Monday, February 29, 2016

Where the Dogs Poo

 (With apologies to Shel Silverstein)

There is a place where the sidewalk ends and before the street begins.
My dogs know it well. They know it's every aroma, the special places. They know the spot that they must avoid because Cammie and Brody were there. Good enough to pee on, but not for the big job. That is further up the street. They know the absolute right bush to run to, the fence that they must mark, and the neighbor who won't appreciate them. What my dogs are looking for is the one place that will embarrass me the most. The one place where they will turn, and turn, and turn, until a turd pops forth. Where I will be standing with a bag over my hand while they squeeze the last bits of poo out, right in front of my crabby neighbor.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow.
And we'll go where the chalk-white poops from yesterday decompose.
For the dogs, they mark, and the dogs, they know.
The place where the sidewalk ends.
It ends in front of Mr. Crumb's house, and he doesn't like it.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Cat Pack

How exciting. I've re-started the packing up of the house that I had suspended last October. It looks like we have a contract on this house that has a high probability of being executed. I'm not going to say the house is sold, I've been burned on that before. When the cash is in my bank account, then it is sold. So the drudgery of filling boxes with crap that I'd just as well throw into a dumpster has begun again. One thing the long wait over the winter did, was to convince me that driving a truck full of our belongings up to Chicago might not be a good idea. I've hired cross country movers, so I won't be driving that giant U-Haul truck. When I think about those mountains in Tennessee, a chill runs through me. They have what they call runaway lanes, where a truck that has lost the ability to stop as it barrels down the mountainside, can run off the road and into a huge pile of gravel. With my luck I would miss that cutoff and just fly off into the mist beyond the guard rail. So it's a good thing that I hired the moving van.

Another thing I still need to do before we move, is find a new home for Britney Spears the Cat. Last September I took Lindsey Lohan the Cat, over to Abandoned Pet Rescue and she still has not adapted to life with a hundred other cats. I feel bad about it, but with allergies and other breathing problems in the family, I cannot bring the cat into the house. I also cannot bring her to Chicago to live outside like she does here. The poor thing would freeze to death. So if I don't find a yard for her to live in, or a nice inside home, I will have to turn her over to APR. She, along with Lindsey, will have to learn to live with all those other cats. And speaking of that, I haven't figured out what to do with the other black cat that lives here. As of right now, he's coming to Chicago with me. Meow.... 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Mark and I were having a lovely dinner last night at a Peruvian restaurant. I had some kind of flattened steak on a plate of spaghetti covered with a sauce that resembled alfredo with pesto mixed in. It was very good. Mark had pulpo, better known in the English language as octopus. It also was very delicious. We finished off dinner with a shared dessert of butterscotch flavored mouse on top of a thin disk of chocolate cake. A very light and easy to eat, finish to the dinner. Like I said, dinner was lovely. The restaurant was pleasant, the staff very attentive and friendly. There was only one thing that I found disturbing. As Mark and I were picking away at our dessert, two men walked past our table on their way out. I gagged as memories my misspent youth flooded my senses. One of them, maybe both of them, was soaked in patchouli oil. That goddamned stink from back in the hippie days. Oh, I remember that smell very well from back then. It seemed like no matter what concert, what hippie get together that I found myself in, somebody had taken a bath in patchouli oil. Patchouli oil is disgusting. I could never figure out how those who wore that smell could think it was pleasant. It isn't, it's a horrible smell. Luckily, when the two guys wearing the offending aroma opened the door to leave the restaurant, most of the patchouli smell left with them. But that patchouli got me to remembering. I thought back forty five years ago to my long haired, pot smoking, LSD taking, hippie times, and I wondered why the hippie thing faded out so abruptly. Probably because of the patchouli oil.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mark thought you would be interested in the following Chicago Listing.

The moment I told Mark that we had an offer on the house, he started looking at houses in Chicago. Never mind that twice before the deals have gone sour, Mark has gone shopping. Unfortunately, Mark and I have different views on what a budget is, and what kind of house we'll be moving into. I am easy to please. Twice I've bought derelict properties and I was happy with them. This house for example was inhabited by hard core drug users, and when I started sprucing up the yard I found a couple of heroin kits buried out there. No problem, twenty three years and a lot of hard work did wonders for this place. Mark does not think he can handle a "fixer upper". He keeps showing me homes at least a hundred thousand dollars over what I want to pay.
"But look at that kitchen. Oh... and the bathrooms are to die for."
"No, the mortgage is to die for, mainly I'm the one dying."
And with that I get a pout and a whimper about his not wanting to move. Too bad, the contract is signed. So every day I get another potential home sent to my mail box by Mark. Last night he sent this one.

He thought he was sending it as a joke. Yes, it is hideous. Yes, it is on the Southside of Chicago. But.. it is within my budget. I could live with the weird atrium in the middle of the living room, and the phony "Mediterranean" style architecture. So the joke may be on Mark, because the best part about this house is that it is only one block away from President Obama's Chicago home. I could see me and Michelle bumping into each other as we walk our dogs around the neighborhood.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fat History


I love history. I think it goes back to Central Junior High and Mrs. Helen B. Sandidge's history class. That was eighth grade. I had history classes before then, when I was in the Catholic school, but those classes glossed over real history and were peppered with religious dogma. No, it was Mrs. Sandidge who sparked my interest in digging up the real stories of the past. In the back of Mrs. Sandidge's classroom was a small library. If you had caught up on your lesson for the day Mrs. Sandidge would allow you to go back to her little library and read anything that you would like. One day I picked up a book about the history of Hollywood. This was in 1963, so the history of Hollywood wasn't nearly as large a book as it would be now. Anyway, I was drawn to a chapter about a comedic actor named Fatty Arbuckle. The short version of the chapter is that Fatty threw a party, and during the party took a drunken woman into a bedroom. She died. Fatty was accused of violently raping the woman, causing a rupture that led to her death. In the book at the back of Mrs. Sandidge's classroom, the story had an alternate cause of death. It stated that Fatty Arbuckle had inserted a wine bottle in the woman's vagina and that was what killed her. (Yes, I know. Rough, but I read it in eighth grade in my history teacher's classroom. If I could take it, you can.)  Ultimately, Fatty Arbuckle was acquitted of any crimes connected to the woman's death. By the way, I assumed that Mrs. Sandidge was around a hundred years old when she was teaching us. Seriously, she looked ancient and I figured who better to teach history than somebody who had lived it. She died twenty years after teaching me eighth grade history, at the age of eighty four.

What sparked my memories of Mrs. Sandidge was a  program that I watched on PBS the other evening. It was about Leopold and Loeb, two young Chicago men who murdered a fourteen year old boy for the thrill of it back in 1924. If you see it in the television listings under American Experience, watch it. Very interesting. One scene showed the courthouse where Leopold and Loeb were tried, with Clarence Darrow as their attorney. Something stirred in me when I saw that building. It was very familiar and I knew right away why. It sits directly across the street from my favorite gay bar of the 1970's, Dugan's Bistro. For years I walked out of that bar late at night and looked across the street at what was then a police station. History, I love it. I wonder if the courthouse where Fatty Arbuckle was tried is still standing?