May 24, 2013

Professional Standards

This is a story told to me just yesterday. I cannot vouch for its truthfulness, except to say that the setup at least seems to be keeping in the character of the gentleman who told me the story.

One of my friends was living with his two brothers, all three being in various stages of college or grad school. As is common for young bachelors, the house was a disaster. Months worth of empty pizza boxes everywhere, soap scum in the shower, beer cans covering the tables, and so forth. And perhaps because they were brothers, they were having no luck working out a cleaning system – it always broke down into argument.

They decided they would hire a cleaning service to solve their problem. However, the hourly rate quoted by the maid service in the yellow pages was more that a trio of impecunious scholar/drunkards wished to spend. Then one of them had a genius idea.

In a different section of the yellow pages, there was an ad for a "stripper maid" service. This service was that a pair of young ladies would come to your abode and clean it while wearing abbreviated French maid costumes. The stroke of insight that launches this story, was that the stripper maids actually charged less per hour than the normal cleaners!

So they called up the stripper maids, and scheduled them to come by. They all felt it would be a bit creepy to leer at females while ones' siblings were right there, so they scheduled the ladies to arrive while the three brothers were all out at their respective classes. They left the front door unlocked, and a note taped to the door with instructions and the check for payment.

When they got home, they were displeased to discover that no work whatsoever had been done. Moreover, the check was still there, and attached to it was a new note: "This house is disgusting. You need a Roto-rooter for your living room. Don't call us again until it at least looks like people live here."

And thus ends their story. The moral, if one feels that every story needs a moral, is that even stripper maids have standards.

Or maybe the moral is that one should hire the correct people for the job. Either way.

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May 19, 2013


One of my buddies reminded me that today is the ten-year anniversary of my arrival at Parris Island. It somehow seems both more recent and more distant. Memories are strange like that.

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May 17, 2013

On Camping

After this morning's workout (intervals – I hate intervals), the FBIL and I were sitting on his front porch, drinking water and shooting the breeze. We started talking camping.

There are two kinds of camping that I like, and they are almost polar opposites.

I love lightweight camping, either backpacking or touring bicycle or long-range canoeing or whatever. Carry everything with you, under your own power. Pare your needs to a minimum, cooking with a canteen cup and a spork. Bring two pairs of socks and alternate. It's a wonderful challenge, and it really gets you back to the more primitive state of nature. You can get so far away from civilization, it's unbelievable.

I love heavyweight camping. This is the kind of camping that requires you to park your car no more than 100 yards from where you'll be camping. If it's any further away from the parking lot, you need either a heavily-laden canoe or a pack mule. You've got an air mattress, a camp chair, and a screened pavilion in addition to your tent that's bigger than a medieval peasant's home. You've got an iron skillet, an iron dutch oven, and a coleman stove in case the weather gets unpleasant. You get the fun of being outside and seeing nature, while also brewing some perfectly good coffee every morning before cooking the bacon and eggs and buscuits after a night sleeping in such a way that you didn't get acquainted with the tree roots under the tent.

And for me, there's no fun in the middle ground. I either want to be comfortable, or I want to be so uncomfortable that the suffering is part of the experience.

As Hil is not an experienced camper, I think we'll be starting out with the comfy option for her. But that might not stop the FBIL and I from doing something more hard-core. We're competitive enough that we were talking about having a backpack weigh-off at the trailhead.

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