Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Troubling Tuesday

Tuesday was a crazy day. It was one of those confusing, frustrating, and hectic days that come along once in awhile. As you may know, I am re-decorating my office, and I have hired a friend of Mark's to get the old wall paper off the walls. I tried my hand at it, but after five minutes I realized that this was actually labor intensive. Lucky for me, Mark's friend Willie is a six foot, two inch tall, young Puerto Rican and very capable of doing the job. Later in the afternoon A.T. & T. called to inform me that the cheaper upgrade for my internet and voice that I ordered was actually going to cost me more money, and I would have to install an extra phone line if I wanted to keep my second phone number. I told the  A.T. & T. lady to cancel the order. She told me that I would have to talk to a special department for cancelling orders if I was going to do that. I ended up on hold for forty minutes waiting for 'John' to help me. By the time 'John' picked up the line I was fuming, but that's okay, I'm sure he's heard most of those words I used before. Finally, there was breakfast with Mark. We went out for breakfast, and at the restaurant I informed Mark that I was not going to fulfill his full Christmas wish list. There was no way in hell that I was going to buy him a goddamned, five hundred dollar food blender. That's right, five hundred dollars. He pled his case by telling me that it actually made soup right in the blender. I countered with the fact that I can actually make soup right in a pot on the stove, or even in the microwave oven. Mark countered my argument with pursed lips, an icy stare, and silence. The silence lasted all through breakfast.
I just know his mother never gave him a good slap in the puss when he was a kid.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I kept trying to look away, but the woman kept asking me questions that I had to answer, and it just wouldn't be right for me to be looking off into the distance as I talked to her. As hard as I tried I couldn't look her in the eyes when I was looking at her. I was distracted.

On Sunday I helped the shelter do an adoption meet and greet event at the Los Olas Boulevard, Children's Winterfest. I brought out little Blackie the poodle, and Iggy, a large ten month old puppy of dubious heritage. My duty was to walk the dogs around and entice folks to start petting them, and then to breach the subject of adopting them when it became apparent they had fallen in love. It was Iggy that had caught the fancy of a woman of indeterminate age who obviously had spent too much time in the Florida sun.
"So what does it take to adopt a dog?" she asked while down on her knees petting Iggy. After asking the question she continued cooing to Iggy about what a good puppy he was. The problem was that her puppies were hanging out of her low cut top. The two leathery, and pendulous, silicone sacks would swing out for full viewing every time she bent over to whisper sweet nothings to Iggy.
"Uh, yes how to adopt...ahh, just swing over to the shelter, and pop in, and they'll help you fill out a form."

You know, many cities, and states have laws against young men wearing their pants halfway down their asses. It's obscene they say. I say they never saw two softballs in two old brown paper sacks swing their way. However I don't think it was obscene so much as it was traumatic for me and the little children in the vicinity.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Left Behind

Friday afternoon, and Mark is hungry.
"Where's the gravy, where's the damn gravy?"
He is in the kitchen shouting as loudly as he can, which isn't so much loud as irritatingly screechy. Crap, I thought to myself, I must have thrown it out.
"I don't know Mark. Maybe somebody took it home with them."
But I knew that wasn't true.
"I'm never cooking Thanksgiving dinner again, you bastard."
It looked like just more stuff in the bottom of a pan to me, and I threw it out. After hours of Mark in the kitchen cooking, roasting, and baking, we all sat down for a gigantic meal. Turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, and finally collard greens. After jamming as much as possible down our throats, and drinking copious amounts of wine and vodka, Mark and the dinner guests moved over to the living room. I moved into the kitchen. I felt gooey. I could barely move, and the fact that my pants were unsnapped, and my belt unbuckled didn't help. In the kitchen it looked like a tsunami had hit, followed by a hurricane. All I wanted was for it to all go away. I started throwing food in containers for the guests to take home, and much of the rest in the garbage bin. I shouldn't have done that. I shouldn't have taken Mark's hard work and just dumped it, but I was tired, and the wine had taken away my reason.

"Where are the collard greens? Where the hell are my collard greens?"
Mark was on the rampage again, it seems that I had dumped that too.
"Uh, I think Garrett took that home with him. There wasn't very much left anyway."
I did save the turkey, ham, and stuffing. I had saved plenty of that, but the refrigerator was bursting on Thursday evening, and I dumped a lot of food out.

Mark was still pissed and scrounging around for his lunch, "Where the hell is my macaroni and cheese? Did you throw out my macaroni and cheese you asshole?"
Ah ha, I didn't. This time I could turn it all around on Mark. It was pushed way towards the back of the fridge. Finally I had won one.
"Here it is." I said, as I smugly tossed the Tupperware container on the table. It didn't help, there may be no turkey dinner for me next year. Of course there also won't be a horrible mess for me to clean up afterwards either.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

 Oddly enough, I am in the extreme right in almost every one of these photos.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Clusterz Futz

Help! I've got a monkey on my back, and it's called Clusterz. I don't remember when I discovered this stupid game, but I am addicted to it. I'm not sure if it's the hypnotic music that accompanies it, or the sound of the bubbles popping that keeps me coming back, but I do come back. Last week I managed to play all the way to level 20. One week later, and after at least five hundred attempts, I was still playing level 20. I have a house to clean, my office to re-decorate, and plenty of other chores to do, yet here I sit playing this stupid game on the computer. There was one good thing that happened this afternoon though. I finally broke through and beat level 20. Now I'm working on level 21. I'm sure it'll be much easier than the previous level.

Click on Clusterz!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It Gets Better (With a little help from mom)

I hear a lot about bullying on the news these days, and I hear about how schools are trying to stop it. That's very commendable, but sometimes simple is better.

I was talking to my mom on Sunday and she related a story to me that had me rolling. It wasn't that the story was out of her character, because she was always one to stand up for her children. No, it was funny because it was the definitive mom that I know, and have known. Way back nearly forty years ago one of my little sisters was having a problem with a boy spitting in her hair and hitting her on the way home from school. Mom said, "Fine, I'll pick you and your sister up after school tomorrow." Now my mom had a good twenty four hours to think about this, and I'm sure it was irritating her more and more to know her sweet child was being harassed. So at the end of school that day she rolled up in the gigantic Ford station wagon, and picked the girls up. They were about three blocks from the school when my sister piped up, "That's the boy who spits in my hair." pointing to a knot of boys walking on the sidewalk. Without hesitation mom gunned the engine, sped across the little drainage ditch between the road and the sidewalk, onto the sidewalk, and stopped inches from the little punk. She then got out of the car and told him that if he ever picked on her child again she would not stop next time. He would be road kill.

My sister was never picked on again, by anyone. The word was out, her mom was crazy. I called my sister to verify that story, and it was true. in fact she says she ran into that boy, now a man, and he remembered that day. He said it terrified him. So all the school anti-bullying programs are nice, but sometimes having your mom threaten to kill the little bastards works too. The only down side to that are the monthly trips to see mom in prison.

Monday, November 21, 2011

And Don't Forget That Meow Mix Under the Desk

'Crunch, crunch, crunch...'
What the hell is that? Somewhere in the corner of my office something is munching away on something. My first suspicion is a rat, and I shudder. Mark has been bugging me for the last few months about re-decorating my office, and I have finally given in. Saturday I started the deconstruction of the place, and there is crap everywhere making it a bit harder to pin point the source of the munching sound.
'Crunch, crunch, crunch....'
The sound continues as I come around the back of the sofa, and try to see what's in the corner. I'm a bit tentative, fearing that I may come face to face with a filthy rat. I move the side table out of the way, and there it is. Two shiny brown eyes look up at me, "Well hello there Sasha. What the hell are you eating?"

It seems that Sasha has found a pile of cat food left behind by the late Fat Kitty, and is feasting on the stale treat. Either that or maybe some old cat yak that had been hiding under the sofa. There is no telling what will turn up as I continue tearing apart my office. I haven't moved anything in here since a year ago when Dennis visited. Hopefully this job won't be too complicated. One of the things I have to do is strip off the wallpaper that Mark put up fifteen years ago. When he first moved in here, he convinced me that he knew what he was doing. By all the crooked seams, and patches of wallpaper that are falling down will attest, he didn't. I have put my foot down this time, and for the future, no more wall paper. It's a pain in the ass to put up, and a pain in the ass to remove. From now on it will be paint on the walls only. As for cleaning up what's on the floors, that will be up to Sasha and Chandler.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Bitch

I just had a horrible, shocking realization today. Thanksgiving is just nine days away. I was watching television and somebody mentioned Thanksgiving next week. Next week? That couldn't be, Halloween was just yesterday, wasn't it? I should have noticed the hints Mark had left in the kitchen, like all the crap that was taking up counter space. He apparently has been stockpiling the makings of next weeks feast for the last month.

As much as I love the Thanksgiving dinner, and all that goes with it, I have come to hate the day. When I was a kid, hell, even as an adult, all I had to do was show up at moms table, and a fabulous meal was there for the eating. There was no cleaning of the house, no helping peel potatoes, no running out for this and that. All I had to do was watch a football game, and at the appropriate time I'd be called in to dinner. After attacking the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and that weird thing with the marshmallows on top, I'd push away from the table and go watch the second football game. Not so anymore, I am required to help Mark now. I am responsible for cleaning the house, carrying in all the groceries from the car, and cleaning up the kitchen. I don't mean cleaning up the kitchen just once on Thanksgiving day. I mean that Mark makes such a mess it requires at least four cleanings, and at least one hosing down on Thanksgiving day. So now I have to gear up for the extravaganza coming up next week. I'll have to get my rest, and prepare to be Mark's bitch for a week. Maybe a little carbo-loading, and vodka will make it easier to take.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Twinkie, a Glass of Vodka, and a Cigarette

Mark bought a box of Twinkies Friday, and left them on top of the refrigerator. Each and every time I walked through the kitchen they would call to me seductively.
"Alan, psst Alan, remember us? Remember how much you loved us when you were a kid? Don't you want to taste us again? We still have that soft, and moist sponge cake with the sweet creamy filling you loved."
I did. I certainly did love Hostess Twinkies when I was a kid. I also loved Hostess Sno Balls, Fruit Pies, and Cupcakes. I would often stop at Vogt's Store on the way home from school to get me some Hostess. I was like a snack cake junkie. My mom and dad certainly did not waste money on such things. After all mom baked plenty of cakes, and pies, her kids didn't need to get their sugar fix from store bought confections. But I did. I can't count how many times I came home from school with Twinkie cream on my shirt, or fruit goo on my face.

So I was home alone this afternoon, and I gave in. I raided Mark's Twinkie stash. I slowly unwrapped the plastic from one of the little yellow cakes, thinking of how delicious this was going to be. I took a bite. Hmmm, no flavor. I took another, still no flavor. By the third bite a flavor did start to develop. It wasn't a good flavor, it was kind of a pasty metallic taste. Where was the sweetness I remembered? By the time I finished that Twinkie, my mouth was filled with a spongy mush that I couldn't wait to wash out. It was nasty. I'm sitting here now with a foul metallic aftertaste in my mouth, wondering if it is me. Or could it be Hostess? Did they change the recipe, replacing good, delicious fat with Olestra, and sugar with corn syrup? What ever they did, it aint right. Then again it could be that I now have adult taste buds that are severely degraded after having had years of cigarette smoke, and vodka splashed across them.

(Note; I do not smoke any more. I gave it up twenty eight years ago, but the nineteen years I did smoke must have done some damage. Oh, and one more thing. Keep the comments clean please.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Human Squirrels

My usual Sunday morning ritual starts with me getting up at seven, and walking the dogs. On my way into the house I pick up Mark's Sunday Paper, and bring it in to him, usually tossing the twenty pounds of newsprint onto the bed. It's the best way to wake him up. I then go make breakfast while Mark goes through the paper, separating the different ads, and spreading them out on the bed (You didn't think he got the paper for the news did you?). It all seems harmless enough. After all, Mark does all the grocery shopping and pays for it, so I would expect him to look for bargains.

Yesterday I walked into the bedroom, and I was horrified. Mark was watching a television show called 'Extreme Couponing', a show about folks who clip coupons and use them. They don't just clip one or two coupons, but hundreds of them, and then go shopping and bring mountains of crap home. The part that horrified me so much was when they showed one of the homes of an extreme couponer. The woman had enough toilet paper to last until 2049, and enough tweezers to tweeze the eyebrows of the entire country of Greece. Another person had bottles of water she had purchased with coupons squirreled away in her house. If she drank one bottle of water a day, she would be able to slake her thirst for sixty seven years. As cluttered as our home is I shuddered at the thought of Mark getting into this. As it is, our kitchen is already bursting at the seams, and I have no idea where we would store all that crap. Luckily, while I stood there with my mouth hanging open staring at the television, I heard Mark from behind me say, "These people are crazy. I just don't understand why you would buy all that stuff and keep it in your house."
Thank goodness, Mark has sense, and would not be turning into an extreme couponer. The only thing that bothered me about that is when I turned around, Mark was sitting there clipping coupons.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Video Thursday

My two home towns.

Wilton Manors

 Tinley Park

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I've given Sasha a new nickname. Piddles. I even made up a little song about her.

Piddles the dog
The wonderful, wonderful dog
When ever she needs to take a leak
It's in to my office that she'll sneak

Piddles the dog
The wonderful, wonderful dog
When her bladder can't hold any more
She pisses on my office floor

The most amazing thing is that I have never, ever caught her peeing in the house. You don't think Chandler is setting her up, do you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just One More Thing Sir

Errrrr, errr, err, clack, clack, clack, clack.......
The sound of a dead battery. I had told Mark that turning the car on and off rapidly, over, and over again would not be good for the battery. He insisted it was the only way to get rid of the squealing sound under the hood. No, the only way to get rid of the squealing sound under the hood would be to take the car to the mechanic, and have him replace the bad belt. So last week we finally took the car in to replace the bad belt. It was too late. Just a day later the battery died. Our sixty five month battery died a premature death at just sixteen months. That meant we had to take the car back up to Goodyear, where we had purchased the battery just a year ago.

I hate taking the car to places like Goodyear. I like their prices for tires, and batteries. What I don't like is sitting there waiting for the car.
Thirty minutes into the wait, the guy comes out and tells me, "Your overdue for an oil change."
"Okay, go ahead and change the oil."
Five minutes later he reappears holding a squat little bolt.
"Sir, the drain plug on your car is worn, and you are leaking oil."
I had no idea if that was true or not. He could have swapped out the damn thing for all I know, with a bad one he had on hand.
"Go ahead and replace it."
Ten minutes later he comes into the waiting room again.
"Sir, you need a new anode cable to your battery."
"Sure, why the hell not."
Ten more minutes go by, and he's back.
"Sir, your gas filler cap is missing. Would you like a replacement?"
"Sure, and return the rag I had stuffed in there please."
Ten more minutes later.
"Sir, your wiper blades are streaking. You really should replace them."
At this point I had enough. I was stuck in his crappy waiting room, watching QVC, the only channel his television seemed to pick up, and I was being nickel and dimed to death.
"No. Leave them alone. Just finish up and let us get out of here."
Twenty minutes later Mark paid the bill (Yes, I know. I was just as flabbergasted), and we turned to leave.
"Oh, and one more thing sir." he called out to us, "Your engine mounts are worn out and need to be replaced."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Psst, Wanna Buy a Bridge?

Do you remember that stupid fad back about ten, or eleven years ago called Beanie Babies? People were collecting those little bean bag creatures, and trading them back and forth as if they were gold, or stocks. The more insane put all their life savings into them, hoping that they would increase in value over the years. Have you ever wondered what kind of nut would put their money in Beanie Babies? Well here's a hint, they might just be a tall, skinny, hyperactive fifty one year old black man.

I was cleaning out my office on Saturday, and I came across Mark's collection of Beanie Babies stashed away in the back of the closet. My first impulse was to take them out to the garbage can immediately, but I hesitated. Might Mark have been right, could these stupid little things be worth something? The short answer is no. Beanie Babies are not worth the crap they are made out of. I went to EBay to check them out, and I found about a billion of them for sale there. Most sat for sale at ninety nine cents, with not one bid. One even sat unsold for fifty nine cents. The only one that seemed worth anything was the Princess Diana Beanie Baby, and I think that was actually a joke. After all who would pay $375,000 dollars for a bean bag?

So I once again started towards the garbage can with Mark's bean bag dolls. As I stood there with the lid open I thought, somebody might want these, I should donate them to Goodwill. So I went back into the house, and left them by the front door. As soon as Mark came home I would put them in the back of the PT Cruiser.

I was wrong. As soon as Mark came home he squealed with delight, "You found my Beanie Babies!"
"Yeah, they were in my office where you said nothing of yours was."
"Why are they by the front door?"
"They're going to Goodwill."
"The hell they are." and with that Mark disappeared with the box of Beanie Babies.
It really pisses me off. I was so close, so close to that garbage can I could smell it. I had the lid open, and the box of Beanie Baby crap ready to dump. Mark would never have known, he never takes out the garbage. When will I learn? When will I realize that you cannot compromise with a hoarder?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Video Thursday

It rained so much this past weekend that I did not go out for my annual Halloween excursion.
On Monday, Halloween, I went to my regular bowling league. Only one team showed up in costume.
I went as an old bowler.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As Is

I know I've bitched about it before, but at what point does purchasing things for the household, things that you need and don't need, become hoarding? Mark is on my ass to redo my office. He wants me to strip the wall paper, paint it, add crown molding, put up a new ceiling fan, and new window treatments.
"Fine." I said, "As soon as you get all of your crap out of my office, I'll start."
"There is nothing of mine in there." Mark chirped.
"What about those blue plastic tubs?"
"Christmas stuff."
That's not my stuff. If it were up to me Christmas would consist of a string of lights out on the porch, and Christmas cards taped to the mirror in the dining room.
"What about all those clothes?"
"Those are old."
"Again, not mine."
With that Mark started grabbing his clothes out of the closet and stuffing them into a box.
"There, you can take those to Goodwill."
So after a few more exchanges like that it became clear, most of the crap in my office will stay. That is unless I start throwing all my stuff out of there. At that point it becomes Mark's storage locker, not my office, and that's not going to happen.

Some guy called today from a real estate office, asking me if I wanted to sell my house. I said no, but that just may be the answer. I could sell it as is, meaning with all of Mark's crap in it. Maybe even with Mark in it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How I Wet My Underpants at Three in the Morning

I opened my eyes, awakening from the weird dream I was having. Pressed up against my side was ninety pounds of dog. Beyond my dog Chandler, was Mark, snoring away, oblivious to everything. And literally clinging to the top of my head as if her life depended upon it, was Sasha. Sasha is afraid of storms, and outside I could hear the commotion. Thunder, wind, and rain. Not just any rain, but the kind that is as if a million fire hoses had been turned on and aimed at my house. Fine, I figured ten minutes and it'd be all over. An hour later the rain was still coming down in thick, torrential sheets. I decided to peel Sasha off my skull, and get out of bed to take a look. Outside the living room window I could barely see the swimming pool overflowing through the limited visibility. Then I remembered the cats, Lindsey Lohan, and Britney Spears. They live out there in the yard, so I opened the door to check up on them. Sure enough they were huddled in the entry hall, a little moist, but safe. There was one problem, the water was rising and lapping up against the door sill. It was just about to come over and would end up flooding my tenants apartment. So for the next hour, I stayed out there in the wind, and rain, stooped over, wearing nothing but my underpants, bailing the rain water back over into the yard. This was at three o'clock in the morning. You can't say I don't go the extra mile for my tenants.