Sunday, June 29, 2008

Amen to your 'Oy'

As of punching out on the time clock earlier this afternoon, my employment at Tim Hortons of Troy, Ohio has come to an end. May I never again set foot behind the counter of a fast food establishment, Amen. Halleluja. God is great. Pass the gravy.

All day yesterday and today, my regulars were asking for me at the window to say goodbye. I've been seeing these people multiple times a week for the last year and a half. One even dropped off a farewell card with a 4x6 picture of her little dog, Pawla, to whom I always would lean out the drive through window to let lick the tip of my nose. (Pawla, that is... not the customer) Sure, I shared a few hugs with the co-workers, and I'd like to say it was a big dramatic moment, but it wasn't. Just like the end of any other shift my feet were killing me, I was beat, and ready to get the hell out of there to let 2nd shift take over. There definitely were no tears shed as I came home and removed that ill-fitting monkey suit of a uniform for the final time.


After emptying my bank accounts, cashing my last paycheck, and receiving several surprisingly generous donations from the fam, I'm sitting on $1310. I'll be wrapping up a $300 photo gig this week, and after that it's probably another trip to Cleveland to find a place, now that I have enough to put down rent and deposit. My income ended today. Sure, I'll still get one more paycheck from Tim Hortons next week, but I need get my ass to Cleveland ASAP to start work at the new job.


Spent the night at Dark Haired Girl's last night. She sat up to watch TV while I sacked out next to her on my stomach. She massaged lotion onto my skin, working the kinks out of my back and shoulders, and I drifted off to the thought that I'll probably never find anybody like her again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cleveland was interesting. I found the coolest apartment I'll ever find in my entire life... way too far away, and in a shady end of town. Have you seen the movie "American Splendor"? It was that neighborhood. The apartment I looked at was above a furniture store owned buy a guy about my age. He was renovating the apartment from top to bottom with new and uber-snazzy lighting and ceiling fans. Full size front loading washer and dryer. New granite countertops, exposed brick walls, and a back door that opened to the rooftop patio with tables and chairs. Seriously, it looked like something out of a movie.

I was walking around the neighborhood a bit tuesday, and I must say it was very vibrant and diverse. Blacks, Whites, Latinos... all just intermingling. I went up to a hot dog vendor and mentioned I was looking at an apartment at Lorain and 47th. He said "Dude, are you fucking kidding me?? No fucking way!" I trust his judgement.

That, and the lady walking around vomiting randomly was a nice touch.

Well, ok... a 40-minute commute both ways with gas at $4 a gallon on an entry-level wage? When I told New Bossman about it, he shook his head and said "No. You don't want to live there for so many reasons." After filling out all the new hire paperwork and reading the online employee handbook, we got in his car and drove around for an hour or so looking for apartments. There's a complex down the street from the studio with 1-bedrooms for $490/month. I guess if I was looking to pay $450 for an apartment 40 minutes away, the gas I'd save on one 5 minutes away would be more than $40 monthly. So I'd be paying less.

Oh, and I'm now a bona-fide employee. ID# 673. :-)


Naturally, I took some pictures while I was there:

At Edgewater Park. Camera sitting on a big bumpy rock. I'd just called Dark Haired girl, all giddy from the spectacle of Lake Erie and the downtown skyline.

Bruiser. Yes, that's his real name.

In my motel room.


The drive home was pleasant... and I damn near made the round trip on one tank. A few extra dollars at the Flying J truck stop and I was good to go. You have no idea how comforting it was to come within range of my beloved WYSO and hear familiar voices and traffic reports for Dayton roadways. Two freakin days and I got so homesick. It'll be different when I have an apartment to call home (I hope).

The route there and back takes me through Urbana, so I stopped and sat outside with Dad for a while, and relayed the events to him. It was good to see him again, even though I'd just seen him last friday when he came into Troy and we had lunch. Pretty soon I won't be seeing him but once or twice a year.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm off to Cleveland shortly for the next two days. Wish me luck!

Nah, don't do that. I've got plenty of luck right now. Wish me... economy, that the Mirthmobile will whisk me there and back on one tank of gas. Doubt it'll happen, but I need that more than anything.

See ya.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You know, I'd said almost the exact same thing, word for word, in the previous post as I did in the post the day Sophie broke up with me. Amazing how the two feel so much alike... being dumped, and being separated by a career-mandated move. Dark Haired Girl and I are taking this with extraordinary stride, humor, and optimism. If you're only friends, then there's nothing to break off, I guess. There will be no goodbyes... only see-ya-laters.


For so long, I'd been pushing an uphill battle in efforts to get the ball rolling. Seems now, the damned ball has begun rolling so fast that I'm running like hell just to keep up. This is far from a complaint. I'm so thrilled I can't see straight! Here's what's up:

I get a call from the Divison President. He says my background check cleared and I have the green light to move forward. Immediately, swarms of questions and "what ifs" began swirling around my head, and monday I was so overwhelmed that I got light-headed and almost had to pull over.

I'm driving to Cleveland on monday, staying at a Motel 6 (they'll cut me a reimbursement check in the morning), and going to the studio first thing Tuesday morning to finish off my paperwork, meet my new coworkers, and basically have an orientation. Truly, the first day of the rest of my life.

I put an ad on Craigslist for housing wanted, and got a reply. I have an appointment monday to view a couple of apartments in the Ohio City neighborhood. It's supposed to be the culturally diverse, trendy, artsy end of town, and pictures of the place seem pretty cool. It's less than a mile from a whole slew of bars/restaurants/open-air markets. The apartment is in an old historic house divided into a 4-plex, one (slightly more expensive, $450/month) of which was recently renovated with a sky light and granite counter tops.

Best of all, in the ad I described my situation, so the guy said to me that he'd hold the apartment and sign the lease for just the $400 security deposit, and if I had to wait a week or two to move, he wouldn't start charging rent until I moved in. What a guy! Buyer, beware, though. I sense no red flags, but it all seems just a little TOO good to be true, you know? There has to be a wrench in the gears somewhere.

Dark Haired Girl has volunteered her dad's truck and trailer when I move, so that saves me the $245 for a U-Haul. Plus, it'll give us one last night to, *ahem*... christen the new digs. Sure, eventually I'll meet other girls and sooner or later I'll have other women up there, but she'll always own that first "virgin apartment" night.

As for utilities, I'm not sure which are paid, but I already found a telecom company that bundles local calling, unlimited long distance, and 8mbps DSL for $50/month. I don't have a TV, and neither do I want one (nor cable) at all. Everything I need I can get from the radio and/or high speed internet. Besides, Dark Haired Girl just got DSL so she offered to video IM topless with those luscious breasts of hers whenever I get lonely.


So.... monday I called T.H. Bossman. He said "Andy, what's the
news?" I said, "Two weeks, dude." He said "All right! Congratulations, man!" I'll work this week's schedule, and the next (minus Monday and Tuesday), then I'm done with Tim Hortons.

Wow. This is really happening!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This morning I contemplate hitting the snooze a second time, but think better of it. I throw on my robe and head downstairs. It's about 5:15am when I see two people walking by out front in the street. That seemed strange. I went to the window and watched as one of them kept walking down the street, but the other sauntered up to the driveway across the street, gave a quick glance around, and then opened my neighbor's truck door and hopped in, digging around for a short while before exiting. I know what he's doing... looking for spare change for cigarettes.

I whisper to myself "You are SO busted, motherfucker."

He walks on down and turns the corner. So I, naked under my bathrobe go outside just to make 100% sure it wasn't actually my neighbor digging around in his own truck. I creep to the corner and peek around the edge of a house only to see the same figure down the street open another car, hop in, dig around, get out, and walk on. I sprint back home and call 911.

After the call, within the time it took me to shower quickly and put my work uniform on, three cruisers appeared in front of my house, the jackass in the back seat in handcuffs. I overhear one of the officers say to the guy, "Wait... you're on probation, too?" I mention to the cop that now the guy knows who I am, but the officer said that he was pretty well drunk, and most likely wouldn't remember where we were. They let his friend go (who lives just up the street) since I didn't see him do anything, and after talking to him the cop seemed fairly certain I wasn't going to have any trouble from him. He added, though, "If he does give you any trouble, just call us. We'll jump on him." I'm not worried.

Andy, the fearless agent of law enforcement. Or, as my mom so succinctly put it: Columbo... in a bath robe.

"I'm Pencil Head."
"And I'm SON of Pencil Head!"
"... we erase crime."


Some laugh, others need an explanation.


My body has been telling me I've been stressing out lately. My jaw and teeth are killing me from being clenched them all the time. My heart has started fluttering again, I've been going to the bathroom just about every hour, and I've been eating Pepcid like M&Ms. I'm really good at pretending things aren't bugging me, though, so much so that it's become hard-wired into my habits. I basically have to listen to my body's physical symptoms and go "Yeah, I guess I am kinda stressed right now."

It's the move. It's the job. Mostly, it's Dark Haired Girl. You know what's going to happen... I'll stop talking about her on here. Sure, we'll stay in regular communication over phone and email, but she won't be a part of my daily life anymore, so she'll fall out of regular mention save for the occasional retrospective post when I'm all sullen and lonely and morose. After a while, I'll begin a post will begin with the phrase, "I met somebody today..." and you'll all leave comments like "Oh, Andy, I'm so happy for you!!" and everything will be all hunky-dory, but damn it I can't bear the thought right now. I just can't.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Life as it is known...

... is about to change for I, your friend and humble narrator. Had a chat with the division V.P. of the studio-which-will-remain-nameless Tuesday afternoon. He offered me the position of Studio Photographer. I accepted. In about a month, I'll be moving residence to that sprawling megalopolis and sparkling diamond of the majestic great white north: Cleveland, Ohio.

So I cleaned out my car today. You have no idea. That crap had been accumulating in my back seat since before I even started school at OIP&T. I found things that I hadn't seen in well over two years. I also took the proverbial first step in my journey of a thousand miles... packing and labeling my first box:



This evening I was chatting with the neighbor across the street when all of a sudden the sound of tires screeching in a skid pierced the air from a lot closer than was comfortable. Then there was the unmistakable BANG! of car-on-car collision, and then a second bang a second later. Immediately there was screaming and wailing. In my undies I bolted like lightning to the corner but couldn't see anything. Neighbors all around me were on their phones to 9-1-1 saying that a car hit a house, so I ran back to the house to put shorts on over my boxers. A small crowd had amassed a block away already when I got there, and nobody was screaming anymore, so I figured it was panic and not anybody injured. Long story short: skidding was the guy rounding a corner in a pickup truck. First bang was when he jumped a curb into someone's front yard and hit their Honda in their driveway, spinning it around. Second bang was after he plowed through the next front yard and struck the truck in it's driveway. Screaming was panic, but also because the homeowner I guess was trying to beat the tar out of the driver. The driver stumbled into the street and sat down spouting torrents of cussing. After the cops got there, the driver was cuffed and led stumbling pissed drunk to the cruiser, where the cop had to prop the driver against the rear fender so he wouldn't fall over while the cop opened the door. The window was cracked (it was kind of hot tonight), and from a half a block away I could hear the driver screaming "Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!" from the back of the cruiser. I leaned to the guy next to me and said "What a fucking jackass."

I mean, seriously, what is it with people this year? First there was that fucker in the blue Echo I wrote about a couple of months ago, then a week later some guy chases a woman through my restaurant while I was working, and now this. WTF?? This is absolutely unheard of in this quite little town.

Jeez, I almost can't wait to move to Cleveland where it's safer.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35

The fat lip is healing up nicely, and isn't nearly as swollen today as yesterday. Now the biggest annoyance is the big hard scab that's driving me nuts.


One of the girls at work was waffling over what get for a tattoo she is planning across the inside arch of her foot. She asked for our ideas. I suggested 'ouch'. Brushing me off with a wry look, she said she wanted something personal, a quote that meant something to her. She was thinking maybe the Bob Dylan song title "Like a Rolling Stone". I said "Oh, I get it... because you gather no moss."

Oh, now stop groaning. That was funny. :-)

In all fairness, after two smart-ass stabs I got serious and suggested that if the tattoo is on her foot, and she wants a quote that relates to her desire to explore the world and not take root in any one place, why not use the J.R.R. Tolkien quote "Not all who wander are lost." She liked that.


We just got through some record rainfalls, as I'm sure a lot of you have. Hell, on the way to work this morning at a quarter till six, I hit this gigantic puddle on Market Street that caused the Mirthmobile to decelerate so fast my body lurched forward locking up the seat belt. Scared the bejesus out of me.

After working a 10 hour shift 6am to 4pm, I decided to head out with the camera and catch some of the flooding, ever the intrepid photojournalist. We have a creek that runs through our neighborhood, and this is from a side street that crosses over the creek. I'm guessing by the closure that earlier today it was completely under water:

There's two fields of differing elevations just outside of town that always seem to produce a nice little river flowing across Washington Rd.

And then there's this pleasant little stream and waterfall that is a popular spot among local photographers for outdoor portraiture. It babbles along before falling maybe six or so feet. With all the runoff, though, it became a wicked little bit of whitewater.

And today's fine art piece...

[drum roll, please]

Monday, June 02, 2008

This, children, why we don't play catch after it starts to get dark:


At least my teeth are still firmly planted. Touchy, but intact.