Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not a good day to crap on my lawn

I'm tired of cleaning up other people's dog crap from my lawn. I clean up after my dog, yet had to pick up several foreign deuces yesterday when I mowed.

I had a bad day today, and I was in a foul mood to begin with, when I happened to see a woman walking her dog by my house during the middle of the day. I work from home, so I'm nearly always around. How unfortunate for this person.

I watched as she let her tiny dog do its tiny business, then walked on. I thought she'd come back, as I've seen her walking before. After she was a few blocks down the street, I went out and cleaned up her leavings with a Target-bagged hand. Then I came back in and waited.

She came by on her return trip about 5 minutes later. I had a feeling she was from the apartment building just down the street. I followed her the 6 or so houses with the Target bag in my hand. As she was about 20 feet in front of me, she turned to go towards the front door of the building. There happened to be a line of cars with their windows open just to my left, waiting for the light to turn green. I said in a loud, commanding, yet trying-to-be-polite voice "Excuse me, Miss, but your dog left this in my yard. I'm getting quite tired of cleaning up dog faeces from my lawn, and if I see you let your dog do this again I will be notifying the police."

Note: Yes, "faeces." I thought that if I typed it in the British way you'd understand how commanding, yet non-intimidating I was trying to be. Confrontational, possibly, but I really wasn't trying to intimidate her. Plus, "faeces" looks cooler, and everything sounds better with a British accent anyways.

She offered a completely shocked look, and an terribly ashamed "I'm very sorry about that," took the bag and quickly turned away.

As I turned and walked back home I thought I heard the faint sound of clapping from the cars as they drove off.

My wife shook her head as I recounted the story, as I often do things that embarrass the family, such as saying "You're welcome" to cashiers that fail to say "Thank you."

I was just not in the mood for this crap today. Literally.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My One (And Only) Visit to Denny’s

My family and I were heading out of town last Friday, on our way to the Twin Cities, ethnic food, museums, World Market, and Trader Joe’s. Since we were leaving during breakfast hours, we decided that it would be the perfect time to try out the new Denny’s.

The exterior of the building drives me nuts. The signs are off-center wherever they are mounted. It looks like the installer made a mistake on one sign, and instead of fixing it, just installed the rest of them like the first.

We arrived approximately 10 am, thinking that we were after the morning rush, and since there were few cars in the parking lot, we could be in, out, and on the road in short order.

After being showed to our tables, we ordered two cups of coffee and a glass of milk. My wife took one sip of coffee, then her face took on a look of revulsion. “I know you’ve spoiled me on coffee forever, but have you tasted this? It’s terrible!” she said. She’s usually more forgiving when it comes to coffee, so with that in mind, I took my sip and, although it was not the worst coffee I’ve had in Grand Forks (that designation belongs to the coffee at Gramma Butterwicks), it was definitely really, really bad. It tasted like ultra-low grade robusta beans, and the jitters I got soon after told me I was correct. I just looked online to see if I could find information about their coffee, and I see that this is their Special Blend that was introduced late last year. I’d hate to have tried the old version if this is supposed to be an improvement. I didn’t find any reference to the question “special blend of what?” That’s always a bad sign. If people use only good arabica beans they usually make sure to tell the public so.

We selected our breakfasts, my kid choosing the alien-shaped pancakes, my wife some form of “slam,” and since she doesn’t eat eggs she asked for extra hash browns instead. I ordered the Heartland Scramble. I usually look for an egg substitute option, but I didn’t see it listed. It may have been there, but it wasn’t in an obvious place.

Time goes by. A lot of time.

We see the waitress go in for our food, hear her say something about “This was supposed to be no eggs, extra hash browns.” Right then we knew we were in trouble.

More time goes by.

We finally get our food 45 minutes after we sat down, and my food was cold. I flag down the waitress, tell her of the problem, and she tells me that they will prepare me a new plate right away. They microwaved my plate, which is OK from a time standpoint, but microwaved eggs can become rubbery. Oh well, this was Denny’s, after all. My expectations were not that high to begin with.

All was going well at this point. We were eating, discussing the drive ahead, laughing (sort of) at the breakfast thus far, when I parted some eggs on the plate. That’s when I saw it: The Hair.

Fork down. Breakfast over.

We went up to pay the bill, waited about 5 minutes at the register until somebody came over to ring us up, and were asked “How was everything?” I’m not one to hold back much. I try to be honest in these situations, but also I try to be fair and tactful. I respond “Well, for starters, after spending 45 minutes in the restaurant my food came out cold…” No response. Not even an “I’m sorry to hear that.” Nothing but the working of the register. I looked over at my wife and said “Or not.” We had a small chuckle, knowing that customer service means so much more than just taking orders and bringing out food, and that we’ll never go to Denny’s again.

Addendum: So far for breakfast I’ve tried Darcy’s (decent food, but doesn’t take credit cards, and we were stared at the entire time we were there. I don’t think we’re that funny looking, but maybe we are) and Perkins (A much better experience than the one above, plus they have corned beef hash, waffles, and Egg Beaters). That’s where we’ll be heading next time. My wife has been to Seasons in EGF, as well, and said it was good, having Belgian Waffles.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's Not Not OK to Drink!

I was driving on Demers Ave. in GF, when I noticed a huge billboard informing minors that "It's Not Not OK" to drink. How are people going to take this campaign seriously when the sign, though its use of a double negative, is actually telling minors that it is, in fact, OK to drink alcohol?

I wonder who comes up with this stuff, and how much of our tax money was wasted because of a pretty obvious error. Yes, I know the meaning and intent of the campaign, and it's a good idea. Hell, I'm all for reducing underage drinking. However, I can just imagine the drinking games that will be created due to this effort ("I have an idea! We all take a shot whenever somebody in the room say 'OK'!")

It reminds me of the sign I used to pass every day in Silver Spring, MD, informing teenagers that there is "No No Skateboarding" allowed, all due to word "No" that was intentionally crossed out by the team that designed the sign.

This sign, combined with the glaring "it's/its" error on the mayor's "Welcome to Grand Forks" sign over the luggage carousel at the airport, makes me wonder how much drinking is taking place in town hall.