Friday, November 26, 2010

Mr. Bus Driver

A few years ago I was invited by CB to a Monday Football Game in New Orleans, LA at the Super Dome.  The men of his church had organized the trip. The deal was a no-brainer.  For $60, I got a ticket to the game and round trip ticket on a charter bus.   

The plan was to leave town about 3:00 pm, arrive in New Orleans around 6:00 pm to eat at one of the famous seafood restaurants downtown, then enjoy the Monday night game at 8:00.  I wish I could remember the restaurant ... it was the first time I had ever eaten gator.  Yes, it tasted like chicken.  

The visiting team for the game was the St. Louis Rams.  At the time, a man by the name of Kurt Warner was the quarterback for the Rams.  Later that year he lead the Rams to a Super Bowl victory and he was named the MVP.

We started loading up the charter bus about 3:00 pm.  All the attendees on the bus were men or boys.  As we loaded up on the bus we were curious about our ride.  We were ooing and ahhing over the TV screens about every 4 rows.  We checked out how far back the seats would go, to know if we will be able to sleep on the way back.  We were clicking the arm rest up and down in case not everybody showed up; seeing if we would be able to stretch out over two seats.  We even went to the back to check out the lavatory.  We were impressed with our accommodations for the trip to New Orleans.  Nice bus.

The bus filled up to near capacity about 3:15 pm.  The bus driver closed the door and asked if this was everybody.  He got an affirmative response from someone up front.  CB's pastor was sitting in the seat directly in front of CB and I.  He seemed to think if they were not here by now they were not coming.

The bus driver stepped up to the isle with his microphone.  

Bus Driver (BD): "Guys before we leave I have a few rules to go over.  Rule number one.  This bus is equipped with a laboratory."

Me: I glanced at CB  "Isn't it lavatory?  
CB: "Shhh."

BD: "It is there for your convenience and luxury.  When you go in and take care of your business, most of which I would hope and assume will be from a standing position, you will notice a button about stomach height for most of you on the wall to the right.  It is labeled "Flush".  Listen closely.  Push and hold the button for a count of 2.  1...2...then release it.  It will not flush immediately, it has a delay.  If you repeatedly push the button it could cause a malfunction and the laboratory will become inoperable.  I give you these instructions because I want everyone to understand them.  Does anybody have any questions.  No?  Good.  If the laboratory becomes inoperable, I do not make any stops until we get to our destination. So do not approach me and ask."
Someone from the bus: "Nobody better screw up the bathroom!"

BD:"Rule number two..."
Me: "CB maybe we should have driven ourselves."
CB: "Hang on lets hear him out."

BD:  "...I noticed most of you clicking the arm rests up and down, up and down.  I want to let you know the arm rest cost $200 each.  If you break it; you buy it."
Someone from the bus: click - click  "Just putting it away so I am not tempted anymore." 

BD: "Rule number three..."
CB: "If he has more than three I say we bail."
Me: "He may a rule against us getting off the bus."
BD: "...the temperature of the bus is the way I like it.  With this many people on the bus it will cool down as we get on the road.  From there I will make adjustments.  Do not approach me while I am driving and ask me to adjust it.  I have the climax controls up front with me and will make the adjustments as necessary to keep you comfortable."

Silence on the bus.

CB: is looking at me with big eyes, furiously shaking his head but not saying a word: N-NO NO NO....NO! Then with a stern look using his telepathic mind language: DON'T YOU EVEN MAKE A SOUND OR I WILL KILL YOU RIGHT HERE.

The Pastor turns to CB and I.  "Where do you think we can get one of those 'climax controls'; sounds like a gold mine."



The Saints lost to the Rams.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


When my wife and I were dating in college my mode of transportation was a Honda two door sport coupe.  It was a sweet ride.  Some other people, including Honda, called it a Civic three door hatchback.  The Civic was and still is a popular vehicle.  Not sure why they discontinued the hatchback.  Maybe they are planning a big retro comeback.  The best thing about it, other than a total babe magnet, was the gas mileage, the low maintenance cost and its reliability.  Everybody wanted one.

On one particular cool night after work I pulled this sweet ride into her parents driveway with the windows down.  Arriving fairly late and figuring to not stay too long, I decided to leave the windows down.  It never hurt to air out the inside of my sports* car with a nice cool breeze once in a while.  
*(kept all my sports equipment in the back: the golf clubs, softball glove, basketball, football)  

About 30 minutes after arriving, being a school night, I bid my princess a goodnight.  I jumped in my car started it up and headed down the street out of her neighborhood.  The cool air was nice.  Leaving the windows down allowed the night air scent to infiltrated the inside of my car.  I took a big deep breath of the fresh air.  Clearing my mind of a long day.  I became keenly aware of a few other things.  There was no moon out; it was extremely dark.  There were no other cars on the streets; extremely quiet.  Matter of fact, there was no traffic.  Just me, my civic, thoughts of my princess, and the cool air.  That's when I felt a tap on my right shoulder.  

Suddenly thoughts of how stupid I was...why would I leave my windows down and car unlocked late at night!  It would have only taken a minute or two to hand crank the windows back up.  DANG IT!  I am going to die.

I started thinking.  Who could it be?  Her ex-boyfriend?  A real robber?  Why did they pick my car?  Oh, wait, Einstein.  Then I started thinking.  What do I have of value with me?  I still had about $60 from last paycheck in my wallet.  Oh man, my new watch.  Dang it, it is all about to be gone.  Wait what if they want the car?  Oh man, they want this sweet ride.  What if they are about to stab me or shoot me?  I am not going to make it.

Their hand was still on my shoulder.  Yet, they were not making any demands.  They must want me to stop the car.  I was too freighted to look in the rear view mirror.  I took a deep breath and let off the accelerator.  I slowly came to a stop in the middle of the street.  Thinking if the police came by they would investigate why I was stopped in the middle of the street.  If I got shot and thrown out on the street the police may conclude I was car jacked.  I was in shock.

The car finally stopped.  I held my breath.  Waiting for the gun shot or the knife blade in my back.  I decided to make peace with my maker.  I regained my composure after talking with Him.  I finally decided to face my assailant.  As I turn my head to the right, I wanted to face my attacker and their demands.  I wanted to see the evil twisted sinister person who had violated my personal space trying to steal my only possession.  I wanted to go to my grave seeing the face of this thief and murderer.  When I cut my eyes around I looked directly into the cold yellow eyes of a black cat.  Her whiskers tickled my cheek.  She nudged my nose, threw her head toward the windshield and started to purr as if to say, "Hey studmuffin, love the ride. Isn't this a great night?  Where we going?"  

Realizing the worst case scenario at this point would be to startle the cat causing her to freak out, scratch me, giving me cat scratch fever, or biting me giving me rabies; my heart actually started beating again.  I took another deep breath.  The neighbors black cat had entered my car, most likely, in search of the left over quarter pounder box in the back seat.  I did a quick U-turn and took the abducted cat back to the driveway where she had entered my car.  I opened the door let her out and left again.  

Strangely there was a new scent in the car...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wax on Wax off on Two

My wife says to me: "Kipp when was the last time you got a hair cut?"
Me: "About three weeks ago.  Why?
Wife: "Turn around let me see your neck."

My wife had got a new wax product from her sister.  This new wax product was being billed as nearly pain free.  By reducing the amount of wax with an amazing new space aged polymer it reduces the pain factor considerably.  Per the instructions on the tub container, to get the best performance and most pain free experience the "targeted area" should have a few weeks worth of hair growth.  Seeing the back of my neck and now with the knowledge it has three week hair growth on it, my wife's plan was set in motion. 

Wife: "Have you ever used wax?"
Me: "Seriously, you just asked me" 
Wife: "OK good then we will try it on your neck first.  Just a little bit to see how good it works.  If it works like it should we can do your entire neck."

There was no further discussion.  She heads for the kitchen to warm the wax.  I am left standing in front of the bathroom mirror rubbing my neck thinking my neck could use a trim.  It will be smooth as a baby bottom in a few minutes.    

She returns from the kitchen with the warm wax.  She gets about a tablespoon worth of wax.  As she is about to apply it to my neck, she decides to go down to a teaspoon.  With the Popsicle stick applicator she applies the wax to the right side of my neck.  The warm wax was smoothed out, best I could feel it was about the size of a piece of Laffy Taffy candy.  (About an inch rectangle swath of wax over the three week old neck hair) 

The instructions read aloud by my lovely wife:
"Let the wax set for about 30 seconds then apply a pull strip.  Next taking a firm grip on the pull strip, jerk quickly." 

I am about a head taller than my wife and I out weigh her by about a person.  The logistics of this next step required some positioning for leverage.  I leaned over the sink with my elbows on the counter.  My head hanging over the sink.  This placed the "target area" in a great position for my wife to pull the strip and jerk quickly.  My wife placed her left hand on my back and her feet planted firmly on the floor.  I felt a little pressure on my back when she grabbed the pull tab with her right hand.  

Me: "Ouch!" 
I stand up.
Wife: "WHAT!"
Me: "You are supposed to rip it."
Wife: "I just grabbed the pull strip.  I did not rip it yet."
Me: "Well you already pulled a few hairs out."
Wife: "I was just getting a grip."
Me: "Well grab and rip, lets go."
I lean back over the sink.

She grabbed the pull strip again and pushing down on my back and this time on my neck, asked if I was ready.  

Me:"Should I take a deep breath?  Should I hold my breath?  If you will just pull when I am not expecting it.  Maybe it will catch me off guard that way...(she tugged)

In an instant my legs gave way, my right knee hit the floor first.  My vision was immediately flooded with black fly like creatures zipping across in front of the dim light behind them.  My body temperature increased to about a thousand degrees.  Sweat from areas that normally do not sweat, were wet.  I lost hearing.  My neck was on fire.  Tears welled up in my right eye.  My left eye seemed to have popped straight out of its socket.  My hands had gotten stuck under the faucet from where I was leaning on the counter.  If not for them being lodged, I would have been on the floor in the fetal position sucking my thumb.

Wife:  "Auh waa o cha?"
Wife: "Auh waah o cha?"
My hearing returned and I was finally able to understand her. 
Wife: "Are you OK?"
Me: "Am I OK?  Aww it's not so bad, considering you just RIPPED SKIN, MUSCLE AND TENDONS RIGHT OFF MY BODY!"

My wife, I guess, seeing that I was able to breath again and speak coherent words starts laughing uncontrollably.  Not just girly giggling, I am talking doubled over, cross legged so she would not pee herself, laughing.  When she regained her composure she says the worst words she has ever spoken to me in the umpteen years we have been together, these words still haunt me...

Wife: "Kipp not all the wax came off.  There is still about two thirds still attached to your neck."
She went back to her cross legged position.

Me: *!
*There are times when certain adult language is blurted out without foreknowledge of the adult that speaks it.  This was one such occurrence.  
Me: "This has to come off.  You have to do it.  I can't reach it nor do I think I could consciously do something so painful to myself.  It would be like asking me to saw off my arm starting from under my armpit using a hand held limb saw."

Wife: "Are you ready?"
Me: "YES! While my adrenaline is still flowing!  For God's sake woman, use BOTH hands!  Put your foot on my back and use your legs!"
Wife: "I do not want to hurt you."
Me: "Did you really just say that?"

With her new found inspiration from the look she was just given, she immediately stepped on my back, grabbed the pull strip with both hands, grunted with a primal scream of a cave woman killing a saber tooth tiger and ripped the wax from my neck.  She stood with the wax held high over her head with her foot still in my back as if I was the dead carcass.  I barely heard her over my own screams.

Wife:"Lie still while I go get some paper towels from the kitchen."
Me: "Why?"
Wife: "You are bleeding.  Don't move.  I don't want to have clean up the floor."

As I lie there bleeding, wet with sweat, neck on fire, black flies filling my vision, a bruised kidney or at least a broken rib, repenting for the adult language, I thought...How can they handle this but still be so scared of spiders and roaches?

About three months after the waxing "incident", the scab had healed.  The bald spot left took another couple of weeks for the neck hair to grow back.  It showed up in the purest silvery gray hair you have ever seen.  It is the only patch of gray hair I have on my entire body.  I can only imagine it is my body commemorating the spot of absolute trauma it sustained that day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Am I in trouble?

The names in this story have been changed to protect those that need their heart blessed.

The company I work for is spread out over multiple buildings.  The building I worked from a few years back held about 100 employees.  We were each issued an ID badge and key for security and entry to the building.  However, we were constantly letting in the lunch delivery guy, the flower delivery guy (no not for me) and any customers that might be visiting the area.  By 'letting in' I mean into the foyer or the break room.  Once they made their delivery or visit, they were escorted back out of the building.
Walking across the foyer of the main entrance one summer day about 9:30 A.M. I notice a gentleman approaching the door with an arm full of flowers.  Red roses to be exact.  So I approach the door, open it and let the man into the building.  

Me: "How are you today?  Can I help you find somebody?"

Flower man: "Yes I am looking for Andrea."

Me: "OK wait here and I will go get her for you."

Flower man: "OK thanks I will wait here."

Andrea is on the phone when I get to her desk.  I motion for her to get off the phone.  She tells the person on the other side she will call them back.

Me: "Andrea can you come with me for a second?"

Andrea: "Am I in trouble?"

Me: "I do not think so."

We walk back up to the foyer.  I step across the foyer to the other side so I can view her reaction getting the red roses from the flower deliver guy.  I was used to hearing "Thank you!" or "Oh he shouldn't have!" or "It is a good thing he did!" or "These are for me?!"  But this day was different.  It went something like this...

Andrea stops in her tracks and starts smiling from ear to ear.  Flower guys grins and hits a knee.  Andrea puts her hands on her chest and takes a deep breath.  My eyes get real big as I say "Oh no."  Flower guy seems to be fumbling around with the roses as if he is trying to find a place to lay them down.  He looks up at me and stretches out the roses toward me.  

Me: "Whoa! Hey man, I'm married."

Flower guy: "Can you hold these for a second."      

He hands me the roses and reaches across to his other hand to grab a ring.  Andrea and I both see the diamond engagement ring at the same time.  She squeals a little.  I think I said "Unbelievable".  

Andrea: "Oh Flower guy..."

I have cleaned up what actually came out of his mouth.  But here is nearly what Flower guy so eloquently said to Andrea.  Trust me I could not have made this up.

Flower guy: "I know I am going to screw this up, but will you marry me?"

Me: "When you say 'screw' this up?  Did you mean this whole proposal event here or your future matrimony?  Because as the only witness to this event, I need to know.  If you want to try it again later today trust me man, nobody will know."  Of course it was my inside voice! 

Andrea: "Yes."

Me: My outside voice this time, "Well Andrea this is the part when you would kiss him...preferably when I am not standing here."  
I spun on my heels and moseyed off to my office in shock.  
Looking back now, when she asked me "Am I in trouble?"
...bless her heart.