Monday, July 16, 2018

Wax On, Wax Off

This was our Blockbuster at one time.

I see where two of the last three Blockbuster video stores have shut down. I remember when Blockbuster came to town and put all the little mom and pop video stores out of business. I was saddened by that. Mom and pop had all the movies I wanted to see, and they had a very nice porn selection in the back room. Mom and pop knew their porn. Once a week I would take home a major release Hollywood movie, and a porn selection. Then I would set aside a couple of hours to watch the movie, and later, five minutes for the porn. Sometimes I'd have four minutes left over.

Now I have Netflix. Once a week Netflix sends us a Blu-Ray disc in the mail. Never do they send porn and rarely do they send the movie that we actually want. We also have the streaming version of Netflix, but I have a few problems with that. First of all, I can never find the movie I want on the streaming version. I'm sure there is a search area for finding them, but I cannot find it. When I sign on to Netflix I am immediately presented with a bunch of things they think I would want to watch. They are wrong, I do not want to watch what they want me to watch. So I start going down the list. Comedies, dramas, something called 'Watch it Again', but never what I am looking for. I usually keep scanning down and clicking on this and that to see if I'll like it, and before I know it a half an hour has passed. Even if I find something I like, it takes five or more minutes to load. I hate watching that little spinning circle with the number counting up in the middle of it.

I kind of miss Blockbuster. Strolling through the store and picking up the VHS boxes, looking for one that still has an available video behind it. All that is gone now and seems that the only option we have is Netflix or the Middle Eastern video store on Peterson that rents out "Romance" movies. I've never gone in there, but I like to think that romance movies are Middle Eastern porn. It's good just to know that it is there if I need it.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Babysitter

Scanning photos from my parent's albums has triggered a number of memories. Most recently I saw a photo of myself and some of my sisters and their friends, and I was reminded of my babysitting career. Yes, at one time people trusted me to take care of their children while they went out to have a good time. These were the years between when I was fourteen and sixteen years old. I charged one dollar per hour to sit at your house and make sure the kids went to bed and stayed there. It often worked out that way. Here are few of the families I worked for.

Family A was Irish Catholic so they had a bunch of kids including a pair of twin boys around seven years old. I only babysat there once. The parents left for their night out with only a few simple requests. One, that I order the children a pizza for dinner. Two, that I make sure they go to bed at nine. They did not go to bed at nine. They continued to run around like crazed monkeys and refused to go to bed. As for the pizza, I ordered it with the money that had been left along with a note. I didn't read the note. It said to order a cheese pizza, but I ordered what I wanted. Sausage pizza. When the pizza came and the children realized there was sausage on the pizza, a riot broke out. As I was trying to pick the sausage off to make it a cheese pizza, one of the twin boys punched me in the balls.

Family B. This family lived in a nice split level house on the other side of town. I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I arrived, the children had already been put to bed, where they stayed. So I had the whole evening to 'investigate' the place. Yes, I used to get up in the people's business when I babysat. At this house I found the dad's porn collection. Problem was, it was straight porn and I had very little interest. However, he had a lot of Playboy magazines and I loved the articles. Especially the Playboy Forum, letters from readers about their sex problems.

Family C. Lived right across the street from us. Here the kids listened to me because they knew me, and went to bed. What I loved about this place were their Redd Foxx records. They had at least five of them, and they were filled with filthy jokes and stories. Quite an education for a young boy.

Family D. They lived next door. They had plenty of liquor in the house, and they stayed out until the bars closed at five in the morning. Enough said? All that and a dollar per hour.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mark and the Dog Tomato War

Scout eyes the tomatoes

"Arg! GET OUT OF THERE...  Damn dogs, quit eating my tomatoes!" Mark Squealed.
Another summer in Chicago and another garden. Seriously, if I had it my way there would be only one tomato plant in the garden and it would be for the dogs. They love tomatoes. Besides, after adding up the cost of the plants, the water, and the fertilizer, I'm not saving any money. Anyway, Chandler has taught young Scout the deliciousness of tomatoes right off the vine. He goes right up to the plant and sniffs out the ripest, most succulent little tomato and plucks it off. He then takes it to the middle of the grass and munches down on it. Scout saw that last year and copied Chandler's behavior. Now both of the dogs have become connoisseurs of the pomodoro.
"Mark, he can have that tomato. That is the dog's tomato plant. That one and the one by the back fence were planted just for them."
"No, they're mine. Who the hell ever heard of dogs eating tomatoes?"
"Sorry, I planted those for the dogs, not you."
So there is now a battle in the backyard between Mark and the dogs. What Mark doesn't know is that when he isn't out there, I let the dogs pretty much do what they want. They eat the tomatoes, they pee on the raspberry bush, they root around behind the dahlias looking for rats, and poop where ever they want to poop. It's a doggy wonderland.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Get, Go, Gone

About four months ago I went to the doctor and got a full physical. At the end of the physical the doctor told me that he was going to order one of those home screening kits for me. You know the one, "Get, Go, Gone." The doctor told me it's much easier than a colonoscopy. No kidding, I went through that once. It was pure hell. Not the actual procedure so much as the preparation. I had to drink three gallons of monkey vomit that gave me the shits. The purpose of that was to clean out my guts. (Okay, maybe it wasn't actually monkey vomit, but it tasted like it and had the texture of vomit.) I was in the bathroom the night before my colonoscopy for about five hours sending a constant stream of my insides out my butthole. It was horrible and I swore I would never go through that again.

So a couple of weeks after I saw my doctor, the kit arrived. It sat on the shelf for two months because I did not want to mess with it. After the doctor called and reminded me to do the test, I opened it up and read the instructions. Step one, be sure you have to crap. Step two, spread the little paper raft that was supplied, across the water in the toilet for your turds to land on. Step three, poop on the paper raft. Step three....  ummm.... gack... oh, god... take the little plastic spatula that was included, and dig around in your poop. The instructions note that you should make sure you have poo in every crevice of the tiny plastic spatula. Step four, place the poo covered spatula inside the little container that they provided and mail it to the poo testing company. I left it down on the table by the mailboxes for Tim the mailman to take. (I'll have to tip him a little extra at Christmas.)

A month later I got a letter from the poo kit company. I had blood in my stool and I should call my doctor. I didn't call him. A few weeks later he called me. I didn't answer the phone. He called three more times. I finally answered on that fourth call.
"Well Alan, you are going to have to get a colonoscopy. I'll send you a reference so  you can go get that. Have a nice evening now, goodbye."
So this time I not only get to go through the prep for a colonoscopy and the colonoscopy itself, but I got to handle my own poo in the toilet and then send it off in the capable hands of Tim the mailman. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Swimming the Dan Ryan

I went out to see Mom yesterday. She's looking good, not a day over seventy five, which is good for somebody who is ninety six. Best part about visiting Mom is that I've finally reached the age where she and I can compare aches and pains, ailments and memory lapses. One of my projects while visiting her, is to scan all the photos from the albums my dad put together. Yesterday I got so engrossed in my project that I didn't even notice it had started raining. It wasn't a heavy rain, but I still said goodbye to Mom and got out of there because I hate driving in bad weather. Just about at the Chicago city limits the rain started to pick up. After twenty seven years of driving in Florida I thought I could handle any rain that came my way. Florida downpours are spectacular events where the rain is so thick you almost need scuba gear to walk through it. Rain on the Dan Ryan Expressway would be no challenge to me. But as I drove on into the city the rain kept getting heavier and heavier until I could barely see the car in front of me. I couldn't see the lines on the pavement and then I lost the car in front. It simply disappeared. I couldn't just stop, I was in the far left hand lane of a sixteen lane highway. I couldn't speed up, I was driving blind. Thank goodness for the CTA Train that runs down the middle of the highway. I gauged my location by watching the train moving along next to me. And then that vanished. What is amazing is that traffic kept moving. Nobody stopped, there were no accidents, and the huge semi truck that was illegally in the lane next to me didn't run me over. Finally, somewhere around fifty first street, the rain started to let up. All this time traffic had been moving along nicely despite a Florida grade downpour. So the sky brightened, the sun even tried to poke through, and the traffic now came to a standstill as I merged onto Lake Shore Drive. Seriously, a blinding downpour and traffic moves. Clear and bright, and the morons create gridlock.