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.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I like to think that little things don't bother me, and I'd like to think that I am proficient at handling big problems. Neither is true. What is true is that I react the same no matter what. Hurricane blows through and destroys my yard, I curse and scream at whoever is in charge. I'm told it's god, so I lay into him. I knock a glass off of the kitchen counter and it splinters into a thousand dog paw piercing shards, I go into a spasm of cursing, foul mouthed, lunacy.

This morning I poured myself a gigantic bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, got out the gallon of milk, and then went to get my favorite spoon. Mark has about two hundred or more spoons in this house, yet there is only one that I eat my cereal with and this morning I can't find the damn thing. It's not in the flatware drawer, it's not in the dishwasher, and after clattering around all the dishes in the sink, I cannot find it there either. So for the next ten minutes Mark, the dogs, and the neighbors all get to listen to me curse and scream about my goddamned spoon. You have to understand, all of the large spoons that Mark has are too large. All of the small spoons he has are too small. My special cereal eating spoon is just right. It doesn't clack against my teeth as I shovel Cheerios into my gaping maw, and as I lift it to my mouth with it's heaping pile of Honey Nut Cheerios on it, not one falls off. I need that damn thing. When I was finally winding down this morning's temper tantrum, I took one more look in the kitchen sink. There it was. There was my beloved cereal spoon wedged down in the garbage disposal. At that point I didn't know if I should be happy or start on another screaming bitch-fest. On one hand I had found my spoon, on the other it was wedged in the garbage disposal. I decided to pry it out of the disposal, eat my cereal, and shut the fuck up. Four hours later Mark asked me if I had found the spoon. It's nice to know he cares.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Only Her Hairdresser Knows

Last night I took a look at Miss Sasha and realized she was, as the gay kids say, a hot mess. Sasha's state of affairs is all my doing. A little over a week ago I gave Chandler a bath with some shampoo that Mark had purchased at the 'Less than a Dollar Store' or some such place. It wasn't a name brand, and I am sure it was some kind of closeout that couldn't be sold, even in China. After bathing Chandler successfully, I grabbed Sasha and turned the water on her. I soaped her up really good since she has a habit of walking through her pee after squatting, rinsed her off, and then dried her with a big fluffy towel. It turns out that you shouldn't wash your Miniature Schnauzer with the same kind of shampoo you wash your ninety pound mutt with. Almost immediately the hair on Sasha's legs started turning colors, and falling out. Within a few days I could see that her hair was starting to mat, and get little knots in it. So this morning Sasha went to the doggy beauty parlor, and this afternoon we picked her up. She is now neatly trimmed, with a sweet powdery smell, and nicely purged anal glands.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Buried Alive

I'm standing in front of the toilet doing my thing when I notice something weird. Weird isn't unusual since I am in Mark's bathroom. The bathroom that Sasha pees in, the bathroom with the clothes thrown on the floor behind the door. Anyway, on the back of the sink is a razor, or I should say razors. Mark has ten razors on his sink, in a glass, and in a little holder on the sink. I realize that Mark is hoarding used razors. Great, they will fit in perfectly with the dozen bottles of lotion, half dozen bottles of shampoo, and equal number of bottles of body wash that decorate every available square inch of shelving in that bathroom. It is one of the reasons I use the guest bathroom. All this wouldn't bother me so much except for the fact that Mark was bragging to me the other day about his cookbooks.
"Guess how many cookbooks I have?"
"I don't know, three hundred?"
I look around the house. Every bookcase is filled with cookbooks, so I up the guess.
"Four hundred?"
Then I remember, the sun room that I had cleaned out and organized, isn't anymore. It is filled with crap, Mark's crap.

"Please don't tell me you have five hundred cookbooks Mark."
"No, I don't. I have five hundred, and eighty seven cookbooks."
It turns out that Mark is a borderline hoarder. He is this far (my fingers are a quarter inch apart) from being on that cable television show where cat ladies live in filth surrounded by mountains of stuff. In fact if you ever don't hear from me for a long time, send the police. They will probably find me buried alive in Mark's crap.
"Five hundred and eighty seven? That's crazy, what the hell? Not in your whole life can you ever use five hundred and eighty seven cookbooks." I yell incredulously.
Mark looks down, and then perks up when he hears the mailman out front.
"Five hundred and eighty eight."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Photo of My Dad With the President

 My dad with the President of the United States. 
Dad is on the far right, and the President is second from the left.
You didn't think I meant President Obama did you?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Mark voted this morning. It only took him fifteen minutes. 
I voted by mail three weeks ago.
My 90 year old mother voting this morning. Thanks to my baby sister Carolyn.
That's another vote for the incumbent.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Looking Forward to Wednesday

Here are a few things that I am looking forward to on Wednesday. First, the removal of political signs from my neighbor's lawns. Sure, Chandler has become quite comfortable peeing on each and every one he passes on his walkies, but he'll get over it. It isn't that much further to the fire hydrant. I'll be able to watch television without every bit of commercial time dedicated to political ads where people say the most vile lies about each other. In not one of these commercials have I seen a political candidate say what he will actually do to us, only how the other guy is the spawn of the devil, and he won't be. And then there are the phone calls, the unrelenting recorded phone calls. These people are too chicken shit to actually talk to you live. They know that ninety nine percent of the people they are bothering at dinner time are going to simply tell them to fuck off and hang up. So they use a recorded lie. I still tell them to fuck off, and hang up. I just don't get any real satisfaction out of it. Finally, on Wednesday I am looking forward to seventy five cent drink night at Matty's on the Drive. Not because I would drink whatever swill Matty's serves for only seventy five cents. No, I'm sure it's rot gut. I will be happy because Mark will be up there until closing, and I'll be home alone, all comfy in my big recliner chair with a cocktail. And, I'll have what I want to watch on television without Mark constantly interrupting my program to bitch about politics.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Yard Sale

What is it about dogs that make us put up with piss on the floor, fur embedded in the upholstery, and me sleeping on the edge of the bed so that they are comfortable? Dogs don't look like us, they can't go out and get a job to help pay for their relentless appetites, and you have to take them outside to poop, even in the worst weather. Yet here they are, sleeping on the sofa, barfing up grass on the rug, and tripping me as they try to get to the kitchen before I do. What is the bond that keeps me from kicking these non-humans out into the streets? What is it that has me talking baby talk to a ninety pound beast that would trample me for a steak bone?

This morning one of my neighbors was holding a yard sale. It was around seven thirty in the morning and I was on my first circuit of the neighborhood with Chandler. I realize that Chandler is a bit rambunctious, so I waved hello as we walked by and continued on to his favorite poop patch without stopping to look over my neighbor's crap. Fifteen minutes later, I am on my second go around, this time with Sasha. I figure Sasha is a small dog, twenty pounds and very friendly, so I walked up to the yard sale and started browsing. It wasn't very long before the yard sale mistress came over and scolded me for bringing Sasha into her yard.
"No dogs. Get the dog out of here!"
She was very rude, and abrupt in her manner. Now I know that she has every right to ban dogs from her crap sale, but it was her tone that pissed me off. It was as if she had insulted my own blood. No matter how many times Sasha pisses on my bathroom floor, she is still my little girl. I am not a bitter person, and I don't hold grudges... well not for too long just as long as I get the last word in. Tonight, around ten thirty, when I am walking Chandler and he is pulling me towards his favorite pooping grounds, I'll get my last word in. It'll be to Chandler, "Go ahead boy, poop right there. Right next to that yard sale sign."

Friday, November 2, 2012

More of Mark's Halloween

Mark had two costumes this year, for two different parties.
And Obama

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mark's Halloween

Mark has a bad habit of putting the video camera in his pocket, with it turned on.