Only Way is Dapper Ways

gingergrizzlyIt is not easy to look this great. It takes years to find the right diet, plastic surgeon, fitness program, but more importantly, the right hair dresser.  And I have been doing the latter wrong all these years of my adulthood.

My hair has been messed up with no clear direction and simply trying to get some styling done has proven to be a utter challenge.

Like so many trend setters before me, men have gone to high street hair salons, operated by wonderful women who had or has little understanding for a man’s desire to look awesome.  I need to look like a lumberjack, fresh from the mountains, and still rock an office doe that will make my male colleagues stare in amazement wondering who this awesome dude is.

The answer has been simple and right in front of me, but I haven’t dared to sit my feet in a barbers since I was 9 years old.

Back then, in the late 70’s, I went to the local barber in my home town.  The “barbers” had no training whatsoever and probably learned how to cut hair on Barbie dolls, sheep or blind folded.  They knew one cut, and if you asked for another, they frowned and gave you the standard cut.

Because I was 9 and had been running around all day, I was rather tired.  As a result, I started to doze of in the barber’s chair.  For the record … BIG MISTAKE!

haircut misfortune
obviously not me – just taken from Internet

I most have tilted my head slightly as the older (70+ year old) barber was cutting, and my fringe ended up with an increase of 2 inches from left to right.  It looked as if I had a half open curtain across my forehead, resembling characters from “Dumb Dumber”.

As a 9 year old boy, that is not cool.  I knew I would get a severe beating from other boys at school, or at least be humiliated in front of my 3rd grade crush. Utter devastation loomed.

I begged my mother to correct the mistakes, either by cutting the fringe straight or buying me a cool woollen hat, despite it being mid summer and 80+F degrees.

Years later, the trauma was still haunting me, when Felicia (3rd grade crush) laughed at my fringe that had been corrected by my mum, and was not 3 inches above my eye brows and none-existing.

Being happily married, and only other dad’s to impress at local school, I decided it was time to find a suitable barber.  You see them all over and I’ve sent my son there a few times with ok results.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 17.37.16I found this cool place, Dapper Ways, and booked a time.  I had no idea what the different options were (gentleman’s cut, etc.) but that was part of the experience.  Dapper Ways has a cool interior and something seemed right.

Upon arriving, Nick greeted me.  He happens to be the owner and carries this amazing beard, and arms covered in tattoos.  I was greeted with a smile and took my place in the barber’s chair.  The next 40 mins was an experience I had not tried before.

This dude knows how to cut hair and beard.  He was using the buzzers, scissors and blade razor.  I had warm shaving foam on my face, hot towel and he even edged my sides to perfection.  Man, this was awesome.

I looked sharp.  I had a hair doe that made me feel like a million dollars, and Nick had been a true gentleman when doing his thing.  I can only say, you gotta try and visit Nick.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 17.36.54This was absolutely the best hair dresser experience in decades, when I tried to impress a cute girl who was a hair dresser and learning Italian … another blog post entirely.

It was so good my wife smiled and winked at me, and pinched my left butt cheek.  My co-workers parted in front of me like Moses at the Red Sea, and the guys were asking what happened.  OK, slightly exaggerated, but it was bloody cool.

A few weeks later I took my son, and Nick did another splendid job.  Please note, my son has Down Syndrome, and sitting still is an Olympic challenge, but there was no moving around and just cool attitude towards getting his hair done.

3 thumbs up - Go visit Nick and Dapper Ways!

I need Doc Hudson too

emotionsIt is strange how some movies can make you think and seriously review your own situation.  These hidden and less than subtle messages hit you straight in the ticker.  They really make you ponder about life itself.

It happens rarely, probably because I mainly watch movies with less important or real-life connections. But when it happens, it occurs when you least expect it and during the less obvious movie titles.

For me it happened when watching the iTunes release of ‘Cars 3‘.  So, only a few days ago really, but might as well have walked into a glass-door as it hit me completely off-guard.

Spoiler alert for those of you who have not seen the movie, or might not even be familiar with the stories of ‘Cars‘.  Yes, it is a Pixar animated movie, with many laughs and overloaded with feel-good moments.  No spontaneous singing like most Disney movies, but a good family movie.

Nevertheless, Lightning McQueen has lost his driving mojo and seeks out the track where his great coach started his career.  There he meets Smokey, who tries to help Lightning, who really isn’t sure what he needs help with.  He’s looking for the reason he loved racing and how he gets his mojo back.

Suddenly I realised, when watching Smokey talk about how much Doc Hudson loved to train and mentor the younger Lightning McQueen.  It was as if he was talking about me and my life.

I need that father figure and mentor, to put a hand on my shoulder to tell me I’m doing a great job, or gently guide me into making a change.  These little conversations that helps me shape into becoming an even better father, husband, brother and friend.

Since my father passed away, I have had a void in my life.  Not that we were super close or hanging out daily, but just with him being there for me.  He listened, talked and guided me.  It may not have helped me getting a better career or make more money, but I became a better person.  It also motivated me to enjoy things in life.

It may sound like as if I do not enjoy life, but that is not the case.  I love my family and friends, but I need to get acknowledgement and support.  I need a mentor that will help me grow and take on the next obstacle head on, or perhaps even help guide another person through their life challenges.

Professionally, I think I have lost my way a bit, and simply needs that fatherly guidance to help me make the right decisions, and help get my confidence back. It’ll come back I know, but takes a little longer than I had hoped.

Life decisions are hard some times, and having a mentor and father figure really helps in those situations.  Job sucks at times, but it is how you deal with those situations that makes you a better and wiser person.  Look at Gandalf, he really had a tough time and yet looked positively at things 🙂

I often look to the sky, obviously imagining that God’s Kingdom is up there, smiling at my dad.  I silently whisper for his help and guidance, and often get some signs.  But, I would do anything for a hug from my dad.  I miss my Doc Hudson!

dochudson

Lost in the Wild

IMG_4851We are not the Robinson family, although we do like to explore. We try to experience something new on our new country, when we leave the house, ever since we moved here.  It has been an absolutely fantastic adventure, despite some minor less fantastic moments – but let’s not dwelve on the darker times.

In recent months, we have talked a lot about getting more familiar with the great outdoors.  We live in the mountains, next to a huge state park, and pride ourselves of having joined the great scouts organisations for both girls and boys.  As such, we must learn and explore!

Last week we finally build up the courage to face nature head on, and go into the great wilderness – well armed with bug sprays, water, pocket knife and of course iPhone.

We found what we thought would be a good beginner and family trail, in the majestic Bear Mountains which is over 5000 acres of trees, lakes, rivers, wild life that will kill you and of course animals.

For this virgin trek, we even brought our loco brown 2 year old Labrador.  She hates other dogs, gets extremely hyper when she meets people and pulls like a bull.  It would be good for her to burn some energy and at the same time train walking on a leash like a normal dog.

The family SUV took us to the starting point and we prepared ourselves for a “short” trek around in the woods.  My dear wife sprayed all of us with insect repellent.  With the amount she used, mosquitos quickly became an endangered species in a 5 mile radius.

Hi Ho Hi Ho – off we go … we are family … we will survive” were tunes that we spontaneously started singing while climbing our first little ledge.  I personally prefer the soundtrack from “Sound of Music” but perhaps not relevant at that very moment.

The girls climbed large rocks, ran into the wilderness, looked at all insects and screamed by the sight of most insects.  It was a true family bonding moment.  Our son was less impressed as her prefers so watch movies about outdoors, and not being inside it.

Marking a tree in case we don't make it back!
Marking a tree in case we don’t make it back!

I felt awesome.  Putting my scouting experience to use and explained random things to the girls, hoping they would pay somewhat attention.  I showed them the markers on the trees, showing the trail we were on (little did I know that these would become essential for our survival 2 hours later) and was skipping along the path in my trekking sandals.

In hindside, none of us had selected the best footwear for this outing, but we still managed and took our time as we scaled various cliffs and streams.  We had fun and that was important.

As we got deeper and deeper into the wilderness, we encountered less and less people.  They obviously knew something we didn’t or had better trial maps.

2 hours in we finally met another family.  They asked us for direction and we joked that we were heading back to the car and pointed towards a wider trial.  It was only when their lead scout shared his map that I realised that we were slightly of course.  In fact, had we stayed on the trail, we would’ve ended up 10 miles from our starting point and car.

somewhere here
somewhere here

I tried not to panic in the presence of our kids, who all looked at me for guidance.  A nervous giggle emerged from my throat and I proudly pointed towards the path we just came from and exclaimed with a trembling voice “we are going back on the trial we just came from“.  Inside my head I as screaming “we are lost and will die!

Thankfully the kids did not argue and simply turned around.  They just turned, faced the path and started walking while humming.

The good thing was, we knew the path challenges already, and we could easily find our way back to the car as we followed the trial markers. I told you they were important!

Soon we could hear cars again and suddenly I spotted our car in the parking lot, and we had one bar coverage on cell network. It was a joyous and emotional moment being back in civilisation.

Part of me doubted my tracking skills, but my fatherly GPS senses kicked in and navigated us back to safety.  My wife actually kissed the car and hugged all of us with tears rolling down her face.

What did we learn from this family bonding adventure?

  • My youngest daughter knows how to pee in the wild
  • We need to wear better shoes
  • Would be ideal to have a trial map and compass
  • Bring more water and perhaps snacks
  • Prepare to be lost better!
  • Bring pen and paper to write letters home
  • The loco Labrador can actually work nicely (probably exhausted too)

All in all, it was a great afternoon spent with the family and we are absolutely returning to the wild in the near future.

Buying Bleach Like Heisenberg

Not too long ago, when the shitter was full, I had a somewhat interesting shopping experience at Walmart.  Not the usual People of Walmart experience, but a sense and purpose of criminal mastermind experience.  Perhaps inspired by Heisenberg.

acidcleanupAccording to CSI, you can clean up body fluids using bleach.  A lot of bleach.  It not only kills majority of the germs and bacteria, but clears the scent of a horrible crime … in my case it was killing the odour of human feces which had dripped and gushed over me and the floor in the basement.

Anyway, I had to clean up the basement, and needed cleaning supplies.  So, I ventured to the local Walmart to stock up; buckets, mops, bleach, bleach, bleach and air freshener. Didn’t meet many suspicious and interesting characters, but it is always a surreal journey down each isle – especially when you witness a Hasidic Jew inspecting the new line of hunting riffles.

Within a few minutes, my filled with 4 large bottles of bleach, a mop, 3-pack of air fresheners, disinfecting wipes family sized box and of course scented candles.  You can never go wrong with candles.

The cashier had an interesting look on her face, trying to perhaps understand why I would buy these quantities of bleach.  She was a little disturbed to say the least, especially when I paid in cash.  Perhaps she remember the scene in Breaking Bad where they try to dissolve a body in the bath tub with acid.  Everybody knows to use plastic containers for that!

All the way my car, I was looking over my shoulders, expecting to be tackled by the 7-ft armed security guard, while screaming in a fetal position due to the pain of the taser.  Was I going to be a victim of my shopping needs?

noseclipI made it home and started the cleaning process.  Hours later my basement was shining, smelling like a hospital, and my hands were smelling as if I had completed a few autopsies and bathed in bleach … I should’ve bought latex gloves.

Looks as good as new!

Shitter is full!

shitterfullWARNING – this is blog may cause some people to feel unwell – just I felt unwell during the events as they unfolded.

————————————————–

It happens!  Shit happens!  And sometimes things just happen in a household, as a direct outcome of a natural process.  But when it happens, it is utterly disgusting.

And, when living in a household with 5 people, 2 adults and 3 kids, you are bound to see more of these incidents.

I’m talking about clogged drain and sewage pipes.  Whether it is the kitchen/bath sink, or a toilet that has been fed too much paper.  Either will happen.  It is how you deal with it that defines your manhood.

The other evening, while doing the dishes, our kitchen sink started to show signs of perhaps slight overload, as water did not drain as quickly as usual.  This is obviously caused by a few variables; the amount of food pieces and grease that has been swallowed over time.  At some point it may get a little stuck.

In this case, I simple mixed a little baking soda and vinegar, poured it into the drain and flushed it with boiling water.  It should do the trick, but didn’t.  In fact.  I stopped the flow altogether.  So, I decided to empty the sink manually and poured the content into the toilet … perhaps a slight silly mistake in hind-sight. The result was that I now had clogged the toilet.  To make matters worse, the pipe was so full that some water from main water was pushed into the drain, and the water in my kitchen sink started to rise.  Not good!

I had to turn off the main water to avoid flooding, and this unfortunately also meant no more toilet visit anywhere in the house until problem was resolved.

redphoneTime to call a friend, like in best jeopardy style.  Thankfully, the friend answered the call, and was kind enough to pay us a visit within 20 minutes.

It was pretty obvious that we a significant blockage somewhere in the pipes.  We tried to ‘snake’ toilet, sink and washing machine drains, but not positive outcome.  To make matters worse, the dirty water was now dripping into the basement.  Thankfully we do not have fully furnished basement and no carpets.

I had to call for help!  We needed a professional to solve this, well knowing that it would cost us some silly money just in call out fees.  It was 11pm, but had to accept the extortion from local plumber.  By 12.30, the plumber had not called back, so my friend and I thought we should take matters into our own hands.  How hard could it be to clear the blockage?

We quickly found the clean-out plug, underneath the kitchen/toilet area, and proceed to prepare for the nastiest part of the evening.  We knew we would have to open the plug, to release water pressure and empty sink + toilet.  This would be rather unpleasant, both visually and smell factor.

poo-bucketMy job was holding the large bucket as close to the plug as possible.  Knowing that this is literally human faeces (bodily fluids in this case from humans), which contains bacterias and other less attractive features, we could not afford to spill anything.  It would not only be disgusting, but the cleanup afterwards would be intense.

I carefully balanced the bucket, while my friend gently unscrewed the plug. “Water” started dripping, then running, straight into the bucket.  A few more 1/4 turns and the pressure was being released.  Our plan was working … until my friend lost his grip on the plug and the darn thing fell off.  The direct consequence was that sewage was being forced out from the clean-out hole, causing the stream to miss the bucket I was holding, and providing me with a shower.  Yes, I got drenched by shit!

The problem was, I could not drop everything and run.  I had to stay calm and catch the water, while trying not to get any into my mouth.  It sounds disgusting, but it was worse in real life!

I had to remove my Dropkick Murphy t-shirt (sorry lads) as it was soaked with shit.

On the plus side, the pressure was being released quicker, water stopped dripping from pipes and we knew it was working.  The down side was that we were covered in shit, and the floor was also slightly affected with a small puddle of faeces.

Finally the sewage was cleared and we had to go to phase two.  Locate the blockage with the ‘snake‘.  Finding the blockage was incredible easy, except I was covered in faeces and the smell was unbearable.

It was my first time using a ‘snake’, and hopefully last.

As I start to work the blockage, using the ‘snake‘, I was also introduced to something called the ‘champagne bottle effect’.  My mate might have been lying or making this stuff up.  Anyway, I very quickly found out what he meant.

See, when you release pressure, it can come shooting out.  You release a cork on a champagne bottle and it comes out.  Same thing happened with this shit.

I gently yanked the ‘snake‘, to clear the blockage, and was obviously successful.  The next 2.8 seconds was the worst in my entire life.  Shit was literally spraying from the pipe right at me.  I had not bucket handy, and had to jump down from the ladder and drag the larger bucket underneath the stream of excrement. to my dismay some of it had already landed on the floor.

My friend came running down the stairs, from inspecting toilet and sink, only to find me covered in human faeces.  I had old paper and other unidentified pieces in my chest hairs.  Arms were covered with a brownish shine and pants + shoes soaked.

This was not pleasant!!

Then again, we had successfully cleared the blockage and saved $500+ just in call out fees.

After a small beer break and panick laughing as we were slightly worried about hepatitis, we had to tackle phase 3.  Inspect and clear the waste pipe all the way to the end.  Given we had cleared the major blockage, we were fairly confident nothing else would be found.  And we were right.

The two amigos, aka Beavis and Butthead, had fixed a major domestic waste drain problem. We have had no training, and it shows, but still managed to fix it.

By the time we had finished, and cleaned up the worst shit, it was 3am.  We still had work in the morning, so we put all the equipment outside and I mopped up the faeces.

I showered twice before going to bed.  I could still smell the faeces as it was probably stuck in my nose.  I knew Friday would be a long day and that buying bleach was top priority.

Lessons learned – avoid using too much toilet paper, educate kids on right amount of paper to use for each job and do not pour kitchen waste into the sink.  It all adds up and will slowly block the drain.

missionaccomplished