averting your beady eyes…answer this question for me if you will:


If not, you probably need to thank your mother, and you also need to notice that I intentionally left off the standard “chauvinistic” part of the phrase because that's not what I'm talking about here.

By “Male Pig” I don’t mean the Sally Struthers’ FemiNazi type “Male Pig” that is purported to basically disrespect women and sets about to demean and repress their (the Feminazi’s) government and God given “rights” as the bearers of all of the Vaginas and Mammary Glands on the planet and in the Universe.

No Sirrrrrreeee.

I mean the type of man that thinks that ironing your clothes involves placing a warm cookie sheet and a stack of dictionaries on top of your pants on your desk before dressing for church Sunday morning so you can “dress up;” or that believes that a “bathroom rug” consists of the avant-garde collection of head, body, and pubic hair that accumulates on the ceramic floor tile between your bi-annual vacuuming and occasional random fits of sweeping and dusting.

(Those type guys also think that that pink ring around the toilet bowl is an indicator that the toilet is working properly because the water always fills back up to the same pink ring point after a flush…)

As to being that “type” of “typical male pig”, I’m here to tell you that I aren’t one.

I’m not, thanks to my Mama.

My Mama insisted that I learn what “clean” was.

My Mama taught me to wash my clothes.

My Mama taught me to iron my clothes once they were washed and dried.

My Mama taught me how to “do the dishes.”

My Mama saw to it that I took a bath virtually every single day of the first 17 years of my life (whether I needed it or not.)

My Mama made me take a typing class in High School long before the computer keyboard became a major part of my life. (I've made tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of extra income as a result...)

My Mama generally taught me right from wrong and caused my face and ears to change shapes and colors based on the veracity of the statement which I was uttering at any given time.

Red ears…liar.

Red face…embarrassed.

Red neck…walking into the expansive woods on my grandfather’s farm with a rifle in my hands.

With those points in mind, I offer a hearty...


Best Laid Plans—Phase II

Draining My Mud Drum…

OK, first go read my previous posting entitled "Best Laid Plans", then stop back by here if you really want to put things into perspective.

I know, I know, I know…poor poor pitiful me….

I’ve spent the entire week trying to selfishly glorify myself by doing things for others, and it seems that God really does have a sense of humor because two of the three projects I’ve undertaken have leapt up and bit me on the ass here at the last minute, in spite of my efforts to have them finished by WEDNESDAY.

First and foremost, I’m cooking dinner for 30 people Saturday night. You might have already heard...

Yes ladies and gentlemen, we’re co-hosting a party. We’ve spent a bunch of bucks on food to cook, and yes they’ll probably slap me on the back and carry me around on their shoulders if I’m successful…but…regardless of any self serving accolades I still have a 7 pound pork roast in the oven and about 5 pounds of beef roast in a Dutch oven on the stovetop as I write.

Come hell or high water the preparation of my menu, including another 10 pounds of chicken, is first and foremost on my personal agenda, but just DAMN…

my other two projects just won’t stay the hell out of the way.

I’ve already written about my “Pool Fence Project”, so now that I ask you to indulge me while I gripe about my “friend’s auto sale” project.

For the past few months I’ve been helping an absentee neighbor sell his car that is sitting here on St. Simons Island.

No big deal, you might say—and that’s exactly what I thought when we started the project. After all, the loan was paid off, they had a buyer, and all I had to do once the title came in the mail was swap the keys and title for a check, right?


Sweet people that they are, the elderly couple buying the car just don’t have a CLUE, and apparently they haven't had to borrow money to buy a used car before.

I’ve been calling and begging and pleading for them to consummate the deal since Tuesday, and finally today we agreed that I would drive the car to their loan office over in the real world in Brunswick at 10 AM to pick up the check in exchange for the title and keys.


By 10:45 I learned that not only did my buyers not have the necessary documents to get the loan, but they also hadn’t been advised of what they needed until Thursday morning and “they were going back home in Darien” (20 miles away) to get them.

Just DAMN…

I politely told the lovely loan officer that I had had enough and drove back home, thereby limiting my time wastage to a measly 2 hours. I also told her that I had extensive personal commitments until Monday and that we should just plan on rescheduling the transaction for next week.

Come 3:30 PM, I got a phone call delightfully declaring that my purchaser was sitting in the loan office, check in hand, and that they wanted their car.


I likewise delightfully reminded said young enthusiastic loan officer of my earlier 25 mile round trip in the morning and my declaration of my unavailability between then and Monday AM. I asked that she offer my regards to my purchaser and explain that their collective ineptitude would result in a slight delay in the consummation of our four wheeled transaction.

I’m such a heartless bastard, but it was “pool time” and in addition I needed to go check on my imbeciles contractors and get a little sun.

Feeling about 50% less stressed, cocktails by the pool ensued.


Poolside I thought to myself that I’d just put the week’s BS behind me and enjoy doing my cooking, having postponed the auto deal and put most of my contractor induced woes behind me.


When we returned from the pool we had a voice mail message from our buyer saying that they wanted to come pick up the car today.


I hate to admit it, but I lost my shit. I yelled at the loan officer on the phone. I would have yelled at the buyer if they had answered the phone. I yelled in front of my girlfriend and I think that I was lucky that I didn’t have a heart attack I was so angry.

Who the hell do these people think they are and what the hell were they thinking?

After all…I was there in the loan office with the car, car title, and keys in hand this morning.

No one else was prepared, even though I called everyone for two days previously and we agreed on the process before I arrived.

I know that my lips were moving and words were coming out of my mouth, but I must be crazy or dreaming or otherwise speaking gibberish because no matter what I do, people have the audacity to not only waste my time, but then they get upset with ME when I won’t bend further backwards to accommodate THEM.

This goes out to several select individuals (and you know who or whom you are)


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Best Laid Plans

Excuse Me While I Vent…

Maybe there is something wrong with ME, I just don’t know.

I feel my mouth moving and I hear the words coming out of my head, but this week I’ve either encountered a bunch of inept retarded dyslexic morons, else I swear that I’ve started speaking gibberish or lost my mind or something because no matter what I say and agree to do for others, NOTHING I’ve planned has worked out, and I’M THE ONE that has suffered the consequences.

All of this, while working for FREE.

Take our little Condo pool fence project, for example.

You know, the pool fence project that I agreed to help our Elderly Condo Association President (that would be ECAP for future reference) manage?

You know, the pool fence project in the Condo Development that we RENT in, not OWN.

Call me the ultimate philanthropist.

I’ve done my best to ensure that this little piss-ant $1,500 $1,650 $1,700 paint and wood replacement project went smoothly and was completed properly and on time.

I called the contractor last week, whom was conveniently out of town this week, and we agreed that we would await his return and walk through the project, review his proposal, and make sure that we were on the same page before his crew started work.

Seems reasonable so far…right?

Since I’ve done the design and project management of several hundred million dollars worth of heavy industrial fabrication and construction over the past 25 years, a little piss-ant $1500 $1650 $1700 paint and repair job should be a piece of cake.

But Nnnnnnooooooo, can’t have that, because the Stupid Bitch Contractor’s Wife (that would be the SBCW, for future reference) demanded that she be allowed to start the job this week rather than next week when the actual CONTRACTOR and CARPENTERS were back in town from Atlanta.

And of course, rather than telling ME her plans, she called our well intended but totally clueless ECAP, who proceeded to approve the Monday start date (because he wants to ensure that everything is finished before next month’s board meeting.)

For those of you keeping score, that would be SBCW—1, Virgil—0.

As I anticipated (having managed a few so-called residential contractors before), come Monday morning at 8:00 AM there was no sign of any construction or painting going on at my pool-side jobsite.

9:00 AM… construction workers

10:00 AM…no construction workers

11:00 AM…no construction workers

12:00 AM…no construction workers

1:00 PM…two construction workers, but the SBCW was no where to be seen.

No supplies, no tools, no paint, just three lonely guys (including myself) standing around picking our noses collectively.

1:30 PM…thank God the SBCW arrives, with two additional workers!!!

1:45 PM SBCW continues to ignore me, even after I have identified myself as the project manager.

2:00 PM I manage to get a few unintelligible grunts and a half smile from SBCW.

2:01 PM I have a “throwing up of my hands and walking away back home” party.

To make a long story even longer, this idiot SBCW allowed her people (two of which left on Tuesday to go to the aforementioned Atlanta job site) to work with virtually no tools and minimal supplies (delivered at the last minute) all week long.

The SBCW converted a three day job into an entire week long project.

The SBCW also managed to pull an additional $150 out of the ECAP for installing new wood where the wood was rotten, just before she got the extra $50 out of the ECAP for cutting said wood to lenght.

Now the score would be SBCW 3, Virgil 0.

Next, since the local building supply company was out of the needed pressure treated lumber and threatened to delay my "project from hell", I had to drive 25 miles round trip in order to pick up and deliver said wood from Home Depot to our pool-side jobsite.

Then I had to argue with the Stupid Bitch Property Manager (that would be SBPM for future reference) in order to get reimbursed this week for the lumber I purchased, even though I stupidly didn't ask for mileage charges and in spite of saving them a $50 delivery fee.

I watched helplessly as the SBCW’s employees ran around begging to borrow basic things like extension cords and water hoses and the PAINTER that was doing the CARPENTRY work spent much of his time standing around scratching his ass looking for nails over 1-1/2” long for two of the four days he was working.

The second part of the project, which I won’t bore you with the details of, was equally (un)successful.

All I know is that I’m a capable, experienced project manager, and it absolutely drives me crazy when I get myself into these situations.

Instead of just continuing to bitch and complain, let me offer some advice:

If you are a homeowner, I suggest that when you start your next home improvement project that you either hire the most expensive contractor you can find, else you put on your largest boots and, after kicking yourself and your significant other in the ass, you be prepared to kick the shit out of anyone that shows up on your property with a paintbrush, hammer, or any other item remotely resembling a TOOL.

I Know that EVERY contractor isn't a total idiot so don't start E-mailing me with complaints, but residential construction seems to attract the most inane, unprofessional, useless morons living here on the planet.

It's just that simple...

A Belated Happy Birthday

I Missed This...

Most everyone that knows me personally knows that I have a fairly wide range of musical taste and knowledge.

I've wasted time fooling around with the guitar, the piano, the trumpet, and most recently I drag about 30 harmonicas around with me in order to assault a sometimes unwilling audience with various blues bends and riffs.

I also have started singing in public, although I'm afraid that my Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffet and James Taylor imitations are more like impressionist Rich Little's renditions of Richard Nixon and Jack Benny than actual original vocal talent.

The thing I lament the most about some of today's popular music (particularly that listened to by those under 30) is the obvious lack of vocal talent and inability to actually sing lyrics--Rap and "alternative" artists being the worst offenders.

I just noticed my blog Idols over at Powerline mentioned that Tuesday was the 103rd anniversity of Bing Crosby's birth.

What is hard for me to believe that he's been dead for nearly 29 years now, so I understand why all of the aforementioned "20 somethings" might not know what good singing sounds like.

Happy Birthday Bing ...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I’m A Ramblin’ Wreck From Georgia Tech…

And A Son Of A Gambolier?

OK folks, this morning I want to wade into this hysterical hoopla over the Spanish language version of the National Anthem.

It might surprise you to learn that I’ve decided that I just don’t care…if they want to sing Francis Scott Key’s patriotic ballad in Spanish or Chinese or Swahili—let them sing it.

I’m not insulted and I’m not going to get excited—two reactions that I think might be exactly what they (the British music producer, the illegals, and their supporters) want us to do.

Don’t get me wrong here, my first reaction was probably the same as yours ("WHAT THE HELL?"), but then I started thinking about it and did a little Googleing and you know what?

There are hundreds of songs out there that share the same tunes already, and actually Mr. Key wrote the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner" using a tune stolen from an English song called “To Anacreon In Heaven.”

I guess that the maybe the British bitched and complained a little at first, but we’re still singing the song using the same tune today, aren't we?

And here’s a little history for you, by the way…did you know that “The National Anthem” has only been “The National Anthem” since 1931?

Well it has...

And I bet you also think that it was written during the Revolutionary War, but it was actually written in 1814 after Mr. Key witnessed the assault of Ft. McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812.

Up until the late 1800’s, Reverend Samuel Francis Smith’s "My County ‘tis of Thee" was the de facto National Anthem until Congress decided to get in on the act and pass the 1931 resolution.

And once again the tune for Reverend Smith’s lyrics was stolen from the British, as it is also the tune for their national anthem “God Save The Queen.”

Other well known songs like Oh Danny Boy and even my beloved Georgia Tech’s fight song “Ramblin’ Wreck From Georgia Tech" each uses traditional folk tunes as their basis.

So calm down, and get over it--I say that we shouldn't get all worked up over this.

After all, if we imposed the same standards on Georgia Tech fans as we want to put on the protesters, I’d be a “Son of a Gambolier” instead of "A HELL OF AN ENGINEER."

Hell, I don't even know what a "Gambolier" is, let alone how I'd go about being the son of one, do you?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Something To Do


OK, it’s like this.

Normally I spend my time being a pretty useless bum these days.

Blogging, a little volunteer work, a little writing, and a little drawing and painting and photography is usually on my schedule, but I have to admit that I’m generally pretty slack compared to most of you out there in the real world.

Not so this week, however.

I’m cooking for 30+ people next Saturday night and in addition we learned today that our invitation has been accepted to have a weekend guest in our home.

Suddenly I’m in a hurry, because late last week I added to my to-do list the overseeing of four or five people working for a contractor doing repair and paint work here in the condo complex over the next couple of days.

I’m afraid that I might have bitten off more than I can chew, because now in addition to buying and processing food, I’m responsible for the extra building supplies not included in the original contract due to extra decay and rotted wood we found in the pool deck fence this afternoon.

I did get a bit of a head start making room for our guest’s accommodations by moving and storing a couple of tons of files and paperwork around our second bedroom/office. I normally use the “pile file” theory of paperwork management, but the method is neither attractive nor conducive to accommodating guests.

Now I’m facing having to handle a trip to buy lumber in addition to a last minute shopping trip for food accoutrements tomorrow before setting about the process of brining and cooking about twenty pounds of Pork, Beef, and Chicken in our tiny kitchen.

I know that I can do the cooking because I’ve prepared every dish at least three times in the past month—it’s just the QUANTITIES involved, and preparing everything at the same time, and managing to keep everything hot or cold that is a challenge.

So any way, if the meaningful ranting & raving blogging suffers this week I ask that you please excuse me, and check back once in a while for updates on my progress.

(of course I reserve the right to explode at any time based on any unforeseen news stories…)

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day’s New Meaning

Mexico’s Newest Holiday?

It’s funny how life’s experiences constantly change the meaning of things.

For instance, when I first started my own engineering business back in 1990, the first thing that I lost was the traditional meaning of Fridays, holidays, and vacation.

As most everyone knows, when you are an employee somewhere and you don’t own or manage the operation, most of the time you can count on running out the door on Friday afternoon and not coming back until Monday morning. Likewise, you can declare your two weeks vacation time and also run out of the office at Thanksgiving and Christmas and never look back.

Not so once you take your employment into your own hands and go into business for yourself. Customers generally could care less if you’ve planned on spending the third week in September at the beach for six months previously, they want their proposal or drawings or material delivered, dang it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dragged around a briefcase, a fax machine and a computer while on “holiday” or “vacation” in the past 16 years.

Being like many Americans and enjoying a good excuse to celebrate, I’ve often waded into the masses of revelers enjoying ethnic holidays like the Irish’s St. Patrick’s Day and Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo. I’m neither Irish nor Mexican, but I’ve drank my fair share of green beer and Margaritas in my day on these two holidays.

Unfortunately for me, Cinco de Mayo lost its celebratory appeal ten years ago because my father passed away on May 5th, 1996.

It’s taken ten years for me to get back around to even thinking about celebrating on Cinco de Mayo, but I did want to do it this year and darn it if the illegal Mexicans haven’t gone and spoiled it for me again.

Now they’ve all decided to do some kind of strike or walkout or something today, May Day.

Imagine that--Illegal (and generally non-unionized) Mexican “immigrants” celebrating what has traditionally been an organized labor union & communist holiday here in America—the capital of freedom and democracy.

Did someone forget to send me the memo explaining the rational of this maneuver?

What an entirely inept public relations move, in my opinion.

After all, with Cinco de Mayo falling on Friday of this week, it seems to me that IF these invaders and their sympathizers absolutely had to make some kind of warped political statement, it would have made much more sense for them to do it on Mexican Independence Day rather than on May Day.

Then again, I hope that they just keep on thrashing around demanding “rights” and pissing off middle America so that the legal residents of this country will pressure the professional and elected denizens of Washington DC to get off of their collective asses and do something about our borders.

Meanwhile, I'm making my own political statement this week by having a Cinco de Mayo party a day late, on May 6th. In an even more politically incorrect maneuver, I'm buying the ingredients and cooking all of the food (tamales and tacos and salsa and guacamole) for our thirty guests myself.

Maybe I'll start a tradition and call the annual event Redneck de Mayo.

Yeah, that's the ticket...take that Mexico...