Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Welcome to Adulthood

One of the aspects of living in the South that I find most amusing is the reaction of the general population to adverse weather conditions. Of course, in the south, adverse weather is defined as anything short of 70 degrees and sunny. Throughout my years here I have marveled at the automotive carnage brought about by rainfall. Drop the temperature to below freezing and it gets really good. Snow is an anomaly here. A mere forecast of potential flurries will wipe out the grocery store shelves and close businesses for miles around. This week began not only with a forecast of frozen precipitation but also with the real deal. At least in Southern terms that is.

On my way to the gym yesterday morning I could not help but grin when I found myself to be one of the only drivers on the road. Granted, we had received over an inch of snow but where I come from we call that a dusting. Not so here in Charlotte. I was driving into the aftermath of what I'm sure will come to be known as the blizzard of 2011. Multiple accidents were reported throughout the city and newscasters urged their followers to avoid any unnecessary travel. As schools and businesses throughout the region announced that they would be closing for the safety of their staff and clientele, I found myself with an unexpected day off.

Given that I technically could perform most of my work duties from home it seemed that I might have a tremendously productive day. A full day with zero distractions and hour upon quiet hour to pound out phone calls and do whatever else it is that I do when I'm not banging my head against my desk. Yes, it could have have been the most productive day of my professional career. But then I remembered that 2011 is The Year of The Man. Would The Man work from home on a day off? Would The Man sacrifice a marvelous snow day only to labor from dawn to dusk? Would The Man place work ahead of pleasure? Hell no. The man would build a fort!

The fort began with a simple rearranging of furniture. The two couches in the living room provided an excellent structural framework upon which to build the ultimate blanket fortress. With The Little Italian at my side as construction superintendent, I could rest assured that the building process would go smoothly.

Project Manager Gus ensured that protocol was closely followed during the construction process.

Two layers of blankets were used to form the roof but something was definitely missing after this portion of the structure was erected. Bringing the pub chairs in from the dining room solved a major design issue and led to the creation of a grand entryway.

The initial framework for the entryway was carefully put in place.

Now that's exactly what I was looking for.

After completing the difficult and often times treacherous outer construction, the interior work was a breeze. The Little Italian and I took a minimalist approach to the interior design, much as we have done throughout our home. One double sleeping bag and a pair of flannel covered pillows were all it took to create an exotic hideaway in our living room. One final detail and the fun could begin. Every good fort needs a sign.

No explanation needed.


Yes indeed, my snow day was a great success. I went to sleep last night knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that my day was far more awesome than that of the rest of the snow bound residents of Charlotte. I do so enjoy being a mature adult.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Year of the Man

As the calendar arbitrarily rolls from one year to the next there is often much reflection on the past followed by resolutions for the future. Total bollocks. Reflecting is for mirrors and small to mid-sized garden pools. As for resolutions, those are only made by people who show extreme dedication to their diet and exercise program from January 2nd through March 31st and not a day later. Why not January 1st you ask? Hangovers. Plain and simple.

You will find no such drivel here. I have decided to forgo that wasted energy and instead make a bold declaration. I declare that 2011 shall henceforth be known as The Year of The Man.

The Year of The Man. Rolls off the tongue nicely if I do say so myself. And I do. But what does this declaration mean for daily life here on planet earth? It means that I will boldly strut through the coming year in an impressively manly way. There will be 72% more grunting. 100% more scratching. 118% more spitting. And 237% more awesome! This is all very scientific of course. I'd explain the formula I used to come up with these percentages but I fear it involves mathematics at a level far too elevated for most mere mortals to comprehend. I had to bust out my calculator watch so you know it's serious.

I felt that The Year of The Man should begin with the designation of a role model. When I visited my good friend google to search for the ultimate male I stumbled upon some very unsettling results.

I just threw up in my mouth.

That did not go as well as I had hoped. I needed to come up with a shining beacon of manly hope to guide me through the fog of the coming year. A man that kicks ass while kicking some more ass while drinking a whiskey. He should probably spit too.

Whooped 'em again, eh Josey.

Now that there is a man. I studied several hours of cowboy film footage and could find only one difference between myself and Clint Eastwood. If you are thinking that I'm half his size, don't have a poncho, a cowboy hat, pistols or a horse.....well, you're right. But this is my blog so I get to make the rules. I came to realize that the most important thing missing from my repertoire was something that could help me achieve my numbers above in both the "scratching" and the "awesome" categories.

Perhaps a little Just for Men could bring out the best in this somewhat sparse facial foliage.

With my fine looking beard solidly attached to my face my manly voyage had begun. Of course, despite what I might like to believe, I am not actually a cowboy. Yet. Until that perfect day when I bust open the saloon doors and cast a shadowy bow-legged figure across the floor, I will be a cyclist. Always have been. As such, there was something that just had to be done. My cycling heroes carry no guns, wear no ponchos and probably kick no ass. But they do all have one thing in common.

Smooth as silk and 5% faster.


With the first race of the year only 11 days away I'm starting to get that twitchy feeling in my legs again. That could be razor burn but I doubt it. My focus for the next twelve months will be to hurl myself through the woods with a number plate strapped to my iron steed while I chase the proverbial bad guys. As I ride off into the sunset after conquering my foes the townspeople will celebrate and cry out my name. Mothers don't let your sons grow up to be cyclists.