All posts filed under “Everyday Life

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Grocery Stores Don’t Care About Black People!

grocery

According to Zillow.com, the residents of my neighborhood consist of low income, high melanin content Americans as well as “foreign-language-speaking urbanites”; most with a middle school education or lower. Within a two mile radius, we have, what I would consider, an unusually high concentration of sex offenders. The street I live on is commonly known for its late-night prostitution activity. I have my own personal homeless Concierge who sleeps near my car at night, whom I’m inclined to “tip,” in fear that he’ll start pissing on my tires. On several occasions I’ve had to wait in my car for a drug deal to finish before I could get out and go to my apartment. The complex itself is flanked by a used tire yard on one side and a vacant lot on the other.

Hi my name is Eric, and I live in a shitty neighborhood. It’s not even charming shitty. It’s shitty shitty. But just because the neighborhood and its inhabitants leave little to be desired, does that mean all the grocery stores in the area have to be shitty too?

If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a mega grocery chain in North Scottsdale, and compared it to the same chain’s more “inner-city” locations, it’s easy to recognize a disparaging correlation between socioeconomic status and the quality of goods and services in each respective community. This glaring imbalance begs the question, is the neglect of grocery stores in low income neighborhoods a result of lower quality employees and managers, or do consumers in poorer communities just ruin everything no matter how nice you try to make it for them? I have a hard time believing it’s a direct reflection of the revenue generated by each location. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the profit margins are higher in the crappy stores because they sell inferior quality products at the same prices. All I know is all the fruits and vegetables at my local Sprouts are consistently bruised, rotten, damaged, and discolored while the produce at the one in Paradise Valley looks like it could be used for print advertising. It’s seriously night and day, and I think it’s unfair and racist! Granted, I have done zero research, and my conclusions are based only on the premise that poor, dark people are always getting fucked, but still… c’mon!

Do the grungy, low-life inhabitants of my tiny little patch of Phoenix not deserve fresh produce, properly stocked shelves, or dry goods that have yet to expire? Must we remain complacent when we know, good and God-damned well, that ALL the strawberries in the container, underneath the top layer, are moldy? Can a brother get a gallon of milk without dirty fingerprints all over the jug, and with a “sell by date” longer than two days? And how is it possible that EVERY carton of eggs has at least one broken one?

It’s clear that at a corporate level, grocery stores set aside the B-grade products for the poor people. Yet, they charge the same amount. This may sound cynical, but I might go as far as to guess that they actually transfer the unfit-for-purchase produce from the nicer stores to the crappy ones. Either way you look at it, in my mind, that’s discrimination! Why should my bell peppers be wrinkled and soft while others enjoy firm, unblemished ones? Why should I have to throw out 75% of my cilantro bunch because it’s all slimy and brown, while someone just 10 miles away gets to have lush green cilantro that snaps when you bend it? Why?!?! WHY?!?!? And another thing… what the hell is that weird smell in Food City?

In a way I feel satisfyingly self-righteous to finally be part of an oppressed group. Don’t get me wrong, I always think “The Man” is sticking it to me, but I rarely get a platform to express my indignation without seeming like a bitter, angry white guy. This time, however, I think my outrage can not only be justified but supported by my fellow neighborhood cretins. I believe grocery inequality has gone ignored for way too long, and I am going to do something about it! Starting now, I will boycott all grocery stores!!! I will start an Urban Agriculture Initiative and begin planting my own fruits and vegetables in the vacant lot next to the homeless guy! Together, we will use our own bodily waste to fertilize the crops (and maybe use a little to smear on my neighbor’s door knob for disturbing me at night with their loud domestic violence). I will then hire said homeless guy to run our own community Farmer’s Market, and after we put the local grocery chain stores out of business, we’ll move to the next city and show them how to start their own homeless poop gardens! From there, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York! And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House! Yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaah!!!

Who’s with me?!?!?

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Living With a Ghost

It’s been a little over a week since I’ve been without my cat. I’d be lying if I said I’ve been coping well, but I imagine it’s all a part of the grieving process. I never realized how much impact my cat had on my life; not just emotionally, but physically as well.

I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have a cat anymore because I still unconsciously move around my apartment as if there were an invisible cat weaving between my feet. When I wake up, I look to see where she’s curled up so I don’t kick her when I swing my feet out of bed. I leave the bathroom door open just a tad so she doesn’t start meowing while I’m in the shower. I open cans of beans very quietly so she can’t hear (I think it’s mean to make her think I’m opening up tuna.) Every time I open a cabinet door, I expect her to run inside. When I leave the apartment, I open the door barely wide enough for me to fit though so she doesn’t sneak out. I look expectantly for her behind the door when I come home. I make sure not to throw my jacket on the bed so she doesn’t cover it with hair. When I first sit down at my desk I lean to one side to give her room to jump up on the chair. When I go to bed, I get into my sleeping position quickly because I only have about 5 seconds before she jumps up on the bed to find her spot.

Now, those five seconds pass, and then there’s nothing. It’s an incredibly lonely feeling.

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Goodbye, Kitty. I Love You.

I put my Kitty to sleep today. She had a terminal kidney infection and was in a lot of pain. She spent the last half hour of her life purring in my arms.

My cat was my best friend. I love her and I will miss her.

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When Worlds Collide

The first rule of grocery shopping:

You DO NOT talk about grocery shopping.

No, wait… wrong rules.

The first rule of grocery shopping is not to shop on an empty stomach. Everybody knows that, but it leads us to the age old question: where are you supposed to buy food when you’re hungry? Fast food? Try to convince yourself that you’re only going to get the salad and only use 1/4 of the dressing that comes with it? Tonight I took my chances at the grocery store.

My total shopping experience lasted about 2 hours. For the first hour and 57 minutes, my basket contained a bag of seedless grapes, a pack of 60 watt light bulbs, two squishy stress balls, and a new paperback off the best sellers rack. Don’t get me wrong, I touched everything in the store: different cheeses, meats, breads, pastries, cakes, fruits, veggies, pre-made sandwiches and salads, and chocolates (Halloween is coming up and they widened the sweets aisle to the size of a 4 lane freeway).

Grapes were the only edible item to make the cut. I was feeling pretty confident and proud of myself that I didn’t succumb to temptation, but grapes weren’t enough to get me through the night. I decided to pick up a bag of sunflower seeds as well. Wasn’t sure how they’d go with the grapes, but it was the best “not so bad for you” snack I could think of.

With the seeds in the basket, I made my way towards the checkout line, down the snack aisle, and past the Doritos display. I passed it three times already. The first time, I took note of the display’s football theme: two football players running into each other with the word “COLLISIONS” sprawled in high-impact lettering across the top. Football season started up again this weekend, so of course, the consumers need to see an image of two football players colliding, because how are we supposed to know what to snack on during a football game if there isn’t a picture of a football player on the display???

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not swayed by marketing. Believe me, I’ve wasted more than my share of money purchasing products simply because they looked cool or yummy on TV. I just hate the fact that I do. It makes me feel so used.

Anyhow, the second time I passed the Doritos display, I realized “Collisions” wasn’t just describing the actions of the football players, it was, in fact, the name of Doritos’ NEW product, touting, not one, but two flavors of Doritos in the same bag. Oooooh… the FLAVORS were “colliding”!!!! Get it? Get it???

Well, woopdie scoobity doo!!! How ingenious to mix two flavors of Doritos in one bag!

Honestly, who gives a crap, and how stupid must they think we are with their slogan: “With two BOLD flavors in one bag, YOU control the ultimate Doritos flavor combination.”

Wait. What?!? Are you serious?!?! Hold on just a second. You’re not saying what I think you’re saying are you?!?

I control it??? I control the flavor combination???

Holy crap!!! WOW!!! I’m finally in control of my Doritos!!!! Before, I felt so OUT OF CONTROL; like the Doritos were controlling ME!!! In the past, if I ever felt like having two flavors of Doritos, I’d have to buy two bags! But not anymore! Oh no… not anymore!

So the third and final time I passed the display, I gave it one last disapproving glare, and that’s when it hit me. Twice before, I merely looked at the display. All of a sudden, I was actually SEEING it for the very first time. My eyes widened, my lips parted, and the words “No way!” fell out of my mouth and landed right on my shoes. What i was looking at, was NOT, what I had assumed would be, a bag of Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos mixed together, but in fact, was a bag of Doritos Brand Hot Wings & Blue Cheese Collisions Tortilla Chips!!!

All of a sudden I was in control of the ultimate Doritos flavor combination!!!

The bag was open before I even left the store.

OMG!!! Did someone order chicken wings? What??? What do you mean I’m not eating real chicken wings?!? Doritos??? Come on!!! Well then how do you explain the blue cheese dressing that I… what??? Doritos too?!? How is this possible??? Waitress!!!

I sat in my car with the engine idling for 20 minutes, widening the hole in the ozone layer, and basking in the flavors of my new favorite snack. Looks like it’s grapes and sunflower seeds for dinner tomorrow.

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21 Year Old Virgin

I started this blog a little while ago, then my cat sat on my keyboard (which has a “back” browser button) and erased everything I typed. Does anyone want a fat, too affectionate cat before I make kitty burgers out of her?

Anyway as I was saying…

I’m one of those people who never gets sick. However, once every year or two, the “never” turns into “hardly ever” and today is my day to pay the piper. I stayed home from work on account of a sore throat, runny nose, heavy eyes, and some pretty gross congestion. What a perfect opportunity to catch up on a little blogging.

The only real blog worthy event of these past few months was probably my recent trip to NY for Thanksgiving. Every time I go back, I kick myself in the ass for leaving in the first place. The good news is I got to spend some quality time with my family.

The flight over was very turbulent and I had to sit next to some guy who played with his penis for 5 hours. Like, he didn’t just adjust himself repeatedly, he literally rolled his penis between his fingers through his pants the whole flight. Maybe I should feel lucky he didn’t ejaculate. Either way, I was happy to get off the plane. I ran into a two hour weather delay in Baltimore. Surprisingly, however, the flight from Baltimore to NY was much smoother even though I was in one of those propeller type planes.

My family planned to have the traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday instead of Thursday. So when I arrived at my dad’s house, I was treated to a great meal, highlighted by Grandma Blanche’s stuffed cabbage. I’d been fiending for some stuffed cabbage for about 2 years now. Just writing about it makes me want some more. So good!

Thursday night, we went to Caffe on the Green for the official Thanksgiving Dinner. In attendance was yours truly, my two brothers, Justin and Jordan, Justin’s girlfriend Michelle, Dad, Helene, Blanche, Uncle Steven, Cousins Andy and Phillip, Steve’s girlfriend, Grandma Blanche, and Dad’s gay friend Jeffrey. Jeffrey recently emerged from the closet, but considering he looks and acts just like Christopher Lowell and has the voice of Harvey Firestein, I’m sure no one was all that surprised.

Dinner was very nice (I had the fish), however Helene prepared a banquets worth of pre-dinner snacks right before we left for the restaurant, so I could barely finish dessert. I did give it my best shot. The evening’s notable moment came when Helene (my step-mom) was having a discussion with my brother Justin about what he wanted to do with his life. She told him that whatever his thing was, whatever he wanted to pursue, it should make him happy, and she wanted him to be happy too.

What made this a classic moment was, by some comedic force of nature, the entire restaurant seemed to go quiet right after Helene finished her sentence. So what everyone there recalls was a sudden silence, followed by Justin’s response, which was “What if my “thing” is just hanging out and having anal sex with Michelle all day?” Because just seconds earlier, the restaurant was bustling and exceedingly noisy, Justin practically screamed his remark across the quiet room. The entire place spun around and stared at our table with horrified looks of shock and disgust. The reaction at our table was mixed. Jordan and I thought it was hilarious. Grandma, not so much.

Friday I spent most of the day helping my Dad and Helene tag merchandise for an estate sale they were running. Although it’s kind of creepy rummaging through dead people’s belongings, it’s also fun trying to piece together what kind of lives they lived. After a long day of work, we capped off the evening with some amazing Korean food.

By the way, my father happens to be famous at every restaurant in New York, so if you’re ever there, just say you know David Schneider, and they’ll give you a free glass of water. Seriously though, my dad and his wife are like local celebrities. When we go out to eat, everyone knows who they are, and they get free food. It’s incredible really. One Italian place we went has a dish on the menu called “The David and Helene”.

Saturday was more Estate Sale stuff, and we also went to the Mercedes dealership to test drive a few cars (unfortunately not for me). Jordan joined us for dinner at some sushi restaurant where my dad embarrassed me by letting the waitress know I was single. The funny thing was, before we got there, my dad informed me that she was single as well, but once she saw me, she miraculously had a boyfriend. When my dad introduced me, she said, “OH Meesta David… dis yaw numba won son? Oh.. I’m too old faw heem. Prus I would haf to reeve my boyfriend fust. Ha ha ha ha!” 😐

Saturday night, I went into the city with my brother Jordan to celebrate his friend’s 21st birthday. After drinking 40’s on the LIRR like a bunch of thugs, we went to some Romanian club where all the women were smoking hot and all the guys they were with were… well… Romanian. They all wore tight American jeans with pointy shoes and were very… um… interesting dancers. We had our own interesting dancer in our group so we were able to take on all dance challenges and emerge victorious. I was even able to simulate Romanian dancing to the point where I was mistaken for one of the brotherhood. One guy in particular put his arm around me and spouted off several Romanian phrases to which I responded “Noooo!” I figured “no” in English is the same as “no” in Romanian. It seemed to work because he just laughed and walked away.

We had a late night snack at a Cuban sandwich shop (deee-lish!!! by the way), and then decided to go to a strip club to look at boobs. Unfortunately we ended up with the only cab driver in Manhattan who didn’t know where any strip clubs were other than the most expensive one in the city, Scores. It cost $30 just to get in the door and we all chipped in to get Mark, the birthday boy, a special on-stage dance in his boxers. We were promised a bottle of champagne as part of the package, but we were totally horse fucked on that deal. The worst part was when the DJ announced Mark’s name to go on stage, he introduced him as the “21 year old virgin”. Ironically, Mark happened to really still be a virgin, and thought we told the DJ to say that. Needless to say, he was terribly hurt and pissed off. I yelled at the club manager, but got no restitution. We didn’t stick around too long after that.

By the time everyone was back in their beds, it was after 6am and the sun was clocking in for another day. I spent most of Sunday watching TV and recovering from pretending to still be in my 20’s. Grandma Flo showed up in the afternoon with Aunt Marilyn. Grandma just turned 81. Happy Birthday Grandma!!!

Monday, I flew back to Arizona without incident, and the gentleman I sat next to kept his hands off his penis the entire time.

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Ladies’ Man

When we last left our lovable, yet unlucky hero, I was being “evicted” from my apartment. I have since left that crazy situation and found a nice little place only a mile and a half from the last one. Although the commute is not as convenient as it used to be, I don’t have to worry about drug addicts and well… drug addicts. I think that’s enough to worry about.

I’m now shacked up with two new roommates, Seth and Hector; both of whom are 110% gayer than gay. I guess that makes them 420% gay. Seth, however, claims that he’s not really gay because he has no interest in fashion nor interior design, he just sleeps with men.

Being the only heterosexual person in our house, I have acquired a renewed sense of masculinity. I started exercising again, and I was successful in luring two ladies back to my bedroom (not at the same time). Now I’m not going to go as far as saying I fulfilled their every sexual desire, but let’s just say, one of them, I haven’t seen since, and the other is now moving to a different state and doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. They don’t call me Mr. Lova-lova for nothing.

Both jobs are still going well. Tonight was the annual talent show at the retirement community. It was a full half hour of non-stop singing, poetry, and dancing. A grand time was had by all! I really love those old folks. 🙂

As I watched them sing and dance tonight, I thought how sad it is that many of them may not be around for next year’s talent show. That’s probably the only downside to this job. You never know who will be there the next day and who won’t. So I do my best to do as much as I can for them while they’re here.

That’s about all that’s going on right now. I keep saying I’m going to write on a more consistent basis but you know how that goes.

Hope everyone is doing well.

Schneider… out!

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“F”

Good morning, childrens! Today we’re going to learn about the letter “F”.

“F” is for FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

Ok I’m done. So here’s the update:

I called the landlord, Harold, on Tuesday and introduced myself.

“Hi I’m Eric Schneider, I live at your property in Scottsdale. Do you know who I am?”

“No.”

“Have you ever heard my name before?”

“No.”

“Well then we have a little problem.”

I told him the whole story about how the crazy ass bitch rented out both rooms of his condo, using a fake name, pretending to be the owner, and now she’s living on the couch, has no job, and she’s selling his furniture for extra cash.

Well good ole’ Harold almost had a heart attack. He really liked the part about the furniture.

“WHAT?!?! THAT’S MY FURNITURE!!! YOU CAN’T SELL IT!!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OVER THERE?!?!”

“I’m sorry, Harold… it’s gone. Sold, paid for, picked up, and gone.”

I thought he was going to cry. Harold confirmed that Jools was supposed to be renting the place while his sister was away, but he hadn’t received a single penny of rent in over two months. The funny thing is Jools has been charging me $550 and Rob $450 per month, and guess what? Her rent to Harold is $800. She’s been pocketing all the money and using it to buy $50 meals every night and cocaine! I was actually relieved to find this out because there’s no way this story would be complete without a fucking drug addict. Did I forget to tell you she hasn’t paid the utilities either?

During my conversation with Harold, I told him, “Harold, I can only imagine what might be going through your head right now. However, I want you to know I am willing to do whatever I can to help you out. If you need me to make a statement to the police, or whatever, just let me know. In fact, if you want to have someone take over the lease on your condo; someone responsible, with a job, and references, I wouldn’t mind staying. Whatever you need.”

And what do I get for my efforts? What do I get for doing this fuck the favor of informing him of the scandalous shit going down here? What do I get for saving him from further financial loss and having to spend time and money finding a new tenant? A giant, straight on, full force kick to the fucking ball sack. Well, that and he also threatened to call the cops and change the locks, and informed me I’d be receiving an  eviction order. That’s odd, my birthday isn’t for another 11 days, but one should never underestimate the generosity of your fellow man.

So I have to move out of here as soon as possible; preferably before that nut job, Jools gets back from Lake Havasu.

Before I moved in here, my father warned me to make sure these roommates were alright, and I told him “Yeah yeah… I know. They’re fine.” Needless to say, I didn’t take his advice. What fun would that have been?

Excuse me, can you pass me the cyanide?

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Kick to the Jools

As entertaining as this story may be, it is just further validation that I am starring in a painfully tragic, yet funny sitcom written and produced by God Herself! For those of you who are not in the know, there is only one God and her name is Jennifer Garner, and I forgive her for that whole Ben Affleck thing.

Sooooo I got a new job. Actually I got two new jobs. The full time job is working for a web development company which builds websites for attorneys. The other is a weekend gig as a chauffeur / activities coordinator for a luxury, independent living, retirement community. Both jobs are great by the way, and I discovered I really love old people. I drove a group to the Cat Show last Saturday, and called BINGO on Sunday. Don’t be jealous.

Anyhow both jobs are in North Scottsdale, and since I had been living in East Mesa, 20 miles away, I decided I should look for a place closer to work. I started checking Craigslist, and after only a day or two, I hit the jackpot. Here’s the ad:

*************************************************
Date: 2006-06-14, 2:22PM

Room for rent in two bedroom, two bathroom condo. Room comes fully furnished, with 1 queen sized brass bed, 1 set of dreeser drawers, a desk, and 1 nightstand. Room has local telephone service and cable. Room has walk-in closet with organizer shelves. Room also has his and her sinks, vanity mirror, and private bathroom. Room has own private patio with sliding doors and private outside storage closet with lock. Condo has washer and drier in unit. Rent includes all utilitys and renter will have full house privilages. Please contact Jools at 480-XXX-XXXX. Will except couples for a hundred dollars more. I am looking for someone A.S.A.P.
*************************************************

Fine, she cant spell, but the place was in a great neighborhood, literally across the street from my chauffeur job, and less than 5 miles away from my full-time job. So really it was practically a no-brainer.

So I called Jools and scheduled a visit to check out the place. When I got there, I noticed there was furniture everywhere. Well everywhere where there shouldn’t have been furniture. For example, there was bed in the breakfast nook, two dinette sets in the living room, and random end tables, shelves, and upholstered chairs scattered here and there.

Me: “Whats all this furniture doing here?”

Jools: “Well, I bought the place from the lady that was living here before, and she sold it to me with all the furniture in it because she didn’t want to move it. We just moved in and now we have extra furniture and we need to get rid of it. In fact, we have more furniture in storage which we’ll get out once we sell this stuff.”

Me: “Who is we?”

Jools: “My friend Rob.”

Me: “Well where does Rob sleep?”

Jools: “In the other room.”

Me: “Where do you sleep.”

Jools: “We share the room, but were just friends.”

So we continued the tour of the house and we came to the room I would be renting. On the plus side it was a very nice sized room, and was pretty much how the ad described it, except for the fact that it was disgustingly filthy. Dominating the entire room was this monstrous king size bed covered in sheets that looked like someone wiped their ass with them. Yes, I know the ad said queen size bed, but as you’ll soon find out, not everything was how it was first represented.

Jools then showed me the bathroom which was even dirtier than the room. Every inch of it seemed to be covered in mounds of hair, wadded up toilet paper, soap scum, and more filth.

Me: “Why is this room so dirty?”

Jools: “This is where the lady stayed, and she left the house exactly how she lived in it.”

Me: “Well if it’s ok with you, I’d like it cleaned up before I move in. Also, I don’t want any of this furniture.”

Jools: “Oh of course it’ll be clean. It’s just that we just moved in and I haven’t had a chance to get to this room yet. And I’ll get rid of the furniture. No problem.”

Me: “Great! Another thing, I notice you have a small TV in the living room. I have a big screen which I was thinking of selling, but maybe I should just bring it with me.”

Jools: “Don’t bother, I have a 50 inch in storage, and once we get rid of all the old furniture, I’ll move it in here. That small TV came with the house.”

Me: “Oh ok, then I’ll sell it before I move. One last thing, I noticed you have a full-size bed in the breakfast nook. If that’s an extra bed, maybe I’ll sell my current bed, put that one in my room, and you can sell the king.”

Jools: “OK sounds good to me.”

So, I told Jools I’d take the room, and she and I spent the next few minutes getting to know one another. Jools told me she was originally from New York, so, according to her, we were bound to get along great. She said she was in a band, she was a chef, and she also ran her own clothing business. “Have you ever heard of 4Hate0 Apparel? Like the area code? 480? Get it? Get it? 480? 4Hate0? Get it? That’s my business.” Got it. 😛

So, that was the short version of my first visit, but if you’re a fan of my writing, you know its also a set up for the total unraveling of all my expectations.

After I left Jools, I headed home and immediately put my couch, dinette set, TV, coffee tables, and bookshelves up for sale, and within 24 hours, everything was sold. I hadn’t planned on selling my bed right away, but the person who bought my shelves was looking for a bed too. I had to sleep on the floor a few days, which I don’t recommend doing.

The night before moving day, I decided to stop by the new place with a pizza in order to introduce myself to Rob, and to make a little nicey-nice with the new roommates. Rob seemed nice enough: younger guy, not too quick witted, but whatever. Before I left, I took one last peek at my room to make sure it was ready for move in. It wasn’t. It was still full of furniture and shit and dirt, but Jools assured me that she would get the room cleaned out before I got there.

The next day, I spent about 8 hours packing, loading the truck, and cleaning my old apartment. I showed up at the new place during the hottest part of the day, exhausted, sweaty, and smelly. I hoped since I brought over a pizza the night before, they would be eager to help me unload the truck, but I was wrong. Rob said, “I’d help, but I had a hard day at work, and I’m really beat.”

Jools, however offered to help. First, she went outside with no shoes on, picked up one pillow from out of the truck, and slowly padded back into the apartment. She put the pillow in my room and flopped back down on the couch. “PHEW!!! It’s fucking hot out there!” And that was it.

Oh yeah, guess what? The room was still filled with furniture, and covered in filth, but at that point, I had no choice but to move my stuff in. It took me a few hours to unload the truck and find a temporary spot for everything. When I was done, I returned the U-Haul and went back to my old apartment to pick up the kitty.

The very first thing I wanted to do once I got back to my new place was take a shower, but there was no way I was going to get in there without scrubbing the shit out of it first. I grabbed my cleaning supplies, and turned on the shower to start rinsing off some of the grime. I reached up to adjust the direction of the shower head, and CRACK!!! The whole fucking shower arm popped off, ripping a giant hole in the wall! Water sprayed out of the opening all over the bathroom and behind the drywall. As fast as I could, I turned off the water, and called out for Jools who came meandering in to see what I wanted.

Me: “Hey Jools! What the fuck?!?”

Jools: “Oh shit! Ill call the handyman tomorrow to fix it. Good news is, we don’t have to pay for it.”

Me: “Why don’t we have to pay for it?”

Jools: “Well the owner pays.”

Me: “You said you were the owner.”

Jools: “Well actually, my dad is financing it with the owner, and until its paid off, the owner pays for repairs.”

Me: “Oh.”

So, you’d think Jools would offer to let me use her shower instead. She didn’t. I found that very strange at the time, but it would all make sense soon enough. I ended up sleeping on the dirty sheets, on the dirty king sized bed, in my dirty clothes, and went to work dirty the next day.

I called Jools from work at 8am and asked her if she called the handyman. She said she did, and he told her he’d be over in a few minutes to fix it.

At 4:30 pm I came home from work, the shower was still broken, and no one was home. A few minutes later, Jools walked in the front door, spotted me, and said, “Oh, didn’t the guy come back yet?”

Me: “What guy?

Jools: “The handyman.”

Me: “Come back? From where?”

Jools: “He was here and I guess he needed to get his tools or something.”

Me: “No, no one came back. I thought you said he was coming at 8 am. What time did he leave to get his tools?”

Jools: “A while ago.”

Me: “Then why did you leave and lock the door if he was supposed to come back?”

Jools: “Uh… I didn’t know when he was coming back. But he should probably be back pretty soon.”

Jools sneaked off into the other room, but I could hear her making a call from her cell phone: Beep bop beep beep beep bop bop. “Hi is Bob there? Hi Bob, this is Jamie from 120, there’s a leak in the shower, can you come over to fix it?” PAUSE “Uh I don’t know I think it’s…” PAUSE “Um, I don’t know.” PAUSE “You know what, hold on, I’ll let you talk to Eric, and he can explain it to you.”

So Jools (or Jamie?) came back into my room and handed me her phone.

Jools/Jamie: “Here, it’s Bob.”

Me: “Who’s Bob?”

Jools/Jamie: “The handyman.”

Me: “What does he want?”

Jools/Jamie: “Explain to him what’s wrong with the shower.”

Me: “I thought he was here and saw it.”

Jools/Jamie: “Oh.. no he sent over one of his guys, and I guess they couldn’t explain to him what was wrong, so maybe you can.”

Me: “So the handymen sent over another handyman with no tools in order to report back to the first handyman what the situation was, but he was unable to describe a broken pipe?”

Ok, intelligent readers, you can see where all this was going. Lie after lie after lie after lie. Bob did come over, and I talked to him. It turns out that Jools never called him until I got home from work, and he didn’t have “another guy”. Go figure. He also wasn’t a handyman, but that’s not really pertinent to the story. I ended up paying $125 bucks out of my own pocket for a real plumber to come out and fix it.

I’ll spare you the rest of the play by play for everything that followed, and instead, summarize the rest of the lies Jools told me:

  • Jools is not her real name. Not even her nickname. Just made it up. Her real name is not even Jamie. 😛
  • She doesn’t own a business.
  • She doesn’t work as a chef.
  • She doesn’t work anywhere.
  • She used to follow a band around, but was never in one.
  • Her dad is not buying the house. It’s owned by a real estate investor named Harold in Seattle. Harold has no idea she’s renting out the rooms, but a nosy neighbor called him to let him know that Jools has two men living with her. Now Harold is pissed off.
  • She doesn’t share a room with Rob, nor does she share his bathroom. She sleeps on the bed in the breakfast nook and lives in the living room.
  • She used to live in my room, and it was her filth that I had to clean up when I got there. Now that I’m there, shes been using Rob’s bathroom without his permission and telling Rob she’s been using mine.
  • Rob had no idea she was getting another roommate until I walked in with the pizza the night before.
  • She doesn’t own any of the furniture in the apartment, and has no right to sell it. I found this out after I sold the dresser and the king size bed. Now I’m stuck with no bed and I’m sleeping on the floor again.
  • She told me she gets $3000 per month because she’s part of a Native American tribe. She told Rob that she is petitioning the Tribe to get her share which is more like $500. Rob and I both think she’s not even Native American.
  • It’s very possible, although not verified, that Jools is only subletting the apartment temporarily while the real tenant is away for a few months visiting her brother. Her brother just happens to be the owner, Harold in Seattle. This is only a theory, but we’ll see.

There’s a whole slew of additional lies, but they don’t tie into the story very well, so we’ll overlook them for now.

To top it all off, I came home from work today, and my women’s intuition told me to check the history logs on my computer. Sure as shit, she’s been snooping around on my computer while I’m at work.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I haven’t confronted her about anything yet, but Rob and I had a meeting of the minds and compared notes. Everything that she told him is different from what she told me and none of it is true. She’s supposed to be going away for 10 days, so were going to enjoy the peace while she’s gone, and when she gets back, we’ll kill her. Just kidding. 😛

Neither Rob nor I want to move out because it’s such a great friggin location! Were thinking there might be a way to contact the real owner, get Jools evicted, and then take over the lease.

What a fucking headache!

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Carlton Sheets Has Left the Building

My real estate career has officially come to an end, and I can safely say, it was a complete and utter failure. I sold a total of zero properties, and in the process, managed to incur a letter from my former employer’s attorney threatening a law suit and criminal prosecution for stealing and distributing client lists. That’s untrue by the way.

Fortunately my newly acquired unemployed status doesn’t impact my financial situation, since, for the past 6 months I haven’t earned any income. So my confidence is high because it appears that things can only get better from here. No wait, my toilet sprung a leak yesterday and flooded my bathroom and my bedroom. So things can only get better from there. No wait…

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MySpace Invaders

I have been officially invaded, violated, and infiltrated in the worst possible way! My mother found my Myspace profile! What once was a haven of relative privacy is now just a haven for my relatives! 😛

My mother is no stranger to the Internet so I suppose this was bound to happen sooner or later. I just happened to be at her house when it did. I was sitting in her living room watching television, when, from the office, I heard her scream out, “OMG, Eric, you have a Myspace?!?!” followed by, “Who are these people on your friends list? Do I know them? Hey look it’s your sister! She has a Myspace too!!! I want a Myspace!!! How do you make a background on your profile? Will you make a profile for me??? Who is this Tom guy?”

Granted, I don’t have anything to hide; I don’t secretly stalk teenage girls, and I don’t post naked pictures of myself hittin’ the bong, but honestly, I don’t know if I can continue to maintain my Myspace identity with the level of scrutiny with which my mom will surely monitor my profile. So, I am unofficially announcing my Myspace retirement. Unofficial because I will still log on and read various people’s posts and such, but more than likely, my blogging days have come to an end. Ok, maybe not an end, but much less frequent than before which was virtually never. Well, fine… nothing really is going to change, but I’m going to call all of YOUR parents and show them YOUR profiles just to make me feel better!

myspace-invaders

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Sex, Lies, and Real Estate

Ok there’s no sex, but two out of three isn’t bad.

Hello peoples! First, I want to thank those who have recently checked up on me to see if I’m doing ok. I am alive and well. My real estate career, however, has taken a little turn for the worse.

After 4 months of busting my butt building a strong relationship with my only real client, I finally wrote my first contract on a small apartment building. We were supposed to close on the deal this month. Unfortunately, everything unraveled and turned to shit faster than I could say, “My boss is an evil lying, cheating, unethical, money-grubbing douche.”

See, what happened was, my boss left out a few minor details about the property I was selling. For instance, the tiny fact that the seller on the contract didn’t really own the buildings he was selling yet. You might ask yourself, “How can someone sell something they don’t own?” Well they can’t! There was a pending deal between the actual seller and the person on my contract, which I was obligated to disclose to my client.

Because the pending sale (or lead deal) hadn’t closed yet, the tenant lease agreements provided by the “fake” seller weren’t really accurate. They stated that the current rents each lease was $150 more than they really were.

*Real Estate Lesson 101: When someone buys an apartment building, they’ll calculate how much income they will generate based on the current rents. Often, right before someone sells, they’ll increase the rents to make it look like a more attractive investment to a potential buyer. Unfortunately, since the “fake” seller didn’t own the building yet, he hadn’t really raised the rents. Essentially lying about the potential profitability of the investment.

Now here’s where everything really gets F-ed up. My boss was in cahoots with the “fake” seller and knew what was going on. Rather than tell us the situation and give us a chance to put together a strategy, she instructed me to lie to repeatedly lie to my client. I, of course was unaware I was lying, and eventually when all the information surfaced, and the dust settled, my client was left with the impression that I was either trying to pull a scam on her, or extremely incompetent or worse… both. Either way, my client got pissed off and dropped out of the deal, and I lost a $13,000 paycheck.

I have had zero income these past 5 months, and spent every penny of my savings trying to establish myself as an Agent, so really needed to land this deal in order to continue building momentum. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. When I confronted my boss about why my client dropped out, she nonchalantly said, “Well, she must have not been really serious about buying.”

After making 3 trips to Arizona, renting 3 cars, paying for 10 nights in a hotel, forfeiting $1300 in inspection fees, and handing over $5000 in earnest money, my client wasn’t really a serious buyer. I guess she won’t be a serious plaintiff either when she tries to sue me.

So, after giving it a bunch of thought, I’ve decided to quit my job, and I’m going to work with my Mom’s girlfriend, Carol, doing the same thing. Carol used to work with me at this office, but she quit in January in order to branch out on her own. I have no idea if I’m doing the right thing, but I guess only time will tell. I’ll officially resign on Tuesday or Wednesday. It depends on which day my balls feel their largest.

With all these upcoming changes staring me in the face, and coming to the realization that I’m dirt poor again, I haven’t been much in the mood for blogging. These next few weeks, however, will likely provide plenty of material for future blogs.

Until then, keep your head up.

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A Brief Story

When I went to California in January, I forgot to pack underwear. I befriended the hotel bellman and asked drive me to Wal-Mart so I could buy a few packages. Now I’m not one to bargain shop when it comes to emergency necessities, but I happened to find two packages of undies marked at $3.99 hidden among the $5.99 packages. What a find! I figured they must have been leftovers from “last season’s” underwear before the prices went up. For as smart as I think I am, I truly amaze myself how retarded I can be. 😛

When I returned to my hotel room, it didn’t take long to figure out why they were cheaper. I misread the package! What I thought had read “Boxer Briefs” simply read “Briefs”. For those of you who are not up to speed with men’s underwear lingo, they were tighty whities. Technically they were tighty bluies, redies, and blackies.

I hadn’t worn nut hugger briefs since I was 12 years old, but I wasn’t about to go all the way back to Wal-Mart to exchange them. So I strapped on a pair, took one look in the mirror, and it instantly took me back to the days of Underoos (except with a lot more body hair). I used to have the Batman set, and I when I put them on, I would spin around in a circle, pretending I was sliding down the Bat Pole. The whole time I’d “sing” the Batman theme song: Da na na na, Da na na na, Da na na na, Da na na na na, BATMAAAAAAAAAN!!!! Do you know how hard it is to put your underwear on while spinning in a circle?

Well that was then and this is now. I can’t even comprehend why they would continue to make briefs for adults. Between the elastic strangling my bean bag, the back riding up my ass, and my wiener getting caught in escape hatch, I can’t figure out what was is more uncomfortable.

The only problem I have now is I can’t get rid of them. It goes against my religion to throw away underwear before they have at least 3 holes in them. The briefs have made it into the underwear drawer here at home. I’m even wearing a pair right now. I think I need some sort of underwear intervention.

Da na na na, Da na na na, Da na na na, Da na na na na, BATMAAAAAAAAAN!!!!

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Vegas… We Have a Problem

It’s about 5am on Sunday. My flight was scheduled for 7:30am. I should be packing last minute items, printing my online boarding pass and headed to the ATM to make sure I have cash to pay for a cab and tip the porter. Instead,I’m sitting here in my jammies, I just threw a fresh load of laundry in the washer, and my suitcase sits empty in the closet wondering what the F is going on.

Flashback to a few months ago (maybe October): I’m at work. I’m still a Transaction Coordinator, not a Sales Agent. I’m in a meeting. The boss says, “February 26th – March 3rd is the RE/MAX International Conference in Vegas. Everyone is required to attend. I will be paying for the The Transaction Coordinators, and of course, the Agents are responsible for their own travel expenses.”

Fast forward to December: The boss offers me the opportunity to become an Agent. As soon as I accept the offer the boss says, “Great! Now you can pay for your own trip to Vegas.” This is an extremely shitty little trick if you ask me. We’re going to Vegas to receive awards for our accomplishments in 2005, during which I was a Transaction Coordinator. Nevertheless, I suck it up, and I book my own travel plans.

Fast forward all the way to the first part of February: Everyone is bitching and moaning because we have to stay in Vegas for a whole friggin week. It’s going to cost $200 to go to two awards dinners, plus hotel, food, and flight. That’s not including additional fees for the mandatory seminars we have sit through. Essentially, we’re paying about $1200 per person in order to give ourselves a $30 award plaque. It’s really just a way for RE/MAX to make more money on their employees while having an excuse to go on a tax deductible drinking and gambling binge. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stick in the mud, but going to Vegas to sit in seminars and talk to your co-workers about work is like going to the strip club with a blindfold on. What’s the point?

Fast forward again, and stop when you get to February 12th: I’m in another meeting. The boss says, “I don’t know what everyone else’s plans are, but I’m only staying in Vegas until Wednesday. I’m attending the awards dinners on Sunday and Tuesday, and flying back on Wednesday morning.”

All of the Agents look at each other like, “Ain’t this a bitch!?!” At the end of the meeting everyone scrambles to change their flights to Wednesday as well. Being the thorough little worker bee that I am, I decided to first double check the dates for the Awards Dinners. Just as I suspected! The second dinner isn’t on Tuesday it’s on Wednesday. What to do, what to do? Do I play dumb and hope the oversight isn’t discovered until it’s too late to make changes, or do I tell the boss she made a mistake and force everyone to stay an extra day. I play dumb.

Fast forward to February 16th. Incoming email:
FROM: The Boss
TO: The Team
SUBJECT: Big Mistake!
Awards banquet is on Wednesday. We need to reschedule flights. Sorry.

SHIT!

Fast forward to yesterday, Feb 25th: My boss and I are in a meeting with a developer regarding a group of condos we’re trying to sell. The meeting is drawing to a close, and boss tells the developer, “We’re going to be in Las Vegas the next few days receiving awards, so I’ll contact you when I get back. Which reminds me… Eric, I have to talk to you about Vegas. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. Only one person is attending the dinner on Sunday and the rest of the team isn’t even going to Vegas.”

Me: “You are aware we’re leaving tomorrow?”

Boss: “Yes, but no one can afford to go.”

Me: “Great so we’re supposed to go to Vegas to receive an award for being the most successful real estate team in the country and no one has any money??? That makes sense.”

The boss is clearly disappointed because she lives to brag about how successful she is. Showing up in Vegas alone, without her team, would be a total embarrassment. So, being the diplomatic little worker bee that I am, I tell the Boss I will attend the first dinner and then figure out if I want to stay longer when I get there.

Fast forward to about 3 hours ago (2am): I call up the MGM Grand:

Me: “Hi, I’m booked for 4 nights there, and I’m calling to find out what sort of fee I might have to pay for shortening my stay.”

Girl: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, sir. I’m going to need your name.”

Me: “Eric Schneider”

Girl: “Sir, the only Eric Schneider I have in the system was supposed to check in on the 26th, but that was canceled by RE/MAX.”

Me: “Canceled?”

Girl: “Yes.”

SILENCE

Me: “Soooo… can I un-cancel it?”

Girl: “No.”

SILENCE

Me: “You’re all booked up?”

Girl: “No.”

SILENCE

Me: “So I can still get a room?”

Girl: “No.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Girl: “Sir, you can’t get a room under the RE/MAX group pricing.”

Me: “But I can get a room at the regular rate?”

Girl: “Yes.”

Me: “Um… you know what? Never mind. Thanks!”

I hang up the phone, hop online and cancel my flight. No Vegas for me! Yippie!!!

Just for fun, I go back to the MGM Grand website to check and see what their regular room rate is. Guess what? It’s $40 less than the “special” RE/MAX group rate. Fuckers!

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Vegas Baby!!!

I’m headed to Sin City on Sunday to attend the non-stop party frenzy that is the RE/MAX International Conference. Five days of pure torture and an endless barrage of “I had this one client…” stories. This is truly a case of “Whatever happens in Vegas I wish would happen in Vegas without me.”

The good news is… well there is no good news, but I have a theory if I continually say the phrase “the good news is…” sooner or later I’ll think of something to say after it. I don’t believe this technique is published in any self help book nor do I know if it really works, but feel free to give it a try.

Let me ask you a question… if someone gave you $10 to put in a slot machine on their behalf, and you won, would you give them money, or would you pretend that their $10 was your $10, and your $10 was their $10 which you just lost in the machine 5 minutes ago?

Now I’m not saying what I would do, but if anyone wants me to drop $10 in a slot machine on their behalf while I’m in Vegas, let me know. Since I’m leaving on Sunday, I won’t have time to pick up the money, so just send me a message that you want to play, I’ll float you the $10, and if I lose, you’ll owe me $10 when I get back. OK? Good!

Last order of business: The Women’s PAC-10 Tournament starts on March 3rd followed by the NCAA Tourney. I need everyone to send out good ju-ju for the Lady Sun Devils. Maybe some of you gothic, witchy, weirdo types can make voodoo dolls of the other teams and stick them with pins n’ stuff. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how you want to support the team.

That’s all I have for now. Later, taters!

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The Worst Date Ever

bad_dateThis is the story of the worst date ever. I’ve yet to hear another to rival it, but I encourage you all to post your own worst date stories.

The events you are about to read are 100% true. Some of the names have been changed because I can’t, for the life of me, remember the real names.

Several years ago, when I was about 26 or so, my mother decided to place an online personal ad on my behalf. The ad read, “Interfering Mother Seeks Nice Girl for Her Son.” Believe it or not, quite a number of women responded, and after a grueling screening process, my mom sent me the name and number of the one she thought would be the best for me. For the purpose of this story, let’s call her Angela.

I called Angela to introduce myself and to have a good ole laugh about how nutty my mother is. Angela seemed nice enough. It turned out she was also from Brooklyn and moved out to Arizona around the same time I did. We actually attended the same High School, but at different times. The only thing that turned me off about her was the fact that she sounded exactly like Fran Drescher. Also she was one of those New Yorkers who finds it necessary to talk about how, the Olive Garden is not real Italian Food. Blah blah blah I’m Italian, I know real Italian food because I’m from New York. Blah blah blah some more.

I decided stay open-minded and I asked her to dinner. She accepted, and we made plans to meet at Kyoto, a trendy Japanese restaurant in Scottsdale. Back in those days, Kyoto was my standard fist date place. I’ve since learned my lesson and have designated Starbucks as the new meet and greet location.

The first thing I noticed about Angela when I finally saw her was that she looked 0% Italian. She looked more Middle Eastern than anything, and when I asked her about it, she admitted that she lied. She only said she was Italian because my mother is Italian and she didn’t want to be prejudged by saying she was really Assyrian. Prejudged??? Who the hell knows what Assyrian is? I couldn’t even tell you where Assyria is on a map!

Misrepresenting herself was the least of the evening’s problems. She and I were like oil and water. The whole night, every time I made an attempt to be humorous, she’d get this uncomfortable smile on her face like she was taking a poop in front of a live studio audience and she’d say, “Oh Eric….you’re very funny.” If there’s one thing I know, if someone doesn’t laugh and just says “you’re funny”, they’re lying. And after hearing “you’re very funny” about 10 times, I was ready to excuse myself from the table and not come back.

Convinced that the date was going absolutely nowhere, I decided to strike up a conversation with one of the other couples sitting at our table. Oh yeah, we were eating at a family style teppanyaki cooking table, so there were other people sitting with us. I started asking the other couple questions about where they came from and how they met. Angela sat just sat there looking horrified that I’d do such a crazy thing like talk to strangers. Sarah, the woman from the other couple, said that she and her date met there at Kyoto and this was their first official date.

I told them Angela and I were on our first date as well, and about how my mom put the ad on the internet. Revealing our dirty little internet secret really seemed to piss Angela off even more.  But Sarah’s eyes popped open and she yelled, “OMG! We really met on the Internet too! I was too embarrassed to say anything! How funny is that?!” It turned out that the guy flew in from Las Vegas just to meet her and he was planning on going home the next day.

Apparently, Sarah’s date barely spoke a lick of English, and he looked just as uncomfortable as good ole Angela sitting next to me. Sarah and I, however, were like two soybeans in an edamame pod. We didn’t stop talking to each other the entire time nor did we make any further attempt to include our dates in the conversation.

After dinner, Angela and Sarah’s date both excused themselves from the table and went to the bathroom. I don’t know what got into me, but I jumped on the opportunity to make a move on Sarah. I told her it was clear that neither of us were interested in our dates, and the two of us should go out. Before everyone got back from the bathroom we exchanged numbers and agreed to get together sometime in the near future.

On the way to her car, I gave Angela the “Sorry there was no love connection” speech. She made it a point to let me know that she didn’t really think I was funny and thought it was beyond rude to talk to other people during our date. She said some other things too, but I stopped listening. I was sooooo proud of myself for grabbing Sarah’s number that I didn’t care what Angela had to say. I admit, it was an extremely “non-Eric” type of thing to do, but I guess I was tired of going out on terrible blind dates and needed to make a bold move.

I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself right now, “That can’t possibly be The Worst Date Ever.” Guess what? You’re right! That was just the introduction to the worst date ever. I assure you, you haven’t heard anything yet. So go make yourself a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows, come back, strap in, and hang on.

A few days after meeting Sarah, she called me to see if I wanted to go out with her. A bunch of people were going to Kyoto again to celebrate her best friend, Allison’s birthday, and she wanted me to go as her date.  There was only one problem: Allison just broke up with her boyfriend but the ex boyfriend was going to be there anyway. Also on the guest list was some guy Allison hooked up with in Mexico. Finally a third guy who also liked Allison was going to be there as well. So Sarah warned me that I had to be prepared for the possibility of a little bit of drama.

Pfffft!!! Drama?!? Drama is my middle name! No sweat!

“But I have one question,” I told Sarah. “how many boyfriends are you bringing to the party?”

“Ha ha, very funny. I’m only bringing you.” She answered.

Now I don’t want to give away too much yet, but that phone conversation is what we, in the story telling business, like to call foreshadowing. You can just call it a bad omen.

So Sarah and I made plans to meet at her apartment. I was pretty excited about the whole thing, but extremely nervous as well. Although we really hit it off at the restaurant, she was also one of the hottest women I’d ever gone out with. In addition to that, she was also a few years older than I was, worked as an Registered Nurse, was studying for her Real Estate License, AND she had two kids. I’ll admit, I felt a little out of my league.

On my way to her place, she called me to let me know she was running late, but her brother, John would be at her apartment to let me in. Sure enough her brother answered the door. He appeared to be in his late 30’s or early 40’s. It was hard to tell because although he looked younger, his hair was prematurely gray. John invited me in and immediately disappeared to finish getting ready. He was also friends with Allison and was going to join us for the evening.

I wandered into the living room, and sitting on the couch, giving me the once over was Sarah’s 16 year old daughter. Yeah I did the math. Sarah had her when she was 16. Her daughter asked surprisingly, “YOU’RE going out with my mother? You look more like someone I would date. Not her!”

YIKES!

Luckily I didn’t have to wait long. Soon, everyone got to the apartment, and we set off for the restaurant. We intended on having more than a few drinks, so being responsible adults, we took a cab. I didn’t know it at the time but that cab would also turn out to be a bad idea.

Three quarters of the way through dinner, while things seemed to be going great between Sarah and me, tempers were flaring between Allison’s ex boyfriend and her two other suitors. Twice, fights almost broke out and the manager had to come over and warn us to settle down. Right around that time, another couple joined our party. I’m going to call them Big Titted Indian Girl and her Prick Boyfriend, or Big-TIG and P-BOY for short. They weren’t invited to the celebration, but they somehow knew Sarah and Allison.

Big-TIG supposedly posed in playboy and she had no problem showing everyone her giant implants. P-BOY was a classic muscle head, Scottsdale douche bag. It was obvious the two of them had been drinking heavily and doing drugs way before they got to restaurant because they were both making quite a scene.

The manager came over again and asked us to leave the restaurant. This somehow lead to an argument between Big-TIG and P-Boy who started yelling at Big-TIG; calling her “stupid bitch” and “cunt” like those were her names. He then grabbed her wrist and kept pushing her in the face and pulling her hair. Big-TIG broke free and ran into the bathroom crying. Sarah followed behind her to make sure she was ok. Everyone else in our party filed out of the restaurant.

Before I knew it, I was sitting by myself at the table waiting for Sarah. Finally she came out of the bathroom and escorted Big-TIG outside. Before leaving, I went to pay for my portion of the bill and to double check that we left enough for the tip. I came to find out we were extremely short on the bill and that the three guys who were fighting over Allison all walked out on the check.

I tried to explain to the manager that I had to go outside to get the people who didn’t pay, but since everyone else already left he wouldn’t let me leave the restaurant without paying. I ate there all the time, and didn’t want to get banned, so I ended up having to pay for myself, Sarah, Allison, and the three assholes who walked out. 1 meal for the price of 6. What a bargain. 😐 Technically I didn’t really have enough money to cover everyone, but Sarah’s brother over-tipped on his portion, so I kinda scooped part of that to ease the pain. Don’t tell anyone.

After narrowly escaping getting my ass kung-fu’ed by the kitchen staff, I walked outside just in time to see everyone from our group stuff themselves into a cab and drive away. Fate would have it that I spent all my money back at the restaurant, and couldn’t afford to get another cab. I didn’t have my ATM card with me either because I left my wallet and my cell phone in my car back at Sarah’s apartment. I also left the keys to my car inside the apartment, so I was pretty much screwed.

My only hope was to walk to the dance club and try to find Sarah and her friends. Now I can’t say how far I walked, but in my head, it seemed like 100 miles. When I finally got there, I was able to find John and Allison fairly quickly. The three suitors were gone, but Sarah was back in the bathroom again with Big-TIG who decided to have a suicidal breakdown. P-Boy didn’t  seem to mind as I saw him roaming around the club hitting on other women.

I sat down with John and Allison, and they were nice enough to buy me a drink after I explained to them what happened back at the restaurant. A little while later, Sarah came out of the bathroom to apologize to me for how shitty the date was going so far. She assured me that she really really liked me, and wanted to spend some time with me. She said she just needed to get Big-TIG out of her hair, and promised to make it up to me. As a down payment on that promise, she planted a huge porno style kiss on me.

Did I happen to mention how hot Sarah was?

So Sarah disappeared again, and I went back to the table and set up camp with John and Allison. We all talked for a few hours, and shortly before last call, some chick walked by our table, recognized both John and Allison, and stopped to say hello.

Girl: “OMG, Allison! What are you doing here?”

Allison: “It’s my birthday!”

Girl: “OMG! Happy Birthday! Hey, John! Is Sarah here too?”

Me: “Sarah is in the bathroom.”

Girl (to me): “Who are you?”

Me: “I’m Eric. I’m Sarah’s date.”

Girl: “That’s weird.”

Me: “What’s weird?”

Girl: “Isn’t it kind of strange to be on a date with Sarah and her husband?”

Me: “What? Her who? Who’s husband?”

I turned to look over at John and Allison and they both had giant “Oh shit!” expressions on their faces.

John wasn’t her brother, he was her fucking husband!!!

I felt like such a retard because I just spent two hours shooting the shit with him, asking questions about where he and Sarah grew up. What their parents were like. How he ended up moving to Arizona. Why he was living with his sister and not on his own. And I bought all of his bullshit answers, hook, line and sinker.

Almost as if on cue, Sarah reappeared. I frantically filled her in on the most recent turn of events, and she told me she lied to me because she was scared I wouldn’t go out with her if I knew she was still married. She and John were actually separated, but they remained friends and were still living together until he found his own place. Neither one of them had any problems with the other dating other people. Obviously 😛

She begged me not to be mad at her. She’s was soooooooooooooooooooo sorry and she promised again to make it up to me.

This is the part where I remind you how hot she was: Very hot!

Technically, I didn’t ask her how many husbands she was bringing to the party, so I guess you can say she didn’t really lie to me.

Thankfully Sarah managed to rid herself of Big-TIG, but it was already closing time and everyone was ready to go home. John, Allison, Sarah and I, and two strangers that happened to be going in the same direction, all piled into a cab, and we headed back to the apartment. 5 minutes into the cab ride, Allison leaned over and puked all over my shoulder and down my back. Happy Birthday!!!

When we got back to the apartment, Sarah’s daughter was on the couch, drinking beer, and making out with her 22 yr. old boyfriend. Not a word was said. John just headed straight for the kitchen, calling out over his shoulder “Who wants margaritas??” Sarah started walking down the hall, toward the bedrooms, looked over her shoulder said to me, “Come on. Let’s go.”

Ok, let’s recap. I’d been lied to, stiffed, ditched, humiliated, and puked on. I was pretty sure, at that point, that Sarah wasn’t the girl for me, but I was determined to come away from this date with something. So when she said “Come on. Let’s go,” she didn’t have to say it twice.

I followed Sarah into the bedroom, and faster than I could close the door and count to 10, she was naked and in the bed. I was about to follow her lead when the bedroom door burst open, and in walked Sarah’s 13 year old son. Where he had been all day, I had no clue, but there he was now. Oh, and by the way, he was naked.

Sarah’s son jumped up onto the bed, got under the covers with his mother and declared, “I’m sleeping with you tonight!”

I just stood there, with mouth agape, horrified by what was happening.

Sarah: “Josh, go to your room. Mommy has company and you need to sleep in your own room tonight.”

Josh: “NO! I’m sleeping here!”

Sarah: “Fine you can stay for a little bit, but then you have to leave. Eric, you know, you don’t have to just stand there, you can get in the bed. He’ll leave in a few minutes.”

Me: “Are you crazy?!? I’m not getting into bed with a naked 13 year old boy! You have to be kidding me!!”

Sarah: “Oh, don’t worry… we always walk around the house naked. We’re very European.”

Me: “Well I’m very American, and there’s no way I’m crawling into bed with a naked boy and his naked mother.”

Sarah: “Well you’re making me nervous standing there. You can at least sit on the corner of the bed.”

Me: “Fine.”

So I sat, fully clothed, on the far corner of the bed facing the door. A few seconds later, Josh started farting under the covers, then yelled, “ILL!!! ERIC!!! THAT’S GROSS!!! STOP FARTING!!!”

I turned around, stared the child straight in the eye and said, “Listen, kid, you have no idea what I’ve been through tonight. Do not even start trying blame me for your farts. I’m bound to pop a blood vessel.”

Just then, the bedroom door opened up again, and this time it was John standing there with a margarita in one hand and an unlit cigarette in the other. Oh, and guess what?

HE WAS NAKED TOO!

John: “Josh! Go to your room! Your mother has a guest!”

Josh: “NO! I’m sleeping in here!”

Faster than I could even say “What the fuck!?!”, John transferred the cigarette into his margarita hand, then reached over my shoulder, and snatched Josh out of the bed. In the process, he inadvertently pressed has saggy, wrinkly, gray-haired balls right into my face. I mean he literally smashed his entire package into my face from cheek to chin!!!

It was over in seconds, but the damage was done. John and Josh were gone quicker than the blink of an eye, but I could still feel the burning imprint of his scrotum on my face.

Most men in my situation would have packed it in and called it a night. Actually most men wouldn’t have made it out of the restaurant. But not me. I’m a fucking trooper! I’m firm believer that the harder something is to achieve, the more you appreciate the accomplishment. Sitting there alone with Sarah, who was still very much naked, it seemed that my hard work was finally about to pay off.

In my mind, the only thing that could possibly make up for 40 yr. old balls in my face was sex with a hot woman. If anything, it would help cancel out the extreme gayness of the prior incident. I began to unbutton my pants when suddenly the phone rang. “Don’t answer it.” I pleaded.

She answered it. “Hello? Hey! Where are you? You’re here?!?!”

Sarah covered the receiver with her hand and whispered to me that it was Big-TIG and P-Boy and a few of their friends. They were at the front gate and wanted to come up.

I shook my head and said, “Don’t buzz them in. Please DO NOT buzz them in!”

BUZZ!!!

“I swear they’ll only be here for a few minutes.”

So Sarah put her top and mini skirt back on and went to the front door to greet our new guests. I noticed she didn’t bother to put her panties back on.

Big-TIG and P-BOY were there for no more than 10 minutes before both of them were topless and making a dirty dancing sandwich using Sarah as the meat. P-Boy’s hands were roaming freely all over Sarah’s body, and before I knew it, he was ramming his fingers up under her skirt.

That was it for me. I grabbed my keys and walked out.

Half-way to my car, I heard Sarah screaming my name. I turned around to see her running after me through the parking lot with her skirt all hiked up above her privates.

“Please don’t go.”, she pleaded. “I swear all this craziness is not what my life is like. Tonight was completely a freak accident. I really want to start all over with you without all these people around, but I don’t know how to get them out of my house.”

I’m not going to admit that I fell for her sob story, but I did think there was some remote chance I could still get laid out of all this. By that time, I felt entitled.

I calmly said to her, “Do you really want those people out of your house? Tell me you do and I’ll make them leave.”

“I do.”

“Fine”

I fixed her skirt for her, I took her by the hand, I walked her back to the apartment, I turned off the music and I said, in my best tough guy voice, “Everyone… get the fuck out! The party is over! It was fun. We all had a good time, but now it’s time for you all to go home.”

P-Boy was stunned and pointed to naked John and said, “He lives here, you can’t make him leave!”

Me: “OK, if you live here, you can stay. If you don’t live here, pack up your shit and get the fuck out. The party is over!”

P-BOY: “Sarah… what’s going on? This is your place. You really want us to leave?”

Do you know what Sarah said?

Do you?

That’s right!!!

She said “NO.”

NO!!!!

I did not pass Go, I did not collect $200, I didn’t even say goodbye. I went straight to my car and drove home half expecting credits to start scrolling down my windshield as this episode of the Twilight Zone came to an end. Then I realized this was no television show. This was my life.

Sarah actually called me the next day to tell me what a nice time she had and, believe it or not, wanted to go out again. I told her to lose my number.

The End

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Indoor Pool

Happy New Year everybody! Long time no blog :P. Where to start… where to start?

Let’s start where I left off: Christmas. For the most part it went well. My sister found out we bought her the iPod when my mom decided to check her voice mail messages over the speaker phone: “Uh yeah… I was calling to see if you still had that iPod for sale?”

I made the suggestion to my sister that maybe it wasn’t so wise to buy herself a $400 gift, which she put on her wish list, a week before Christmas. She pretty much reacted the way I expected she would. “What? How was I supposed to know? Don’t get mad at me!”

I tried explaining that I wasn’t mad at her; I was just disappointed that we didn’t have the chance to give her the gift. The real gift was in making her happy and the satisfaction that comes with doing something nice for someone you love. She responded, “I’m happy. I got it for myself. No big deal.”

I don’t know if my point was completely lost on her, but I’m over it now.

Anyway, I ended up staying at Mom’s the entire time my sister was in town. After the fourth straight day, however, I was ready to shoot myself, and more than ready to head home.

I got back to my apartment to find half of it pretty much submerged under water. I wondered if it had anything to do with the email I sent my landlord two weeks before about the sound of running water in the walls? Nah, that couldn’t be it. 😛

Well, it turned out that a pipe had burst behind the wall and the water was coming back into the apartment from underneath the floor, flooding the bathroom, the water heater closet, the computer room and the kitchen. The wet carpet in the computer room smelled like every trace of pet piss, body odor, and cigarette smoke trapped in the fibers had been released. Luckily, the damage wasn’t bad enough to warrant new carpet. God forbid I come out ahead. 😛

So, for the first week or so of the New Year, I had much of my apartment stacked up in my living room. I had plumbers and, water damage restoration guys, and dry wall repairmen coming in every day. They had to knock out huge holes in the walls, through the shower, and in the floor just to find the leak. They fixed leak and patched up all but 2 of the holes in the wall. I guess they wanted to keep a few open just in case any rats wanted to get in out of the cold this winter. That was nice of them. Oh… and just a few days ago, I got a phone call from the landlord responding to my email about the sound of running water behind the wall. Way to keep on top of things. 😛

New subject:

I’m going to CA again next week to do another Real Estate seminar. It was supposed to be my first event as an actual Agent, but my replacement failed his Real Estate exam. Dumb ass! So I don’t officially stop doing my current job until he gets his license and can replace me. Oh well. For those of you who don’t keep up, I was promoted from Transaction Coordinator to Sales Agent.

By the way, if any of you fuckers want to invest in Commercial Real Estate let me know. I could like sell you some good shit, and you could like make lots of money n’ stuff. We specialize in four-plex residential rental property or something like that. I’ll hook you up, dogs!

That’s all I have for now. Apologies to those whom I have ignored these past few weeks. Between the flood, my extreme laziness, and my lack of concern… well I’m sure you understand.

Until next time.

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Best Laid Plans of Moms & Men

Today marks a milestone in my very short Blogging career! Today I surpassed 1000 Blog views (this started out as a myspace blog). I would like to take this time to thank each and every one of you who have made this possible. I can only hope what I write continues to enlighten and entertain you. To celebrate this occasion, I was going to share with you one of the best stories ever told. Unfortunately, I decided to hold off on that story for now. Do not despair, loyal reader! I promise to tell it very soon.

Today I want to vent. What else is new?

Ok, here’s the back story: My sister, Lisa and her husband John, were planning on buying a house earlier this year in Washington. She went into escrow, and the deal was expected to close right around Christmas time. Because of all the expenses and chaos that naturally comes with buying a new home, my sister had no intention of flying here to Arizona for Christmas.

Unfortunately, the deal fell through and they didn’t get the house. Bad for them, but great for me, because now she’s coming for Christmas! Yay! I’m actually supposed to pick her up from the airport on Sunday.

So, this year, my mother and I decided to do something special for Lisa and bought her one of those 60 GB iPod Videos. It was on her “wish list” but, never in a million years would she expect to get something like that. First of all, it’s pretty pricey, and my mother is the queen of cheap. Often, if you tell my mother you want something for Christmas, she’ll look it up on the Internet, then get something half the price and 1/4 the quality of the thing you asked for and insist the thing she got is better than what you asked for because “they” said it was on epinions.com. The fact that she was able to resist the urge to buy my sister an AM/FM radio and tell her it’s better than an iPod, was just huge.

Second of all, my sister is notorious for getting pretty lame presents ever since she became all domesticated. Last year I think she got a sewing machine, pot holders, and a pizza slicer. So, the iPod was going to knock her socks off!

So my mother and I spent 2 hours on the phone devising this elaborate plan to surprise my sister with this gift. I’ll spare you the details, but it involved packaging it in an old waffle maker box and running some sort of act to piss off my sister. In the end, we were excited about the plan, and very proud of ourselves.

To help set up the surprise I told my sister what we got her for Christmas. Every year, my sister finds a way to trick me into telling her what she’s getting for Christmas. I don’t know how she does it, but I always fall for it. So this year, when she “broke” me, I had her convinced that she was getting a membership to “The Book of the Month Club”. Woopieeee!!!

With that little seed planted, everything was set. My mom and I talked every day this past week about how great it was going to be to see her face when she finally opened the gift.

Well today, I got a call from my mother that started with, “Your sister is an asshole.”

My sister bought herself an iPod!

Who buys themselves a $400 gift a week before Christmas???

I’m pretty agitated, and my mother is completely crushed. She already put the one we bought up for auction on ebay.

What a bummer. 🙁

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Gender Bender

So it’s Friday night. I’m home alone with my cat on my lap, drinking a glass of wine and unwinding from a pretty stupid day at the office. I’ve had this job for 7 months now and I have to say it’s the best AND the worst job I ever had. It’s the best because I make decent money, and there’s plenty of opportunity for further financial gain. My office is in a beautiful area, and the clients are pleasant. It’s really not a bad gig.

On the other hand, my boss is a complete nut job. I’m not going to bother giving details because I lack the vocabulary to really express how crazy she is in a way that you would share my pain. Also, I somehow ended up being the designated “computer guy” at the office because once people find out you know how to operate a mouse, all of a sudden they stop trying to do things themselves. It takes me twice as long to get my work done during the day because I’m constantly helping other people with computer tasks. The other downside to my job is I work mainly with women. Actually we just added another guy, but he’s gay.

For most of my adult life, I’ve worked industries dominated by men. In an office full of men, you go to work, you work, you talk about women and sports, you work, you complain about work, you work some more, and you go home. It’s pretty much the same thing every day. Every once in a while there’s some conflict. Maybe you butt heads with a co-worker or someone drops the ball and mess up a task. In an office full of men, conflict is easily resolved by walking up to the offending party and saying, “Hey you fucking retard, you fucked up. Don’t do that again!” He replies, “Fuck you, you fucking fuck!” You call him an asshole. He’d calls you a dick. Then it’s done! Yes, done and back to business as usual. You can walk up that same guy 2 minutes later, and everything would be fine. (Keep in mind I’m talking about lateral confrontation, not how you would go about handling a problem with a boss or subordinate.)

Working with women is NOTHING like that. As I mentioned, I’ve been at my job for 7 months and, at least twice a week, without fail, I have to have a “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings” conversation with someone. Never before, have I had to say apologize to a co-worker for hurting their feelings. Never in my career have I seen anyone cry at work and storm out of the room. And not necessarily because I made them cry. Sometimes they cry when they lose a deal, or when a customer yells at them, or they just remember something from their childhood and they start crying for no reason.

So yeah, my office is definitely a hotbed of emotions and sensitivity. Oh, how I long for the days when I could critique a co-worker’s performance without them taking offense. Now, if I say boo to someone, they think I’m insulting their very being or implying that they can’t do something as well as a man can. And if an argument with someone escalates beyond two or three exchanges, forget about it, they won’t talk to me for the rest of the day. Sometimes longer.

Look, I’m not a bully. Far from it, but when it comes to work, it’s just work, and when there’s a job to be done, you do it. When it doesn’t get done, or gets done poorly, there needs to be a way to resolving issues quickly without having to tip toe around people’s feelings. I kinda look at relationships with co-workers kinda like boxers. Outside the ring, you could be friends with another fighter, but inside the ring, you have to beat the shit out of each other in order to do your job. It’s nothing personal.

I have a feeling I’m sounding like a real douche right now. 😛

So here’s what happened today. The boss walked into our office, and said to Rosemary, “Rosemary, I want you to list Ryan’s property in the MLS Online and have Eric teach you how to post pictures of the property.”

A few hours later, Ryan walked in and asked, “Rosemary did you post the pictures yet?”

Rosemary: “No, I’m waiting for Eric to show me how.”

Me: “I’m ready. I’ve been ready. Let’s do it.”

Rosemary:”Ok, give me like two minutes.”

A few hours later Ryan walked in again and asked, “Rosemary did you post those pictures yet?”

Rosemary: “No, I’m still waiting on Eric.”

Me: “Waiting on me? I’m ready. Let’s do this.”

Rosemary: “Ok. Lemme just make this call real quick.”

The third time Ryan walked in, Rosemary blamed me again for not posting the pictures. I got pissed off and snapped at her, “For Christ’s sake Rosemary, how fucking hard is it to post pictures on a listing? While you were “waiting” on me, did you even try to do it? There are 5 fucking buttons to click on, and only ONE of them says ‘Edit Listing’! Did you even think of clicking on that?!?!”

*CLICK*

Me: “GOOD JOB! Now click on the button that says ‘Add Pictures’!”

Rosemary: “Forget it, I’ll do it myself!”

Ryan:”Oooooh, she’s mad at you now, Eric.”

Me: “Good! Maybe she’ll learn a little self-reliance.”

So Rosemary started crying, got up, sending her chair flying across the room, and stormed out of the office. She came back 10 minutes later, and didn’t say a word to me for the rest of the day. Granted, it wasn’t much of a “punishment”, but what a pain in the ass. Over absolutely nothing!

Monday, I’m going to have to apologize. I’ll have to pretend that I was stressed out over something else, and acknowledge that it was still no excuse for being so rude. Blah blah blah. But that’s bullshit! I go from the person trying to help her to being a heartless prick while she goes from being an incompetent retard to helpless victim. I bet she thinks that she was the one just trying to do her job, and I refused to help her. Whatever!

Anyone know a good florist? 😛

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I’ve Got Spirit, How ‘Bout You?

Today’s blog entry is brought to you by Walmart, which is where I went last night, intending to do some Christmas shopping. On the way in, however, I ran into the Christmas angel tree thingy where poor kids write their Christmas wishes on paper angels, and hang them on a tree. Then do-gooders, like myself, are supposed to pick an angel off the tree and buy that child the item they asked for. Personally, I think it’s a pretty crappy way for Walmart to boost sales during the holidays, but I’m a sucker for kids, so I decided to pick an angel from the tree.

I started skimming through the angels, trying to find a child that asked for something I could buy without too much hassle. The first few I read were from kids asking for school clothing, but how was I supposed to know what size to get, or what styles they might like? The last thing I need is some underprivileged kid getting beat up at school because of the shitty outfit I got him for Christmas.

The next angel I came to was from Efrain. Efrain was 11 years old and the only thing he wanted for Christmas was a Bible. I’m not religious, but I felt a little twinge in my heart because in my mind, Efrain is this little poor Mexican boy who was taken from his home because his parents beat him, and has since been passed around foster homes where he has endured unspeakable mental, physical, and sexual abuse. I see little Efrain sitting on Santa’s lap, and Santa asks him what he wants for Christmas. Efrain looks up at Santa with hard, yet innocent, doe eyes and says, “Santa, all I want for Christmas is a Bible so I may know the word of God and never lose my way in life.” Of course, this all happens in Spanish with subtitles.

Efrain, your dreams are about to come true! I was about to pull his angel off the tree and dash over to the book aisle, when below it I saw an angel from Juan, and he also wanted a Bible. A few angels to the right of Juan’s was Jorge who wanted a Bible as well. All in all, there were roughly 30 children on that tree who wanted bibles. They all happened to be Mexican, and oddly enough, there were no duplicate names. It occurred to me that some church group was making up fake Mexican children in order to stock up on new Bibles. Is there no decency in this world?

I decided there was no way I was buying a bible for anyone. Even if the the kids were legit, who the crap asks for a Bible for Christmas anyway? If you ask me, I think even Jesus would be pissed off if he got a bible for Christmas.

One by one, I continued to read each angel, but after about 15 minutes, I had yet to find a suitable recipient. I was there so long, I think I started making the Walmart Retarded Greater Person feel uncomfortable. At least he finally stopped greeting me.

I never thought this one act of generosity would be so hard, nor take so long. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat skeptical about every angel I read. I found myself making up stories about who the kids were, and based on their names, I would make judgments as to whether or not they deserved the item they asked for. I decided I wouldn’t choose a kid if his name sounded like he was tough, because I didn’t want to buy anything for someone who may try to rob me one day. Yeah, I know… I’m an idiot.

Then, I came across Jason’s angel. Jason wanted either an Alan Iverson Jersey or a Julius Irving Throwback Jersey. Jason was 18 years old. I pulled out my pen, and wrote on the back of his paper angel, “Jason, get a job!”

Ultimately, I settled on Jessica. Jessica was 15 years old, and wanted a CD player and a few CD’s. I went straight to Electronics department, got a CD player, a pack of batteries, and a gift card for CD’s, paid for them, dropped them in the tree angel gift bin, and went home. I was so drained from picking an angel from that stupid tree, I didn’t even bother doing any Christmas shopping.

Merry Christmas, Jessica!

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A Holiday Message

Hello, readers.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and the start of the holiday season for many of us. I want to sincerely wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving and I hope you all are fortunate enough to spend your holiday with the people you love.

I also want to acknowledge those people who may find themselves alone this time of year. Perhaps you live far from your family, or maybe, like many people, you feel like you don’t have anyone in your life who qualifies as a loved one. It’s really easy to get down in the dumps when you start to think about how alone you are, and how much you lack in your life. I know, because I think about it all the time. I want to encourage everyone, including myself, to take some time to think about what you do have. What are you grateful for? What are you happy about? Think about all the things that are right in your life instead of what’s wrong.

I know it’s hard to just think happy thoughts; especially when every time you’re alone with your thoughts, you beat yourself up. Maybe it’s time to give those inner voices a rest. This holiday season, go out and do something that puts a smile on your face. Walk in the park and feed the ducks. Jump in a pile of leaves. Grab a camera and take pictures of stuff that makes you happy. Do something that encourages you to feel good about yourself. Volunteer at a food bank. Spend some time talking to seniors at a retirement facility. Help out at an animal shelter or a food bank. Make a difference in someone else’s life and maybe you’ll make a difference in your own.

Whatever you choose to do these next few weeks, be safe, and enjoy yourselves. Know that you’re never truly alone out there, and know that you are loved. Make it your mission to find a piece of happiness for yourself, and make it contagious.

Until next time.