If there's one word to define Florida it would be moist. We are surrounded by oceans, most of the state south of Orlando is swamp, and it rains. It rains a lot. In fact sometimes it is hard to tell if it's very humid or it's raining.
Yesterday morning I got up, fed the cats, and took Chandler out for his walk. It was obvious that it had rained a lot overnight. As I walked through our parking lot with the dog, I noticed that Mark had left the windows open on the car... again. I opened the car door, and the noxious odor of wet dog fur and damp upholstery wafted out. The seats were soaked. Our car has had so much rain in it over the years that I've actually thought about turning it into a mushroom farm. The seats already have some kind of fungus growing out of them, so I might as well grow a crop of mushrooms. In fact now that I think about it, the car seats might be the source of the fungus infection I got on my ass a couple of years ago. Luckily none of this will show up on Carfax if I ever try to sell the thing.
I haven't had a good nights sleep now for at least six months. That's around the time Sasha stopped being insecure and quit sleeping under the bed. Now she sleeps on the bed. To be more specific, Sasha sleeps on, or under, or next to my head. The worst is when she wedges herself under my pillow. I end up in a state of half sleep where I am constantly checking to make sure I haven't smothered her, crushed her, or broken her little legs. And then there are the noises. Sasha pants. Half the night all I hear is the breathless panting of our little dog, which in a way is good. It drowns out the croaking of the frogs in the wall.
So, why don't I just pick her up and move her away from my head. I do. I pick her up and move her to a more comfortable spot, but before I can get my head down on the pillow, she pops right back. It's like she's on some kind of spring. So lately I've figured a way to get some head time for myself. I pick Sasha up and move her over to Mark's pillow. Sometimes she sticks, and spends the night just above Mark's head, panting and snoring. All too often though, in the middle of the night she finds her way back over to me, and I awaken to find those two little eyes staring at me from an inch away from my face. I'm not sure why she likes my head so much. Maybe it's because my hair reminds her of her mother, or one of her litter mates. I'm just happy that Chandler isn't the one who likes to sleep on my head.
When I was a kid, years went by at glacial speed. Even at the age of twenty, just imagining being thirty was difficult. It was so far away. Now that I have entered my sixties I realize that although looking back at, say the year 1983, seems like just yesterday to me, looking ahead twenty eight years looms like daybreak tomorrow. I'll be eighty nine in no time. That's why last Friday I wanted to kiss a lesbian.
I was out at our favorite Friday night bar, and I was talking to the owner, Lori, a nice lesbian lady of fifty years. We were both commiserating over our Catholic school upbringing.
"Yes, those nuns were kind of tough."
"Tough?" I choked on the words, "They were downright evil."
"I don't remember them being that bad."
"That's because you didn't go to Catholic school back in the 1950's."
That's when I started to recount the horrors of Saint George School. I told her about the three sided ruler we had to kneel on if we didn't show up for nine o'clock mass on Sunday. And then there was the rubber tipped pointer they'd beat us on our knuckles with until they were raw. One of their other favorite forms of torture was to draw a tiny circle on the blackboard and make you stand there with your nose up against it for what seemed like hours to a little kid.
The whole time I was recounting these atrocities Lori was looking at me like I was some kind of freak.
"You weren't around in the 1950's." she said incredulously.
"I was born in 1949."
She looked at me again, closely.
"I would have never guessed." she replied.
That's when I wanted to kiss that big old lesbian. But I didn't.
Mark believes in the old adage, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease". In fact I think it's his religion. For example, I have been with him in a store where I have watched him terrorize the manager over a simple price tag mistake, eventually getting the product at the reduced price, or even for free. When traveling I have seen him get upgrades just because he wore somebody down with his irritating, insistent demands.
A couple of years ago our little town of Gayberry installed parking meters. For some reason this irritated Mark, and he took it upon himself to make getting rid of them his personal crusade. He has cornered the vice mayor, and pled his case. The city manager has been the target of his constant phone calls, and the police chief has had to deal with his gripes about the tickets, and the ticket writers. He's had confrontations out on the street with the parking meter company employees, challenging the legitimacy of the meters. Mind you, Mark has never got a parking ticket. I suppose every cause needs it's champion, and besides I figured it was a nice hobby for him.
Monday afternoon the phone rang. It was the city manager for Mark. For about fifteen minutes I heard Mark's loud, squeaky voice going on about the ticket writers not wearing seat belts in the golf cart that they zip up and down the boulevard in. "...and they park in the traffic lane while they write the tickets, blocking traffic..."
On and on it went, and I figured the city manager would realize he had one of those nuts on the phone, humor him a little bit and then say goodbye. Well guess what. Today the ticket writers in their ticket writing golf cart were wearing seatbelts, parking off the street and walking over to the cars to ticket them. He didn't get the meters removed, but he got something done. I just hope they don't know who owns that PT Cruiser parked out on the boulevard.
Have you seen that advertisement on television? The one where the seventy two year old guy is strutting around, all buff with his shirt off, and espousing the benefits of a magical potion called 'T'? It turned him into Superman according to him and his thirty year old girl friend.
I went to my doctor two years ago for my annual checkup, and after taking some blood, he told me that I had high cholesterol, and low testosterone. So for the high cholesterol he put me on Crestor, and for the low testosterone he put me on a regimen of testosterone shots. The Crestor definitely worked, my cholesterol dropped significantly. As for the testosterone, I guess it worked. My testosterone level went up, but other than walking around horny all day, I didn’t see any difference in my life. After two years on ’T’, I don’t look anything like that guy in the ad. I’m still a flabby, overweight slob, and I don’t have any more energy than I did before. You may say, what’s wrong with being horny? Well, unless you have somebody who just can’t wait to help you out with that, it is really nothing more than a huge inconvenience. Every time I go online to pay bills, or write one of my little stories I seem to always end up spending an hour or two surfing porn sites. Very inconvenient. And don’t expect Mark to help me out, all I get from him is an eye roll, and the “I’m tired.” routine. So I went to the doctor last week to talk about this, and he suggested I up the amount of testosterone in the injection. I countered with the idea that I simply stop taking it all together, and free up a couple of hours a day for other tasks besides surfing the internet for porn. He looked at me kind of strangely, and then said “Okay, if that’s what you want, fine.” No, that’s not what I really want. What I really want is to be horny as a twenty year old man, and have the body and looks to go with it. Otherwise I’m just a dirty old fart walking around in a turgid state.
Pythons, grove rats, gigantic cockroaches, Nile monitor lizards, iguanas, anole lizards, bufo toads, termites that eat concrete, fire ants, killer bees, and now, (drum roll) super snails. It is a never ending invasion of critters, both lethal, and just pesky that we have to put up with here in Florida. Now it seems we have an infestation of giant African snails that grow up to eight inches long, and eat the stucco off your house. And if you think eating your home is not bad enough, they carry a tiny parasitic worm that can burrow into your brain, causing meningitis. Now do you understand why I want to move out of this hell hole?
Really, we have horrible critters, hurricanes, scorching hot and humid seven month summers, and to top all that off a tea party governor, senator, and congressman. I hate Florida!
This past week I had a plumber in to rebuild the shower I had rebuilt three years ago by a shady Florida 'contractor'. While he was here I had him look at Mark's shower, you know, the one where Sasha pees. The thing seemed to be leaking, and I wanted an estimate for rebuilding that one too. He looked it over, shined a flashlight into the access hole behind the shower, and informed me of the fact that "You have tiny frogs in the wall." Frogs? Fucking frogs in the wall?
"Don't you hear them at night croaking?" he asked.
No, no I don't. I have a fan that I let run all night to mask the noises of the rats in the attic, the snakes slithering around the floor, and the lizards skittering up the wall. No, I don't hear the croaking.
My mom, god love her, sent me a very sweet note yesterday. It read, "Thought this article would interest you. When you are old and alone you might like something like this." The article was about an old peoples home for the 'gays'. Mark's only comment about that was, "Alone? What the hell happened to me?"
I didn't even want to go into that, as the possibilities are endless.
Obviously my mom doesn't know me all that well. If she did she'd know that the last thing I want to happen is be banished to a place where I'd have to look at a bunch of wrinkled old farts like me. I don't mind old people, but I would like to be reminded once in a while what a young person looks like. And by young, I mean under fifty.
No, I don't plan on living in any kind of old peoples home. What I plan on, is that one of my twenty or so nephews and nieces will take me in. In fact, there are so many of them they could rotate me. Every two weeks they could pass me off to the next one so that they could air out the house. I will be an old fart, and at the rate I pass gas now, by the time I'm really old I should smell pretty bad. Anyway, the way I will get them to agree to doing this is by something I call the roulette will. I'll just put it in my will that whoever has me in their house at the time I kick the bucket, gets everything, and just as long as they don't realize I'm broke, it should work.
Monday I walk large dogs at Abandoned Pet Rescue. I love the dogs, and don't mind the effort it takes sometimes to do it. If you could see the eyes of some of the dogs as they look longingly at you, it would break your heart. It is sort of a pleading look, "Please take me home with you today. Don't lock me back in that cage."
Now don't get me wrong, those dogs and cats are well cared for. The walking of dogs is part of the way they keep them socialized to make it easier to adopt them out. All that being so, it isn't easy to put them back in the kennel and walk away.
One thing I don't like about the shelter is the smell. Once again, the shelter people take very strict steps to keep the place clean, and sanitary. Unfortunately when you have so many dogs in an enclosed space you are going to have odors. Dog poop, dog pee, and the ever present smell of wet dog, because some of them like to play in their water bowls. Add to that the fact that a few of us got caught in a sudden cloud burst on Monday, and the odeur de chien was over powering. So if anyone is ever in Fort Lauderdale, come on over to 1137 NE 9th Avenue, and save one of these dogs. They'll appreciate it, and we'll have room for one more little stinker.
I'm on a train pulling into the place I grew up in when suddenly I find myself walking, and then driving south towards the cornfields at the edge of town. The next thing I know, I'm standing in Rudy's candy shop, Rudy is mopping the floor with a bucket of Lysol......
"Alan! Is the football game over yet?"
Goddamn it, I was dreaming again. I'm pissed because Mark has awakened me from a deep sleep, and because I fell asleep during halftime again. I know, the two things are kind of opposite reasons to be pissed, but Mark constantly disrupts my sleep. He comes home late at night, and wakes me up, and for some reason he just can't stand to see me nap during the daytime hours. Then there is the fact that I didn't want to miss the second half of a good football game, they are few and far between for Bears fans. But that smell.
"Why do I smell Lysol?"
"There's no Lysol. I'm cooking dinner."
Damn, Mark's cooking has never smelled like disinfectant before.
"Well what the hell are you cooking."
"Dinner." Mark harrumphs, and stomps off into the kitchen.
After a while my sense of smell comes around, and I realize I'm smelling onions cooking. I also realize my hand is jammed in the crack between the seat of the recliner and the arm. As I pull my hand out I can feel things. I reach around down there and grab a handful of whatever it is, and put it up on the table next to the chair. Chandler perks up and looks at the pile. It's mostly coins, with a few pretzels, and peanuts mixed in. So like the good guy I am, I divide it. Stale pretzels, and peanuts for Chandler, and around five dollars in coins for me.
I had the germ of an idea last night for a video. Unfortunately I had the television on in the background while I was mulling over my idea. The TV was on MSNBC, and the republican 'debate'. It was like a narcotic. I fell into a deep sleep there in my recliner, and woke up hours later with drool rolling out of the corner of my mouth. I never did make that video so here is one of my emergency videos to take the place of Alicia, and Alexis. It features the republican presidential hopefuls from last night.
I don't consider myself to be a stupid person, yet I do some stupid things. Like last Friday evening. As usual I went up to my favorite bar planning to have my three cocktails, and come home. About halfway through my second vodka/soda, the bartender put shots in front of the four of us. What the hell was in those shots, I have no idea, but they tasted of pineapple, and coconut, and went down easy. The stupid part is that I know when I deviate from my three cocktail regimen, I get sick the next day. Five thirty, Saturday morning, I'm hunched over the kitchen sink spewing out chewed peanuts, popcorn, and a mixture of vodka, pineapple, and coconut that I ingested the evening before
I understand when I'm stupid, I admit it. What I don't like is other people assuming that I'm stupid, such as the folks who send out mail addressed to me, like this.
I get things like this all the time. They are dressed up to look like some kind of quasi-official government communication. This one says that it is for the "United States Mail Recipient". I feel so important, I'm one of the few who qualify to receive this, along with three hundred and seven million other people. It makes me wonder, do some people actually fall for this stuff? I just put it through the shredder without even opening it, but somebody must open these things and respond. The guys who send this stuff out must be making money from it, no matter how obvious it is that it's junk. By the way, this one was from a auto dealership.
For over a week Mark has bugged me about taking the dogs to a doggie cocktail hour at the very smart, Riverside Hotel. It sounded like a nice time. You can bring your dogs, and they promised half price cocktails, and appetizers. I couldn't refuse. So off we went on Sunday evening, stuffing both Sasha and Chandler into the back seat of the car. When we got to the hotel a nice man directed us out to the little dog party in the courtyard, where Mark and I ordered drinks and the dogs were served gourmet dog cookies. It was very nice. In fact I think it was too nice. Absolutely every other dog there was a pedigree breed, and absolutely every person we talked to had to ask, "What breed is your dog?"
"A mutt, my dog is a mutt."
"Oh well, mutts are the best, aren't they?" they would reply, as they turned away with little Fifi in tow.
Chandler, on the other hand, didn't give a shit. He just went around sniffing everyone's butt. He seemed especially interested in a large standard poodle. He sniffed and sniffed at the large black testicles dangling from the pure white dog, as if to say, "What the hell are these, and why don't I have any?"
The answer of course is, "You are a mutt, and mutts don't have nuts."
As pleasant as it all was, I wanted to leave after about an hour. I not only was sweating rivers of perspiration, it was still ninety degrees out there, but Chandler had decided he didn't like the waiter. The poor guy was only being nice, giving Chandler a little pat on the head, when Chandler went into a full on, loud barking jag. It scared the hell out of the waiter, and of course all the other patrons looked over at us like we had farted at a funeral. I'm sure they were all whispering, "The dog is a mutt you know."