Monday, November 30, 2015

Black Friday

There have been Black Fridays where I am getting out of bed at seven in the morning to walk the dogs, and Mark is coming in the front door with his arms full of crap he has just bought. Mark is one of those people who never pays retail for anything. If it's not on sale, we don't need it. Last Friday was no exception. I had got my "All I want for Christmas" orders from Mark a few weeks ago. A smoker is what he wanted and it was going to be on sale at Ace Hardware the day after Thanksgiving. So at eight in the morning on Friday, I found myself being driven up to the nearest Ace Hardware store to buy Mark his Christmas present. Ace Hardware stores are nothing like Home Depot or Lowes. They are usually funky little places that are run like a mom and pop store. We walk into Hanna's Ace Hardware and find one single person in the store. That was the owner and he was sitting behind the checkout counter.
"Can I help you boys?" (I often hear that 'boy' thing when I walk into someplace with Mark)
"We're looking for the barbecue smoker that was advertised."
The man put a quizzical look on his face for a moment.
"Smoker, you say?"
"It was on the Ace Hardware web site."
"Oh, we're not that Ace Hardware. This is a privately owned store and all that Ace Hardware advertising doesn't apply here."
"But the signs, the logo. It says Ace Hardware."
"You want the Ace Hardware down by the beach. Go down Commercial, over the bridge, and it's on the right hand side of the street."

Off we went to the Beach Ace Hardware store. We walked in and found a long line of about twenty people waiting at the checkout counter, and one employee looking haggard already at eight thirty in the morning.
"Um... excuse me."
The Ace employee barely looked up.
"Do you have the barbecue smoker that was advertised.... "
"No, we only had one and I sold that on Wednesday."
At this point Mark told me that there was one other Ace Hardware over on Cordova Road, clear on the other side of Fort Lauderdale.
"Goddamnit, just take me home. Get in the car and take me home."
When we got to the house, I went on the computer and found the same smoker at Walmart. It cost four cents less than the one advertised at Ace Hardware and included free shipping. Merry fucking Christmas Mark.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It Could Be Worse

The purpose of Thanksgiving is to contemplate the good things in life that we've been given. I like that much better than celebrating the invasion of the North American Continent and subjugation of the people who already lived here. In fact I don't even think of Native Americans on Thanksgiving. No need to ruin my turkey dinner. Anyway, here are the things I am thankful for.

The fact that I can still call my mom every week. We don't always have a lot to talk about on Sunday when I call her, but just hearing her voice brings a feeling of continuity and reassurance to my life. Thankfully, she comes from a family of long living folk and we'll be talking for years to come.

I am thankful that the PT Cruiser only cost me around $2,000 to maintain this year. That's much cheaper than buying a new car. Mark was not thankful when I told him the PT Cruiser is the last new car I am ever buying, but that's his problem.

Speaking of Mark, I am thankful that he has not killed me with food yet. Oh yes, he is trying to kill me. Mark is a very good cook and tends towards the comfort food trend. So I get lots of gravies, lots of fats, and lots of delicious, artery clogging dinners. It may have been a mistake to have put him in my will.

I am thankful that my little dog Bette's seizures have been brought under control. No longer do I have people stopping their cars, asking me if my dog is okay, and looking at me like I'm beating her as I desperately try to hold the twitching little pup down. I am also thankful that I haven't been arrested for being a peeping tom when Bette drags me right up to neighbor's front windows to take a poop (Bette's taking the poop, not me).

In this time of worldwide turmoil, this time of election madness with crazy, pandering candidates saying hateful shit that is almost always wrong. This time of cops shooting kids, and kids shooting cops. In this time of kids shooting kids, when thousands of Americans are killed every year with guns while the  public worries about assholes in beards a continent away coming to get them, I am thankful for the off button on my television and computer. Now if only there was an off button for Mark's mouth when he's arguing with Fox News. That, I would be very thankful for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Who's your Messiah now?

Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, every shade of those religions. Satanism, Scientology, Rastafarianism, Capitalism. The list of religions goes on and on, many of them based on hate, secrecy, and greed.

I was laying in bed the other night, all hopped up on Prednisone, and I thought to myself, "I should start a religion". Startup costs would be minimal, and if I could dupe enough people, just like the established religions have, I could live pretty nice. I wouldn't have to pay taxes. No sales tax, no real estate tax, no income tax, and I think I could even park for free at government owned parking meters. Sweet!  My religion wouldn't have a lot of requirements like showing up at church every Sunday. You could just send in your tithe via the internet. There would be no absolving of sins. You know you when did a bad thing, deal with it. My supreme being wouldn't ask you to do super human tricks either. Like resisting being yourself. Gay, okay. Filthy whore, okay... up to a point. You don't feel like obeying a law that clearly was intended for somebody else, okay. In fact there will be only one tenet of my religion that you must follow. Do no harm. And by no harm, I mean to other human beings, animals, the planet, no harm. Hmmm... wait a minute. Would I have to give up fried chicken? I'd have to harm an animal if I want fried chicken, unless I have somebody else kill the chicken and fry it. Goddamn it, I'm already compromising my prime doctrine. This religion business is harder than I thought.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Still painting. I am now working around the back of the house and I had to clear out an area between the deck and the wall, AKA The Swamp. It is full of palm trees, bromeliads, and vines. Goddamn vines everywhere. So I got out the big branch cutters and started whacking away. First I cut the larger branches off of the dracaena plants, then I started pulling down the vines. They were all attached to the side of the house with their tendrils, and when I pulled them away some of the stucco came with it, so I started clipping them off. Everything went fine until I realized, they weren't all vines. I had cut through some wires. I don't know if they are very important wires, or where they go. I just know that I irreparably destroyed some cables attached to the back of the house.

The first thing I did was run into the house and turn on the television. Ahhhh.... it wasn't the cable service. Imagine a weekend without cable. I can't. Then I checked the computer. Again, relief. It was not the DSL line. I checked the telephone. Not the telephone line. So what the hell are all those wires attached to the wall of my  house? They could very well go to one of my tenant's apartments. So let's all keep this under our hats. What they don't know, won't hurt them. We'll just let the cable company figure it out.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Mark and I saw the show Newsies last night. Other than my eternal complaint about the seats at the Broward Center being much too small for the average American, the show was very good. Let's face it, we Americans are a large people. Trying to stuff us into seats designed by some skinny guy in Denmark is close to torture. Luckily, by the time the show started, the guy who I was battling with over the armrest moved to one of the empty seats nearby. It was not a sellout.

Mark is funny. He gets nervous about going to the theater the way I get nervous about flying in an airplane. It starts the day before we are going to the show. Yesterday, when I told Mark that I had a three o'clock doctor's appointment, he nearly had a heart attack.
"Ah, ah.. we have tickets for Newsies tonight. Ahrggg... "
"Mark, it's a fifteen minute doctor's appointment."
Mark got upset because three o'clock is the time he usually starts ironing our 'going to the theater' clothes. Anyway, we went to the doctor and got home within thirty minutes, at which time Mark started fretting over dinner.
"I can't make dinner tonight. Not enough time."
"Yes, I know. We only have four hours until the show. Not nearly enough time to boil a hotdog, fry a hamburger, or microwave leftovers."
But it's a good thing that Mark doesn't want to cook dinner. Eating before going to the theater guarantees that I will fall asleep sometime during the slow song scene.
"Chinese, let's order Chinese for dinner." I offered.
It's the best thing to eat before going out. None of that overstuffed feeling, and by the time we get to the theater it'll be as if I hadn't eaten at all. Also the MSG will help keep me awake. So I called Chop Stix and ordered pork egg foo young with a side order of pot stickers. After driving up to Chop Stix to pick up the food, in rush hour traffic, Mark and I sat down to eat dinner.
"Gack! What is this shit? This is shrimp, it tastes like shit. This is frozen salad shrimp in the egg foo young. Goddamnit, pack it all back up. Were going back there."
And so we did. It was not pretty. Mark stormed into the restaurant ranting about his pork egg foo young. The woman behind the counter wasn't having any of Mark's tantrum.
"You calm down please. You want money back?"
"NO!" Mark screamed, "I want you to re-make the egg foo young with pork."
"You said shrimp on phone."
This went back and forth for a bit before the lady turned and shouted something to the cook in Chinese. Five minutes later she tossed a bag of food on the counter, "Here you food, now go away"  She then took the food we had returned and slammed it into the garbage like Michael Jordan in his prime. As we got into the car to go home, I told Mark "You're eating the part with the spit on it."