Monday, October 31, 2011

Hijacked Halloween

I think Christmas lights should be various sized, multi-colored, flashing, gaudy almost Vegas-like type of decoration. My wife, Lauren, feels as though they should be perfectly lined strands of white twinkle lights that make the house look Rockwell-esque and classy. Lauren usually wins the Christmas decoration battle. Lauren usually wins all of the decoration battles. Spring time and Easter she decorates with cute pastels colors and bunnies and Robins, where I would prefer Liberace inspired purple and yellow. Fourth of July she has perfectly placed flags and red white and blue streamers lined across our front lawn, where I would want Uncle Sam shooting fireworks out of his beard. I like flash and pizazz, she likes sophisticated and tasteful.

The only holiday where I ever had a chance of winning the decoration battle was Halloween. I could put out my fog machine, strobe lights and pretend to cook people on the grill and Lauren did not care. I could put out ugly scarecrows and mismatched webbing and it wouldn't bother Lauren at all. She did not mind bold and glaring on October 31st. Halloween was my day to decorate the house.

This year that has somehow all changed. Lauren has taken over Halloween decorating from me. She is making it her holiday. She decided she wanted to decorate. She changed the kids portraits in hall.

 Each child  with their own demonized look.

She decorated the front of the house with Halloween lights. What is considered gaudy at Christmas is perfectly fine at Halloween. I don't get it.

Those aren't twinkle lights all perfect in a line.
That Jack O'Lantern is not symmetrical. It does not look refined at all.
I don't know if Lauren is coming around to my way of thinking or if she is just trying to hijack the one holiday I get to decorate. The Truth be told Lauren did a good job.The house does look good. Maybe even a better job than I would have done.  It looks garish and classy at the same time. Spooky yet friendly. Maybe my ideas are rubbing off on her.

We make a good pair. Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Count

I remember the moment almost exactly as it happened.

Lauren and I, recently engaged, were in a darkened theater watching the Count of Monte Cristo. I always enjoyed the story of Edmond Dantes and his revenge and wanted to see the film starring (not so well known at the time) Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce.  It was about half way through the movie, Edmond , played by Caviezel, has already escaped his prison, discovered his enormous treasure and is hosting a party in an effort to introduce himself as The Count of Monte Cristo. I don't know if it was the scenery of the mansion grounds, the elaborate regal costume, the palpable air of wealth, or the wavy dark hair and manicured goatee, but I turned to Lauren and I whispered, "I would go gay for him." 

She laughed at my joke. I chuckled. That was the moment. We enjoyed the rest of the movie and now The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite stories.

After the movie we stopped by my mom's for a visit. My sister was there visiting as well. They asked if we liked the film and Lauren told them about my man crush feelings towards the Count of Monte Cristo and Jim Caviezel.

From that point on, which was 9 years ago,  any time my mom or sister see Jim Caviezel they will tell me they saw my boyfriend. "I loved your boyfriend in Frequency." "I can't believe your boyfriend is Jesus in Mel Gibson's movie." "I saw your crush being interviewed on the Tonight Show." Which I don't ever mind because, one, I like Jim Caviezel as an actor and two, that seen in Monte Cristo when he descends in a hot air balloon, wearing a cape and carrying a cane he is, well, quite dreamy.

I have been getting calls and texts on a more frequent basis now that Jim Caviezel is in a new TV show called Person of Interest which is on Thursday nights at 9PM. I actually like Person of Interest and the concept of the series. I would consider the show an  intense action/drama with a twist. It is good television.

Last night as we were getting the kids ready for bed Wyatt decided to put up an fight about wearing a pajama shirt. He claimed he wanted to sleep without a shirt. I tired to argue with him but he pointed out that sometimes I don't wear a shirt to sleep. As a parent sometimes you have to choose your battles and I chose to be the loser on this one. Wyatt could go to bed without his shirt on.

We put the kids to bed at 8:45. Lauren and I locked up the house, climbed into bed at 9 and turned on Person of Interest. This particular episode involved a kidnapping of a judge's son. Six minutes into the show a shirtless John Reese, the character played by Caviezel, is being treated for a bullet wound to his shoulder. He was shot trying to stop the kidnapping of a little boy.  Like I said the show is intense action drama.

Two minutes later my phone chirps with a text that reads "Your boy looks great without a shirt!" I immediately think of Wyatt and our argument.

"My sister just sent me a text that says your boy looks great without a shirt." I said to Lauren.

"What the hell does that mean?" Lauren asked.

"I don't know. Did she stop by earlier? Are the boy's curtains closed? Is she out front now looking in our windows?"
"No. Yes, I think they are. What?" was her answers.

"Okay this is really strange. What the hell does she mean? Can she see inside our house? Not to mention the statement itself is pretty creepy."

I was perplexed. Actually somewhat freaked out. I was watching a show where a boy gets kidnapped and then I get a text about my boy not wearing a shirt. My heart started racing a bit. I think Lauren got out of bed to go check on the kids. It was creepy and disturbing, my sister saying that about a five year old. I texted my sister back asking how she could see what she saw.  Waiting for my sister's response I looked back at the TV and saw Caviezel buttoning his shirt. Then I got it. She was referring to my man crush on the TV. My sister was watching Person of Interest.

My sister is not stalking my house. She is also not creepy. I was still a little freaked out though.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


A few weeks ago I was asked by Dove Soap to try out their new men's line of soaps and deodorant. They have some type of campaign going on over at their Facebook Page  they are trying to promote. At the time Dove asked I knew I was traveling to Toronto Canada for a week. Their offer of a free sample of their body wash, bar soap, antiperspirant deodorant and some scrubby thing in a travel bag was perfect timing. I would take it with me on my trip, use only their products and offer them an honest opinion. The best part about their product was the fact that it was all dye free, anti irritant, hypo allergenic, sensitive skin care type of stuff. If you are a regular reader of Poop and Boogies you know I have allergy issues.

I was excited to go to Canada. When I travel I like to experience the place, the people and the food. I like to try the small places and get a feel of the  city. I love to try all of the local cuisine. My understanding of Canadian foods, especially Toronto, was they were known for their beers, whiskeys, wings, sausages and of course Canadian Bacon. Toronto was going to be my food heaven.

I flew into Toronto last Monday. I checked into the hotel and unloaded my toiletry pack of all the new Dove Products. I planned to start my trial on Tuesday. We ate on the go and dinner consisted of some type of flat bread pizza and a couple of micro brew beers. After a long day of travel, work, and running around I went to bed around 9:30 PM. I woke up at 1:00 AM covered in hives. And then again at 2:00 AM  and then at 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM and finally got out of bed at 5. I assumed I was having a reaction to either something I ate or the hotel sheets. I was praying it was the sheets. I had yet to use the new soaps but now I was worried that my current state of hives would somehow be affected by the new products.  I used them any way.

After a long shower my hives went away. I used the body wash, it got me clean. There was only a hint of fragrance which I was indifferent to at the time. I used the Dove deodorant which was taking a risk.  I was going to be working a trade show and I needed to make sure I was not going to get sweaty pits. I really liked the deodorant. I ate a big breakfast of eggs, toast, sausage and bacon. I thought I was getting Canadian Bacon but it was just regular bacon. If you are in Canada and you order bacon shouldn't you get the Canadian stuff? If you are in China do you order Chinese food or do you just order food?

The Dove deodorant claims it can last up to 48 hours. I have to tell you this stuff was working overtime. At some point during the afternoon I was stricken with some type of flu. I felt like I was hit by a bus, I was sweating and I had the chills, but no sweaty pits. I was hoping it was not a reaction to something I ate. I left the trade show early heading straight for the hotel. I stopped by the front desk and requested hypo-allergenic sheets. They told me it would take a few hours. I requested them for the next day. I went to bed without eating lunch or dinner. I was sad I did not get to have more a Canadian experience.

I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I woke up at 1 AM and again at 2, 3 and 4 AM with slight fever and covered with hives. I knew it was the sheets causing the hives. I took another shower using the Dove body wash and felt so much better. I still felt like crap but much better than the day before. I ate a small breakfast with out any Canadian fare just in case I was going to be sick. I worked the trade show again without sweaty pits thanks to the Dove antiperspirant. I started to feel better by the late afternoon and was back to normal by Wednesday night. That night I was so hungry from not eating the day before I pigged out on wings and a burger, you know, comfort food.  I did not have beer or whiskey or any other Canadian food. Another day without experiencing Canadian culture.  When I got back to the hotel, they informed me I had allergy free sheets.

Thursday was uneventful except that we heard  rumours (that's how they say it in Canada with the "ou") there was a work slow down at the Toronto airport. Whenever I need to confirm rumors I always go to Twitter. Twitter told me there was a work slow down. Toronto's airport security was taking out their gripes on international travelers by making them miss their flights. It wasn't a strike but the security was working at slower than half speed. They were calling it a "work to rule" strike. I worked late and settled for a light non-Canadian dinner. We finished the trade show at 10PM and decided to get to the airport by 3:30AM to catch our 6:30 flight. Another day without experiencing Canadian grub, drink, people or culture.

I woke up with no hives, no fever and feeling pretty good for 2AM. I showered and used all the Dove products again. I noticed the scent of the body wash seemed more pronounced. My head or sinuses must have been clearing up. I liked the scent, it was nice, subtle. My colleagues and I were in the first 10 to 20 people in line at the airport. We went through ticketing and customs without a hitch. When we approached security we could tell they were planning a second day of slow down. It was almost comical how slow they were moving. They looked like they were in slow motion.

I handed my passport and boarding pass to the point security guard and she chuckled. "We have a Four S." she said.

"What is a a four S?" I asked.

"Secondary screening." she replied.

The Toronto airport security took on an almost Keystone Cops appearance. Everyone of them pointing me to another agent who was supposed to handle the Four S people. I was told that normally a Four S would have to go into the X-ray Scanner thing but there was no one there authorized to work the scanner. The rules stated that without the scanner I would have to wait or undergo a thorough pat down. I did not want to miss my flight. I started to sweat. I was thankful for the antiperspirant.

I opted for the pat down. I stood facing a wall as the security guard in the slowest possible way started a full body pat down. He rubbed my neck and collar. He slowly checked my arms. He slowly felt under my arms, my sides, my back. He was moving so slow that I started to get nervous. He inserted his fingers into my waste band and slowly moved them around. He slid his hands down my left leg, then my right. He fondled my pockets lingering just a little bit too long on my butt. Just when I thought he was finished, he asked me to face him so he could do the other side.

I went through the process again. It was beyond ridiculous. I was having a Canadian experience that I would not forget for a long time. At one point as the security agent was feeling my chest I swear he took a deep inhale as if he was admiring the scent of the body wash. Thanks Dove for making a product that airport security appreciates. His pat down was either slow and steady because of a "work to rule" strike or because your product makes me irresistible.