Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vacation or Staycation?


For the last nine years or so our vacation trips have all been road trips to Chicago. Every summer we'd pack up the dogs, and just about everything else Mark could pack into the PT Cruiser, and drive to Chicago. We'd stay for anywhere from two to three weeks in August. I loved it. Well, except for the year the air conditioning went out in the PT Cruiser and the Midwest was having one of the hottest summers ever. That sucked. Mark got sick on the trip up and by the time we got to Chicago I had to drive straight to the Illinois Masonic Hospital emergency room. They kept Mark there for about five days. I don't know how to say this, but I kind of enjoyed being alone in Chicago for those five days. I would visit Mark in the hospital for about an hour each day, and the rest of the time was mine. I didn't go to any bars. I didn't go to any museums. I didn't go anywhere. I just sat in my friend Dennis' apartment that he had loaned us, and watched television. It all had to come to an end eventually. Mark was released from the hospital and the PT Cruiser had to have $800 worth of repairs that really didn't fix the problem. The garage gerry rigged (Mark uses a different word that I cannot, will not use) the AC so that it stayed on all the time. Now I live in Chicago and we haven't taken a vacation trip since we moved here. I'd like to take some short day trips or overnight trips to places like Galena, Starved Rock, or even Milwaukee so that Mark can experience the Midwest that I love. Or, I could just sit in the house here and watch television with Mark. He tells me that there is a Real Housewives marathon coming up soon.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Big Brother

My Big Brother

No, not that big brother. I'm talking about the television "show" Big Brother. I thought television couldn't get much worse when Mark started watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta/Orange County/New York/New Jersey... (I'm sure I'm leaving some of them out. It seems like they never go off the air so there must be more than four of them.) But no, just like I thought there'd never be president worse than George W. Bush, I have been proven wrong again. Mark has found a show much worse than The Real Housewives. Big Brother. He is obsessed with Big Brother, and the most irritating thing about it is that it seems to be on every night of the week. All week, Mark sits in my big fluffy recliner chair screaming at the television as if the people on that show can hear him. Seriously, it looks like they got a bunch of homeless people in their twenties, and put them in a seedy looking halfway house with cameras, where a Chinese lady comes in once in awhile and makes them do some odd jobs. I swear I can smell them right through the television.

Geez I hate reality shows. Give me a scripted, well written drama or comedy any day over that drivel. Yet there is one reality show I wouldn't mind seeing return to television. If it would mean the former host would have to leave his present job to do it, I would love to see Celebrity Apprentice come back on the air. Then I could just block it from ever appearing on my television, like I do with Fox News.

Friday, August 11, 2017

From Around Ten Years ago.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dog Days of Summer 

Unfortunately, Molly died one year after I wrote this. Carlotta the cat is gone too, but not Mark.

I don’t know exactly when Molly’s birthday is, but sometime this summer she turned twelve years old. I got her in the fall of 1995 as a three or four month old puppy. For the first year that Molly lived here, Carlotta the cat was terrified and stayed in my bedroom closet. The only time she would come out of the closet was when she heard Molly being put into her kennel before I went to work. At that time Carlotta would fly out of the closet to her litter box where a look of relief would come over her as she stared out into space. Eventually Carlotta realized Molly wasn’t going to eat her and within a few years they even have been seen sleeping on the same sofa together. Molly has been bad at times. She almost killed a neighbors Maltese once because she thought it was a danger to her and her friend Sophie. That cost me $750 and was really scary. Then there was the time Mark thought Molly was a convenient garbage disposal and fed her all, yes ALL of the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. A dog will eat something like that until it explodes. She did. This resulted in one of the only two times she has pooped in the house. Of course it wasn’t ordinary poop. It was the worst of the worst diarrhea, which of course Mark didn’t help clean up. But mostly she’s been very good. The vet says she is as healthy as a much younger dog. I hope I’ll be writing about her thirtieth birthday someday, with many squeaky toys and chewy strips in the interim.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Give Me a Head With Hair, Long Beautiful Hair

I could tell something was wrong the moment I heard Mom's voice. As usual, I walked in the front door and loudly announced myself so that she wouldn't be startled. She quietly called out that she was there, in the TV room. Nineteen years of hearing Mom's every emotion come through in the tone of her voice, I braced myself.
"Hey Mom, how are you doing today?"
I already knew what was wrong even as those words came out of my mouth. It was pretty evident.
"For years I have had the same lady come to my house and cut my hair. She's been doing a wonderful job all these years. Now look at me." Mom said in her most pouty voice. Sure enough, somebody had chopped Mom's hair off. It looked pretty bad, but the little pin curls Mom had tried to put in her hair didn't help.
"I'm hoping the pin curls will fluff it up a bit, and make my hair look longer."
"Sure, that will help." I lied. For the next hour and a half I tried to take her mind off of the bad haircut, but it seemed like every topic led right back to how her hair looked. At one point Mom complained that not only was her hair ugly but her voice sounded very weird and growly. I assured her that she pretty much still sounded like the lady who used to bawl me out sixty years ago. In fact I decided to take a video of her and play it back so that she could hear herself. So I took the video and played it back for her.
"Oh my god, I am not liking what I see on that." Mom said, not paying any attention to how she sounded. "Oh dear, it'll take months and months for my hair to grow back."
I quickly deleted the video and tried to change the subject, but all Mom could talk about was her hair.
"Mom, you know how many times I've gone from long hair to short hair and back. It grows back more quickly than you think, so don't worry about it so much."
"I'm ninety five years old. I don't know if I've got enough time left to grow it back."
So that's what the real problem is. Mom is worried that she might die and she doesn't want people to see her laying in that coffin with her hair all fucked up. That's understandable, but I look at it this way. It's giving her more incentive to take care of herself and live a long, long time. At least until her hair grows back.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Parkway

Mark and I, and a friend of ours, were sitting around in the living room discussing gardening when I mentioned the tree that the city planted in the parkway.
"Parkway? You mean our front lawn?"
"No, that's called a parkway. The area between the sidewalk and the street is called a parkway. It belongs to the city."
"A parkway is a road where I come from." Mark sneered. Then Mark looked at our guest and asked, "Is that a parkway?"
Ha, I thought, Doug will back me up. He grew up in Chicago, he knows what things are called around here.
"I never heard it called a parkway. I don't know where you got that from, but nobody calls that a parkway."
Well son of a bitch, a lifelong resident of Chicago doesn't know what the grassy area between the sidewalk and the street is called. He did not back me up.

There are certain things in Chicago that have specific names, and any Chicagoan should know them. For instance, the little three foot wide passage between houses is called the gangway. The front porch stairs are the stoop. People used to sit on the front stoop before it got too dangerous. Now only those gang members who plan to get shot sit on the front stoop. Chicagoans know that the formerly tallest building in the world is called Sears Tower, not Willis Tower. I don't care how much Mr. Willis paid for it, and that Major League baseball stadium on Thirty Fifth Street is called Comiskey Park. Although, all the sportscasters here call it Guaranteed Rate Park. I assume they wouldn't be allowed back in if they called it anything else.
So Mark and our friend Doug, who grew up on the South Side, both claim it isn't called a parkway. Fine, I thought. I don't really care. Then last night, we went out to dinner with two other friends of ours and the conversation turned to the tree in front of our house.
"You mean on the parkway?" Larry, friend number one, asked.
I smiled and asked him to repeat himself, "What did you call it?"
"The parkway."
"Yes, it's called the parkway." Friend number two, Roger, concurred.
Ah ha! Vindicated.
"Whatever. Back in New Jersey we drove on parkways. You people are strange." Said the man whose home state elected Chris Christie twice.