Friday, October 28, 2016

Soap Opera

Outside our neighbor's house. c1952

"Bar of soap?"
"Can of shaving cream?"
"Dozen eggs?"
Fifty years ago, that was what we took along with us on Halloween after we had passed the age of reasonable trick or treating. Around the age of thirteen you still wanted to go get all that free candy, but it just wasn't cool anymore to traipse around in a corny costume on Halloween. So we gave up the candy for the thrill of giving adults indigestion and grief. Nothing we did, none of the vandalism, caused any permanent damage. Soap on the windows, sometimes dirty words written in that soap, simply washed off. Same with the shaving cream. True, dried on egg was a little more difficult, but still not permanent. I think the worst thing I ever did was to turn a hose on and stick it up into an enclosed porch. Yes, I was a little asshole when I reached a certain age.

The other day I asked one of the neighbors if kids on our street went door to door trick or treating. "Oh yes. Not just our street, but the whole neighborhood." I thought about that for a minute. Back in Florida nobody, not one soul, not one single child, ever rang our doorbell or knocked on the door on Halloween. Yet every year Mark would buy bags of Halloween candy, and I would sit around eating that shit until my gut felt like it would explode. It was possibly part of Mark's devious plan to fatten me up so that no other man would look at me. So I am kind of looking forward to seeing all the kids coming up to our door on Monday. They'll be doing their part to help me keep in shape. Both by making me go up and down the stairs to let them in, and by eating all of Mark's candy. What I hope doesn't happen is for some little asshole like me to show up with some eggs, soap, and shaving cream.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pressure Relief

Five months ago I looked at that boiler in my basement with trepidation. I had never been responsible for something potentially capable of blowing up my house before. I had no idea at all how the thing worked. It sat down in the basement like some evil, hulking monster, pipes going everywhere, a big tank hanging off the side, and that gauge. That pressure gauge scared me the most. When I finally got a heating guy to come over and he off handedly said, "Hmm... pressure's too high." I wasn't happy.
"Is it going to blow up? Should you be tapping on that thing like that?"
But I needn't have worried. My new heating guy, Tony, is the best. In fact he has taught me so much about the beast in the basement, that I now look upon it with some affection. It turns out that I have hot water heat, not steam heat. Hot water heat is very efficient and very inexpensive. Temperatures have been dropping down into the forties at night and all I have to do is turn on the heat for thirty minutes to keep the house warm for the whole day. One evening I decided to clean the thermostat, I couldn't read it through the dirt on the glass, and I accidently turned on the boiler. About forty five minutes later Dennis, my tenant, called to ask me to please turn it off. His apartment was, "Hotter than a fresh fucked fox in a forest fire." His words, not mine. So now I know how to turn it on and off. I know the three points that I have to lubricate at the beginning of the season. I'm aware of just what the proper pressure should be. Tony, the heating guy, also showed me how to adjust the inflow valve for the water and how to bleed the system. So, if there is anybody out there with a heating/air-conditioning company who needs some part time help bleeding, lubricating, and adjusting hot water systems, give me a call. However, I don't do air-conditioning. I have no idea how that shit works and I lived in Florida for twenty seven years.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dog Shit and Green Grass

I think I mowed the lawn for the last time yesterday. The last time before winter that is. I assume that this fantastic fall weather, that is only a tad cooler than summer, can't continue on forever. That first freeze has to show up sometime and I hope I'm prepared. I checked with my neighbor, Croatian Steve, about the snow blower he said he would get me. He said, "Ya, I talk to guy. It okay, you snow blower okay." I'm hoping that, that means he is getting me the snow blower. I could go get a new one from Home Depot, but Croatian Steve can get me one for around a hundred dollars, and it would come with a lifetime guarantee. Once again, that is Steve's lifetime, not mine. Steve has cancer. So anyway, in preparation for mowing I have to pick up all the dog shit in the yard. Funny thing is, if you walk the yard that dog shit is hard to see. So I went up to the second floor to survey the scene. Dog poop will burn out your lawn and sure enough, there it was. Little brown, burned out circles where each turd laid. I got my plastic bag and my plastic gloves, and proceeded to clear the lawn of poop before mowing. Unfortunately, my method of clearing the lawn is not one hundred percent fool proof.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Because I want to live to the age of sixty seven, I have had to stop walking both of my dogs at the same time. A squirrel runs across the sidewalk in front of me, both dogs go nuts and try to catch it. A kid on a skateboard is sure insanity as Chandler hates skateboards and Scout believes anything Chandler says. So she's in on the chase also. Like I said, they are being walked completely separate now. In doing that I have been able to observe their very different hunting styles. Scout is a pounce and chase hunter. If she starts digging you have to get ready for the pounce. Last night she caught a rat. She dug a little by a gutter downspout and then pounced. Before I knew it she was running around with a screaming, squealing rat in her mouth. After a slapstick chase I was able to pull her to me and get the rat out of her mouth. Chandler, on the other hand, came across a bunny rabbit on his walk last night. There was no chase, only a very stealthy, stalking style of hunting. He slowly put one foot in front of the other until we were within eight feet of the rabbit, at which time he slowed to an imperceptible speed. It took him all of five minutes to creep right on up to the bunny rabbit, close enough for him to grab it. Then I told the bunny to please leave. Chandler was not happy that I did that.

I can appreciate my dogs love of hunting because I used to hunt when I was younger. I was forced to quit when I met Mark, but I was a very good hunter back in the day. I almost always got my quarry. I would move in for the kill, and with a clever and proven method, I would sidle up close and lean in as I said, "Hi there, can I buy you a drink?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The bathroom isn't anything new to Scout. She found that place right away when she moved in. To Scout, the bathroom is a source of very interesting chewy things. There are the cardboard toilet paper tubes, they shred nicely. She once found one of my disposable razors in there and chewed that thing up without even slicing her mouth open. But her all time favorite chewy thing in the bathroom are my used, Breathe Right® nasal strips. Those last for hours and they have the flavor of her favorite human on them. All that has paled in comparison since the other day. That was the day that Scout discovered what I do in there. She got curious and scratched at the bathroom door while I was in there, so I opened the door and invited her in. She entered, sat in the middle of the room, and looked around trying to figure out just what was going on. Suddenly she cocked her head with a look of disbelief on her face. It was as if the light had gone on in her brain. 'Daddy's pooping in here. Daddy is doing what he has yelled at me for doing in the house, yet here he is... pooping in the house.'  Later in the day she followed me in there again. This time it was just a quick pee break. Again, the look on her face said it all. "I can't believe it. That asshole screamed at me when I peed on the bed, yet here he is peeing into my emergency drinking water.'

I don't know if I'll continue to allow her to follow me into the bathroom. Chandler seems to have no interest in it at all, but not Scout. It seems that she is still learning all the wonders of our home, and that bathroom is one of the most wondrous. I just can't do my thing while she sits and stares at me with those big brown, accusing eyes. Besides, it might give her some wrong ideas.