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  • suburbexcitement 9:54 pm on August 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Excitement in the Suburbs is when the doorbell rings unexpectedly 

    DoorbellIt doesn’t matter what day of the week or what time of the day there is always one thing that will startle the crap out of me…it’s the doorbell.  We have now lived in our cozy suburban home for over six years and I’ve had conversations lasting over five minutes with about two of my neighbors.  We get along well, but are not close enough that they will show up unexpectedly (well, not anymore, but that’s a different story for perhaps another blog posting).  And I have smiled and said ‘hi’ to my other neighbors plenty of times, but as sad as it may sound, I just really have no interest in becoming friends with any of them. It’s not that they don’t seem like nice people, but I have a nice group of friends who all live far enough away that they won’t just show up unexpectedly, which is just how l like it.  And if they do, I’m wondering what they’re hiding from.

    You might notice that the word ‘unexpectedly’ keeps showing up, that’s simple to explain…I am truly not a fan of the unexpected.  Well, I shouldn’t say that always applies.  I do like surprises from time-to-time, but I just don’t like people showing up at my house unexpectedly. So when that doorbell rings unexpectedly I immediately enter into ninja mode. That’s right, I immediately hit the deck, enter into a state of complete silence, and make it appear as though no one is home.  Never mind that the lights and TV are on, the car is parked out front, the blinds are open, and half of the time my wife and I are audibly shushing each other I genuinely believe that I’m such an awesome ninja that whoever is at the door will be dumb enough to not pick up on any of these obvious signs and will just go away.

    Now that I really think about it there are very few people that I would ever like to ring my doorbell (as long as it’s not unexpected).

    1. Trick-or-treaters: It’s just one night a year and those kids are so stinking cute that it’s actually kind of fun when the doorbell rings. Now there is an exception for trick-or-treaters and those are the teenagers who show up at 9:30 when the porch light is off.  They of course are not in costume, don’t say anything, yet they expect a treat.  It’s always tempting to enter ninja mode when they show up, but this ninja does not really like cleaning egg of his car in the morning.
    2. The Pizza Guy: He of course is always more than welcome!
    3. Various service workers (A/C repairmen, plumbers, cable guy, etc…): I would of course rather that I never have a reason for them to come over, but if it’s necessary then you have to let them in. (but please wipe your feet!)
    4. Delivery drivers:  The arrival of the delivery driver is always exciting, because they usually come bearing something that you’ve been anxiously waiting for.
    5. Girl Scouts: I respect the Girl Scout that still gets out there and goes door-to-door instead of letting their parent’s guilt people at work into buying cookies.  Yep, I would rather succumb to the guilt I would feel of trying to say ‘no’ to a girl scout on my doorstep, so you can come by and take my order for three boxes of Samoas every year.
    6. And of course family and friends.  (but advanced notice is still preferred or you might fall victim to my ninja mode)

    Now that I’ve come up with a list of acceptable people to ring my doorbell I might as well come up with a list of those who are not welcome. It’s actually a pretty simple list:  Everyone that’s not on the list above.

    But for the heck of it I’ll list some of my favorite examples.

    1. Overly enthusiastic guys selling magazine subscriptions or trying to get me to switch energy/cable/internet providers.  I know they’re just doing a job, but it’s these people that make me want to get a “No Soliciting” sign. But I know they would just ignore it so I instead enter into ninja mode when I sense their presence and do my best to ignore them.
    2. Anyone wanting to talk to me about religion.  My religious beliefs are of none of your concern, so unless you want to witness my ninja skills first hand you should think twice before pressing that doorbell.
    3. Escaped convicts.

    I’m sure that my hatred of the doorbell ringing unexpectedly could be analyzed by some as having a deeper meaning. Such as how our society is becoming more and more private and we are losing our sense of community.  And I would not argue, in fact I would have to agree with this analysis. And at times I truly wish that I did know my neighbors better and that we lived in a more tightly knit neighborhood. Heck, I would kind of like it if someday a neighbor needed to borrow a cup of sugar like you see in the old TV shows.  But they better let me know well ahead of time that they’re coming over, better yet schedule an appointment.  Otherwise, if that doorbell rings unexpectedly they will get no sugar from this ninja.

     
  • suburbexcitement 8:12 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Excitement in the suburbs is sporks 

    SporkEvery now and then there is a really great idea that just never quite catches on.

    Take for instance the keytar. The keytar made a brief appearance in the 80’s thanks to the popularity of New Wave and Synthpop music.  For all of those lead singers who could not play a lick of guitar, but had been forced to take piano lessons as a child, this was the perfect instrument.  Not only could they play the one instrument that they knew how to, but they could look cool with it strapped around their neck just like a guitar.  So while that lead singer may have grown up wishing to play a Fender, but was forced to play a Steinway, he now got to play a…Casio.

    But enough about the keytar, the great idea that never quite caught on that I’m here to write about is the spork (please, don’t call in a foon…that’s just silly).  I started thinking about the spork recently as I was eating a Frito Chili Pie. While I was eating it with a lousy spoon I thought back to my childhood when I used to eat Frito Chili Pies at the little league baseball field.  But there was something missing while I was eating this particular Frito Chili Pie.  Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious.  I made it myself so the Fritos to cheese to chili ratio was perfect. The texture was lovely also. The chili was warm, the Fritos nice and crunchy, and the cheese was extra gooey.  But again, there was just something missing and I finally realized what it was.  As a kid when the nice lady at the ballpark handed me a Frito Chili Pie it always came with a spork.  That’s right, the genius combination of spoon and fork that allowed me to scoop the chili, but gave me the teeth of the fork to do the grunt work that a spoon is just not capable of.  I always loved getting the spork and wondered why it was not used more often.

    Again, it’s a genius combination of spoon and fork, so it just makes sense as a utensil. It would be more cost effective. Setting tables would be easier and less confusing.  The word ‘spork’ is just fun to say. The list of advantages for using a spork just go on and on.  But despite all of the advantages of this marvel of ingenuity our society still seems stuck on using both a spoon and fork.  Seinfeld had a great bit about how he admires how Chinese people have stuck with chopsticks despite having seen the spoon and fork, but I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to admire those who continue to use both a spoon and fork despite seeing the spork.

    So when I do finally make that exciting trip to Target to pick up a second pizza cutter I think I’m going to make it extra “exciting” and pick up some new sporks. But that does leave one question.  What will I do with those now empty slots in my utensil tray?

     
    • Rachel 8:37 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I was waiting for the post about sporks!! Love it! 🙂

    • Sarah 9:44 am on July 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The extra slot can be for more pizzacutters

  • suburbexcitement 2:17 am on July 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Excitement in the suburbs is DIY 

    If you’ve ever worked in an office you know that there are many things that you need to get used to.  There’s the fluorescent lighting that permeates your retinas and introduces you to the wonderful world of migranes.  There’s the rancid stench that permeates your nostrils every time you open the office refrigerator. (Why do you ever dare leave your food in there?)   But there’s also the seemingly endless encyclopedia of acronyms that permeates your brain and haunts your daydreams. But the most dreaded acronym of them all is not one that haunts your daydreams in the office, it’s one that haunts your actual dreams at home.  It’s the dreaded…DIY.

    Yep, it’s a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, but your eyes have still not adjusted from the forty (or fifty or sixty) hours of fluorescent lighting that you’ve been subjected to during the week, so you’re not quite ready to venture outdoors just yet.  Instead you turn on the TV and begin to flip the channels.  You flip and flip and flip and then before you know it you’ve landed on one of the numerous DIY shows that flood the Saturday afternoon airwaves. Then you start to think of all of the things that need working on around your own house and they just make it look so easy that you start to think, “Sure, I can handle replacing kitchen cabinets and counter tops.  I can lay new tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms. I can build a deck and a pergola. I can re-build the master bathroom shower. I can replace all of the ceiling fans, light fixtures and switches, electrical outlets, and all of the windows.  And you know what, I can knock all of this out next weekend all by myself.” Forgetting of course that the professionals on these devilish shows are just that…professionals.

    Your head is running a thousand miles-an-hour with all of the ideas in your head and before you know it you’re at the hardware store pricing all sorts of materials.  Tile, cabinets, paint, electrical stuff, countertops, lots and lots of wood, screws, cool tools you don’t know how to use. Before you know it you’re heading is spinning and you need some fresh air.  You walk outside and grab a hot dog from the vendor that’s always out front. A few minutes later you realize why you have never grabbed a hot dog from that guy and you immediately head home. You come screaming into the garage, run in the door, and head for the place where you do your best thinking…the bathroom. While sitting there you start to re-assess your hair-brained DIY ideas.  You decide to pick just one project and try to determine which is most urgent.

    Six months later: After months of blood, sweat, and lots of tears, not to mention the hundreds of trips to the hardware store and thousands of dollars spent, you have finally finished.  The never ending project is finally over. It has actually turned out really well and you still have all of your fingers. Then, as you’re basking in your self-glory and feeling pretty good about yourself, it’s time to clean up and declare this project finished.  But as you’re cleaning up you look down and see something lying on the floor and think to yourself, “Crap! Where does this piece go?” 

     
  • suburbexcitement 6:13 pm on July 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Excitement in the suburbs is waffle fries 

    Waffle FriesFrench fries, curly fries, seasoned fries,  and even the absurdly named freedom fries for those French-hating “patriots” that live amongst us.  What do all of these various types of fries have in common?  That’s right…they’re all awesome! and delicious!!

    I mean, who doesn’t love one of these glorious fried strips of potato?

    But whether you prefer your fries traditional, slinky-like, French hating, or even covered in chili and cheese there is no debating that there is one fry that rises above all of the rest. And that is of course… the waffle fry.

    These mysteriously cut fries are not only a taste sensation, but I dare say a marvel of architecture and aerodynamics. Just think about it.  A single waffle fry is a series of lines, arches, arcs reminiscent of the great roman aqueducts. And if put in  a wind tunnel I would venture to guess that the wind would float across the long lines of the waffle fry much like a fine hand-crafted Italian sports car.

    And then there is the taste. While I’ve met very few fries that I didn’t like, I’ve never found a waffle fry that I didn’t like. And I’ve come to the realization that there is a very simple explanation for this. The waffle fry IS the fine hand-crafted Italian sports car, while the regular fry is a nice trusty Honda.  Sure, the trusty Honda is great and will never let you down, but the fine hand-crafted Italian sports car will make you drool just at the very thought of it.

    So next time you’re passing through you’re friendly suburban drive thru and you are given the option of regular or waffle fries the choice is obvious.  But don’t let the “excitement” take over too much on the drive home, because while your Honda might be trusty, it’s definitely not hand-crafted or Italian.

     
  • suburbexcitement 7:19 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Excitement in the suburbs is when a wasp gets in the house! 

    That’s right, there is nothing like that initial exhilaration you feel when you hear that buzz that you know all too well. It’s the buzz of sheer terror and fright that can only be produced by a wasp or yellow jacket, hornet, bee, honey bee, killer bee … oh, you get the idea. There is something in your house that packs a slightly poisonous sting that even Andre the Giant would wince at. So, what do you do?

    First, you have to choose your weapon. Crap! You’re out of Raid, so you have to go with the trusty rolled up magazine or newspaper. Things just got a lot more dangerous and it’s time to really get in the zone.

    Second, track down where the buzz is coming from. This is definitely the most terrifying part of the ordeal, because the element of surprise is still in play. Then, out of nowhere, there it is. It has brazenly revealed itself to you as if to say that it knows what’s about to go down and it’s really NOT “as afraid of you as you are of it”. It knows very well that you are MUCH more afraid and the psychological match has begun.

    Round 1: The stare down begins. You with the knowledge that you’re armed with a rolled up Good Housekeeping with a festive holiday dessert on the cover and it armed with a stinger tipped with poison. You roll up the magazine one last time (trying not to get distracted by how delightful the festive holiday dessert on the cover looks and wondering if you should add it to the holiday menu), a bead of sweat rolls down your forehead (or two, or three, or…oh hell, you’re sweating so bad you’ll have to shower when it’s all over), and then you take that first faithful step towards the flying demon. It then buzzes towards you and you immediately run screaming and drop your trusty weapon. Damnit! It has won round 1.

    Round 2: You retrieve your trust weapon, roll it up again, wipe your brow, and enter the Thunder Dome. As you enter you don’t hear the buzz, the quiet is deafening, and then you notice that the flying demon has made it’s first tactical error…it has landed. You sense that this is your chance and you slowly move up behind it, clutch the Good Housekeeping ever so tightly, and then in a moment of bravery you take your first swing. Time stands still. The only sound you hear is the echo of the magazine whack ringing through the house. And then, right when you think that you have won the battle, here it comes. It’s an ATTACK!!!! You have missed and the demon has turned Kamikaze! It knows that once it stings you it’s life will shortly come to an end, but that’s a sacrifice that it’s willing to make.

    It dive bombs you and all you can do is flail and swing your weapon like a crazed chimpanzee in desperate need of a banana. The battle continues for what seems like an eternity and then once the dust settles you realize that you’re still not crying from a Kamikaze sting and your enemy is still not dead. Both tired from the battle you retreat to your corners. You’re corner being locked in the bedroom (because evidently a wasp can pick a lock). And the wasp’s corner being anywhere it wants. Round 2 is a draw. When will the horror ever end???

    Round 3: You’ve had enough. This is your house and you will not be defeated by this flying pest. Also, you’re two hours late for work at this point, so something has to be done. You grab your weapon, open the door and once again enter Thunder Dome. You quickly spot the enemy on the window sill and realize that it has tired and this is your chance. It’s now or never. Will you have to use a sick day, will you be able to go to sleep tonight or sleep with one eye open, will you ever be able to look yourself in the mirror again without feeling like you’re no longer the master of your domain. It’s go time. You attack with a burst of speed that you have not felt since high school (surprisingly you don’t pull anything), you tighten the grip on your Good Housekeeping (you decided between rounds 2 and 3 that you will add the festive holiday dessert to the holiday menu, so that’s no longer a distraction), and you swing with all of your might. Again, deafening silence. And as you raise your trusty weapon you see the carnage splattered on your now not-so-festive looking holiday dessert. You have done it. You have defeated the flying Kamikaze demon. You sit down, take a deep breath, and revel in your glory. Now, it’s time to clean up and dispose of the carnage.

    You walk into the garage to dispose of the evidence in the trash and what do you see. Yep, there is the frigging Raid Wasp killer sitting right where you put it after your last great battle. Oh well, time to shower.

     
  • suburbexcitement 11:18 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Excitement in the suburbs is buying a second pizza cutter. 

    Pizza Cutters“We really ought to buy a second pizza cutter.” Yes, those were the words that my wife had just uttered (and I admittedly had thought many times) that made us realize just how “exciting” life in the suburbs can be. I had just heated up another delicious frozen pizza in the oven, opened the drawer and realized that the pizza cutter was dirty. What was I to do? How was I ever going to slice this pizza? Use a knife, fish the pizza cutter out of the dishwasher that had I just turned on, throw the whole pizza on the table and tear into it like savage beasts? Well, it turned out that the pizza cutter was clean after all, but was just buried at the bottom of the drawer. Whew! Crisis averted and it was at that moment that my wife uttered, “we really ought to buy a second pizza cutter.” I jokingly (sort of) said that we could make a day out of it and take a big trip to Target to purchase a new pizza cutter. That’s when we realized just how “exciting” the suburbs really are. In the period of just a few brief moments I had gone from a frantic state over how I was ever going to cut this pizza, to the exuberance of finding that the pizza cutter was actually clean after all, to saying that we should think about taking a trip to Target to buy a new one. Yes, “excitement” like this can only happen in the suburbs.

     
    • Peter 7:03 pm on July 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I already have two pizza cutters. One is really large for that deep dish action. The other is smaller for the party size pizza or maybe even quesadillas! One time in my suburb I saw my neighbor grilling on his propane grill that he bought at walmart with the money he makes working for the school district. I love it here.

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