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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's a Beautiful Song

It's a Daddy-Daughter weekend, once a month, when my wife has to work.   Sometimes, we go all over the place.  Sometimes, we just veg out at the house.  It is never a dull moment though.

This past weekend I had a lot to do and had to bring the little one with me.  First, I had a haircut to get and she was an angel, even managing to negotiate her way into a lollipop and a free nail painting, instead of having what she really wanted, a haircut. 

Next, its off to get the oil changed at Walmart, which is always fun, from a sarcastic point of view.   Then, it's to the Buy Backs to see what pre-owned Wii game, I can get for me and my Father-in-law.

And, if she's really a good girl, she'll get a trip to McDonald's to play on the slide.  Of course, right now she's glued to the game screen over behind the giant Big Mac.... she's my daughter.

However, one the way here, she sat in the back of the car, wearing sunglasses and looking cool.  I was flipping through radio stations, avoiding 96.1 as much as possible because I hate Ke-dollar sign-HA, Katy Exploding Boobs Perry and generally other pop bubblegum, played ever hour music.  

As I scanned the dial, I slid, unknowingly into a Celine Dion song on the lite rock station.  I quickly switched it and this little voice shot out of the back, "Hey, put that back on!"

I couldn't believe it.   "You mean this song?" as I put back on Celine's 'Because You Loved Me'.

"Yeah.  I like that song."

"Kiddo, you don't even know that song.  Mommy doesn't like that song.  Daddy doesn't listen to that song.  Why do you want to."

"Because it's a beautiful song."  She said. 


We sat in the parking lot of McDonald's until it was over.   Somewhere, I've wronged my child.   My constant barrage of Rush, Journey, Led Zeppelin, The Refreshments, The Clarks, AC/DC, Warren Zevon, and other classic acts just hasn't sunk in enough.   I weep for the future.  

Actually, I don't.  She's still cooler than me.  Celine and all.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Want My Two Dollars

Excuse me for a second.  I'm waiting to speak with a Customer Service agent about a charge on my bank statement....

Please wait for a site operator to respond.

My wife called me at work and wondered why there was this $2.00 "SERVICE CHARGE PAPER STATEMENT" on our bank statement. 

Oh, hang on, he's here.

You are now chatting with 'Gene'

Gene: Hi Mongo-how may I help you?

Mongo: Helo, Gene. I have a question about a line item on my statement

Mongo: Basically, I see a SERVICE CHARGE PAPER STATEMENT listed and I do not know why

Gene: yes-that was sent in June and July statements as a statement enclosure notifying customers that as of 8/1/11 there would be a $2 charge for paper statements going forward from 8/1/11. If you want "no charge" just convert to "online" through our free ExpressNet internet banking product.

Mongo: So, unless I convert to only 'online' statements, I will continue to get a paper statement and be charged $2.00 for having received one. Is that correct?

Gene: correct, unless you are 50 years or older and then you can convert to a 4 star checking account and that type allows FREE paper statements Michael.

Mongo: Not there yet, but thank you. That answers my question.

Gene: you are welcome
So, there you have it.  After looking around, I did see the paper message that the bank mailed me noting the new charges would start affecting my account.   Still, I find this all a little less than great service.

First of all, I know that we shouldn't kill so many trees.  I get that.  However, bank statements are one of those things you need to keep around in case the IRS comes a knockin'.    Instead of being a bright shining beacon of security and service, the bank has decided to pass that cost onto the customer.    They don't want to waste the ink, paper, postage, and man hours to send out a statement.  They want you waste the paper and ink to print out yourself.

I know I could just pdf all of my statements and keep them on a media storage device.  Unfortunately, in the last two years I've had a 500 gb external hard drive, and a 8gb flash drive brick up and become unusable.  I've lost a good bit of information.  The idea is not to keep placing copies of stuff around the digital aether of storage devices in my house.  I should be able to get my statement, and put it in a filing cabinet along with all my other important documents... or a safe, if I so choose.

Perhaps it's time to move on from S&T.  My wife and I only use them for a checking account and two savings accounts.   The checking account isn't even our a primary one.  It's my wife's, which has a small balance just for little stuff.  Losing it wouldn't be a problem.
Besides, we haven't been extremely happy with them since they absorbed Irwin Bank & Trust a few years ago.  I, myself, have PNC, which absorbed National City, which absorbed Integra, which absorbed Hick Bank of Connellsville after I opened an account back in 1993. 
They say don't take your money out of the banks.  Don't put it under a mattress.  Well, I wouldn't have to go print out a statement of what's under there.  I could take out and put in whatever I wanted.  I wouldn't need a fancy Internet connection to constantly look at how much I have in there.   It's not even like we draw any interest on it, or from any account for that matter.   I think my checking account made a whole $2.00 in interest last year.  Whoa!  That's enough to buy one paper statement from S&T Bank.   Maybe I should keep them.
Hmmm,  on second thought.  
Nah.  I'd rather bank with someone who isn't a cheap bastard like me.
The other problem I have with this new feature is that if I were 50 or older, it wouldn't matter.  So, it's not that they are more concerned with money, it's that they feel older customers may not have access to the Internet.   What if I didn't?  What if I lived out in the middle of nowhere with no access to the tubes.   I guess I pay $2.00 to be a luddite. 

i hate u

Marriage is a partnership. It’s a compromise. It means doing things you don’t always like doing and while expressing that sentiment you do it anyway. Now, there are certain things that are handled, strictly by one person or the other in my house. I’ll set up the example.

Around the house I primarily handle garbage and cat litter duty, with the exception of days she knows people will be over while I’m at work. She handles most duties concerning our daughter and I pinch hit where I am able [read: won’t screw it up]. I clean the bathrooms and she cleans the rest. We share lawn duty, with me tackling the most treacherous parts. I keep the pool running, she keeps it clean. You can see where the style vs. substance roles play here.

When it comes to finances, my wife handles the cell phone, car insurance, water & sewage bills and I handle the rest (mortgage, utilities, car payments, etc.) Now, there is some give and take in regards to who actually pays for them but in general this is the division of labor. She does have her own credit card, but I told her not to use it because she gets a little crazy and we recently went through a bit of an issue over the past few years.

However, due to my work schedule I am sometimes unable to handle all of my responsibilities as it pertains to the hours available to achieve the task. In short, I asked my wife to get new tires on the car I primarily drive.

For awhile my back tires, which are probably a good two years old, have been losing air. Sometimes, it’s as much as 10-15 psi from the recommended 30psi. I drive an hour, both ways, from our home nestled in a satellite borough of Westmoreland County out towards the airport. I am in traffic and driving at the maximum *cough* speed limit *cough*.

So, in order for me to get my tires changed out, I need to go after work, on the weekend, or have her do it. Here’s three caveats.
  • They are not open past 5PM on weekdays and 12:00 PM on Saturdays.
  • My wife works both days this coming weekend, which would leave me to do it, little monster in tow as well as another appointment that morning that I will have to drag her to, possibly missing the 12PM window.
  • I don’t want to go to Walmart. I like my tire place.
Since our daughter is in preschool today and my wife has extra time, I asked her to take my car and just get the tires, which were already ordered.

I simply left her the keys, my credit card and the instructions for them to switch out the back tires for the new ones and then rotate the ones in the front, diagonally to the back. Simple, right?

I got a text at 10:30 this morning that said only this:
‘I hate u’

I attempted to call her and couldn’t get through. I texted back, “Answer your phone!” Bad service, she said, when she finally called me back.

She had been there forty minutes and they had not taken the car yet. When they finally did take it and she explained what she wanted, they eye rolled her. When they pulled the car in, their response was, “Well, the back tires are flat.”

Look, maybe I didn’t explain exactly what I wanted correctly. Perhaps I should have said, “Rotate the tires, diagonally and then replace the front ones.”

In my mind, telling someone you want the back tires replaced after you rotate them leaves the opportunity for them to replace the wrong one. Maybe I should have used a big white marker to draw an ‘X’ on the tires I wanted replaced, kind of like they do in hospitals when they want to ensure they operate on the right limb. I don’t know. I don’t think a medical degree is needed to understand that the back tires are flat and they need replaced with new snow tires for the upcoming winter. Also, those new tires, need to be on the front because the front ones haven’t been rotated in a bit. So, I simply said, “Replace the back tires, diagonally rotate the front ones to the back.”

Yet, the B-Team shows up and puts my wife in a position of having to troubleshoot something she isn’t used to handling with no experience in the matter.

Needless to say, I owe her dinner at her favorite Chinese place and she gets to have her credit card back.

I get that bill, too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Top Ten Favorite Outlaw Songs

I was just thinking about this topic as I was riding into work today. So, I wanted to get it in before I forgot about it. Call it my High Fidelity list for Monday, doubled.

As I continue to shun the new wave of bubblegum pop from the firework shooting bra, names with dollar signs in them set, I wanted to look back at some of the greats of old school music. You know, the kind you hate and I love. The outlaw songs are a great piece of history and I had to pay some respect to the great ones.

The premise of the song is about being on the wrong side of the law, an anti-hero. Usually, the protagonist is usually not going to make it at the end, or perhaps they do. There’s a bit of a taboo to root for them but they are still a fascinating subject. So, I give you my Top Ten Favorite Outlaw Songs.  Feel free to comment on this list or add your own.

“Pancho and Lefty” – Willie Nelson
I've been a fan of Willie since I was a wee one.  I've even played a few Willie songs, including this one, with my father-in-law's band, We Don't Look Good Naked, Anymore.  It's just a great song about the Mexican Federales and bandits and betrayal.

“Renegade” - Styx
Being from Pittsburgh, this is on the list immediately.  But, it's more than just a Steelers fight song.  It's a great part of the soundtrack to Supernatural and it's in direct line of sight to my childhood.  My sister was a big fan of Styx.  Of course, that was before they went all showy with "Mr. Roboto".  Yes, Pieces of Eight, The Grand Illusion and Paradise Theater were fond memories.

“Paul Revere” – Beastie Boys
Next to "Sabotage", my favorite song of theirs is this one.   It's the fictional telling of how they came together and they are outlaws who are about to get ill.

“Take the Money and Run” – Steve Miller
I refer to this song as being one of the cornerstones of the soundtrack to a movie that will never get made.  It's a very 70s, Tex-Mex Bonnie and Clyde outlaw song complete with cop in pursuit.

“I Shot the Sheriff” – Bob Marley
How could not have this in a list of outlaw songs.  'Nuff said.

“Copperhead Road” – Steve Earle
Bluesy, twangy, rocking, Post Vietnam southern tale of moonshiners and drug runners.  Bagpipes, via a keyboard to boot.  Love this song.  It is one of my favorite anti-hero songs from the 80s.

“Gimme Some Water” – Eddie Money
There were four music acts that permeated my childhood, Johnny Cash, Styx, Journey, and Eddie Money.  Now, I didn't know this song much as a child but I heard it into my teens and it's a staple on WDVE, the local classic rock station here in the Burgh.  You've got the hangman's tree, being caught by the law, killing a man and the Mexican Border.

“The Highwayman” – Highwaymen
The supergroup of Cash, Kristoferson, Jennings, and Nelson did a cover of Jimmy Webb's song and even Glen Campbell did it, but it wasn't as popular as it was with The Highwaymen.  Of course, the first part of the song is the only one dedicated to an outlaw or actual Highwayman, but still, you've got the Mount Rushmore of rebel country music performing it.  That outweighs the overall composition lacking true outlaw lyrics.

“Sin Nombre” / “Wanted” / “Banditos” – The RefreshmentsIf you've never heard of The Refreshments, I weep for you.  If you've ever heard of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, then you have to check out their earlier stuff before Mercury Records screwed them over.  The Refreshments had three albums, one containing most of the tracks from their first album, Wheelie, called Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy.  It contained a lot Southwestern Arizona and Tex-Mex styled songs, like Banditos, arguably their most famous song.  But their last album, The Bottle and Fresh Horses went completely across the border with two of my favorites, Sin Nombre and Wanted.  Sin Nombre has that outlaw gasping for breath, looking for shelter while on the lam. Hit and hurt, he dreams of comfort and clean water.  Wanted is more poppy and upbeat, a love song set in today's world but deals with the outlaws of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico mystique of the earlier days.

"East Bound and Down" Jerry Reed
The Southern Fried tale of The Bandit making a bootleg run of Coors Beer from Texarkana to Atlanta provided the backdrop to one of my favorite moments of childhood, CBs.   We would go on vacation as a convoy of station wagons and trucks to the beach, using CBs to communicate with other vehicles in the group.  At one point, my friend commandeered the CB microphone with his Walkman and played this song from the Smokey and the Bandit soundtrack much to the probable anger of the other truckers on channel 19.

“Theme From the Dukes of Hazzard” – Waylon Jennings
I had to include this as an honorable mention because it's quite simply one of the most memorable outlaw songs of my youth.   I watched  The Dukes of Hazzard, religiously, when I was a kid,.  I even watched the season without Bo and Duke. Of course, looking back on the reruns when they began airing on what used to be called, TNN, The Nashville Network, they did seem a bit cheesy.  Still, can't argue with the lyrics and its singer, The Balladeer, himself, Waylon Jennings.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How About This?

Parents who have even normal, everyday children will undeniably curse their offspring with the following hex, “I hope when you have kids, they grow up to be just like you!”

My parents never put this juju on me. For that, I thought I was a pretty upstanding child. I rarely got into trouble, and when I say that I mean I rarely took the blame. My one friend bore the brunt of explaining why we emptied out his parents’ garage with the grand idea that we were going to build a tree house with no prior architectural expertise or clearance to use sharp tools.  His Dad came home from work to find the yard littered with boards of varying sizes and shapes along with tools.   My friend had to clean it all up.  Me, I went home for dinner.

But I am here to tell you that regardless of how well you behaved as a little tyke, the curse is passed down whether your parents wish it or not. Take my kid, please. Kidding. But let’s take her, for example.

About two weeks ago she began asking for everything under the sun that she saw on television. My automatic and unwavering response to this was, “We’ll see.”  That usually stops the conversation right there. It’s like “We’ll see” is some magical phrase that pacifies the unending need to have whatever it is that she sees on that screen. Again and again she sees something else on TV that she wants and asks, to which I say, “We’ll see.”   She goes about her business and I go back to farming on my computer.  

And it’s not like it always about a toy. She saw some commercial for some kind of baking tool that makes cupcakes in the shape of lollipops that you can then put on a stick and decorate. Immediately, she bounded across the room and said, “Daddy, Daddy, I want that!”

“We’ll see.”

And it’s not like it’s always about what is on television.

This past week she’s been going on and on about wanting to go to Kennywood. For those of you not familiar with Pittsburgh, it’s our Disney World. It’s like Yinzer World. Since I wrenched my back a week ago, I haven’t able to move very fast, not like I ever did, but riding the Thunderbolt in my condition could have me in traction.

So, when she started asking about going to Kennywood, I said, “We’ll see.” I expected silence after this, but she came back with something.  Something that sent a shiver up my spine.

“How about this?” I stopped in my tracks as she said this. “If I’m a good girl, can I go to Kennywood?”

I was floored. My kid just tried to negotiate with me. As soon as those three words came out of her mouth I was transported through my entire life, all the way through high school. I was a negotiator.  I never remembered it, though, but it was true. My parents would tell me “Maybe” or “We’ll see” and I immediately shot back with, “How about this…” and then laid out my terms.

In high school, our senior class got to pick the song we would have played during the senior night halftime show for marching band. This was the song that the band would play while we walked up the field with our parents. There was an insane debate over two songs. Half of the seniors, me included, wanted, “You Could Be Mine” by Guns and Roses. The other half wanted, “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye (To Yesterday)” by Boyz II Men. Remember, this was 1993 and we were still in the heyday of the Alex Vanderpool era.  It came down to a tie vote and the only person who had not voted was one of the drummers, who was one of the biggest proponents to disregarding authority. We thought we had it locked up. He surprised all of us by siding with the Boyz II Men voters. Not taking defeat likely, I went to our band director with the news. Then, I said, with sudden utter brilliance, “How about this?”

His eyebrows cocked to one side, “Go on.”

I spun this golden thread of bullshit about how we have to get onto the field before we do the senior night formation. Why not use that opportunity to show some flare and excitement. Then we bring it down for the actual calling out of names. He stroked his chin and nodded his head. “Fine.”

I had turned a loss into a tie and satisfied everyone’s wishes. We played both.

Snapping back to reality, I noticed my four year old standing there, wondering where I had gone. “I tell you what? You be a good girl and we’ll definitely put it on the list of things to do.”

Sensing that she had indeed met her equal, she said, “OK. If I’m a good girl, we’ll go soon.” And with that, she went on to bigger and better things involving her dinosaurs, a chair and the cat tree. I had dodged a huge bullet. I could tell that she knew I was against the ropes due to her sneak attack. I should think about sending her to Washington DC to settle the debt crisis. They wouldn’t stand a chance and we’d all be able to sleep at night thinking about our 401ks.

Till then, I am so screwed and it won’t be the government that has drained my savings. It will be my little negotiator with her insatiable need for all things  As Seen on TV.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Jagoff Knight

Holy frozen precipitation! There’s snow in downtown Gothamburgh.

Filming for Batman's, Dark Knight Rises, has moved from the campuses of Oakland to The North Shore and now on to downtown and from the reports I’ve gotten from friends and coworkers, the Dark Knight is a Jagoff. I’m not talking about Christian Bale being an ass and yelling at crew members. I’m just being silly, of course.

From the pictures and reports on television, the sod at Heinz Field… er Gotham Stadium looks more like post WPIAL championship play than preseason, thanks to a few explosions.

Today, one of my coworkers said that the Tumbler made the equivalent of a Pittsburgh Left in front of him at Fifth and Wood, while others reported snow on Oliver.

With the snow in Gothamburgh, I wonder if there would be any issue with the Jagoff Knight being able to save Gothamites stuck on snowy streets.

(In a gravelly voice) “If he wants a ride to the hospital, he’s going to have to walk to the Tumbler!”

To that point, my one friend said, Batman and the Tumbler would have no trouble reaching a snowed in residence. “It would just up and over those parked cars. Or blow them up.”

True. So, true.

Luke Ravenstahl is probably checking with the crew to see if one of the Tumblers can be left for the Pittsburgh EMS. Right after he sees if he can get picked up in the supplemental draft as a place kicker.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Want My 80s TV Back

Recently, VH1 Classic ran the first hour of MTV’s original broadcast for the 30th anniversary. Funny. Don’t you think MTV would want to celebrate their own milestone by rebroadcasting their first on air moments? Oh, that’s right. That would involve MTV actually playing music videos which they have said they don’t do anymore.

In fact, they even changed the logo, albeit they simply cropped the words MUSIC TELEVISION with the aid of something as simple as MS Paint. And how does last year’s decision bode for having the VMAs? Sort of like tits on a bull to show a Video Music Award show on a station that no longer shows music videos.

But this is nothing new, MTV… er, TV has been reduced to scripted reality shows for the last fifteen years. Such a far fall from television that used to premiere groundbreaking shows like 120 Minutes, Head Banger’s Ball, Unplugged, Liquid Television, and the self deprecating Beavis and Butthead which made fun of the same videos MTV played, and some it didn’t. In fact, MTV created its own demise with the debut of The Real World. How could we have known that one of the biggest trail blazers would be consumed by its own flame?

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that MTV’s biggest competitor in terms of playing videos should get the spoils of playing its progenitor’s old home movies. After all, both networks are owned by Viacom.
Now, I was a wee Mongo, only six years old, when MTV first aired on August 1st, 1981. I never saw it. We didn’t have cable or that many channels in those days, except for stealing HBO. It wasn’t until MTV came to Armstrong Cable (South Western PA) that I got to watch and by then, MTV was huge. So, it was kind of like seeing it for the first time when it re-aired this past August 1st.

My initial thoughts were “What a waste of 10 minutes?” The first thing you see is the build up to the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia, which goes on forever. Finally, the shuttle launches and the screen transitions to the launch of Apollo 11, ending with Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon and the flag, emblazoned with the original MTV logo pronouncing that Rock and Roll television has arrived.

What a missed opportunity, in my opinion. For anyone not knowing what was to come, they might have switched off the television, thinking this was a joke or just a rebroadcast of the shuttle launch from four months earlier. In fact, I was thinking this was such a shame because it was the first hour of such a landmark event, and fifteen minutes of it was wasted on actual footage of a space launch from mission control and the launch pad. I DVR’ed the show because I had to be at work in less than six hours. I wasn’t about to stay up and watch what was possibly the first three hours because I didn’t know it was perhaps part one of three.

But there it was, the first breath ever in this world. From there, The Buggles and Pat Benatar carved the path for the fresh new faces of VJs to come on and take us by the hand into a brave new world. Mark Goodman, the first VJ we see, introduces himself along with Nina Blackwood, the late J.J. Jackson, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn, who still looks 21, today, ensuring us that this new experiment will change the world. And it did.

Sadly, we see this broadcast, on a sister station at a time when most kids don’t know that MTV actually play videos. Before YouTube or OnDemand, there was actually a network that played 24 hours of music videos. It’s like watching the early days of Elvis or Michael Jackson when all people today really see is them at their death, a shadow of what they used to be like in their prime. It’s almost a sad joke or a lie. It’s Toto pulling back the curtain to see that the Wizard is merely a humbug.

And, truthfully, do we really have music today that needs videos? The real pioneers and trailblazers are hard to find in the sea of crap. Maybe the 80s were like that as well. For every Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, Madonna and Michael Jackson moments of genius, there were plenty of Gerardo, Right Said Fred and yes Michael Jackson moments to drown them out.

And even, even, Leonard Nimoy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Kid, the Artist

My daughter loves to draw.  We go to restaurants and out come the Crayons and away go our place mats as she commandeers them for her masterpieces.  She's four, so I give her a lot of leeway.  She's not Monet or Picasso.  She's just a kid with an eye for color and design.

After a long day of work I get a lot of joy from being greeted by her and her latest artwork.   Today was no exception.   Here is her rendition of a brontosaurus.

I'll be here all week folks, tip your servers.

Hell, forget the tip, give them the whole thing. 

Walton's Moving Castle

Yesterday was my daughter’s fourth birthday. Because she was born right after Independence Day we find ourselves double planning her birthday; one for the weekend, which usually involves a cookout of some sort and one for her actual birth date.

This year, her birthday fell on a Tuesday, so we asked her what she wanted for dinner on her birthday. She said pancakes. Funny kid. I was fine with this and asked if she wanted to go to Bob Evans. She said she wanted to go to the ‘other’ pancake place. At first, I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. She doesn’t exactly have all the skills of reading under her belt, but she can identify a place by the signage. For instance, she calls McDonald’s, Old McDonald’s and Dairy Queen, Women’s. So, when she says the ‘Other Pancake Place’ she can only mean IHOP.

We’ve only taken her to IHOP three times in her life, but it has made an impression on her. In fact, we only get to go maybe once a year because it’s on our way to the beach. We usually stop off at one around Fredericksburg, VA, off of I-95. The closest IHOP to our house is 45 minutes away in Uniontown or Robinson Township.

My wife and I have been lobbying for one to be put in Irwin for years. They bulldozed a local restaurant/bar/six pack shop called Angelo’s a few years back and while we hoped against hope for an IHOP, they built a Howard Hanna office, instead. This was right after the housing bubble had collapsed and baffled me.

Still, I was up for driving 45 minutes for some Butter Pecan syrup and after all, it was my kid’s birthday. Why not?

Now, my wife asked me if I knew how to get to the one in Uniontown. I said, “Sure, it’s right next to Walmart.” Growing up, I had gone to that shopping plaza off of Mcclellandtown Rd. a number of times. There was an Italian Oven right off the highway and across from it was Cherry Tree Square and the Walmart. Of course, I hadn’t been there in about 20 years but still, how hard is it to remember how to get there? And besides, it’s Walmart. Can’t be hard to find.

After driving 45 minutes, I finally reached the shopping plaza and could not find Walmart. It was baffling to me. I could already see the steam rising off my wife’s ears because we have been under the gun to get the house in order for the cook out party, this Saturday. Wasting an evening, driving around Fayette Nam was not her idea of fun, especially with the ninjas out there sneaking around.

I decided to stop into Kmart and ask where the IHOP was. I felt bad asking a Kmart employee where the Walmart was. She said, go back out here, make a right, go up and make another right. I said, “Right by the Walmart.” She said, “Yes.”

See, I knew it was there.

After a couple of wrong turns and a detour around the Uniontown Mall parking lot, we finally found Walmart. It looked nothing like I remembered. Granted, my memory isn’t what it used to be, but honestly, how hard is it to find a Walmart in Fayette County. There should be huge neon signs with spot lights and wacky waving arm inflatable tube men pointing the way. It’s like Mecca. Yet, this store sat out in a field like Beaver Stadium at Penn State’s Campus. Imagine a huge stadium rising out of a cow field where you literally walk off of the pasture and onto the concrete steps. Same thing here. It was like Field of Rollbacks. If you build it and sell cheap Chinese manufactured products, they will come.

My wife was all, “See, you had no idea where it was.”

I told her, “It was right next to the Walmart, like I said.”

“But you didn’t know where the Walmart was.” She shouted back.

“Honestly, it was not here last time I came up here. They must have moved it.”

I know how dumb that sounded but honestly, they have done that. The Greensburg Walmart got torn down years ago and they moved it further down Route 30 East. In its place they put a Sam’s Club. It was possible.

Once we got inside, I asked the server if I was nuts. Turns out, they moved the Walmart about a year ago, according to our server. “See! I’m not nuts. They moved it. How the hell could I have known that? It just happened.”

In any case, I got my Butter Pecan syrup, my kid got her pancakes and she ate for free because it was Tuesday because she was under 12 and it was between 4-8pm. And, yes, they did move the Walmart. Huzzah!

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