DPChallenge

My Day So Far…

It has been an interesting day in the Feit Can Write household.

My 14 month old son is sick, so I’m taking the day off from work to take care of him.  With a combination of growing pains, teething pains, clinginess, and a big case of the yuckies that may extend to his stomach, he is far from his usual cute and happy self.

Breakfast consisted of him shredding a waffle into thousands of pieces, then scattering those pieces all over the carpet*, like a miniature version of the guy on the Nebraska capitol building.

*Excuse me while I curse the previous owners of our home for installing carpet – and light cream colored carpet at that – in the dining room.  You had young kids, what the hell were you thinking?

With the floor cleaned up, and the little guy down for a nap, I started to call roofing companies to get estimates for the leaking skylights in our living room*.  The first place I called recognized my name, as the lovely Mrs. Feit Can Write had called them earlier in the week.  (She is usually on the ball like that).  I mentioned to the roofer that since I’d be home all day, it would be convenient if they could come out today while I’m here.  He said he’d pass that on to his estimator, who would call if he could fit me in today.

*Ah, the joys of home ownership…

I checked my work email, peeked at Facebook, and hopped in the shower so I’d be ready when the boy wakes up.  As I shut the water off, I heard a noise on the roof.  That’s not too uncommon – there is a maple tree outside my bathroom, and squirrels will sometimes climb the tree and scamper on the roof.  But this wasn’t a squirrel.

This is where I should mention that my bathroom also has a skylight.

I look up and there is a guy, on my roof, measuring my skylight.  I’m dripping wet, naked as the day I was born, and completely in his line of sight.

I dry off, get dressed quick, and head outside.  I’m not mad (I’m guessing he didn’t expect to see that either), but since he’s there I’d like to have him look at our leaking roof so we can get an estimate.  Since its going to be embarrassing and awkward for both of us, I’m ready and more than willing to employ the Man Code of “It didn’t happen if we don’t talk about it”.

Except, he’s gone.

There is no guy on our roof or in the yard.  No vehicle outside – or anywhere on our street.  No business card in the door.  Not even some flowers and a note that says “lookin’ good”.

Nothing.

I went back in and called Mrs. Feit Can Write to see if she had received a heads-up that somebody was coming to look at the roof.  My phone did not have any messages or missed calls.  She had not heard anything, but she mentioned that she thought one of the companies was planning to just show up, and not have her there*.  She got a good laugh out of the story, and I’m guessing her co-workers are currently having a good laugh at my expense too.

*I’m no contractor, but I would think it would be pretty damn tough to estimate the water damage on the inside of the house if you can’t see it.  But what do I know, I’m just some naked guy in a shower.

I’m still not real sure what just happened.  I assume we’re going to receive an estimate in the mail in a few days, as I’m confident he was holding a tape measure and not a recording device.  But I’m also pretty sure that we will not be using that company for our repairs.

So that’s where I’m at so far.  Any minute now, my son will wake up and the possibility of me being thrown up on expands greatly.  If he does, I’ll probably get cleaned up in my wife’s bathroom.

It does not have a skylight or a window.

The Second Stupidest Product Ever Made (or How to Ruin Your Smartphone)

I receive a handful of Groupon-type emails every day.  I delete most of these sight unseen (I have zero need for laser hair removal, facial peels, and/or Microsoft Excel training).  But one of them did catch my eye.  Not in a good way, but for its sheer stupidity.

It is a protective case for your smartphone.  No big deal, those are pretty common – both on the Groupon sites and elsewhere.  A protective case is actually a pretty smart investment for those who have kids, use their phone a lot, or are a known “dropper“.  So far, so good.

No, what sets this product apart (and makes it the second stupidest product ever made) is the addition of another tool into the smartphone case:  a bottle opener.

We’ve all been there:  you’re out with your buddies, enjoying some delicious beverages, but…oh no!  This fancy pants craft beer has a pry-off cap*.  Never fear, instead of having a $2 bottle opener on my key ring or finding one in a kitchen drawer, I’ll use one attached to my $500 cell phone.  Sure, why not use my phone as a lever, exposing it to undo force, liquids under pressure, and my drunken friends?  That sounds like a great idea.  Maybe when we’re done we can use my iPhone to pound in this loose nail on your basement steps or play a round of disc golf with my Galaxy S III.

*I hate to stereotype, but I’m guessing the primary demographic for this case is not drinking a lot of craft beers or other beverages with pry-off bottle caps.  I’d wager the purchasers of this product are quite fond of beers with twist-off caps, such as Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light.

How a redneck opens a longneck (image from livingsocial.com)

And if the prospect of turning your expensive smartphone into a cheap bar tool is not enough to get you to whip out your credit card, just wait!  There’s more:

The bottle opener case comes with a custom app that will count the number of bottles you’ve opened.  (“Ossifer, as you can clearly see, this app says I’ve only had three beers.  At least that what it showed right before I opened the fourth one and my screen cracked.”)

The app will also play a song when you open a bottle.  The LivingSocial deal did not specify what song is played, but I’m guessing it is something by Nickelback or AC/DC.

You can also get your bottle opener case printed with different sports teams logos (because what team doesn’t want to be associated with the brilliant minds who would buy something like this), or you can upload your own image such as the rebel flag, Calvin peeing on something, or a picture of Nickelback.

You’ll notice that I refer to this as the “second stupidest product ever made”.  Yes, potentially breaking a $500 smartphone by using it as a bottle opener is pretty dadgum stupid.  Yet, this phone case still has a legitimate purpose, as opposed to the Stupidest Product Ever Made, which does not.  Sadly, I fear a new contender for the title will come along soon.

One Thousand Words (A DP Challenge)

Author’s note:  This piece is a bit of a departure from what I usually post.  For those of you who are expecting to read about the Huskers or get a snarky list, feel free to check back soon – there is much more where that came from.

I saw the “Weekly Writing Challenge” on the WordPress Daily Post blog, and was inspired to try something new.  The challenge (“1,000 Words, Take Two”), was to write a post based upon a picture.  While not a specific part of the challenge, I also wanted to make this exactly 1,000 words, which it is (minus these ramblings).

I’ve included the picture at the end of this post so you can see the genesis for this.  I’m curious to know if your mental image of the scene matches the picture that inspired it. 

*   *   *

Marco was upset.

He groaned and drug his feet slowly as he sulked around the kitchen of his family’s tiny apartment.

“You can pout all you want,” Mama said, “but you’re going to get your ass out there and clean up that mess you made”.

“Mm-hmm.”  Marco knew he had no choice.  He gathered up a brush, some rags, and a variety of cleaners from under the sink, dropping them into the old blue mop bucket.

As he walked out the door, Mama called after him “Don’t you dare half-ass this Marco.  I will walk by there tonight, and if it is not done to my satisfaction, I’ll drag your ass out there at midnight to do it again.  You got yourself into this….”

The slam of the door cut Mama off mid-lecture.  Of all the humiliation he’d received, this was probably the worst.

*   *   *

Marco trudged out onto the bright street, blinking away the early morning sun.  As he approached the scene of the crime, his home for the next few hours, he cursed under his breath, “Goddamnit.  The fucking tourists are out already.”  He plopped his bucket down and set up shop.

Why did he do it?  This was the question he could not answer.  Yes, he wanted to fit in.  Marco was tired of the teasing, the taunting, hearing “Polo!” called out behind his back as he walked the halls of his new school.  Maybe if he could show that he was tough enough and cool enough and bad-ass enough to be one of the New Market Eagles, he could transform himself from an invisible face to somebody who is known.  Somebody whose presence – in this school, in this city, in this world – MATTERED.

But was that really the reason?  Marco’s mind wandered like the meandering tourists behind him as he set about his work, rhythmically moving back and forth, up and down, side to side.  He thought about his old friends back home, about living in that tiny apartment above the Vietnamese restaurant that smelled like fish and feet, about seeing Lila again.  Picturing Lila always made the pain go away.  He missed her.

*   *   *

The clanging bell from the street car snapped Marco back into reality.  He had been at this for almost an hour, but it looked like he had barely begun.  Marco poured a bright purple liquid into the mop bucket.

Why did he have to do this?  What difference did it make?  Does Mama really think that if he served this punishment – “right my wrongs” as she always said – he’d suddenly be a better person?  He’d leave a bad path for the straight and narrow?  Did Mama think that he would fondly recount this story when he was elected President of the United States, became a judge, or one of the men in their fancy suits who never made eye contact with people who looked like Marco?  The thought made him snicker with disgust.

On and on he worked.  Knees aching, arms burning, a faint pool of sweat collecting in the small of his back.  Hunger was definitely setting in.  Marco could smell the street vendors setting up their carts.  The aromas from the hotdogs, empanadas, and other treats filled the narrow street and bounced off the walls into his nose.  Marco knew none of these delicious foods were waiting for him at home.  Today was the 28th, and Mama did not get paid again until the 31st.  Besides, Marco knew better than to take a lunch break before his work was done.

*   *   *

What was the worst?  The absolute, rock bottom lowest point?  Marco had been wrestling with this question too.  Was it having to face Mama?  Watching those stupid cops smirk as she lit into him, calling him “stupid” and an “embarrassment”?  Serving this punishment?  He still didn’t know.

Progress.

Marco knew it wasn’t just the shadows from the tall buildings blocking the light, the yellow was definitely fading.  His optimism slightly renewed, Marco attacked anew.  But the blue…That blue was being a stubborn little bitch.  He continued on.

*   *   *

More laughter.

Marco’s face flushed and his ears burned red.  The people and the goddamn tourists continued to file past, suppressing their bemused looks and giggles at his expense.  The one time Marco didn’t blend into the background was now, as he performed this humiliating and exhausting task.

And then he knew:  the worst was the realization that his so-called friends bailed and left him holding the bag – literally and figuratively.

The worst was that he hadn’t actually done anything wrong.  He had not helped to shoplift the paint.  He had not defaced any public property.  Hell, he had not even touched any of the goddamn cans.  Marco was just standing there watching the other New Market Eagles tag that wall when the patrol car crept past the entrance to the street.

That is when the chaos began.  Luis yelling “Cerdo!” – the Spanish word for pig – and running faster than he’d ever seen that fat bastard run.  Hector thrusting the backpack full of cans at Marco – why did he take it?  Sam, who was actually holding the paint, hissing “N.M.E.’s don’t turn on their own” as he bolted.  The forceful shock as somebody – was it Tiny? – shoved him in the back.

Marco tripped on one of the steps, the backpack and cans flying everywhere, giving that damn cop enough time to pin him to the ground.

*   *   *

And so Marco kept scrubbing the wall.  Kept cleaning up a mess he did not make.  Made by people who were not his friends.  On a building in a town where he didn’t belong.  Just so the one person in the world who loved and respected him – Mama – would continue to do so.

The blue was still being a stubborn little bitch, not wanting to come off.  Marco did not know it, but that blue would be there until the day he died, forever taunting him.

(photo by Cheri Lucas, via WordPress.com)

 

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