Friday, December 19, 2014

Didn't See That Coming



I wanted to start painting the fascia boards on the house this week, but I discovered that a couple of them had been attacked by insects. Either termites or carpenter ants, it didn't matter, there was no evidence that the bugs were still there. However, I would have to pry those bad boards off the house and replace them. So I went next door to my neighbor and asked to borrow his big crowbar.
"Are you sure you can do that by yourself Alan?" He asked.
"Oh sure, I don't think it's that hard to do."
"I'm not going to hear you screaming in pain, no ambulances pulling up, or a limb impaled on nail I hope. I know you Alan, be careful."
I was very sure of myself and took it on. First I positioned the ladder under the eaves, then I jammed the big crowbar into the small opening between the eaves and the board that I needed to pry off. After great effort I finally popped it off and it came crashing to the ground. The board and the piece that it had been attached to were bristling with large, sharp nails. I disposed of the board, removed the nails from the backing lumber, and I was done with that part of the job. I had not injured myself in any way. There were no nails through my hand, no debris in my eyes, and there was no ambulance out front loading my broken body into it. I was done and still in one piece, so I casually walked over to the neighbor's house to return his crowbar. I got to his gate, pulled the latch to open it, and walked into his yard, crowbar in hand. Before the gate even closed behind me I could feel pain shooting through my right arm. I looked down to see a large dog chomping down on my hand. It was Star, a dog that I have encountered before with no problems. As blood trickled down my fingers and the dog continued to snarl and snap at me, I did maintain my composure. There was no cursing, no screaming, just a lot of blood and regret.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Do You Smell That?



In a couple of months the night blooming jasmine will be in full bloom. I think it's one of the most fragrant of flowers I've ever come across. There happens to be a very large night blooming jasmine bush down next to the church where Chandler likes to poop, which is a good thing. In fact I liked the effect it has on masking the poopy smells so much, that I planted some in the dog run next to the house. The only problem is that every time I smell night blooming jasmine now, I think of dog shit. It's funny how catching just the hint of an odor will trigger a memory in your mind. Yesterday I was walking Chandler in the cool of the morning, and as I was walking past somebody's driveway they started their car up. It was an older car that probably has valve issues and isn't burning fuel efficiently, but it immediately brought back memories of my dad's old green Plymouth. Way, way back in the early 1950's my dad had this green Plymouth that also didn't burn fuel very efficiently. When he would start it up, it would have the most noxious of odors which most people would find unpleasant. I however, found it to be exciting because it meant that we were going somewhere. It's the same way I used to feel when I was a cab driver in Chicago back in the 1970's. I'd sit in the long cab line at O'Hare Field while jet planes would take off and land all around us. The air was drenched with the odor of jet fuel and jet exhaust. Once again, most people would say it was a horrible smell, but I loved it. It was the smell of exotic, far off places. I don't like the smell of jet fuel and jet exhaust anymore. It just isn't the same since I became an actual airline passenger. All that smell does for me now is give me the cramps, and remind me of drunken party people who think everybody on the red eye wants to hear them laughing and shouting all the way across the continent.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bulked Up Rats



Today is bulk day again. No, not the celebration of Chicago deep dish pizza nor the day I eat a huge bowl of Wheat Chex for breakfast. Today the big truck comes around to pick up items too big to fit in the trash bin. Late yesterday I saw the steady parade of Sanford and Son, garbage picker trucks, slowly meandering through the neighborhood. They reminded me that I needed to put some things out. Most of all I needed to put the rat's nest barbeque out for pickup. If you remember, we had a barbeque sitting in the back yard that the rats had taken over. They were living inside the thing, under the lid, and amongst the ashes. I did slip some rat poison in there a while ago, but it was decided by Mark that nothing would ever be grilled on that thing again. My only wish is that I could pile a few more tons of crap out there on the curb. After all, Christmas and Mark's birthday are just around the corner and I will need to free up some room around here for the influx of holiday crap. Let's see, besides the gifts of Christmas past consisting of a sewing machine, a blender, the Wi game thingy, an ipod stereo thingy, and possibly a partridge in a pear tree, there's a few tons of 'collectibles' that would look great out on the curb. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't miss any of it. Unfortunately, Mark would.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seasons Greetings



Scribble, scribble, scribble, stuff, lick, close.
Scribble, scribble, scribble, stuff, lick, close.
Scribble, scribble, scribble, stuff, lick, close.

Christmas card time. Mark helped a little bit this year, but still I'm scribbling our best wishes card by card, stuffing them in the envelopes, and sealing them. The problem is that the older I get, the worse my handwriting is and the more my fingers hurt. I remember my mom doing Christmas cards when I was a kid. I think she may have had to do a couple of hundred, all by hand. Amazingly, her handwriting was still beautiful even by the time she got to card number two hundred. Some years ago I switched from hand addressed cards to printed labels, but there was still the little note inside along with our love. This year, after doing a few cards, I realized that my handwriting was so bad that some people may not be able to read them, or even know who sent it to them. So I have switched to pre-printed signatures. I'm so very sorry if it seems a little impersonal, but at least I haven't switched to E-Cards. I am still making the effort to send something you can hold in your hand and tape to the living room mirror. Conversely, if you have issues with arthritis or other painful maladies, I don't mind getting a pre-printed card. I like getting Christmas cards. So for those of you who get a card in the mail that looks like it was sent by your insurance agent, don't throw it away. Take a closer look, it may be the one Mark and I sent you. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

An Earworm for Your Weekend



Nothing interesting today. I live a boring life sometimes, but I have had this earworm in my head for the last 24 hours. You would have to be quite old to remember this song. It's called Popsicles and Icicles, and it hit the WLS top forty this week in 1963. It was a one hit wonder, and when I looked it up on the ever reliable Wikipedia, I found out that the three girls who recorded it, The Murmaids, never got paid a penny for it. I love how old songs can put your mind right back into the time period when they were popular. December 1963, the President of the United States had just been murdered. Nobody had heard of the Beatles yet, they were still one month away. Our family had just moved into our new dream house in Barrett Brother's Familyland. I remember how impressed we were with the new house and its modern kitchen. Today my mom would spit on that kitchen, but back then it was the best. Anyway, for your listening pleasure, and your earworm of the day, here is Popsicles and Icicles.