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Monday, September 25, 2006

Flotsam & Jetsam - I Heart Grilling

My new gourmet charcoal grill (left) made by Hasty Bake and my old, trusty Weber charcoal grill (right).

My wife scored this gem off of this online classified web site she trolls from time to time called

Yes, someome gave away a grill estimated at a couple of thousands of dollars for free because they didn't want the hassle of dealing with selling it online.

And yes, out of thirty something responses we were the lucky ones chosen to receive it. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Flotsam & Jetsam - Bathroom Renovations

So we're are currently in the process of renovating our bathroom. Our house was built in 1972 and had this heinous wall paper on it. We suffered through eight years of it before finally deciding to rip in down a few weeks ago.

Then the wife went hog wild and started demolishing walls and removing doors and stuff.

Of course, we have yet to decide on a floor (tile vs. vinyl) or the color of paint (see below). Posted by Picasa

Flotsam & Jetsam - Pick A Color

Any color? Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 18, 2006

I, Caterer - Say What?

My catering peers and I, we have this thing about overheard conversations.

Because in my business, people say the damnest things. And we get to hear it all.

Here are a few choice comments recently heard:

- "My office is full of academiologists"
[Duke University staff are allowed to make up words]

- "The kids these days have bloggeritis"
[It's a terrible disease. Incurable they say.]

- "The best way to get rid of geese, if you have a geese problem, is to soak crackers in anti-freeze." [Um, yeah.]

- "Dumpstering for furniture is much better in New York City,"
[That's why grad school is better in the Northeast.]

- "This drink is not for me." [Do I care?]

- "Let's all raise your wine, your beer, your Coke... and make a toast"
[The Lt. Governor of North Carolina during a speech at the Pepsi Sail America tall ships event]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Flotsam & Jetsam - Reading

One thing I have become as a stay-at-home-dad is an avid reader.

My appetite to feed my brain - stained with images of Barney and Spongebob - is insatiable.

So I have turned to books.

At first it was periodicals; magazines, newspapers - anything you could read at a quick clip when the moment struck you. You know, like Reader's Digest on the shitter.

As an audiophile, I was well aware - and well equipped - to handle the scouring of used bookstore land. And I did my best at that: I have a fairly decent home library.

But one thing I stumbled upon is the library book sale.

And I haven't missed the local Chapel Hill and Durham library sales but maybe once
a quarter (they are held four times a year).

Which all brings me to a long winded way of telling anyone out there what I have recently read:

1. King Silverman by George Pelecanos
2. Killing Yourself To Live by Chuck Klosterman
3. Waylon: An Autobiography by Waylon Jennings with Lenny Kaye

I'm a huge fan of Pelecanos' crime noir especially because he peppers his tomes with a ton of music references and even more so because they all take place in my old stomping grounds - the metropolitan DC area. King Silverman is set right around the time of the big Bicentennial celebration in 1976, so while the plot was textbook crime fiction at best, it brought back lots of memories.

Klosterman's novel was suppose to be about visiting "historic" places where famous rock stars died but essentially is a road trip book about a guy waxing nostalgic about past girlfriends. Yeah, a music critic for Spin talking about women. Not much more to say about this other than it was as disposable as the pop culture he references throughout. But I guess that may have been the point: You can remember an old girlfriend - or girl you wanted to be your girlfriend and only had imaginary conversations with in your head - like you wistly remember Joe Izuzu, glossing over the obnoxious sheen. A few pages - maybe about ten - appeal to the music critic side of me - and unfortunately making me vividly remember wanting to compare Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger to English composition 101.

I'm glad I never wrote that one.

I took a non-linear approach to reading the Jennings bio, mostly because I found myself only reading it in the bathroom and not really feeling it enough to engage myself in it. Mildly interesting from a historical context but not being a huge Waylon fan, a lot of pages went unread. Where's Nick Tosches when you need him?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Confessions Of A Punk Rock Dad - Bodily Fluids

One insight I often share with new parents or parents-to-be is the fact that after you have a kid, bodily fluids are not as scary as they once were.

As a parent, you will be pooped on, peed on and puked on.

And, after awhile, you will come to accept the fact that at any moment of any day you will most likely come in contact with your child's bodily fluids.

You will find yourself somewhere when all the sudden your child sneezes. A quick glance will tell you there's not a tissue for miles, and without a second thought, you will reach down, grab your shirt and wipe the snot off your child's face. Another technique I have seen is the "pinch the snot" with your fingers and then rub it on a pant leg or sock.

One time my when my 6-yr.-old son was a mere toddler, he came down with the flu. All he wanted was to he held. The problem was, all his body wanted to do was shit and puke. So suddenly I found myself in the middle of the night standing in the bathroom holding my somnombulist child while he preceeded to vomit on my shoulder and down my back.

I can do nothing but stand there, listen to it drip onto the vinyl floor, and feel it slide down between my butt cheeks. After his puking jag, I traded shoulders with my wife while I slipped away to take a nice hot shower to wash off the stench of vomit.

Only to return to shoulder duty and have him repeat the whole process all over again.

There isn't a parent out there who doesn't have at least one story like the one above.

Which brings me to last week: I'm at soccer practice for my 6-yr.-old with my 3-yr.old son in tow. Since practice is from 4:15-5:15pm, I brought along a smattering of snacks for the boys. I had an ice cold bottle of water, some wheat thins, a couple of nutragrain snack bars, some animals crackers and a zip loc sandwich baggie full of raisins.

As practice began, 3-yr.-old Cole uttered those famous words: "I'm hungry."

Fortunately, I was prerared. He ate a bunch of animal crackers before deciding to dig into the raisins. He smiled and showed me the raisins in his mouth. Then began to cough or choke.

Or something.

I couldn't tell if he was faking it or not. I asked him afew times if he was alright but got no answer. Seconds start to feel like hours and as I processed the information that he was indeed choking, he stuck his finger down his throat and dislodged the raisin - and half the contents of his stomach - out of his mouth and onto his legs and feet. And yes, my legs and feet as well.

I ran back to the car and got a bag of diaper wipes and preceeded to use those to clean ourselves.

Of course now the little puker didn't feel so hot so he wanted to sit on my lap for the rest of the duration of soccer practice, the perfume of puke wafting through the air. And I just sat there wit him and endured it.

I had both boys immediately jump into the tub once we got back home from soccer practice.

And then I took my shower.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I, Caterer - Image Is Everything

I have been working for various local catering companies on-and-off, part-time for almost a decade.

One of the things I love about catering, especially as a stay-at-home-dad, is that it pays very well and the hours are flexible.

Another thing I love about it is that it is never the same twice. Each shift is always almost entirely different than the shift you worked before it. Sure you can find yourself working at the same venues over and over again but rarely
does one shift ever duplicate another.

Last weekend I worked a pool party at a house in a gated community called The Governor's Club ( They were an older couple, recently married, with no kids. It turned out ot be a work party get-together set up by the hostess to entertain her new co-workers. Nice people.

But a lot of times when you find yourself in these kinds of situations you find you notice the oddest things. In this case, it was the fact the the couple had a Porche and a Hummer in their driveway yet a 12-year-old dishwasher that barely worked.

And I think, "You've got hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of car - and car insurance - outside, a huge house with a pool, flat screen tv and marble counters in the kitchen, yet you have a dishwasher that is a piece of shit?"

It's best not to think these things over for too long, but sometimes, when you are stuck in the lull between serving food and bussing it, you've got nothing better to do than to question that which surrounds you.

Tonight I work at party at this old mansion in downtown Durham ( and - due to the sheer volume of steps - it is not the most pleasant place to work. Not to mention it is rumored to be haunted by a little girl. Oh and did I forget to add Tropical Storm Ernesto has just passed through? Posted by Picasa