Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ass Burrs, and Schnauzer Hair

It's five o'clock in the morning and I've awakened to a sharp pain emanating from between my ass cheeks. It's another burr that little Sasha has brought into the house, and somehow it has found it's way into my underpants. Over the last few weeks I've learned that schnauzers are like Velcro. Literally like Velcro. When I take Sasha down to the church on the corner to take a poop, she comes out of the weeds they call a lawn, with burrs all over herself. Burrs of all kinds including the most painful, sharp, and prickly of the little bastards. While I manage to get the most obvious ones picked out of her hair, there always seems to be that one that hangs in there, hiding until the dog jumps up into the bed where it manages to come loose.

Sasha has been with us now for about three weeks, and I have to say it's been a learning experience for the both of us. Sasha has learned where the bathrooms are, and pees in both Mark's shower and my bathtub. For Mark that has been a traumatic experience, while as for me, I just turn on the shower and rinse it down. One thing I haven't figured out yet is where she gets her sustenance. I put her food out at the same time as Chandler's, yet long after Chandler's bowl is empty, hers is still sitting there with food in it. The fact that she is in the kitchen at all the same times that Mark is in there, and the fact that she has taken up the spot next to Mark's right arm while he is eating dinner, may explain that.

Sasha is a good dog, and has quietly blended into the menagerie. She causes few problems other than the fact that I have had to rethink the logistics of feeding the cats. Although she seems to have no use for the dog food I put out for her, the cat food is irresistible. And while she does want to eat the cat's food, at least she doesn't seem to have a taste for Chandler's secret snack, the kitty litter box.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Just a Simple Meal

November eighth, on the airplane coming back from Boston, I heard this from Mark's mouth. "This year I'm going to keep it simple for Thanksgiving. Only five dishes, I'm not going overboard."

This is what was served last Thursday.
  • Bacon wrapped dates, stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese and chorizo.
  • Butternut squash ravioli, with mascarpone cheese, fried sage, and a candied pecan.
  • Salad of greens with sliced pears, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, more candied pecans, dried cranberries, topped with pear vinaigrette.
  • Macaroni and cheese.
  • Spinach soufflĂ©.
  • Collard greens.
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Mashed potatoes
  • The Turkey
  • The stuffing from the turkey made with sausage, dried cranberries, chunks of apple, and who the hell knows what else was in there, but it was delicious.
  • And finally, homemade pumpkin cheese cake. In fact everything was homemade, including the candied pecans.

This feast took Mark three days to prepare, not including the shopping. When I confronted Mark with the fact that he hadn't kept it quite so simple, he protested and pointed out that he hadn't made any sweet potatoes, and other than the appetizer, amuse bouche (that's what he called the ravioli), turkey, stuffing, and desert, there were only five other things on the table.

I don't know of anyone who would have attempted a dinner of that magnitude without four other people helping them. As it was, by the time dinner was served I was already beat. Just about every two hours a call would come from the kitchen for me to go in there and clean it up. As each dish, and course of dinner was prepared, Mark would somehow turn the kitchen into a battle zone, with food everywhere. On the walls, on the cabinets, and on the piles of implements he would use for cooking. The only place that wasn't covered with food bits was the floor. Sasha, Chandler, and the cats kept that relatively clean. After dinner it took me hours to clean up, and the dishwasher ran non-stop for about twelve hours.

Next year I have a plan. I am going to save up money for the next twelve months, and on Thanksgiving day I will present Mark with a paid helper. His very own kitchen slave. Someone to help him prepare, serve, and clean up. I will then wrap the invoice up for that persons pay, and put it under the Christmas Tree with  'Merry Christmas Mark' on it. I'm sure that will go over nicely.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Photo Friday

Thursday Afternoon, Thanksgiving Day

Sasha isn't quite sure what the hell Thanksgiving is,
but she sure likes the fallout from under Mark.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Chance of Showers

I first noticed it a couple of weeks ago, pee on the floor of the shower. Yes I know, so what's new, doesn't everybody do it? Yes, I think so, but this was showing up when nobody had been in the shower, and besides I only do it while the water's running. My immediate suspicion was Fat Kitty. That cat is always hanging around the shower, and licking up water off the floor. Anyway, it didn't matter to me, I'd just wash it down. The fact that she was doing it in there and not on the rug was a relief in itself. After all she is getting older, and they don't make kitty Depends.

Last night after bowling I came home to find Mark cowering in the corner of the bedroom.
"Look in the shower. I haven't been able to go in there all night."
I figured a dead rat was in there, so I walked in, turned on the light, and there it was. A dog turd in the shower. A dog turd deposited in the middle of a puddle of pee in the shower. The mystery was solved. Sasha is shower trained. She could poop on the rug next to Mark's side of the bed. That would be exciting, especially in the middle of the night. Or, she could leave one behind the sofa, or under the dining room table, causing me to search for the aromatic gift. But no, she being a well brought up little dog put it in the most convenient, easy to clean place she could find.

Sasha was supposed to be Mark's dog. He has in fact walked her twice in two weeks, fed her zero times, and has never picked up one of her turds. He also wants to change her name to Toto, and he wonders why she never comes when he calls her. No, the fact is that Sasha is Chandler's dog. She is the one that entertains him now, chasing around the living room every evening instead of him bringing me a saliva soaked squeaky toy to throw a hundred times. So if she wants to poop in Mark's shower, I say fine. If she wants to poop next to Mark's side of the bed, she has to warn me. I need time to go get the video camera.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where Were You When......

It is one of the most vivid memories of my youth. It was on a Friday and there were two boys brawling in the playground a block down from school. It's the noon hour, and after lunch we all hung out at that playground. Parents weren't so paranoid back then as they are now. Kids were allowed more freedom, and one of our freedoms was that we could leave the school yard at lunch time. Rudy's candy store, the playground in the park, or if we lived close enough, home.

So why is that particular fight so vivid in my memory? Because I also remember a kid running up from the street, telling us that the president had been shot. That stopped the fight, and I remember us all making our way back to the school. I remember the announcement by the principal, coming across the speaker in our classroom, that the president had died. Many of the incidents of that weekend are still so clear to me, yet so many other occasions of importance in my life draw a blank. Why do I remember watching on a Sunday morning Oswald being shot as clearly as if I watched it a day ago? I think it is because I was paying attention. More attention than I do for most day to day occurrences.

So many of my pot filled moments during my twenties are lost. Even when I wasn't smoking pot, my memories are sketchy. That's why when I know that a moment is really important now, I make it a point to pay attention and try to experience it fully. Yet for some reason only those traumatic times tend to completely burn into my memory, like September eleventh, and February fourteenth, 1988, when I projectile vomited across the hospital room after my first chemo treatment.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thursday Night Football, Bears 16, Dolphins 0

I've always resented those people I see parking in handicapped spaces who hop out of the car, and stroll effortlessly away. It seems that there are a lot of folks out there abusing that system.

This past Thursday night I got to see the other side of handicapped parking, and it was sweet. Well, not so sweet for my elderly brother who has messed up knees and has trouble walking, but for me as a passenger it was great. While everyone else was being herded into the gigantic parking lot a mile from the entrance to Joe Robbe/Pro Player/Dolphin/Land Shark/Sun Life Stadium, My brother and I were waved on through to the parking lot that sits within spitting distance of the entrance we wanted. Easy in, easy out, it seemed like a good omen.

One odd thing about attending a football game at JRPPDLSSL Stadium, is that they pat you down on your way in. They frisk you like the TSA at the airport, except at the stadium that job is left up to bored, minimum wage workers. When it came my turn to be frisked, the poor guy just looked at me with a worn out look on his face and kind of waved his hands around me. As a courtesy to him, I pretended to go along with the 'air' frisking by lifting my arms a couple of inches.

All in all we had a great time at the football game. The Bears won, no fights broke out in our section, and I only had to pee once due to my policy of not drinking anything at football games. I know that sounds harsh, but if you've ever been in a stadium bathroom you know that passing on the alcohol pays off in the long run. The only remotely bad thing about the evening was that my poor brother had to wedge himself into the tiny stadium seat, and every few minutes he had to drag himself up on his bad knees to let some drunken shmoo out to take a pee.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two Visitors

Not much I can write about today. I'm very busy cleaning the house, and getting ready for two visitors. First there is Dennis, my very best drinking buddy. Yes Mark is my buddy, but he is horrible to go drinking with. He just stands around the bar looking cool, slowly sipping his little fruity drink, while Dennis slugs down vodka faster than I do. And besides, I can say almost anything to Dennis, and he doesn't get into a snit or get embarrassed, unlike Mark. Dennis will be here for a week, so my liver should get a workout.

Then there is my brother. He's coming down from Orlando for a Miami Dolphins football game. No, we're not going to the football game to see the Dolphins. We are going to the football game to see the Dolphins get the shit kicked out of them by the Chicago Bears (I hope). The last time we saw the Bears at the Dolphins, the Bears were getting beat badly, and my brother and I left the game with about five minutes left. Between the time we left our seats and got to the car, the Bears came from seventeen points behind, to tie the game. We watched the overtime on television at my house. So this time we will stay until the end. Even if it means we have to endure the insults of victorious Dolphin fans. I think I can take it though, at least they aren't Green Bay poopy Packer fans.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Old Folks at Home

Before I go on with this let me be the first to say I am sixty years old, and I am probably closer to death than I am to my high school graduation. Forty three years ago the concept of actually being sixty years old, was to me, a nebulous image of living in Florida with a bunch of other old people waiting to die. Well, I am not waiting to die, the rest of it is pretty close to reality though.

So here it is. All you youngsters up north in New York, Chicago, and everywhere in between, Quit packing up grandma and grandpa every November, and sending them down to Fort Lauderdale. I've seen them at the airport, and wandering through the shopping malls down here, and they don't look all that happy to be here. They look lost. Have you ever even asked them if they really want to spend the winter in Florida?

Last Monday when we were returning from Boston, we had twelve (I counted) folks from age seventy to a hundred and seventy, in wheel chairs trying to get on the plane. On top of that there were the ones with the walkers with tennis balls on the tips, shuffling around, and bumping into the wheel chairs. When the gate attendant announced that folks who need extra help could board early, all the wheel chairs and walkers moved towards the entrance en masse. The only people left at the gate to board normally after that were me, Mark, and a couple of geezers who slept through the initial announcement.

I just got back from shopping for dog food, and cat food, something I do constantly for some reason, and I couldn't get over how many old people were clogging the aisles at Publix. I don't mean old like me, or even like my mom, I mean old like they actually witnessed the first airplane flight. So please, please, won't you consider asking grandma and grandpa if they'd like to stay up north this year? Ask them if they'd rather be doted on by their loving grandchildren, and children all winter, instead of driving up US1 with their door open and the left turn signal blinking for miles. Because honestly, it's dangerous enough with Mark out on the roads, and me pushing the cart through the super market.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Despite what happened this Sunday morning, I think I made the right decision. Last Tuesday I was rolling the trash cans out to the street which means that I had the gate to the dog run/utility yard open. The next thing I knew I was standing out by the side of the street surrounded by my tenant's two pugs, and a mysterious little black dog that I had never seen before. John had let his dogs out without checking to see if the gate was closed, again. With a quick whistle and 'come', John's pugs went scampering back to him. The little black dog stayed out front, and ran over to me, wagging it's tail like I was her long lost mother.
"Her name is Sasha." John called over to me.
He then proceeded to tell me the sad tale of Sasha's owner, and how she had asked John to find a new home for her dog. It involved cancer, chemo, and downsizing into a studio apartment. While John talked, we walked with the little dog back to my kitchen door. When I opened it up, Sasha ran in and introduced herself to Chandler, then the kitties, and finally jumped up onto the sofa and said hi to Mark. It's now Sunday and she's still here, so we've decided to adopt her. Sasha is a seven year old miniature schnauzer, is totally house broken, and came complete with AKC papers, and her own bed.

Chandler, despite the glum look on his puss in the photos, seems happy to have her around. They actually have been playing together, running around the living room, and tearing up the place. The cats look at her like she is just another piece of furniture, and she is totally disinterested in them. I have been taking both dogs out at the same time for walks around the block. It means twice the stops for sniffing, twice the stops for pissing, and shitting, and it means I have to pick up two piles of dog crap to carry home. Up until this morning everything had been going just great.

Chandler has a best friend named Dandy. They walk together all the time, playing and romping all the way. They also have a 'girlfriend' named Cammie, a cute dog just a little smaller than Chandler. The problem is that when she's around, Dandy and Chandler are both trying to hump her which causes them to get aggressive towards each other. Unfortunately this morning poor Sasha got caught between them, and when she started yapping they turned on her. As all hell broke loose, I started spinning with little Sasha on the end of the leash, trying to keep her away from the testosterone crazed males. Dandy's owner started screaming something in German (she's from east Germany), while Cammie's owner just stood there grinning. So Sasha is spinning, Mandy is screaming, and I'm trying to reach in to the maelstrom to grab Sasha. Sunday's walk taught me a new lesson, and that is don't let Chandler near that little slut Cammie when Dandy is around. His baser instincts take over, which is kind of mystifying to me seeing as neither Chandler nor Dandy have a ball between them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Photo Friday

It's black, yaps, and has a short haircut. No, it's not Mark.

 Read about it on Monday

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


So this past weekend Mark and I ventured on up to Boston to attend the wedding of two of our friends. It was a spectacular affair, taking place on the roof of the best hotel in Boston, with the reception downstairs in an opulent dining room. It would have been nice if they could have had the wedding down here in Florida, but because of the narrow mindedness of some people, Boston was the location. I think if most folks could see the happiness of the two grooms, and the happy families on both sides, they'd change their minds about same sex marriages. Unless of course they are heartless bastards.

The wedding and reception took place on Saturday, and lasted for about seven hours. That meant that Mark had about ninety five hours left in the weekend to go shopping. If you subtract the time he slept, and the time he was drunk from the wedding reception, the time left for shopping was reduced to fifty nine hours. Even when Mark is allegedly 'sightseeing', he is actually shopping. It's a fact that every museum, every historical site, and even the hotel we stayed in have gift shops. When I would tire out, and take a rest in our hotel room, Mark would be out shopping. How sick is Mark? How bad is his CSD (compulsive shopping disorder)? We were walking through the North End neighborhood of Boston, and Mark saw a mass of people converging on the front door of a small store. Mark bolted.
"Where are you going?"
"I don't know, people, look at that line....."
He didn't know why they were there. He didn't know what they were selling inside. He just knew he needed to get in that line.
I waited outside.
Ten minutes later a grinning Mark emerged from the store, pushing past the crowd of people, holding a small white box.
"Cannolis, they were all waiting to buy cannolis."

I would have never ran over to stand in line to buy cannolis. I would almost never willingly go towards a line for anything and stand in it. But you know what? I’m glad Mark does. Those damn cannolis were delicious.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Don't Opt Out

It was a simple request, "I'd rather go through the other screening machine please."
It was as if I had just asked for permission to punch the TSA agent's mother in the gut.
"You want to opt out?", I was asked in a loud accusatory voice. "Sir, do you understand what that means?"
Yes, I did. It meant that I wanted to go through the same metal detector that Mark had just gone through, not the scanner. It looked a lot easier than standing there with my hands over my head and giving some TSA flunky a look at my ass. Mark and I were on our way to Boston for the weekend, and as is tradition, nothing goes smoothly when I travel.

"Sir, wait right here.", was the order from TSA guy number one. Immediately a meeting of the minds began on the other side of the security equipment. With many glances in my direction, and a few fingers pointed, TSA was deciding what to do with me. Meanwhile I stood there with my shoes off, and my belt off, while I watched the said belt and shoes slowly snaking their way through the x-ray machine along with my wallet and everything else that had been in my pockets. I was the center of attention. Other passengers looked at me with scorn, and I was sure I heard a few snickers, and curses.

After a few minutes TSA guy number two came over and explained that I would have to be hand checked, and that this would involve touching of my groinal area. He continued to explain that I would be groped from my head to my toes, and asked if I had any areas that are sensitive to pressure.
"No, but all I wanted was to use the other machine...."
"Sir, you opted out and now have to be hand frisked."
I was being punished.
"Okay, let's get it over with.", I replied.
But no. It's not that easy. They have to make an example of you. I was herded over to an area off to the side of the security lines, but not out of view of the rest of my fellow travelers. It was as if they wanted everyone to see me being humiliated. Rubber gloved hands roamed up and down my body, with the TSA agent explaining out loud exactly what part of me he would be grabbing next. Five feet away, a Spanish speaking woman was being treated to the same attention by another TSA agent. Meanwhile, across the great divide was Mark, arms flailing about, and his squeaky voice drifting across. "Just go wait for me at the gate.", I shouted over to him.

It's obvious that I was being put on display for all the other travelers to see. I was the 'teaching moment' for them.
"Look, this is what happens when you don't go along with the script." was the implied message.
Well I can tell you, I learned from it. This morning when I passed through security returning from Boston, I followed each directive like Mary's little lamb, and as my reward I was allowed to watch some other schmuck get frisked as I breezed through.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not All Lesbians Look Like Cubans

You would think that with my brain so damn close, that smarter things would come out of my mouth. Unfortunately the opposite seems to be true. Maybe it's that short route to the tongue that makes it difficult for me to regulate what's about to be blurted out before I actually do. When Mark and I are out at bars, or parties, I have actually seen him cringe when I started making my corny jokes, and observations.

I have said the wrong things in the wrong situations more than a few times in my life. In fact it just happened recently, but I'll not recount that incident as it would only make the results worse. Instead I'll just give you two examples of how I've managed to fit my foot, all the way up to the ankle, squarely in my mouth.

Example number one. While discussing with a friend the health of his partner, I managed to bring up the fact that I knew somebody who had died from exactly the same malady. I immediately realized how insensitive that was, and my gaffe was hammered home by the few moments of silence that followed. Luckily my friend still talks to me, though not too much about his partners health.

On another occasion, Mark and I were at a party and for some reason I decided to bring up the subject of Cuban women's hair.
I opened my mouth and this came out.
"Why do all older Cuban women wear lesbian haircuts?"
After a few seconds of silence, one of Mark's closest friends who happened to be Cuban, informed me in a frosty tone that, "My mother wears her hair like that, and she is not a lesbian."
Unfortunately it created a rift between Mark and his friend, and they never talked again. That was sad, and I obviously shouldn't have said what I said at that time. Now I'm not saying that the content of the statement was wrong, and I shouldn't think that way. No, it was that I said it out loud.... in front of a Cuban..... at a party in front of a bunch of other people.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Video Thursday

Halloween in Wilton Manors. 
Mark went as Obama again. Not quite as popular as the last time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Political Porn

I was walking Chandler around the block, taking in the vista of political yard signs, and I thought about how horrible this election season has been. Even locally the candidates were nasty to each other, accusing one another of taking tainted money, and acting as if their shit didn't stink. Yet even as the last of the yard signs are pulled up during the next few weeks, we will have to live with the hangover caused by this election. The ones who were actually elected.

Thankfully the phone calls have stopped. It got to the point in the last week, that when the phone would ring, I'd hit answer, and then off immediately if I didn't recognize the number. There wasn't much relief when watching the television either. At least For a little while now I can watch without the ominous music, dark images, and fearful talk about all the horrible things that were done or will be done by the 'other guy'. We all complain about the negative ad campaigns that are run, constantly bitching that we don't like them. Unfortunately I don't see them ending for many elections to come, mostly because they really do work.

Here in Florida there was only one candidate who ran positive commercials telling us exactly what he was for. They were upbeat, and when the ad was over you didn't feel like you needed to scrub the filth off yourself. So how did that guy do? Well, Kendrick Meeks got twenty percent of the vote. It's kind of like pornography. You hear folks complaining about it, forever religion has been condemning it, and your mother scolded you about it, yet pornography is the biggest cash cow on the internet. They only give the people what they want, just like in politics.

P.S. At least one good thing came out of the election. Ken Keechl (read about him here) lost.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Don't Know Why This Isn't In 'Hints From Heloise'

I used to have a good friend who couldn't eat a meal without half of it ending up everywhere except in his mouth. If he were eating spaghetti, you could be sure that after the meal, when you were cleaning up, you'd find a couple of strands of the stuff hanging from the ceiling. On the floor around his chair would be bits and pieces of everything that had been on his plate. Going out to dinner with him was always an adventure. One thing I learned early on was that if there was a salad bar, to make sure I got to it before he did. You see, as he would make his way along the salad bar sampling each offering, food would be flying, sticking to the sneeze guard, and slopping over into the vats of chick peas and salad dressings. It was pretty disgusting. You might ask, why would I continue go out to dinner with this guy? It's because he had an excuse. He had Tourette’s Syndrome, that entertaining neurological disorder that is part acrobatics and part performance art. Goddamnsonofabitch!

That was over thirty years ago. Unfortunately my friend has passed on, and I’ll never get to hear him blurt out dirty words in a crowded room ever again. No more flying food, or sudden herky jerky movements while driving a car down the road. I do however, still get to be around somebody who leaves as much food on the floor, walls, and ceiling, as my old friend did. That person would be Mark. I’m not quite sure how he does it because he doesn’t have Tourette’s, and there is no obvious flinging of the food. It just so happens that when he gets up from the dinner table, there are bits and scraps of food everywhere. Over the years I’ve learned that after dinner, If I take my time cleaning up, my little critter friends will have done half the work for me. Chandler will always deal with the floor, licking it clean of all traces of food. As for the dinner table, all I have to do is clear it of the plates and flatware, and then leave the rest up to Fat Kitty. Sooner or later she will always find her way up there, and graze her way across the table, feeding on Mark‘s leftovers. It may not be very sanitary, but I find it gives me a head start on the overall cleanup after dinner. Now if I could only get one of them to wash the dishes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Very Scary Night

Whoa what a scary night.

Chandler is barking and trying to go through the window because the possum is outside again. That critter is amazingly huge and healthy looking, largely because I am apparently feeding it a diet of cat food that the cats have generously offered up to the beady eyed creature. When I go out there to chase the thing away, it just looks contemptuously at me with those fangs and that long rat tail, like I'm the interloper. Then there is Mark in his Halloween costume, looking remarkably like Obama trying to force healthcare on me. Damn, access to healthcare can really be frightening. Meanwhile, up and down the street a few little kids can be seen in various costumes, threatening to trick the neighbors who don't give in to their demands for candy. Further on up the road is the annual Wilton Manors Halloween celebration, full of drag queens and guys prancing around in skimpy costumes, trying to show as much skin as possible without being arrested. That wouldn't be scary but for the pot bellied, out of shape men who have a completely skewed self image, also showing way too much skin.

But of course that is not the scary night that I'm talking about. Halloween is child's play. Huge possums cavorting outside the living room window, antagonizing Chandler, is something I can deal with. Even Mark dressed as Barack Obama doesn't scare me. No, none of that is part of the scariest night of the year. Tomorrow night when I am sitting in front of the television watching the government being taken over by witches, head stompers, people who see invisible headless Mexicans, and folks who don't believe in evolution or science, that is when I will be scared to death.

Watching those election returns, whoa, that is a scary night.