The Logical Philosopher

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Don't move that couch.

I learned this weekend that having your brother in law over to drink your good Scotch and simultaneously help move things will cost less than having your wife help move things.

Because if things go wrong with your brother in law you're just out of Scotch.

If things go wrong with your wife then you're out of the bed and sleeping on the couch you just tried to move with her.

At least when she stopped helping move the couch it was abandoned beside the heater in the hallway.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Short(s) Ambush (Part IV)

"Nice Pants"
Overheard as I walked by reception during my last visit to Sandritia's office.

I like my shorts. It's not that I like showing my cycling calves off, it's just that I like the cool breeze blowing gently across my thighs. Full disclosure: my roots are Scottish, so you derive what you want about me wearing a kilt in a gentle breeze. And to answer the question that you are most likely thinking of now - yes, I have worn a kilt before. And yes, I was wearing the appropriate attire beneath it, from the Scottish perspective. My mother was mortified, for that I am sure, but that is another long pandora's box of a story not to open today. Suffice to say a warm summer breeze is quite a different feeling than a cold air conditioner breeze.

During my last run-in with HOG, chronicled previously in part I, part II and part III, I felt as I had finally pulled enough stealth Mission Impossible stunts to know how to gain undetected entry into Sandritia's building. Undetected, as measured by my ability to breeze by reception without getting chased down the hall when I didn't stop for an ID check.

Today was the day to put "no-ID and run" plan into action. Or so I had hoped.

The timing: I arrived at the offices, running late due to a delay in my flight. Not even in the building, the weather had thrown my plans behind. Coming in late was a sure way to be noticed.

Bad weather and a late flight = Strike One.

The attire: I was planning on staying in Vancouver for a few days so opted to pack light. In fashion language this translated into me wearing my casual attire so I would not be required to lug my dress clothes around town for an extra 3 days. In my world, the definition of "casual dress" equates to wearing shorts, regardless of the weather.

Wearing shorts as to not blend in with the rest of the staff = Strike Two.

The locale: Unlike previous visits, I was not aware of the actual meeting location and thus came to the sudden realization that I was going to have to to ask HOG where I was going this morning. This realization happened in the elevator. Specifically as the elevator doors were opening on my destination floor.

Having this realization happen during the end of my elevator ride and having no time to improvise = Strike Three.

If was going to pull my entry off, I had to hope that the umpire didn't notice one of the strikes, but rather I could get away with a tipped ball.

The elevator pinged, and I exited, pivoting left and heading towards reception. Tipped ball. Tipped ball. Tipped ball. I kept repeating over and over in my head. Before I was even at the desk she looked at me and said with the universal commanding Head Office Gatekeeper tone "You're late Mr. Philosopher. Your meeting has already started."

I stood there and all I could hear was an umpire yelling "Strike Three! You're outta here!"

She pointed to her left. "Down the hall and into the conference room at the end. You are welcome to hang your coat up."

I was so shocked by HOG blitzing the field on me, I didn't even have a response. Thankful for the long meeting coming, I used the time to compose myself.On my way out of the meeting I asked HOG, "Did you get a heads up that I was coming?" I was hoping that if she had some advance warning of my arrival, I could at least feel better about being ambushed.

"Yep, about 30 minutes before you arrived."

Later that afternoon I rendezvoused Sandritia. "Hey LP, I heard from HOG you were already here! And wearing shorts too!"

"Heard from who? I thought you tipped her off about me coming?"

"No, not me. I also heard someone lost a bet that you wouldn't be wearing shorts."

"What? You mean to tell me that someone other than you let HOG know I was coming? And on top of that they independently had a bet on my shorts vs. pants attire?"

Sandritia started to protest and set her position relative to my ambush. "It wasn't me! Honest! They did it on their own! And for the record, I don't know who the 'they' is!"

This was a significant step for me. Now my reputation is starting to spread - without the aid of Sandritia. I am unsure if this is a step back or forwards. HOG's response to my arrival for my next meeting will be the indicator of direction.

Here's hoping I'm moving forward. Whatever direction I am going, at least I can rest easy that while I am standing there, I can still feel a cool, gentle breeze.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Who sold my beer?

As soon as he saw them on the shelf, the whining started. We were there for a roll of film and had so far managed to avoid the toy aisle, but like any five year old, he zeroed in on something else he “just had to have”.

“Come on dad, everyone has one. Even Grandpa, and he lets me use his!”

I tried to reason with him, wondering if I was yet again wasting my time. “Yes, but Grandpa has a boat and needs them so he can read markers on the ocean and doesn’t hit rocks. You are five. Five without a sail boat I should add. You’ll use them to spy on the neighbors.”

A moment passed and it became evident I was right. I had wasted my time. He peeled open the Velcro on his Mr. Incredibles wallet, spilling loose change onto the counter. “Look dad, I have lots of monies. At least 20. I can buy them!”

I looked at the pennies, nickels and quarters spread onto the counter and realized he was about $18 short of his goal to buy the binoculars. Sigh. This was going to be one of those times where I wasn’t going to get out of the store without some sort of scene. Seeing my face of desperation, the sales associate who has been watching the exchange came over to help out. “Hey buddy. Why don’t I count up your money and see if you have enough?”

After a few moments of counting he broke the news. “I think you are short a little money, but I am sure you can earn it. Maybe you’ll have to do some chores at home to earn some more quarters to get the binoculars.”

With a sigh and a shoulder shrug only a disappointed five year old can do, he slowly started to put his change back into his wallet.
Wanting to help some more, the sales associate offered some additional unsolicited advice to little LP. “You know, one thing you could do is take back some bottles. I am sure your mom and dad have some pop bottles that you could get five cents for. That is what I used to do!”

Little LP stopped, and slowly looked up, the wheels starting to realize that he could make his fortune after all. “Yeah…” he quietly exclaimed, looking back and forth between us. “I can take back bottles. Like dad’s beer bottles!”

He gave him an encouraging nod. “That’s right! Now you get it!”

The wheel turning picked up the pace to a rapid RPM of movement. “You know what I’ll do?!” he exclaimed. He was so excited about his idea he started to wave his hands around like he was doing a sales pitch. “I’ll take dad’s full beer bottles and sell them! That way I will get money faster and I can come back sooner to get the binoculars!”

Wow. Only five and he’s already scalping my liquor to pay for toys. A true entrepreneur… I just wish he would do it with some else’s liquor cabinet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I thought I paid for that...

He was new. Or at least new to me. It made no difference, I still chatted, although came out of the store bereft of my usual slurpee but clutching a receipt for a car wash in its place. I jumped in my car, started the motor and slowly pulled away, with the plan of circling around the lot and then heading over to the wash entrance.

I had not gone a car length when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the New Guy, sprinting towards my car and waving his arms like I was on fire. I’m a helpful guy, I thought. I should stop and see what he needs my assistance with. I rolled down my window to see if I could help, but was on the receiving end of an unexpected accusation.

“Hey! You didn’t pay for your gas.”

I stopped and slowly put the car back into park. “What?” I asked, confused as to what was going on. I had just been accused of theft by the New Guy who had just rung my purchase through.

He paused and took a deep breath. I guess the 10 yard sprint to my car was more of a battle than he expected. “Your fill-up. You didn’t pay.”

I looked at him with some bewilderment. “But I was just inside, I gave you my credit card. You handed it back and I signed it. Isn’t that the point of the transaction? For me to go in to see you, and you to take my money? Didn’t I pay for something?”

“I only charged you for the car wash.”

I looked down at my gas receipt and sure enough, I had been charged for just a car wash. Not only that, he had overcharged me for the car wash! I opted for the strategy of confusion by changing the subject from this whole "you stole some gas" thing. “Hey, you overcharged me for the wash. How come I paid $2.00 extra?”

He simply replied “Because you didn’t buy gas."

At this point all I could envision was Napolean Dynamite closing his eyes, tipping his head back and saying “unnnnnh. Idiot!”

After filling up at the same gas station for the past 5 years, I had become such a regular customer I was even comped a few slurpees now and again. But this New Guy was, well, new, so I figured I would see what I could get away with so I could tell the regulars next week. But my wife was with me so there was no way I could get away with anything.

This is what I wanted to say:

“What, did you think I just parked in front of the gas nozzle so I could go inside and buy a car wash?” As he would be opening his mouth to reply, I would cut him off and continue on. “So let me get this straight. I drive in, fill up and then head into the gas station to pay. I say ‘I would like a car wash with that’ and then you just assume I will request a second transaction to purchasing the gas? I went in and paid. You didn’t charge me for it. I’m not sensing this is my problem… except that you owe me two dollars for the overcharged car wash.”

Instead, this is what I actually said, keeping my inside voice inside of me this time:

"How about this - I'll swing back in after I go through the wash."

He nodded. "Great, much appreciated." then he headed back into the store.

But I couldn't resist and did let one thing slip out. As he walked back into the gas station I yelled after him. "And I want my two dollars!" Johnny the paperboy would have been proud. I'm sure in a way my wife was too...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Another angel has gone home

I looked at the caller display and instantly knew what it was about. It was a call that deep down I didn’t think I would get, but always expected it would come. Just not today. Just not at this moment.

I wanted to let it ring, ignoring the call, but couldn’t. I flipped open my phone and turned away from the guests we were entertaining. “Hello.” I tentatively answered.

I heard a deep sigh as his initial response. “Hello,” he said, with a distant and detracted voice. “You don’t need to come back to the hospital tonight… if you get my drift.”

There was silence on both ends of the phone. After a moment I broke the silence. “When?”

“About half an hour ago.”

Another moment of silence came and went. “Thanks. I’ll call you later.” I closed my phone and looked up, almost as if I could see a new Angel looking down on us.

It is a difficult thing to watch those you love struggle with simple things we all take for granted. But it is inspiring to think that my worst day for a run or a bike ride, would be the best day of freedom for others.

My sister in law truly lived life to the fullest while refusing to allow her CF to limit passion, enthusiasm and joy for life. The reality is she was sick, and we all knew it. The hope was we would see a miracle. Now I know how John Wimber’s church felt.

For various reasons I have always avoided the talk of my Faith on this particular blog. However the occasion suggests for me to break with tradition for one time and leave you with 1st Peter 5:10, a verse which my sister in law had posted above her desk in her house:

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

For those who do not resonate with the above text, I leave you with Sia’s “Breath Me” song instead…

I’m going for a run… until then, see you next week…