Saturday, July 29, 2006

Bearskin Rug Rudeness

The neighborhood garage sale was yesterday. Mom and I made $103.50. We split it 50/50, but in the time it took us to raise that money some interesting things went down on Allen Drive.

The bearskin rug was our hot item. The sale wasn’t supposed to start until 8 am. Mom kept turning people down because it wasn’t 8 yet. Finally, at 7:30 we were being swamped by customers. One of the first customers Chris turned away was a man who was interested in the bearskin rug we had marked for twenty bucks. We told him to come back later. We didn’t promise him any bearskin rug action. So, when Chris started allowing customers to buy up the products the first one to go was the rug. A man didn’t bat an eye at the now raised price of thirty dollars. We will never know how much that rug was really worth, but I said, after the fact, we should have marked it at fifty dollars.

The saga of the bearskin wasn’t over. The original shopper that came by for the rug returned at 8 am. He said, “Where’s the rug?”

“We sold it. Sorry,” Mom said.

“So much for character,” He said as he spun around.

My mom just blew him off by saying, “Yeah”.

She continued talking with a customer but I was watching this guy’s every movement. I was so stunned that he could be so rude to someone that hadn’t done anything to him. He walked back to his car and said, “At least I don’t lie.”

My ears were pretty perked up by now and I was intent on catching every last word this jackass was going to say before he got into his car.

“What a bitch,” the man said as he slipped behind the wheel.

Immediately after that I started walking toward him and he caught my gaze which was not going to leave until I saw him out of my sight. For a few seconds he had to look down to put the key in the ignition, but he frantically glanced up to see my approaching frame. I was getting more fired up with each step.

He pulled away quickly in his crappy car, but the best car a flea market stand owner could afford. And that was exactly what he was. He came to buy cheap goods and sell them at exorbitant prices to his dishonorable, silly, flea market-going-brethren.

I pointed to the direction he should go, that way, away from this house if he didn’t want to get punished. I gave a casual middle finger to his rearview mirror. I don’t think he ever saw it, but he was the most deserving of any middle finger that I have ever doled out.

Even now, more than twelve hours later, I am disappointed that was all I did. I should have yelled at him immediately when he slimed my mother with that derogatory term. He was a lucky man yesterday. That is all I can say.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Ledger of Your Decisions

Sister has a wedding to attend in December. She is a bridesmaid. The only ticket she could get for her flight to Colorado was for December 20th. She will stay here until the 26th. Her husband will not fly out. They will not spend Christmas together. Why? Dad reports, “They don’t want to spend the money.”

Sister corrects Dad on the phone, “We can’t spend the money.”

Brother remembers Sister buying a $328 Coach purse two weeks ago. The Coach purse was meant to alleviate the pain of Sister not getting a house in California. The purse didn’t ease the pain. A roundtrip flight to Colorado can easily be purchased for $328.

Sister has traded a Coach purse for a Christmas with Husband. So, what does the ledger of your decisions look like?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Left Side of My Desk

To the left is the HP printer that my parents gave me for Christmas in 2003. My computer at the time couldn’t even be used with it because it didn’t have USB 2.0 ports. Not to worry, my birthday present ended up being this nice Dell that I am using right now. The printer currently has an issue, it doesn’t print. I need to get that fixed, but I have no income. Having no income has put a hold on lots of purchases, necessary maintenance, or improvements. The paper tray is folded up. Two pieces of paper lay on top of the printer. Did you know the UK uses a different size of paper for their default? It is called A3.

A small frame holding a picture of Kate sits on top of the printer. It was taken last summer when we went to dinner at the Grand Lux Café on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. It is one of my favorite pictures of her. I look at it everyday and think, dang, she is hot and I am lucky.

Behind the picture is a piece of old artwork from airbrush class my senior year in high school. I used the airbrush to make a cone, circle, a folded piece of paper, and a square look three dimensional. Was I successful? The circle turned out wonderfully, but the others not so much. I don’t know why it is out really. Mom probably found it in one of the piles in this room or the basement.

A circular painting of Notre Dame rests in a black wood frame in front of the printer. The painting has a gold border that is accented nicely by the red background of the frame. The parents got me the painting in Paris. Mom even has a photo of the painter on the Seine.

To the right of the painting is my Franklin electronic dictionary. This thing is amazing. It houses thousands of words. Franklin provides entertaining games and a thesaurus on it as well. You can’t forget the trusty flip cover that protects the screen from scratches and the buttons from spillage I suppose.

Tucked under a corner of the dictionary is a coaster that says “Goose Island, Drink Local” on it. You may not know this, but I collect coasters. I must have extras of the Goose Island coaster, which is why I have been using it on my desk.

To the right of the coaster is a candle that I used a lot in Laramie. It is the Cotton Blossom scent from The White Barn Candle Co. Kate gave it to me. I am not going to lie; I really enjoy the scent of it. I don’t use it that much anymore. The house just doesn’t stink like an apartment with at least three college guys in it all the time.

Next you have your random Post-it note pad. Next to that are some used business cards that could probably be tossed. The businesses on them didn’t want me. I will file them away in one of these drawers thinking I will probably use them again, when in reality I won’t.

I now have an Oregon Coast, rubber coaster. The design has a lighthouse shining its rays out to the ocean against a dark night sky. Two black rocks lay next to it. Kate brought them from the Japanese Gardens in Portland.

A Central Presbyterian Church pen rests on top of my calendar which rests on top of the Daily Times-Call Classifieds from Monday, July 24, 2006. There was an advertisement in them for a Virtual Job Fair online. I visited the website and quickly realized that I don’t want to answer phone calls all day long, deliver milk for the Longmont Dairy, or drive forty-foot long public transportation buses. The paper is another discarded tool of the dead-end job search.

Below the paper is one of many Bibles I have. This is a pocket Bible; slim, made of bonded, red leather, and has a button clasp on it. Zondervan published this New International Version. This Bible has been with me since I really became serious about my faith in the high school days. I flip open the front page and read this note, written on the first page, from a youth pastor long removed from my everyday life, “Bryce: May God’s words always direct your life. Philippians 4:8 – 10/3/00.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Bling

The blog is a good place to load some photos of the ring. The photos don't do this ring justice. You don't get the bling bling factor, but for those of you that haven't seen the ring yet this is the best that I can do.

Engagement, Facebook, and a Drive By

I proposed to my girlfriend, Kate, on Friday. She said yes. Woo hoo.

My new favorite pastime is removing friends of mine on Facebook. The people I am removing are merely acquaintances. I think most Facebook users talk to less than half of their Facebook friends on a monthly basis. For me, there were/are a lot of Facebook "friends" that I will never talk to again in my life, or I have no interest in talking to them.

When I run at night, even in Longmont, I think every car that drives by me is going to mow me down. This is a direct result of watching violent movies and hearing about Compton. Darn.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Baby Story and More

TLC was on the television and it was lunchtime at the Perica household. Megan was watching the television before Bryce came in from caulking the house. He sat down at the table, disappointed that Megan was watching A Baby Story on TLC. Lunch was a ham sandwich with a dill pickle. Dill pickles and ice cold milk is one of Bryce’s favorite food combinations.

With nothing to read and a boring program on the TV, that Megan was infatuated with, lunch was going to be interesting.

Bryce thinks shows like A Baby Story and A Wedding Story are some of the saddest shows cable television has to offer. The programs are clearly marketed to women. There is nothing wrong with this, Bryce thinks, but he still doesn't like watching them. He sat at the table waiting for Megan’s overemotional reaction to something seen time and time again on television, a baby.

Here it comes. Even though he has been averting his eyes for the last ten minutes he can hear the baby crying. Finally breaking down, he looks at the TV. The doctors reached into a woman and pulled her kid out. The baby was pissed, probably because he was covered in red goop and he smelled. The males at the table nearly gagged on their lunch and immediately averted their eyes once again.

Bryce sneaks a glimpse at Megan. There are tears in her eyes. A Baby Story made her cry. This is so unfathomable to Bryce. He draws his lips tightly together and his eyes grow to an enormous size. He looks back out the window. Yeah, he is a guy. Megan is a girl, but the difference between the two never ceases to amaze him.

Later on at lunch…

“Greeley Bee (Megan’s dog) is going to have such a good weekend,” Megan says.

“Oh yeah, why?” Dad inquires.

“She is going to her best friend’s house, and she is going to see her boyfriend.”

Bryce bats his eyes, dumbfounded.

“Is Greeley fixed?” Dad asks.


“What was the problem?” Bryce asks.

This prompts a short chuckle from Dad.

Casual dog discussion continues and eventually Megan comments on how Greeley looks so much like her parents.

“Now, c’mon, a dog is a dog,” Dad says.

“Nah ah. Greeley has her mom’s legs and face, and her dad’s eyes,” Megan testifies.

Bryce thinks that things couldn’t have been weirder once A Baby Story made Megan cry. Bryce was wrong.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Coach Purse

Megan and Colton aren’t buying the house. California is just too damn expensive, but then again, so is a Coach purse. Megan needs to feel better. Megan shops to feel better. Megan buys another Coach purse to feel better about not being a homeowner. Megan spends $328 on a purse and tells Mom, “Oh, once you have one of these, Mom, all you will want are Coach purses.”

Megan and Mom get home from shopping. Bryce asks, “What’d you buy?”

Megan lifts the Coach out of the bag. The bag is in shades of brown and has the trademark ‘C’ all over the inner lining.

“How much was that?” Bryce asks.

Megan suppresses a giggle. There is a slight lean to her mouth and a raised eyebrow that tell Bryce she is not excited to tell him the price, but she still has pleasure in doing so.

“C’mon, how much, Megan?” Bryce inquires again.

“Three hundred and twenty-eight.”

Bryce is having a hard time being polite.

“Three hundred and twenty-eight dollars?”

A guilty smile and a small nod accompany Megan’s, “Mm hmm.”

Bryce doesn’t know where to start, so he doesn’t. There are so many reasons this is wrong, disgusting, and sad. All he can muster is, “That’s ridiculous.”

Bryce thinks of what this means. The words consumerism, materialism, greed, lust, and Californication come to mind. He thinks a little more and ‘therapy’ comes into his mind. Is this beyond ‘therapy’? There must be something that can reverse this, like the Rogaine for shoppers and spenders. Whatever it is, it needs to be more powerful than everyone in Megan’s immediate family telling her that the Coach purse is not going to make her feel better or solve anything.

Bryce realizes a Coach purse does solve something, the problem of being a homeowner; it just gets rid of that option.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Etheldene Randomness

Etheldene Avenue. This was my street for three months. This is where my host family lived in one of these five bedroom houses with one bathroom. The cars are always parked like this. There are no garages. Tight spaces call for tight parking. Many of the cars I had only seen on a video game until I walked up this sidewalk on January 13th. I was so lost. I was so new. I knew nothing about the place I was in, but everything I thought about for the next three months was part of an effort to become familiar with this vast city. I walked this street hundreds of times and each time I felt a little more like I owned my own section of the neighborhood. It was different over there. I don’t typically take pride in the street I live on, but I wanted to over there. It was my own little patch of London, and knowing it inside and out made me feel more like a local. The sidewalk across the street is where all my journeys began and ended. I usually left the house at 8 and froze while walking down this street without a coat. I looked inside any house that didn’t have their curtains drawn. Some were simple, others were packed full of stuff and furniture. A number of them had plasma televisions on the wall. I kept track of where certain cars were parked to see where certain cars lived. I memorized the names of them and any distinct features on the car. I wanted to see how the house I lived in differed from the others on the block. I think I ran by Chris Cooper not far from here one day. I took this picture walking up from Park Road where I caught the W7 to Finsbury Park. The bust stop is just a hundred yards behind the point at which I stood to take this picture. The W7 came down the hill from Muswell Hill Broadway every 3-7 minutes. It took me through Hackney, Crouch End, and on to Finsbury. I sat up top on the left side usually halfway back. I was early enough on the route that it wasn’t too difficult to get a window seat. After a few stops the bus filled up with business men and women. Everyone wears wool over there and I really stuck out on some days when I was wearing the orange Mountain Hard Wear shell. I watched the seats fill up in front of me. Someone sat with me on most of the morning trips. The silence of everyone on the bus got to me sometimes. You couldn’t tell if all of us were going to a funeral or our jobs. I was happy though. The bus unloaded us at the Finsbury Park station that is serviced by the Piccadilly and Victoria lines which are blue and light blue on your tube maps. Loads of business people funneled into a circular tunnel that banked slightly to the right as it moved underground. I really was the only student out in the boonies with all these rich, successful people, except of course any other students in the same program as me. I rode in carriages stuffed full with men and women in suits and business attire. I was the one grunged out person. My pants for the trip consisted of three pairs of Carhartts that I alternated for weeks at a time before they were cleaned. The Carhartts were great because they stayed clean and any top looked halfway decent with them. I fit in a little more once I put on a nice pair of leather shoes, a zip up, high-collar sweater, and my European carryall. The carryall I bought at Topman on Oxford Street. I haven’t worn it since then, but I miss it. Why can’t Americans dress nicely and get over men wearing purses? I love rocking the man purse.