Sunday, October 01, 2006

Easy Doggie Treats

Warning: This article contains material of an explicit nature, describing what happens when you leave your dog unattended with a bag of…well, you’re gonna read this anyway because you just can’t help yourself!

With every new pet that arrives at our house comes the phrase “Dad/honey, we’ll take care of it – you won’t have to do anything!” That’s my wife and daughter pleading with me to believe in the face of so much evidence to the contrary that THIS TIME they will take some responsibility for the care and feeding of the new arrival.

Before I continue, I feel compelled to provide some information that will be helpful to any Father/Husband/Partner out there whose family brings home a new pet without his approval. It boils down to 2 simple rules:

  1. Yes, you’re keeping the damn thing.
  2. When the dog shits on the carpet, you will be the last person left in the room when it’s discovered.
Take a few moments to come to grips with these facts and I’ll continue with my story…

One evening before trash pickup day, I was doing my usual rounds. This includes scooping out the litter box one last time and disposing of all the little bags of cat poop and clumped urine I’ve collected during the week. These go into a trash bag along with all of the other trash from around the house. On this particular night, I was in a hurry because I had an appointment to get to. In my haste to get out the door, I unfortunately left the trash bag of cat poop and some other trash I had collected upstairs in my bedroom with the door open. The dog was also in the house.

Now, anyone who knows dogs understands that one of their favorite snacks is cat poop. When I returned from my errand, I went back upstairs to find shredded plastic, paper and used cat litter scattered around my carpeted bedroom. Of course all of the cat poop was missing. Yep, that dog went through multiple layers of plastic, trash and cat litter to get to the tasty treats inside. I diligently cleaned up the whole mess, vacuumed and got the carpet back to normal. Shortly thereafter, the rest of the family came home. We enjoyed a good laugh over my story, had some dinner and settled in the family room to watch some TV.

After a few minutes, the dog walked into the room and paused in front of the TV, belly heaving. I jumped to my feet, but before I could stop it, the dog had deposited the entire contents of her stomach – a quart-sized puddle of dog puke with large chunks of cat shit and smaller bits of litter. This was NOT funny.

I spent the next hour cleaning THAT mess up, my family laughing at me the whole time. I did a respectable job but there is a noticeable, 12-inch diameter stain that will never go away completely. So, I let it stand as a reminder to never again get distracted when fulfilling my destiny as man of the house and resident poop-scooper.

Guys, please learn from my mistake and don’t let this happen to you!

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Have I mentioned how great it is to have a real, permanent job again? It’s made a huge difference in my attitude and I find that I get more done at home too, since I’m not moping around all the time. But there are still little things about corporate life that amuse, amaze and confound me.

Take my desk drawers, for example. They’re very nice – all 4 of them. They have a lovely locking mechanism that enables the key-holder to lock them all at once, should he or she wish to do so. The only problem here is no one seems to have a key, including me.

Once I got over the initial excitement of having my own, spacious cubicle, I was determined to locate a key for the drawers. The previous occupant of my cube said he never had a key and that hell would probably freeze over by the time I got one. I decided it was worth a shot, so I contacted “Facilities.” For those of you who don’t know, Facilities is the most important and all-powerful department in your building. If they like you or need something from you, facilities will provide you with comfortable, efficient surroundings. But DO NOT, under any circumstances, piss these people off! If you get on their bad side, you are guaranteed to be sitting in the squeaky, wobbly chair with one armrest for the remainder of your corporate existence!

Keeping this in mind, I contacted a very nice woman from facilities and requested that I be afforded a key to my desk drawer. She responded and told me that she would be happy to supply me with a key, but they would be replacing my cubicle walls in the very near future and would I please wait until this was done? “Of course”, I replied.

They did replace the cube walls in my area - with much shorter ones (so that now I wouldn't dare pick my nose for fear of being seen by passersby). And along with my new cubicle walls I received a new, locking overhead bin! With no lock – just a little tab thingy you can turn to latch the cover.

Forgetting how Facilities at my former places of employment operated, I came to expect too much: I further requested from the nice facilities lady a pair of matching tumblers and a key that would unlock both (drawers and overhead). She again responded that she would look into it and would I mind reading the microscopic numbers on the drawer tumbler and sending them to her? Since I didn’t have a microscope, Facilities Lady made a visit to my cube to check the numbers. Even she wasn’t 100% sure, but wrote down the number that seemed most likely and promised to see what she could do.

Weeks passed, then 2 months…

Until a couple weeks ago, when I decided to follow up. I sent a nice email to Facilities Lady, kindly asking if any progress had been made on the lock issue. She said she had ordered locks and tumblers, but was not sure if they had come in yet. Again, she promised to look into it.

2 more weeks…

Until last Thursday, when a man from facilities came by to install my new lock! “Woohoo, it’s finally happening!” I thought to myself. I needed to get out of the man’s way, so I excused my self to visit the restroom and fill up my water jug.

Upon my return, I found a key in the lock of my overhead bin with no facilities man in sight. Giddy with excitement, I tested the key in the overhead and was even more thrilled when it worked. Then I tried the key in the drawer lock.

And guess what? The key did not work in the drawer lock!! 3 months of waiting, asking kindly, trying not to be a nuisance – and I still have no key to my desk drawers!

So, I emailed Facilities Lady. I politely thanked her for getting me a lock and key for my overhead bin. I went on to ask if it might be possible to have 2 locks and one key that would open both of them.

Once again, I received a prompt response. She explained that she did not currently have any matching tumblers, but may be able to find a key for my drawers and would I mind reading the microscopic numbers on the tumbler and sending them to her?


Saturday, August 27, 2005

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Lottery!

Update: Yeah, yeah - those sneaky Democrats came back and voted in the lottery while one GOP senator was in the hospital and another was on his honeymoon, and days after Marc Basnight (senate majority leader) said (and I quote): "We're done, we're out of here." Get ready Tar Heels, you're about to be sucker-punched right in the wallet.

These lottery mavens are nuts. Really. They’re very concerned in a staged, frowny-faced sort of way that the hard-earned cash of low- to middle-income Tar Heels (and a few of the upper class who dabble) is flowing across our borders to (GASP!) Virginia and South Carolina. How DARE those other states outdo us in fleecing our own citizenry? We could keep those people right here, use that money for edjumacayshun and save gas, too!

Let’s be realistic here. If we take people’s money and invest it in their education, eventually they’ll learn enough to understand their odds of winning. They may even realize that the State of North Carolina is banking on their gullibility to keep the lottery going. At that point, the lottery is doomed because these newly educated folk will stop throwing their money away on State-sponsored gambling!

This is why many states with lotteries have begun to use the proceeds for other purposes. The money-for-education scheme worked so well that their citizens were getting too smart to be suckered in! If we’re going to have a successful lottery here in NC, the money must NOT go to education or we'll end up in the same boat. Of course, this takes away the primary stated purpose for having the lottery in the first place.

This just in: State Democrats may hold one more vote on the lottery before they really, really adjourn for this session. The difference this time will be that 2 GOP congressmen won’t be there. That’s enough votes out of the ‘no’ column to pass the lottery. Sounds like dirty politics to me: “If we can’t win enough people over to our side, we’ll just wait ‘til some of those party-poopers are absent to hold our vote!” When the Republicans pull this type of stunt, the Democrats scream louder than a football fan when his cable goes out on Sunday! Now, they're the ones trying a stunt to pass a bill that would cause more harm than good.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Design an Intelligent Plan of Action and Get Back to Me

Disclaimer: NC Steve recognizes no specific religion (or absence thereof) as having more validity than any other. He would not presume to know what is best for anyone but himself, which is poking fun at religious posers. If you are a peaceful individual who truly strives to live your belief (whatever it may be) and it brings joy and comfort to your life, STICK TO IT! I have no beef with anyone who strives to better themselves and the world around them without harming others to get ahead or prove their point.

How many times do we have to revisit this ridiculous argument? Would knowing how mankind came to exist on Earth change our way of life? Whoever was proved right could say ‘I told you so’, but we’d still have doubters who would become even more annoyed. We’d still have the same struggles and the same triumphs. More than ever, as a race (human, that is) we STILL need to learn to live together without killing each other and keep the Earth viable for future generations. I doubt finding out that we grew from amoebas or that some intelligent being had a hand in it (or both) would dramatically alter these facts.

But what about this Intelligent Design theory? How does it differ from traditional Creationism? Would our creator (if one exists) have been able to create our world without intelligence? If not, then we’re accusing him/her/it of being stupid (this does explain George W. Bush). If intelligence was required to create everything, then there can be no fundamental difference between the two, other than the time it took for creation to reach its current state.

There are some holes in this ‘new’ theory. For example, why were diseases included in the design? “AHA!” you say – “it’s to keep the population size under control!” That worked really well, didn’t it? I guess Mr. Intelligent mistakenly gave us the ability to fight and cure diseases (other than al Qaeda) so we could go ahead and over-populate anyway! If this creator-being is so darn smart, why do we have psychopaths, murderers and rapists? Why do the innocent suffer for the deeds of criminals, corporations, governments and…and…RELIGIONS?!

I know, we weren’t created perfect – we were created in what’s-its-name’s image. Apparently, we're MEANT to struggle and cause physical and emotional harm to one another! That way, even a murderer can later say he’s sorry, repent and get lifted into the heavens to join the innocent victims he’s already dispatched there.

Live your life, people! Find something productive to do, like write sarcastic humor and insult everyone! Whatever event(s) spawned our creation, it’s the future that has me worried.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


I have a NEW job and I love it already! I ditched the State of NC and accepted an offer from a local healthcare IT company. This company and I have been dancing ever since I met them at a job fair early this year. I even wrote about the experience.

The amazing thing is that the recruiter I trashed for not giving my “functional resume” a chance is the same one who passed my name along to the hiring manager. That manager called me in for an interview and I didn’t get hired the first time around or the second, but I must have impressed him somewhere along the line because eventually he made something happen for me.

So now, I offer this apology to Ms Recruiter:

Dear Recruiteratthecompanythatjusthiredme,

You don’t know me exactly, but I said some unflattering things about you in my blog. I apologize for this. You helped me in a way which I can only repay by helping our company succeed in any way I can, plus 20 push-ups. I plan on doing 3-a-day for a week (most likely one just before every meal), which gives you a bonus push-up. Why? Because doing that extra push-up demonstrates that I will exceed whatever goal is placed in front of me. Not by much, but what do you expect from a guy with a crappy resume? I'll get started on those push-ups right after the 4th of July.

Looking back, I realize how angry I was – not at you, but at my situation. I’d been out of work for almost 3 years and was tired of seeing the looks on people’s faces when I explained what I did during that time. I could’ve told them I had a sex-change operation or that I was a killer for hire and they wouldn’t have cared, but “stay-at-home Dad” raised all sorts of suspicion. I guess I was expecting the same rejection from you, so my account of our meeting turned into a tirade.

I want you to know that I’ve learned from my experience and from now on I’ll only pick on people who deserve it, like Tom Cruise. WTF is with that guy anyway? I suppose if I was divorced, independently wealthy and nailing a girl half my age I’d be jumping up and down on a couch, too! Of course, I’d do it at home so I wouldn’t look like an idiot in front of half the world.

See you at orientation!


NC Steve

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

No Safe Haven

One day last week, the network team informed me of a change they were making at one of their sites. I was called upon to assist by adjusting some network settings on a server (for you techies, I had to create a new DHCP scope, disable the old one and enable the new one at the time of the change, no big deal). I was told that the change would take place at around 11:00 AM and I should expect a phone call when it was time for me to do my part.

The call didn’t come at 11:00 and a few minutes later I had to go to the restroom, but I didn’t. I held on until 11:45, when Mother Nature finally got the best of me and I dashed down the hall to the Men’s room. While I’m sitting there, the door to the restroom opens and I hear Bill the network guy (name changed to protect the idiot) say “Great, I found you.”

I knew he was talking to me, but I was kinda busy and shocked that someone would address me while I’m sitting on the toilet at work, so I didn’t say anything. Pause. “Steve?” “Yeah.” “We’re ready to make the change now.” “Ummm, OK.” Then he heads over to the urinal as he explains the cause for the delay. I don’t know about you, but when I’m engaged in #2 I’m generally not in a conversational mood. Bill – that’s Mr. Tact to you – just kept going like it was no big deal. Thank god he didn’t come over to the stall door and try to make eye contact through the jamb (if he did, he’d be dead now).

I wasn’t sure what to do since this had never happened to me before. Did Bill expect me to do something from where I sat? I looked around to see if there was a network connection and a computer in the bathroom stall – no on both counts (though I’m sure some efficiency expert has thought of this). I resolved to finish my personal business while Bill prattled on through washing his hands and finally left – no doubt disappointed that I wouldn’t pinch one off for the team.

Eventually I finished my personal business, washed up, returned to my workstation and made the change. I wonder if I would have gotten the same treatment if I was a State employee. I’ve heard that consultants get treated like crap at the State level – now I know where the rumor came from!

Monday, March 21, 2005

A Busy Congress

Whew! Watching Congress in action these last few days has left me breathless. In order to show they care about America, they've placed 2 items at the top of their agenda. We might expect one of these items to be healthcare for all Americans or improving our educational system (sadly, educational improvements did not take place before some of these yahoos made it to Congress). These issues are important, sure, but Congress has set its sights even higher.

First on the past week's agenda was Congress' concern for steroid use among professional athletes. They just don't think MLB has done enough to curtail steriod use. They had to step in and do something about it, or our American way of life would be threatened! C'mon - if discovering and using an unfair advantage isn't the American way, what the hell is?

The second major threat to our way of life is a person's right to die with dignity. I want to applaud President Bush and our Congress for rushing back to Washington at taxpayer expense to restore a feeding tube to a woman who has been brain-dead for 15 years! Now, everyone's got an opinion on this, so let's get serious for a moment: How many of you would want to continue living in the state that Terri Schiavo is in? Not me! I'm on vacation at the moment, but you can bet I'll be working on that living will as soon as I get back home!

We live in scary times, folks! Congress is feeling its oats. Who knows what they'll tackle next? Government ownership of the NHL? A rutabaga's right to live? Better keep an eye on your congresspeople. You've heard the motto "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Well, the new Congressional motto is: "We may not be able to fix it, but we can sure as hell screw it up better than you!"