Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

 "Can't we all just get along?"


I try. I try, but I'm a weak man. Almost every morning as I walk my dogs around the block, I think to myself that this is going to be the day I start eating right. I'm not going to let that skinny bastard tempt me again today. The problem is that I live with a food pusher. Not just any food pusher, but a hundred pound lightweight who eats anything he wants, and never, ever gains weight.

"Alan, I'm making some cocktail wienie wraps. Do you want some?"
"No Mark. I'm not hungry, thank you."

I'm trying to be good. I know those things are full of nitrates and calories. Besides, I just ate breakfast two hours ago. I am not hungry. I continue to watch my football game and try to ignore the aroma wafting in from the kitchen. At some point my mind goes numb and my body goes on autopilot. I don't even remember getting up out of the chair, yet I suddenly find myself standing in the kitchen watching Mark pull a sheet of little wienies out of the oven. I know I shouldn't be there, but when I see Mark mixing up a batch of honey mustard in a little bowl, I succumb. Mmmm... little wieners dipped in honey mustard. Add a large glass of Cherry Diet Coke, and before I know it I am sitting back in front of the television with a dozen on a plate. For five minutes I sit there stuffing my face, occasionally tossing Chandler a small bit of wiener just to get him to stop drooling on my leg. When the dish is empty, reality comes rushing back to my brain. I did it again, I gave in to Mark and his never ending conveyer belt of food. In my mouth is the aftertaste of too much honey mustard, various cow bits, and a list of chemicals too long to list here. I disgust myself, and I know that there is only one cure for this food fetish. Kill Mark. Either that, or grow a pair and just say no. I could make it my New Years resolution. No, not killing Mark, but learning to say no. That should last until say, noon tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sixty Three


I woke up yesterday morning. My back hurt a little bit, and my sinuses were a murky mess. I pulled on my pants and shoes. After feeding the cats, I took the dogs for their walk. Halfway through the walk my knees started barking as loud as Sasha, and my feet felt like they were being poked by sharp sticks. As each dog squatted and left their pile of steaming poo, I fumbled with the little poop bags that I carry, my fingers no longer as deft and nimble as they once were. By the time we arrived back home my stomach was telling me I should eat, while my colon was telling me no, you have something else to do first. My colon won the argument which only reminded me of another consequence of aging, hemorrhoids. The day ground on as I struggled to remember the names of things, and why I had walked into any particular room. At eleven in the morning I was ready to nap. Growing old truly, truly sucks. After my nap I awoke to find Mark in the dining room snacking on McDonald's hamburgers and fries. He graciously offered me one which only exacerbated my propensity to pass gas. Of course passing gas is not something new to me. I've done it since I was young. The only difference is that now that I'm old, my sphincter has the elasticity of a two day old, helium party balloon. It isn't a pretty sound. After my McDonald's lunch, and a short spurt of energy that I directed towards cleaning the kitchen, I was ready for another nap.

It was a long day yesterday, my birthday, and despite all those naps I still found that I was tired and ready for bed. My eyes had gone blurry, my legs felt like I had walked ten miles, and my finger joints felt like somebody had hit them with a hammer. There was only one thing left to do, vodka cocktail and an Excedrin. All in all it was a pretty normal day for me. I was one year older, and I was feeling every year. As I lay there in bed waiting for Mark to finish watching his "Real Housewives" show, I mulled over my day. Not so bad, I thought, I woke up this morning.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


The agreement was that if I bought the bedroom furniture, and did all the work painting, putting down the floor, putting up the crown molding, and installing new light fixtures, I wouldn't have to spend anything on Christmas. So how come I'm as broke as a peanut today?

The bedroom was finished, and I had a little bit of extra money in my bank account. I was fine with it all, and then those gaily wrapped packages started showing up under the Christmas Tree.
"What are those for?" I asked Mark.
"Your Christmas presents silly."
I stood there staring at them, and then looked back over to Mark.
"Christmas presents? But I thought...  "
"We are exchanging gifts on Christmas aren't we? I can't have Christmas without presents to open on Christmas morning."
"Can't I just put a big bow on the bedroom wall?" I asked.
Mark gave me one of those looks that I know so well. Goddamnit, I thought to myself, sonofabitch, crap... I silently cursed him with a string of filthy profanities. Things I knew better than to say out loud. Instead I kept my mouth shut, and retired into my office to go shopping on Amazon. Click, click, clickety click. In less than five minutes I had found five gifts for Mark, and for less than one hundred dollars. Even better, I was able to order them gift wrapped. Four day later I had five gift wrapped packages under the tree for Mark.
"Ooooh, look. Christmas presents."
He was happy.
"Thank you Alan. Now about my birthday."
I had forgotten about his damned birthday on the Sunday before Christmas.
"Sure, where do you want to go for dinner?" I quickly countered.
It didn't work. Mark didn't want to go to dinner. He wanted a new chair for his desk, and not just a cheap office chair. No, Mark wanted a fancy ass upholstered chair. So on the morning of December 23rd I took Mark out to breakfast at a nice French restaurant, and then drove over to the Coral Ridge Mall where I charged my Visa card within pennies of the limit so that Mark would have his fancy ass chair. I hate Christmas, and Mark's birthday, and myself for falling for the bedroom being our Christmas gift bullshit.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

At Abandoned Pet Rescue With Kobi

Thursday is one of the two days I volunteer at APR. Today I thought I'd take a few photos. All are available for adoption except for Chanel. Click on the animal's name for more information.

This is my absolute favorite dog, Kobi. He has electric blue eyes, and he always makes me feel so bad when I leave. If it weren't for Chandler I would bring this guy home.

This is Puss-n-Boots, Two-Tone, and Gypsy in their cage.

Chanel is lucky. She was just adopted and is waiting to be picked up.

Here is Polly. She came in morbidly obese. She has shed almost all of her fat, and now enjoys a special spot behind the front desk on her own love seat.

Bye, bye.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Duvet

I have heard somewhere that you shouldn't go to bed angry with your partner. Sounds nice, but what if the argument starts in bed?

I don't like quilts on my bed. Not for some aesthetic reason, but because they are hot. Mark loves them. Since the day he moved in here I have had to put up with a heavy quilt on my bed. The problem is that we live in South Florida. It is hot, it is humid, it is sticky, and it is like living in a vaporizer for most of the year. For me to put up with Mark's desire to sleep under fifty pounds of quilted blankets, I have had to crank the air-conditioning to artic temperatures at night. It is both expensive, and it makes those prostate induced trips to the bathroom at night, very chilly. Anyway, when we decided to upgrade to a king sized bed I asked Mark to get something a bit lighter than those big, heavy quilts he prefers.
"Okay, I'll see what I can do.", He said with a twinkle in his eye.
I hate that twinkle. It means he has found an excuse to go shopping. Nothing makes him happier.

The day our king sized bed was delivered Mark pulled out a giant bag from the Home Goods store.
"What's that?" I asked.
"A duvet."
"Duvalier? Papa Doc or Baby Doc?"
"Not Duvalier, duvet. It's a cover for blankets. You can stuff it with either a light blanket, or on cold nights a heavy blanket."
I looked it over, and I was skeptical.
"How do you keep them from moving around in there? Won't they bunch up after awhile?"
With my misgivings brushed aside, we proceeded with great difficulty, to stuff a blanket in the thing and spread it across the bed.
"There, doesn't that look nice?"
Of course I didn't argue with him then, it did look nice. No, the argument started last night, as I tried to cover myself with Mark's precious duvet. I pulled the thing over myself and realized there was nothing in it. I felt around and found the blanket inside all scrunched up on Mark's side of the bed. So I gave it a yank. A hard yank that pulled it off of Mark, leaving him covered only in his tee shirt and little skivvies that he prefers to wear to bed.
"What the hell are you doing?" He screamed.
"I need some covers over here, and you had them all."
"So now you get all of the covers?"
He gave a mighty yank with his skinny little arms, barely moving the covers back to his side.
"Give me the goddamned covers Alan."
"I told you this thing would bunch up. I told you to get a couple of lightweight blankets, but no, you always get exactly what you want."
"Well maybe if you didn't let that gigantic moose dog on the bed, the duvet wouldn't have bunched up."
"You're the one who originally invited Chandler onto the bed when he was a puppy. Don't blame me."
All this of course was said in loud voices. Mark's a very high pitched screaming voice, and mine in just a loud obnoxious voice.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit chilly. Not just because Mark and I ended the evening in a loud argument, but because the duvet was firmly anchored on Mark's side of the bed. All I had was the bed sheet over me, and a gigantic snoring moose dog lying against me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In Support of the Second Amendment

I say no to gun control. We have to realize that the Supreme Court has said the second amendment guarantees our right to have a gun. So I say fine, let the gun folks have their guns, but hold them responsible for those guns. We need a 'Gun Owner's Responsibility' act. Make the gun owner responsible for keeping them under their control, and in their possession. If a thief breaks into your house and steals your guns, you are responsible. You did not secure them properly. Your mentally deranged child breaks open your gun cabinet, or steals the key and gets your guns, you are responsible. You did not secure them properly. That concealed weapon you're strutting around with, strapped to your thigh, making you feel like Superman, gets stolen by a mugger who comes up behind you and then uses it in another crime, you are responsible. You did not secure it properly. In other words, from the time a gun is legally sold to a citizen, who has the right to own a gun, that citizen is responsible for whatever damage that gun does. You let it out of your control by failing to properly secure it, and somebody is killed, you should be held responsible for manslaughter. If the cops arrest a criminal who shot somebody with a stolen gun, the owner he stole it from is responsible. That owner did not secure it properly.

A wooden cabinet is not a secure place to keep a gun. A wooden, glass fronted cabinet is for showing off your insecurities, for showing off your feeling that you lack a big enough penis. This cabinet will not stop a thief from breaking it open and making off with your guns. Even if it were made out of steel an enterprising thief with a crowbar could get into it within seconds. What you need is a concrete, steel encased vault to store the deadliest consumer product ever put on the market. So I say no to gun control, and yes to gun owner responsibility. You own a deadly weapon. It is not a toy, it is not the same as a stamp collection. It is no different than if you collected deadly poisons and then left them within reach of criminals, and the mentally deranged. You, the gun owner, are responsible.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Feel the Burn

I don't like Indian restaurants. I always feel dissatisfied after eating in one. None of the food really tastes very good, and I'm not sure if I even get what I ordered. Is that mystery meat really chicken, or somebody's lost kitty cat? They season it all so much they could be feeding me just about anything. Mark has attempted to recreate Indian food here at home and he has come up with a couple of truly tasty meals. That's because he knows I hate spicy food, and he tones the spices way down. I'd really rather have a rack of his ribs or meatloaf, but if once in awhile he wants to try something different, that's fine with me.

Yesterday afternoon Mark disappeared for a couple of hours. When he returned home, he went straight into the kitchen and started cooking.
"Where did you go?"
"I went shopping with Kersi."
Kersi is a friend of ours from India.
"What're you cooking there." I asked as eye stinging fumes came wafting up from the stove.
"Indian food. Kersi took me to an Indian grocery store and told me what to buy. This is going to be an authentic Indian dinner tonight."
Oh goody, I thought, "Should I check and make sure the cats are still in the yard?"

About an hour later Mark called me to dinner. It all looked pretty good, and didn't smell too bad, so as each dish was passed over to me I plopped a portion onto my plate. I took my fork and dug into the pile of ground meat first. As it hit my tongue all I could think about was the beast in the movie Alien and it's acid blood. My mouth was on fire. I jumped up, ran to the kitchen, and started gulping down water. It didn't help. From the dining room I heard Mark say, "Drink some milk if it's too spicy."
So I grabbed the gallon of milk and started chugging it. The milk did tone it down somewhat, but it still burned. I managed to choke down a few more mouthfuls of this strange dinner before I gave up. In my stomach I could feel the milk reacting with the food. It wasn't good. Things were moving and growling down there. It didn't get any better when I went to bed. I lay there all night blasting fiery bursts of curry scented gas. This morning my stomach still hurts a bit, and I am not looking forward to my next bowel movement. I never did get that asbestos lined colon installed.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and some stupid thought will pop into my head making it impossible to fall asleep again. You know how it is, you remember that mean comment you made to a friend thirty years ago and it keeps stabbing you in the brain with guilt. You lay there reliving some stupid thing you did forty years ago, like sitting in an attic dividing up hits of LSD to sell, and it makes you break out into a cold sweat when you realize what the consequences could have been. Or how about that year you wasted chasing a straight guy, thinking if he only knew how much I want him he'd cave. Oh to have that precious time back.

That's not why I'm wide awake tonight. None of those things bother me right now. What bothers me, what is keeping me from sleeping a sound and satisfying sleep, is our mattress. I bought a new mattress, a king size one, so that Mark, Chandler, Sasha, and I could all sleep together without touching one another. So I could sleep all night without Mark's relentless, restless leg syndrome shaking me all night. The new mattress has accomplished all those things. It is as if I am all alone in this bed, and I love it, or I should love it. Instead I have sunk into what seems to be a bowl of mush. My back is aching, and I feel like I've been folded in half. I never knew a mattress could be this damn soft. Mark loves it, and the dogs love it, but I hate it. I like firm mattresses, so hard and tight you could bounce a quarter off it. Like a young person's ass. So why did I buy this mattress, why don't I just return it? Groupon. Mark talked me into buying the mattress on line from Groupon. It was half price, it was delivered for free, and two nice men removed the old mattress and set up the new one. The only problem is that I want to return it, and there is some fine print on the contract. "No refunds, no returns." Pretty stupid, right?

I love shopping on the internet. I have done all my Christmas shopping on line, and I buy most of our household items on line. But there is one thing I should have known. Never buy things on line that you should try on first, like shoes, pants, wigs for Alicia, and mattresses.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Back

When I was a kid there was a television ad for a certain brand of aspirin. It showed a cartoon head with a hammer beating on the brain area. I felt for that cartoon head. As a kid I used to get such bad migraine headaches that I would vomit. I was about twenty two years old when I discovered Excedrin. It was like a miracle drug to me. Better than marijuana, better than vodka, better than just about any other drug I had tried up until that time, and I had tried a lot. So early this year when they announced on the evening news that Excedrin was being recalled, I was horrified. The only time in forty years that I had gone more than twenty four hours without my Excedrin was when I ran out while traveling in Italy. Luckily, at the height of my pain and nausea, a nice German man gave me a mysterious little yellow pill that worked wonders.

Back when the recall was first announced, I stopped by the CVS store to stock up, figuring they would be off the shelves for a few weeks. By the time I got there the shelves were empty. Not one pill, not a caplet, nothing with the name Excedrin was in that store, nor any other store. Worst of all they weren't just off the market for a few weeks. They were gone for almost a whole year. I tried the generic versions, but they didn't do the job. I was assured that the formula was identical, but I don't believe that. Maybe Excedrin mixes in a touch of crack, or heroin, but whatever it is, it works. I have been miserable all year. There have even been incidents of black market Excedrin on Ebay and Craig's list, where people have paid as much as five dollars a pill. I refused to engage in that kind of rip off. For five dollars a hit, it had better be from Columbia.

The good news this month is that Excedrin is back. Only in the Migraine version, but that's fine. And this time I am not taking any chances. Not that living with Mark is stressful, or migraine inducing, but I am stocking up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012



After two weeks of work, many injuries, and near fatal arguments, the bedroom is finished. Sort of. I have a few rough spots I have to work on, but overall it looks pretty good. I don't agree with Mark's choice of posters over the bed, nor his choice of curtains (I think they look like shower curtains). If I can keep him from cluttering the room up with his tchotchkes, it should be fine. Notice the new floor, and the crown molding.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Car Crap Caper

Dog poop. Nobody really likes it, but it is something dog owners have to deal with. For years I ignored it, turning around and pretending my black lab, the late Molly, never pooped a day in her life while she dumped gigantic loads on neighbor's lawns. Eventually I was shamed into doing the right thing and started picking up her steaming piles, and schlepping them home in used grocery store bags. When I got Chandler, I equipped his leash with a poopy bag dispenser so that I'd never be caught without the means to clean up after him. I have become a good citizen.

Yesterday morning my tenant stopped me as I left with Chandler.
"Say Alan, do you know who uses red bags to pick up their dog's poop?"
I stopped and thought for a moment.
"No, but they come in every color. As you can see, Chandler is using a strikingly pretty blue this week."
It turned out that somebody had dumped a bunch of red bags filled with dog shit on my tenants car overnight. Sort of a neighborhood version of the Godfather horse's head. You see, it is a known fact on our block that my tenant and his wife do not pick up their dog's poop.
"Is it possible that somebody is trying to send you a message?" I asked, knowing full well who had probably done it.
"I always pick up Blue's poop if he does it in somebody's yard." He replied, "But if he takes a dump down at the church, who does it harm?"
I understood where he was coming from. It was the very same rationale that I used to use. And to be honest, if it is late at night, and very dark, and Chandler waddles up to the church fence to do his thing, I stand there looking up at the stars pretending nothing is happening.

Like I said, I know who probably left the poop on my tenant's car. I just hope this isn't the first salvo in a nasty little neighborhood war. Considering that the red bag, poop flinging suspect, has many more dogs than I, or my tenant have, the balance of power is on their side. In other words, they have many more WMD. Weapons of messy doody.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bruise Springsteen

I am not agile, or graceful. I smash my shins so often that I have dents in the bone. I also bruise very easily. This was done on my old bed that I have thrown out the front door. We have purchased a new bed to replace the one that has injured me every day for the last seven years. I made it a point that the new bed would have no protruding geegaws to catch me in the leg as I waddle by in the dark. However, I am sure I will find a way to hurt myself on it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Almost Done, Almost Dead

Day eleven of the re-decorating of our bedroom (I work very slowly), and I can barely move. I still have the new floor to put down. Mark insists that I put the flooring all the way into all the closets. I know that is the right thing to do, but I am goddamned tired and who the hell is going to be looking into my closets anyway. My knees hurt like hell, my feet are throbbing, and my conjunctivitis seems to be even worse than it was on Monday. My right hand is sore and painful from painting, and the pain shoots up my arm and into my shoulder every time I lift something. Oh, and I might have a hernia from moving all the furniture back and forth across the room.

It's nice to know that my dogs really like me. they have been following me around like, well like puppy dogs. It may be because they think all the crap going on in the bedroom means we are moving, and they don't want me to forget them. I couldn't possibly forget those two fur balls. It is like they are glued to me. Even as I was painting the baseboard around the room, Chandler would lay immediately behind me. With one hand holding a paint brush dripping with wet paint, I had to keep nudging him along as I scooted around the room. Paint, paint, nudge, nudge, paint, paint, nudge, nudge. Sasha on the other hand, followed along behind me as I painted, brushing up against my newly painted baseboards. She now looks a little like a reverse Dalmatian, with little white spots all over her. Speaking of white spots all over black. While I painted the entire room from the ceiling to the baseboards, Mark managed to paint part of one door. He cannot paint. He is the sloppiest, worst painter I have ever encountered. Paint on the floor, paint slopped onto the walls, and paint all over Mark. Actually the white paint on Mark was kind of funny. At this point I'll let you make up your own joke.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lindsay Lohan Smells Ikea

Sasha and I are making our way down the street, back towards the house. She has done her poopies, and peed on numerous lawns, so she is happy, I am happy. In the distance I see Mark at the back of the PT Cruiser with the tailgate open. He's cursing and rummaging through the pile of crap that's accumulated in there. Sasha wiggles with delight. She thinks that she's going for a ride, but no, Mark has just returned from one of his shopping safaris. As I approach the car I can hear Mark cursing Ikea.
"What's the problem?" I ask.
"Those assholes don't give you bags to put your stuff in. Now I've lost the package of salmon I bought."
The idea that a package of salmon has been lost in the sea of crap that Mark has filled the car with gives me the chills. It reminds me of the time I left a carton of night crawler worms in my car the day I left for a week in California.
"You have to find that."
"It's in a sealed package. I don't think it will be too bad." Mark answers.
"No, you have to find that. It's going to smell."
So Mark and I both tore the car apart looking for the salmon he bought at Ikea. Now I think we did a pretty thorough job, but we didn't find any Ikea salmon in that car. However, I think we should search it again. This morning when I took Chandler and Sasha out for their walks, I found Lindsay Lohan (the cat, not the person), and a neighbor's cat under the PT Cruiser.

Monday, December 3, 2012


It started out as a little itch in my right eye. By bedtime last night  the eye was a weeping, blood red, mess.
"Mark, look at my eye. What does it look like to you?"
"Awk! Oh my god that's so disgusting. Why did you make me look at that? Erp, barf."
Mark does not handle gore very well even though he loves to rent horror movies. Anyway, I took Mark's reaction to mean that my eye had problems. It was very bothersome, but I figured I'd call the doctor in the morning, and take care of it then. It was five thirty this morning when I awoke, and my left eye popped open. The right eye wanted to pop open, but couldn't. Somebody had crazy glued the thing shut, or so it seemed. I stumbled to the bathroom in the dark, and turned on the light. Geez, I thought, I think my eye has exploded. It was throbbing, and fluids were running out of it like the chocolate fountain at the Golden Corral Diner. So for three hours I sat up in a chair with a box of tissues, waiting for my eye doctor's office to open so I could call them.

According to the doctor, I have conjunctivitis. Very contagious, very nasty, and it doesn't look pretty. I have to be careful to keep away from Mark, and not cross contaminate it to my other eye. From what the doctor told me I assume this virus is like a tiny Superman, and can actually fly across space if you get too close to another person. Sweet, now when Mark starts nagging me about shit, I'll remind him to back off. I'm totally contagious.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Afternoon in the Park

We participated in the Cause 4 Paws today. It's an annual charity event put on by the Victoria Park Civic Association in a beautiful little park on the New River in Fort Lauderdale. I happened to catch this little boy enjoying some kitties that were rescued from a trailer park. We had about thirteen dogs there, along with the cats. All are up for adoption from Abandoned Pet Rescue.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

DIY with Mark

This is day five of the re-decorating of our bedroom, and I have only screamed at Mark three times today. I could have screamed at him even more times than that, but he went out to shop for a little while and if he's not around I just scream and curse at the walls. Seeing as the walls have done just about as much as Mark has done around here, it is appropriate. Mark watches too much Bravo Television. He envisions himself as the "decorator" and me as the hired help. Mark has picked out everything from the floor covering, to the color on the walls, to the lighting. I have no problem with that. I have horrible decorating skills. My house used to look like a bad yard sale was going on before Mark moved in here. What I have a problem with is Mark's micro-managing.
"You missed a spot on the ceiling over there. Couldn't you sand that rough spot on the wall down a little more? Really, that's how you patch a cracked wall? When are you going to finish putting up that ceiling fan?"
He tells me all this while he sits in front of his computer at his desk in the middle of the room I am supposed to be painting.
"Well just work around me. I need my desk and computer and television and shouldn't you use a drop cloth when you're doing that?"
Except it's not a drop cloth I want. More like a drop kick... right in his ass.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

You will lift off that plate, and fly into my mouth... Now!

It's Mark's own fault. He has fed both of them from the table since day one. As soon as he sits down to eat, Chandler and Sasha move in and turn on their electro-magnetic, levitating eyes. Chandler also turns on his free flowing saliva spigot.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Home Depot Trot

Home Depot has decent bathrooms I have discovered. Clean, neat, and well stocked with paper products. I hate public bathrooms for the most part. People pee on the seats, there is never any toilet paper, and weird guys hang out in there. Unfortunately, while Mark was pointing out which ceiling fan I was going to be putting up in our bedroom, my stomach started churning. From deep within I could feel what seemed like a New York subway train rumbling down hurricane flooded tracks. I could tell it was about to pull into the station so I started the quick walk over to the Home Depot restroom. Five minutes later I arrived in what I expected to be a disgusting hell hole. But no, it was just fine. The seat was clean, there was no moisture on the floor, and there was enough dry toilet paper to supply an army.

When I drove a taxicab in Chicago I learned that the very best place to go to the bathroom were hotel lobby restrooms. And the very best hotel lobby restroom was probably the one in the Executive House Hotel. It was close to the entrance nearest the cab stand, and it had a really nice sound system with wood paneled stalls. One place I learned that you should never go to the bathroom are gas stations. You would be better off squatting over an open sewer on South Indiana Avenue, than suffering the stench and mess of a typical Chicago gas station toilet. Another thing that I learned, just yesterday, was to not eat at a Cuban restaurant before going to the Home Depot. Black beans and rice, lentil soup, and Cuban coffee just don't want to stick around inside you long enough to finish your shopping.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Memories of Past Pets

Last year it was my office, the year before it was the living room. This year it's our bedroom that Mark has me 'redecorating'. It's a tough job, and I'm not getting any younger. When we re-did the living room I screwed up my knee, and had to go under the knife. Yesterday after moving heavy furniture out of the bedroom, and rolling up the heavy carpet, I noticed a pain across my chest. Either the overdose of gravy and stuffing from Thanksgiving was getting to me, or I had a mild heart attack. Seeing as I'm still alive today I think it was just indigestion.

The sad thing about moving all that heavy furniture out of the bedroom, are the memories it brings back. Understand that this furniture was left behind by my old tenant. It has been in place for years, and because of the weight it has never been moved for cleaning. As I sucked up the layers of dust and dirt with the vacuum from under each piece, I was reminded of my deceased cats, and my late dog Molly. Each gigantic dust bunny was made up of years of cat and dog hair. It's no wonder I have such bad allergies, and Mark walks around all day telling me that he can't breath. On the up side though, I have found enough money under there to finance a trip to my favorite bar.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Don't Invite Crazy People to Thanksgiving

Sometimes you'll be sitting in a bar minding your own business, and suddenly you find yourself talking to another bar patron. When the smiling, black lady asked me to slide the note she had written on a bar napkin over to Mark, I found it amusing. Before I knew it she and Mark were deep in conversation, and within minutes I was part of it all. Yes, we yukked it up while the vodka flowed and everything seemed so funny to us, but eventually it was time to go. On the way home Mark quietly stated, "I invited her to Thanksgiving."

Yesterday afternoon, when she called for directions, I noticed that the name she had given us in the bar was different from the caller id on the phone. Just a little red flag, but none the less it made me nervous.
"That's close enough to walk. I can walk over there, can't I? My titties won't be all sweaty by the time I get there will they?"
Did I mention that she sounds exactly like Wanda Sykes, but not nearly as funny? Anyway, I thought the sweaty titties mention was humorous, so I figured everything would be all right. It wasn't. That girl talked non-stop for five hours. It wasn't intelligent conversation, or even funny stuff. It was all about her curing Mark of whatever ails him, and how alcohol is poison as she pounded down half a bottle of Maker's Mark Whiskey. Most of what she was saying made little sense, and her rapid fire delivery left the rest of the guests speechless. It was when I was in the kitchen that I realized we had reached critical mass. From the other room I heard, "Could you just shut the fuck up for awhile? My god woman, what is wrong with you? Alan, do you have a sock?"

It was two hours after the dinner party before I was able to get crazy lady to finally leave. I had to physically urge her out the door, down the sidewalk, and out to the street. Even then, as I was walking back up the sidewalk, I could hear her calling from down the street.
"I love you guys."
I locked the doors, and hoped she was way too drunk and wasted to remember where we live.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sonsabitches! Bumpuses!

I have lived in this house for nineteen years now. About fourteen years ago a rather strange bunch of folks moved into the place next door. The first thing they did was chop down the giant trees in the front yard so they could fit more boats, and cars on blocks out there. They got their first dog almost immediately, and over the years the dog population on that side of the fence has blossomed. I believe it is now five. Five barking, snarling dogs, no more than five feet from my windows. Don't get me wrong, the folks are nice, the dogs are nice, and they have nice kids. It's just that the dogs bark. They bark in the afternoon, and in the evening. they bark at six in the morning, and they bark at eleven at night. No matter the time of day, they are barking. The barking doesn't really bother me that much. Most of the year my windows are closed and the air conditioning drowns out the yelping hounds. But now it is winter, and in Florida winter is the time you open your windows and let the breezes blow through, along with the odor of dogs, and the sound of their howling.

Like I said, it doesn't bother me that much. What does bother me is that it bothers my tenants. Apparently barking truly disturbs them. All day long I hear the tenant screaming out the window at the top of his lungs, "Stop that goddamned barking! Shut those fucking dogs up!"  Now that is disturbing to me, the barking not so much. This goes on all day and all night. I am very worried that I will lose these tenants. They are clean, they pay their rent on time, and they don't bother me with foolish requests for things like maintenance. They are nearly perfect, but if I lose this couple I already have a plan. I will post an ad looking for a tenant who loves dogs, is clean, well paid, and deaf.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Defrosting Days

Botulism, diarrhea, ptomaine be damned. Mark has only two days to thaw that thing out.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ptomaine Sally

Mark came huffing and puffing through the front door laden with bags of groceries. As he dropped the bags on the floor he gasped,
"There's something wrong with me."
Now I know that Mark has serious health issues and I should be kind, but how can he expect me to just let that line lie there.
"Well duh, yes. We all know that there's something wrong with you...  Oh, you mean physically wrong with you."
A long icy stare followed.
"There's a lot of stuff still out in the car. I'm going to lie down."
So while Mark retired into the bedroom with a case of the vapors, I fetched all his Thanksgiving supplies from the back of the PT Cruiser.

Once again Mark has planned another outrageous Thanksgiving dinner. What had started as a small thing with just two guests has ballooned to ten guests including a lady we met at the Sidelines bar just last Friday. I think her name was Sheba. What all this means is that I will have to clean the entire house, schlep all of Mark's groceries from the car, clean up after Mark's awesome Thanksgiving dinner, and stock the bar. I am very good at stocking the bar.

One thing I have figured out while cleaning the house is that refrigerators are woefully ill-designed. As Mark was slamming the door behind him on his way to the supermarket, he had told me to "Clean out the refrigerator." Sounds simple enough until you start removing the layers of refrigerated goo. The first three inches in, everything is fresh. Move a bit further back and you start encountering cheeses that have blue spots on them, and fur bearing fruits. Seven inches further back into the depths of the refrigerator are the milk products that have turned into strange cheese like substances, and meats that have turned into rainbow colored death traps. It's a bit scary knowing that I am harboring a biohazard in my own kitchen. What I would do if I were to design a refrigerator, is to make them only four inches deep. Sure they would have to be ten feet wide, but think about it. You would never, ever, lose that restaurant leftover you so much wanted to eat the next day. Never again would you encounter a strange green creature growing out of an expired yogurt cup. Best of all Mark wouldn't be able to keep buying the same thing over and over again because he can't see that it is already in the refrigerator. One more positive thing. Chances I will get food poisoning would drop dramatically.

Happy Birthday Sasha!

Nine years old today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

For Sale, Used Bedroom Set; Mark's Clutter and Dog Not Included.

Includes bed and two night stands. Same Broyhill furniture used on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'.
Mark is about twenty feet ahead of me, running through the doors of the furniture store. Our first stop had been worthless. It was one of those stores with each room put together, where for one low price you buy everything. Everything meaning, from the rugs on the floor to the pictures on the wall. It's what was between the rugs and the pictures that was so bad. Furniture made of particle board stapled together, with the drawers and every other unseen surface made of cardboard or thin plastic. The outer surfaces covered in what appeared to be photos of wood. The Florida humidity would soak into that shit, puff it up, and make it disintegrate within twelve months. So Mark and I decided that we should go to a more upscale store, one where the sales people didn't have gravy stains on their shirts.

I follow Mark into the second store and I am hit with the aroma of mold and borscht. A short stocky old man named Levi has already buttonholed Mark, and is escorting him up some stairs to the bedroom department. I don't want to like this old man, but he laughs at my jokes so I am putty in his hands.
"This is a great deal already. It's a closeout. You can't get a better price, and I tell you what, I'll throw in the second nightstand for free."
Mark is not having it. I am ready to throw money down, but Mark has us schlepping up and down the stairs, back and forth across the vast expanse of the store, comparing bedroom sets and haggling with Levi.
"Here you go boys, lay down on this mattress. Nice, right? Check out the drawers. That's real wood with dovetailing."
First of all Levi called us boys, and then he laughed at another one of my lame jokes. He had me right where he wanted me. The next thing I knew Levi was handing me my credit card back and thanking us for shopping at Carl's Furniture.

This all started when Mark and I agreed that re-decorating our bedroom would be our Christmas/birthday presents. Great idea I thought, until I signed that credit card receipt for half a years pay. Mark had originally wanted me to buy him a gun for Christmas. I refused imagining all sorts of horrible consequences that a gun in Mark's hands might bring. Now I am rethinking that idea, and I'm not so sure. If Mark were to use his Christmas present gun, as often as he has used every other expensive gift I have given him over the years, the thing will rust away before it ever shoots one bullet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mark's Comedy Corner

I woke up this morning feeling as if I had gone to a gym and had a serious workout yesterday. I didn't. Despite all the aches and pain, I did not go to a gym yesterday. No, I fell yesterday. I fell hard on the floor in the bedroom, and this is why I fell.
This is how the world looks to a person with glaucoma. No, not Mark's face everywhere you look. The blotchy voids, the peripheral vision gone, that's how it looks. I was walking into the bedroom with a glass of ice in my hand and something reached up from the floor and grabbed my foot. As I fell like a giant redwood tree I could see the glass of ice flying through the air, and just before I hit the clothes hamper with my face the thought went through my head that, that was going to make quite a mess.

I lay motionless on the floor for about a minute. There was no screaming anymore, just me quietly assessing things. My foot hurt a bit, and my head hurt, but what I noticed most was the giant splinter of wicker from the hamper sticking out of my hand. All this happened just before dinner. We had a guest over, and I was going into the bedroom with a glass of ice to fetch some water. Now you would think Mark and our dinner guest would have come running into the bedroom, all concerned and worried. They didn't. Instead Mark saw this as a chance to do his stand up comedy routine.
"Oh look, Alan's fawlin and he can't get up."
From the living room I hear a few chuckles from the dinner guest.
"Is there any blood? I don't do blood."
More chuckles.

As I peeled myself up off the floor, I looked around for the glass of ice that had been launched from my hand. I found the glass, but not much ice. Oh well, I thought, it will melt and evaporate. Later that evening when I climbed into bed, I found the ice. It had melted, but not evaporated.