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South Houston is the new Harlem

I’m from South Houston. I used to wear that with a badge of pride. People would ask where I’m from and I would tell them. They would then get this weird look on their face or comment, “That’s a rough part of town.”

In case you’re not familiar with Houston, South Houston is rough. There are several rough parts, but South East Houston I am intimately familiar with. I didn’t realize how bad it was until after I got married and moved out. Now I try to stay away from it at all costs. It’s not that every part of South Houston is a shit-hole, its just that the ratio of shady-goings-on is a lot higher. Case in point.

Today I had to run some equipment to a calibration service place. I work about 45 minutes away with light traffic and the reason I took the equipment over was because they wanted $300 to come to us. Boy was that a great idea.

So I near the intersection where this place is located and I automatically realize that I’m in the ghetto. To be fair, its all the ghetto but the house on the corner with the shoes hanging from the electric wires looks like its held up by toothpicks and the siding is half missing. Needless to say the calibration place was kind of a dump too. I’m sure they do good work, its just that is looked…less than desirable. But that’s not even the kicker.

I go to leave and realize my tank is on “E”. I stop at the gas station, attempt to pay and my card doesn’t work. Now I’m worried I’m going to be stuck here and that’s causing the wheels to turn. I decided to go in and try to pay. Works like a charm. $20 on pump two and a big Monster Energy drink to pick me up from this whole experience. I walk outside and……some older Mexican lady is pumping my gas into a dented old gas can while trying to hide next to my van.

I start screaming: “Hey, that’s my gas. I paid for that!” (really it was a polite raising of my voice.)

She looks at me and just says, “Sorry, sorry” but continues to pump my gas. I grab the nozzle away from her and put it into my van. Here’s the part that pissed me off, she was pumping the most expensive gas. Now I have to pump the same crap into my van and waste my money, aside from the two gallons she’s already cheated me out of.

I’m so frustrated I drive off without realizing that I had left my Monster on the roof of my van. SMACK. PFSTSSSSSSSSSSSSS! That’s the sound of it hitting the ground and spewing forth is liquid energy goodness. Now I’m really pissed. I mean, I would have given her gas if she needed it. I’ve bought people gas cans and filled them up before. Because I’m a decent human being. Not someone who sneaks behind vehicles stealing gas and saying “sorry, sorry” with their whorish harpy mouth.

I feel like I might have taken it overboard on that last sentence. For that I apologize.

Anyway, so I leave South Houston as fast as I can. I don’t look in my rear view mirror. I don’t reminisce. I just drive.

You aren’t supposed to smell before the gym

As you may know from a couple of previous posts, I work out at about 5 AM in the morning with a partner. What that really means is that I set my alarm for 5, roll over, pretend I’m getting up a few times, and then hurriedly look at my phone astounded that so much time has past. This was one of those mornings. I’m downstairs getting my per-workout fiber one bar in and my partner calls me. Now, I’m headed out the door so I ignore his call since I can see his headlights in my driveway and I’m almost outside.

Boy was that a mistake.

What I failed to realize (had I answered my phone I would have known) was that outside my door was a beautiful little black and white striped woodland creature. I opened the door all cool and calm, locked it, and when I turned around there it was. If this was any normal event in anyone else’s life the skunk would have been frightened and ran away. Not my luck. As I tried to tiptoe past the skunk to the right I noticed a little pint sized clone right behind it.

Great, its 5 AM and I’m pissing off a momma skunk. Way to start the day.

So this thing starts hissing at me and I try to squeeze as tight as I can next to the van when Bambi’s friend starts turning on me. I’ve never seen a live skunk in the wild, but I know what happens when a skunks ass is facing you. I’d like to tell you that I did something much more macho that what actually happened. What did happen is that I screamed like a little girl and jumped to the front of my van (wrong direction) and then realized that while I did manage to place the van between the skunk and myself, I also couldn’t see it and it had no problem crawling underneath the van. When I came to this realization I hauled ass (where does that expression come from? I understand that when you are running your ass is behind you, but it’s normally behind you unless you’re some weirdo that walks backward all the time…but I digress…) to my friends vehicle and somehow did a midair somersault, opened, and shut the door in one movement. Don’t ask me to do it again, I couldn’t if I tried.

By this time the skunk and her skunkling (don’t care if that’s not a word I like it) were running through my neighbors yard. I was in the vehicle with my workout buddy laughing his ass off at my shenanigans. They say that the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. I’m going to have to say that the best part of waking up is not having to fight a wild animal while simultaneously trying not to get pissed on by foul smelling skunk juice. Someone should make that into a bumper sticker.

Cockroaches, Aliens, and the Easter Bunny

So, I decided to throw an Easter lunch for both sides of my family. When I say, “I decided” I mean that my wife told me that’s what we were going to do and I tucked my tail between my legs and sulked in the corner.

There were about 19 people and the sheer amount of food preparation I had to undertake was pretty monumental. I literaly ran out of cooking surfaces on which to heat food. I used the oven (all of it), the stove top (all of it), and the grill. By the time I was done it looked like a catering bomb when off in my kitchen. But everyone was fed and had a great time.

Afterward, we were playing around my back yard. I should point out that we have found various items under about a foot of dirt in the back: garden stones, tools, glass, nails, wires, etc. So I notice this large black square in the corner that was recently unearthed. Turns out its a cable hub for my whole neighborhood. Lucky Me. I decide to open it and see a swarm of cockroaches having a roach orgy in my back yard. Now, I’m open minded and I like an orgy as much as the next guy, but I found this a little offputting.

Later that night we were finding roaches (and these are the large german cockroaches) in our drawers and cupboards. They hadn’t been noticeable before, but I must have caused them to rush my house after revealing their hiding spot.Well, not my wife won’t turn off the bedroom light because of the roaches and I have to sleep with it on. Oddly enough, that night I had a dream that Aliens were trying to enlist me to start a new kind of energy. I followed them in a warehouse to a lift covered in cock roaches, to a loft filled with cockroaches and cockroach-like alien queens. They could turn into humanoid forms and they showed me that by inserting an olive in their asses they could power a small television. Whatever I ate that night I am not eating it again before bed. I’m actually almost ashamed to tell that dream. Almost.

I Stroke it to the East, I Stroke it to the West, I Stroke it to the one that I love best

The first time I heard about this song was when my mother went to LaBear (LaBare?..I’m not Googling it….) with some friends. But that’s not what this post is about, thankfully.

What I didn’t mention in my last post about finding the bag of cocaine was that after that all went down, I got a call from my brother in law telling me that my sister was in the hospital but was doing okay. Turns out she either had some rare acute migraine or a TIA (mini-stroke). This wouldn’t be that big of a shock if she wasn’t 27 years old.

Apparently she fell asleep in her car at lunch time (while parked at a restaurant) and awoke to my dad texting her. She felt sleepy and her eyes could not focus but she drove back to work. While at work she say down and read an email that said, “The planning meeting will be rescheduled for 2 PM tomorrow”, however, while she could read all of the words perfectly she couldn’t get them to make sense as a sentence. They were all jumbled. She also tried to respond, assuming the jist of the email, and could not form words using the keyboard. She knew what she wanted to type, but it wouldn’t come out.

Next, a UPS delivery man came in and said hello to her and she tried to respond but it just came out as babbled nonsense. She then was able to say, “Okay, that was weird.” but when a coworker tried laughed and asked what that was about she again responded in babble. At this point people in her office got worried and sat her down in the conference room. She had a pounding pain at the top of her neck and felt nauseated. She tried to call my brother in law but was unable to unlock her phone.

Fast forward several hours later (after she had taken a four hour nap) and she was now in the hospital. I came up to see her the next day and stayed pretty much the whole day while she was undergoing various tests. Unfortunately, at the end of the day the neurologist left without results or an order to discharge. He did, however, order an EEG for her. Turns out that he saw a spot on the MRI which he says is common but wants her to check every year to make sure there is no growth. That being said, the final diagnosis was that she probably had a blood clot that caused the stroke which was possibly a result of her birth control. I’d say that’s a pretty bad side effect.

I’d love to tell you what birth control it was, but I really have no clue. Something with an “M”, not Miranda.

Crazy stuff. Sorry, I know this article probably didn’t have the flare I’m used to giving, but I’m very tired today. It’s been a long week. And I rear ended someone yesterday (very minor) so I’m in a weird mood. Hope everyone else is having a better week than I am.

So I took my daughters to a cocaine party…

Relax. While there was cocaine, it was at a Chili’s so I really feel that they were ultimately responsible. Let me explain.

Tuesday night at Chili’s was “Daddy Daughter Night” where you could bring your daughters and decorate a frame with a picture they took of you at the table (which they didn’t have for some reason). They did, however, have candy and balloons and charge me .99 cents for “table entertainment”. The last table entertainment I got cost much more than .99 cents so I guess I shouldn’t complain. But table entertainment, really? It’s not like they juggled our food or worst costumes. In reality this was just making up for the cost of the candy and balloons which were “given” to us. Cheapskates….

But that wasn’t the exciting part.

Upon leaving the restaurant with my girls we stopped to let their balloons go like two mono-tentacled squids drifting into a sea of darkness. I know, its going to end up as liter or choke a pigeon, or whatever else balloons do, but my wife is deathly afraid of balloons for some reason (She crawled under a doorway that had balloons at the top at a friends party once) so I couldn’t bring them home to her. After that, we started to walk to the car when I noticed a small bag of grandmothers wacky powder lying on the sidewalk. I stared for a few seconds to see if I was seeing correctly because it was about 300 dollars worth of cocaine (or so I’m told). My next thought was, “I need to get this off the sidewalk before the other children coming out think its candy and pick it up”.

This is where my dilemma started. If I picked it up, I was putting myself in a lot of danger if the right person saw me. On top of that I couldn’t find a place to put it. I thought about putting it in the bushes next to the building. I thought about putting it in a trashcan, but there were none outside. What I did do was knock on the fire exit to get the waitress to come out so I could explain. Unfortunately, she could not open the door without sounding the alarm so she went all the way to the front and wanted me to come to her. At about that time, I saw three little children also coming out of the same door. That was when I decided to pick it up and take it to the waitress. When I got to the door I didn’t really know what to say. Here’s how the conversation went:

Waitress: “Is everything okay?”

Me: “No, not really. I found something but I’m not really sure what to do with it. I just don’t want any children to pick it up.”

Waitress: looks down and sees what I have and, mouth agape, just says “uuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh” for about 5 seconds.

Me: “Could you get a manager or throw this away?”

Waitress: “Sure, I’ll throw it away….” At this point she takes my bag full of my children’s candy to try to hide the small sack of cocaine. I take it back and force her to hold just the cocaine in her hand. In hind sight, I should have given her the bag of candy, I just reacted thinking about one of my children crying all the way home about her candy bag.

Now I’m not sure if she really threw it away or if she just thought she got the best tip she’s ever received, but either way I took the drugs off the streets for one night. Score one for the good guys. Well, that was until my wife yelled at me for picking it up….

Lump of Clay

Update to my workout routine. I thought I would put pictures up here but then realized that no one wants to see my belly fat at this point. So instead, I’ll take a before picture and another one in 4 or 5 months and make a post so that at least you will get to see the transformation.

Right now I feel like a pounded lump of clay. My legs hurt (I can barely walk up my stairs), my abs hurt so I can’t lean down or laugh/cough loudly, and my arms are now in a state of disrepair. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My legs finally stopped hurting bad enough so that I can manage a somewhat normal walking posture, instead of the duck-like waddle I had the previous two days.

What I’ve learned is that all the time I was at the gym working out, I was really doing pretty much nothing for strength gains. I was bulking up and looking strong, but now I have had my illusion completely destroyed and feel like a tiny shrimp in a see of testosterone. The good news is that I have a starting place. I now have a goal and a path to progress toward. That being said, I still have to make it through the rest of the workouts. So far I’ve only done legs, abs, and chest. I have yet to do arms, back, and whatever other crazy muscle this guy might come up with.

I’ve now been to the point of complete humiliation as far as strength is concerned. There is nothing more intimidating than a grown man trying to push up an empty bar at the end of his workout and finding that his muscles are so eviscerated that he can barely manage one set with no weight on the bar. From the depths we rise.

I will pump you up!!!!

This title easily could have been replaced by a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a rastafari hat yelling (it will make sense later).

So my lovely, beautiful and gracious wife decided to watch our neighbors kids after school for $100 a week. She’ll have them for about 2.5 hours and there are two boys (6 and 7) and a girl (9). The kids seems a bit hyper but I bet they’re okay as kids generally go. This meaning in the hour they were at my house last night with their parents they didn’t break anything, put a hole in my sheetrock, or teach my kids any foul words (they didn’t already know).

We don’t actually know these neighbors well. They moved down from Michigan and the dad is a lawyer and the mom works somewhere probably making more money than I do. I get to talking to the guy and find out he was in the Navy like I was and he went to college on a wresting scholarship, which doesn’t surprise me because his neck looks like a tree trunk. The funny thing is that the guy is huge and muscly but talks like Mike Tyson. Super nice guy though.

Anyway, he invites me to go work out with him at 5 AM (yes, I do have a death wish) because he finds out we got to the same gym. “Go” being used loosely as I have not set foot in any gym since before my wreck in September. Now, mind you, I had no illusions about what this event was going to be like but I went anyway.

We show up at the gym and I’m wondering how we are going to do the same workouts when I know he will be able to put up much, much more weight than me. We first do leg presses (it’s leg day for him), which start out fine at 225 lbs on an incline. Then he puts on 450 and I try and almost squish myself. Luckily there is a safety lever which prevented me from becoming a pancake. Still, he had to get on the machine and push the weight back up which was frankly embarrassing. I lowered it down to 315 and stayed there but Jamaican Hercules (did I mention he’s Jamaican?) is working out with 720 lbs. Not maxing. The guy is doing reps of 15.

To make a long, embarrassing, and pathetic story short I hung in there in awe every time he would lift some huge weight until the last machine. Right before the last machine I started feeling light headed and nauseous so I sat the last exercise out. He looked concerned, but I felt in control. Until the car ride home. 

About halfway to the house I had to have him pull over and I spilled what little contents were in my stomach on the side of the road. His comment to me was that I should have eaten some protein. I’m not sure that lifting weights that I was uncomfortable with for an hour without a break didn’t play a part but protein…sure….why not. When I got home I tried to climb the stairs to my bedroom to shower. I say tried even though I succeeded because it was less of what we conventionally call “climbing stairs” and more reminiscent of spider man on mushrooms and muscle relaxers trying to climb stairs. I’m pretty sure I invented a new sport in doing so.

All this being said, I’m still planning to go work out four more times the next week. So I will update everyone if I am still alive…and can lift my arms as high as the keyboard.

I JUST WANT TO DRINK MY BEER

Felt like writing a poem which wouldn’t merit its way into my “LiteraryWorx” blog but would still be entertaining (if only to me).

 

I don’t want to work or think,

I just want to tip my glass and drink.

Until the last sad drop drips,

The Golden nectar passes my awaiting lips.

I just want to drink my beer,

I just want to sit right here.

Why should I have to think and toil,

when I have this stout as thick as oil.

Why should I have to even bother,

when I have this crisp, refreshing lager.

I don’t want to hear you moan and wail,

I just want to drink my ale.

Until the last drop drip, drip, drips.

I just want to drink my beer.

 

 

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That title pretty much sums up my day. Warning: Ranting and cussing may ensue.

 

Well, fuck.

 

That is also a title that might do well to describe my day/week. So let me catch you up since my rosy and sun-shiney last post has twisted and malformed a bit into a spiteful and venomous vernacular cobra. So, this week started off with me getting severely slammed with a mountain of work. Last week, dead. This week, cataclysmic apocalypse of mountainous work. This didn’t hinder me or oppress me for the most part actually. I looked forward to monotonously weeding through it and making some money (my work is project based). Then the wall of kittens and rainbows came crashing down around me.

As you know from the last post, I decided to go back to school. I have my government education assistance filed, my transcripts sent, and my application accepted. This, unfortunately, falling under the pretense that my company would provide me with education assistance as I was informed would be provided to me after 1 year of working at my job. I picked out the degree that aligned with my job, waiting the allotted time, filled out the forms, and now some harpy of an HR woman is getting snarky with me and telling me that they will only provide education assistance if they feel it “meets business needs”.

So, I pick a degree that is specific to the job I am currently doing, you wave this carrot in front of my face and then you smack the carrot away and say “I’m only going to give it to you if I feel it benefits me”. Well, funk all dat noise. I’ve busted my ass in this job. I’ve gotten a job offer making almost twice what I’m making now in a higher position and don’t take it because I am loyal and trying to be honest and professional and I’m rewarded with this kind of crap.

So you know, this is only the straw that broke the camels back. There were several other issues that led to this. No raises because they don’t have business model for our lab yet, me being told from another HR person that as a non-degreed employee I was “in the wasteland” because they have no career progression path, and me working 7 days a week for several months which directly correlated to my department (of which I am the sole employee who works in the lab) being the only department to meet its financial goals and them awarding my supervisor thousands of dollars and patting him on the back and what do I get? A hamburger. No shit. They bought me a hamburger and said, “Good Job.”

If you can’t tell I’m a bit fed up. And I’m fully aware that there are people in worse positions with worse jobs. I used to have one. But I’m not those people. I’m in this job, at this time, sucking a big fat one. And I have to tell you…it kind of feels like sad. That’s it. I’m done. I’m sorry for ranting but I had to get it off my chest before I write an email that will get me fired.

Get me some learnin’

So, as an addition to the last post where I mentioned putting obstacles in my path, I have just implemented a major one. I received a degree of specialization in the Navy for Nuclear Mechanics and Reactor Theory and did some time at the university, but I didn’t attain a civilian degree. That being the case, I am in a company that distinguishes it’s employees between degreed and non-degreed to the extent that if you have a degree you get better opportunities for training, make bonuses, and move up quicker as well as have an organization dedicated to looking out for your well-being. If you do not have a degree…you are screwed.

Now I’m forced to get a degree or put a huge weight upon my shoulders. I am a relatively bright person I’d say so people casting me in the lot with manual laborers does not sit well. I don’t have anything wrong with manual laborers, mind you. Most of the men in my family were manual laborers or some sort (Mostly mechanics and technicians) but that isn’t me, at least not what I aspire to be. So I took the first step today and applied to an out of state college that would let me do distance learning on my own time and would accept most of my Navy college credits. I don’t exactly know how long it’s going to take me to get these credits or how I am going to pay for the tuition, but I will do it because I have to do it if I wish to improve my station in life.

I work about 50, sometimes 60, hours a week now so it’s going to be very, very difficult with work and the family but I’ll get it done. Here’s to challenges.

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