Friday, April 21, 2017

Mother Satan

Devil in a Blue Dress
When I was a child, I did not like Oreo cookies. Oh sure, I would twist those two hard discs apart and scrape the filling into my mouth. I wasn't totally crazy. Sugar is sugar to a kid, and any delivery system will do. But if I had my choice, I would pick oatmeal cookies. Soft, chewy, and chock full of juicy raisins.

When I visit my mom, almost every time, she tries to hand off some kind of treat to Mark and me. I think that she is trying to put some weight on Mark. This time however, I think Mom was working hand in hand with Satan. As Mark and I were getting ready to leave, Mom wheeled on over to the pantry and returned with a package of Oreo Cookies. She plopped them on the table, "Here, take these home with you." Before I could protest that I didn't really like Oreos, Mark grabbed them and thanked her. Fine, Mark will eat those disgusting cookies.

On Wednesday evening I saw the box of Oreos sitting on the counter. The package was open, so I took one of the broken cookies out and stuck it in my mouth. I don't know what Nabisco has done, maybe loaded them up with crack cocaine or some other addicting substance, because within two minutes I had eaten half a dozen Oreos washed down with a glass of milk. I simply do not remember Oreos tasting this damn good. By yesterday morning I had eaten another half dozen along with another big, cold, glass of milk.
"What the hell happened to the milk?" Mark asked later while staring into the refrigerator.
"I don't know. It got drank?" I mumbled with brown goo wedged between my teeth, "But I know one thing, you need to go out and get some more real soon." Because he surely doesn't expect me to eat the rest of those Oreos without milk to wash them down.
And the packaging makes it really easy to get to them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


The long mild winter is over. I'm spoiled. I couldn't have had a better winter for my return to Chicago, almost no snow and no deep freeze. Next year when I'm up to my ass in snow and my nose hairs are frozen solid, I'll feel compelled to whine like every other Chicagoan. But to hell with that, it's springtime and I planted flowers. Over the winter I built a set of flower boxes for under the frontchroom[1] windows. Out on the front stoop[2] I planted yellow daffodils in the planter, and even put some geraniums in my neighbor's planter. I hope they appreciate them and don't use it as an ash tray. Mark and I did have a bit of an argument over the flowers in the window box. I thought that since I had built them, I got to pick out what went in there. I was wrong.
"We have to go to Home Depot and get some more pots to go in that window box." Mark told me.
"I am not going shopping. I am not going to waste good weather like this by going shopping with you at Home Depot. If you want to go shopping, you know where the keys to the car are. You know where Home Depot is." I screamed back at him. Rude, yes, but I was really tired of shopping. I hate shopping. Anyway, Mark got the keys and off he went. About an hour later Mark returned. He came marching out of the garage with a gigantic fern in his arms. He went to get flower pots to put in the window box, and came home with a fern. That's why I hate shopping with him.
"Where are the flower pots? You couldn't go to the store without getting something you don't need, could you?"
"They're in the car." Mark snipped, while breezing past me with his fern.
So after all the drama, Mark and I planted the flowers in the window boxes together. I have to admit, Mark's design is better than what I was going to do. I wanted a big cluster of blooms, all the same color, and all bunched up together. Sometimes I just need to shut up and let him go about his business. But I still hate shopping with him. That's not going to change.

[1] Chicago speak for the living room, or the front room.
[2] This is what Chicagoans call their front porch.

Monday, April 17, 2017


Gotcha bitch! Now give me all your money.

I did not want Mark to see this, but it has been frosting my ass ever since I got the notice from my brother Gary. I got a red light ticket while driving Mark's car. I got one of these before. Last time it was a video speeding ticket that I got while driving Mark back from grocery shopping, and Mark was pissed. All I heard for hours was, "I never got a ticket. My record is pristine, pure, totally unsullied. I told you to slow down." Well, this time it's a video red light ticket. Goddamned sonofabitch, what a crock of crap. I don't even remember doing it, and what pisses me off even more is that if you look closely, a cop is turning right in front of me. The cop doesn't think my slow down and right turn on red is that egregious. He ignored it. It's not like I blew through a red light with traffic speeding through from the cross street. No, the cross street had a left turn arrow, nobody was coming my way. So I asked for a hearing. I was not going down without a fight on this one. The answer from the City of Chicago was that it was too late for a hearing. You see the car was registered at my brother's house at that time, and that is where the notice was sent. I did not get the notice from my brother until nearly six months after that right turn. Seriously, that's two hundred and fifty dollars this thing has cost me. What a scam. I was endangering nobody, I was not driving recklessly, but there I am. So I paid the goddamned fine and did not tell Mark. It does not go on his record, he gets no points on his license for this, but he will still go crazy. And that crazy will happen just about noon time today when he reads this. Goddamn sonofoabitch.
That's me in the white car turning right.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Witches Gulch

Witches Gulch

Mark, being new to the Chicago area and the Midwest, has suggested we take a few road trips this summer. We have been to a couple of places in Indiana and Michigan. We've been to the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, and to Douglas Dunes in Michigan. We've also been to Prairie du Chien, Milwaukee, and Galena. So I need some more ideas. I have thought about Starved Rock, but that involves a lot of walking and climbing. Not that I am opposed to such physical efforts, but Mark, I'm thinking of Mark. There is another place that looks very interesting. It's called Witches Gulch. It's in Wisconsin, and it appears to be a very lovely place with nice boardwalks through the little canyon so that old people can go there. The only drawback is that it is on private property and you can only get to it if you pay for a boat ride. I also suspect that it is very, very popular because it is in the realm of the Wisconsin Dells, one of the most trappiest of tourist traps in the Midwest. The Wisconsin Dells is where your dad took you because the Rocky Mountains were too far away. Anyway, if anybody has any good information on Witches Gulch, let me know. Otherwise I can always take Mark down Gangway Gulch. It's a short trip and I can be back home in my recliner within minutes.

Gangway Gulch

Monday, April 10, 2017

My Babies

This is April. When we lived in Florida we knew that the nice weather was over by the second week of April. No more cool fronts would blow through. No more mild weather when we could turn off the air conditioning and throw open the windows. Meanwhile in Chicago and the north, people would be exuberant with spring fever. That is what I have. I forgot the joy of springtime in Chicago. I forgot about the smells and the plants bursting out from their winter death. I am still waiting for my little ginkgo tree in the back yard to put forth something that looks like it survived the winter. I worry about it. What I don't have to worry about are the tulip and crocus bulbs I buried last fall. They have come through just fine, and as the crocus wane, I expect the tulips to pop. As for my little greenhouse in the basement, that pretty much worked out okay. I had a lot of sprouts come up, marigold and Nasturtium mostly, and I have now transplanted them in a large planter in the yard. Even the grass is growing and I figure I'll have to fire up the lawn mower soon. Ah, springtime in Chicago. It sure is great... but I do remember past Aprils up here in the north. It isn't going to freeze again, is it?