Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 83

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I had no meetings planned today– that is to say, they cancelled– which meant I would be able to take my Friday, a day that always, 100% of the time, never not, ends in a spiral of chaotic panic.  It is now 5:02 and we are supposed to leave minus two minutes ago to stay at some friends’ house across town and we are not only not packed, I am unshowered, unburpeed, unblogged and unprepared and the dogs are unpicked up by the person who’s supposed to watch them for the weekend.  Ie: we are in a spiral of chaotic panic.

My husbandly duty provides that I contribute to our quick exit as best as I can, which probably means that I should stay the hell out of the way, which is what I’m doing.  What I had planned on talking about today was the notion that every person is supposed to carry in their pockets two pieces of paper, one that says, “The world was created on my behalf” and the other that says, “I am but dust and ash.”  The trick in life is knowing when to pull out which piece of paper.  Of course, in my house, the pants have been washed and the paper has gotten all mushed up together and our cleaning lady stares at me blankly like she did when she finished my NY Times Crossword puzzle by filling it in with a phone message that she needed to write down.  That said, it is a very easy concept: sometimes you feel like king of the world, sometimes you feel like king crap.  Today was no different.

The last thing I saw when I went upstairs last night was the product of my handiwork and ingenuity– a perfectly sound doggie door flap (king of the world).  The first thing I saw when I came downstairs this morning was that same doggie flap completely blown off the door (king crap).  Apparently, the one thing I didn’t count on was that the dogs would use it.  My schedule-less morning became filled with my obsession to fix this door BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. My wife suggested we call David The Handyman, a seven foot man with a strong Spanish or Brazilian accent who claims to be from LA and charges $300 no matter what he does (calling David the Handyman= king crap).  Instead, I took all of the mangled hardware to the hardware store where I came up with the idea of using longer screws.  I told the guy there I needed one inch screws, expiring all my hardware knowledge in one burst (king of the world).  Then, like the time I used my only French phrase in Paris and was bombarded with a slew of French, he rained down a whole host of hardware terms on me, leaving me to resort to my ancillary hardware knowledge– I need a long screw with a thingie at the end so it doesn’t fall off.  And maybe a ring (king crap).  I got a bag of one inch screws, thingies and rings and proceeded to put the doggie door up, this time to stay.  (king of the world).   Then came the worst news of the day: my wife leaned over to pet one of our dogs– a rescued German Lab Pitbull something, and he snapped at her.  I tried coming up with excuses for why he might have done it, but the truth is, there are no excuses for that.  We got the dog as a quick rebound after our last dog had died, and like every single rebound, it’s coming back to bite us.  We need to find a solution to this problem after the weekend which pisses me off because it will be very hard to tell the kids if we need to get rid of him, it may be very hard to get rid of him, and I wasted my entire morning putting in a new door for that ungrateful bastard (king crap).

The rest of the day followed suit: Good news– two more meetings set up (king of the world).  They’re set up with people for whom you got their first big job (king crap).  But that’s the nature of this business.  My sister– a fellow writer who has made a great name for herself out here– and I were talking about the strangeness that we are in a business where you have to compete year after year with your friends for a limited number of jobs and have to act happy for them because they’re your friends if they get the job that you wanted.  My sister and I had this conversation while we were sitting in the lobby of the same network waiting to go on our respective meetings.  The truth is, my sister and I always do root for each other– if we don’t have that, what are we?  Plus, I made more money than she did last year.  Although she just met on Modern Family.  Crap, she’s winning.

Our days essentially end the moment the kids come back from school, which since it’s Friday is early.  My wife then decided to take one of our kids with her to the nail salon (they both love the salon, just like Daddy) which made her feel like King of the World.  When they got there, my child wanted to go home immediately (king crap).  I picked up our other kid from their friend’s house exactly on time (king of the world) only to find out that my kid was still swimming and resented me for picking them up from a place where they have more fun (king crap).   Sometimes, it seems that it’s just easier to keep the king crap note out because you know for a fact that it’s coming– its edges are tattered and covered with stains of food and kid vomit and dog bites and tears from jobs lost, whereas the king of the world note is always crisp and glistening white– like the Jonathan Franzen book I started a year ago when I decided to be more literate.

Anyway, it’s been a theme of mine to try to find the bright side, which is, in reality, always there.  The king of the world note should be out as I realize that we’re staying at a friend’s house, I got to get my nails done at least and my wife looked at me the other night and said, “huh, you look cute” and didn’t follow it with “to me.”  So you know what?  Screw everyone.  I’m grabbing that king of the world note, and pinning it to my shirt.  Which I just noticed the dry cleaner ruined.  MOTHER FATHER!  All hail king crap.


Written by 100daysoff

May 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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