Thursday, March 30, 2017

Oh My....

Mark and I were driving home when we passed one of the many motels near our house. I looked up at the sign and said, "If we ever need a place for visitors, maybe that motel would be okay."
Mark looked over at the place, then up at the sign.
"Hmmm... it does say that it is AAA approved. Whatever that means."
I thought about that for a second.
"Now that you mention it, that sign looks a little faded. Maybe it was AAA approved back in 1965 and they never took down the sign. It probably wouldn't be a good place to recommend to somebody we like."
"It looks buggy to me." Mark added.

Back in the 1950's about fourteen motels were constructed on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. It was at the point where Lincoln Avenue, or US Route 41, enters the city. Route 41 was the main road coming in from the north, from Wisconsin, so it made sense to build those motels there. Unfortunately, the people who built them didn't understand that the Interstate Highway System was coming. So almost immediately they started to decline in quality. The motels that have survived have had to use some tricks to stay in business. And by tricks, I mean prostitutes. When you read the Yelp reviews it is terrifying. Bedbugs, whores, whore's customers, filth, and probably if you brought your own blacklight you would be able to see just how many people occupied your room since its last cleaning. We pass these motels almost every day. One of them has a window facing the street with curtains, filthy stained curtains, askew and partially open. They have been in that exact  position since we moved here last May. Personally, I wouldn't risk spending an hour in any of those rooms, in any of those motels. I value my health. All I can say is that you would have to be mighty tired, or horny to ever "sleep" in one of those places. As we drove on Mark suggested that maybe we should buy one of those motels. He thinks we could make some money off of it.
"We could rent out the rooms by the hour."
"Hour? Hell, half hour. That should be enough time for most men."
"We could name it 'The Come, Drop Inn'."
"You're disgusting."

Monday, March 27, 2017

Chomp, Chomp!

If you're not paying attention it just sounds like normal background noise. But it isn't, it's the sound of a dog chewing on something. It's a sound that alerts Mark, and causes an immediate frenzy.
"Ack! What's she chewing? What, what is it?.."
Mark has good reason to panic. Since we got Scout, she has chewed up a television remote, a bed pillow, a sofa, Mark's oxygen hose (more than once), and a new pair of Mark's glasses. It is funny though, that Scout hasn't targeted my stuff as much as she has Mark's. Jealousy? Can a dog be jealous? Anyway, over the years our dogs have chewed on much of our furniture. This was almost exclusively done when they were puppies and didn't know any better. Mark gets all upset when he dwells on the damage they've done, but I get sentimental. Each and every tooth mark, scratch, chewed on table leg, makes me remember my dog's puppyhood and just how cute they were. 

Bette (With Scout showing off the damage caused by her predecessor)

Chandler and Molly


Friday, March 24, 2017

Mark Tells Mom a Story

My mom loves Mark's stories. Every time we visit her he tells her some cockamamie story and gets her laughing. This past Wednesday he told her two stories that left her speechless.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Farmer Al

Spring fever has hit. In preparation for the season, I built window flower boxes downstairs in the basement. To my surprise, they turned out pretty good. After all, I am not a very handy, handyman nor a good carpenter. Yet there they are, all ready to be put out under the front windows and planted with lovely flowers. And that's another thing, the flowers. Mark and I went up to the Home Depot and loaded up with all kinds of flower seeds. I figured that I could start them downstairs, next to the window. Plenty of sun there, and it isn't too hot or too cold. Just right for the little seedlings to spring forth. The problem is, I don't know anything about gardening. Yes, I lived on a farm for a year, but that was a hippie farm. We were good at growing certain herbs, but mostly we just hung around and smoked them. So anyway, I set up my little flower factory downstairs. I loaded the planters with soil, getting plenty of dirt under my fingernails. Then I took each colorful packet of flower seeds, opened them up, and poked the seeds into the dirt. When I was all done I decided that maybe I should read the instructions. From what I could see I had done it all correctly, but then I read how long it takes for the seeds to germinate and grow big enough to flower. Fifteen to twenty days before I see a little green sprout, then forty five to sixty days before I have a flowering plant. Hmmmm... in only two or three weeks I'll be able to buy fully flowering plants at the Home Depot, ready to stick in the garden. Meanwhile my little babies will still be struggling to reach puberty. Next year I should start earlier.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


It was a pretty innocent request. I didn't even think Mark would go along with it. I was walking one of the dogs, and as I stopped to let the dog poop on a neighbor's lawn, I looked across the street at our house. It was dark out, but our house was ablaze with light. The giant windows of our living room showed off our art collection, exactly what we were watching on television, and to my horror, all the way at the other end of the house, the dirty dishes from dinner sitting on the counter in the kitchen. It was as if I were watching a play and our living room was the stage. We needed a little more privacy. So when I got back inside with the dog, I suggested maybe sheer curtains on the windows.

Never give Mark an opening to shop. My request for just a hint of privacy turned into an all out hunt for the right curtains, and curtain rods. At some point the idea of a simple, sheer fabric to make it a bit harder to see in, was lost. We went shopping.
"Oh, these curtains are wonderful. It'll look so clubby."
"Like an old fashioned men's club."
So Mark got the 'clubby' curtains and fancy curtain rods to go along with them, and on Saturday he had me put them up.
"Those old brackets have got to go. Remove them." Mark barked.
Those were the brackets that I had thought we would hang rods with the sheer curtains on. Obediently, I removed them. Mark then explained that he wanted the new curtain rod brackets to be above and to the side of the actual windows. Not on the woodwork, but mounted on the plaster walls. I opened one of the packages of Chinese made curtain rods. I took note of the little plastic anchors that were included and found the correct drill bit for the holes that I would need. I measured and marked, and then I drilled fourteen holes in the wall. The first four anchors fit in the holes perfectly. I opened the second curtain rod package, which was exactly like the first curtain rod package. Well, those goddamned, Chinese bastard, mother scratching, evil, child labor using assholes, put a totally different set of anchors and screws in the second package.

 I tried one. It went right through the hole I had drilled and fell inside the wall. I started cursing. Not, "Goddamn, sonofabitch" kind of cursing, but a full throated, loud "Fuck!", which I repeated over and over again a hundred or so times in a row. I never wanted to hang curtains, I never wanted to drill holes, I wanted to put simple sheer curtains on the hardware that was already there on the window. Yet here I was on a Saturday afternoon doing Mark's bidding again, and it was not going well. Oh, did I mention that we had a house guest. (I would like to apologize right now to Jim White. You did not need to see or hear any of that nastiness.)

Four hours after I started my task, and three hours and forty five minutes after Jim White said goodbye and ran out to his car, I finished hanging those curtains. They do look clubby, and they do the job. We now have privacy, which I found that I need when watching television. Remember that I said you could see our television clearly from across the street, from the sidewalk in front of our house, from anywhere outside? Sunday evening I turned on an episode of 'Girls' that I had on the Tivo, and immediately had to run around pulling those new curtains closed. No need for the neighbors to be seeing Hannah's bush. It's bad enough that I saw it.