Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Short Note

I have felt like shit all day. My head is pounding like a bass drum, and Mark insists on walking around the house singing in his loudest, two cats fighting in a bag, voice. I am not really sick, but I did have three vodkas at bowling last night. That is not unusual, so I cannot explain the hangover, unless the bowling alley has substituted rotgut vodka for Stoly and didn't tell me. Anyway, Mark has been loud and obnoxious all evening. If you read about a tall skinny black man drowning in a pool in Florida, I didn't do it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Death by Clutter

Despite my specific request, no my order, that Mark not block the pool pump area with his back yard clutter, Mark decided to stack bags of top soil for his garden directly in front of the pump and filter. I put up with it as just another example of Mark not listening to me, until while cleaning the filter, I tripped over the bags and barely missed falling into the pool.

Interestingly, earlier in the day I had seen Sunday Morning on CBS, and a story about the Collyer brothers, Homer and Langley. It seems that these two guys lived with mommy and daddy until mom and dad died in the 1920's. After mommy died, there was nobody around to clean up after Homer and Langley, so the house started filling up with clutter, garbage, and all sorts of crap. As the neighborhood started to grow more dangerous, the Collyer brothers became recluses in the house, and to deter burglars, and intruders, they built booby traps out of the mountains of clutter around them. Unfortunately one day Langley triggered one of his own booby traps, killing him and leaving his invalid brother to starve to death.

So it was on Sunday afternoon, that I came storming into the house, my left arm all wet and my ire raised by my trip over Marks backyard clutter. With the story of the Collyer brothers still fresh in my mind, I roared at Mark, "I swear to god, I'm going to put it in my will! If I die as a result in any way of your goddamn clutter, you don't get a dime!" I don't think that it will really stop Mark from collecting all the crap and clutter that fills our home, but at least the rest of the world will know that when I'm found dead under a one ton pile of cook books and useless kitchen gadgets, that he gets nothing.
This is not a closet, nor a pantry. It is the hallway to the bathroom.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spit Shine


"Come here. What the hell is that on your face?" my dad boomed. "Xaaaach, spoot!!" was the sound of my dad pulling together his spit, and then ejecting it into his handkerchief. Little Alan was about to get one of my dad's pre-church face cleanings. There was nothing more disgusting that my dad did, than the spit in the hanky, face cleanings before walking into church. Growing up in the nineteen fifties meant that we did not have pre-moistened face wipes, and even if they were available, my dad wouldn't have had any. So if one of us had missed a spot washing up that morning, we were subjected to a scrubbing with my dad's nasty, smelly, saliva soaked hanky.

Speaking of spreading germs, Mark was watching 'The View' last week, and the ladies were all a-twitter over the swine flu. It seems that the whole world is worried about getting the flu, and many are resorting to face masks, and self-imposed exile from society. There have even been football games played without anyone in the stands for fear of spreading the disease. Mark has already received his regular flu shot, and I had to go through a whole day of listening to him whine about not feeling good as the shot took effect. I hope when he gets his swine flu shot later, that I don't have to listen to him squeal for a whole day.

I probably shouldn't say this, but I rarely get sick. I think that six years of working in hospitals, and touching equipment that had been touched by every nurse and doctor in the hospital built up some kind of immunity. Either that, or like mothers milk, all of that spit my dad smeared on my face as a kid, acted like a vaccine and has kept me from getting too many illnesses. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but I think I'd rather get the shot than the spit.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Photo Friday

Wednesday night Dennis was strolling past Wrigley Field in Chicago and I was on the computer in Florida watching him from the web cam across the street.

Here's a closeup. I'm pretty sure Dennis is the one in the yellow shirt, not the one crossing the street.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Video Thursday

Hunting lizards is Chandler's favorite thing in the whole world.
Except for standing under Mark while he's cooking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On Golden Mound

I hate to keep complaining, but it is still hotter than hell around here. Last night at bowling, one of the guys showed me his shoes that he had left in the car for a week. The soles had actually melted off and were flopping around like Tom Delay's wrists on Dancing With The Stars. Another victim of the heat are my new plantings. I recently planted something called 'Golden Mound' in the front yard, and although the nursery promised they could take direct sunlight and the extreme heat of Florida, they have started to droop and don't look much better than the weeds they replaced.

Mark is excited that I have been finally doing something with the area of the front yard that looked like shit. He is right, it looked like some kind of trailer park trash lived here. The weeds sprouting a foot tall combined with my rusting Studebaker, (since replaced by my tenants rusting Dodge) certainly gave it that ambiance. But Mark isn't excited so much by seeing me work out in the heat planting and digging, as he is at the prospect of shopping for things. It doesn't matter what Mark is shopping for, just as long as it involves some form of spending money, and bringing something home. So off we went to the nursery this afternoon. I was looking for the perfect flowering dwarf tree, while Mark was just spending. As it turned out, I did not find exactly what I wanted and was content to return home empty handed. Mark however, filled a box with all sorts of plants that he says he intends to plant in what he calls his garden. Since Mark never waters, nor maintains his garden, I have another name for it. I call it "Mark's Auschwitz for plants".

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One Scoop or Two?

Either I forgot to clean out the cat's litter box last night, or those little poo and pee machines had an especially busy day in there. When I opened it up, there were pee clumps on top of pee clumps, topped off with a few piles of poop, and it required the heavy duty equipment to do the job tonight. It's on my list of must do items, and I try very hard to make sure that the cat box is scooped out every evening whether it needs it or not. I have yet to find that it really doesn't need it, although if I have had a few drinks it will look less full than not. Just for the record, I was not drinking last night, yet I don't remember if I cleaned the thing out or not.

Lately the little beasts have been making more of a mess than usual. I keep finding cat upchuck, and hairballs everywhere, and that, on top of the huge balls of cat and dog fur rolling across the living room floor like tumbleweeds, has kept me busy. The problem is that Mark doesn't ever do animal clean up. At just the slightest hint of animal mess, Mark starts gagging and threatening to puke, and I don't need even more to clean up. So I am the one who comes along after the cats and dog have messed in the house, and with the help of my handy roll of paper towels, scoop, and broom, I clean it up. I cannot complain too much though. When I was a kid it was my mom who followed little Alan and his ten siblings around, cleaning up after us. She didn't have a cat box to clean up though. No, she had something worse, little Alan's bed. At least I didn't poop in it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chandler Has a Gay Old Time

Chandler is so much different than my last dog Molly. Molly looked at the cats as furry little Pez dispensers that dropped turd flavored candies in the sand box for her convenience. Chandler however, takes it one step further. He tries to stimulate the ejection of that candy by licking the kitty's butts. Strangely, Fat Kitty doesn't seem to mind it much. Another difference is when I used to walk Molly, she never would eat strange things off the ground. She was too much of a fussy eater to partake of road kill, just meat and cat turds for her, thank you. This evening while on our walkies, Chandler found a toad squashed flat with it's innards squished out, and he stopped to lick it up. He got two or three licks in before I screamed in horror, and dragged him, kicking and licking, away from the carnage. Another difference between Molly and Chandler is that Molly was never sexually attracted to other dogs. Yes, she wanted to run over and play with them, or sometimes beat the crap out of them, whichever she felt was needed, but never did she show interest or want the interest of other dogs in 'that way'. Chandler is much different. Even though I had his nuts removed a year ago, he is sexually attracted to other dogs, and it's not female dogs that he wants. In a crowd of canines, he will ignore the females, and lavish attention on the male dogs. He has one neighborhood friend, a huge Great Dane named Kevin, who when the two of them get together, tries to mount poor little Chandler. I would have a little more pity for him if he didn't always turn around and stick his butt up in Kevin's face. However, Kevin isn't Chandler's true love interest. His absolute favorite and the one he looks for every time we walk is Dandy. He literally squeals with delight when he spots Dandy, and when they walk past our house Dandy whines and pulls his owner, Mandy (yes it's Dandy and Mandy), towards our front gate. So the feeling is mutual between Dandy and Chandler, and the two of them are so cute together that we set up a play date for them Sunday at the dog park. We'll just have to keep an eye on them, and make sure they don't disappear into the bushes.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Photo Friday

There is an ominous cloud hanging over Soldier Field, and it opened up and rained on the Steelers.
Go Bears!!
(This is not my photo)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Video Thursday

They poop in my pool and eat the vegetation, but I kind of like seeing them running around in the yard.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Texting For Dollars

I intend to make fun of someone's bowling in this post, so I have to make this disclaimer before I start. I have nothing to brag about when it comes to my bowling game. My bad eyesight combined with my impuissance, causes me to bowl like crap more often than I would like. I am bowling with an average that is close to what I started with twenty five years ago. I stink.

Monday night was the start of the fall bowling league. One guy on our team didn't want to bowl anymore, and because we couldn't find a replacement, we were assigned a young man to fill out our roster. I'd like to say he was a nice guy, but I can't. I never got to talk to him long enough to find out. He spent every moment he wasn't bowling, texting someone. When he did bowl, he was terrible. As bad as my bowling is, this kids bowling made me look like a pro. It wasn't as if it was his first time bowling, he came from another league and brought his average of eighty six with him. All night long he would sit back between turns, feverishly poking at his iPod, or peePod, or whatever the hell it was. When it was time for him to bowl, looking totally disinterested, he would get up and with a limp wristed toss, drop his ball on the alley. While we all held our breath waiting to see if the slow moving ball would end up in the gutter or actually hit some pins, he was already back texting.

I don't know what we are going to do with this guy. He seems to be addicted to texting, but he does have a 129 handicap. I do know that if I see him driving down the road, I will get the hell out of his way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Real Housewives Of Wilton Manors

Sunday night I was watching a very crappy Chicago Bears football game on television, and at half-time I put the TiVo on pause so I could walk the dog. Twenty minutes later, I returned home with Chandler after he had sniffed, peed, and pooped his way around the block. When I opened the door, there was Mark curled up on the sofa watching one of his favorite shows. "WHERE THE F**K IS MY FOOTBALL GAME??!!", "ARE YOU CRAZY? GOD DAMN IT, YOU'VE LOST MY GAME!!!", I bellowed. You see, if you change the channel when you have the television on pause, you lose the paused program, and Mark did this knowing full well that I had paused the game and was coming back. In full snit mode, Mark picked up his little tray of cheese, and glass of wine and stomped out of the room. I do admit that I may have over reacted a little bit, seeing as how I was recording the game and could just roll back to the start of the second half, but what good would it be if I didn't exercise my power as 'lord master' of the living room television and let out with a little rage.

Mark on the other hand, is the lord master of the bedroom television, and God forbid that I go in there and interrupt one of his shows. When Mark isn't in there watching it, the bedroom TV seems to be constantly TiVo-ing his insipid reality shows. If you look at his list of saved shows, it is one after another, 'Top Chef', 'Project Runway', 'Big Brother', 'So You Think You Can Prance', etcetera, etcetera. I tried to watch the television in the bedroom the other night while Mark was out, and all I could watch was 'The Real Housewives Of Atlanta', because Mark was recording it. So there I was, stuck watching one of these God awful reality shows that Mark loves so much, instead of my usual Dave Letterman Show. It was horrible. I have to tell you though, that Kim is a real bitch, and I hate her. I don't think it would be too awful if her wig business went broke. It would serve her right for talking crap about NeNe and Sheree.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last Friday

I turned on MSNBC this morning at nine o'clock, and there it was again. I was instantly transported back in time to September 11, 2001. MSNBC was reliving the horrors of that day by playing, in its entirety, the tapes from that morning. I did not turn on the television with the intent of watching one of the most terrifying days in our lives replayed. In fact I had not yet even thought about what day it was. I sat there transfixed as the second jet slammed into the building, and listened as a man talking to the Today Show via cell phone, broke down into tears. In my gut and psyche it was 2001 again, and it brought back all the feelings of that day as if time had stood still. After a few minutes of this, I turned the television off.

Why does MSNBC want to keep reliving that horrible day? They have done this every 9/11 starting in 2002, and I have watched it enough times to know that it brings back those horrible feelings. I never saw my parents relive December 7, 1941, and although we honored John F. Kennedy every November 22, after his assassination, I don't remember seeing anything like what MSNBC does every year. Maybe it's because we punished the Japanese so severely in 1945, and the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was dispatched by Jack Ruby thus paying for his crime, that we were able to let those things pass on into history. Unlike those episodes of our lives, the World Trade Center attacks have never been satisfactorily avenged. We attacked Afghanistan, yet the perpetrator of 9/11 escaped and still thumbs his nose at us. Then we invaded Iraq out of some invented connection to the 9/11 attacks, and that didn't give us any feeling of closure. It seems that until we can get our pound of flesh from the real villains, we just can't seem to let it go.

MSNBC needs to get over it, unless they are just doing it for ratings. I know I turned it off and won't go back until I'm sure it is done with. We all need to stop this obsession with terrorists and the 9/11 tragedy. Yes there are terrorists who hate us and we need to keep them from our doors, but if we keep playing their greatest hits every year, it only puts a big smile on Osama Bin Laden's face.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Photo Friday

Hooray! Football starts this weekend.

This is Sport Magazine from December 1949,
the year and month I was born.

Go Chicago Bears!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Video Thursday

No animals were harmed in the filming of this movie. Although, Fat Kitty did break a nail.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

There's No Crying In Gardening

Eunice is top row, second from left.

Here is an interesting fact about the neighborhood I live in. The house two doors down, used to be owned by one of the original 'League of Their Own' lady baseball players. Her name was Eunice Taylor and she was a great neighbor and friend, as was her partner Diana. They moved away some years ago, and sadly Eunice has since died.

Eunice may be gone, but the home she used to own is still here and it is now the eyesore of the block. It has gone through a couple of owners since Eunice sold it, the last one being an absentee owner. Now it is a forlorn mess, with a rotting roof and all sorts of vegetation growing around, and on it. For months now, I have been eyeing some plants that are growing on the roof of the carport. I have no idea what they are called, only that they would go great under one of my oak trees. So Sunday I dragged a step ladder over there and removed most of them. Each plant would have cost me about eight dollars at Home Depot, and I got fifteen of them off the roof. Yes a couple of neighbors came out and asked me what I was doing. One seemed to think I was strange, but the other one actually thanked me for making the place look a little less run down. I don't really care what they think. I now have some nice landscaping under the oak tree, and if I can find some more derelict homes, I might be able to finish the rest of the yard.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ace In The Hole

One of the most miserable jobs I have ever had was bartending. Besides the fact that it wasn't the ongoing party that you might think it was (it was really hard work), is the fact that I don't like drunks. To be more specific, I don't like drunks if I'm not getting drunk with them. The same was true when I drove a taxi in Chicago. Yes, once in a while some drunken fool would throw a pile of money over the seat without any idea that they just dropped four twenties wrapped in a couple of singles, but usually it was a backseat full of vomit and urine. No tip could cover that.

Twice a week I go over to Abandoned Pet Rescue, and walk the dogs. I truly enjoy taking them out. They don't care if I'm fat, or if I wear plaid shorts with a striped shirt, they are pee in your pants happy just to be taken for a walk, and they let me know it. Last Wednesday, while walking dogs, the guy who works in the bakery behind the shelter started shouting and waving at me. He was drunk. His eyes were glazed over, and he was staggering across the shit strewn field we walk the dogs in. "Hey man, I want a dog.", he slurred, as he grabbed the leash from one of the ladies walking dogs with me. "I'm gonna let him go, and if he comes back when I call him, I'll take him."

See what I mean about drunks? I'm sure in his mind he was being a nice guy who was only looking for a dog to adopt. I don't think the dog wanted to go with him though, he was peeing on the guys leg. I gently took the leash from his hand, and explained to him that we were responsible for the dogs and couldn't just give them away. Like most people who latch on to you when they are drunk, he was hard to shake. He followed us around for the rest of the walk, like a drunken puppy, and continued to follow us all the way into the shelter. So I pointed out the German Sheppard that had been abused and trained to kill anyone who entered his pen. "There's a nice dog that needs a home.", "His name is Ace."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Photo Friday

A sculpture called Green Lightning was displayed in downtown Chicago in November 1985. It was originally made for Buffalo, New York, but outraged the citizenry there. The panels are about twenty feet high, and were quite an interesting sight as you exited the Eisenhower Expressway. For more information see Green Lightning.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Video Thursday

Somehow I don't think Chandler is going to go for this.

I think I might try marketing a big cork and call it 'PooStop'.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I called my mom this morning. I had to make sure that the last post about her and the chickens, hadn't crossed the line. "I was just about to drop you a note about that.", she said. Oh crap, I thought, I'll have to delete it and do another one. But no, that wasn't the case. It turns out that my mom has a pretty good sense of humor. The only two things she wanted me to know was that, "I never swore that much. You make it sound like every other word out of my mouth was a cuss word." That is true, every other word, a cuss word, would be my dad who could string together a volley of profanity like no other man I have ever known. My mom did admit to one thing, and that was that her favorite curse word when she was young, was the word shit. I do remember that, and in fact she would often just let loose with a string of "shit, shit, shit, shit," when she was very upset, thus scarring little Alan for the rest of his life. The one thing that she wanted to stress however was that she no longer swears like that, after all she is a great grandmother.

The second thing she wanted to let me know, is that my dad doing the Sunday fried chicken didn't start after the chicken hacking incident. She told me that it started after he told her that he could make fried chicken as good as his mom. So she said "Fine, there's the kitchen, the frying pan, and the stove.". It turned out that he could actually do good fried chicken, although nothing like his moms. So in an act of pure genius, my mom enlisted my little sisters to do a little subversion. She had them tell my dad that his chicken was so superior to my mom's that they wanted him to always do the Sunday chicken. With the stroke of my dad's ego, my mom had managed to get herself a day of rest. From that time on, Sunday was the day dad made fried chicken.

Of course now I have to call mom again today, just to make sure I haven't put my foot in my mouth with this post. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mother Clucker

Mark is making another great meal tonight. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it's some kind of meat, and it smells great. Mark's meals can always be judged by how much of a mess he makes. Usually, if there is food dripping down the front of the cabinets, squished vegetables on the floor, and sauces splattered everywhere, it means dinner will be spectacular. Mark is a damn good cook, but even making a sandwich results in the kitchen looking like something exploded in there. That's okay, I am happy to clean up every evening, just as long as I keep getting fed.

My mom and dad had a similar arrangement, albeit only on Sundays. My dad used to make some damn good fried chicken every Sunday. The only problem was that he'd leave an awful mess that my mom would have to clean up. She says she didn't care that he left bread crumbs, and grease everywhere. She got a day off of cooking, and the chicken dinner was worth the cleanup.

I'm not sure, but I think my dad's Sunday chicken dinners got started after my dad brought home the wrong kind of chicken one Saturday. All I remember is that instead of cut up frying chickens, he had bought whole chickens. My mom is not a butcher, and either she didn't know how to cut up chickens, or after a day of dealing with us kids, she just didn't want to. It started with a few curses, "Damn, damn! If he expects me to cut these damn things up.....". The next thing I knew, my mom had a meat cleaver in her hand, and she started to whack at the chickens. Wham! "Damn son of a bi...." Wham! And a half of chicken leg went flying. Wham! "Shit, shit, shit, shit!" Wham! With each chicken part that my mom hacked up, she cursed my dad. I kind of think that at that moment, if my dad had walked in, we would have been orphans. Wham! More flying chicken parts. More cursing. Wham!

Things in the kitchen eventually got calm, and later we all sat down to a fried chicken dinner consisting of various mutilated parts. I could be wrong, but I think it might have been after this dinner that my dad became the sole person in charge of fried chicken at our house.