Friday, May 30, 2008

The Angry Husband

As I have stated before my wife works at a store within a big-ass store. So basically she works at a big-ass store.

It seems this store has set records nationwide and the young manager has lost her tiny little mind over it. Yesterday my wife came home and after listening to my day, she broke down crying because of the treatment she'd received at the hands of her manager. My first instinct after listening to Vicki's story was to go to the store and kick the crap out of the young lady. That is still frowned upon in Hickory though, so instead we just hung out. I made dinner for Vic and we talked. She broke down one more time and we talked some more.

The most I wanted to accomplish last night was to reassure her she was loved and let her know that the asshat she worked for (my thanks to Dianne for the terminology) was really irrelevant and not very bright.

This evening we talked some more and decided that it might just be a case of age discrimination. If that is truly the case then I suggested that Vicki tell her to knock it off and file a complaint. The kind of treatment she has been receiving has been noted by other company officials and should be easy to document if need be.

In the meantime she has applied for another job and perhaps that will solve it.

I hope that does it.

The Daily Husband

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Traveling Husband

Now that I'm working again I actually have a schedule and duties. My duty next week is to go to school in St Louis. In spite of the gas crunch I'll be driving over. After checking flights from Charlotte to St Louie, bearing in mind I detest flying, and wanting to take my new ride on a road trip it was a no-brainer.

The drive is supposed to be 10 hours. We'll see. If I make the kind of time I'm used to making it should be something less than that, though I may stop and eat on the way. I may have a companion from the company, but who it going to be is still up in the air.

I wrote all that to write this; I won't be posting much next week. At least that's the plan now. The laptop is accompanying me there, so if I'm bored or have something to talk about I may check in. If not, I'll be back the following week.

The Daily Husband

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

The Daily Husband is also a veteran. As I listened to Andy Rooney's touching tribute to his war buddies last night on 60 minutes, I wondered how many people really understand what it's like to put your life on the line for your country.

Most of us who did it where too young to know any better. Perhaps that's why we have allowed wars to continue throughout man's history. We continue to create a fresh batch of soldiers with each generation. It makes you wonder about the old people in the business though, doesn't it?

It also makes me really sad to think what the wanna-bes have made of our military.

But that's for another day and another blog. Please
go here to read my post on Memorial Day.

The Daily Husband

Saturday, May 24, 2008

First week back to work

It's Saturday morning, I've been up since 6:30 and my plans to mow have been shattered. It seems the misty drizzle will continue just enough to prevent me from attacking my shaggy looking lawn today. That's OK, it gave me the opportunity to catch up on reading some blogs and to write a couple of posts as well.

My first week at work went well for the most part. I spent two days in the field with installation crews working on air handlers, outside A/C units and ductwork. This work included the demolition of an aged system in a small factory's office space. Not a typical job for my company and not a very pleasant one either. The factory polishes metals and this produces a fine black dust that is everywhere. It was especially apparent in the area over the offices where we worked. The guys on the crew were not thrilled to be doing this job and it took much longer than anticipated.

Still, I was able to learn something about the skills and talents of various crew members, as well as their personalities. I also learned that at 59 I'm much too old to be doing what they do for a living. In addition, I gained valuable knowledge about how our equipment is installed and how it works. These things are very necessary if I am to be successful in this endeavor.

Vicki's big-ass store had its grand opening this Wednesday and her boss ( a young thing of 27) worked Vicki for 15 hours. Most of it on her feet. She came home so tired and beat I wanted to strangle her boss. The extreme exhaustion and physical pain caused my wife to be sick at work the next day. One of the other bigger bosses sent her home. What a bunch of twits.

Vick promises to talk with her boss and let the young woman know what her physical limits are. I don't think she can handle more than 10 hours and that would be stretching it. I felt helpless to do anything about this. Instead I made dinner that night, rubbed her feet and tried my best to support and care for her. She was fine by Friday and is at work today. I just hope she has that talk with her boss.

Sometimes the young are so self absorbed and oblivious to others that I can barely stand to be around them. Thankfully they are offset by the many who are a pleasure to work with and who brighten up an old guy or gal's day with some offbeat humor or different view of events and our world.

My wife's best friend at her work is a young gay man who is knowledgeable, hardworking and bright. They get along well because of their shared work ethic, sense of fairness and because they are both genuinely nice people to be around. I am very glad she has this friend, because I know I am much too serious at times and can be a pain in the butt to live with. It takes a little pressure off me when she has friends and outside interests. Plus I get to hear about her day and all that context that women are genetically bound to put in their stories.

To add insult to injury, my wife's ex-husband ( a drunk and a wife beater) dropped by her work yesterday with his wife (another drunk) to chat. This idiot is so clueless that he thinks we want to keep up with them and actually care about what they're doing. They were here in the Carolinas on vacation and just had to "stop by and say Hi." Morons...... One of the big bosses there for the opening saw her plight and saved her. That guy get's my thanks.

Anywho....... I made it through my first week, Vicki is feeling better and her idiot ex and his even more idiotic spouse are flying back to Phoenix as I write this. At least they didn't show up at the house. That would have caused me to kick his ass, (something I told him long ago I would be more than happy to do if he ever pissed me off again) had he not taken the hint and split.

I have one more week here in town before I drive up to St Louis for a week of "Comfort Adviser" school. If anybody who reads this knows anything about downtown St Louis I would be happy to hear from you. I'm paying for my lodgings there and I don't feel like spending $150 a day to stay where the classes are held at the Drury Inn. So I'm looking for decent place within a 10 or 15 minute drive that is less expensive. I'll be there for a week, so it adds up pretty quick at over a hundred a day.

Can't really complain though, these problems and challenges I have now are much better ones to have than finding a job. That was a bigtime challenge.

OK my fellow husbands, friends, spouses and whatevers; enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

The Daily Husband

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back to work Day 1

OK sports fans, I am a working man again. Today was a get to know ya kind of day. I read a little, worked with a co-worker for a while, then had lunch. After lunch I filled out some paperwork and went to take a drug test.

I wish I had some funny tale to relate about this, but I don't. I managed to turn the wrong way when I got off the interstate going there, in spite of having a map and directions. This was due to me having made up my mind the street I was looking for was somewhere else. Of course it wasn't; they tend to stay put if you know what I mean.

At the clinic where you pee in a cup I waited for about 45 minutes to get the drug test. Had it been much longer I would not have had any thing to test, because I would have peed my pants waiting for them. At one point I went up to the window and asked the lady if she had forgotten about me. Two or three folks who came in after me were called almost as soon as they arrived and there I sat, holding it and hoping it would be my turn pretty soon.

I did become involved in an interesting conversation with a young mother with a 4 month old boy and a grandmother (not to the 4 month old) who was having problems with her son-in-law.

It seems the son-in-law comes from well to do parents and this lady was just folks, living in a double wide and still working. (She was only 46, so I don't see why she wouldn't be working) The issue was her son-in-laws folks were retired and had money. She saw this as the reason the young couple didn't spend more time with her and her husband. In addition she stated the young man barely spoke to her when they did visit as a couple(a dinner where he uttered 5 words), and controlled how much time her daughter spent with her during her visits with the grandson without him.

She became very emotional during this and even cried. The young mother and I attempted as best we could to console her and advise her. (She asked for my advice after learning I had 5 kids, 13 grandkids and had been step dad to 3 kids.

About the time we were making some progress with her I was called and gladly went to give my deposit and release the ever increasing pressure due to the long wait. (from lunch to 5:30)

When I came back out the grandmother was gone. I spoke to the young mother another couple of minutes about her calm and happy baby and left.

There you have it. I will be taking it one day at a time for some time to come.

The Daily Husband

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Car-buying Husband

I went car shopping on Friday. I had a good idea of what I was looking for, had done some on line research and even knew the dealers I would be visiting. The three cars I would be looking at were the Toyota Corolla, the Mazda 3 and the Honda Civic.

I started at the local Toyota Dealer. There I asked to be helped by the oldest salesperson on site. Actually, at their dealership they use a program that has "Product Specialists" who work with the customer through the car search, qualification of needs, and the demo drive. Then if you are interested in buying they turn you over to a closer (they call them managers) and the deal proceeds forward.

The gentleman who helped me (remember he was the oldest on the lot) was seven years my junior. Man, just once I'd like to be in a situation where I wasn't the oldest. Anyway....

I explained to him that I had sold cars, that I was there to test drive the Toyota Corolla in both stick and automatic transmission and what equipment I preferred. He found a pair of cars and away we went. I took the Corollas out on I-40, around town a little and got a good feel for the cars. I found them to be the most solid feeling of all the cars I drove that day.

They were also the most boring. While it felt good to be in a well built little car, the Corollas where uninspired in design and performance. The automatic made up my mind for me that I would be purchasing a 5-speed no matter what brand I chose. I'm looking for economy, but not boring. The Corolla was surprisingly roomy, for a small car. It did have some road and wind noise at speed on the Highway. Every small car I drove that day had some noise on the interstate.

After driving the two vehicles, getting info about sticker price, options, and deals, I left for the next lot. I told my "Product specialist that if I purchased a Toyota I would buy one from him and that I would follow-up with him and let him know the outcome of my search.

Adjacent to the Toyota dealer is the local Mazda dealer. Here I met a young man with whom I had worked during my stint as a car salesman. He found a Mazda 3 in the color and equipment I liked and we took it out. I should note that during this day of car hunting I took the exact same test drive route 5 times. It gave me an excellent opportunity to compare the ride, performance and feel of each vehicle under controlled conditions. The little Mazda 3 was the sportiest looking of all the cars I drove that day and also the loudest. Interior noise at speed was more than I felt comfortable with and in addition the car exhibited some front end shimmy which we attributed to the tires.

Though we have owned Mazda products and like the sporty look and feel of Mazdas, I said goodbye after the test drive and went on to the Honda Dealer. I learned while talking with my friend that a manager we had worked for had been arrested in an FBI sting at another car lot. It seems the car business continues to be as flaky as ever, with new scams and more ways of cheating the public invented or re-invented each year. I liked this person very much and had even been to a party at his house. It hurt to think he had messed up so badly that he ended up in the can.

The Honda dealer's internet car sales dept and I had been in contact the day before. I forgot to bring my salesman's phone number with me and instead just showed up at the dealership around noon. This particular dealership was having an awards banquet given by their head office and my salesman treated me to barbecue chicken, salad, baked potato with roll and soft drinks. It was a great lunch. We ate it in his office while he looked in his inventory for the car I wanted to drive . He found a two door and 4 door Civic with a 5-spd for the test drives. I drove both of them and decided against the coupe.

The Civic impressed me for the following reasons:

1) Comfortable ride and good pep

2) Very modern styling inside and out (the sleekest of all the cars I drove)

3) At speed (over 65mph) you didn't really notice how fast you were going. This was evident at lower speeds as well. I will have to be careful around town in the 35mph zones. The car is so stable and quiet you just don't realize you're getting after it.

4) The car came standard with the right equipment for me.

5) The deal I was able to make seemed fair (though not great - I could have held out for a couple hundred more bucks in discount, but I really didn't feel like it)

6) I have previous experience with the dealership's service dept and they are top notch

7) I am looking forward to +35mpg with this vehicle

The cars we drove were not the right color so we hunted for a Galaxy Gray (gunmetal grey) 4 door with a five speed.

We found the car I eventually purchased and it had the other equipment I wanted as well, which was power doors and locks, remote entry and cruise control. When I test drove this car (my 5th circuit of the same route that day) I thought it pulled to the right. I told the salesman and we put it in the service dept when we came back in. It took a couple more test drives after they adjusted the front tire pressure and checked the alignment before I liked it, but they got it right.

During this period my salesman had to go pick up his kid and I took the Civic home to Vicki. She drove it around till she was comfortable with it. She had driven a five speed in our Miata back in the early 90s and wasn't sure she'd remember how. She did just fine. In fact she enjoyed the 5-speed as much as I did. She drove back to the dealer and we waited for our salesman.

At this point we started talking numbers. Since I had done some homework on the net we cut to the chase and the manager of their internet dept offered to sell me the car around $800 below sticker. This price was $350-$450 over invoice which gave them a little profit and still gave me a deal. In addition I opted for Honda finance at 2.9% for 60 months. This made for reasonable payments with little interest costs. Of course they did try a little numbers scam which my wife and I caught during the paperwork signing. The sales manager got involved, knew they had been caught and fixed it with out admitting to what they had attempted. Both Vicki and I knew what was going on; I had been in the business just long enough to know you can't ever let your guard down when buying a car.

In fact, after attempting to sell me add-ons at the negotiating table, they took another shot at us in finance. Here they wanted to sell us extended warranties and numerous other worthless extras. I told the finance geek we would not be buying any and then he pitched something we actually liked. This particular dealership offers a prepaid maintenance program that covers all services including the 60,000 mile one. With Honda you have two $400 services and several $100 services in the first 60,000 miles. The deal he offered made sense and we took it so we won't have any expense for oil changes, transmission service, or whatever for some time. It made an 11 dollar difference in our payment and saved us somewhere between $500 and $900 dollars.

We finished in finance, took delivery, stopped for dinner and then came home. I called both the other salesman, told them what I liked and didn't like about their vehicles, told them why I made the choice I did and gave them some numbers, so they would know what the competition was doing. In addition, I thanked them for their time and let them know I would recommend them personally if I knew of someone looking for their brand of car. If you spend time with a car salesman, remember to have some respect for that. Unless they were rude or obnoxious, a follow-up call to let them know what you bought and why is better than nothing. They will of course be dissapointed you didn't buy from them, but they knew when you left the lot the chances of you returning were minimal.

Vicki's got the Civic today (Sunday), she just drove off to work in it. I added a picture or two I took of her this morning. She looks good in this little car.

I will be working hard starting Monday at my new job and won't have much time for blogging. Thanks to all who have come by to read and comment. I'll check in here in the near future, but daily entries are probably not going to happen.

The Daily Husband

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Hired Husband

OK, you heard it here first. I got a job. Yep, it's true. I start Monday, spend two weeks here in town and then go to St. Louis for a week of school. Cool huh?

So things will be somewhat abbreviated at my blogs for a while. There's a lot I have to get done in the next few days, including finding another car. Man, I hate car shopping. With gas going for close to 4 bucks a gallon I'll be looking for a compact with good gas mileage and a decent warranty.

My choices so far are a Civic, a Corolla, or maybe a Mazda 3. It could turn out to be something else, it depends on the drive and the deal if you know what I mean. So my fellow husbands, be of stout heart; if you have faith and determination it can work out.

Have a good weekend, spend time with your wife, work in the yard, and kick back.

The Daily Husband

Monday, May 12, 2008

Reason # 935,426 Why I love my Wife

First, I must confess I was going to exaggerate in the title. It was going to be "One of the Million reasons that I Love my Wife." But I thought I should keep this post factual. So I changed it to 935,426 because I'm pretty sure that's where the count is at now. Whew, I'm glad that's cleared up.

Though my wife has many fine qualities and has, over the years, done an amazing amount of fine things for me, I will be focusing today on reason number 935,426. To put it in a nutshell, she bakes for me. When I say bake, I mean chocolate chip cookies, cakes, pies, cobblers, and the delectable item we'll be discussing today; Brownies.

I erroneously refer to them as Fudgies while knowing full well they are not. It's just that they are so rich and moist, so chocolaty, and oh so tasty that simply calling them Brownies is a culinary understatement of a very high magnitude. For the Chocolate novice or Brownie newbie; let me educate you about what makes for superior Brownies.

Have you ever purchased those gooey, greasy and nut filled little fudgies in the Convenience store? How about the Brownies available sometime in the Bakery section of your local grocery store? If you have then let me tell you this...You have been eating counterfeits. While either of the above mentioned might temporarily alleviate a minor "Chocolate Jones", the unpleasant aftertastes and sometimes unpleasant or unfulfilling textures do not hold up to my wife's Brownies.

Great Brownies are possessed of a moist but never greasy texture. They will crumble slightly, but when the crumbs are crushed they stick to your fork, finger or whatever. Good Brownies, properly stored, will stay moist and fresh for up to two weeks, though few have made it that long in our house. Superior Brownies have a dark rich color with the crust being slightly lighter.

Brownies with a crust overdone and too thick become little chocolate bricks in a matter of days and are not to be considered as quality work. Of course taste is the crux of the matter isn't it? How does one describe that rich, luxuriant chocolate taste; not too sweet, but definitely not bitter. Only a poet could do it justice I suppose.

Brownies may be eaten with a milk chaser, with ice cream or with whipped cream if you are feeling particularly decadent. However you have them, warm from the oven is preferable to later. There are few things on this earth more satisfying and comforting than the combined smell, textures and taste of warm Brownies with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. One would almost have to go back into the womb to find more powerful feelings of satisfaction and safety.

OK, maybe I jumped the shark a little on the hyperbole there, but you get what I mean, don't you?

The ironic thing about my love for Vicki's Brownies is that for the early years of our marriage I shunned sweets of all kinds. It wasn't until I was in my late 40s, after quitting smoking, that I rekindled my childhood love of all things chocolate.

Now I've found that chocolate goes well with Wine; who woulda thunk it? But I digress...

So my fellow husbands; there you have it. The 935,426th reason I love my wife. Might seem like a small thing to you, or it might seem like a big deal to some wives whose busy lives prohibit them from doing the same for their spouses. Either way, it's just another tasty reason why I love my wife.

The Daily Husband

Friday, May 9, 2008

Husbands and Tools

The blog posted on Thursday without any copy. That's because I stopped writing after the title. I meant to save it as a draft, but blew it. I knew I needed to take a couple of pictures of my shop so you could understand I'm a man who takes his tools seriously. They have languished in disuse as of late due to my laziness and other priorities, but it is still nice to know they are there when needed.

Now when I need them it is usually for an emergency repair or a postponed project. In the summer the garden tools take priority. There is much trimming, digging and raking to be done.

And though I claim the worst yard in the neighborhood, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy working on it. Quite the opposite in fact; yard work is satisfying, rejuvenating and pleasant, in spite of humidity, sweat and mosquitoes.

Pictured here is my work bench with pegboard above for hanging often needed tools. This little nook sits directly below my fireplace in the living room. I learned this when we discovered the chimney chase was rotted and leaking. I found a puddle in my small shop the morning after a rain. Thankfully that is in the past.

If you are going to do any real carpentry around your place you need a skill saw, a table saw and if you can afford one, a cut-off saw. With these three saws you can do everything from cabinetry to sundecks. I also have a 3/4 horse router (used for making moldings and for the Formica work on my kitchen counters). I have 3 corded drills and 2 cordless, one of which now belongs to my wife.

During our extensive remodel she took to the smaller cordless and I was happy to give it to her. There's something sexy and cool about a girl that can use tools. When we were putting down our oak floors ( the real kind that you nail down with a floor nailer) she learned to use the cut-off saw. (After a lesson in safety and proper use) Her help was invaluable and very time saving as we moved from room to room over a mulit-week period.

She now makes fun of the people we see on the TEE VEE how-to shows who have not used power tools. The girl definitely has skills.

In addition, I purchased a set of Ryobi cordless tools that includes a small skill saw, a reciprocating saw (very useful in demo), a bigger cordless drill, a powerful flashlight and a dustbuster. The dustbuster hasn't proved that useful, but the rest have come in very handy on more than one occasion.

My collection of tools might be considered a bit of overkill, but remember I worked in the trades for many years. You build up a stock of speciality and backup tools after you've been doing it professionally.

This ancient looking tool belt is actually my third. I had one while I worked in commercial glazing that is long since gone; then the second one lasted till I started hanging garage doors and it died. This last one, which I wore at times with suspenders to help carry the 20 odd pounds of tools, is my last one. I still don it when going up on the roof or working from a ladder. It saves trips up and down, if you put the right tools in it to start off with.

So my fellow husbands, I don't know if you are handy or mechanically handicapped. Either way, if you own a home and don't want to wait for someone else to do maintenance around your place, you need to get the right tools to do the job.

The Daily Husband

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How do you get your Wife to Relax?

My wife is starting the second month of her new job at the big-ass store. She is enjoying the people and the work, though the training schedule and shifting hours have been hard on her. She is looking forward to getting the new store opened and setting up a regular work routine. In the meantime she continues to use her irregular and less frequent days off to clean house, go grocery shopping or involve herself in some other arduous and time consuming household task.

During our A/C repair last week one of the techs commented on how immaculate our home was. (his words not mine) I explained to him that my wife thought the house was filthy and intended to give it a thorough cleaning. She did that yesterday during her day off. Nothing would dissuade her and she absolutely would not let me do it; because as a man, I am unable to clean to her standards. Go figure.

I know that some husbands would be delighted by this, but I am not. She needs to unwind and relax. It has been hard for me to get her to do it. I’m thinking I must come up with some ingenious plan. Unfortunately or perhaps very fortunately, I am currently focused on tomorrow’s job interview and attaining employment. Maybe I can help her relax by just getting a job.

If not, I will be loosening up the old fingers for a good neck and back massage and some serious pampering. I’ll have to be more proactive if she continues to resist my appeals that she take it easy.

I’m thinking a fuzzy navel, some soft music, and a good massage ought to do the trick. I don’t know what you have to do to get your wife to relax, or if that is even a concern in your marriage. It is in mine. The girl is a human dynamo. Sometimes it wears me out just watching her. Perhaps I’ve gotten lazy in my old age, but I prefer to think that I have learned to appreciate the finer things in life; like a good nap, a cold adult beverage, a good cigar and of course the love of a good woman.

The Daily Husband

Friday, May 2, 2008

How you Know It’s Summer at My House

Summer is officially here. Yea, I know the calendar says different, but I have a much better way of telling. My A/C broke down yesterday, just when I needed it. Our master bedroom and my office are on the second floor of our home and it got very warm up there.

I called the local A/C company and two guys are currently working on repairing the unit that provides cool air to the upstairs. They are very nice guys and seem to be doing a great job. Of course there will be some cost associated with that as well. When you’re out of work and pinching pennies every unscheduled outlay is tough. I am now supremely motivated to find a job.

Speaking of jobs; it turns out the A/C company is looking for a salesman. My resume, recommendation letter and a good cover letter will accompany my check back to their office. The tech rep has pledged to get it to the boss.

If I get work from this event then having some A/C repairs will turn out to be a blessing in addition to providing cool air for sleeping and working upstairs.

I know I promised not to mention viruses again, but today my laptop computer had more virus issues. I spent time on the phone with the Trend Micro people and I hope it is resolved. I don’t really know yet because as soon as I fixed the virus problem my DSL went down.

A guy could get a complex with stuff like this happening. The only thing good about it is if bad things come in threes then I should be done with em for a while.

Anyway…..Life goes on, I continue to write, look for work and do my best to keep the old homestead in shape.

The Daily Husband