Giving Myself An Ulcer

I'm giving myself an ulcer. It's an early birthday present. I haven't done anything nice for me in a while and thought maybe I should correct that. So this is what I came up with. Loads of unnecessary stomach acid churned with my doubt, anxiety and penchant for eating away all my troubles. A truly unique present, that is presently always present.

So... We bought our house in January of 2005. What many now realized to be the highest peak of the California housing market in the last 20 some odd years, if not ever.  We sunk in about $100,000 of money that we made from a previous sale. After 7 years of blissful homeownership we have turned that $100,000 worth of equity into -$30,000.  I put it in red becuase it's so much more festive that way...

Hang on, I need a Tums.

Sigh. Okay, where was I? Right, drowning in a sea of former equity and listening to the sound of my stomach digesting its own lining.

One morning, in the not too distant past my lovely bride of 14 years turns over in bed and says, "Peter. I want to sell our house"

Not exactly what I was expecting, but okay. We had walked this path before about a year earlier and I had already decided that we couldn't possibly get what we needed to out of this place this we lovingly refer to as, "The place where our future died a cold and meaningless death." It's hard to put that on envelopes so we normally just abbreviate it as "home."

"We looked at the market just recently"
"I know, but I think it's possible."

After a brief conversation, I decided to acquiesce. I mean who cares what I think? If I'm right nothing will come of it and if I'm wrong... well, then we can sell this place and move into something more suitable.

"Let's try it."

So we did. And we are. The house has been on the market for about 10 days or so. I had forgotten what selling was like. The last time we sold we were in a boom market. We put our house on the market and had to beat away buyers with a stick. In fact we even got a bidding war and accepted an offer above our original listing.

That isn't what we've got now. In 10 day's we've had about a dozen and a half people come and look at it. Which means that at a moments notice we get two kids in the car and scramble around making the house look as inviting as possible. Counter tops are cleared of toys, towels, trinkets and tchotchkes.

These things are crammed in drawers, the dishwasher, the refrigerator or anywhere it will not be noticed by potential buyers. Including in the car with us.
Anyway that's been the last 10 days. Loads of lookers and no buyers. I feel like a retail clerk at the Neiman Marcus store. I have no idea what will be happening or if we will be moving or not, but the worrying about everything and stressing over things I cannot help to control is turning me into a nervous wreck.



Sorry, I just passed out there.
Calming down...

I'm not sure how I'm going to top this gift next year. Maybe I'll just give myself a lobotomy...

Bridge Sreet Re-visted

I'm re-vising one of my all time favorite posts. I got this crazy idea one day and it just sort of became this. Since there are so many new followers here, this should be something new for you... Enjoy!

"I said take Washburn Ave."

"I don't want to take Washburn, I want to take Bridge."

"Steve, you can't get to Madison from Bridge."

"Molly, I've been going Bridge to Madison for ten years, will you please stop trying to tell me how to drive."

"You should have taken Washburn."

"How is it you can't find your way to the grocery store unless you're a passenger in my car!?"

"You're just like your father. Steve, before I married you - LOOK OUT!"


"Steve, what happened?!"

"We hit something. I think it was a dog. Get out Molly, lets see if it's hurt."

"Oh. Its not moving. it dead?"

"Should we poke it with a stick?"

"Don't you think it's gone through enough! What is wrong with you! Get down there and see if it's still breathing!"

"Fine. ...He’s not breathing."

“Does that mean he’s dead?”

“I not a doctor Molly! I sell children's raincoats for a living! I don’t have a clue. Look, he’s not breathing and he’s not moving I think it’s safe to say he’s dead.”

"You should have taken Washburn."

"[sigh] Should we try and find it's owners?"

"Look at him Steve. He's clearly a stray, no collar, straggly, worn and tired. You should have taken Washburn!"

"Stop saying that! You don't think they have strays on Washburn! Look it was an accident okay! I'm sorry, I wasn't aiming for him Molly! I already feel horrible, you aren’t helping anything! Help me move him to the side."



"We have to eat him."


"We have to eat him Steve. We have to eat this dog."

"Molly, what in the world are talking about. Look just get in the car, I'll be there in a second."

"I'm serious. Look at this dog Steve. It looks horrible, like it was never loved. Liked no one cared for him, and before he got a chance to ever find happiness we come and hit him. We stole all his chances. We don’t even know his name! We need to eat him.”

“I feel bad about hitting this dog but I don’t see how eating him is going to make up for it Molly.”

“It will be a way to show him how we appreciate him. That we cared, that he meant something to us.”

“Like the worst memory of my life, followed by the worst meal?”

“I’m serious Steve.”

“So I am I! You are obviously traumatized by this and I understand. Please just try and relax Molly. I’ll deal with this. ”

“No Steve, I’m perfectly rational, and serious. I just couldn’t stand knowing that you and your stupid driving sucked the life out of this animal and the we just threw him to the shoulder and went on with our lives. He deserves to be loved and right now the only way we can do that is to eat him. Steve we have to do this!”

“This is ridiculous. People don’t eat dogs Molly! What if he’s diseased? What is someone finds out?! How would you explain this to your mother? Molly what if he tastes horrible.”

“I doesn't matter. It’s our duty Steve.”


“-Steve if you don’t do this I’ll never forgive you.”

“Fine. Molly. Fine. I’ll load him up into the trunk and we’ll take him home and eat him. I feel like some crazed redneck out on a hunting expedition. I just need a plaid shirt, five less teeth and a hat with those ear flaps!”

“Thank you Steve, we’re doing the right thing!”




“This is the worst dinner I’ve ever had.”

“You should have taken Washburn!”

Giving Away The Internets

Such a strange new world we find ourselves in. Something that was once a sought after commodity is now cheap currency on the world market. It used to be that the thing itself was worth something, but now everyone is just giving it away.

When did we start giving away the Internet? Who decided that we couldn't charge for this anymore? Why is everyone convinced that free Internet is what we need more of in this world? Not that I'm complaining. Well, maybe I am.

Do you remember the sound of dial-up? That sweet minute or so of anticipation while you waited with bated breath for the connection protocols to finish their handshake?

"Hello, sir"
"Good morning!"
"I'm looking for 33.6k"
"Sorry best I can do is 3200 baud"
"Ah.. are you sure? I can try back later?"
"No, no... that's the best we can do."
"Alright. Shake on it?"
"Agreed. Welcome to the Internet"

And then you were on the Internet and all else was near utopia. Chatting with people halfway around the world, electronic mail and text based gaming. Could the world possibly get any better? For me this experience cost me plenty. @ 16 I bought an AST computer for $2,100 from Circuit City.  I paid for my own phone line in my bedroom and paid monthly for my Prodigy service. And it was worth every red cent it cost me.

Now here we are in 2012 just giving it away.

Yesterday I spent most of the day setting up free WiFi in our buildings. Free. No strings attached. You connect, you get on and then browse the web for nothing. No $2100 computer, no phone line no prodigy service.

What do they think people in my office are going to use this for? Edification? Looking up facts for clients? Searches for how to replace commas in Excel spreadsheets with a return carriage? No. They can already do that on our corporate Internet connection. They will use free Internet browsing for all those things we are blocking on our corporate LAN. A direct stream to all the stuff I spend months of time try to protect the network from.

Who needs anti-virus, anti-spam, web filtering and IPS level protection when folks can now connect their corporate computers to the free Internet and get all that unhindered via the free Wi-fi?

Because people need the Internet, for checking Facebook, Googling pictures of Abraham Lincoln and reading stupid blogs...