Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

This is what KT and I are getting each other for this most sacred of holidays:

Her to Me -

1)  She has entertained the notion of going to see The Monument Men with me, even going so far as to independently research show times and theaters with captions.  This is huge for her as normally her attention span lasts half way through a trailer, making sitting through a 110 minute movie (she may not realize the length, so shh) quite a sacrifice.  Not to mention she will have to endure nearly two hours of my insatiable man crush on Matt Damon.

2)  She will not, after she has fallen sound asleep tonight and I am still awake, have the following argument when I turn to the Olympics (which she has determined to be A) boring, B) depressing and C) *toss off motion*)

KT - "Don't turn, I was watching that!"
Me - "No you weren't.  Your eyes were closed and there is a line of drool coming out of your mouth"
KT - "But is was listening to it!"

3)  She will trim my eyebrows to make me less Garrison Keillor-ish

Me to Her -

1)  I have paper-clipped the rear bumper of her car back to the rest of it.  Yes, I used a paper clip to secure the bumper to the car so that it no longer drags or nearly drags on the ground when driven.  It is a foolproof fix.  The car still sounds like it is dragging several cats underneath it when you turn, go over a bump, accelerate, run the fan or put the keys in the ignition, but the bumper is firmly secured with a paper clip.  Baby steps.

2)  I will move our sole cable box (and the 13 shitty channels it offers) from the living room into our bedroom so that KT can watch her Bravo shows when she wakes at 12:30, 1:45, 2:20, 3:40, 4:15 and then for good at 6:00.  As I am asleep, she won't have to listen to me childishly bitch and moan about how incredibly offensively moronic I find her Bravo shows.

3)  I will drink.  In an effort to cut calories, I have been avoiding alcohol on "school" nights.  Last night, KT informed me that she likes "Drinking Paul" because then she doesn't feel strange about having a glass of wine alone.  So, honey, tonight, just for you, I will drink.

Romance is alive and well in the Kruse household.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Shut the F Up, Dennis

I attended a seminar for work today.  I wasn't exactly thrilled about the prospect, but realize they are sometimes necessary and I didn't really mind getting out of the office for a day.  Best case scenario I could sit in the back and daydream for seven hours.  I was disappointed upon arriving as I realized there were only three of us and the instructor there and going unnoticed would be impossible.

At 9:00, Kurt (our instructor) got us started.  We made small talk for a while, introduced ourselves and Kurt set the outline for the day, finishing with this bit of good news: "Officially, I say the seminar is over at 4:00, but yesterday I had a group of 24 people and we were done by 2:30.  So, I'll let you guys dictate the pace but we should be wrapped up pretty early today."  Tom, Rebecca (my classmates) and I shot each other conspiratorial grins, flipped open our workbooks and we were off.  Things were flowing at a great pace and I was planning my agenda for an unexpected afternoon off.  Then, at exactly 9:36 AM, Dennis happened.

The warning signs came early.  Dennis burst into the room wearing a leather coat (unzipped), a red and blue denim shirt (right side red, left side blue, divided at the buttons) and a giant (seriously, giant) belt buckle.  Like a dog looking to take a dump, he examined four empty tables before settling on one to sit at.  Once he finally was seated, Kurt welcomed him, introduced himself and casually asked if he was stuck in traffic.  Dennis replied "Nope".  Pause.  Pause.  Uncomfortable silence.  Pause.  Finally, Kurt realized no explanation of the tardiness was forthcoming and began speaking again.  It was the only time all day Dennis was short for words.

We were on page four of our workbook when Dennis arrived.  I was finding the class interesting, the instructor a nice guy and the pace just to my liking.  One hour after Dennis arrived, we were still on page four.  Kurt could not say four sentences before Dennis would interject with a question.  It's ok to ask questions.  After all, that is what these seminars are for.  What Dennis was asking, however, were the most idiotic, mundane, banal questions that Kurt and everyone else in the room assumed Dennis was joking the first few times.  And, in the rare case that Dennis couldn't think of a question, he would interrupt anyways.  At one point he halted Kurt and said, "There is a guy I worked with, who was unemployed before we hired him.  We hired him on the 15th and by the 21st, he quit and was unemployed again."  Pause.  Pause.  Kurt, who by now had learned to not pause quite so long, asked "Is that why you are taking this class today?  You are filling in for the duties he was performing?".  Dennis replied, "No.  I just can't understand how some people will just quit a job before even having another one."  On page six of my workbook is the following scribble:  STFU Dennis

This continued until nearly noon, when Kurt started talking about taking a break for a bit so that people could stretch their legs, have a bite to eat and we would reconvene in 30 minutes.  This was good news as the conference room had a pitcher of water on each table, and as I was alone at my table I made it my personal mission to empty the thing.  I was getting ready to make my exit when Dennis blurted out, "Before we break, can I ask a couple of quick questions?"  Page eight of my workbook has this at the bottom:  D, STFU!

After lunch, Dennis remembered that he had brought his phone with.  He began furiously snapping pictures of the power point presentation on the screen, which - not coincidentally - was exactly the same as the pages of our workbook.  He snapped so many pictures that his battery became drained.  No worries, as Dennis had brought his charger.  Rather than plug his phone into the outlet next to his chair, however, Dennis decided to plug it into the power strip with the projector in the front of the room.  Over the course of the next two hours, class was brought to a screeching halt no less than four times as Dennis would get up, walk to the front of the room, stand directly in front of Kurt and check his phone.  Finally satisfied it had charged sufficiently, he brought it back to his table with him and proceeded to make a phone call.  He didn't leave, he didn't apologize and I'm quite sure he didn't notice that class had - once again - stopped for him.  Ten minutes later, Dennis received a phone call.  His side of the conversation was this:  "Hi.  I can't talk.  I'm in the middle of a conference."  Yet that is exactly what you were doing, Dennis.  You were talking.  In the middle of a fucking conference.  On page 17 of my workbook is this:  DENNIS, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Finally, at 3:55 Kurt began wrapping things up.  My dreams of a half day were crushed, but I still had a jump start on the rest of my day, even considering a longer than normal commute.  When Kurt asked the standard, "Does anyone have any questions?" that all good instructors are required to do before dismissing you, Rebecca, Tom and I quickly looked at the floor and avoided eye contact, as is the only sane thing to do in that situation.  Dennis, however, began rambling once more.  I couldn't take it.  I stood up, grabbed my coat, shook Kurt's hand, said thanks and hightailed it.  Following my lead, Tom and Rebecca made it out as well (I'm pretty sure I am their hero).  Poor Kurt, however, had no escape.  He may still be there.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Profiles in Courage

I was a scrawny kid.  To those who know me in my current form without the benefit of having known me back in the day, this may be somewhat difficult to fathom.  It is true, however, and I have the photos to prove it.

It's okay to be a scrawny kid.  Millions of kids have survived and indeed flourished later in life despite the difficulties being a weakling can cause.  The key to making it through this difficult time is knowing when to shut up.  When just about everybody (both sexes included) could easily whoop your ass, you should instinctively know that it isn't in your best interest to be an asshole.  To point, you don't see a rabbit sassing a wolf - it would be idiotic and suicidal.  Being a human, however, gives you the power to overcome these natural instincts and do the exact opposite of what all logic dictates.  It is an amazing gift that separates humans from other animals.  It can also be a horrific curse in the hands of a scrawny kid with a big mouth.

As a kid, my diminutive size was in direct opposite proportion to the size of my mouth.  I would push, nitpick, tease and aggravate until the only possible course of action for the object of my annoyance was to pummel me.  Rarely did anyone get that pleasure, however, as I had a knack for knowing the right moment to flee to the safety of my house, a teacher or other safe zone.  One memorable instance, however, I was caught.  Two neighborhood kids - who in reality were probably my size, but my memory paints them as giants - had me trapped.  I don't recall if it was a specific transgression that caused them to seek retribution on me or just a culmination of several years of being a chronic asshole, but these two were mad.  They ambushed me, catching me alone in the backyard, undoubtedly throwing my Nerf football in the air repeatedly as I had an OCD tendency to do as a youngster.  I was screwed.  After realizing that apologizing profusely and begging for mercy weren't going to help, I whimpered helplessly and prepared for my beat down.  Before the first punch was thrown, however, a miracle occurred.  My brother, whose presence I was unaware of, stepped out of the house and inserted himself into the melee.

Now, the tables were turned.  It was a fair fight and these two bullies were about to feel the wrath of the Krusey Brothers!  As my brother approached, the kid holding me back released his grip on me to prepare for whatever my brother may have had in store.  Realizing my opportunity, I reacted with adrenaline fueled speed and precision.  I jerked my arms away from my captor and ran like a bat out of hell into the house, locking the door behind me.  Cherishing my good fortune, I made it to my bedroom window just in time to peek under the blinds and watch my brother take the beating that was rightfully mine.

The next day, to thank my brother, I repeatedly threw the aforementioned Nerf football at him while he mowed the lawn.  After finally reaching his boiling point, he calmly looked directly at me, tilted the mower back on two wheels and placed it down on my beloved football, sending a confetti shower of foam over me as I sobbed uncontrollably at the raw injustice of it all.

This has been Profiles in Courage.  Join us next time for the story of the time I hid in my basement closet for six hours after throwing a rock at a car.