Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Oh! That's Very Swollen

About ten days ago I went to the doctor because my gouty ankle was hurting so bad. The doctor asked me if the ankle was swollen at all, and I said no. So he told me to sit up on the examination table and take off my shoe and sock. He stepped back to take a look and said in a kind of shocked voice, "Oh! That's very swollen." Apparently, from the angle of looking down at my foot, I couldn't see that it was swollen. The doctor put me on a prednisone pack for six days and told me to come back when I finished that pack. He told me that by the fourth day everything would be just fine. He was wrong. By the fourth day I could barely walk. This is something that my dogs do not understand, this not walking. So I dutifully took Bette and Chandler for their walks despite the  pain. The trouble is that halfway around the block I couldn't walk any more. Yesterday morning it hurt so badly that I seriously didn't think I would make it home. When I got to the big house on the corner, the halfway point, I plopped down in the grass next to a big tree and begged Chandler to please drag me the rest of the way home. Instead of helping me, Chandler peed on the tree and then ate some grass. After a few odd stares from passing cars, and the fact that it was about to rain, I pulled myself back up, limped home, and called the doctor's office.

We're trying another type of pill now. It's basically Aleve with some kind of extra ingredient that will keep the Aleve from eating through my stomach wall. So far, so good. I walked Chandler twice now and it only felt like a very fat person was stomping on my ankle, instead of an elephant. Seeing as I am the fat person stomping on my ankle, it's not so bad.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Black Friday

There have been Black Fridays where I am getting out of bed at seven in the morning to walk the dogs, and Mark is coming in the front door with his arms full of crap he has just bought. Mark is one of those people who never pays retail for anything. If it's not on sale, we don't need it. Last Friday was no exception. I had got my "All I want for Christmas" orders from Mark a few weeks ago. A smoker is what he wanted and it was going to be on sale at Ace Hardware the day after Thanksgiving. So at eight in the morning on Friday, I found myself being driven up to the nearest Ace Hardware store to buy Mark his Christmas present. Ace Hardware stores are nothing like Home Depot or Lowes. They are usually funky little places that are run like a mom and pop store. We walk into Hanna's Ace Hardware and find one single person in the store. That was the owner and he was sitting behind the checkout counter.
"Can I help you boys?" (I often hear that 'boy' thing when I walk into someplace with Mark)
"We're looking for the barbecue smoker that was advertised."
The man put a quizzical look on his face for a moment.
"Smoker, you say?"
"It was on the Ace Hardware web site."
"Oh, we're not that Ace Hardware. This is a privately owned store and all that Ace Hardware advertising doesn't apply here."
"But the signs, the logo. It says Ace Hardware."
"You want the Ace Hardware down by the beach. Go down Commercial, over the bridge, and it's on the right hand side of the street."

Off we went to the Beach Ace Hardware store. We walked in and found a long line of about twenty people waiting at the checkout counter, and one employee looking haggard already at eight thirty in the morning.
"Um... excuse me."
The Ace employee barely looked up.
"Do you have the barbecue smoker that was advertised.... "
"No, we only had one and I sold that on Wednesday."
At this point Mark told me that there was one other Ace Hardware over on Cordova Road, clear on the other side of Fort Lauderdale.
"Goddamnit, just take me home. Get in the car and take me home."
When we got to the house, I went on the computer and found the same smoker at Walmart. It cost four cents less than the one advertised at Ace Hardware and included free shipping. Merry fucking Christmas Mark.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It Could Be Worse

The purpose of Thanksgiving is to contemplate the good things in life that we've been given. I like that much better than celebrating the invasion of the North American Continent and subjugation of the people who already lived here. In fact I don't even think of Native Americans on Thanksgiving. No need to ruin my turkey dinner. Anyway, here are the things I am thankful for.

The fact that I can still call my mom every week. We don't always have a lot to talk about on Sunday when I call her, but just hearing her voice brings a feeling of continuity and reassurance to my life. Thankfully, she comes from a family of long living folk and we'll be talking for years to come.

I am thankful that the PT Cruiser only cost me around $2,000 to maintain this year. That's much cheaper than buying a new car. Mark was not thankful when I told him the PT Cruiser is the last new car I am ever buying, but that's his problem.

Speaking of Mark, I am thankful that he has not killed me with food yet. Oh yes, he is trying to kill me. Mark is a very good cook and tends towards the comfort food trend. So I get lots of gravies, lots of fats, and lots of delicious, artery clogging dinners. It may have been a mistake to have put him in my will.

I am thankful that my little dog Bette's seizures have been brought under control. No longer do I have people stopping their cars, asking me if my dog is okay, and looking at me like I'm beating her as I desperately try to hold the twitching little pup down. I am also thankful that I haven't been arrested for being a peeping tom when Bette drags me right up to neighbor's front windows to take a poop (Bette's taking the poop, not me).

In this time of worldwide turmoil, this time of election madness with crazy, pandering candidates saying hateful shit that is almost always wrong. This time of cops shooting kids, and kids shooting cops. In this time of kids shooting kids, when thousands of Americans are killed every year with guns while the  public worries about assholes in beards a continent away coming to get them, I am thankful for the off button on my television and computer. Now if only there was an off button for Mark's mouth when he's arguing with Fox News. That, I would be very thankful for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Who's your Messiah now?

Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, every shade of those religions. Satanism, Scientology, Rastafarianism, Capitalism. The list of religions goes on and on, many of them based on hate, secrecy, and greed.

I was laying in bed the other night, all hopped up on Prednisone, and I thought to myself, "I should start a religion". Startup costs would be minimal, and if I could dupe enough people, just like the established religions have, I could live pretty nice. I wouldn't have to pay taxes. No sales tax, no real estate tax, no income tax, and I think I could even park for free at government owned parking meters. Sweet!  My religion wouldn't have a lot of requirements like showing up at church every Sunday. You could just send in your tithe via the internet. There would be no absolving of sins. You know you when did a bad thing, deal with it. My supreme being wouldn't ask you to do super human tricks either. Like resisting being yourself. Gay, okay. Filthy whore, okay... up to a point. You don't feel like obeying a law that clearly was intended for somebody else, okay. In fact there will be only one tenet of my religion that you must follow. Do no harm. And by no harm, I mean to other human beings, animals, the planet, no harm. Hmmm... wait a minute. Would I have to give up fried chicken? I'd have to harm an animal if I want fried chicken, unless I have somebody else kill the chicken and fry it. Goddamn it, I'm already compromising my prime doctrine. This religion business is harder than I thought.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Still painting. I am now working around the back of the house and I had to clear out an area between the deck and the wall, AKA The Swamp. It is full of palm trees, bromeliads, and vines. Goddamn vines everywhere. So I got out the big branch cutters and started whacking away. First I cut the larger branches off of the dracaena plants, then I started pulling down the vines. They were all attached to the side of the house with their tendrils, and when I pulled them away some of the stucco came with it, so I started clipping them off. Everything went fine until I realized, they weren't all vines. I had cut through some wires. I don't know if they are very important wires, or where they go. I just know that I irreparably destroyed some cables attached to the back of the house.

The first thing I did was run into the house and turn on the television. Ahhhh.... it wasn't the cable service. Imagine a weekend without cable. I can't. Then I checked the computer. Again, relief. It was not the DSL line. I checked the telephone. Not the telephone line. So what the hell are all those wires attached to the wall of my  house? They could very well go to one of my tenant's apartments. So let's all keep this under our hats. What they don't know, won't hurt them. We'll just let the cable company figure it out.