Category: Comedy

An excerpt from my gardening routine

It’s very rare that I’m blessed with large chunks of time to tend to my garden. The more likely scenario is that I’ve got a half-hour before heading to work in the morning. Or 15 minutes between conference calls. Or 7 minutes before the family emerges outside and insists that we depart for vacation.

Those tiny pockets of time are crucial in terms of prioritizing what needs to get done. I’m not above setting a schedule for the week where I identify my potential “gardening available time” or GAT as it’s known in my household. Each GAT is assigned one or two must-do tasks (logged in Excel of course), knowing that I must also eradicate a few weeds along the way.

No f’n around with this gardening stuff.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled the results of one of my recent GAT sessions. This one ended up with a duration of 17 minutes and I like to think it’s a realistic representation of how these sessions typically proceed.

Enjoy.


As with everything in my life, it all starts with coffee. It doesn’t have to be morning coffee only. I enjoy and take advantage of its caffeine prowess throughout the day.

As I finish my last cup, I start to get myself pumped up. A few grunts here and a few air punches there and I’m primed to go. By the time I’m done, I have my game-face on.

Once I’m good and fired up, I head out to the garage and step into my favorite boots. Take notice of the length of the laces. I’ve never tied them over the years out of pure laziness and as a result, they’ve slowly torn off over time. I may have mistaken the pieces of lace as a small snake more than once over the years.

Once the footwear is secured, I head over to my collection of garden “stuff” and grab what I deem necessary for the current GAT.

For today, I determined that I’d first put on my trusty gloves and just do a quick walk around the garden before determining what was to be accomplished first. These Atlas Nitrile gloves are the absolute best by the way.

Yes, there are holes emerging at the fingertips, but I’ve used these extensively for three years running. And yes, that is a Fitbit on my wrist. I’ll often purposely forget a tool just so I can walk back to the garage and retrieve it, therefore upping my step totals.

So shoes and gloves are on and now it’s time to determine where we attack first. And I say “attack” because that has to be the mentality when there is limited time. I take a right turn out of the garage and down this path, into the backyard.

Once I’ve traversed the path, I glance to the right to evaluate this section of garden. It’s a somewhat young and developing section and I initially wanted to tweak it a little bit. Fill in some gaps, prune a bit or even relocate a shrub here from elsewhere in the garden. After 13 seconds of reflection, I decide to hold off for now as it quickly slides down the priority list.

We move on.

But first I get a close look at this apple tree and get sad and really angry. Year two and it looks like a pile of hot garbage. But I can’t revel in the anger right now. It needs to be pushed to the subconscious.

Shit, how did I end up here? Now I’m looking at the Northern Sea Oats that have emerged from underneath the Amsonia. I frickin hate NSO.

Again, I can’t let that slow me down today. Just grin and bear it, John.

Finally, I make my way to task number 1. I need to cut back the very spent flowers of the Catmint ‘Walker’s Low’. They line my front walkway and look tired and unappealing in their current state. I can’t have visitors judging me as they walk to my front door.

Time to cut them back severely.

Time to take the walk back to the garage where I not only grab the required tool, but also increase my steps number. 

Yes, this is a battery-powered hedge trimmer because you know I’m evolved like that.

Wait, what is that? Let me put down the trimmer and grab my phone out of my pocket.

Sweet. Where was I?

Oh yeah, the Catmint.

17 seconds later and the job is done.

Clean-up can be completed during the afternoon GAT.

While I’m thrilled that the task can be checked off of the to-do list, it does result in the exposure of the poison ivy that has been plaguing me for years now.

I’ll have to schedule time with my wife so she can attend to pulling these.

While I was chopping down the Catmint, my peripheral vision provided me with my next task. Since I already have the trimmer out, why not cut down the Veronica as well? They are clearly in need of a haircut.

Boom. Done.

Oh how pretty. Look how that Veronica bloom fell perfectly on top of the Sedum ‘Red Carpet’. That’s a great photo, let me grab the phone again. Instagram, here we come.

What’s next?

Look at that, that one phlox I saved from near death in early spring and divided into 5 sections is actually blooming. Damn I’m awesome. I’m like the plant whisperer.

Back on task.

These three weeds need to go. They are destroying the view of this killer combo of Clethra and Panicum ‘Northwind’. This has gone on for too long.

With one single-handed grasp and pull …

… they’re all gone, roots and all.

While I’m ruthless with the weeds, I’m still careful to not remove my nearby struggling New York Ironweed during the carnage.

How much better does this little vignette look now?

One last task before we head back indoors. Time to hand prune these other Veronica plants out back … wait … is that what I think it is? … yes it is … screw these pruners

MUST … TRACK … DOWN

A response to me from 42 hours and 23 minutes in the past

Dear John From What was Originally 3 Hours Ago – 

This is a response to your open letter from two days ago.

First off, the name makes no sense any longer. I can’t keep track of who is who, are you now “John from 42 hours ago”or are we back to being one again? I friggin hate time travel so let’s agree to stop f’n with the universe, OK?

Back to the task at hand.

By now you know that I/we moved that Viburnum.

I’m sorry to disappoint you but it was going to happen even with your efforts to go all Doc Brown on me. You knew this was going to be the outcome all along but I respect your perseverance. What I don’t respect is the cheap shot you took when bringing up “The Azalea Incident”. That was low and I’m still shocked that you went right for the jugular like that.

Need I remind you the success we had moving this Redtwig Dogwood back in the summer of 2012?

            

or this Ninebark back in 2015?


They look rather awesome now, do they not? 

I could go on and on but I won’t.

What happened to your sense of adventure and recklessness? This is us. Don’t listen to all those logical gardener wanna-be’s on Facebook. If we didn’t constantly tinker we’d get nowhere.

By the way, did you happen to notice that it’s been raining since yesterday afternoon? And that it’s been in the low 70’s and overcast all day today? Did you not think I looked ahead at the weather?

Let’s let all of the readers see how she looks right now?

Great right? You know we’ll baby her as much as necessary to get her through the summer. That’s what we do buddy.

So next time you think you want to call me out in front of an audience like this, try sending an email first. I’m not sure how that will work with time travel and all but you get the point.

I hope we can now move on and work together as one again. Let’s use that collective energy to eradicate all of the thistle that is threatening to destroy our 13 years of work.

 

 

All the best

John From Some Other Time or Whatever

An open letter to me, 3 hours from now

Dear John Three Hours From Now –                                                               July 12, 2017 3:37 PM

I know what you have planned. 

Don’t do it. 

Seriously, you know how this is going to play out. You’ve been here before many times and if you really look at the metrics from the past 20 years, has it ever panned out in a positive way? 

Look, I get it. When you have that itch, you need to scratch it. Don’t forget, I am also you. We’re cut from the exact same cloth. I respect your/our passion and your/our ingenuity and your/our borderline pathological need to tinker.

But that time is not now. You know this.

Logic has to win out here. Science will tell you that this doesn’t make any sense.

So I’m begging you, don’t do it. I will type it out bold and in all caps so you understand just how much I want you to not do this.

FOR THE LOVE OF PLANTS IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES, DO NOT MOVE THAT VIBURNUM BRACTEATUM ‘ALL THAT GLITTERS’ FROM ITS CURRENT LOCATION.

We are in the heart of summer.

It’s 90+ degrees outside today.

There is nothing but sun beating down on the garden right now.

You won’t be around very much the next few days and won’t be able to give it the necessary water.

The poor thing won’t survive. 

I didn’t want to go there, but remember the “Azalea Incident” from 2010?

I know, it’s a sensitive topic but you need to hear it. You need to remember how that made you feel. 

Let’s not suffer together again.

I have a deal for you. Let’s not touch the Viburnum just for today. We’ll take it one day at a time if that helps.

What do you say?

Can you hold off?

I think you can.

 

 

Sincerely,

John From Three Hours Ago  

              

 

A weekend fishing trip

I don’t know if I’ve shared this with you all before and if not, I apologize in advance. I just thought it was important that you get to know a side of me that I don’t talk about very often on this blog. Revealing this side of me will hopefully serve in providing a richer blog experience for us all.

I am super masculine.

You may have sensed it as it palpably oozed off of these pages the past few years, but if you were unaware, you now know.

Getting this off of my chest allows me to take this blog in new and exciting directions. I’ll talk guy stuff like cars and engines and hunting and MMA fighting and motorcycles and meat. It will be killer and I hope you’ll ultimately agree.


This past weekend I flexed my manliness muscles in a big way with three days of fishing in Long Beach Island, NJ. The ultimate boys weekend. Fish guts, bait, beer, potato chips, football, farting and fist bumps.

Luckily for you, I captured the debauchery on camera so you could feel like you were right there with us.

Cheers.


Right off the bat, I made sure to capture my exploits on Instagram. Wait, what? Fishermen don’t drink local craft beers and then flaunt it on Instagram using the X-Pro II filter?

fishing-8

 

Oh, the goal is to catch more than one fish? So I shouldn’t be proud of the lone bluefish I caught? You can’t imagine the fight this one put up. Epic.

fishing-7

 

Is it safe to assume the same goes for my father as well? Isn’t the expectation of more than one fish caught over three days a wee bit high?

fishing-6

 

Next thing you’ll tell me is that selfies on the beach are a no-no as well. That beard looks solid though, doesn’t it? Did you say neck beard?

fishing-5

 

It took me a while to set up this vignette on the tackle holder thing. I like how the ruggedness of the knife is offset by the soft curvature of the shell.

fishing

 

I’m still not sure what the purpose of this “weight” thing is but it sure looks cool with an ocean backdrop in this shot.

fishing-4

 

I love the way the tree branches frame the entryway to the ocean  … I mean, let’s cast our rigs f’ers.

fishing-3

 

I had no idea shasta daisies could grow in the sand. I’d plant more to soften the edges of the decking.

fishing-2


So what are your first impressions? Excited about the new blog direction?

Breaking News

Frenchtown, NJ

The people in this small and tight knit rural New Jersey river town are in collective shock this afternoon after learning that one of their own has done the unthinkable; publicly denounce the ubiquitous and fall thriving plant known as “Stonecrop” (or “Sedum” to those garden snobs who throw around Latin plant names as a means to impress and ultimately intimidate).

John Markowski, a local avid gardener and supposed garden blogger, was allegedly discovered early this morning in a disillusioned state as he gave a tongue lashing to the previously mentioned “Sedum” plants in his sprawling garden. A neighbor, concerned that John seemed agitated and louder than usual as he walked through his garden early this morning, tried to approach him but was quickly rebuked by a look that he could only describe as “peculiar”.

Here is the unnamed neighbor’s take:

“John normally walks through the garden early each morning but he normally does so as if he were I don’t know, a giddy ballerina. The entire neighborhood knows this and we’ve all become accustomed to it. Whatever floats his boat.”

“But this morning was very different. Scarily different. There was an intensity like I’ve never seen before and the noises coming from within the garden were strange enough that it had both of my dogs barking incessantly.”

“I attempted to approach him to see what was wrong and all he was doing was mumbling to himself. All I could make out was ‘I’m done with sedums. I don’t like them and they will be removed from my garden’. Now I don’t know much about gardening, but I know enough to know that them there are the words of a crazy man. Everyone loves sedums, or whatever they are called. I quickly walked away and contacted my buddy at the local newspaper”. 

Upon receiving this tip, we immediately sent someone out to the property to monitor the situation but the self proclaimed ONG was nowhere to be found. We did, however, encounter a family spokesperson who offered little more than a “no comment” and “this family has suffered enough gardening drama to last a lifetime so please respect their privacy at this time.”  

We were however able to get this photo of what was allegedly the subject of Mr. Markowski’s wrath earlier today.          

sedum

Adorable and pink, right? 

After leaving the home, we sent an email to Mr. Markowski hoping to get his side of the story so it would quell the fears of all of the locals. Within a few hours we received a response and well, you be the judge:

“I appreciate your concern and the concern from my neighbors and all of the community. I assure you I am of sound mind and there is no reason for any drummed up hysteria. It is as simple as this: I no longer enjoy having sedums in my garden. They just don’t work for me any more or I should say, they just don’t “fit” any longer. I knew there would be great backlash if I removed and tossed them because the friggin world loves sedums, especially right now as we move into fall. I had to psych myself up in order to do away with them and that pep talk must have been what scared my neighbor away. You can all breathe easy, it is no big deal. As the years have gone by, my garden has taken on a look and feel of mostly native plants and the sedum stick out like a sore thumb. If it would make everyone happy, I would be thrilled to donate them all to the highest bidder, I mean first to reach out. Thank you for your concern. By the way, check out my blog at www.obsessiveneuroticgardener.com”

We’ll all have to chew on that one for a while.

We plan on taking some time to page through Mr. Markowski’s blog to see if we can further assess his current demeanor. 

Our best guess is that this story still has legs going forward. Dude has a serious case of too many ornamental grasses and not enough flowers in his garden. Just look at these photos we obtained from an anonymous source.

grasses

grasses 2

grasses 3

Something just smells wrong here.   

 

                    

Thursday Thoughts

Read at your own peril:

  • When a “farmer’s tan” becomes all the rage in fashion, I’ll be on the cover of Esquire. People were literally alarmed at the beach a few weeks back and my daughter got a case of the giggles like I’ve never seen before. It’s that bad … or good.

 

  • I’m way late to the party, but I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”. A must read for those wanting to explore their creative side more. Too many quotes to add here but just know that I’m creating things like this on Instagram as a result. Scary, I know.

liz

 

  • Speaking of inspiration, I’m still all in on Gary Vaynerchuk and vow to one day work for him in some capacity. He lit a fire under this mid 40’s dude like I didn’t think was possible. I’m also creating things like this on Instagram as a result.

gary

  • I have many book ideas rolling around in my head and they range from a “An Illustrated guide to what not to do when gardening” to “How Joe Pye Weed changed my life” to “How to survive deer and shit soil”. Would you read any of those?

 

  • I’m negotiating with my daughter to dispose of her swingset/playground so I can install a large and fenced in vegetable/fruit garden. On one hand, It’s killing me to end that era as I remember pushing her for hours on end just based on her smile and remember teaching both kids how to jump off a swing in style. On the other hand, this could be epic and I could teach her all about growing your own and how to tend to a garden that bears food. On the other hand part II, do I have the time for such a venture? #GardenProblems

To pull or not to pull?

I need your 100% honest opinion below.

If you’ve visited here before and know me even slightly, I struggle with my OCD tendencies and need for control when it comes to gardening. While I enjoy and even prefer others wild and bold and out of control gardens, it takes a lot for me to create that same vibe in my own garden. I’m getting better, but I still fight the need for order and tamed plants.

And if I could play amateur psychologist for a moment, this personal need for control but a love for the more “out of control” extends to my “real” life. I find myself attracted to those people who are more outspoken, have a louder personality and aren’t afraid to say what they feel. They are an outlet for me to live vicariously through them. I’m jealous of their fearlessness.

So are our gardening lives a true reflection of our real lives? Or can we use gardening as an outlet to explore a different part of our personalities? Me thinks this is something I’ve been working through for years now, even if I wasn’t conscious of it most of the time. There is a much deeper discussion to be had here at a another time. I just need some more time to mull it over. Because the same parallel can be drawn with writing.

Moving on.

So as I was touring the garden this morning, I came upon this bit of “wildness” (relative term of course).

ocdIt took all I could handle to allow the white and purple coneflowers to coexist previously, but I could justify it since they were of the same genus. But now things are getting all sorts of wacky with that random Phlox ‘David’ appearing out of nowhere (not really “out of nowhere”, I know how it found its way there. I’m smart.) I so want to pull it out to restore order in the garden and more importantly, in my troubled cranium. Proudly, I managed to hold off so we could discuss together.

Progress.

So what would you do? Are any of you as insane as me? Do you stare whimsy in the face and say “not in my house” or are you a normal human being who appreciates such fun and random and fascinating garden happenings?

Please tell me I’m not alone.

 

Dangerous Garden Advice Ahead

“Over promise and under deliver”

“Measure once and cut twice”

“Fool me once, shame on … actually, let’s fast forward to the fool me twice part.”

Mantras I live by, albeit unintentionally, in life and in the garden.

I’m not proud but I own it. My therapist would be proud.

With that in mind, here are six things I won’t be doing in the garden this season. I’m sure you’re sick of all those positive blog posts encouraging you with ways to make your garden shine. You want justification to be lazy and skimp on all that work. I get that and that is what I am here to do for you today.

So with that in mind, my goal in sharing these shortcomings with you is that you’ll either:

a. Do the opposite in order to not be like this lazy and uninformed gardener
or
b. Feel just as comfortable as I do in ignoring them as I’ll share my twisted justification with you.

Here we go:

1)Get a soil test – every year I say I am going to do it and every year I forget about it amid the excitement and pressure to add more plants to my garden in spring. Call it lazy or call it having one’s priorities messed up, it simply doesn’t happen. While I get the benefits of understanding my soil and all that it is comprised of and what it is lacking, I’m to the point now where I know what plants I can stick in the ground and feel confident that they’ll survive in their new surroundings.

milk9

2)Fertilize – no chemicals for this guy, as I’m talking about natural options. I’ve read up on what works best for what plant and I’ll even go as far as purchasing the supplements, but that is where it ends. Maybe it is due to the fact that I have a “survival of the fittest” mentality when it comes to my garden; if you don’t like my clay soil and poor drainage and deer, f you, I know many others who do and they never complain. Or I could just be plain lazy (sensing a trend here?).

3)Careful planning before planting – I could barely type this due to my howling laughter. L O frickin L. Planning is boring, true gardeners buy what they like and ask questions later. Almost all Some of my greatest plant combos/vignettes were created by accident.

misc g

The few times where I actually developed a well thought out plan, it bombed terribly and I ended up starting over.

4)Always properly space your plants – If you have “Plant Location ADD” like me, this doesn’t matter. No plant gets a chance to reach its full size before I relocate it. So I say stuff those plants as close together as you can and enjoy the lack of bare earth. If you are a patient gardener, my hat is off to you but just know we can never be friends.

5)Do not plant or transplant on hot sunny days – I’ll do it when I want to and nobody can stop me. Plus all of my best design ideas occur in summer when all plants have emerged and are thriving. That is when we have the best view and perspective. And I sure ain’t waiting until fall to realize those ideas.

If we continue to make it so easy and coddle our plants, how are they going to survive when times really get tough? Teach them young that it life is tough and they will thank you later. Give them some water and they’ll find a way to make it through.

6)Stop and smell the roses:

a. I don’t grow roses – thanks soil and thanks deer
b. Who’s got time to actually enjoy the garden when there is work to do.
c. Damn kids and their activities getting in the way
d. I’ll enjoy it tomorrow … after I divide this grass … and extend this bed … and divide these irises.
e. I have a deviated septum and have virtually no sense of smell

 

To hug or not to hug

This post may make future functions with friends and family incredibly awkward or it may resolve a decades long unspoken issue between many of us. My gut tells me it is the latter, so I’m willing to push on, all in the name of improved familial relations.

The truth is, steps were taken this past Saturday night to address something that has stressed me out for decades – the process of greeting and saying goodbye to friends and family. I know, you all go about it without a care in the world, a mere afterthought, but I’m just not that fortunate. If someone had created and distributed the rules when I was younger, I’d be fine. Simply follow the rule book and move on. But as far as I can tell, that set of rules was never created and that is a shame. I could have enjoyed life a whole lot more up until this point.

Back to Saturday night.

We were enjoying a hearty wintry meal with extended family, impeccably prepared by my better half, with the six of us (all sans children) seated around our dining room table. The wine was flowing as was the conversation. A lot of laughs were had and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to broach a lighthearted yet vital topic.

“Hey guys, on a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are all of you with greeting each other, friends and other members of your family?”  

Crickets chirped.

Silence.

Shit, I ruined a fun and carefree moment.

But I waited it out. I was all in now.

“Are you kidding, I never kiss HIM hello.” Yes!

“We see each other so often, there is no need for a physical embrace.” Amen sister!

“That dude goes right in for the kiss every time and I barely know him.” You’re preaching to the choir!

Nice, let’s get into it.

I am not an overly touchy feely type guy. No deep seated psychological issues and no parent to blame either. I am not anti affection, just overly sensitive to how others perceive my affection. I don’t want to ever do it wrong. I respect others’ personal space and hold it sacred as well. I also know that from time to time my breath can be somewhat questionable (TMI, I know, but I drink a lot of coffee). If I had to sum it up, it’s not that I don’t feel warmth from a hug or genuinely enjoy seeing someone who I haven’t seen in a while, I just struggle with the formality of the initial embrace.

In order to deal with this silly yet very real hang-up, I have created a robust, albeit imaginary, spreadsheet in my head that outlines the greeting tendencies of various friends and family members. I access it daily in order to best prepare for the inevitable greetings. This one is a “hugger”, that one is a “fist bumper”, that one practically wants to make out and that one finds an excuse to walk away at the right moment. With that important info in tow, I can navigate the sitch.

What made our Saturday night dinner discussion so enjoyable, beyond the beef tenderloin and popovers, was that I learned that I wasn’t alone. My sister-in-law and cousin-in-law paddled in the same boat as me. They clearly had analyzed personal embraces as much as I had. I wasn’t so strange after all.

The more wine that was poured and the more we chatted about bear hugs and high fives, the more we collectively realized that people could easily be placed into categories. Categories of how they said hello and goodbye. The extremes of physical touch and last second head turns.

Luckily for you, I’m here today to provide you with these specific categories. It is a great reference for those of you who struggle with social interactions. Feel free to bookmark it for future reference.

THE ALL-IN PERSON

You know who I am talking about. The individual who goes all in aggressively regardless of your relationship to them. A massive hug, a kiss on the lips and maybe even a face squeeze. I actually find these people to be easy to deal with. I simply sit back, let them do their thing and survive it. I don’t have to worry about my actions because they are oblivious to what I am doing.

hugging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BRO-HUG

These dudes scare me. Aggressively male and the hug usually follows with an unnecessary punch to the arm. The biggest question is whether or not there is a slap or two on the back after the hug. I usually let the aggressor make that call and I try to quickly return the slap(s).

Bro-hug

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BRO-HUG LITE

The most terrifying embrace by far. It requires one to recognize that a “lite” hug is coming and not the full-on version. Any mix of the two becomes unbearably awkward. Even if it is properly identified ahead of time, it is still difficult to pull off. One must rotate about 45 degrees and the other must remain with both shoulders facing their counterpart. The head tilt down is optional. And both parties must remain stoic throughout the embrace, with no words spoken. Terrifying.

bro hug 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

STANDARD HUG

This one seems easy at the surface, but it is anything but that. First decision, are you going in with your head tilted to the left or to the right? I prefer the left and decided a long time ago to stick with that in all circumstances. Second decision, how long is the hug? A quick 1 second or do you linger longer? I think of it as a formula where you have to factor in how close you are to your fellow hugger and how long has it been since you’ve seen them. There is also a height differential issue that comes into play. I’m 6 foot 3 and have to contend with this often. The last thing you want to do is rest the chin on the head because you cannot pull that off and not look creepy.

hug

 

 

 

 

 

 

STANDARD HUG WITH A CHEEK KISS

Oh lord I hate this one. I hate it when I know it is coming because I turn my cheek in anticipation and that looks weak. I hate when I am caught off guard and had assumed it was just the standard hug. It sends the message that my counterpart was not worthy of the standard hug with a cheek kiss. There is also a decision to be made post cheek kiss. Do you time it so the kiss and hug occur at the same time, or do you allow yourself to be kissed and then go in for the hug. And similar to the “standard hug”, how long does one linger with the hug. And for future reference, I am never the “kisser”, unless it is my wife or kids.

kiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HANDSHAKE

Relatively easy one between two dudes. One challenge is to up the other in terms of the handshake firmness. I like to win that one but some times the other dude is just built like an ox and it is hopeless. The other challenge is to determine if your partner may be a germaphobe and may not want to shake at all.

Where it gets really awkward is with the opposite sex. Is a handshake a bit disrespectful to a woman? Should it really be? What justifies the jump to a hug? Is it easier to just wave “hello”? Is it possible to pull that off without looking like a tool? I’m exhausted.

handshake

 

 

 

 

 

THE DEAD FISH HANDSHAKE

The biggest challenge with this one is to not immediately react to the corpse like hand and to some how garner respect for that same individual.

dead-fish-handshake1

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FIST BUMP

I guess this is the alternative to the handshake but I never include it in my arsenal. I think it is now officially a thing of the past. So 2010.

fist bump

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NO CONTACT PERSON

This is the one who establishes early on that you will not be making any physical contact with them. Easy to deal with when someone has already been identified as a “no contact person”, a simple “Hi” is all that is needed. Where it gets tricky is when you do not know for sure. It may be someone you met once before and didn’t get a chance to determine how they embrace. Or someone you’ve come to know better over time and when you see them it would make sense to now hug. Or someone who comfortably greets someone of the same sex but has different rules for the opposite sex. Even more of a reason for the mental spreadsheet.

No-Hugs

 

 

 

 

 

Look for an upcoming post where I’ll address the rules of workplace interactions including the holding of a door and how to navigate the men’s room.

You’re welcome.

Not thankful for the following

Here is what I am not thankful for this year:

Large kid themed shopping carts – I am proud of the fact that we never allowed our children to spend even one second in one of these awful vehicles. The turn radius alone guarantees at least one display will be toppled over each visit. Not to mention the aisle clog factor is way upped when these are involved.

Nip the whiny-kid-thing in the bud early and make them ride in a standard cart under all circumstances. Life isn’t always fun kiddo and being pushed around while eating animal crackers ain’t a bad way to go through life.

supermarket_cart

 

The Property Brothers – Dude. Enough already. They’ve been around for like a decade already right? 15 minutes ain’t over?

Twins weird me out in the first place and these two Stepford Husbands just make me never want to put on HGTV ever again. Admittedly, I’ve only watched a few episodes but that was enough to draw a definitive conclusion. Home rehab is never as easy as they make it seem and you should never knock down a wall looking that good/creepy.

You know the long play here is to make it into TV/Movies (their father was an actor/director … yes I do my research) and in fact, Drew made it into one of my holiday flicks which made me delete it immediately. I have more integrity than that.

Kudos though to some fantastic facial hair.

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My facial hair – no lie, that is like 4-5 days worth of growth. I’m an embarrassment to middle aged men everywhere.

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Food Network programming – I was a huge fan of the Food Network back in the day when it was all about the cooking and none of the showmanship. I blame Emeril for the inevitable downfall into celebrity and style and no substance.

But it is at an all time low right now with all of the game shows and 97 different versions of Chopped where 8 year olds are making appetizers out of gum and duck bills. And I don’t need to watch contestants try to cook while holding a bowling ball in their pocket. Thank God Ina Garten is still around to keep some of the original integrity.

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Canker sores – If you are a sufferer of canker sores, you know how damn frustrating they are. No truly known cause and they come in waves. Eating becomes miserable as does talking. If I tune out my family, they immediately know why.

This year they’ve been worse than ever and I’ve had enough. C’mon scientists, give me a root cause already. If it means I have to eat upside down, I’ll friggin do it.

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The word “frankly” – The definition is:

In an honest and direct manner

This term is way overused and IMHO, misused as well.

“Quite frankly John, I’m going to lunch now.”

“To be completely frank, I’m totally not sure.”

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The loose definition of eminent domain – The definition as I understood it (same goes for Merriam-Webster):

A right of a government to take private property for public use

Never in a million years did I know a private company could do the same all in the name of the almighty dollar. The ultimate wake-up call of 2015. We’re fighting it, will be fighting it for the foreseeable but already, there are good signs for us.

Check this out:

Cracks are beginning to show

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Round-up still being used – I’m no scientist, but I’ve read/seen enough to know this stuff is bad. I don’t need to see any more. European countries have banned it as a known carcinogen and it’s high time we consider doing the same. Just pull the weeds or put up with some already won’t you?

That is coming from a rehabbed obsessive and neurotic gardener.

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Facebook know-it-alls – I know I just dedicated an entire post to all that is Facebook, but with the recent events in Paris and the subsequent refugee discussion, so called layperson experts have emerged from both sides of the political spectrum. And damn if people aren’t downright nasty and aggressive about it. I didn’t realize how many people gathered all the facts in such a short period of time and have drawn definitive conclusions already. The days of civil discussion are done.

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