An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Endy Bit (a.k.a. "Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #141")

I had cause to pay a visit to the Tri-Metro area, recently, so I popped by the "liberry" to see everyone. The last few times I've been in, I've only seen Mrs. B, Mrs. D and Miss Temp, but this time nearly everyone was in house, including former bosses Mrs. A and Mrs. C. They're all doing fine and wanted to hear the latest news from me. ("Uhhhh, I got a cat.")

While I was there, Mr. B-Natural came in, signed up for a computer and then noticed me standing at the circ-desk.

MR. B-NATURAL— (In what I thought was an uncharacteristically bright tone for the grumpiest old man in all the world to take) Hey, you're back!

ME— Only temporarily.

MR. B-NATURAL— What? You're not working here again?

ME— No. I moved to BORDERLAND.

MR. B-NATURAL— How come?

ME— My wife got a job there.

MR. B-NATURAL— (Nods knowingly.) I need to get me a wife who has a job.

We stood there for a few minutes as I finished up what I was doing at the desk and Mr. B waited for Miss Temp to finish helping another patron and come log him on his computer.

MR. B-NATURAL— (Gestures toward the computers) Hey, you wanna put me on one of these for old times sake?

ME— Oh, sure.

They hadn't even changed the password.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Year Five (and this blog) in the Can (almost)

Today is the fifth anniversary of the beginning of this blog.

I'm normally a fan of writing entries in advance, but I put off writing this one until today because I didn't know quite what to say.

Other than, "goodbye," maybe.

Sort of.

You see, I no longer work in a library. It has therefore been pointed out to me, seemingly by more than one person, that perhaps another venue would be more appropriate to the continuation of the sort of tales I've been telling lately. My initial attitude toward this idea was to give it the finger on the premise that it's my blog which I may use to write about whatever I please regardless of how little sense it might make to the average observer. And as much as I still fully support that attitude on my part, I also have to concede that the opposing view does have a point. There is something to be said for bringing one story to a close before spinning off into something smaller with a few of the same characters. Granted, this almost never works in TV, where for every Frasier there are fifty Tortellis. (Unless, of course, you're producer Norman Lear in the `70s, who wound up having successful spin-offs of successful spin-offs of All in the Family.) It works better in comic books, where series end and new #1 issues begin all the time. In other words, I think it’s probably a good thing to give Tales from the “Liberry” a bit of closure and let it be its own boxed set (or glossy hardcover collection) before starting something new.

I have no illusions [p----------------nmm ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc

(Sorry. Walked away from the keyboard for a bit and Avie seems to have trod on it.)

As I was saying, I have no illusions that all of my regular readers will find my non-"liberry" observations as entertaining. Lord knows I didn’t read most of the spin-offs of the library blogs that closed up shop during my five years in the business and lord knows my stats have dropped off since I stopped posting new material daily here (or, since I stopped posting about my job, depending on your point of view). But if you've stuck around since my retirement as a "liberry" ninja, and if you like reading about occasional encounters with assholes in the wild or the antics of circus animals like the one who sat on my keyboard a few minutes ago, you’ll like the new place, too.

There are a lot of people I’d like to thank before I go, many of whom are present in the sidebar links, but some of whom have moved on. I'd like to first thank Tiny Robot (a.k.a. “T," formerly of the late lamented blog Poocakes, currently of Hermes’ Neuticles and the Chronicles of Bleh), Sonny Lemmons, (currently of Through the Windshield, which was formerly Chase the Kangaroo) and Glen (who never had a blog when he worked in a library, but who really really should have cause his tales were better than mine, and who has just embarked on a massive new adventure by knocking up his wife). Those three more than anyone originally inspired me to take up the blogger's pen, though I believe at least one of them said something about there being money in it, which I haven't found to be the case. I'd also like to thank some of my colleagues who've especially kept me entertained over the past five years: Tiny Librarian ("liberrian" of the Great White North), Foxy Librarian (whose work I've always enjoyed and who I've failed to congratulate on her recent edition/addition (heh, see, that's a book/baby joke for ya)), Tangognat (who works constantly to keep comics a part of the library), Bizgirl (or, I should say, James--who fooled us us all, did it with style, and whose link to me got this blog a mention in a New Zealand newspaper), Daisy (a former co-worker of Glen's who, as far as I know, has left the library blogosphere, though not libraries), and a fond farewell to Happy Villain, whose spin-off blogs I do continue to read.

I'd also like to thank YOU the loyal readers whose numbers have increased steadily since I started paying attention to that sort of thing. It's been a pleasure to have such an understanding, sympathetic and helpful audience to share my tales with.

The new place, by the by, is called Borderland Tales. (Some other jerk writer already took "Tales from the Borderland.")

Before I shake the exit stick, though, I do have one last very short Tale from the "Liberry" left to tell. Which, naturally, means one last...


Monday, November 17, 2008

Adventures at Wally World #2 (a.k.a. "Revenge of the Asshats")

While making my daily Wal-Mart run, I was cruising through the parking lot when I came upon a large van that was slowly pulling into the yellow-lined NO PARKING zone at the end of one of the parking aisles. A quick once over told me that this was not a handicapped vehicle in any way and had even less business parking in this yellow-lined zone than most of the asshats who regularly do. Given my recent ire at such folk, I decided to stop and give this person the stink eye, full bore.

I pulled around the van into the next parking aisle and brought my car to a halt behind the legally parked car in the first space there. I then stared through my side window and through the van's windshield at the woman behind the wheel, giving her my very best expression that said, "Really? REALLY? You're really gonna park there where you know you damn well shouldn't? You're truly so lazy that you can't walk from B.F.E. like the rest of us?"

The woman looked back at me, but didn't appear at all ashamed of her behavior. Moreover, she seemed annoyed. I gave my glare of doom another five long seconds and then motored on out to B.F.E.

By the time I returned to the end of the aisle, I was already kicking myself mentally for not printing out some tickets from Only when I reached the van, I found it was no longer parked in the yellow-lined zone but was now in the first available space on my aisle, the very one I'd stopped behind to glare at the driver. Doing the math, by stopping to glare at her I was probably blocking the vehicle in the legitimate space that was attempting to back out, making way for the woman in the van to park there.


Guess I'm the asshat.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Adventures at Wally World #1 (a.k.a. "No, don't bother putting that in a bag. I'll wear it home")

I like a good beer.

Barring a good beer, I'll drink whatever--particularly if it's cheap. This is why I've come to develop a taste for Foster's BIG ASS can o' lager. It's 25.4 oz of AustralCanadian goodness that comes in is around 8 cents per ounce, which is far better than almost any other beer on the aisle, outside of a "forty." Plus, it's a really good single serving of beer--more than your average can, but not enough to make you do things best reserved for Will Ferrell movies.

While visiting Wally World this weekend, I picked up a Fosters Big Ass straight out of the cooler. I put it in the cart with the rest of our groceries.

When the wife and I were checking out at the express lane, our checkout clerk rang it up then paused at the klaxon alarm telling her to check my ID. She offered to ignore the register's request, but then took my birth date off my ID when I passed it to her anyway. The clerk started to put the beer into a bag with other groceries, then paused and looked up at me as though she'd done something impolite.

"Oh, do you want this left out?" she asked.

Now, I've been asked this about purchases before, but it's always been for things like candy or gum that I might want to partake of before getting home. I've never EVER been asked if I'd like my cold beer "left out" in case I'd like to drink it on the road. The wife and I were floored.

"Uh, no," the wife said in an astounded tone.

"No, no, thanks, that's okay," I said.

"Ohhh," the clerk said, an explanation dawning on her. Then, as though parroting a catchphrase she didn't particularly find amusing or realistic, she kind of rolled her eyes and said, "Don't drink and driiiive."


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mystery of the Ghost Pirate Plastic Footsteps of Doom

At 3 a.m., Monday morning, I was awakened by a whimper from Sadie. It was the usual whimper she gives off when she has to "go potty" and isn't going to be able to go back to sleep until she does. I waited and tried to snooze, hoping I was wrong.

Moments later, my peace was disturbed again, this time by a cold dog nose thrust into my face from the side of the bed, followed by another plaintive whimper.

"Whadayuwant?" I said.




I got up, put on my robe and slippers and went out to water the dog. Avie Kitty heard us and got up to see what we were doing--cause damn if the dog gets to go outside and she doesn't. Turned out she was hungry, so I fed her and gave Sadie a dog cookie to keep her quiet and then tried to get everyone back to bed before this hour-of-the-wolf trek turned into a fit of insomnia for me.

About half an hour later I was lying in bed still pretty much awake, but I could feel myself drifting toward slumber. Then I heard something that caused my eyes to pop open and my ears to perk up. Elsewhere in the house, I heard the distinctive sound of plastic sheeting being disturbed. In fact, it sounded exactly like two footsteps being taken across plastic sheeting. Now, the plastic sheeting part was explainable because we still had one section of drop-cloth sheeting affixed to the wall and another lying unattached in the middle of the living room, left over from our weekend painting project. (And, YES, hippies, I did buy the biodegradable kind of plastic sheeting which I'm pretty sure is made of high-fructose corn syrup, or some such.) The real trouble with hearing two footsteps on plastic sheeting is that my wife was asleep in bed beside me, the cat was asleep on my chest and the dog was snoring away on her giant pillow by the bed. The only other pet in the house was a fish. This meant that I'd either dreamed I'd heard footsteps on the plastic or something or someone else had made them.


I slid out of the covers and retrieved my brainin' stick from beside the bed. At no point did it strike me as wise to wake my wife, even though I was potentially about to do battle with another human being. I went to the bedroom door and debated the merits of turning on the hall light. On the one hand, it might expose a prowler prowling in the hall; on the other, it would also blind me. Instead, I crept into the hall, through the dark and made it to the foyer. There, I reached around the corner into the living room, where the sheeting was located. Keeping the wall between me and the hanging lamp, I flipped on the light switch. There was no movement to be heard so I peeked around the corner. No one was there.

Great, so if there was a prowler, they A) were elsewhere in the house, and B) now knew I was looking for them and exactly where I was. The fortunate part of this, though, was that because of the painting project we had enough furniture scattered in obvious walkways that if they tried to escape or run to attack me they would be unable to keep from running into it, alerting me to their location. I heard nothing.

I moved through the living room and into the kitchen. No one was there.

I checked the garage door. Still locked.

I circled back into the den where I checked the back door, also locked, and returned to the foyer, where prowlers still weren't visibly prowling and where the front door was similarly locked. Then, after searching all the other obvious places for a couple of minutes, I decided to file the whole thing away as misheard leaf noise from a deer outside, otherwise I'd never be able to return to sleep.

At nearly 7a, I woke to find the wife up and about, readying for work.

"I heard an odd noise at 3:30," I told her. I then explained about the plastic footsteps.

"Huh," she said in a tone that suggested I'd provided a clue to a mystery she was working on. "Well, there is an odd poo in the hallway. Maybe we have a mouse."

A mouse, I thought. Yeah, that made sense. It was getting close to winter, the time for all good mice to try and get indoors. Only when I finally got a look at the odd poo in question, I saw that it was far too large a poo to have come from the ass of an average mouse. No, this was a poo of a different creature and the wife and I both began to audibly hope we didn't have a rat on our hands. The wife didn't think there was any way for a rat to get into the house, but I pointed out it would have been easy enough for it to get into the garage on one of the many days we'd left the door open, and from there it was only a matter of sneaking in the interior door when we weren't looking. She didn't like this theory. We didn't need any more troublesome furry creatures in our lives. We already had two.

"All right, kitty," I told Avie, who was already engaged in her daily ritual of knocking important things off the table for the dog to chew up. "Time to step up to the plate."

A little after breakfast, the cat and dog tired of their games and thankfully both went to sleep. So I crept out of the den and toward the office to check email.

As I entered our freshly-painted hallway, I spied, seated in the middle of the hallway, the creator of the aforementioned poo and knew that it had also definitely been the source of the noise on the plastic sheeting.

It was not a rat.

It was not a mouse.

It was, instead, a frog.

When I saw it, I laughed out loud, then caught myself, lest I wake the animals and cause a frog-squashing stampede. I scooped him into a coffee cup and then deposited him in the flower bed out back, near a gap where he could hide under the deck and bed down for the winter.

Yep, a frog hopping through the living room could conceivably have made two leaps across the plastic at about the rate footsteps would take. Still not sure how a frog got into the house.

Maybe the rats let him in.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Once and Future Assholity

If you're a homeowner, you're more than likely an asshole. Or, you will become an asshole as soon as your home passes into the ownership of someone else.

Let me back up.

The wife and I have more or less finished up the painting project we embarked upon on a whim last week. In fact, we were so happy with the results that the project expanded in scope and we have now extended the color from below the chair rail of the living room, into the foyer and all the way down our main hallway. So now much of the house looks really nice and warm and Autumnal in a way that the coat of white paint that we're pretty sure was slapped on by a team of color-blind rhesus monkeys, hired by one of the previous sets of owners, working in the dark, and applied using only one-quarter monkey-ass-power, did not.

Yes indeedy, we have long since considered the previous owners of this home to be assholes for a variety of good reasons, but seeing the truly incompetent paint job they left behind convinced us of their assholity. It was clearly done very quickly with little attention to detail and an obvious lack of care. It's the kind of thing you expect from a couple of people who know they're only going to be in a home for a limited time--say, a year--and just want to put a good whitewash on the whole thing so some rube might be fooled long enough to buy it. If only they'd also managed to whitewash the horrid shade of salmon they threw up with even less care in the master bath. (I also take deep issue with the vanity top that's nearly an inch too wide for the hall bathroom, which forced some previous asshole owner to sawsall a long slot into the drywall in order to wedge it in anyway, when a lot of time, effort and putty could have been saved had someone first thought to MEASURE THE EFFING ROOM! But I digress...)

The trouble with crying asshole at someone else, though, is that it's very easy to do during the painting job itself, when you are first noticing all the unforgivable flaws in the previous guy's work. Yep, when you're down at the baseboard seeing all the places where previous painters have spilled white paint onto the wood, or allowed thick drips of paint to travel down the length of a wall and dry, or left fragments of painter's tape behind, it's real easy to cry "asshole." It is also very easy to continue crying asshole during the cleanup process, when noticing the white paint splotches that appear beneath your own painters tape, which you'll have to scrape off, etc.

When it becomes a problem to cry asshole is that after putting in an entire weekend to paint a coat of pumpkinish colored paint across much of your interior wall surface, you look around at the kind of flaws in the previous painters' work and realize how closely they resemble the left over flaws in your own, such as the splotches of pumpkin on the white hall ceiling. Magnifying this realization is the fact that the flaws in your work are not limited to the current painting project, but to all painting projects past, such as those forest green splotches accidentally rollered onto the white ceiling of the bedroom that you fully intended to paint over with a bit of primer back in April.

That's when you realize that there's a real long half-life to not only most home-improvement accidents, but also to the good intentions people have at fixing them. After so many days, weeks and months go by, you look around and realize that no one has died because you never went back and touched up your mistakes and furthermore no one has noticed. In fact, you'd really have be looking for mistakes before you'd notice most of it. And who does that?

Now that I've realized I'm the asshole, it's become my resolution of the week to repair my future reputation with our home's future owners, and go around and fix all my crappy work.

And I'm gonna use my whole ass, this time.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Borderland Report

Since Obama won, we decided to paint the living room.

Not really, but I thought it sounded nicer than "We got a wild hair up our ass and decided to paint the living room."

We've been considering painting at least a wall of the living room for some time, as plain old eggshell just didn't seem all that great to us. Adding to the problem is that the living room has a massively high angled ceiling that I didn't relish the thought of having to set up scaffolding or climb up and down a ladder to paint walls that high. However, the room also has a chair rail, giving us the excuse of painting only the section of wall beneath the chair rail, saving a lot of time and labor. That decided, we mulled on the color until we noticed one of our pictures by the front door had a very nice pumpkiny sort of shade to it that went very well with all the wood in the room.

An hour and one trip to Lowes later, we had plastic down, baseboard blue-taped and were slapping on a first coat.

Of course, having two animals in the house gave us pause in this. It seemed pretty likely that Sadie Dog wouldn't be able to resist coming onto the drop sheet and pull the tape off the wall, or poke holes in it with her claws. And after half an hour of not doing this, she finally gave in and tried it, forcing us to baby-gate her in the back part of the house. Avie Kitty was not to be stopped by a mere baby gate and had fun playing across the plastic. She wasn't heavy enough to mess with the tape, so we left her alone. However, during one burst of kitty energy, she did run through the paint tray and get it all over her feet and tail. The wife managed to grab her before she could run onto the carpet. Then, in my attempt to wash the cat's feet off, I drug her through a patch of paint on my shirt and got it on her back.

One complete kitten bath later, and we called it an evening.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hanging Birthdays

The wife's birthday was yesterday.

As I've learned from long experience in my nearly nine years of marriage, it's difficult to surprise the wife when it comes to her birthday. She pesters me for hints and if I give her any she can pull the reality of the gift from the air no matter how cryptic or perfectly crafted those hints may be. My policy for the past couple of years is to keep my damn mouth shut and it has served me well.

Back early in the month, I began pondering what to get her. She could use a new laptop, but I've been holding off on buying one until A) all the crap gets shaken out of Vista; or, B) the economy improves enough that we can take out a second mortgage in order to buy a MacBook. She's already told me not to buy her one, though, cause she has her computer at work and doesn't need mine so much. The other thing I've been meaning to get her is another hammock chair.

Before we married, the wife owned a truly high-quality hammock chair, the kind that can be hung from a tree or other support and just cradles you up like a baby. You set that thing up in a shady spot on a nice warm day with a gentle breeze and you're headed for Nap City quick.
Trouble is, her original one got clipped with a weed eater by the hillbillies our old landlord hired to do the lawn, causing it to come unraveled. And before we even had a chance to get off our butts and repair it, several years had suddenly passed and the chair hung there beneath the old deck until it was rotted away by the elements. We finally threw it out before we moved to Borderland.

We had talked of buying a new one, as we already had a perfect place for it at the new house. The back yard came equipped with a wooden swing setup that boasts a space for a bench swing (which the house came with) and a single child's swing (which it didn't). The child's swing space would easily accommodate a hammock swing. After a bit of research, (which I had to do because I couldn't remember the company she'd ordered the first one from ten years ago) I ordered one that looked exactly like her old one. I was pretty sure I'd be at home when it was delivered and could hide it among the many cardboard boxes that have been piling up in our garage waiting to be recycled. She'd never be the wiser.

Last week, at 7:30 in the morning, UPS phoned to ask directions to our house. The wife answered it.

"You must have a UPS package arriving," she said after hanging up.


"Is it a birthday present for me?" she asked.

"That is information you may not know," I said.

She pestered me for hints, but I couldn't come up with one that I thought she wouldn't see right through.

By the time I had to leave for a multi-hour out of town trip, UPS had still not arrived, so I had to leave assuming she'd at least see the box waiting at the door when she arrived home. She'd probably note the company it came from and know immediately the contents and UPS would once again have ruined my plans.

There was indeed a box leaned up against the long window beside our front door when I came home, but the wife had entered through the garage and had not noticed it. I hid it and went to bed. She bugged me for hints over the next few days, but I gave her none.

Yesterday, after the wife left, I installed the hammock chair in its place in the swing housing. I tested it out and it seemed plenty solid and of as high a quality as the last one.

At noon, I popped over to the wife's clinic for her surprise party, thrown by her coworkers. While there, she asked about her present, but I told her she'd have to wait until she got home. I told her she'd notice it right away.

"Is it a new light for the dining room? Did you already put it up?" she beamed.

I shrugged.

"C'mon! If I guess it you have to tell me."

"Well, ya haven't guessed it," I said. "However, it does hang." And with that, I left the building before she could drag anything else out of me.

She didn't guess it. In fact, when the wife came home, she immediately saw the hammock chair in the headlights from her car and thought, "Oh, he finally put up my hammock chair," before remembering we'd thrown the old one away. She immediately went out and sat in it, despite the chill.

"Sorry," I said. "Not really a great gift for this time of year, I guess. It was warmer when I ordered it."

"Nope. It's perfect," she said.