Wednesday
May252011

The Dreaded Question

We opened the cabin this past weekend. I always love our first weekend. It's a sign that Summer is finally here. Our cabin is on an island in northeast Michigan. We bought the property 23 years ago after literally finding it listed for sale on the back of a paper plate at a restaurant/real estate office. Our hideaway would be considered by few as "roughing it", meaning we don't have electricity, city water or even a well. What we do have is propane that runs a refrigerator, stove and hot water tank. Water is pumped from the lake and used for showers and dishes. I consider this paradise and one of  my favorite places on earth.
As with every opening weekend, we always find something that mysteriously broke over the winter. This year it was our water system. This elaborate system consists of a water pump, generator, pipe and a water pressure tank (I'm sure there's more to it, but that's not my department). After we (I say we but I really mean Anthony), hooked up the system and had it ready to go, we turned on the faucets and felt the cool sensation of air. Something was obviously wrong. No surprise, we've been struggling with our water setup  for some time now. After many years of making it work "good enough", we made the decision to hire a plumber and have it fixed once and for all.
Harry Henry, yes that is his name, arrived by boat. Mind you, northeast Michigan is much different than the rest of the state. It is, and I mean this as a compliment, very simple. The people are all very nice. Picture a 1950's backdrop with a 1970's hard-rock population and of course, an occasional mullet. Our plumber was a sweet man who really seemed to know his stuff.
As Anthony was showing him around and familiarizing him with our "system", I as normal stayed clear. I have nothing to add to that kind of conversation. All I can say are things like "it sort of sounds like it's working, but it isn't" or "isn't it nice out?" So, I decided it was best to sit on the porch with my dogs on my lap and read a play that I've been trying to finish. I should add I had a cozy blanket wrapped snug around me. Needless to say, not the most macho of images.
As the two of them made their way toward the house, Anthony excused himself for a minute and left me alone with the plumber. I had two choices, continue to read and pet my dogs or try to be a little social and make eye contact. As it turns out, I didn't have to make the decision, suddenly I hear "did you leave the wife at home this weekend?". WHAT?  My inside voice had lots of witty comebacks. My outside voice, however could not come up with anything. The best I  could muster, which made absolutely no sense was "wanna a beer?". What was I thinking, we didn't even have beer. I hate beer. I could have at least offered him a martini or a scotch. At least I could have followed through if he took me up on it.
I'm not sure what it was that made this guy think I had a wife. I mean, come on, two designer dogs, sipping coffee, a play (better yet, a musical)  and a Ralph Lauren blanket. Really, do the math. I don't know why I get so nervous when cornered with these sort of questions. I could have replied, "actually, I don't have a wife, I have a partner...." or "no, she's here with me", or "funny thing you should ask, you see, I'm GAY". I think this is a quandary many gay people find themselves in. When someone assumes you're straight, do you correct them or just ignore it? I'm lucky to live in a pretty acceptable surrounding, but sometimes you just have to be smart and know your audience.
Lesson learned-Always keep beer on hand.

Thursday
May192011

Thank you Siskel and Ebert.

I think a doctor's waiting room is about the worse place on earth. Today I brought my friend in for a doctor visit. As we entered the office, I was prepared. I had my book and even remembered my glasses. I was going to make the best of it. I chose a seat by an end table. This was picked on purpose because there would only be one open chair on my side and I was less likely to become sandwiched by strangers.  In the corner of the room was a television. I love t.v., but this one did not have on CNN, Oprah or even a Brady Bunch rerun. Unfortunately it was blaring Jerry Springer. I HATE this show. I've only seen it a couple of times, but it always seems to have the same people on it-a women wants to tell her boyfriend that her baby isn't his, it's his brother's gay lover's.
I had no choice but to ignore the noise and opened my book. My friend was called in immediately, this never happens to me, but I was glad for him.
As I began reading, I suddenly hear from across the room "Well no wonder, wouldn't you if your name was Peaches?" At first I thought, maybe he was just on his phone having a conversation about his dog. I slowly looked up to see that he was looking at me. He was trying to converse with me about the women on Jerry. "Oh, for sure" was all I could get out. I had to think quick, I absolutely did not want to continue this discussion about Peaches and her dilemma, so I politely looked back down at my book.
Suddenly I hear, louder than his first invitation, "Oh no she didn't". Again, I looked up, only this time I did not reply, I just gently flashed my fake half smile and went back to my book. I think he was beginning to get the hint when another patient finally entered. She took a seat two away from him. She was immediately enthralled with the mess on t.v. and began giving her commentary. Mind you, neither of these two were discussion it, they were just heckling.
I was just about to blurt out comments about my book to demonstrate what it was like to have someone try to engage you in something you clearly had no interest in, when they finally called the first guy in. Great, maybe now I can read without the critics review of Springer. Suddenly, I hear a loud, weird, violin meets Ozzie Osborne sound. It was her cell notifying her of a text. The reason I know this is because out came "now, what does he want?" Then, "I don't think so!" Followed by " oh, he is so annoying".  She was clearly waiting for me to ask for more information. I wouldn't even look up this time. She texts something back, and you can just imagine how long this went on. I wanted to explain to her that the reason people text is so they don't have to talk, but I chose to re-read the same page I've read ever since I sat down instead. 
She was finally called in and I had the entire waiting room to myself. I could read my book in peace. Instead, I got up, crossed the room so I could have a better view of the t.v., sat down and finished watching Springer. Worse than that, when the next person came in I found myself filling him in.
I was beyond mortified when I realized that maybe Springer isn't that bad. When I got home, I had to get that train wreck of a t.v. show out of my head, so I immediately put on CNN and watched it for the rest of the day.

Tuesday
May172011

Having It My Way

On days when I have a lot of errands to do, it's not easy to eat a healthy lunch. Although it's convenient and really good, I do my best not to eat a lot of fast food. Today was one of those days that I had a long list of places to go. From the accountant to the dry cleaners and everywhere in between, I realized I would have to have lunch on the run. I mapped out my options and decided to stop into a gourmet grocery store that has an excellent hot food to go bar. 
 I decided to get a to-go coffee too. Of course, the coffee bar is at the bakery counter. "Anything else", the nice lady asked. I quickly thought that I may still be hungry after burning all those calories running around today, so I ended up with my favorite chocolate chunk cookie. 
After weighing my lunch options, I decided on the chicken fingers and fries. I don't eat like that every day, but I needed something to eat with my fingers and this would be perfect. Plus, I love chicken fingers.
As I was loading my cardboard container up to the top while delicately balancing my coffee and cookie, I heard "hi Jeff". I looked up and saw of my very fit friends. You know, the one who is your age, works out daily and obviously has never had a chicken finger.  "Oh, hi" was my reply. This was proceeded with some chit chat, all the while I'm looking at his basket filled with fruits and vegetables. We finished our conversation by saying the obligatory, "we should get together sometime". I knew this would never happen because I don't go to health food restaurants.
It was almost over, I was at the checkout. All I had to do was pay, and I would be home-free to eat in the privacy of my car. As the cashier was ringing up my items, my fit friend showed up in line behind me. "Well, this should be a good lunch" replied the cashier. I decided this was my chance to clear it all up. I blurted out rather loudly "Oh, this is not MY lunch, no, it's for someone else. I'm just picking it up for them. I already ate my lunch-please, I don't eat like this" Blah-blah-blah. I then continued "and this cookie really looks good, but it's not for me either, I don't eat dessert, it's for someone else who loves chocolate". Why didn't I just shut up? My fit friend tried to make me feel better by saying he likes those cookies too. I knew he has never had a cookie in his life and he was just doing his best to make me stop talking. I quickly paid for my lunch and told him we'd have to get together soon. As soon as I reached my car I realized I had been  officially outed as a "fried food on the run-cooking eater"

Monday
May162011

I can't hear your text

Anthony (my partner) and I went out to a local bar last night for a "quick" drink. As you'll come to learn, in my world there is no such thing as a quick drink, it's just how I phrase it because it sounds better than "Let's go to the bar and get drunk".  I was sitting at my usual spot, at a trivia video game. It was a small crowd of about twelve people. Now, I'm sure it's a sign of the times, but every single person was on their phones texting.  I mean ALL of them. Not only texting, but I could tell that some of them were texting each other even though they were on the next bar stool. I was feeling really left out-I didn't have anyone to text  Part of Anthony's "charm" is that when he's  had a couple of cocktails, he likes to strike up conversations with strangers, As the night went on, I could sense his growing frustration of not being able to share his stories with our fellow bar flies. "Just look at them", he starts, "they don't even know how to communicate".  So, we sat with each other playing trivia while everyone else continued their e-conversations. By our second drink, Anthony was really itching to chat. "I can't believe no one has even looked up, what could be so important that they can't take their eyes of their stupid phones". I was beginning to sense his growing impatience that he couldn't talk to the guy about local restaurants or politics. As I continued to play my game I suddenly heard rather loudly, "O.K., SERIOUSLY, WHY ARE YOU ALL ON YOUR PHONES? YOU'RE NOT EVEN TALKING TO EACH OTHER!" I was ready to sneak out the back door when something really amazing happened. Everyone looked up, laughed, put their phones down and began having live conversations. We overstayed our welcome as usual, but ended up having a really great time.

Sunday
May152011

Here It Goes

Coming away thoroughly inspired by my Writers Retreat hosted by Wade Rouse and Gary Edwards, I'm finally beginning my blog. I learned a lot about myself this weekend. I realized why I laugh even when I shouldn't, why I find humor in just about every situation, even when I shouldn't and why I have a desire to share them through writing. My blog is intended to tell stories about every day events. Now, my version of daily happenings seem to evolve into full length stories. My brain has this unique way of interpreting everything into an edgy and slightly "that's so not right",  sort of sit-com.
I'm looking forward to finally having a place to document some of life's events and hopefully inspire others to live their life a little lighter. After all, it is all about having fun, isn't it?

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