Friday, December 30, 2016

Stud Finder

Our holy wall

I don't know who the hell Mark thinks I am.
"I want you to install sliding mirror doors in the bedroom closet."
"After the holidays I want you to install some glass doors in the shower."
"This spring dig up the front yard and plant some flowers, shrubs, and maybe do a nice paver thing around it."
"You still haven't painted the hallway. That was supposed to be done before Christmas."

I am not "Schneider", nor am I "Tim the Toolman". I am not "Bob Vila", I am not even "Mr. Roper". I used to do a lot of my own work around the house, around my income properties, but that was years ago. I turned sixty seven three days ago and my body is showing the wear and tear. For Christmas I was instructed by Mark that he wanted a 32" television for the kitchen.
"Why so big? Why not a smaller television, one that can sit on that window sill?"
In his best pouty face Mark reiterated.
"I want a 32" television, and I want it installed up there on the wall above the window. I want it, I want it, I want it.

So I bought Mark a 32" television. Yesterday I tried to put the damn thing up on the wall. I got out all my tools and fired up the electronic stud finder. When you hang a television off the wall you had better anchor it in a wooden stud. Well, it turns out that my electronic stud finder can't find a stud. Back and forth I went with the thing, beeping and booping. I would drill a hole where it said the stud would be and no stud. So I would drill again. No stud. I now have eleven goddamned holes drilled into the wall and not one of them hit a stud. So in a fit I threw down my tools and instructed Mark that I was not putting that damn television up on the wall. I told him that if he wanted it up there he had better find somebody else to do it, and I tossed the stud finder onto the chair next to him. It went off, "Beeeeeeeeep...." I know for damn sure there is no stud sitting in that chair.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


I was not going to let the backyard dog poop situation get out of control this winter. I had vowed to myself that I would go out there and pick up the poop as the dogs dropped it. And then it snowed. We had about three inches of snow in the yard for about two weeks. I would let the dogs out to go poop and they would go off into the far corners of the yard where they would deposit their loads. I could see it sitting there on top of the snow. If I trudged through the yard I could have picked it up before the heat of the poo let it melt down through the top layer. But ick, no! I was usually wearing my sneakers or slippers when I let the dogs out. I couldn't go out into the deep snow. I would just wait until I had some boots on and get it all at once. So the dog poo sat there deep within the snow layer. When the temperatures got too low, my dog Chandler balked at going out to the yard to poop. So I got out the snow blower and cleared half the lawn for him to poop on. As I ran through the yard with the snow blower I could hear the frozen turds hitting the side of the garage. Good, I thought, that will get them out of the way. A few biscuits I won't have to pick up. Two weeks later and all the snow has melted. A couple of days of unusually warm weather and all the snow vanished revealing just what was under all the white stuff. A lot of brown stuff. It is amazing how much dog shit is in that yard after only two weeks. Now the job of retrieving it is even more daunting. But I have a solution. I'll just wait for the temperatures to drop so that the turds will freeze, and then I can just pick them all up like so many boulders. Unless it snows before I can get out there. Then it's out of sight, out of mind. At least until spring.

I Googled "Dog Poop Pickup Service". Did you know that there are hundreds of dog poop cleanup businesses out there? They will get your shit together and take it away. It's a crappy job, but somebody has to do it and they will. I expect that they have good humor about it as they pick up the poopsicles. I hope this post hasn't been too much of a waste of your time. I had another subject I thought of writing about, but I dumped it and decided on using idea number two.
I kind of like this one. It looks like they mean business when it comes to your dog's business.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


I'm not going to give an opinion about how ignorant or smart (yikes) Trump is. That is for time to tell. I'm not going to rant about what I fear he is going to do to this country. I'll just sit back and wait for the inevitable. This post has nothing what so ever to do with trashing our soon to be new president and former reality show host, or the new First Lady (I've been told that she's hot). The trash will show up on its own. I cannot change what is, and I cannot convince the un-convincibles who voted for Donald Trump that they were wrong. Those people are very certain that he will make America great again. So if he does make that happen, whatever that means, then I guess it would be a promise fulfilled. I really don't think it will happen, but like I said, time will tell. The problem is that all the news shows, all the satirical comedy shows don't seem to want to bide their time. It is Trump, Trump, Trump all day and all night long. Probably some crazy shit is going to come down, but I cannot do a thing to change it. In fact, until such time as Donald Trump does some momentous, fantastic, tremendous thing that changes our lives, I am not going to pay attention to the wall to wall Trump coverage. I simply cannot take it anymore. I used to leave the television tuned to CNN for hours at a time. I can't do that anymore. I can't flip from CNN to MSNBC to Fox News without my stomach getting wrung like a wet bathing suit. Instead I have begun leaving the television tuned to Turner Classic Movies or that HGTV channel. So much easier on my psyche. In fact Mark, who loves arguing with the television news channels, has been turning them off. I'll walk into the room and he'll be sitting, staring blankly at the television, while the shills at QVC try to sell him crap. I think Mark and I are both suffering from a mental breakdown over what has happened to the United States. I think we have Post Trump Stress Disorder, and I think it can only be cured by watching him crash and burn. The unfortunate thing about that is he'll probably take us all down with him.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Alexa Can Stay, But She Can't Sleep in Our Bedroom.

Echo, aka Alexa
I don't buy things I don't need. I don't buy food I won't eat, I don't buy clothes I won't wear, and I don't buy electronic crap just because it's out there. Mark, on the other hand, will buy anything. Especially if it is a gimmick. That doesn't mean he buys "Ronco" level of gimmickry, but he will spend money on some weird crap.

I was sitting in my big chair watching American Pickers, when I heard Mark cursing at his computer.
"Damnit. ALAN! What is the password?"
"The password for what?"
"The wireless network. What is the password."
"Why, what are you doing?"
"I'm trying to set up my new Echo machine."
I had forgotten about that thing. What a waste of money. It's like some sort of parlor trick. You ask it a question and it answers. You tell it to do something and it does it. At least that is what the promise was.
"The password is gayrepublicans, all one word, all lower case."
A few moments later Mark started sputtering and bitching, "That's not right. That password doesn't work."
"Okay, maybe I changed it. Try LindseyGraham. All one word but with the L and the G capitalized."
Again, Mark started whining, "Quit fucking with me. That is not the password. It's not working!"
So this time I got up out of the big chair and entered the password myself. Of course it worked, because it was neither gayrepublicans or LindseyGraham. You don't think I'd put the real password in this story, do you? So, after about two hours of screwing around with the Amazon Echo, Mark got it working, and it went something like this. (Remember, this thing is supposed to be smart and know things.)
"Alexa (That is its name), how do I make Kolachkys?"
"I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer to that question."
"Alexa, Where can I get some marijuana?"
"I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer to that question."
So Alexa doesn't know everything. I tried one more question.
"Alexa, find me a gay bar."
And Alexa proceeded to name four of the raunchiest, nastiest gay bars in Chicago. Alexa is a dirty girl. I then asked Alexa to play some music, The Rolling Stones to be exact. Alexa was able to do this without any trouble. Soon a very tinny sounding version of Sweet Virginia was playing through Alexa's speaker. The sound quality was that of my first transistor radio, circa 1962. From what I've seen, the Amazon Echo can do half of what Mark's iPhone can do without the inconvenience of being able to slip it into your pocket. At least it didn't cost me anything. For once there will be something useless sitting around here that I didn't have to pay for. Although it is a bit disconcerting to hear Mark having a conversation with the damn thing in the kitchen, while I'm watching television in the living room.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Giving My Neighbors a Blow Job

Now that winter is officially here, Chicagoans have entered the whining about the weather phase of the season. It's tradition. You are expected to complain for the next three months and pine for summer. Honestly, it isn't so bad. Just as long as you don't have to go to work, as long as you have a fenced in yard to let the dogs out into, it isn't that rough. Of course we haven't had one of those four foot snowfalls yet. I'm not sure how my little snow blower would handle that since it kind of choked when I hit a six inch drift last week. But what the hell. It's winter, and instead of going outside I can catch up on all the half read books I have sitting on my kindle.

One little note about this past summer. All summer long I kept my yard neatly mowed and I also kept my next door neighbor's yard mowed. I had to, otherwise the dogs would have got lost when they wandered over there. My neighbor is a nice guy, but he isn't much for yard work. Now that it is winter my attention has turned from mowing the lawn to clearing the snow off of the sidewalks. Don't want some asshole slipping and suing me. So far most of the snow that has fallen, has fallen overnight. So when I get up in the morning I would really like to go out there and plow through it with the snow blower. Problem is I wake up around six in the morning. For the first two snows of the season, I was reluctant to start the snow blower at that hour. So when I finally cleared the sidewalks around nine in the morning, the snow was already tramped down and hard to clear. Then it hit me. I knew how to take care of the 'snow blowing at six o'clock in the morning' problem. Clear your neighbor's sidewalks too. Start the engine, let it make as much noise as it can, and then go to town on that snow. So that's what I did. From the alley on down to the third house I cleared the snow. Neither one of those neighbors on either side of my house complained as I passed in front of their homes, spewing white fluff into the air. In fact they both came out, smiled, and one of them even brought out a broom and swept the snow off of my porch.