Monday, August 31, 2015


I was walking around the block late last night with Chandler when we came across a kitty laying in the middle of the street. It's not unusual to see my neighbor's cat laying in the middle of the street late at night, he does it all the time. Except that this time kitty didn't move when Chandler sniffed it. I nudged kitty with my toe. Kitty didn't move. Kitty was dead. The only good thing about all this is that it was not my neighbor's cat. It was another black cat that I didn't recognize. I reached down, the body was still warm. So I picked it up and moved it out of the middle of the street, laying the lifeless cat down in some grass. 

I don't believe in any afterlife. I fear that when the lights go out, that is it. Done and gone. However, just in case, I whispered to the little cat that if you see a big black dog named Molly wherever you're going, don't be afraid. She won't hurt you. And then I thought about the string of cats buried along my fence, good cats that once lived with me. I secretly hope that I am wrong, that there is a place where all my lost pets can get together and be happy. I understand why people want to believe in a heaven, in some kind of place where our being lives on. I know that It makes death a bit more palatable. Anyway, like I said, I don't actually believe that when we die our consciousness lives on somewhere else. That said, later last night, in my sleep, I had a dream. A very pleasant dream. In it I was moving things around in the house, I assume in preparation for our move to Chicago. Over in the big fluffy recliner chair sat my dad. He kept asking me questions about my house. The last thing he asked was about the swimming pool.
"Did you put extra chlorine in the pool? That storm is coming."
I stood in the middle of my living room with a big box of Mark's books in my arms. I looked at my dad and told him, "Yes, the pool is all taken care of."
And then I woke up because Bette was walking on top of me. 
Good to see you again Dad.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Erika Bad Do; UPDATE

Addendum, Saturday Morning, August 29th; I must have inadvertently prayed to the baby Jesus. How else can I explain that this morning Erika went away. She just evaporated, Pfhttt, gone. Now just a big X where there used to be the hurricane swirl on the map. Too late though for our yard sale. I had already cancelled that. So anyway, thank you baby Jesus and any other demigods I might have accidentally pleased.

It's amazing that we were able to go ten years without a hurricane around here. No crazed people, scared to death by the non-stop barrage of media telling them to stock up, running around the supermarket, grabbing every bottle of water and can of tuna from the shelves. No parade of cars with plywood strapped to the roof. None of that for ten years. Well all that calm has been shattered. Now we have Erika on the way. I am sitting here in our house, up to my ass in U-Haul boxes, with most of our stuff packed away, and now I have to worry about a storm. In just over thirty days I have to hand this place over to the buyers in the exact condition it was in the day they walked through here. On top of that I have to deal with Mark.
"You need to go to the store and buy water."
"Why? We have that giant water cooler. Two and a half gallons of water in that thing, why do I need more?"
Mark let's out an exasperated sigh.
"Okay, fine. When we are totally out of water... well just fine."
At least in the Midwest tornados hit unexpectedly and I won't have to put up with the five days of bullshit before the storm hits.
"And another thing. I don't know why you cancelled the flood insurance. You could have kept it until we moved out of this place."
And on and on it goes. I'm being nagged by the television news  people, and barraged with insults by Mark who actually listens to the television. He's scared. I am not. As much as I hate hurricanes, I know that this house has sat here for fifty five years. It's been through numerous hurricanes and has come through unscathed. Never been flooded, never even has had a window broken by a hurricane. My only fear, the only thing that will bother me, is a loss of power. It would mean no air conditioning, no television, and no computer.
"Oh, and we need batteries and candles." Mark shouts in one last outburst.
So if after this weekend, you don't hear from me for a while. Don't worry. I'm sure we'll be doing okay. If sweating my ass off and living in darkness can be considered doing okay.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

If It's Four in the Afternoon, Old Floridians are Eating Dinner Somewhere

Mark and I went to the early bird at the Peter Pan Restaurant yesterday. It's the Florida state bird, the Early Bird.  Either two dinners for the  price of one, or cheap specials good only until six in the evening. Back in the olden days, when I was a working man, I would often find myself cruising down Oakland Park Boulevard around four in the afternoon. In front of me, every single time, would be a giant Mercury Marquis or Lincoln. In the back seat would be two giant mounds of pink cotton candy hair. Beyond the ladies in the back seat, sitting up front, would be the guys. Two balding old men with wisps of gray hair strung across their bald spots. It was always that way, the girls in the back seat, the guys in the front. They were on the way over to a favorite steakhouse of the early bird crowd. You can still find early bird specials all over Florida, but that particular steakhouse is long gone along with the customers. 

Eating early is something you become accustomed to here in Florida. Interestingly, when Mark and I visited Italy it was the complete opposite. Nobody in Italy eats dinner before nine in the evening except American tourists. We were in Florence and around six in the evening, our usual dinner time, Mark and I needed food. So we left the hotel and walked. We walked, and walked, and walked, but every single restaurant was closed. Until we came across a Chinese restaurant. I could see lights on inside so I tried the door. It was open. Hurray! Mark and I were going to have Italian Chinese food. We stepped inside to find the place empty except for a family of Chinese people sitting around a table eating. I do not know what the nice man at the front door was saying to us, he spoke Italian. I assume with a Chinese accent. We smiled back and sat down at a table. The nice man went over to the table of people and there seemed to be a conference. Shortly, one of the ladies at the table got up and brought us a menu, in Italian. At least some of the selections were the same as an American Chinese restaurant, so Mark and I ordered by pointing to what we wanted. It's quite possible that the restaurant was closed, and that the nice man at the door was trying to tell us so. It's also possible that Mark and I interrupted the only down time those people had, insisting on parking our asses at a table and demanding they make us dinner. Whatever, all I know is that we had a  pretty mediocre Chinese dinner in Florence, Italy. Thankfully, the next evening we had figured out that they served free food at the little wine bar on the corner. All you had to do was sit a table and order a glass of wine. They call it aperitivoI, much like Spanish tapas. It wasn't dinner, but it sure was good.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Somebody Take Mark Out for Drinks, Please.

Our house is in complete disarray as we pack to move. Boxes and boxes of cook books, plus more boxes of stuff. Just stuff, everywhere. Yesterday I went through a bunch of drawers. I was sifting through what we would be selling at our yard sale, which is scheduled for next Saturday. The same day Hurricane/Tropical Storm Danny is predicted to arrive. It's been difficult. For example, I came across a jar in one drawer.
"Mark, what is this?"
"Oh, that's my jar."
"What's in it?"
"Okay, so I can throw it away, right?"
"No! Those rocks used to be on a necklace that I wore. I'm taking them with me."
They were just rocks. Not fancy rocks, not even pretty rocks, just gray rocks barely larger than the pebbles in your driveway. I immediately thought of the movie, The Long, Long, Trailer.
"Okay Lucy, I'll pack them away with the rest of the rocks."
Mark didn't get it.

This is my problem. If I do the right thing and ask Mark about what to do with each thing I come across, I end up with way more crap to move than if I just dumped it all in the garbage while he was out. Unfortunately, Mark doesn't go out drinking nearly as much as he used to. Otherwise I'd have this place cleared out in no time.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Making Poached Eggs For Mark

By my count there have been at least eighty two days that the temperature in my backyard has hit ninety degrees or higher this year. We're talking over ninety degrees accompanied by humidity of at least sixty percent. I hate Florida summers, and this is the hottest one I can remember in the twenty six years I've lived here. Let me put it this way, by the time I am done walking the dogs in the morning you could probably poach an egg in my underpants. I don't walk them in the afternoon for fear that they might burst into flames.

This is the summer that I didn't want to be here. I fully expected to be in Chicago, enjoying Chicago's variable weather, and acclimating to the climate in preparation for a Chicago winter. I swear that if this recent contract on our house falls through, I am not listing it again until next year. It's bad enough that we'll be moving up to Chicago at the beginning of autumn. I can't see moving in the winter. Besides, I've already had to make too many ridiculous promises to Mark just to get him to go along with things. If we moved in mid winter, he would own me.

I've been looking on the internet at available houses in Chicago. It's kind of fun, looking at homes and wondering what the possibilities could be. Where would I put a garden, where would the dog run be? Yes, it's fun to house hunt. Or so I thought, until I clicked on one cute little bungalow and a photo popped up that made me second guess everything.