Banner Photo by Sam Padron

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Chiraq



I heard the shots.

Bang, bang, bang......  bang!

It sounded like it came from right outside our window. I sat up in bed and asked, "What was that?", but Mark was sleeping, completely exhausted by all the moving. By the time I walked into the living room to look out the front windows, the street was swarming with police cars. In my backyard were cops with semi-automatic weapons and police dogs. This made Chandler bark, but still Mark slept. It was just a little after midnight and some asshole had taken a potshot at a police car. This, of course, brought down the full wrath of the CPD. Just as everybody had warned me, Chicago was a shooting gallery. Guns... mother fucking guns. Chicago is awash with them. Of course the NRA says that "It takes a good guy with a gun to fight a bad guy with a gun." Well that was the 'good guys' with a gun that the little gangbanger took a pot shot at.

My new neighbors and my soon to be ex-tenant have assured me that Acadia Terrace is one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago. I believe them, but still somebody fired a gun within thirty feet of my bedroom window last night. A bad guy with a gun. So how is it that these bad guys get these guns? I'm pretty sure they don't have a secret factory producing guns for them. No, they get their guns from the "Good Guys with a gun." They may steal them, buy them with the help of a straw man purchaser, or buy them on the street. No matter how they got them, the guns originally came from "The good guys." It truly pisses me off how fast and loose "The good guys" are with securing their firearms. What needs to be done are civil lawsuits against private gun owners who don't adequately secure the guns that they are so in love with. I mean, I love my dog Chandler, but I am anal about keeping him secure and not allowing him to run after people and bite them. 


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Roughing It





I am sitting on a small filing cabinet, my computer monitor is on the radiator, and at my feet is a large tangle of power cords leading to one power extension bar. Ninety four year old houses do not have a lot of electrical outlets. If I slip just a little and knock one of the extension cords loose, the whole deal goes to hell. It's my fear of Mark's wrath that keeps me careful. He wouldn't like it if The Real Housewives got disconnected.

So we moved last Saturday. I was sure that all the crap I had in my mom's garage would fit in a twenty foot U-Haul truck. It did... in two trips. Two horrid, eighty mile round trips through Chicago traffic. I hired my nephew and two of his buddies to do the move. They were more professional and careful than the pros that we had move the crap from Florida. They did get a little gassed near the end of the twelve hour moving day and weren't so careful puting the kitchen stuff in the kitchen, and the office stuff in the office. No problem, I eventually found Mark's computer in a large box in the dining room, the dishes in the office, and my shredder in the kitchen. Chandler is loving his new back yard. Little does he know that the lush green grass he's rolling around in will be ice and snow in just seven months.

The process of unpacking is nerve wracking. What seemed like I had planned so carefully has gone totally off the tracks. Every other word out of my mouth is "Where's my glasses?" and the words in between are "Where the hell is the goddamn box cutter?"  You tend to lose things the more boxes you open.

Finally, it is great to have internet access again along with cable television. After three cable companies promised me wireless DVRs, only to find out when the installers arrived that they were blowing smoke up my ass just to make a sale, I had to settle for old fashioned wired cable. However, I didn not want those ugly cables stapled to my baseboards and over the door jambs, so I let them drill holes in my lovely oak floors. It was the lesser of two evils and now Mark has his Bravo and I have some peace.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Smarter Than a Pundit



Every evening for the last nineteen years, Mark and I have watched Jeopardy at 7:30. Even when we have been arguing we take time out for Jeopardy. I think it actually helped us get over some of those rough spots. When we moved north we discovered that Jeopardy is on at 3:30 in the afternoon here in Chicago. Old habits are hard to break, but the invention of the DVR solved this one. Jeopardy is still on at 7:30 in the evening around here. Now if only my bodily functions were that easily scheduled.

All this week on Jeopardy it has been what they call "Power Players" week. I don't exactly know what that means other than all the contestants have been news reporters, political know-it-alls, and elected politicians. What it has actually been is a revelation that all those so called experts and pundits are truly ignorant. Seriously, all the questions on Jeopardy this week have been of the high school level and I have been regularly shocked at just how little these "Power Players" know. It turns out that I am smarter than Anderson Cooper and that Michael Steele (Former RNC chairman) is an idiot. I'm looking forward to the grade school players week on Jeopardy, and a higher level of competition.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It's Coming



It started over a year ago. After years of arguing with Mark, wooing him with summers in Chicago, and out and out bribery (I promised him a gourmet kitchen), we are finally... well almost finally, moving into the Chicago home I have dreamed of. Last year we were teased with a contract on our Florida home only to have it ripped away like a kid dropping a one dollar bill tied to a string in front of a homeless man. Then after a few thousand people tramped through our house led by our hapless real estate agent, we got another contract. This time it was Columbians who saw something in our place and made an offer. Unfortunately, after two months of waiting for the closing we were informed that the Columbians needed another month to "Bring the cash into the country in small amounts."  I'm not sure if they rolled it up into ten thousand dollar wads and shoved it up their asses, but I was over it. So I cancelled the contract. That turned out to be a good move. Our new real estate agent, a good friend and neighbor, sold our house in four days for forty thousand dollars more than the Columbians were willing to pay. Now I am in the process of closing this Friday. I have emailed, faxed, mailed, overnighted, signed, and opened myself up to the bank for the last month and a half. The final moment is approaching fast, the light at the end of the tunnel is within sight. I am giddy with excitement. In anticipation of the hundreds of pages I will have to sign on Friday, I have exercised my right hand, and got into shape so that it won't cramp up halfway through the closing. Yes, I am ready. Just don't ask how I exercised that right hand.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ummmmm....



The point of this post is not to whine about how stupid young people are in 2016. I did some pretty stupid things when I was young. No, I'm just going to whine about stupid people who happen to be young.


Last Thursday Mark and I stopped in at the local Duncan Donuts/Baskin-Robbins for some ice cream. Let me just say that since Baskin-Robbins moved in with Dunkin Donuts, they suck. We went there anyway. We walked up to the ice cream counter and behind it was a sign that said "Shakes". It also said, under the area describing the shakes, "Make it a malted for $1.50 more." So I placed my order.
"I'll have a chocolate malt, and please make it with vanilla ice cream."
(The proper way to make a chocolate malt is with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and powdered malt.)
 The girl behind the counter stood there for a moment staring at me as if I had asked for shit on a stick.
"Ummmm.....  uh... okay..."
She turned and went about scooping ice cream, pouring some milk into the metal container, and pumping away on a dispenser. As she came towards me with my "malt" in her hands, I asked her "When did you put the malt in that?"
Again the stare.
"I mean, when you were scooping, and pouring, and pumping back there, when did you put the powdered malt into the cup?"
She spun around and huddled with another employee then turned and said to me,
"Ummm... we don't make malts here."
"It says right up there behind you on that sign, Make it a malted for $1.50 more."
Again, she spun around and huddled with the other employee. They both turned around and the girl informed me that the "shake" was no-charge. So I took it. But seriously, an ice cream shake is really nothing more than melted ice cream.

And then there was the new, hip, Mexican restaurant in Chicago that we went to Friday night. Our waitress was a bubbly, perky blond girl with a lip piercing. I let slide her ignorance of what a 'light lager' beer is, and what edamame is (It was on the menu and I didn't know either, but I wasn't working there). Her ignorance of what was on the menu was pretty unnerving.
"Is the fish in the fish taco breaded and deep fried?" I asked. She answered that it was not. I then asked what else was in a fish taco besides the fish.
"Ummm.... well there's fish.... Yes, fish in the taco. Umm... is that enough information?"
She was not being 'ironic' or trying to be funny. She seriously thought that she was being very helpful in pointing out that there was fish in the fish taco. Oh, and when she returned with our drinks, she informed us that "Yes, the fish is breaded and deep fried."