Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vote for ME!!!

I've decided to throw my hat into the ring. I hope I can count on your support! The clip below shows some of the news footage that has been airing about my campaign. Watch out Obama and McCain-- the media loves me!

Copy the link below into your browser... you'll be shocked!


My Favorite "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" Moment


Total Idiot on "Wheel of Fortune"

My Favorite Judge Judy Moment

Magic Act...

Once again, I have the opportunity this weekend to attempt do my famous magic act of turning chicken shit into chicken salad!

I'm catering a wedding on Saturday.... this will be a very upscale event-- white tableclothes, table service, servers dressed in all black, etc. The couple getting married are very laid back and casual, but the wedding is being held in a museum, surrounded by King Tut artifacts! The couple decided to pay the $500 fee to use a caterer that is not on the museums preferred vendor list. The museum rep informed me that only top-notch, high-profile caterers are allowed on his list, after being referred by a department head. His comments made me feel like I was a bottom-feeding caterer-- only capable of tossing a couple of biscuits on a table and calling it a day.

I want this wedding to be phenomenal-- not only for the couple (because I really like them and we've been working on the plans for over 6 months), but to prove myself to the museum rep. I met him last week for the first time, and he really is a nice guy. I'm hoping that once he sees our food and service, he will be impressed enough to put us on his list of preferred caterers. I've got a great team of servers and bartenders to help me. I even recruited Michael to work the wedding, because I am confident that not only will he give impeccable service, he will help me direct the rest of the team and with his help I'm sure that I can pull this one off.

Keep your fingers crossed for me-- catering a wedding always makes me nervous. It's a HUGE responsibility and privilege.

(pictures show the space where the wedding/ prereception/reception will take place)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Patio Project Complete...

...well, at least the project is done for the contractor. We still have to finish off the garden. I'm looking forward to it being gorgeous soon-- if it'll ever stop raining! I guess the good part about the rain is that the ground will be soft when I finally get a chance to start digging! All that remains to do is to dig up the grass in the bed, add a lot of dirt to make a raised bed, add the metal edging strips I used along the sidewalk, cover the bed with mulch and install solar lights. I probably won't plant anything in the new bed until October. I'm planning on doing tulip bulbs, jonquils, snapdragons and pansies.

Oh yeah, before I can do any of that, I still need to scrub all of the bricks down with muriatic acid to get the cement dust film off of them. I've got a lot of work to do-- hopefully it won't rain on Thursday and I can get most of it done.

The Best Thing About South Carolina...

While traveling to the wedding in Charlotte, we stopped at the BP station in Spartanburg. I was falling asleep at the wheel and needed to get out of the car for a minute. I thought a bathroom break and a cup of coffee might be the solution to my heavy eyelids, so we pulled off at the Boiling Springs exit and headed towards the BP Kangaroo Express gas station. While I was getting my coffee, Michael was chatting it up with the cashier (Crystal). Mic was buying a pack of cigarettes and some green tea. Crystal thought it was hysterical that he was buying green tea (famous for helping to prevent cancer), along with cigarettes. She even followed us outside to talk to us as we were pulling out, and of course had to ask the obligatory question that every stranger has to ask when they notice my car: "What's a Flying Biscuit?".

Anyway-- we didn't stock up on beer on Saturday, because experience told us that we could buy beer on Sundays in South Carolina. We figured the next day that we would stop on the way, and we'd be stocked up for a night of relaxation when we got home. Although the stores were selling beer left in right in Hilton Head, SC a few weeks ago, we found out that not many places are allowed to sell beer on Sunday in SC. Apparently, they have to buy an extra license for Sundays-- being the Bible belt and all. Our first thought was that we needed to find Crystal's BP station again. Not only did her station boast that they sold cigarettes cheap, we thought she might sell us beer, even if they didn't have a license.

We stopped at several BP's after crossing the NC/SC border. None of them looked familiar, and none of them sold beer on Sunday. Finally we exited at Boiling Springs and knew we were in the right place. We spotted the BP Kangaroo Express We went inside and lo and behold, there was Crystal! "Back for more green tea and cigs?", she snickered! (A quick side note--- we are making a habit of stopping at the same gas stations to/from our destinations. We did it at the BP petting zoo in Swainsboro on the way to/from Hilton Head. We were recognized as returning customers there, too!).

Crystal stated that they didn't sell beer on Sunday at her BP, but told us about a place called Lil' Cricket in Greenville that did. She swore that they did, and she knew for a fact because she used to work there. Crystal gave us exact directions ("go past the septic tank place-- you might not see it, but you'll smell it!"). She was great and lead us in the right direction-- we wouldn't have found it without her help. She also posed for a couple of pictures for us before we left (how do we talk people into doing this?).

Crystal-- if you ever read this, we want to say thank you, and that we feel you are wasting your talents at the BP-- you should be working for the SC Board of Tourism! You are the BEST thing in South Carolina!

(BTW~~ Although Crystal did have the cheapest cigarettes that we could find, her gas was more expensive than the Raceway across the street-- they had it for $3.29/gallon. If you ever find yourself in SC, be sure to stop at the Boiling Springs exit- they have all the deals!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

On the Road Again...

Michael and I drove to Charlotte, NC for my cousin Courtney's wedding. It was a lot of fun, and we especially enjoyed all of the time that we got to spend with the family-- we stayed up late drinking beer/wine in the lobby. The wedding and reception were beautiful-- it's hard to believe that my little Courtney is all grown up and married now. I still think of her as a child!

Congratulations to Courtney and Phillip!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

After being issued a citation and having a stop work order issued, I had to leave work early on Wednesday to go to the Permits office in East Point to make an application for a building permit. I had forms to fill out and submit, along with several drawings of my yard and the "proposed" patio. I had to pay $115 for the permit fee, and was told that it would take about a week for the permit to be issued-- if it was approved.

Yesterday, an officer from Planning and Zoning came by and looked at my patio project and proclaimed that the Code Enforcement officer that issued the citation and stop work order was incorrect! No permit is needed for this project after all!!! The citation was withdrawn and we were given permission to begin work again. A refund check for the permit fee is being mailed to me. Hallelujah!!!

The crew will be back tomorrow to finish the project, weather permitting. I doubt that they will ever agree to do another job in East Point after this experience!

Monday, August 18, 2008

So Close, and Yet So Far...

The crew showed up today and made a lot of progress on the patio. They were almost finished, when the East Point Code Enforcement Officer arrived and issued a citation and a stop work order. A few weeks ago, I asked if we needed a permit to build a patio such as this and I was told that a permit was not required since it was not a load bearing wall structure (nothing was being built on top of the foundation) and because it wasn't part of the residence. The CE Officer said it looked like just decoration to her, but she called it in to her supervisor and was told to issue a citation and a stop work order.

Now the project is on hold pending the approval of the permit. As I understand it, it will take 5 business days for Planning and Zoning to approve the permit. So, if all goes well, we should be able to begin work again near the end of next week.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Patio Update

The crew was out this morning working on the patio. When I got home, I expected to see it finished. To my surprise, they didn't get too far with the bricks today. I guess there is a lot of planning to get the bricks to work out correctly, and to have them level and everything, but come on-- it's not a huge project! It's not like they are laying the Yellow Brick Road. It's a small patio!

Anyway, the good news is that they told Michael that they will be back tomorrow and it will be finished.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Any Better?

Apparently not many people liked the lamp I bought at a yard sale last month. But-- the yard sale lady's came through and delivered the red "lamp shade" last week! Hopefully you guys will eat your words and totally fall in love with the new look! I'm thinking of putting the lamp in the front window~~ I think it will look very nice there, plus the neighbors will be able to see it better!

My Pumpkin Patch

I think I told y'all about my pumpkin patch a while back. If not, here's the scoop. I had a pumpkin on my front porch for decoration last Fall. I didn't ever carve it into a Jack O'Lantern, and it sat on the front steps for most of the Winter. After a while, it started getting mushy and it was too soft to carry to the garbage can without leaving a trail of pumpkin mush behind me. So... I tossed it into the flower bed, behind an azalea and figured that nature would take it's course and it would rot away eventually.

A few months later, I found a couple of pumpkins vines growing behind the azalea! The seeds had started to germinate and formed vines! I watered it everyday and started making plans for what I'm going to do with all of my pumpkins when they reach maturity this Fall. I figured I would need to borrow or rent a pickup truck and I would fill the back of the truck up with pumpkins and park it in a gas station parking lot somewhere and sell the pumpkins. Michael said I was crazy and I probably wouldn't get even one pumpkin.

Well--- just yesterday I snapped this photo of my first pumpkin. Michael was amazed.... well, until he noticed that it was fake. I found some of Halloween decorations at work and brought one of the fake pumpkins home and placed it under the vine. Oh well, maybe someday soon I can post some pictures of some real pumpkins growing in my yard!

The Patio Project

(Below: The Before Picture)
I'm having a new patio and garden added to the front yard. The entire project was supposed to take place while I was on vacation, but due to some extenuating circumstances, it didn't get started until this past Monday. I've been holding off blogging about it because I wanted to show pictures of the entire process in one entry, but I decided to go ahead and post a few pictures of the work that's been done so far.

The patio will be an extension of the walkway that leads to my front door. The garden that borders the sidewalk will continue on and border the patio. In the pictures you'll notice a grassy area within the concrete-- that is where the flower garden will be. There will be bricks layed in all of the cement areas.

I think it's going to be very nice when it's completed, and we'll have a good time planting and tending to some new garden spaces. Michael and I spend so much time out in the front yard, and we're looking forward to having a new sitting area!

The brick installation is scheduled to start tomorrow morning. I'll post some pictures of that, the building of the garden and the completed project over the next few days.

Dream Home

I found my dream home last week in Hilton Head. It's located right on the beach. Can you imagine sitting on the porch and watching the sunset? Dream on, Brian... dream on!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

There and Back Again

Michael and I went down to the beach late Friday night to say goodbye. Everything was perfect-- the moon was almost full and lighting up the beach like a perfect postcard picture. I couldn't have asked for a better way to close out this amazing trip.

On the way back to the condo, we stopped on the pool deck that overlooks the beach. We had a moment of silence where we both mentally said goodbye and reflected on the week. All of a sudden, the memories of Hilton Head vacations past washed over me. I was transported to my childhood and remembered standing in that very spot with my Dad on our last night of vacation, 30 years ago. I could see myself (age 12) playing on the beach with my brothers. I saw me with my nephew Jaime riding the waves when he was 4 years old. I saw Ashley in her pink bathing suit, sitting in the sand and playing with a shovel when she was a year old. There is something magical about that island, and I feel very lucky that I've been able to spend so many years there building memories of my family. I'm happy that Michael now shares some of these same memories, and I thanked him that night for adding another chapter to my Hilton Head story.

Yesterday morning we got up at the crack of dawn and headed back to Atlanta. Of course, we stopped in Swainsboro again to see the animals in the A-Line Community. We bought a bag of animal food and went out in search of our favorite goats. They didn't let us down. When we got to the fence, we saw the goats resting at the top of the hill. They turned their heads and saw us and came charging down the hill, as if they recognized us. The clerk at BP that sold us the bag of food recognized us, or at least she recognized "that car with the sign on it". I'm sure that they do this with every visitor in hopes of getting some food, but it made me feel special that they might have remembered us from last week. After visiting with the goats twice this week, I really really really want a goat of my own. I don't even know where to search for one, or how much they cost, but I can see a goat in my future! The llama was pretty cute too, but I don't think that's a possibility!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hilton Head- Day 6

What a full day-- we witnessed a wedding on the beach... an Elvis impersonator performed across the street... the police were called on one of our neighbors for making lewd comments to a child... and 3 of our clan headed back to Memphis.

Our car is packed and the condo is cleaned up and ready for the next family.

We've had a great time here this year. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Hilton Head- Day 5

I feel like I'm falling into a routine that I won't be able to duplicate when I get home-- gym at 5am, coffee hour at Java Joe's at 7am, on the beach with a beer in my hand by 11am!

Michael and I went out out in the ocean for a little while. We weren't too far out, just past the point where the waves break. We were singing show tunes, of course. This time they were from "Evita". All of a sudden, I felt it: a jellyfish sting on my right hand. Suddenly, my left leg was on fire, and then my right leg. Luckily, Michael didn't get stung. I'd probably never get him in the ocean again! We swam as fast as we could to get out of the water and headed toward the lifeguard stand for some treatment. There was a lifeguard stand nearby, but I remembered the very handsome lifeguard at the next stand down the beach. This guy was Russian, and the accent just made him hotter. He sprayed a vinegar solution on my legs and hands. Michael seemed to like this guy too, because before I knew it he was asking to get sprayed too, even though he didn't have any stings! We learned that the jellyfish stings occur most often around and after 12pm. I'll need to remember this tidbit for next year.

I ran into an old friend named Dawn. We used to hang out here at Sea Crest when we kids. We'd see each other on vacation every year, and keep in touch through letters between vacations. Of course, we didn't have email or MySpace back then, so we had to actually write letters and mail them! Anyway, Dawn's daughter is here too, along with her fiance. It's hard to believe that the kids I used to be friends with have friends of their own, and that this next generation is already in the marrying phase. They grow up so fast.

Ashley has really enjoyed this vacation. She's 13 now and becoming a woman. The boys here are crazy for her! We were on the patio overlooking the pool and we saw Ashley come around the corner-- followed by 5 boys. She's been busy flirting with one boy, Taylor (who I discovered is the son of my friend Dawn) all week, but lately she's more interested in a boy named Eric. Oh the dramas of being a teenager!

Of course we missed out usual trivia night at Oz Pizza, but we did get to fit a trivia game into our vacation. We went across the street to the Frosty Frog and played trivia for a couple of hours. Their trivia is played on the TV screens and each player gets a game unit so they can play along. Scores are posted after each question and there are no prizes, but it was fun anyway. It was pouring down rain outside, so playing trivia in a bar was an excellent alternative.