i think i’m going to have to mow my grass soon.  i just wish i had a little more grass and a little less whatever it is that’s growing in my yard.  i’ve been a homeowner going on 10 years now and every year i think i’m going to do all the stuff like overseeding, fertilizing and whatever else you’re supposed to do in order to achieve a lush, green lawn.  and then, every year at some point i give up and just decide to cut whatever’s growing and think “as long as its green, who cares”.

well, once again its here… my window of opportunity to spread some of that fertilizer and weed killer stuff.  i have a bag of it thats been sitting in the garage for 4 years unopened.  can that stuff go bad? 

anyway, to complicate matters, our neighborhood is a tough one from the lawn perspective.  our subdivision isnt built out, and so we dont have houses on either side of us, but living about 3 lots away on both sides are retired men who evidently mow their grass twice a week.  heck, they even mow grass that they dont own.  its insane.  and then, they’re all part of the old men walking club that wanders around the neighborhood most days in the early evening just as i’m getting home from work.  maybe i’m imagining it, but i think i’m getting disapproving looks because in the past, i may go 2 or even 3 weeks before mowing. 

before you say it, NO… i am not hiring some high school kid to mow my grass.  first of all, they wont do it to my rigorous standards, and second, its expensive to hire it done.  besides, once i’m out there riding around i like it.  it’s a little bit of alone and quiet time for me.  well, quiet inside my head at least.

this may be the year though that i snap and respond to the old men looking and shaking their heads in a disapproving fashion…. “keep walking old man!! i’ll get off this mower and break yer hip!”

nah.  i’ll just live with the guilt and shame of 4 inch tall grass and weeds hanging over the curb.


so um yeah…  it’s been several weeks (or longer) since i last posted anything and i have been feeling pretty bad about it, like i’m letting down the one or two people that stop by to read my little stories from time to time.  i also punked out on my 365 project and have been missing that too.  i may try to make a third attempt at the 365 project in the not so distant future.

for those of you who dont know, the 365 project is a little something that i have tried on flickr.com where i would take a self portrait everyday for a year and post them to my flickr account.  its a little way to document a year in my life, and i think it is an interesting thing to do.

about my absense with the blog… i started off 2009 with being glad i had a job and thought that i would have a pretty easy year work wise.  for those of you who dont know, i do civil engineering design work for land development.  essentially, i tell the urban sprawl people how to properly do the sprawling.  i draw pictures of parking lots and storm sewers and make sure the strip malls destroy enough farm land in hopes of bringing yet another starbucks and/or quickie mart to every possible busy intersection in our community.  so since we’ve had a serious down turn in our economy, none of my usual clients are building anything this year.  in order to earn my keep, i was given some sidewalk projects to work on.  the deal with those is that the federal highway administration gives small communities block grants to build sidewalks so more school kids can walk to school.  the beauty of these projects is that out of every dollar they get in the form of a grant, they have to spend about 20 cents to be sure your federal tax dollars wont be spent on a sidewalk that in some way harms a historic structure or creates a drainage problem for the neighborhoods or takes property from another public entity, etc, etc, etc, etc. 

anyway, with the timing of the projects and the slow moving gears of government, i thought it would be an easy year.  so, i decided to take on some other projects.  i requested permission to go after a new level of certification in my job, i volunteered to help my brother to remodel his kitchen, i decided to do another semester of video taping my kids’ violin recitals, converting them to DVD’s and reselling them to the other parents.  oh, i decided to finally build some shelves for my son’s room. 

then, in the middle of all of that, my boss calls me into the conference room for a sit down.  i am told that i will help this local city to fix some combined sewers and that we will work mandatory overtime to the tune of about 55 hours a week and that it’ll run until mid may.  i’m glad to get a cool project that will have a significant impact on a nice local town nearby, but i feel overwhelmed at the thought of getting everything done that i need to get done. 

how in the world was i going to do all that work, keep up with helping the kids practice for violin, study for my certification test, develop plans for the kicthen remodel, and all that other stuff?  i panicked and the blog and 365 project fell by the wayside.  well, now the project is past the halfway point, and i’m getting things done.  i’m breathing easier, and i feel like i can sit down and blog a little without guilt.

i’ll let you, the readers decide what you want to hear about next…. leave me a note and tell me if you care to hear anything about the all too boring back story of how the state and federal government are treating small town America with regards to the environmental impacts of poo.  or, in a bold move, i will attempt to explain our recession to you.  now, mind you, i am not an economist.  i am not a financial insider.  i do, however, spend a lot of time in the car and am left to ponder such things.

well, i think maybe i’ll stick to what i know… mildly interesting stories about my daily life and the total ass-clowns that i seem to encounter on a day to day basis.

16 things about me…

January 5, 2009

IMG_6676, originally uploaded by mattw2418.

i have been meaning to do this for a while now. i have some time on my lunch hour today, so here goes…

1. i love cartoons. the old looney tunes, tom and jerry, the simpsons, mickey and donald, anything pixar.

2. my most favorite tv channel is the food network. its probably the channel i watch most often.

3. i love to cook. i feel let down a lot at restaurants. usually, i think i could make a better dish at home for less $$.

4. i dont think i could ever be a vegetarian. i respect your wishes if you want to do it, but i think beef and pork make everything better.

5. i used to never eat left-overs. i wanted everything hot and fresh. now, i think some foods get better by sitting in the fridge for a couple of days.

6. i really enjoy coffee, but am starting to drink more tea.

7. i have always wanted to learn to juggle.

8. i wish i could play a musical instrument. i played trumpet in the band way back in the day, but i think that’s long gone. i learned a little violin when my daughter started taking lessons, but i didnt stick with it. it’s not a good idea to rent an instrument and have it never come out of the case.

9. i’m really proud of the work i do for a living.

10. i really enjoy running calculations. i even enjoy checking them.

11. i make jokes when i feel stressed. i have yet to find an engineer coworker that thinks its funny.

12. i prefer to drive a stick shift car.

13. i worry that i am not a very creative person.

14. i cannot fathom why more people dont use a mac instead of a pc. for music, photos, web surfing and all the usual non-work stuff that people use computers for, the mac is superior, in my never-to-be-humble opinion.

15. i am proud of my wealth of worthless pop culture trivia knowledge and wish they’d continue with the World Series of Pop Culture Trivia tourament on VH1.

16. i am 36 years old and only now do i feel like i’m really getting to know myself.

oh good God…

December 18, 2008

this one will be quick…

there seems to be a trend forming in my life.  it goes like this: if i am shopping in any sort of retail establishment, invariably i will end up in line behind either A.) an elderly person who has not spoken to another human being in an extended period of time and is anxious to have some sort of conversation with anyone who will listen; or B.) a person in need in mental health services and/or some sort of mood altering medication; or C.) an unpleasant combination of the two aforementioned people.

then, if you can measure how much of a hurry i am in… let’s say level 1 is that i have time to spare and would love to stop and chat with someone coherant and 5 is that i am in a rush and have to get back to work before my lunch hour expires… that level will correspond to the level of wackiness or craziness of the jackalope in line in front of me, such that if i am needing to complete my retail shopping transaction and return to my place of employment as quickly as is possible, then the crazy old lady in front of me with a bad home dye job on her hair and inability to remember if she gave the check out person a 10 or a 20, will be at her veritable zenith of craziness… and will then proceed to attempt to share some obscure portion of her life with either me or said check out person.

and because i’m from the midwest, i know that i can only be rude and insensitive to members of my immediate family, whereas i am genetically forced to be civil and jovial to all the wierdos i encounter in public and will most likely never see again.

i never thought i’d utter the words “oh my, that’s a very interesting photograph of your grandson taken in 1965.” while trying to pick up a Christmas present in the mall… all the while wishing i could say “move it, grannie or i’ll break your hip.”

he’s my Toby!

December 8, 2008

ok, so i’m a fan of the tv show “the office”.  it really is funny and i like so many things about it.  for those of you have never watched it, you are missing out on some quality entertainment.  the lead character, michael scott, is the branch manager of a small paper company and some of the things that he says are absolute comedy gold.

one of the things that i really liked about the first 3 seasons of the show is michael’s absolut disgust with toby, the HR guy.  part of the reason that it was so comical was that michael hated, detested, and completely abhored toby and there was absolutely no reason why.  they never said or even gave a hint as to why michael couldnt stand him.  now, why that makes it more funny to me, i dunno… but it does.

not too long a ago, i realized that i, too have a toby.  one of our neighbors whom i will not name, but lets call him “Merle”.  there is a little bit of history with him and i not exactly seeing eye to eye on certain things, but in actuality i have no real reason to not like the guy.  but for some reason, i cannot stand him.  not one bit.  so one day, we were driving past his house and it hit me… “HE’S MY TOBY!!”

so, now that’s the phrase i’m inventing.  if there is someone in your life who you really hate, and when you’re honest with yourself you know there’s no real reason to hate said person… then that person is your toby.

the bad part of the whole thing is now, in season 4, michael now has a legitimate reason to dislike toby.  toby left the show for a while to move to costa rica.  the HR person they hired to fill toby’s position became somewhat of a girlfriend to michael.  but when the company’s CEO (david wallace, no relation) found out they were dating, she was reassigned to another branch.  well, guess who came back… TOBY!  i think it’s funny, but it lessened the comedy of the situation for me.


pre-holiday advice

November 21, 2008

hello, those of you who read this little blog.  sorry for the lack of posts in a week.  i was low on inspiration and ideas over the weekend, and then i was sick the last couple of days.  i’m beginning to feel like the regular me, though.  thanks for asking…

as you all are aware, next week is Thanksgiving.  as a kid, i enjoyed the holiday, but not as much as i do as real life grown up.  an entire holiday seemingly focused on food.  and not just any food… decadent food, requiring pre-planning, elaborate recipes, and all that jazz.  as a foodie, its the gastronomical high point of the year.  and now that i have left many of my picky eating ways behind, there’s very little on the menu that i don’t look forward to.

but alas, we must all strive to bear in mind that this holiday isnt just about putting on our stretchy pants and consuming enormous amounts of food with extended family.  it is, after all, about giving thanks. 

so here, publicly, i’d like to say that i’m thankful for my wife, my kids and the rest of my family… both blood relatives and those of the “in-law” variety.  i’m also thankful for my friends.  i could go on with all the usual other stuff many people list… my health, good fortune, freedom, high-speed internet, etc., but i dont think i will.  i mean, sure, i’m thankful for those things, but i am most thankful for the people in my life.  as we all are seeing daily on the news, “things” come and go.  wealth, security and even some freedoms are things that can be here today, and gone tomorrow.  (just look at my 401(k) statement, for instance…)

it is the people in our lives, the relationships… how we treat eachother and how we love and recieve love that matters most.  so before the holidays even begin, please remember not to spend all your time building your house and keeping it in order, but rather to open its doors to those you love.

happy turkey-day, everybody.  next time, i promise something either funny or cynical… and hopefully both.

ahhhhh haaaaaa!!!!!!

November 14, 2008

ahhhhh haaaaaa!!!!!!, originally uploaded by mattw2418.

oh you have got to be kidding me….

oh, here’s the story. in 2001 or so, i was a member of the engineering team that designed the east side target plaza in evansville. it is a 40 acre commercial shopping center, and is probably one of the nicest looking shopping centers in the area. for the most part, i am proud of the work i did, but i have ALWAYS thought the traffic control is TERRIBLE.

we were limited to one main entrance to the property with double left turn lanes, a traffic signal and the whole nine yards. well, the trouble is that once you enter the development, there is a 4 way stop in the center of everything. during the holidays, cars can’t get through the 4 way stop in time, and things back up into the street. which then makes cars back up onto the expressway, which is only compounded by the walmart and stuff across the expressway. it is truely a “malfunction junction” the likes of which make people from 3 states swear and complain.

well, 2 years ago while working for my old employer, i was asked to help the owner of the development deal with the traffic. the owner and my old boss (total jackalope) discussed all sorts of elaborate things, a second entrance off the expressway, reconstructing the entrance drive, adding other lanes, etc. I suggested starting cheap and just taking down the stop sign for the incoming cars. let the people coming in actually come in without having to stop. cars leaving have other choices, they can all yield. IT JUST MIGHT WORK, i said.

well, i guess because the jackalope didnt think of it, it was dismissed. now, i see… some 2 years later, that they are trying my EXACT idea. now, as we approach the holidays, we will certainly see if the proof is in the pudding and if i was right all along.