Tuesday, May 29, 2012

There's neat and tidy, and then there's this guy

Talk about a neat freak.
There is a gentleman in Idaho who recently opened the Museum of the Clean.
Huh? That was my first reaction too. What is a Museum of the Clean?
My teenage son has created a Museum of the Messy, but he prefers to call it his bedroom.
Anyway, the neat freak museum features several hundred pre-electric vacuum cleaners (I believe they were called brooms) and a whole raft of other tools used over the years to keep the home neat and tidy.
There is even an interactive game that encourages kids to keep their room clean. The game is just slightly less popular than the “Hey kids let’s iron our socks” exhibit.
The curator of the museum said people who don’t understand the concept “must never have experienced the satisfaction of making a toilet bowl sparkle.”
He is right and I’m OK with that.
I have never experienced a thrill when cleaning a loo, ever. I have cleaned loos before on many occasions I just never found it to be an overly thrilling adventure.
“Hmmmm, should I go paintballing with my friends and experience the thrill of the hunt or stay home and experience the thrill of cleaning the toilet?”
Oddly enough, I have never selected the bowl over the hunt.
When it comes to cleaning the house, I must admit the Missus is definitely in charge. I clean in my own man-way, but as most men know the man-way often translates into the wrong way.
I vacuum, mop the floors, do the dishes and tidy up (to my man standard that is), but no matter how clean I think something is, my wife knows it can always be cleaner.
That is one of the downsides of living with a perfectionist.
I can look at a job and say, ‘Close enough.’
To me, that signifies the deed is done, time to move on and think about it no longer and to go on to more important things, like anything other than house cleaning.
To my wife it means something else, like ‘You’re joking, right? That is not even close to being done.’
I do try, but just fall short of her standards.
I no longer have to do laundry because on more than one occasion I messed up the sorting process, which I have been told, is just slightly less vital to doing laundry than the adding water part.
So, after mixing colours and darks together one too many times I was banned from the laundry room, and I am OK with that.
That is the upside of living with a perfectionist.
What’s the big deal anyway? They all go in the machine, they are all swished around for a while, they all come out and they all go in the dryer.
They are clean, right?
Men, are you with me on this?
But if the Missus wants to do all the laundry herself, who am I to argue.
Besides, I am still allowed to do the floors, fold laundry and pick up after the kids. No problem there.
I have not figured out a way to screw up those tasks and be banished – yet. So my fellow male counterparts, if you have any good ideas please let me know and I will be sure to implement them the first chance I get.
Because when it comes to cleaning, we dudes have got to stick together.
I am not saying men live in abject filth with garbage lying all over the place. OK, I admit some men do live that way actually, but not all of us.
However there is just no need to take the cleaning process to an extreme level, also known as the wife level. Close-enough-clean is still clean. It may not be operating-room-sterile clean, but who would want to live in an operating room.

If Attila the Hun had a cat, this would be it

If ever there was a cat that could be classified as evil, it was Taz.
Taz was my niece’s feline and was without doubt the most ornery, angry and downright nasty cat I have ever come across in my entire life.
If Attila the Hun had a cat, it would have been Taz.
To look at the furred menace you would never suspect what evil lurked beneath the fluffy exterior. From a distance, Taz looked like a regular old kitty with long fluffy fur, almost begging to be cuddled.
But much like campaign promises, danger and misdirection lurked beneath the pleasant exterior.
I first encountered the wrath of Taz many years ago while visiting my sister. I was walking through the living room and Taz was sitting under a coffee table looking around like cats have done since the invention of coffee tables and living rooms.
I never gave it a thought. Who would?
As I entered the danger zone, Taz struck with the fury of an animal that was wounded, trapped, hungry, threatened and scared – none of which applied to this particular fur ball of violence.
He was just sitting in his domain, without a care or threat in the world and that made the attack doubly startling. I did not see it coming in the least.
As my left foot set down next to the coffee table, the kitty of calamity attacked.
This was not just a little swat on the leg. Nope, this was a full-blown attack.
The monster struck like a lion on a defenseless gazelle. It clamped down on my calf with both front paws before sinking its Dracula-sharp teeth into my flesh.
I jumped straight up and tried to shake the beast off of me, but Taz was not done his attack – not by a long shot. I was actually hopping around the living room on one leg while furiously shaking the other trying to rid myself of the beast.
It seemed like hours, but the attack was over in a matter of seconds and Taz the Spaz, as I call him, released his prey and calmly walked over to the couch, confident he once again established his dominance over the world.
Meanwhile I had to get some bandages to stop the bleeding.
I asked my sister what in the hell that was all about.
“Oh that. That’s just Taz. He does that once in a while.”
“Well if he does it again I will show you a catapult using a real cat.”
Taz has had anger management issues his entire life and he pretty much hated everything and everyone, except for my sister and her daughters. With them, Taz was a gentle, loving creature that would let my young niece pack him around like a stuffed toy without so much as a meow.
Taz was not too crazy about my brother-in-law and he avoided the Spawn of Hell as much as possible. My sister also had two dogs – a lab cross and a shepherd cross, both of which were much larger than Taz and both of which were terrified of the psycho cat.
Taz, who was named after the Tasmanian devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, ruled the house with an iron paw.
That is why a posting by my now grown-up niece on Facebook did not sadden me in the least. The gates of hell reopened and took Taz back from whence he came.
“My much-loved Taz is gone. I will miss you” was her post.
What I wanted to reply was, “Good riddance. The world is a safer place and I no longer have to stay up late at night planning to have a cat whacked.”
But what I replied was, “I am sorry to hear that. My condolences.”
Farewell Taz, the world is a safer place without you, but hell just got a little more hazardous.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why worry about these warts

They are associated with frogs, witches, evil step-moms and occasionally a humour columnist.
I am talking about warts.
Just saying the word ‘wart’ is kind of icky and conjures up unpleasant images.
I have such a growth on my left hand, and even though it is small I still feel like I have a Quasimodo kind of thing going on.
Nobody likes warts, they are like the hemorrhoids of the hand, and nobody wants to talk about hemorrhoids. So fear not good reader, I will not be talking about them now.
Today, the subject of discussion is warts and all the deformed glory they bring to the bearer of such skin formations.
According to some official looking website, warts are ‘small, usually painless growths on the skin caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV).’ It also says warts are basically harmless, ugly, but harmless.
The website explains various types of warts can be found on any part of the body – and they do mean any part.
Fortunately mine is on my hand and not other, more sensitive areas. Common warts are not spread from person to person, so if you want a wart you will have to grow your own.
The website goes into detail on how to tell if you have a wart – something I figured out without the need for expert medical advice. It also tells you how to rid yourself of said wart.
Wart owners are advised not to remove the wart by burning, cutting, picking or digging the wart out of your skin.
Well no duh. Sure glad a group of medical experts came up with that solid bit of advice. I was about to get out my Buck knife and a blowtorch to remove that sucker.
But, after reading their stellar advice I think I will take a less painful approach to removing the growth. Call me a wimp, but I generally prefer to take the less painful approach to just about everything.
Instead of sharpened steel and open flame, I opted for the tried and true method of Compound W to rid myself of the gross growth.
Before you treat a wart it is just a small, skin-coloured lump that, in all likelihood, no one would even notice – until you put Compound W on it.
Once you apply that goop, your wart is covered in a bright white coating that screams to the world, “Look, I have a big, hideous wart on my hand. You can now easily see it because I just painted it white.”
With all the accomplishments of modern man, you would think they could come up with a wart-removal compound that does not make it so obvious you are trying to remove a wart.
The stuff is clear when it comes out of the little tube, but give it a few minutes on your skin and wham-o, it turns bright white.
I am kind of pasty white at the best of times, but this stuff is like whitewash on a blackboard. There is no way you are going to hide you have a deformity growing out of your hand.
And of course the wart has to grow out of the back of your hand where it is near impossible to hide. I could put a bandage over the thing I guess, but the problem is the wart is on a knuckle where the bandage won’t stick very well, so I get to walk around with this big, white splotch on his hand that I can see out of the corner of my eye every waking moment.
And warts do not go away over night. Noooo, that would be too easy.
Nope, a wart has to be covered in the white goop for days, even weeks sometimes.
So, for who knows how long, the wart-infested person (that would be me) gets to walk around with a neon-white knuckle, repulsing young children, old people and everyone in between.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Murphy the Wonder dog is all wet

I was walking Murphy the Wonder Dog the other day when I became distracted by a shiny thing and stopped paying attention to the mutt for a few moments.
After I decided the shiny thing wasn’t all that interesting, I looked up to see my dog rolling on the grass. As all dog owners know, that is never a good thing. He had this goofy look on his face that made it clear he was really enjoying whatever it was he was rolling in.
I called his name and he came bounding over, still with the goofy dog grin plastered all over his face as if to say, “Wow, you will never guess what I found. It is half rotted and very stinky and I just had to roll in it. Isn’t that great?”
Yeah, great, now when I am done with the walk I have to give the beast a bath. That will get rid of that goofy look in a hurry.
Murph The Surf loves to run through the woods, fields and wherever else we can unhook the restraint of the leash. But, one thing he does not love, or even remotely like, is water. He hates the stuff. He hates having baths and will fight to get out of the tub every chance he gets.
A typical bath means Murphy will shake like you are dunking him in the Antarctic ocean, whine like he is being tortured and will generate Hulk-like feats of strength and ninja-like agility as he tries to escape from the fiberglass torture chamber knows as a bathtub.
He knows when he is about to get a bath too. Somehow he knows the tub is being filled for him and he often hides in the hallway closet.
Thing is, he usually only has his front half in the closet while the back half sticks out into the hallway. He is a smart dog, but he sucks at hiding. Murphy has never liked water. From the time he was a pup he did not like to even get his feet wet.
The closest he ever came to swimming was when he fell into a creek. He wanted desperately to play with our friend’s dog, who loved the water and was bounding in and out like some sort of aqua-dog. This got Murphy all hyped up and when he stepped off a large rock to get closer to his friend, he landed in a deep pool. The look of surprise on his face was hilarious. He spun around faster than I thought possible and began swimming for shore like a dog possessed. His already big, bulgy eyes tripled in size as panic gripped him.
The ordeal lasted a matter of seconds, but I must confess my laughter lasted much longer. Murphy was never in danger, he just got wet and he was not happy about it. He never did try to get to our friend’s dog again.
Choosing instead to stand on the shoreline and bark and whine. At least we know for sure he can swim, not that it is a skill he will use very often. I also know that for a little dog, he is very strong and wiggly when attempting to place him in water.
I am OK with Murphy not being a water dog. Every time we take our dogs for a walk and there is water nearby my friends have to deal with a wet, muddy mutt that they must towel off before allowing in the back of their SUV.
All we have to do is open the door and our dry little hound can just climb right in. But Murphy will have to interact with H2O whether he wants to or not, especially if he continues to roll in stuff he finds on the side of the trail.