Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's a Goddamned Miracle

I have never been a fan of those reel type dog leashes. As a large dog owner, I always felt that a good, strong, six foot leash offered more control. It was also the preferred leash when I took my dogs to obedience classes. My biggest fear with the reel leash was that my dog might dart out into traffic after a lizard or cyclist before I could snap that locking mechanism down.

Bette is a much different kind of dog than I have ever had before. She likes to roam. When we go out for a walk, Bette likes to wander up into people's yards. Way up into yards. She especially likes to pee and poop near front doors and windows. So with me on one end of the leash, and Bette pulling with all her might on the other end, I usually find that before I know it we are up in our neighbor's yards. This is fine for Bette, but for the people sitting in their homes watching television at ten in the evening, it looks like I am some kind of creepy peeping Tom. Again and again Bette has drawn me up into yards as I try to coax a turd out of her. So I decided to try one of those reel leashes on her. I went to Petsmart and bought one of those things. Oh my god, it's a miracle. Yesterday afternoon I clipped the new leash on Bette and we took off down the street. I walked down the middle of the street while Bette wandered off to the right, then back across in front of me to the left. She meandered here and there, squatting to pee again and again. Here is the surprising part. Whenever I got too far away from Miss Bette, she would look up and realize that wasn't with her and she would run after me. Like I said, it's a goddamned miracle. The best part, the part I like the most, is that I am standing on the street while Bette is squatting under the windows of my neighbors. She's pooping right under their nose, and I am not looking like a pervert.

Monday, April 27, 2015

I Like It When They Pop

Actual temperature out on my patio yesterday.

I have some new neighbors down the street, moved in around October. They came from Massachusetts. All winter long they sat outside and every time I walked by they seemed to be enjoying themselves knowing that those they had left behind were being pummeled by snow. They seemed so happy.

I was the same way when I first moved to South Florida twenty six years ago. I came here in March, 1989 and for a few weeks it was like paradise. While the folks up north were still living through the last chill of winter, I was floating around in my swimming pool. I still remember when the first warm weather of summer arrived. I had never experienced a Florida summer. I simply assumed that it would be a continuation of the pleasant weather. It wasn't. One day it turned hot and humid, and I thought, this is pretty much like a heat wave back in Chicago. I knew that heat waves never last, so I sat back and waited for the weather to change. It never did. After a month of relentless heat the rainy season started. At least once a day rain would fall in amounts that I had never seen before. You couldn't tell where the swimming pool ended and the rain started. raindrops the size of baseballs with less than a quarter inch between them, falling as if shot out of a fire hose. The nice thing about the summer rains is that when the rain stopped the air would be a bit cooler, so I would throw open the windows. Unfortunately, within five minutes of the rain stopping the sun would come out. Now I don't know how this is possible, but the sun in Florida is much, much closer to the Earth than it is in Illinois. So close that you could probably light a match just by holding it above your head. I would no sooner open the windows when I would have to run around and close them again as the humidity and heat built to intolerable levels.

Here is what you get when you move to Florida. Mildew, mold, and rot like you have never seen before, and not just in your underwear. Patio furniture doesn't even last a year before turning pale and crumbling. Wood trim on the house starts rotting from the moisture, with voracious termites moving in to finish the job. Gigantic cockroaches find their way into your house to escape the heat and rain where they skitter around the place all night in some kind of bug orgy that leaves them wasted in the morning. Honestly, almost every morning you will find a few of them, on their backs, wiggling their legs as if still experiencing orgasm. I have to admit, I do get a kick out of the popping sound they make when I step on them.

I still remember when I realized that Florida summers last over seven months. I specifically remember saying, to no one in particular, "I can't live like this. This is crazy." Yet here I am, twenty six years later. I don't know if my new neighbors from Massachusettes have realized it yet, but summer has started and it isn't going away. Well, not unless we have a hurricane. The breeze from that will cool it off a bit.

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's Not Funny

Mark had some significant oral surgery yesterday and I'll tell you that there is nothing funny about it. It isn't funny that he walked out of the hospital with his face swollen so bad that he looked like a skinny Homer Simpson. It isn't funny that Mark had to take two Xanax, and a double dose of his blood pressure medicine because every time the doctor walked into the room, his blood pressure went through the roof. Although it is funny that a doped up Mark says funny things, the ride home was amusing. It is also funny that I sat out in the waiting room with my phone on record so that I could catch the screams and howls of Mark. Unfortunately I got nothing, the walls were soundproof. It isn't funny that Mark is eating through a straw for the next forty eight hours while I eat my way through the refrigerator. Well maybe it's a little funny. But it is especially not funny that Mark is laying in bed all hopped up on pain killers, crying for me to bring him one of those Swiss Miss pudding cups. I wonder, if I double up on his Oxycodone can we make it through the night without him keeping me awake with his moans and groans? And by double up, I mean for me.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Too Busy

I'll be very busy today. I have dog walking at the Abandoned Pet Rescue this morning, and then later this afternoon, I have to go with Mark to the oral surgeon. So I'll have to deal with temperamental behavior, possible biting, pulling away from me, whining and barking, and stepping over pee puddles. The dogs shouldn't be nearly as much trouble.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I used to work for a large corporation that would have district meetings once a year. They would basically close down the company and fly everybody in for the meetings. We were in the Southern District which was headquartered in Houston, Texas. So one year we were all flown into Houston, and bussed from the airport to the hotel. Except for a field trip to a cheesy bowling alley for some corporate team building, we were not allowed to leave and go sightseeing. So my entire impression of Houston was the airport, the highway filled with strip malls on the way to the hotel, and the neighborhood where the bowling alley was located. That neighborhood was what would be considered a slum here in Florida. I was told that it was not a Houston slum, but a nice neighborhood. My only other Texas experience was driving across the panhandle on US Route 66. That memory is of a very flat land without much vegetation, and one large sign that said Amarillo, with an arrow pointing left. So besides those images, all I can think of when I hear Texas mentioned is Kennedy being shot, George W. Bush, Rick Perry, and the most executions of prisoners by any state. Yet despite all those horrors, there is still one thing that comes from Texas that I love. It is something that I will never give up despite the fact that it might kill me. Blue Bell ice cream. We have a tub of Rum Raisin in the freezer right now and I am not returning it to the supermarket. I am not throwing it in the garbage. What I am going to do is eat it, the hell with listeria.

And now I would like to apologize in advance for tomorrows post if it includes a detailed account of a multitude of bathroom visits, whining about how sick I am, and whatever diatribe I will unleash on Texas. But no matter what happens, that Blue Bell rum raisin ice cream was delicious.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pip, Pip, Cheerio

I know that I eat too fast. I can only assume that it comes from growing up and competing with ten brothers and sisters. We actually all ate at the dinner table together until I was in my mid teens. That's when I started eating in front of the television. By that time there were too many to fit in my Mom's small kitchen. Anyway, I learned early on that if I didn't grab that chicken leg first, there wouldn't be any left. My poor mom, she always ended up with the chicken back, neck, and innards. She just wasn't fast enough and would always say, with that slightly martyred voice, "That's okay, I'm fine". As I get older I am learning that eating fast will kill you. A couple of years ago I made myself a steak while home alone. I gobbled that meat down way too fast and choked on it. I slowly realized that I was going to die if I didn't dislodge it, but there was nobody home. None of my tenants were home, Mark wasn't home, there was nobody around to Heimlich me. So I ran out into the middle of the street, waving my arms while making quiet choking sounds. Nobody, there wasn't a soul on the street. By this time I was desperate so I ran back up to my house and started slamming myself against the concrete wall. I cheated death that day, but I still didn't learn my lesson and I continue to eat like a pig on steroids.

Yesterday morning I poured myself a bowl of Cheerios with bananas. When I eat cereal I get out the big spoon, the one that allows me to stuff as much as possible in my mouth. As soon as the spoon is empty, I dig back into the cereal with the big spoon and back up to my mouth. It's kind of like a circular assembly line. So that's how I was eating my breakfast yesterday. Everything was moving along like a well oiled machine but I needed a breather, so I inhaled. Unfortunately I still had some Cheerios sitting in my mouth. One lone Cheerio got sucked in along with the air. I could feel that little round bit go down my windpipe and get lodged at the entrance to my lungs. I immediately coughed/sneezed. The Cheerio then blasted back up my windpipe and into my sinus cavity. I could feel it sitting up there inside my head. I tried to suck it down, but it was up there good. So I got a tissue and blew my nose. Sure enough, that little Cheerio, by now quite soggy, came flying out of my nose. I really have to start eating more slowly, or maybe start making Cheerios-banana smoothies for breakfast with that five hundred dollar blender I got Mark a couple of years ago.