I wrote three months ago that I've been having issues trying to build a deck. If you don't feel like clicking the link, a deck company authorized by my neighborhood association wouldn't call me back and lied to me about submitting paperwork to the animal-porn-watching township.
I contacted another validated company after that. The guy I spoke to on the phone was named Brian, and he told me he was going to drive over the following day to do all of the measurements. I was impressed that he was willing to do it so quickly, especially after dealing with the other people. I was happy about that - until he never showed up. I called him two hours after his scheduled appointment, but he didn't pick up the phone. He got back to me two days later.
Second Deck Worker: I... uhh... umm... I... uhh... had an emergency... uhh... I... uhh...
Me: That's OK.
Second Deck Worker: Umm... I... uhh... can I come tomorrow... uhh???
Me: Yeah, that's fine.
He kept his appointment. Sort of. He was 45 minutes late and stuttered while giving me all of the facts and figures. I told him I'd call him to let him know the following day, but I decided not to. If he couldn't show up in time twice, then I wasn't going to rely on him to build my deck.
I was just about to give up hope, but I opted to give it one last shot. I contacted a third guy, who actually showed up early to do all of the measurements. I told him what happened with the first two companies, and he wasn't surprised in the slightest.
Third Deck Worker: My guess is that they didn't pick up the phone or come on time because they went to jail.
Me: Jail? Why would they go to jail?
Third Deck Worker: Oh yeah! People in my profession go to jail all the time!
Third Deck Worker: Oh yeah! I know several guys who build decks who are always in and out of jail!
Wow. I had no idea I'd have to deal with such seedy individuals to have a deck constructed. But it finally happened! Third Deck Worker got the job done, and as of the morning of Aug. 29, it was finally fully completed.
I celebrated by working outside. It was great. I brought my laptop outside and typed up random crap on my deck. I was having the time of my life, but my legs suddenly started to itch. It wasn't bad at first, but they felt like they were on fire soon enough. I glanced at them and noticed all of these huge, bright red spots on them. I was nearly bitten to death by mosquitoes.
It was really ridiculous. I can deal with one or two mosquito bites, but I had dozens all over my legs, which were ghastly. I picked up my laptop, ran into the house, sprinted upstairs and rubbed Gold Bond all over them.
There apparently was some sort of mosquito colony in my backyard, so I looked online to find a solution. Here's what I came up with:
1. Citronella Candles - Yeah, yeah, I know, candles are for girls and the heterosexually challenged - not that there's anything wrong with that - but I was desperate. I didn't want my legs bitten to pieces again.
I ultimately decided against Citronella Candles for three reasons. First, what if I'm allergic to Citronella? I don't think I am because Citronella sounds like it has some sort of citrus in it, but you can never be too careful. Second, I don't know where the candle shop is. And third, how do you differentiate between regular candles and Citronella Candles? Does it say it on the box, or do you have to ask the candlemaker? And what if the candle shop is out of red candles? Everyone knows blue candles suck. You can only light them once per room. If you want to light them again, you have to leave the room and come back, which is a drag.
2. Bats - I looked online, and the No. 1 predator of mosquitoes are bats. Cool. Except I don't know where to buy bats. I've never seen a bat store. I highly doubt there is one, so I'd have to go into the mountains or the forest to capture bats. But how would I do that? Is there bat bait? I'd buy bat bait, but there's no damn bat store. Why the hell isn't there a bat store!?
OK, for the sake of argument, let's say that I capture 25 bats and unleash them in my backyard. They'll eat all of the mosquitoes, but then they'll poop all over my beautiful new deck, so I'll have to find something that eats them. Owls do that, so I'll get them, but then they'll poop all over my deck as well. I can then buy wildcats to eat the owls. But then the wildcats will also try to devour my neighbors, so I'll have purchase something that kills them - unless my neighbors piss me off. Then I'll keep the wildcats.
3. Vanilla Extract - One Web site revealed that rubbing vanilla extract all over yourself wards off mosquito attacks.
That was the best news I'd heard all day. I wasn't quite sure what vanilla extract was, but it had the word "vanilla" in it, and vanilla can be quite tasty. Vanilla ice cream, for example, is both underrated and awesome.
I decided quickly that it was time to buy some vanilla extract. I gathered some money and ventured off to Bottom Dollar.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 2: Vanilla Extract
I love having a Bottom Dollar store right around the corner from my house. It takes me three minutes to walk there - two if I cut across the guy across the street's backyard. I usually don't like to do this during the day because this guy always has cars without license plates in his driveway, so I'm afraid the cops will raid his house and think I'm part of his plot if I'm cutting across his yard at that exact moment.
At any rate, I walked into Bottom Dollar. There were a few things I needed - chicken strips, Cocoa Pebbles, milk, Oreos - so I gathered them first. It was then time to find the vanilla extract, so I ventured toward the ice cream section.
"Hmm..." I said aloud. "Vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, more vanilla ice cream, strawberry ice cream, more chocolate ice cream, ice-cream sandwiches, Klondike bars, more vanilla ice cream, orange sherbet***, more chocolate ice cream... I don't see the vanilla extract. Where's the vanilla extract!?"
*** Side note: I always thought it was "orange sherbert;" not "orange sherbet," but my Microsoft Word put a red squiggly line under "sherbert." Didn't it used to be orange sherbert? If so, what happened to the bert? Why'd they get rid of the bert and replace it with bet? Sherbet is stupid. Sherbert is so much better.
I was so confused. Did Bottom Dollar suck and not sell vanilla extract? What if someone wants chocolate ice cream with vanilla extract on top? Do they have to go to Acme or Shop Rite? "No wonder this place is called BOTTOM Dollar," I thought. "This is definitely the bottom-ranked grocery store in the entire world!"
Fortunately, a Bottom Dollar worker walked by that instant. He was in his late 60s and was grimacing, so it seemed like he was in a rotten mood. Nevertheless, I was desperate.
Me: Hey, do you know if you guys sell any vanilla extract?
Bottom Dollar Employee: Yes, we do.
Me: I don't see it anywhere here.
Bottom Dollar Employee: Are you looking for vanilla ice cream or vanilla extract?
Me: Vanilla extract? Wait, it's not the same thing, is it? I need vanilla extract to shoo away the mosquitoes, but can I just rub vanilla ice cream on my legs to do that?
Bottom Dollar Employee: What? No. Vanilla ice cream and vanilla extract are not the same thing. You're in the wrong section for vanilla extract.
I still wasn't too sure. I mean, maybe they're not the exact same thing, but if vanilla extract works, why can't vanilla ice cream work as well? Mosquitoes are clearly afraid of things that are vanilla. I could buy the vanilla ice cream and try that out, and if that wouldn't work, I could just come back to Bottom Dollar, purchase some chocolate syrup and make myself a yummy snack. Mmm... chocolate syrup...
Wait... chocolate syrup! And that's when it dawned on me. I was such an idiot. Vanilla extract might not be something you put in the freezer right away - which means it would obviously be near the chocolate syrup, which is also not in the ice cream section!
I sprinted toward the aisle with the chocolate syrup. I found that, but I still couldn't locate the vanilla extract. Ugh! I had to ask for the angry employee's help again.
Me: I still can't find it!
Bottom Dollar Employee: You're looking in the wrong section again!
Me: Well, where is it?
He led me toward the cake and baking section. I was about to call him out for this because vanilla extract didn't seem like it would belong in that spot, but there it was. A bottle of vanilla extract - right next to the baking mix.
See, this is why I hate shopping for groceries. Everything is always out of order. They should keep the milk next to the cereal, the frozen pizza next to the potato chips and the damn vanilla extract near either the ice cream or the chocolate syrup. Seriously, are the people who run supermarkets idiots, or something?
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 3: Klondike Man
There were two lines open near the front. Unfortunately, a fat chick employee behind one of the registers changed her sign to "closed," so I had to get behind a balding man with two little girls. I overheard them as I waited my turn.
Little Girl: Daddy! Daddy! Can I hold the iced tea?
Dad: We'll decide that later.
Decide that later? What the hell does that mean? Why doesn't he let her hold the damn iced tea if she wants to so badly? Is he going to put this to a vote? Is there going to be some sort of debate about it? I could almost see this happening.
Unbiased Arbitrator: Balding father, please plead your case.
Dad: Your honor, my daughter wants to hold the iced tea, but what does that mean exactly? Yesterday, she said she wanted a unicorn. I could not provide her with one because, well, they're not real. She wants to hold the iced tea now, but this will only raise her expectations. Her expectations need to be low. This is a cold, cruel world, where barely anyone gets what they want. I feel like her holding the iced tea could be a catalyst to the destruction of her spirit. She'll get her iced tea, but when she can't attain her unicorn, her world will crumble.
Unbiased Arbitrator: Well spoken. And you, young lady?
Daughter: I wanna hold the iced tea!
Unbiased Arbitrator: Well, after careful consideration, I award this debate to the balding father. Congratulations!
Dad: Ha! I knew I could out-argue her! What now, daughter!? You want to argue some more, because I'll kick your a** in another argument!
What a dick. Anyway, as the balding father was paying for his groceries, a couple in their 50s approached the closed line. They placed their items down near the register and waited for the fat cashier to stop talking to some Indian Native American lady.
Wait, so this was an option for me all along? I didn't have to wait for the balding dad and his two brats? I could have just demanded for the fat cashier to ring me up this whole time?
I was about to complain and move ahead of the couple, but the fat cashier told them that her register was closed. They then walked behind me, and a few minutes later, it was my turn to pay. I placed my items down on the conveyor belt, handing the divider to the man. Instead of placing the divider between my groceries and his, he just tossed the divider aside.
I didn't get it. Why would he do that? Our cashier was just going to get confused. Luckily, he had only a few things - two Klondike bars and three cans of dog food. I found this selection of items interesting because he happened to be wearing a blue shirt with a Klondike logo on it. This man must like his Klondike bars so much that he refuses to position a divider near them.
Our cashier swiped my chicken strips, Cocoa Pebbles, milk, Oreos and vanilla extract. She then reached for the Klondike bars when Klondike Man started making a weird sound.
Klondike Man: Hut-hut-hut-hut-hut-hut...
Cashier (looking at me): Is this yours?
Klondike Man: Hut-hut-hut-hut-hut-hut...
Cashier: Oh OK, just the items I swiped then?
Klondike Man: Hut-hut-hut-hut-hut-hut...
I don't know what this man was hut-hut-hut-hut-huting about. He could have said an actual word, but it was almost like he was spazzing out because the cashier thought the Klondike bars belonged to me. Well maybe if you used the divider I gave you, a**hole, we wouldn't have had that misunderstanding.
I went to the bagging station after I paid. I took my items out of the shopping cart and put them into the recyclable bags I brought with me. When I was just about done, Klondike Man and his wife walked by; he was able to pay quickly because he had so few items. He then looked at me and gave me this evil smirk, almost as if he suspected me of stealing his Klondike bars.
Sorry, pal. I was never planning on stealing your stupid Klondike bars - because I have the more-awesome vanilla extract. Powned.
I typed all of this up on my deck. I covered my legs with vanilla extract beforehand, and no mosquitoes harassed me. My legs are unbitten, and I pleasantly smell like vanilla ice cream. Problem solved with an awesome bonus.
I was happy. Never has one of my plans turned out so perfectly. And to think - I was willing to risk ruining my deck with bat poop. I can be so ridiculous sometimes.