Thursday, March 21, 2019

At the Sound Bar: I'll Have a High(deci)Ball


Last week I went downstairs to see if the mail had been delivered. When I opened the door to the vestibule, I saw three packages. Two of them small boxes, and one very large and strangely shaped box. Mark had been shopping on line again. Well, to say he was shopping 'again' is misleading. What he did was just continue the shopping he's been doing every day since last October. That was when Mark started to feel well enough to shop again, but not well enough to actually go to a store. I lugged the box up the stairs and into the living room. It kind of looked like a small chair or a door stop for a very large door. I turned it around and read the outside of the box. "LG Sound Bar".
"Mark", I said in a calm voice, "Why did you buy a sound bar? We have one of these. In fact we have two surround sound systems."
"I've been asking you for two years to hook up the sound bar to the television, and you told me you would as soon as you found the cables for it."
"Okay. I said I would, and I will. In fact I was thinking the other day that I might know where I packed those cables away when we moved."
"Ya, ya, ya. I got tired of waiting so I bought a new one that comes with cables."
Well, that made sense. So I unpacked the new surround sound system and installed it on our living room television. As stupid as it might seem, I am very glad Mark wasted more money on another new system. This one was even easier than the last one to connect. Only one cable and the big woofer speaker is wireless. I had it all together in ten minutes. Now we can rattle the windows when we watch movies, and those actors I thought were mumbling are much easier to hear. Besides, Mark wasted his own money on a whole new sound bar and if I do find the cables for the old one, I can put it in the bedroom. And if Dennis, whose bedroom is right above ours, complains about his bed vibrating, I'll just point out that in finer, cheap motels. he would have to pay for a vibrating bed.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Candy Man


On Saturdays I do the grocery shopping. Mark writes up a list, and I go to the store and get what Mark wants. Through this story, just remember, I hate shopping. So, one thing Mark likes me to buy for him is candy. Candy is one of those things that I'd never buy on my own, but Mark wants his candy. On the grocery list I am instructed to go over to the 'Osco' side of the store, which is the drug store side, and look for the Easter candy. Mark wants Reese's fun size peanut butter cups and Hershey's Kisses. I search up and down the aisle not finding what Mark wants. There is a stock boy there and I ask him. He says, "Uh, I doan-know." and then turns and continues whatever the hell it was that he was doing. So I take my shopping cart and leave the 'Osco' side of the store. That's when I notice that Mark had written "Apple pie" in a corner of the shopping list. I had already passed through the bakery section which was all the way across in the 'Jewel' side of the store. So I schlepped on over there and found the apple pies that were on sale. As I put the pie into the cart I sensed something was wrong. My cart was filled with candy and all kinds of other crap. It was not my cart. This was the stock boy's cart and it was full of products he was moving around that aisle. My cart was still sitting clear over on the other side of the store with my hat and gloves in it, along with all the shopping I had already done. I was very upset, but don't worry. Only one "fuck" slipped out of my lips before I realized people could hear me. I started across the store, abandoning the cart full of crap as I raced back there. I wasn't pushing that thing all the way across the store. When I got there the stock boy was still in the aisle, looking kind of confused. Even more so than he did when I had asked him where the Reese's fun size peanut butter cups were. I quickly grabbed my shopping cart, which was right where I had left it, and toddled on over to the frozen food aisle. I know, I should have brought the stock boy's cart back to him. But if he was too dumb to know where the Reese's and Hershey's candy was, he was too dumb to figure out that I had moved his cart clear across the store.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Young Ones



No, I didn't get shot in the head with a bb gun. On Tuesday I went to see a dermatologist because I was getting worried about my twenty seven years in Florida and my youth when I would tan dark enough to be banned from South Africa. Skin cancer has shown up in my family before. I vividly remember my grandfather being dragged unwillingly to the doctor because of a big brown sore on his nose. It was not benign, so the doctor cut it out right then and there in his office. My grandfather's nose had a big flat spot on it for the rest of his life. My biggest fear is my back, mostly because I cannot see what the hell is going on there. And Mark is no help. I asked him to look and see if anything weird was going on back there and he ran away screaming like a little baby. He's very squeamish. So I went to see the doctor. It appears that I have reached the age of old fart in the complete sense. I sat there in the doctor's examination room waiting for the doctor while the young, very young nurse asked me questions and took photos of my body. Then the doctor walked in. His name was not Doctor Doogie Howser, but he appeared to be of the same age. Now don't get me wrong, he and the nurse were very professional, but it was like I was being examined by two teenagers, maybe pre-teenagers. (Could I get into trouble for being nearly naked in a room with these kids?) To cement my membership in the old fart club, I made a series of inappropriate jokes that the kids didn't seem to understand. Then, after the doctor cut the mole off of my forehead, I suggested they paint a bullet hole on the Band-Aid that the doctor applied to the wound. Again, I could see confusion and maybe pity in the eyes of the kid doctor and his young nurse.
So in all, I had two suspicious moles cut out of my body. The doctor told me it would take two weeks to find out if they were cancerous. Then he put his ear buds in, jumped on his skateboard, and went on his way.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mr. Clean



I'm no fan of the time change thing, I hate it. However, I do love the sunlight late in the day. It makes me want to do things, like clean the house. Yesterday I scrubbed the bathroom, top to bottom. When I was all done, I had that clean bathroom smell and the sunlight to see the cleanliness. Much better than the stale urine smell that spurred me to clean it in the first place.

I have always liked a clean and neat home, but it is difficult living with a clutter monster like Mark. Well, there's the clutter and then there's the fact that I don't feel like a fifteen year old kid anymore. I don't always have the energy to play the maid. I actually liked cleaning my bedroom when I was a kid. I liked the order, the dust free environment, and I liked the smell of a clean room. So much better than the stale urine smell I usually had in my bedroom, but that's another story. Now that the bathroom is all clean, I was sitting in the living room and I noticed another "spring cleaning" chore that I must get around to. Four months of schmutz on the outside of the windows, and as many months of dog snot on the inside.


Friday, March 8, 2019

My Two Cents



When I was a kid, one way we could make some easy money was to walk along the highway and pick up empty bottles. Back then bottles were used over and over again, and when you bought soda or beer you paid a deposit on the bottles. Luckily for young Alan, a lot of grownups were lazy and threw the empty bottles out the car window as they cruised down the road. Soda bottles were worth two cents, quart beer bottles were worth five cents. Considering a candy bar was five cents, and a popsicle was seven cents, picking up just a few bottles was a small fortune. And yes, there were a lot of empty beer bottles along the highway. Drinking and driving was considered no worse than speeding back then. I believe some states have deposit laws for cans and bottles now, but not Illinois. So I'm not sure how little kids make money these days.

Re-establishing refundable bottles and cans would be a good idea, and actual re-usable bottles would help with our trash problem. Much of our junk washes out to sea. I'm sure you've heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where miles and miles of plastic and other debris are swirling in the North Pacific. Seriously, I think they should call it something else. Garbage patch makes it sound small, like a patch on your favorite jeans, or that small patch of tomatoes you grow in the back yard. I think they should call it the Sea of Indifference.

Thinking of all this has brought back another childhood memory. This one is my later childhood, my teen years. The years I worked at the Jewel store in Tinley Park. In a far corner, in the back room of the supermarket, was the returned bottle area. That was where all the bottles returned for refund were stacked, and I was the guy who had to stack them. I'm sure when they discontinued refundable bottles the store was very happy. I'm sure the stock boys who had to stack those things were happy too.