26 December 2008

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

The other day, I was in the kitchen tidying up. This is the important part, mind you. I was most pointedly NOT in the living room at the time and bear utterly no responsibility for what happened.

Not. My. Fault.

The Wife has acknowledged this fact.

Anyway, at some point I heard The Boy say, "Mom, I cut my finger." It was a simple statement of fact. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hmmm. "Curious," thought I. Being me though, when somebody says they cut themselves, I have to go see how good a job they did, so I walked into the living room to see what had happened.

The table was scattered with shreds of paper that magically occur when my son get a hold of a pair of scissors. No biggie.

The Wife was staring at some small particle that appeared to be roughly the size of two grains of rice. Not the long, wild kind. Just simple, white rice.

The Boy was staring complacently at his thumb.

The particle was actually a small chunk that The Boy had taken off of his thumb with the scissors.

I frowned. Cuts are easy, stanching a missing chunk sucks.

There is a peaceful time right after you cut yourself like that when your body seems to marshal its forces for one purpose and one purpose only.

To bleed. Profusely. With reckless abandon.

I knew it was coming, so I walked back into the kitchen for a clean towel. Then I heard the wailing.

Ah, right on time.

I came back to The Boy's thumb which had started bleeding. My first thought, being the loving father that I am was, "I hope he doesn't get any on the new couch." Seriously, blood is damn hard to get out.

I wrapped his thumb in the towel and let him know that we needed to apply pressure. He started a mantra. "It hurts, it hurts, it hurts."

The towel was fairly absorbent, so I waited for a second to see if he would calm down. He did not. Instead he added, "I can't believe I did that," to his mantra. A little long for an effective mantra in my book, but hey, he's six and still learning. The Wife playing with the piece of ex-thumb didn't help the matter, so I got rid of it. Ick. That's all I'm saying.

When I came back, The Wife was way past Frantic and heading on to Freaked. I'm sure that was most soothing to The Boy as well. I did what I had to and delivered the riot act to The Boy at 110 decibels. It elicited more tears, but he wilted and let me put pressure on. Mission accomplished.

Don't get me wrong, I was all compassionate and crap after that, but you have to get audience participation for stuff like this. It stopped after about 20 minutes. There was a brief tussle over cleaning the wound, but 'the hairy eyeball' squelched that handily.

He's fine now, no worries. The really funny thing? Here is the implement of destruction:


Don't screw with Frosty, man. He'll cut you bad. He's as cold as ice.


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12 December 2008

By Request: The Corner Psychos - part 1

We live in a nice neighborhood and we have a dog and a child so we go for walks. On these walks, we have the pleasure of walking past Dick and Joan's house. It's sort of like the Dick and Jane books, but if they were demons:

"See Joan throw a nutty."

"See Dick have his spirit crushed and complain about the universe."

"See Joan use inappropriate words around children."

"See Jim get in her face and eventually just try to find ways to make them both have a stroke: gleefully."

Before the boy came along, when we were new to the 'hood, we used to take the dog for a walk and Joan used to say, "I used to have a dog like that." We thought, "She's not bad."

Then, one day, the dog set foot on her lawn...just walked on it mind you -- two or three steps tops -- no peeing was involved. All of a sudden we heard an outburst. Sort of like if nails on a blackboard could come to life at 120 decibels. "Get your Goddamned dog off my lawn!" At that time, being new to the block, we just moved along.

We slowly learned from other neighbors that this is what they do. It was like the neighborhood secret -- House of 1000 Corpses minus the corpses. They hover around their front door waiting to cuss out potential offenders. The guy that lives across the street from them has a Harley. They yell whenever he starts it up. Once, there was a fire and the hydrant is located in front of their house. The fire was contained but the resultant water had washed some mulch away. They called the city and demanded to be reimbursed for the mulch and also called the water company so they could be reimbursed for the water they had to use to clean up.

They hate when people walk on their sidewalk, so they park their car so it lays across the sidewalk. In the Summer, they lay their hose across it as if it creates and unseen barrier that people cannot cross.

They have called the police on children playing ball in the street.

My favorite time of year is Fall though. It turns out that Joan is quite fussy with her leaves. I can sit on by back porch and watch the multi-colored leaves waft on the cool Autumn air to the sweet sounds of Joan. "Goddamn it, Dick! You're raking those leaves wrong! What the hell is wrong with you, you asshole!" That's pretty much verbatim. I didn't take the time to write it down, but poetry like that just sticks with you.

Once, the mood took me and I yelled out, "Shut up Joan! Abuse your husband in private. We don't need to hear it." She volleyed back, but I had had my fun. Nothing more needed to be said.

We live in an area with a lot of woods and mountains and I always think, "If he came to his senses, they would never find her body. Nobody would even care to look," and shrug. If I was him, it would be worth a late night of negotiating a dimly lit mountain path, but that's just me.

Once though, we were walking The Boy and, being twoish at the time, he tread on their grass. Joan came out and started yelling...at my son. The Wife kept walking while pulling The Boy along, but I felt the need to speak my mind.

I led off with, "Shut your yap and listen, you harpy." She quieted but that was short lived. I laid into her about yelling at my son. I realized I was getting nowhere after about a minute after I had the quick epiphany that I may as well be telling a starving wolverine to stop biting me. Instead, I figured that I needed an endgame move.

I stepped onto their lawn.

She lost her freaking mind. It was awesome. All the crap I had to hear from her and her husband was suddenly worth it. She never shut up for a second, but I no longer cared. I walked off her lawn with a parting salute. I didn't feel vindicated, but I did realize one thing.

I had a new sport.

Baiting Dick and Joan.

More on that tomorrow though...


10 December 2008

Anti-Wordless Wednesday

I tried, I really did. I had pictures here and everything. They just sat there though...taunting me. They weren't funny, they weren't witty. They were just there.

Instead, let's talk about a cat...

There was this cat in the neighborhood. He was a neighbor's cat and would roam about. We tend to believe in keeping cats in the house when you live in town. That way they don't decimate the bird population and are much healthier in the long run. I don't point this out to the neighbors who let their cats roam though. If I'm going to potentially alienate a neighbor, I like to go big. Ideological differences aren't any fun. Now a pulling a single leaf off the psychos' tree on the corner property...that's my idea of fun because they. Lose. Their. Shit. Then I egg them on because the rest of the block enjoys the harpy shrieks of the female half of team whackjob too.

That's another story though...I digress.

So this cat was about 6 months old and was pretty keen on finding all the female cats in the hood and doing what boys do. My wife is on the board at the SPCA so this creates an instant issue.

The Wife: "What should I do?"

Me: "Not hearing this."

TW: "Seriously, what should I do?"

Me: "Seriously. Not hearing this."

My ruse of temporary deafness did not work however. Imagine that. Perhaps I should try the old "air embolism" ruse next time. I'll have to write that down. We talked about it for a while and it was decided (by her, I just replayed Jimmy Buffett songs in my head -- it's easy to smile and nod with Jimmy playing) that we would abscond with said cat and get him snipped as a public service.

Yee freaking hah.

Off the cat goes to get a denutification and promptly picks up a respiratory infection. Note to owners of said cat: vaccinations are a good thing. Now The Wife is in a tizzy. Let's play "What happened next?"

A) Cat convalesces at the SPCA.

B) Cat gets adopted and recuperates at a new, loving owners house.

C) Cat hangs on the futon in my attic where I get to give him a 14 day course of antibiotics and develops the uncanny ability to turn on the TV to watch daytime/late-night television while I'm not looking and causes The Boy to grow progressively more attached while I continually think that two cats in the house is just fine and when is he going back to either the SPCA or the previous (rightful?) owners.

Thanks for playing people...I think you all picked the right answer. There is no prize though because I got no prize in this deal either. So tough noogies.

So let's imagine where this will end up...

Have I mentioned that we've had 5 cats? (not all at the same time) Three were shelter cats but more importantly, two were from a neighbor whose house I can point to from mine. Yeah, I know I'm screwed despite my objections.

Well, at least I like the cat...unlike the "Little Dog" reign of terror.


09 December 2008

Spin Cycle: Birth of Blog

The lovely Jen at Sprite's Keeper was inspired by the nappy Jen at Steenky Bee to do a spin on the birth of a blog. Why you started, what it's named what it is, and so on. Here is my humble tale:

I started blogging mainly so I could kick around and just write. I was writing short stories and freelance stuff but I wanted to have something that I could do with a little more regularity -- to keep in practice and try out new stuff. I already had a nickname of "Heinous" from when I was a gamer. (I don't have time for that anymore, but once my son is old enough for some pwnage, I'll make sure I school him well.) I tried to use it for my blogger name but some fiend (who never seems to have used it -- the lousy mofo) had taken it. I had to resort to my 'leet' spelling, because I'm just all cool like that (read: geek), and that's where 'h31n0us' came from.

The first part of my blog name, 'Irregularly Periodic', just came from the fact that I didn't post with much regularity originally. I still skip days, so it still sort of applies. The 'Ruminations' part came from the way I like to sit and look at things, generally with a touch of humor. I silently curse my choice of blog name just a little bit whenever I have to type it out. Thank the heavens for spell check. A find myself using IPR a lot nowadays.

It started off smallish (as we all do) with a few visitors here and there and has grown a lot in a small time...much faster than I could have ever expected or even hoped for.

I blog now because I love it. It has helped my writing in general, so that's been good in itself. Most important to me now though is the fantastic community of bloggers that I am fortunate enough to be a part of. I'm grateful for all the comments I get and the fact that people seem to enjoy reading my blatherings. I've made quite a few friends that I rarely, if ever, have to pay to talk to me. Now if I could just get my wife to read it...

I'd just like to give a big, sappy thanks to you all for coming by whether you're new here or have been here from the start.

07 December 2008

Sunday Randomness

A quick salute to parenting super powers for the week...
1. Super hearing:
I was standing in the kitchen and heard a faint sound from outside. I thought, "I can identify that sound. Let's see. It sounds like glass...being smacked against...hmm, brick. Yes, that's definitely the sound."
I ran outside to see the boy testing the tensile strength of a bottle he was carrying to the recycle bin. Before parenting, I would have totally ignored that sound.
2. or when you can see into the future:
Me: "Dude, don't lean against that, you'll knock the soda off the table."
The Wife: "It will be fine."
House rules: I warned you well ahead of time, you clean it.
Tech Support call:
"Hello, all my email is gone."
"What is your login ID?"
He gave it to me and said, "I graduated two years ago."
"Sir, we generally delete account 90 days past graduation."
"But I've been using it for two years."
"And we sent you a notice that your account would be deleted after 90 days."
"Well yeah, but I kept using it since you never turned it off."
"We don't backup student accounts, it's gone. There's nothing I can do here."
"But I've been using it for two years."

I can only take so much of this stuff before I turn unpredictably snarky...

"You're welcome for the gracious extension to your account." *click*

Somewhere, someone is thinking I'm a rotten bastard and I'm okay with that. He graduated anyway. We already spent that money.
A definition:
Blood Firsty: The feeling you get when you see a new post in your reader and are taken over by the compulsion to get to the blog and get your, "FIRST!" in.
That's it people...go enjoy your day.

04 December 2008


Over the years of working with computers, I've learned quite a few things about them. One of the more interesting things is that even though they are computers that supposedly work on logic, things get quirky. Quirky to the point where two computers with the same hardware and set up will behave differently. It makes no sense, but as an admin, I either accept it or risk A) sanity or B) literal physical implosion due to stress which is messy at best.

Once you learn to accept the quirks and learn all of the good stuff that comes with server administration though, you receive a gift. It's elusive and you must earn the favor of certain small and petty technology gods as well. It's admintuition.

It's part experience, but it's more. I have diagnosed problems in under 30 seconds that people have been working on for days. I'm not tooting my own horn here. It just happens often enough (with my co-administrator too, not just me) that there is no other explanation. Granted, that perk alone is nice enough but there's another that's way more important.

As an admin, I commonly deal with stuff the affects roughly 5000 people at a time. That means I can screw stuff up royally, with panache if need be. Fortunately, I have admintuition on my side. I'll be futzing (sorry for the technical term there) with the fabric that our servers run on and there's almost always a warning if I have something wrong in my syntax or configuration.

It starts out simple. I'll go to click 'ok' to finish a change or hit 'enter.' I pause for a second and wonder where that faint screaming is coming from. It's not too uncommon in IT and there are a lot of students...they're unpredictable.

Oh wait...the screaming...it's IN MY HEAD. It's the old, "something is about to be FUBAR'd" scream. I'll double check at that point and if something is still amiss, I move to the second failsafe.

Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice rings through my head. "Use the force, you dumb bastard." That's when I really start to take things seriously. The first warning; that could just be me being overly cautious. The second one is serious. I pore over the changes I was about to implement. I usually get it right by the second time. I finish the changes and tell Obi-Wan to send Princess Leah next time -- preferably in the slave costume.

There is a third stage where my head is taken over by sadistic gremlins armed with tiny brain saws and I have to walk away from the server for a while to clear them out. Caffeine is their nemesis. Remember that. It could save your life someday.

Every once in a while something gets borked so badly that we just scream past all the roadblocks with all the abandon of Amy Winehouse with a brick of crack. Like when my co-admin nearly formatted every last computer on campus a little while back. You read that right. Every. Last. Computer. Had that happened it would have been a month before I got to update my blog again...because I would have taken vacation somewhere where there are no lines of communication and I have that much at least that much vacation saved up. Pull a boner like that and you're on your own...I'll be in Belize.

Fortunately, that's rare and the last time I came close to something like that was years ago when I almost lost 4 years of email for 5000 users. I still maintain that was Microsoft's fault, but they won't fess up to anything.

I've got another juicy upgrade coming up soon here. Let's hope I've paid those dues to the small and petty tech gods.



03 December 2008

The (yeah, that's right I totally forgot the title today and will let it stand as a monument to my idiocy)

The other day, The Wife came down and said that her chest felt a little tight and she had been coughing. She had bronchitis last year so I just said, "Call the doctor and have her look at it." She took my profoundly sage advice and called me at work to let me know she made an appointment. Because she calls about everything, that's why. Everything. Every. Last. Thing. Not that I mind (this, of course, will be the one post she ever reads on my blog.)

Anyway. She said she had talked to the nurse and they got her in at the branch office. I filed that away under the heading of "really important stuff to know" and worked away until she got back from her appointment.

She called and I asked, "How was the appointment?"

Her answer in convenient anecdotal form:

She got to the doctor's office and been whisked away to one of the exam rooms. Standard procedure so far. The doctor comes in, points to the machine behind her, and says, "Let's get you hooked up to that."

The Wife looked at the machine and said, "What is that?"

"An EKG," came the reply.

"For potential bronchitis??? Can't you use a stethoscope?"

The good doctor paused and said, "The nurse entered in that you had called in complaining of chest pains. We cleared the afternoon appointments for you."

(Here's the point where I feel that I should point out that The Wife is a good Catholic girl who got a triple helping of the associated guilt that should come along with any fine, Catholic upbringing.)

"Oh. My. God. I'm so sorry. But I just said my chest felt tight. Like it was congestion. Really, I didn't mean to. Blah, blah, blah" (Insert about five minutes of apologizing for most of the world's ills here.)

The doctor laughed and assured her it was okay. She was good natured about it the whole situation and quite relieved.

Which brings us back to the phone conversation:

The Wife: "I felt so bad."

Me (laughing, especially since I have none of the appropriate Catholic guilt instilled in my black soul): "It wasn't your fault, the nurse entered it in wrong."

TW: "But they cleared the whole afternoon."

Me (still laughing): "Again, not your fault that the nurse was a twit with poor diagnostic skills."

TW: "Well, YOU told me to say my chest felt tight."

I stayed silent here...well, except for the laughing. I don't recall what I said verbatim, but if she says that's what was said, it probably was. I did not however force her to say anything and had nothing to do with the nurse's poor triage skills.

Me: "That's so going in the blog."

Later I was talking with my dad and he asked how everyone's health was. I just burst out laughing and said, "Great. Bern's EKG came out awesome." I caught a look for that one. That's okay, 'the look' pretty much slides off anymore. I'm bulletproof.

I think the best part is that she didn't have bronchitis. She didn't even have a cold. The doctor thought it was probably just a case where she needed a humidifier. At least that's easier to run than an EKG.

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01 December 2008

'Tis the Season

Ah, consumerism. It's amazing how fast it sinks its teeth into even our children. Sure, I realize that all the toy commercials are out in force right now, but it really sank in the other day when The Boy said, "Wait, go back," when we were flipping through the channels. I went back to the last channel and was about to go further when he said, "that's it!"

There it was, the object of his desire...the ne plus ultra of Christmas giftiness...the Perfect Pancake Puff Pan. Complete with flipping sticks!


I stared at him. For a while. "That's what you want?"

He nodded his head vigorously.

I briefly wondered where this mild case of freakiness had come from, but it was obviously from the marketing fairy (who, I'm sure, looks like Ron Popeil with lacy wings -- that repel dirt!)

The commercial wore on. I think it was the extended re-mix. He kept pointing at the various iterations of pancake puffs that could be created with the modern marvel and, knowing his mother's penchant for crab, said, "Look, you can make crab puffs too!" at the appropriate time. Somewhere Billy Mays shed a tear over his unknown protege.

After the commercial he looked at us expectantly. I stopped cringing inside and pulled the old, "We'll see buddy."

He persisted. "We should get it at Lowe's."

Sigh. "Why Lowe's?"

"Because they're the best."

"Why is that?"

"They say so on TV."

"Of course. Silly me. I'll tell you what, we'll look at Lowe's next time we're there." All I can say is that I'm betting that Lowe's will not carry the Perfect Pancake Puff Pan. (Complete with flipping sticks! Did I mention the pastry brush and sugar shaker?)  That should get me off the hook.

Of course, it will never happen even if Lowe's is "the best" and does miraculously carry the damn thing. Mainly because I don't do novelty dishes on command. I'm just not down with that; I have my pride. It would also either A) take up valuable storage space or B) The Wife would end up taking it away from me after I ended up cutting all the puffs in half and insisted on making armies of 'boob cakes' with gumdrop nipples.

On the plus side of all these commercials and rampant consumerism, I feel relatively safe that The Boy will be fiscally responsible. He has good parents and more importantly, he knows all the words to the freecreditreport.com commercials. He'll have no trouble checking online to make sure he's not too far in debt from late night TV purchases.