Thursday, July 28, 2016

We're Expecting!


After many visits to animal shelters, and hours of looking online for a companion for Chandler, we have found a dog. Her name is Scout, she's around twenty three pounds, and she's a Terrier Mutt, the best breed possible. I have nothing against purebreds, but I have had much better luck with mutts. Oh, I'm sorry. I am told that mutt is politically incorrect. She is a 'mixed breed'. Although my doctor asked me what my family background was today, and after I explained it to him he smiled and said, "Oh, a mutt like me." Euro-Mutt-American, that's what I am. So anyway, back to Scout. She came over for a visit Tuesday and turned on the charm. She immediately won me over, schmoozed Mark onto her side, and so enthralled Chandler that he started trying to hump her. That's what Chandler does to his really good friends. If they stand for it, the friendship continues. If not... well they become enemies. Our neighbor in Florida got a beautiful, large dog from a rescue organization and when we introduced Chandler to Brody, he immediately tried to hump him. They never got along after that. Not so with Scout. She and Chandler ran around the backyard like old buddies, rolling, chasing, and jumping for joy. I haven't seen Chandler this happy since we lost Bette. Scout will officially become our dog Friday morning. Her foster parents will be bringing her over and on Friday we will all be getting to know each other. Hopefully she won't pee in the house, won't shred anything, and we hope she never realizes that a lot of people walk past our front window. Chandler has that for himself right now, and one dog barking out the window should be enough. Ha, who am I kidding? She'll be right there next to Chandler. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It's Fun to go to the D.M.V.

I've Been putting off getting my Illinois driver's license for months now. My biggest fear was that I would not pass the vision test and I'd wouldn't be able to drive a car for the first time in fifty years. Yesterday Mark and I finally went ahead and became citizens of Illinois. We went to the DMV, getting there early figuring that we would beat the crowd. Right? Nobody gets up that early. As we drove up Elston Avenue, I was shocked to see a line of people stretching from the front door of the DMV, out to the street, and around the corner. Goddamnit, foiled again. So we parked the car and shuffled on out to the end of the line. There must have been fifty different languages being spoken out there. From Polish to that funny clicking language that they speak in Southern Africa, and that was being spoken by Mark. He likes to do that once in awhile to freak people out.
The line

At eight thirty the doors open, and in a very orderly fashion the entire line of people moved into the building. I was impressed. The DMV employees moved everything along like a well oiled machine. Within an hour I was standing, waiting for Mark, with a new driver's license in my hand. Yes, I had trouble with the vision test. The lady told me to read line five. I tried to read line five. I got it half right. "Go ahead, read line five for me." she reiterated. But the letters were fading in and out, getting a bit blurry and blending together. Finally, in exasperation, the lady behind the counter told me to read line four. Oh yeah, that I could do just fine. They were twice the size. As for Mark, it was a different story. I took the written test in under five minutes and got every one of the questions right. Mark was in there for thirty five minutes. Every time I looked into the testing room Mark was flipping the pages, with a scowl on his face. But hell, if it takes thirty five minutes to pass the damn test, fine. He passed and now has his new license. I still can't believe I passed that vision test. I mean, how many other blind assholes like me are out there driving?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Laying Pipe

Our new home has some issues. One of them is the plumbing. Here is the inspector's report on that subject.

"There are plumbing concerns: There are leaks at the first floor bathroom tub valves. There is a leak at the laundry sink faucet and the laundry sink drain pipe. There is a patch on the soil stack located in the basement. There are galvanized water supply pipe. Galvanized piping has a life expectancy of 40+ years. The pipes will corrode internally and externally. When the pipe corrode internally, water flow can be restricted. Recommend having a qualified plumber repair the plumbing issues as needed. The water flow at the second floor kitchen is marginal." 

Other than the date on the inspection, the inspector had it right. He said that the water flow on the second floor was "marginal", that was an understatement. The water flow was actually non-existent when any valve was opened on the first floor or in the basement. If we washed our clothes, the second floor apartment was bone dry. Not even a drip, drop of water. Very hard to rent out an apartment with such water issues.  

About four weeks ago I was getting my hair cut at Level One, the hair place on the corner by our house. I happened to mention that I needed a plumber. Goddamn if the owner of Level One wasn't married to a plumber. So I arranged to have the husband, Frank, come on over and fix everything. We got new pipes, new outside hose-bibs, and valves everywhere. I can now turn off water to any part of the house that I want. Frank the plumber gave us a good going over. It looks like jewelry down in our basement, if plumbing could be worn. Lots of shiny copper piping everywhere. Now our tenant, Dennis, can take a decent shower. He can turn that fancy shower head he has up to "Flesh Removing" if he wants.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Where the Hell Are All the Dogs?

When Mark and I visited the Miami-Dade Animal Control three years ago, we walked into a noisy, smelly, crowded facility. There were a lot of dogs of every breed in there and Mark and I managed to fall in love with a couple of them. But it was when I picked up the scrawny, dirty little schnauzer that I knew Lilo was the one. We renamed her Bette. 

We certainly didn't expect to lose Bette so soon, she was only three years old. Since her death, not only have Mark and I missed that little dog, so has Chandler. So yesterday we drove the long drive to the South Side of Chicago, to Chicago Animal Care and Control. We're looking for another playmate for Chandler, a smallish dog that does not shed. Chandler does enough shedding of fur for two dogs. Anyway, we walked into the place and were surprised at how clean and quiet it was. A large city like Chicago, we expected chaos.  We expected a hell hole of barking, stinky cages, and lots and lots of dogs. After presenting our credentials at the door, we were allowed to go into the dog adoption area. There were about twenty five dogs in there, in very clean cages. Not a bit of doggy odor, no poop in sight. What we didn't see were small dogs. Only pit bulls. It was a room full of pit bulls, of which only about ten were deemed adoptable. I don't get it. Where the hell are the dogs? Where are all the abandoned dogs, the dogs that people didn't want and turned over to the city? Where are the strays and the lost dogs that never found their owners? In a city of nearly three million people you would think that there would be hundreds of dogs in there. Unfortunately, we couldn't take one of those pit bulls. We already have a big dog and at my age I cannot handle more than Mr. Chandler and a small dog. So next time we will be visiting the Anti Cruelty Society, and I hope they have more to choose from. We really wanted to save a dog from being euthanized, so maybe if we take a dog from a no-kill shelter there will be more room for one transferred in from Animal Care and Control.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Almost exactly fifty years ago, my dad took me to the Illinois Secretary of State Driver Testing facility in Joliet so that I could get my driver's license. I passed easily. After all, I had been driving for the previous six months on my learner's permit and had taken driver's ed at our high school. (Do they still do that, or has the Governor cut that out along with music and gym class? Ahh.. the rush to ignorance.) Anyway, to celebrate my passing the exam, my dad took me across the street to Shakey's Pizza. At least I think he was celebrating. He could have just been hungry. I mean, why would my dad be celebrating his sixteen year old son driving the family car? But not to worry, I had my own car. A 1935 Studebaker Commander with a straight eight engine and a four on the floor transmission that could attain the thrilling speed of forty miles per hour. I was free. From the moment I got my license, my ass was nailed to the seat of that car. Forty miles per hour kept me pretty local, but I still managed to put a few thousand miles on the Studebaker.

 Now I am sixty six and I have to go get another Illinois driver's license. Mark does too and he is scared. He started to read some of the rules of the road and they seemed a bit difficult. For instance he didn't know how many feet before he had to dim his lights, or just when he was supposed to use his turn signal. Was it a hundred feet before the turn, or two hundred? From the example other Illinois drivers give me, I'd say never. You never have to use your turn signal. You only would use it if you want to confuse another driver before cutting him off.

I have found a nice web site that gives you practice written tests, and I let Mark try it out a few times. He really has nothing to worry about. Most of it is common sense and things that he has been doing for years. You can get seven wrong out of thirty five and still pass. I am pretty sure Mark will pass it, just as long as he remembers that he is not supposed to take his cocktail to go, or use his cell phone while cursing out the window at pedestrians who are in a crosswalk.