Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rusty Bedsprings by I. P. Freely



I was laying in our king sized bed and enjoying the roominess of it. Mark on the far side, seemingly ten feet away, Chandler laying across the bottom, Bette between our heads. None of us were touching each other, it was as if we had an acre of bed to share. Then after awhile, something started to bother me. Why should my dogs have it better than I did as a kid? We didn't have an air conditioned bedroom with expensive beds when we were kids. In the summertime we would swelter up in those bedrooms, with only a window fan for relief. For beds we had nothing more than glorified army cots. My brother and I shared bunk beds that consisted of "mattresses" that resembled the padding movers use, and "springs" that were little more than wire woven into large squares. The beds sagged quite a bit, and the older we got the more they sagged. Worse for my brother was the fact that I was in the top bunk and those wire squares that were holding me up there were slowly rusting away. When it became apparent that I was going to continue to slumber in the deepest of sleep while my bladder continued to party all night, my mom dismantled the bunk beds and arranged them side by side. This pleased my brother and made it much easier to get to those damp bed clothes in the morning. Honestly, I never slept in a decent bed until I was in my twenties. Which reminds me of one other bedtime horror story when I was a kid. It was the time my dad and mom took us on a little trip to Springfield Illinois, and Saint Louis. It was a rare treat for us kids especially because for the first time in our lives Dad sprung for a motel. In fact he got two motel rooms. Two rooms to divide between two adults and eight children. So this is how the accommodations worked out. Mom and Dad in one bed, my four sisters in another bed, and my three brothers shared the single bed room. As for me, I got a bed all to myself. Well sort of a bed. Dad pushed the two luggage racks from the two rooms together and laid a blanket and some pillows across them. It really wasn't so bad. It only sagged a little more than the bed at home, and the springs weren't rusted out.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Survival of the Yappiest



She's cute, she's small, and she only weighs eleven pounds, but she runs the house. It's Bette, or as Chandler likes to think of her, his worst nightmare. When we first got Bette, Chandler thought she was his bitch. It turns out he was wrong, he is her bitch. He protects her from overly friendly people and other dogs. He watches out for her when they are in the dog run together so that nobody dare steal her. When they walk together, it is Bette who decides when they stop to pee, and when to poop. As cute and cuddly as Bette is, it is apparent that she has descended from wolves, and if you ask me her lineage must be from a particularly strong pack. Yesterday morning I was eating my breakfast pizza (The very same pizza I had the night before, only colder) and watching CBS Sunday Morning. On the sofa next to me was Bette stretched out like a lady of leisure across all three cushions. Standing in front of the sofa was Chandler. A mournful little whimper was coming from him as he stood there staring at Bette. He was terrified. Chandler wanted to get up on the sofa, but Bette was giving him the evil eye. Every move Chandler made to get up on that sofa caused Bette to give a little motion towards him backed up by an angry yap.  I have seen a lot of this lately. She controls the bed just as she was controlling the sofa. No matter which side of the bed Chandler tries to climb up on, she's there yapping away, threatening him. The most amazing thing is that he is actually afraid of her. Yes, it's quite the phenomenon when you see a creature so much smaller controlling the larger of the two.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Hmmm... That New Car Smell



Mark and I jumped in the PT Cruiser last evening for a quick trip to the store. As soon as I got in the car I knew something was wrong.
"What the hell is that smell?"
"I don't know, I smelled it earlier today."
"It smells like an old used Band-Aid."
It was really strong, so when we got home I opened up all the doors, and shined a flashlight into every crevice and corner of the car. Nothing, I couldn't find a thing. If we can't find the source of the odor, and a thorough squirting of Fabreze® doesn't fix the problem, we may have to trade the car in.
Many years ago I lived on a hippie commune in Iowa. To supplement our food supply we would occasionally go fishing in the rivers around our hippie farm. It was a nice deal, nights smoking pot and playing rock and roll music, days smoking pot and going fishing. One day we drove to a favorite fishing spot in my 1964 Rambler station wagon, stopping on the way to buy a tub of night crawlers. I remember it being a particularly bad fishing day, all we caught were a couple of carp. Not good to eat at all, lots of bones and the taste of the river bottom. Later that same day my cousin from Chicago stopped by on his way to California and invited me to go along for the ride. A road trip to California was never turned down back in those days, so I jumped in his car and off we went for two weeks. It gets hot in Iowa in the summer. Hot and humid. When my cousin dropped me off on his way back from California I walked over to my Rambler station wagon to make sure it would start after sitting for two weeks. I opened the door. I was sure that there was a dead human inside that car. The stench that came blowing out of the car and into my face nearly knocked me out. It was the most awful thing I have ever smelled, still to this day. It turned out that I had forgot to take the tub of night crawler worms out of the car after our fishing trip two weeks earlier. I don't know why I did it, but I opened the tub. Inside everything had melted into a disgusting, smelly blob. I tried cleaning out that car, I tried airing it out, washing the inside, and dousing it in air freshener. Nothing would get the smell of death out of that car. I tried selling it, but the minute I opened the door the sale was off. I had no choice, I took it to the junk yard. The junk yard wouldn't take it, something about it possibly being involved in a crime. So I removed the tags, removed the serial number, and dumped it on the street next to the junk yard. I certainly hope that I can find the source of the PT Cruiser's odor. I'd hate to have to dump it after all these years.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Will you still need me, will you still feed me...



I turn sixty five this year. That means I have to start planning a few things. For instance, I guess I'll have to get a pair of suspenders. Suspenders on a guy over sixty five is important. It gives him the look of a wise and experienced fellow, that is until he opens his mouth. Which leads me to another thing I need to start doing next year, giving un-solicited advice to young people. Nothing says over-the-hill better than telling your young niece that her nose ring makes her look like a tramp, and that she'll never get the other ring, the one on her finger, looking like that. I probably don't have to practice yelling things at people though. "Hey you punk, get off of my lawn.", seems like it would just come naturally. Another old man thing, shoes. I already wear Rockport shoes, so I don't have to worry about the old man shoes. What I'm not so sure about though is the sagging pants. I don't want to look like some punk kid with his pants sagging down under his ass cheeks, but I think the trick to that look is the boxer shorts. Old men don't wear them, they just sag and show ass crack. Besides, the next step comes after eighty when I move the beltline up to my nipples.
I'm also concerned about financial things as I turn sixty five. Late next year I lose a bit of my income, so yesterday I asked my neighbor to give me a lift up to the bank so I could hash things out with Robert the bank guy. I wanted to know what my options were in regard to my real estate. What I want is to the get the most monetarily out of it. So Robert began pecking away at the calculator, and entering stuff on his computer, all the time keeping up a running narration of what he was doing. Refinancing, mortgage, secured loan, unsecured loan, home improvement loan, reverse mortgage, reverse cowboy....   it all was swirling around in my head. As my brain went numb and my eyes rolled back, my neighbor said to Robert, "I think Alan needs a break."
I've pretty much figured out what I'll do with my real estate. That little break that Robert gave me allowed my mind to reset and catch up. It turns out that I need to down size, sell this place and find something a bit more manageable. Like a single family house, or maybe a condo. Whatever it is I do, there is one thing that I can be sure of. Mark isn't going to like it. He's going to start whining and complaining about losing his beloved home, which is when I start pretending to be hard of hearing. After all, I'll officially be an old man.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You Can Dress Them Up....

Halloween is only seven weeks away, so Mark is already thinking about costumes. Not his costume, but the dog's costumes. No matter how many times I have told him to leave the dogs alone, that they don't want to wear those things he buys for them, he still comes home with little getups for them every year.

In the past he has tried to squeeze Chandler into a squirrel costume that was obviously too small for him. Chandler was not happy.


And then there was the year he put our beloved Sasha into that butterfly outfit. She was not happy at all about it.


This year he came home with a leather motorcycle jacket and hat for Bette. I have to admit, she was extremely cute in that leather jacket and hat. But once again, the dog did not like it. That cute little leather hat she's wearing in the photo... it was torn off by her just seconds after that picture was taken. All this dressing up of the dogs in uncomfortable costumes, and forcing them to show them off like some kind of deranged runway model, brought back a memory from my childhood.


My first communion coat and tie. I know that I'm not wearing the tie in this photo. Even though it was a clip on, I still hated it and tore it off.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Smoke 'em If You Got 'em



When the bars here in Florida started banning smoking, I thought it would never work. After all, nothing goes with drinking and getting drunk like a cigarette. I know that when I quit smoking, the hardest part was when I was in a bar. Smoking just seemed to go so well with alcohol. Well apparently they were right, people have got used to not smoking in bars, and I for one am glad of it. No more  waking up the next morning with that awful smell on your clothes and in your hair. I'm not sure what I disliked more back when I used to go out drinking in my youth. The stink of the cigarettes the next morning or the stranger in bed next to me that looked nothing like he looked the night before. 

This past week the CVS Drug Store chain quit selling cigarettes. I applaud them for that. After all, a drug store should emphasize healthy habits and discourage dangerous ones. Although, they do still sell those ninety nine cent bags of gummy bears which isn't doing me any good. I can pretty much swallow a whole bag of those things during one half hour television show, and when I'm done I always feel shitty for having done it. As for the smokers who used to clog up the checkout at the CVS while trying to point out the exact brand, size, and type of cigarette to the person behind the counter, they don't have to worry. For just one block away from the CVS is a store that does not care about your health. A store that offers beer, wine, junk food, sixty four ounce Coca Colas, and hot dogs that have been spinning around for the last two days while being kept warm on that roller thing. It's the 7-Eleven®. And don't let 7-Eleven® try to fool you, they are as happy as a holdup man in front of a convenience store at three in the morning. How do I know this? Because as we were coming back from the CVS today I saw a new sign outside the 7-Eleven®, a block away. It wasn't fancy, it wasn't clever. All it was, was a welcome to all the smokers that CVS had spurned. And on top of the fact that smokers can now get any brand they want from 7-Eleven®, nobody will be pissed when they hold up the line while the cashier searches for their brand. Because that is the way it's always been at the 7-Eleven®.