Friday, May 29, 2015

Down Time

I remember when I was a kid and I was bored, I'd whine to my mom that there was nothing to do. Her reply was always, "Spit in your shoe." I was not amused. Now, as an adult, when I have nothing to do it doesn't mean I am bored. It usually means I have some spare time to take a nap.

Unfortunately a nap is one of the two states of being that Mark hates to see me in. Besides rousting me the moment he sees my eyes close, Mark also hates to see me moving around the house. The only reason I would be moving around the house is if I have a specific task that I want to accomplish. For some reason that irks Mark and he immediately stops me with a request of some kind.
"Alan, put the clothes in the dryer for me."
"Alan, empty my waste basket."
"Alan, bring me a glass of water."
I could be cleaning the kitchen, or taking the dogs outside, or any number of things. I could be right in the middle of writing one of these stupid little stories and Mark will put a stop to it.

So those are the two things that Mark hates to see me doing, being very still with my eyes closed and moving about the house with my eyes open. It's really very irritating. Which is why I like it when Mark goes out leaving me alone in the house, and why Mark should check his shoes before he puts them on.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Seasons Greetings

Hurricane season starts Monday. I had truly hoped to be out of here before the local weather people announced that the sky would be falling. It happens almost every year, a low pressure area floats off the coast of Africa and the television stations start speculating as to when it will form into a category five hurricane. By the time the low pressure is halfway across the Atlantic it has been upgraded into a tropical depression and they are urging you to stock up on canned groceries and plywood. What seems like a good hearted appeal for the viewers to be safe, is actually somewhat specious when you realize that the news is heavily sponsored by supermarkets and Home Depot. Unsuspecting, you  head up to the Publix Market for a gallon of milk and some beer only to find the shelves stripped bare and a full scale riot at the checkout lines. All that is only with the threat of a hurricane. The real nightmare starts when one actually hits. Like I said, I do not want to live through another hurricane. It is terrifying. The howling winds that sound like the continuous roar of one those Jurassic Park monsters. The sound of your shed slamming into the storm shutters. The sound of your neighbor's shed, lawn furniture, and roof smashing into your storm shutters. Weeks without electricity, water, and telephone. I cannot do it again. Unfortunately I may have to, because three more homes have popped up for sale here on our street. All at a much lower price than what I had mine listed for. This is really screwing things up as far as my plan to get out of here before the Florida hurricane season so that I can get up to the Midwest in time for the summer tornado season.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spoon River

This morning I turned on the garbage disposal after dumping some leftover cat food down there. I was half asleep and hadn't noticed the spoon that had fallen into it. It very well may have been the last spoon that wasn't chewed up. Anyway, I thought to myself, I should write about this. Then I remembered that I already had. So here it is again from December 2013.

Klink, clank, clank, klink...
    "What's all the noise in there." Mark screams from the bedroom.
    "Just trying to find a decent spoon to eat my cereal with. Why the hell are there so many spoons in here anyway?"
I go through this every morning, the great spoon hunt. It's not like there are no spoons in the drawer, in fact it is jammed full of spoons. The problem is only two of them are suitable for eating with. We must have fifty of them in the drawer and forty eight of them have ragged, tongue and lip shredding edges on them

I spent fifty one years without a garbage disposal. My mom didn't have one in her sink, and when I escaped from the nest I never had a home with a garbage disposal either. That is until twelve years ago when Mark talked me into having one installed along with a dishwasher. The first two years we had that thing I was terrified of it. My worst fear was that I would drop something down there and as soon as I was wrist deep into the machine, trying to retrieve the thing I had dropped in there, Mark would walk over and flip the switch on the wall 'by accident'. I still don't feel all that comfortable sticking my hand down there. It has been useful a couple of times as a means to dispose of some of those giant, two inch long cockroaches we have down here. They often are in the sink when I turn on the lights, and apparently the gaping hole at the bottom of the sink looks like a good escape route for them. So getting back on the subject of those spoons...
Klackity, klackity, klackity, klackity.....
It looks like another one bites the dust.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I learned a few things Sunday evening. The overall lesson would be that you shouldn't order Peruvian food in what is supposed to be a Mexican restaurant.

Mark took me out to dinner Sunday. We checked with Yelp, and the restaurant had four and a half stars along with two hundred and sixty six reviews, of which two hundred and sixty were positive. What could go wrong? I'll tell you what could go wrong, ordering the #1 Peruvian Combination Plate. They had tacos, burritos, carne asada, every other Mexican dish that I could have ordered, yet I decided to go with the #1 Peruvian Combination Plate. No more than five minutes after ordering, our food arrived at the table. The nice lady plopped a huge dish down in front of me and scurried away. I had no idea what anything was on that plate. So I just started digging in.
"Mark, what is this? What am I eating?" I asked as I shoved a fork full towards Mark's face. He tasted a small sample.
"Potatoes. That's a potato."
"Really? Are you sure that's a potato, because it tastes like it's been passed through a drifter's anus."
Mark made a face of disgust and told me to shut the hell up. So I moved on, forgetting about those weird potatoes.
"What the hell is this?" I asked while holding up a strange yellow blob on the end of my fork.
"Looks like a tamale to me." Mark mumbled while shoveling refried beans into his mouth.
"Maybe it's the papussy. I saw that word on the menu, it's supposed to be part of the combination plate."
"Papusa. It's called a papusa not papussy." Mark answered with a note of impatience in his voice.
"Well it tastes like papussy to me. Did you see any cats hanging around when we drove up?"
So, on and on it went. Each thing on my plate tasting worse than the one before it. I made a mistake. I should have probably ordered a Mexican dish that I was familiar with instead of being so experimental. The thing is, maybe there was a warning before I even walked into that place. Maybe the fact that they still had all their Christmas decorations up on May 24th including icicle lights, Styrofoam snowflakes, and holly leaves painted on the windows was a tip off that things just might not be right. I'll tell you what was really not right, what really put the exclamation point on the end of that meal. It was what I had to go through Monday morning. Not pretty. Really, not very pretty.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Some died rebelling against an oppressive imperial army. Some died to keep the Union from splitting apart over the ownership of other human beings. Some died trying to wrest control of the continent from the people who had occupied this land for millennia. Some died in wars of dubious worth. Some died to keep the world from being dominated by an insane dictator and his distorted idea of humanity. Way too many died in wars perpetrated by scurrilous politicians who were power hungry. Too many died in wars that wouldn't end because politicians did not have the courage to say, no more. Some died in a war started by a politician with daddy issues. Worst of all, those who died in war waged for profits.

It doesn't matter the reason or the outcome. It doesn't matter if they believed in what they were doing or not. All of those who served and died deserve our unwavering gratitude. All 1,189,457 of them.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Soul Serenade

Before I say anything let me say that neither Mark nor I can sing. Mark sounds like a cat that's been caught in a meat grinder, and I sound like a piece of heavy, steel machinery that's being dragged across a concrete floor. So I have no room to talk about other people's qualifications when it comes to singing. Unless I am forced to listen, that is.
Last evening Mark and I went out to a bar for a couple of drinks. What I didn't know was that it was karaoke night. So here are a few of my observations while I was being serenaded by those that love to share their talents. First, and I didn't know they did this, rapping is not singing. I don't even know how you would karaoke a rap song. It seems that all you would really need is a drum machine and the ability to talk. Which is exactly what was happening when we walked into that bar. There was a guy bouncing around and doing those spastic rap guy moves with his hands, while reciting something. I don't even know what language the guy was rapping in, Mark tells me it was English. Secondly, I noticed that fat black girls can sing pretty good. Unless they can't, which sometimes happens. Somebody just has to tell them. Third, there was a drunken young white guy who sang an Eagles song slightly better than I would have, while moving like Joe Cocker. It seemed like he was really having fun, and didn't give a rat's ass that nobody liked it. Now that's why you drink liquor, for the courage to stand in front of folks and make an ass out of yourself. Finally, there was one young man in a 'wife beater' shirt, or 'Dago Tee' as we used to call them, who sang some Bon Jovi song. He was my favorite. He also couldn't sing, but still, he was my favorite. Dago tee shirt, muscled arms, rough but attractive face. Yes, he was my favorite.