Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reservoir Amish

I noticed this image online and just couldn't resist. Special thanks to AP Photographer Tony Dejak for the inspiration and great photograph. At least I hope he'll find it amusing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

From Genius to Dipshit in One Signature.

Ahh, The roller coaster ride that is life. The peaks and valleys. The knowledge shared. And the knowledge learned.
Oh the places you'll go, and tons of places  that you never imagined you would see.
As I leap into my 40th year on this planet, dear reader, I have a small confession to make. Although I’ve owned plenty of cars and other merchandise, I’ve never owned a home.
Yes, I’m a renter. Whew. That wasn't so bad.

Yep, throughout my college years and beyond, I’ve probably signed about 10+ different renter’s leases in my lifetime.
Truth be told, I’ve never felt the ‘need’ to own a house. It seemed a little scary. A little intimidating. A little set in stone.
I sort of liked the idea that – in less than a month's time - I could pick up stakes and move anywhere in the world that I wanted to move. Puerto Rico. Arizona. New Hampshire. California. Oregon. Any fucking where.

Well, in a couple of weeks, that’s all about to change.

My wife and I have found the perfect home in beautiful (not as rustic) Hudson, Ohio. For the past five years we’ve lived across the valley in Bath, Ohio - former home(s) of Lebron James and Jeffrey Dahmer and, well, now myself.
I've loved living in Bath for the past five years. Great running trails. Fantastic neighbors. And pretty good food. Plus, I’ve had the privilege of having all of the homeowner’s duties minus the headache of a mortgage and repairs.

It’s been really nice.

So, how do I feel about all of this? Well, after I sign my John Hancock on the dotted line about 100 times, I’ll proceed to transform myself from a successful professional in the advertising industry into a pretty fucking, stupid idiot.
Please, let me explain.

In my 40 years on this Earth, I’ve come across a number of knowledge thresholds. Before I entered eighth grade, I thought I knew everything about life. I thought there wasn't anything that I could learn that would help me to make an impact on this Earth.

Nope. I was wrong. In fact, I realized I was pretty dumb.

I also became more dumb the day after my high school graduation. Also, the first quarter of classes at Ohio State. Also, upon my graduation from Ohio State. And, oh yes, also during my first ‘official’ job after college.

Each and every time, I thought I knew everything about life and, like a bad joke, I would be struck down my God himself who would laugh at my overall lack of knowledge at each of these thresholds achieved.
After every achievement comes the fact that you really don’t know jack shit. It's all a facade. And this next stage of Eimer's 'ignorance evolution' is going to be all about home ownership.

You see, most of my other friends and family members have owned homes for years. They’ve gained important DIY (do-it-yourselfer) knowledge like laying tile and hardwood floors, changing toilets, hanging drywall, running electrical cords and even something as simple as putting up a ceiling fan.
With the exception of landscaping, I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to a number of these home ownership-type things. Well, most of them.

But...and this is a big but....I’m willing to learn, which is always a beautiful thing. And, if I ever find myself in a pinch, I'll just look it up on YouTube..they have answers to everything. Or I'll pay a contractor, which is what most websites recommend anyhow.
So, the day after we sign all the paperwork (whenever that may be), my older brother - a home owner for well over 20 years - will accompany me into my new home where we will remove doors, sand and polyurethane hardwood floors, lay carpet, balance the air conditioning unit and, yes, hang ceiling fans.

It’s my orientation, of sorts, into the world of home ownership. It’s my turn to ‘man up’ and take control of these small, but pricey, projects that spawn up around the house. You know, the stuff that I paid a landlord to do on a semi-monthly basis for the past 20+ years.

So, to paraphrase the late, great Neil Armstrong:

"It’s one small step for a new homeowner, one giant leap for the city of Hudson, Ohio."
Eh, fuck that, let's paraphrase Spider-Man:

"With great home ownership comes great responsibility."

Bring it on.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Big 4-0? Ain't Nuthin But a G' Thang (sort of)

Back in 2005, my wife-to-be announced that she was pregnant with our daughter.

During the 10 seconds following her not-so-shocking announcement, I didn't think about the wonder of life that was growing inside her belly. Nor did I think about getting a normal job or even visiting Amazon.com to purchase the most-recent publication of  What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Nope. Instead, I played the 'Add 20' game.

I immediately added 20 years to my life in order to see how old I was going to be when my children would be out of the house.

I know. I know. This may sound terrible and a bit selfish. Many will say that I'm 'totally missing the point of having a kid completely', which I'll 100% agree.

But I digress. The 'Add 20' game had me at about 55 years old. Not too shabby. It's old enough to be able to start stock-piling money for my eventual retirement at age 90. And it's young enough to start scratching things off of my bucket list.

Which leads me to my birthday. On July 6, I was fortunate enough to reach the young age of 40.

I'm nut sure what the hub-bub is all about. Turning 40 is really, truly no big deal. Well, a little I guess.

Minus some slight lower back pain, some doctors would say that I'm better shape than I was at 21. And I'll tend to agree. I've cut down on my drinking. I exercise almost every single day. I drink V8, homemade fruit smoothies and wheat grass every other day. I watch my sodium, I eat more vegetables and fruits. And, surprisingly, I'm slowly but surely retiring a number of fast food joints from my list-including my most recent retirement, Chick-Fil-A.

Back in the day (circa 1920) 40 was a point in your life that you simply shrugged off and continued working until you basically dropped at the ripe, old age of 57 years old (if you were fortunate enough to be a white male).

Now, in 2012, this ceremonial birthday serves as a crossroad, a halfway point of one's life. A time to ruminate about everything that you've achieved. Graduation from Ohio State, two marathons, marriage, two healthy kids, a self-published novella of mediocre short horror stories and a cartoon published in Hustler come to mind.

It's also a time to put the remainder of this crazy thing called life in perspective and think about where you want to be as you travel down this old, dusty (and bumpy) road...

...and to play the 'Plus 20' game yet again. But this time for real.

I've written in the past about the number of vacations that I, probably, have left in my lifetime. Well, in addition to the 'Plus 60' clock and the 'Vacation' clock, I've also added the 'Countdown to 60' clock.

Deep in the caverns of my mind and soul, which I probably won't share with the world right now until they come to fruition, I've laid out a number of personal challenges to myself. Things that I would like to see come to fruition before I turn 60 (or Plus 20, as I like to say this year).

These challenges are personal goals and dreams. Some are modest (To be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for some sort of achievement). Some are selfish (To be interviewed by Howard Stern for some sort of achievement). Some of these goals are for the good of my family (pay off our house, pay for my kid's college). And some of these ideas have to do with seeing a little bit more of the world before my knees go out, my liver goes kaput and I'm stuck in some god-for-saken rest home staring out the window wondering where the hell my life went.

You know, those type of goals.

However, as it turns out, one of those 'Plus 20' goals will come to fruition in two days.

As I've recently wrote about in various posts, I'm an avid hiker. Having scrambled most of the Applachian Trail in Virginia as well as some parts of Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Jersey - I've always wanted to visit one of the wildest, craziest parts of the Appalachian Trail...The White Mountains. It's a place I've always yearned to venture, but never had the funds to achieve.

Tuesday, Aug. 7, I will fly out to New Hampshire to hike Mount Washington via the Appalachian Trail on a three-day trek from Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch. Also, we (myself and a couple of my fellow kick-ass hiker buddies) will also hit the Franconia Notch Trail - a 8.5 loop that is supposed to also kick ass. We'll see.

This trip will mark one of the many exciting things that I have planned for myself and my family over the next 20 years, which includes traveling, writing, running, publishing, drawing and fixing up my home.

Ironically, 'Work more hours' isn't on this list. However, 'Innovative ways to make more money' is.

You know, some people say that 'Age is a State of Mind'. After turning 40, I totally agree.

I mean, I still feel like that snot-nosed kid who bought his first 12-pack of Natural Light at a 7-Eleven in Wheeling when he was 17 years old. And hell yeah it was with a fake ID that I made myself.

Hmmm? Yet another achievement to ruminate upon during this exciting year.