Archive for the ‘All property is theft’ Category

Property rites

September 7, 2017

The fabled House Back East®, soon to be under new management. Or so we hope, anyway. …

Hoo, nuts around here lately.

The House Back East™ in Bibleburg is under contract (for the second time in a week). Down here in the Duke City, meanwhile, the tree dude is popping round tomorrow to (what else?) have a squint at El Rancho Pendejo’s trees. The Furster, a.k.a. Air Subaru, gets a cautionary peek under the hood on Monday. ERP’s HVAC gets likewise on Tuesday.

And I finally found an affordable bike to review for the Adventurous Cyclists.

Whew.

Also, I got released from jury duty this afternoon. Hauled into court twice in three weeks, but never got to hear a case. Always a bridesmaid, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. Good for about $60 if the robes actually pay a guy for sitting on his ass … which, come to think of it, is what I do for a living, albeit at a slightly higher pay scale and in sloppier garb.

Most definitely not sitting on her ass is my sister-in-law Beth, who with her husband are beating it out of the bullseye Hurricane Irma has sketched on the east coast of Florida.

Herself thought they were bound for Pensacola, just a hop, skip and jump from the ancestral moonshining grounds of the O’Gradys in Perry. May the road rise up to meet them, but in a nice way.

 

Unstuffed

April 28, 2017

In my last post I mentioned that we live in a desert, by which I meant an actual desert, the Chihuahuan.

Soon we will be living in a consumer desert as well, if Herself has anything to say about it.

Her elder sister and niece have been earning some pocket money hawking items on eBay, and their enthusiasm for the activity has proven contagious. Herself has begun working our overgrown unused-goods orchard like an undocumented immigrant, plucking low-hanging fruit like her unworn Oakleys, my still-functional Flip UltraHD camcorder, and our fifth-generation iPods for sale to the slavering hordes of bargain hunters at large on the Innertubes.

She also required me to drag her old Cannondale R800 down to this weekend’s BikeABQ bike swap at Sport Systems, where the 23-year-old machine is certain to fetch dozens of dollars. If anyone in the vicinity needs a low-mileage, made-in-USA, 48cm road bike, this sucker is the last nickel bargain in America.

There’s all manner of crap cluttering up El Rancho Pendejo, and none of it is safe. Soon, if we’re not careful, we’ll be forced to go out and get … more stuff!

The road home

December 12, 2015
The road home, as seen through the windshield of a Chevy Express van stuffed to the ceiling with excess property.

The road home, as seen through the windshield of a Chevy Express van stuffed to the ceiling with excess property.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (MDM) — After getting the traditionally late start — O’Grady Standard Time is more than a few hours behind whatever you’re using — I rolled into Duke City at dark-thirty on Thursday with the last of our bits from Bibleburg and a killer backache.

And as of 4 p.m. yesterday, the former Chez Dog and its mortgage payment are in the hands of a 21-year-old student teacher. Now, if we can just get rid of the other two houses, I can finally achieve my dream of living in a van down by the river.

There will need to be a chiropractor’s van parked nearby, though, if I plan on lifting anything heavier than a cooler or a camp stove.

 

 

Sunset in Bibleburg

December 8, 2015
The sun retreats down an alley near Chez Dog.

The sun retreats down an alley near Chez Dog.

BIBLEBURG, Colo. (MDM) — One of the reasons posts have been few and far between lately is that Chez Dog is changing hands on Friday, and someone had to make the journey north to prepare the place for its new owners.

Guess who?

So I rented a Chevy van last Friday and motored back to The Old Home Place®, and I’ve been peeling the joint like an onion ever since.

Happily, the bulk of our proud-ofs are already in the Duke City. We mostly relied on thrift-store items to furnish the joint for our Airbnb guests. But a couple bits of furniture are nice enough that I wanted to bring them back to Albuquerque, along with my professional archives — 26 years’ worth of VeloNews and 23 of Bicycle Retailer. I should’ve had the movers fetch them along last year, but as you know, I will never be smart.

So I’ve been delivering items like some disheveled Santa Claus to various thrift stores, the Springs Rescue Mission, and Bike Clinic Too. If I can’t find a taker for our La-Z-Boy love seat, which folds into a nice single bed, I’ll take that to Habitat for Humanity.

The garage is emptied and swept, the basement is likewise barren, and the kitchen is down to the few bits one person needs for food preparation and service. The second bedroom holds a dismantled queen bed awaiting its new home, and the master bedroom will be in a similar state right after I have my java tomorrow morning.

Then we play “What Fits Into the Van?” Everything that doesn’t will get piled in the middle of the street, soaked in gasoline, and set on fire, and I will strip down to some strategic and very minimalist blue paint and dance around it and then. …

Uh, did I say that or only think it?

Actually, what happens next is I give the joint a quick wash and brushup, then piss off to a motel in preparation for a heavily laden, slow-motion cruise to the Duke City on Thursday.

I’ll miss the place, and the people. Don’t make the mistake of judging Bibleburg by its fools, knaves, charlatans, false prophets, homicidal lunatics, small hat sizes, pint-size Elmer Gantrys and John Galt wanna-bes. Those people are everywhere; that their headquarters is here is an unfortunate accident of history.

There are some fine folks living in the shadow of Pikes Peak, and one of these days they may build a city here. It’s a fine place for one.

Temporary quarters

November 11, 2015

When people think of the sacrifices made by the men and women in our armed forces, they tend to think in terms of deployment, combat and the strong likelihood of getting one’s arse shot off.

But there’s another forfeit that goes unnoticed — home ownership. While the military defends the nation’s homes and hearths, the citizens in uniform often must put their own American dreams on hold.

The old man (back row, right) in one of his earliest temporary billets, in New Guinea during World War II.

The old man (back row, right) in one of his earliest temporary billets, in New Guinea during World War II.

I don’t recall knowing any homeowners as a kid. We lived in Maryland, Virginia, Canada and Texas when I was a punk, and the old man either rented or arranged for quarters on base.

Sure, it’s possible to own a home while in the service, and we didn’t move around nearly as much as some folks did, but renting is still easier, even for officers. If you suddenly find yourself transferred from Ottawa to, say, Randolph AFB outside San Antonio, well, you have a house to sell. And in another country, too.

This shit rolls downhill to the dependents. When we lived in Ottawa I wanted a tree house. Nope, said the old man. That’s not our tree.

Between rental houses we got to experience the joys of Visiting Officers Quarters (VOQ), which were the early prototypes for what would become the Motel 6 chain. At least one unhappy customer said in 2008 that it was an open question whether the VOQ at Fort Drum were “preferable to field conditions.” I recall a few that were more KOA than VOQ, for sure.

But all things come to he who waits, and in 1967, when we were transferred from Randolph to Bibleburg, Col. Harold Joseph O’Grady finally got to buy his house (after 25 years of service and one final, astoundingly long run of stays in VOQ, BOQ and actual shitbox motels on Knob Hill, which was seedy even then).

He got to enjoy it for all of 13 years, and after that he took up permanent quarters at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

So here’s to all the troops waiting patiently for their slice of American pie. Try to save ’em some.

 

 

55? Do I hear 60? 65?

November 7, 2015
The road goes ever on and on, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

The road goes ever on and on, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

I’d like to run away from home. But which home?

There’s the one in Bibleburg, which is under contract. The prospective buyers would like a couple electrical and plumbing issues corrected before the deal goes down, and while they seem to be minor items at casual glance, our plumber has a second home in Hawaii.

Then there’s the one in the Duke City, which has a slight in-law infestation that can’t be eradicated by the usual pest-control outfits. People would talk, especially the ones being eradicated. (Editor’s note to in-laws: I keed, I keed.)

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup.

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup.

Alas, furthermore, moreover, and too, deadlines loom, with words, cartoons and video all very much in demand and yet proving elusive for some reason(s).

Add a soupçon of inhospitable weather — my God, I’ve actually taken to wearing pants, and indoors, too! — and it’s no wonder a paranoid misanthrope might get the feeling that some stealth contractor is adjusting the walls inward during the night, while Realtors®, repairpersons and relatives harry me through my dreams like the coyotes Herself and I heard singing last night as we walked The Boo.

The only possible solution is — yes, you guessed it — a great big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. It cures everything. I even got a cartoon done while it was cooking.

Step right up

October 24, 2015
You too can be the proud owner of the quality goes in before the name goes on.

You too can be the proud owner of the quality goes in before the name goes on.

DUKE CITY, New Mexico (MDM) — Well, we’ve done it. The ancestral manse in Bibleburg, legendary seat of the fabled O’Grady family, is on the market.

Everything checked out during this last visit: furnace, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, the works. I needed a functional furnace, too, as Thursday set another wet-weather record and the temps never got out of the 40s. The uniform of the day was strictly blue collar, jeans and long-sleeved denim shirt.

Diamonds on my windshield and rainbows in the rear view.

Diamonds on my windshield and rainbows in the rear view.

Having checked the forecast before leaving Duke City, I didn’t bother to bring a bike, and even did without running, deciding that splashing through chilly puddles is best kept shelved as a fading memory of my cyclo-cross career.

Instead I rearranged the living-room furniture; cleaned house and did laundry; tried and failed to get a spare key made for the front door (an old Wards key for a Corbin latch is surprisingly difficult to duplicate); and met with our real-estate agent and his son, who serves as his photographer.

I should’ve cleaned out the garage, too, but I didn’t have a flamethrower concealed somewhere about my person. Instead I settled for hanging a new shop light and loading all the skis and snowshoes into the Subaru. Then I got the hell out of Dodge.

Naturally, since I was driving instead of cycling or jogging, the weather was excellent, if a bit windy. There was a little rain outside Santa Fe, but nothing serious, just enough to generate a quality rainbow.

And now I’m back in El Rancho Pendejo, waiting on word of a buyer. All it takes is American money. Step right up. Step right up. Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore. … You can live in it, laugh in it, love in it.

 

Son of Unreal Estate (a continuing series)

October 21, 2015
Yeah, yeah, right, welcome, thanks, whatever.

Yeah, yeah, right, welcome, thanks, whatever.

BIBLEBURG, Colo. (MDM) — Heeeeeeee’s baaaaaaack. …

After an Airbnb guest raised doubts about how well the Chez Dog furnace was working, and a maid service said the clothes dryer was mostly a clothes tumbler, it was back to Bibleburg for Your Humble Narrator.

Heading for Taos.

Heading for Taos.

Our most recent guest checks out this morning, after which I’ll dash on over and cast a bloodshot eye on the situation. I suspect that the furnace issue has something to do with folks who insist on trying to operate a programmable Honeywell thermostat that they understand about as well as I understand the GOP, but the dryer could be an actual, you know, like, thing, and stuff.

This trip saves us the cost of the maid service this time around (just call me Hazel) and gives me a shot at resolving any other issues our real-estate agent thinks may need attention.

Plus the trip let me have lunch at Orlando’s New Mexican Cafe in Taos and dinner at The Margarita at Pine Creek in Bibleburg. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Tell you what, though. As I was leaving the Duke City yesterday, motoring past all those colorfully clad cyclists scarfing up the endorphines on Tramway, I felt distinctly like Tom Sawyer sentenced to whitewashing while the other kids played. Even more so now that it’s raining. …

Just monkeying around

October 15, 2015
We have a maple in Bibleburg and another in Duke City. Didn't plan it that way; it just happened. This one's in DC.

We have a maple in Bibleburg and another in Duke City. Didn’t plan it that way; it just happened. This one’s in DC.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and call it fall.

(Rimshot.)

Got back from Bibleburg last night after a week of what you call your basic flurry of activity:

• Meetings with our lawn guy, a painter, and a real-estate agent about Chez Dog.

• Relocating from the old home place to a north-side hotel and back again.

• Cleaning the joint three times (once after an Airbnb guest, and twice after me).

• Reglazing one broken lower panel in a self-storing aluminum storm window.

• Washing the other 15 windows and replacing those lower panels removed by asshats who failed to grasp the concept of the self-storing aluminum storm window.

• Replacing the screen doors with the storm doors.

• Chatting up a half-dozen or so friends and neighbors (and catching an escaped dog for one who suffers from reduced mobility).

• Two rides and two runs.

• The watching of a series of astoundingly shitty movies, which reminds me of why we jerked the cable out of the wall all those years ago.

• And finally, exactly zero cycling journalism.

This last caught up with me today, when I had to crank out a column and cartoon at high speed for Bicycle Retailer. But I think the downtime doing other chores helped free the mind after a disturbingly long stretch of creative constipation.

The sight of me with a tool in hand, for anyone who knows my mad home-repair skillz, conjures up the image of the hominid from “2001: A Space Odyssey” flailing around him with a thighbone. Nevertheless I managed to dismantle, clean and restore all those goddamn storm windows with nothing more than a putty knife, a hammer (my favorite tool), a quart of Windex and a great deal of profanity, especially when I was up to my hips in a shrubbery using hammer and knife to liberate an upper window panel from its prison of paint.

But sparkling windows and a fresh coat of weather-be-gone on the decks should help Chez Dog show a little leg when the suckers come strolling by. It’s been a great little house to us, but as an Airbnb rental it’s proven a little tough to manage from six hours away, and it’s time it was a great little house to somebody else.

Property rights (and wrongs)

April 24, 2015
The weather wasn't all that welcoming, despite the sign.

The weather wasn’t all that welcoming, despite the sign.

Rather than chance being mistaken for Helen Collins and Doug Bruce, Herself and I decided we (meaning Your Humble Narrator) should dash up to Colorado to check on our vast real-estate holdings, make sure they hadn’t been turned into meth labs, crack houses or empty, boarded-up, Collins-Bruce-style blights on the community.

The back deck needed a few new boards.

The back deck needed a few new boards.

This I did, earlier this week, and I’m happy to report that the only boards involved were the three replaced in Chez Dog’s winter-ravaged back deck by Senior Executive Dude With Tools and Skills Dennis “Heavy D” Collard, who had a few uncommitted moments in his busy schedule that I was happy to fill for him, knowing from experience that idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

The weather did a number on the back sidewalk, too, so I asked a local concrete merchant to estimate the cost of repairs. I checked in with our friend and tenant Judy, comfortably ensconced in The House Back East®, and chatted up a couple other members in good standing of the Patty Jewett Yacht & Cricket Club.

And finally, I did a quick inspection tour of the interior of Chez Dog, the operative word being “quick,” as a certain somebody had rented the joint out from under me and the paying customers would be checking in the next day.

Chez Dog is still standing ... and, thanks to Herself, still earning.

Chez Dog is still standing … and, thanks to Herself, still earning.

I had planned a rather leisurely stay in The Old Home Place®, catching up with friends and neighbors while performing my slumlordly duties, then fetching a few more bikes home to Duke City.

But when money comes a-knockin’, Herself is always right there at the door to greet it. So instead of chillaxin’ in the ‘hood for a spell, I blew 40,000 Hilton points on two days at the Homewood Suites.

The Hilton it ain’t. Shit, it ain’t even Chez Dog. Feeble coffee, punk grub, and I was reminded once again why we don’t pay for television. The bed was comfy, though.

After two days of that I was burning up the road back to Rancho Pendejo, with a short stop in Taos to take on sustenance at Orlando’s New Mexican Cafe. Their Los Colores platter is a marvelous restorative.

 

Lord, I'm southbound.

Lord, I’m southbound.