Friday, October 31, 2014

Boo !!

I think I am the duck

When Mark first moved here, a few days before Halloween he ran out and bought a shit load of candy. I tried to explain to him that there will be no kids coming around here to trick-or-treat. He didn't believe me and continued to decorate and plan for the big day. Ho-hum, October thirty first was no different than any other evening that year. Cats wandered around, a few dogs barked, a lady across the street got drunk, and I watched television. Mark was disappointed, but not so much that he didn't try again the next Halloween with the same results. Mark does not buy Halloween candy anymore. Not until November first, when it all goes on sale. Again, this year on Halloween, our street will be barren of little kids dressed up as ghosts and witches. Yet over in the middle of town, the street will be closed to traffic and a few thousand adults will be parading up and down dressed as sexy firemen, sexy nuns, sexy things covered in feathers and sequins, and sexy health workers in cutaway Ebola hazmat suits. The night of All Hallowed Eve has been taken over by the big kids. It is nothing like it was when I was a child. I remember the streets teeming with children dressed in store bought costumes, costumes stitched together by their moms, and crazy outfits thrown together by the children themselves. One Halloween my older brother was dressed as a puppet show. He cut out a large box, put curtains on it, and walked down the street performing a little show. Mobs of kids would be comparing notes on who gave out the best candy and who was giving away worthless crap, like apples. There would even be a house here and there that was giving out cash, usually pennies. In the 1950's a penny could buy more than one piece of candy at Rudy's candy store, so it was appreciated. It was a great time for kids. I don't know what kids do around here at Halloween now. Maybe go down to the main drag in town and watch all the adults getting drunk in their sexy costumes. I'll bet that's scarier to a kid than anything Mark could come up with.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dye Hard

Nothing happening around here today, so I'll tell you a story from a few years ago. Believe it or not, I used to color my hair. When it first started going gray I panicked. I ran down to the drug store and bought some of that stuff that they said was "Just for Men". Didn't want any of that foo, foo, women's coloring crap. I needed the manly hair dye. It worked, sort of. I did notice that a few of my gray hairs showed through, but for the most part it worked fine. After a few years of coloring my hair I decided to stop. The results were disheartening, I looked old. So after the next haircut, I ran back down to the drug store and bought some more hair dye. This time I decided that I would try something different, something that wasn't 'Just for Men'. That evening I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom, read the instructions, and poured that crap all over my beloved hair. I had to wait  for a set amount of time before I rinsed it out, so I sat on the toilet and read a magazine. After the allotted time I jumped into the shower and proceeded to rinse that crap right out of my hair. When the water pouring down the drain stopped flowing dark brown I got out of the shower and dried myself off. While I patted myself down with a towel, I noticed that not all of the hair dye had rinsed off of my skin. Hair dye had dribbled down my forehead, my temples, and the back of my neck. I took the wash cloth and tried to scrub the coloring off. No  matter how hard I scrubbed, it wouldn't come off. I tried every possible remedy, but nothing was working, so I went for the nuclear option. Comet Cleanser. I took a can of Comet Cleanser, shook out an amount into the wash cloth, and started scrubbing my forehead, temples, and neck. It hurt like hell, but it got the brown out. In fact it turned my skin a sickly sort of white for the next few days. I guess the point of this story is, if you plan on coloring your hair, have a professional do it. Either that, or plan on learning the intricacies of anal bleaching. Yes, I could do that now. I have experience bleaching human flesh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Coffy Brown

"What the hell are you doing?" a familiar high pitched voice screams from the kitchen doorway. I look up and Mark is pointing to a spot behind me. I spin around and immediately start cursing.
I make breakfast most mornings. It's kind of like a ballet made up of many elements. There's the bacon that I always start first, unless I have potatoes on the menu. Never the less, the eggs, the toast, all of it, has to be done at just the right time or it all goes to hell. This morning it was the coffee. Mark always gets coffee with his breakfast, even if I am not. Today was one of those Mark only days so I loaded up the Keurig and moments before I was ready to serve breakfast to Mark, I hit the brew button. I then spun around to the stove, flipped Mark's over hard eggs onto his plate and arranged the bacon next to them while I called out for him come and get his breakfast. That's when I heard him screaming at me. Even before I turned all the way around I knew what was wrong. I could hear the splish splash of the coffee. If you don't know what a Keurig is, it is a coffee maker for a single cup or mug of coffee. You load up a little coffee cartridge, put your coffee mug under the squirty thing, hit the button, and in a minute you have one single serving of coffee. In a way they are great for old people who don't need to make up a huge pot of coffee every morning, and in another way they are the worst thing for old people who tend to forget things. Like the part where you put the coffee mug under the squirty thing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fire Trap

Twenty one years ago, on the first evening that I lived in this house, I decided to do a load of laundry in the building's laundry room. I had bought this place from drug dealers and had just moved in that day. The laundry room was a very dirty, scary looking room at the back of the building. Despite the mess, I needed some clean clothes, so I loaded the decrepit old washer up and turned it on. Later I took the load of clothes and transferred them to the dryer. I flipped the on switch and went back into my apartment. About five minutes later, as I was scraping the filth and dirt off of the walls and floor of the bedroom so that I would have a clean place to sleep, I smelled smoke. The house was on fire, or at least the electrical box on the back of the house was. After an initial period of running around in a panic, I decided to pull all the breakers, disconnect the dryer, and smother the flames. I called in an electrician the next day who informed me that my house was a fire trap. He used a phrase that my dad used to use, which I cannot use here. He said that the wiring in this house was all "(fill in the blank) rigged". So for a few hundred dollars he got it straightened out enough so that I could use my dryer without burning down the place.
Yesterday I decided to get Mark off my back and put that light fixture up in the hallway. Easy enough job, twenty minutes tops I thought. Take down the old one, and slap that new one up in its place. It turns out that the drug dealers I bought this place from left me another little surprise. The old hallway light fixture was not attached to a junction box. They had drilled a hole through the ceiling, stuck live wires down through the hole, and attached that light fixture to the ceiling with toggle bolts. Three hours later, after crawling through the attic, taking a trip to Home Depot, and then another crawl through the attic, I had my new light securely attached to a proper junction box and wired as close to correct as I am capable of doing. I stood there admiring my work covered in plaster dust, bits of attic insulation, and sweating profusely, but I was happy. All that I needed to do was attach the glass globe over the light bulb and I was done. Too bad for me, the glass globe didn't fit. Somebody had put the wrong glass globe in the box, and it didn't goddamn fit. This is the point where I got loud and vulgar. This is also the point where Mark grabbed the glass globe and ran out the door.
We have our light up and working with the correct glass globe now. I'm glad I didn't go to the hardware store with Mark when he returned it. It's much cleaner that way, just let him be the bitch. I would only muck it up. The only problem as I lay in bed last night, was the nagging suspicion that there has to be another "(fill in the blank) rigged" electrical connection somewhere in this house and we might just die in our sleep.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cirque du Pauvres

So the kitchen is pretty much done. New counter, cabinet, sink, everything cleaned, painted, spackled, and re-cluttered. So now I can take it easy for a while, right?
"I want you to put new closet doors up in your office and in the little hallway by the bathroom. Oh, and don't forget to put that new light fixture up in that hallway too. And remember, I want the living room painted even though you just painted it a year ago."
It's not just the work that I don't want to do, because I don't, it's the expense of doing all these things that I object to. I would love to put all new stuff into this house. New doors, new windows, and new, new stuff all around. But I can't. My account is down to just the scraps at the bottom of the bank's vault. I've tried to sit Mark down and explain the workings of our household budget, but his eyes just glaze over and he tells me to raise the tenant's rent. I've tried charts, spread sheets, and dog toys to illustrate things.
"Now here is what we have coming in. Ten squeaky toys a month. And here is what we spend, Ten squeaky toys and this little pile of stuffing that Chandler has ripped out of squeaky toy eleven. As you can see, if we keep going this way Chandler will have to tear apart another squeaky toy... which he doesn't have."
Mark just doesn't realize what it takes to run this place. It's like I am a circus performer, the plate spinner, and I have ten plates spinning on the end of skinny little  poles. If I let one spin down too slowly everything starts to unravel. I'm sure Mark will understand that analogy, except he'll swap out plate spinner for a clown.