Friday, May 31, 2013

DIY No More!

When I met Mark I had a lot of life left in my body. Like some kind of demented wizard he has been sucking that life force from me ever since.

A week ago Mark dragged me over to Target. He said he had to pick something up. Wrong, I had to pick something up. It was a heavy shelving unit that Mark wanted, and it came in a big box full of many pieces. For a week now it has sat in the box on our bedroom floor, and every day for a week Mark has nagged me to put it together. I finally mustered up the energy to tackle it today. I am 63 years old. I have very bad eyesight, arthritis, and a bit too much fat around the middle. I don't like do it yourself projects. The reason I picked this day to put the damn thing together, is that Mark was out of the house. I do better when I'm by myself and there are no distractions. Unfortunately Mark showed up when I was about a quarter of the way done.

    "Those shelves are upside down."
    "Well if you hadn't come home and distracted me they'd be right side up."

So I dismantled what I had put together, and reassembled it correctly. About thirty minutes later Mark came back into the room.

    "That piece across the top is upside down."
    "Goddamnsonvabitchinmuthaassinine piece of mutherinscumbastardlychinese crap!"

So again I dismantled the entire shelving unit because each piece was dependent upon the other for support, and reassembled it correctly. Or so I thought.

    "That piece on the front of that shelf is on backwards. The shiny side should be showing, not the dull side."

So now Mark has a nice new shelving unit for some of his five hundred cook books. It is six feet tall, has five shelves, and is a nice cherry-wood color. Except for the middle shelf. That one has a dull brown finish and always will. That is, unless Mark wants to dismantle the goddamned thing and put it all back together again.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oh Joy!

The rainy season has arrived along with the hurricane season. Well, not officially. It actually happens on June first, but tell that to the sheets of rain that pummeled my windows all day today. Besides the constant flooding in my back yard, and the scary television specials telling us we're all going to die in a hurricane, I have to deal with two neurotic dogs. It's very difficult when they have been on a strict pee and poop schedule for the dry months. Now we have to go back to watching the weather radar, and looking out the window to see if my dainty little pooches can go out. I've tried just opening the back door to let them do their thing, but they both stand there horrified at the thought of stepping out into the downpour. In fact Sasha won't even get within ten feet of the back door, so she's been peeing in Mark's shower, and pooping in my bathtub for the last two days. We've learned to look before stepping in. Chandler on the other hand will go out in the rain, but only if I put him on a leash and go with him. Because of that I have cut his walks to just the corner and back. Apparently that doesn't give him enough time to do his thing. Three times today he has come to me with that panicked look on his face that means, I have to go... NOW! Unfortunately I missed one of those while taking my afternoon nap, and Chandler decided that next to the window in the living room was close enough. Mark found that one. He's such a baby.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Rules

The vet told us that our dogs are fat. She said if we don't stop feeding them human food from the table we would be cutting years off their lives. So with that in mind I have started the training. As soon as I get Mark fully trained I'll start on the dogs. Meanwhile they don't seem to understand exactly why Mark isn't sharing his dinner with them.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


A Coors commercial came on while I was watching baseball, and when it was done I swore I'd never buy Coors Beer. My problem with the commercial is the use of a song I really used to like. Love Train by the O'Jays. I'm sure the ad agencies have done mountains of research that say using old rock songs is a good thing, but I have to disagree. It only makes me resent that brand for ruining a good memory. Love Train used to bring back pleasant memories of one of the best times of my life, the seventies. Now it just makes me think of a train running where it shouldn't, and a bunch of drunk hipsters having a good time. I hate Coors.
Site of the Memorial Day Cookout.

About two weeks ago Mark told me he was having a cookout on Memorial Day. The conversation wasn't, "Alan, I'd like to have a cookout on Memorial Day. Is that all right with you?" No, he said it was happening and that was that. So this past week I had to clean up the yard, trim the hedges, get the swimming pool into shape, clean the house from top to bottom, and go with Mark on numerous shopping sprees for food, liquor, and holiday decorations. In addition there was the constant re-cleaning of the kitchen as Mark produced chicken salad sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, barbequed Hawaiian pulled pork sandwiches, taco casserole, watermelon salad, and various other dishes. The dishwasher was running non-stop for three days. That is until early Sunday evening when a horrible grinding noise came loudly from the kitchen. It was the dishwasher, it was dead. To understand the full impact of this you must understand how Mark cooks. Let's say he's going to make a ham and cheese sandwich. You would think he would take two pieces of bread, some ham, some cheese, and maybe some mayonnaise, and neatly produce a sandwich. Not Mark. When Mark is done making that sandwich there is mayonnaise everywhere, there are ham bits flung against the wall, cheese shards stuck in every crevice, and a huge pile of bowls, and utensils along with two dogs gleefully grabbing as many of the sandwich makings as they can that have fallen into their realm. But I have strayed from my main subject; Mark's party and my resentment that his party created a lot of extra work for me, and burned out the dishwasher. Mark just had a big party four months ago and I think one big party per year is more than enough. In the forty seven years before I met Mark, I had a total of three parties at my house. I just don't see a need for them. Anyway, there is an up side of this. I did a lot of extra work around the house and it now looks much nicer, and I'm going to get a new dishwasher.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Dad's Flag
Millions of people have died needlessly in wars because of the lies and failures of those in power.
Flowers that I planted yesterday, outside my garden gate.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hair of the Dog

For the last four months Sasha has been chewing on her leg. I noticed it early on because of the little naked patch. What is weird is that I can't catch her doing it. I keep finding little black hairs laying around that aren't curly, so I know they don't belong to Mark. Anyway we took her to the vet, who gave her a shot and some pills. Two months later and Sasha now has both legs denuded of hair. So today it was back to the veterinarian's office for another shot, more pills, and a lecture about how fat we've allowed her to get. Sasha, not the veterinarian. The veterinarian is quite lean.

An odd thing I noticed while in the waiting room at the vet's office, was that my pinky finger was hurting. I sat there massaging it and I noticed that my pinky finger is bent. There is a very noticeable bend at the first knuckle. Is that normal, what does it mean? I don't remember smashing it, or breaking it, or hurting it in any way. In fact now that I look more closely I think my forefinger is bent too. Not nearly as much, but it does have a little bend to it. Much like the rest of me, it's a little bent.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just a Little Off the Top, or Until My Ears Start Burning

There are some things that you can say to anyone; non-offensive things, small talk. Then there are the things some people say in front of others that might be a bit over the top, to get peoples attention. Occasionally you will run across somebody who has no filter; a guy or girl who has no barrier erected between their twisted mind and their mouth. They go too far regularly.

Yesterday I got my hair cut. I've been going to the same barber for the last few years. He's okay, nothing special, but he happens to be one of those people without a filter. Unfortunately what is going on in his brain is not very pretty, and he loves to share it with everyone in the barber shop. Most of what he told me yesterday I cannot print here. It was filthy. Here is just a sample. He told me about how his mother thinks he should quit drinking. He said that he wouldn't quit drinking unless his doctor told him to, and that he has never told his doctor about how much he drinks, just so that the doctor won't tell him to quit.
"I know I drink too much." He loudly told everyone in the shop.
"You know you do stupid things when you drink." replied a customer.
"Oh, don't exaggerate."
"Exaggerate, what about the time you left the Rawhide Bar buck naked? You went all the way home without a stitch of clothing on."
"Oh yeah. How did I do that? I woke up the next morning, and I couldn't find my clothes anywhere. The last thing I remember was standing on the bar, taking my clothes off, and some guy.....  "

So why do I keep going back to this barber shop? Well, the stories can be kind of interesting, but the real reason is that the haircuts are only ten dollars. It's the cheapest place in town. Yep, that's me, dirty and cheap.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"...where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain."

A couple of blocks west of Oak Park Avenue, between 171st and 173rd Streets. August 23, 1956.
My dad did one thing before he died that he shouldn't have done. He had a house built for him and my mom without a basement. Ever since we were kids I remember my mom being very afraid of tornadoes, and at the slightest hint of a storm we were always herded into the basement. Now my mom has to sweat it out every time there's a warning. There would be only one problem even if she did have a basement now. Her Hoveround wouldn't navigate those stairs very well.

I feel so bad for anybody who has to live through such a natural disaster. Hurricanes are bad enough, but at least we have ample warning. I have witnessed two tornadoes that hit my home town of Tinley Park, and I have to say they are a powerful sight. Beautiful, and terrifying at the same time. Hopefully our stubborn legislators won't screw around with the poor folks in Oklahoma, and make sure they get relief a bit faster than they did for New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Volkswagen Chronicles; Before I Grew Up

1954 Beetle

I am on the Illinois Tollway with my brother in his 1954 Volkswagen. The little bug is whining along at sixty miles per hour.
"Hey Dave, look at that.", I say as I point out the window.
"Is that a tire rolling down the highway next to us?"
"That's not just a tire. It's the entire...  "
Clunk, grindddddddddd......
I have to give it up to my brother. He guided that three wheeled Beetle to a perfect stop, just feet from the drop-off to the road below.

1964 Beetle

A typical summer evening, out cruising my home town with my cousin in his 1964 Volkswagen. Part of our cruising routine was getting toasted on pot. That evening we decided to smoke as we drove around the country roads just outside of town.
"Fwsssssst...  hack, hack, hack."
"Hey, pass that over here."
"Sure, here, take it." I said as I passed the joint back over to my cousin. It's funny how time slows down when you're stoned. I looked out the windshield of the little car, and thought that for sure my cousin knew we were entering a hairpin turn. As the yellow caution sign with the dogleg arrow on it slowly got closer and closer, I tried to warn him.
"Uh, slow it down man. This is a very sharp....  "
It was like rolling down a hill in a giant tin can with the sounds of crumpling metal and my cousin's curses all mixed together. Out the front window I watched as the horizon swirled around and around until we came to rest at the bottom of a little ravine.
"You boys alright?"
Out my side window I could see a pair of feet. It was a nearby resident.
"I'm okay, I think."
From the rear window-well I heard the voice of my cousin, "Owww... ouch. My arm hurts."
The best part of a Volkswagen Beetle is that you can roll it sideways down a hill and then just flip the thing back over, and drive away.

1966 Karmann Ghia

In the summer of 1972 my cousin and I delivered a car to California, from Illinois. For the trip back to Illinois we borrowed a car from some girls we had met in Berkeley. It was a beautiful 1966 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, and the girls were a couple of idiots who trusted the first hippies they met in California. To finance our trip to California, my cousin had a plan. He stuffed a pound of primo west coast pot in the spare tire, up front next to the fuel tank. Twenty four hours into our non-stop drive back to Illinois, while my cousin napped in the passenger seat and I drove, we ran out of gas on Interstate 80 near Atlantic, Iowa. Luckily for me an Iowa State Trooper had been behind us for some miles. Officer Friendly pulled up behind us as our little Volkswagen sputtered to a halt on the shoulder.
"Is everything alright ma'am?"
As I turned to the officer he corrected himself, "I'm sorry, I mean sir." (I had very long hair)
I explained the situation, and the policeman graciously gave us a gallon of gas. My cousin finally awoke from his nap just as the trooper was pouring the fuel into the tank, which was right next to the spare tire, which had a pound of highly illegal marijuana stuffed in it.

It's things like that, that keep me from becoming another vindictive asshole. I don't believe in the courts charging juveniles as adults. I don't believe in throwing everybody in jail for stupid decisions they may have made in their youth. Having made so many bad choices in my life that ultimately had no consequences at all for me, has made me more tolerant of other's mistakes.  After all, that cop could have noticed something wasn't quite right about that tire. That nearby resident who helped us roll the Beetle back on it's feet so we could drive out of the ditch, could have called the police to report two stoned kids. No, stupid luck is no way to go through life, but I'm glad I've had it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Please Pass the Imodium

The other day, before taking in War Horse, we ordered some Chinese food.
"Mark, this stuff tastes kind of funky."
"What is that?"
"It's called General Tso's wontons."
"Well if they don't taste right, don't eat any."
"I'm gonna eat one more... uh huh, funky. Very funky."

I should have known the next morning, when Chandler barfed one of those wontons up in the middle of the street, that things weren't right. Sure enough, by late in the afternoon, the day after eating those funky wontons, I was spending more time on the pot than in front of the television. It was horrible. It was like somebody had connected a garden hose to my culo and turned it on. All evening, and late into the night, I was running back and forth to the bathroom. I was dehydrated and weak by the time I got up at 1:30 in the morning to make one more trip. As I stood there in the dark struggling to get on the toilet before I exploded, things started to get fuzzy. I knew that feeling, I was fainting. When I came to, my head was in the shower, my arm was twisted around into a pretzel, and I still felt that ominous pressure in my gut. I lay there like a beached whale calling out for Mark to come and help me. For five minutes I called out for help as blood spurted out of my elbow. Slowly I dragged myself closer to the door, too weak to get up off the floor. Now I don't fault Mark for not waking up right away, but my beloved dogs. Those two little animals that I feed, that I walk, whose poop I pick up, who can hear a bag of pretzels open from a mile away, did not get out of bed to see why I was calling for help.

My doctor has me on Cipro now and I’m not allowed to eat any of my favorite foods. Apparently if you screw up your innards you are only allowed to eat the crap your mom used to feed you when you were six months old. I do know I won't be eating Chinese food for a long time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wart Hoarse

Sometimes Mark's thick New York/New Jersey accent does present some problems for me.
"Alan, I bought tickets for Woarse next Tuesday."
"Tickets for what?"
"Woarse, the play."
"Woarse? I don't understand what you're saying. Say it a little more slowly Mark."
"War Horse, War Horse."
"War Whores? Is that one of those plays that they put on in a tiny, dirty little storefront theater? Is it going to involve a bunch of unattractive, naked people?"
"No you idiot, War Horse, like the movie we saw last year."
So that is where I was this past Tuesday evening. Sitting in the Broward Center Theater watching War Horse.

"Psst, Mark. This is the worst Broadway musical I've ever seen."
"It's not a musical, it's a play. Now hush..."
Mark was right, it wasn't a musical at all. There were a couple of songs in it, but it was most definitely a play. A three hour long play. But it wasn't just a play, it was also a puppet show. They had puppet birds, puppet horses, and even a puppet fence. The only problem was you could see the puppeteers.
"Psst, Mark. Who are all those guys hanging around the horse?"
"They make the horse move. You aren't supposed to watch them. Only watch the two characters talking. Pretend the other guys are invisible."
"Why are there a bunch of guys standing around the fence then?"
"Same thing, they move the fence around. Don't pay any attention to them."
"Well this is the worst damn puppet show I've ever seen, and I used to watch Howdy Doody. I know how puppets are supposed to work, and this ain't it."

I have to admit, by the second act I was getting used to all the extra people on stage, and I got into the story. In fact, by the end of the last scene, when the kid was reunited with his horse Joey, I was bawling like a little baby.
"Alan, are you crying?"
"Shut up, and let's get out of here before the lights come up."
"I can't believe you're crying. It really wasn't that good."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sod Buster

I have found that I can't let my attention stray for even a minute when walking my dogs. The other night while taking our evening stroll, Chandler and I met up with Buster the pit bull and his nice owner, Lisa. Buster and Chandler have been friends for a few years now, but all that went out the window when Chandler spotted some fresh meat in the middle of the street. While Lisa and I were chatting, a sudden skirmish erupted as both dogs tried to claim a large, flattened lizard. As both dogs snarled at each other, Lisa and I struggled to drag them away from this tempting treat. At home I can stick my hand right in front of Chandler and remove his food bowl, so I was shocked to see him become so food aggressive.

Sasha has her own peculiarities that I have to watch out for when I take her for her evening toilette. Yesterday Sasha's deal was eating grass during her walk. Before I realized what she was doing she managed to get a good belly full, and within ten minutes after we got home she barfed up a large wad of it in the kitchen. Of course this caused Mark to start screaming and retching, "Oh my god that's disgusting... barf.. puke... aackkkkk...."  That wasn't really the worst part of Sasha's sudden desire to eat like a cow. That came this morning when she tried to poop and a long strand of grass got stuck in her butt hole. After a short while hoping that she'd be able to eject the offending bit of sod, I did what any good dog owner would do. I grabbed it and pulled. It was very long, and caused Sasha to let out a little yelp. My only regret was that Mark wasn't there to see my heroic behavior. It's not that he loves to watch me do such dirty work, it's that I love to watch him watch.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ottoman Empire

About a month ago Mark bought some 'doggy stairs' for Sasha so that she could climb up into our bed on her own. She hated them and refused to use them. It didn't matter. Within days, on one of my nocturnal trips to the bathroom, I smashed them as I stomped through the bedroom in the dark. We returned the doggy stairs, claiming our little schnauzer had caused them to collapse. A week ago Mark found a little ottoman at Home Goods. It was perfect, and within one day Sasha was using it to jump up into our giant dog nest.

One thing that I have learned since the onset of my glaucoma problem is this. When I make that fateful step off into space because I have no peripheral vision and I feel myself falling, don't fight it. That is what happened this morning. It's not like I didn't know that ottoman was sitting there next to the bed. I knew it was there, I just forgot. As I catapulted through the air towards the television set, I cursed knowing immediately what I had tripped over. By all rights I should have ended up lying on the floor with the giant flat screen television on top of me. But I have learned from years of experience. I went with the flow of my fall, twisting my body oh so slightly, and ended up in a cardboard box that had been sitting next to the television. No broken bones, no sprains, just a horrible pounding headache all day long. Not much different than a Saturday morning after a night at Sidelines Bar.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dance Fever

Yesterday was mother's day, and it brought me to reminisce about my childhood and mom. Most of what I remember are only fragments, like being pushed through town in a baby buggy by my mother. I can still smell the canvas of that baby carriage as I sat wedged in there with my sister, the houses and stores of our hometown gliding by. I also remember our old house on Ravinia Drive. On cold winter days mom would stand in the corner of the living room, directly in front of the heating grate. She spent a lot of time doing that. I think it was because my dad was trying to save money on heating oil. He was a master at saving a buck. One of the things that I remember most fondly, is my mom tap dancing in the kitchen. She'd be busy preparing dinner while me and my sister sat at the kitchen table. On the radio would be WGN. You never knew when it would happen. An old song from the forties would come on and suddenly mom would be tap dancing all around the kitchen. We kids loved it. We had our own little floor show right there in our little suburban night club. It's kind of funny, my mom seemed to have a real handle on dancing, something I have never been good at. Which brings back another memory. One that isn't so pleasant. Mr. Hynes, my seventh grade English teacher, laughing at me dancing at an after school dance. I never went to another school dance after that. Not junior high school, or high school. That prick was also the guy who made fun of my writing skills in front of the whole class. I think he was wrong about my writing, but not the dancing. That probably was pretty funny.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Little did she know, there were eight more yet to come.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cat Fight

"Alan, Alan, Alan!"
"Mffft whaaa... what, what the fuck?"
"The cats are fighting right outside the bedroom window."
"Huh, cats... okay, cats."

When I was a very small boy, every afternoon my mom would lay me down in my crib for a nap. It was a very good idea. Not just for my mom so that she could get a little time for herself, but for me. It was good for me. I like my sleep time. It has served me well over the years, so I carried that afternoon nap practice on into my adulthood. Fortunately I have almost always had jobs that were flexible enough to allow it. About the only job that interfered with my afternoon nap was the can factory. I tried napping there once, but the resulting collision of empty aerosol cans with the end of the assembly line woke me up. After that I managed to always get jobs that had little supervision, and no way for the boss to track me. I spent many afternoons sleeping in my car, company van, or even at home when my job brought me close enough. Then I met Mark. Mark hates my naps. He is constantly waking me up. Over the last sixteen years I have not had one decent afternoon nap. Even when he was ill and in the hospital he would make a point of calling as soon as my eyelids drooped shut. So this afternoon it was a cat fight. There is really nothing I can do about a cat fight. By the time Mark wakes me up, and I get my bearings, the cats have moved on. Anyway, I have to find a way to get my nap time without Mark bothering me. I've tried to nicely tell him not to wake me up. I've screamed at him. I've locked myself in my office, but no matter, he finds a way to wake me. What I have recently been contemplating is using some Ambien sleeping pills. I think they would work real good crushed up in Mark's morning coffee.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

All Apologies

The senior year girlfriend
I've been going through all my photo albums and scanning a lot of my old photos onto the computer. It became imperative when I opened one of them up and saw that many of the old pictures were so faded I couldn't even make them out. I guess this digital photography is a two edged sword. On one hand all my photos in the last six years are only on the computer. On the other hand, the computer has enabled me to save the precious hard copies I have of all my aging photos. One thing that this task has brought to my attention is that I have some apologizing to do. You see I keep running across photos of old girlfriends.

My high school years and the few years immediately after that were somewhat confusing for me. I was attempting for the most part, to live up to what was expected. In other words, I dated girls. First of all I need to apologize to my freshman year girlfriend. I hate to lose, and when a girl would break up with me I took that as a loss, and I lashed out. It wasn't pretty. Then there was the girl that my sister fixed me up with. We only went out a couple of times, and she seemed to think I was some kind of sex crazed rapist. The day we went to the beach she refused to take off her sweat shirt, and it was a hot day. I didn't break up with her, I just never called again. By the way, I was sex crazed, but it wasn't anything that she would have had to worry about. My senior year girl friend deserves the most apologies. I went out with her for a year. Every weekend it was pretty much the same. Go out to dinner, take her to a movie, and then park in the forest preserves and neck. Necking consisted of me kissing her for about a half an hour before starting the car, and calling it a night. The trouble is that my girlfriend wanted more, and was mighty frustrated that all I ever did was French kiss her. No attempts whatsoever to grab a breast, or move my hand within the confines of her clothing. Not even on the night that she actually took my hand and moved it around to her brassier clasp. That poor girl, I wasted a whole year of her dating life. She finally broke up with me, and of course I took that as losing. Once again, not pretty. So I apologize to all those poor girls who could have been going out with a straight boy if only I hadn't interfered. I have one more apology, and that is to the very good looking boy who I hung out with for a number of years right after high school. Although we 'experimented' a few times I never let our thing go any further than that. And when he came around at the end of our relationship, I rejected him. I was such a dork.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Front to Back, or Back to Front?

I think I need to explain just a little more about what happened to me last Tuesday. First of all I burned my hand, and I blame it all on Mark. He left me alone all day with written instructions on exactly how to prepare dinner.
"Brown the pork tenderloin in a oven proof skillet, then put the pork into the preheated oven at four hundred and twenty five degrees for twenty minutes or until the internal temperature reaches one hundred and sixty five degrees.", read the note that Mark had left me.
Geez, what could be easier than that?

Mark was busy all day and he had left me in charge of dinner. The last time he ever did that was sixteen years ago, and just last year he finally told me that he absolutely hated that meal. It was quite impressive that Mark was entrusting me for only the second time in sixteen years, with the responsibility of preparing an entire dinner. So around six in the evening I began working on my task. I got three potatoes, sliced them up and boiled them in a pot for mashed potatoes. I also had a package of frozen corn that I intended to cook up in the microwave. Very carefully I browned the pork and stuck it in the oven. Every five minutes or so I would put on the space age oven mitt that Mark has, and pull out the meat to check the temperature. Finally, it hit the desired temperature and I removed it from the oven. Carefully I placed it on the top of the stove and turned to go into the dining room to finish setting the table. As I turned I realized the pork was too close to the edge of the stove. Knowing Chandler would not hesitate to try and grab that hunk of meat, I decided to push the skillet further from the edge...  Did I mention that I had taken the oven mitt off? Let me tell you, the first thing that went through my mind was that the handle of the skillet was cold. A fraction of a second later I realized that it wasn't cold at all.

For two days my hand was bandaged and in pain. In those two days I learned that I really needed my right hand for so many things. I needed it for cutting the meat on my dinner plate, for typing my pithy little blog stories, for walking the dogs. There were so many things that I needed that right hand for, but the thing that freaked me out the most was when I discovered how much I needed it in the bathroom.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Oh Balls

Slurp, slurp, slurp...
"Chandler, stop that!"
Scratch, scratch, scratch...
"Sasha, please stop ripping your hair out."
It doesn't matter what I say, Chandler continues to lick the former site of his testicles, and Sasha continues to scratch until she's gone bald. This started last week. It was like a plague had descended upon our house. Both dogs with skin rashes and uncontrolled itching. So I sat down and tried to figure out what had changed and what both dogs had in common. I am not one hundred percent sure, but I think it is their food. A couple of weeks ago I went to the supermarket for dog food. They were out of our brand so I grabbed another brand with a name that indicates that it is beneficial, and wonderful. What it was, was cheap. Anyway, to prove my suspicions I Googled the name of the dog food along with the words 'skin rash'. What popped up were hundreds of hits with stories of dogs getting rashes from this brand of dog food.
I dumped half a bag of that crap into the garbage, and replaced it with a bag of the dog's regular brand. I'm not sure, but I think the itching is starting to subside. The only way I can really judge if it is getting better is by the sounds I hear in the dark of night. You know, no slurping or scratching all night. I mean the dogs, not Mark. I don't know what to do to get him to stop.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Free Form Friday

Do Chinese people put out Melmac on the dinner table and call it their good America?

Do Jewish people refer to not haggling and paying full retail price as "Buying Episcopal"?

And finally, a photo of one of my cats, Britney Spears, lounging in a pile of leaves yesterday.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Don't Worry Dad, I've Got This One... Easy Popup.

For some reason my dad thought it would be a good idea for me to join Little League when I was a kid. There could have been any number of reasons for that, like teaching me how to play baseball, teaching me to be more of a big boy, or maybe teaching me how to take derisive comments from other kids. He was probably right. I did learn the basics of baseball, and I also learned to let those cries of "Here comes the strikeout king", just roll off my back when it was my turn to bat. I hated Little League. I can still hear my father. When the coach threatened to put me in the instructional league if I didn't do better, my dad said, "You don't want to go to the minors do you Alan? Come on, I know you can do better."  The truth is that I couldn't do better. I was a lousy player, and every time the ball came my way I was terrified that it would hit me in the face. When I was inevitably put into the instructional league, or the minors as my dad called it, I hated it even more and pleaded with my mom to let me quit.

My dad would have been ninety years old today. We never did talk about my Little League days, and why he insisted I join. I was simply glad to not have had to keep it up after that first horrible season. As it turned out my dad didn't have to worry about whether his second son was going to be interested in baseball. We went to plenty of White Sox games together, and I even took him to a Cubs game once. I like baseball. I like sitting in my big fluffy chair with a diet Coke, or a beer and a hot dog and watching baseball on television... the way god intended for it to be enjoyed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Feel the Burn

There are two things I know for certain. Mark is not a nurse and I am not a cook. This will be short because I am in great pain. Mark was out of the house yesterday until after seven in the evening. He left me very good instructions on how to prepare a pork tenderloin so that dinner would be ready when he got home. What was not stated specifically in the instructions, was DO NOT TOUCH THE HOT SKILLET! Something I think would be self evident to even the most unskilled cook.

I am typing this with one finger. My right hand has been bandaged the best that Mark could do. Considering just how squeamish he is, he didn't do so bad. That, some cooling gel, and a five year old Oxycodone pill that I took, seem to have made things bearable for now.