Archive for the ‘Bibleburg’ Category

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.

Unreal estate (a continuing series)

October 9, 2015
Pikes Peak as seen from the temporary HQ of the Mad Dog Media Whirled Hindquarters.

Pikes Peak as seen from the temporary HQ of the Mad Dog Media Whirled Hindquarters.

BIBLEBURG, Colo. (MDM) — Oh, lawd, we’re just burning up that ol’ country road lately. First to Sin City, and now to to Galt’s Gulch, where they’ve got theirs and by God and Ayn Rand you’d better get yours.

Chez Dog, pictured shortly after the hailstorm that welcomed me back to the 'hood.

Chez Dog, pictured shortly after the hailstorm that welcomed me back to the ‘hood.

It being fall and all we decided it was time to check up on the Old Home Place©, in part because we like to have the storm windows in place and the furnace in working order when the snow flies, and in part because our helpers with Project Airbnb decided they were over it with a couple clients still queued up in the hopper.

So here I am, back in the libertarian laboratory, comfortably ensconced in a Hilton property on points after a couple days of fix-’em-up around Chez Dog™.

One of our summertime guests had decided to augment the airflow through the joint by removing several of the glass panels in the old aluminum storm windows. These are self-storing bits, mind you — slide ’em up to let a cooling breeze flow through the screen during the heat of the day, slide ’em down to preserve interior warmth come evening — but no, apparently they had to be removed entirely. Probably the same knucklehead who wondered why the air conditioning that we don’t have wasn’t working properly.

So those have been cleaned, lubed, repaired as necessary, and replaced. The thermostat has been reprogrammed (should’ve dusted it for knucklehead prints). And the joint has been otherwise spic’d, and also span’d, and our latest guest is in residence. I’ll tidy up after him in preparation for the next lot, which arrives middle of next week, spend a couple days committing cycling journalism, squeeze in a bike ride or two or three, meet with a painter about the back deck, and then fire up the rice rocket for re-entry to Planet Albuquerque.

With all this going on I haven’t had much time to pay attention to the news, which is probably just as well, because I already have grave doubts about the state of the Republic and shit like this and this and this is not exactly easing my mind.

Thank God for Elvis Costello.

 

Boyz in the ‘hood

August 22, 2015
Chez Dog is looking pretty sharp despite a little rough treatment from the recent wet weather.

Chez Dog is looking pretty sharp despite a little rough treatment from the recent wet weather.

I took a little road trip back to Bibleburg this week.

The main goal was to check up on Chez Dog, which we rent through Airbnb. The back sidewalk has taken a pounding from the weather — as has just about everything else in town — and needs replacing. Likewise the garage requires some minor repairs and paint.

Dennis the Menace and Dr. Schenkenstein take the long view atop Bear Creek East, a once-active cyclo-cross venue.

Dennis the Menace and Dr. Schenkenstein take the long view atop Bear Creek East, a once-active cyclo-cross venue.

Whilst in the ‘Burg I checked in with a bunch of friends and neighbors: Ted and Diane, who help us with the Airbnb thing; Steve and Doris, who like Herself are Librarians Gone Wrong; Alley Mike, a disgruntled Comcast subscriber who was irked at being unable to watch the USA Pro Challenge (Corner Mike was at large and unavailable for comment); Judy, who rents The House Back East®; John Crandall, owner of Old Town Bike Shop; John O’Neill, who ramrods The Colorado Running Company (and whose Hebrew name is Usuk, pronounced “You suck”); and of course Dr. Schenkenstein and Dennis the Menace, with whom I enjoyed an invigorating ‘cross-bike ride through Bear Creek Regional Park, where Team Mad Dog Media-Dogs At Large Velo once ran cyclo-crosses back in the day.

The old libertarian laboratory is in something of a state these days, with all the local John Galts pointing at each other and saying, “Hey, you don’t like it, you fix it, because freedom, Jeebus, and guns, etc.”

The latest wrinkle is a proposed increase in the sales tax, a typically regressive non-solution that will place the billion-dollar burden of repairing the local infrastructure squarely on the backs of Those People, the ones who already can’t afford bootstraps by which to hoist themselves up. Them, and the tourists, who of course are fair game everywhere. Slow elk, is what.

I always enjoy going back for a visit. Chez Dog is a nifty little place, and a guy who knows his way around can still have a pretty good time in Bibleburg. There’s The Blue Star, Tapateria, and of course Ivywild School, home to Bristol Brewing Co. And if someone manages to root up a billion smackeroos somewhere, why, the place may once again have roads and trails that can be navigated without the need to liberate a tracked vehicle from Fort Cartoon.

Until then, I’m content to remain an interested out-of-towner.

 

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.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

December 1, 2014
The previous owner of Rancho Pendejo called this time of day right around sunset "the golden hour" for its effect on the Sandias.

The previous owner of Rancho Pendejo called this time of day right around sunset “the golden hour” for its effect on the Sandias.

December? Sez who? The calendar? Well, all righty then.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday are in the rear-view mirror — and also in the toilet, holiday-sales-wise — and Cyber Monday is upon us, with Solstice dead ahead.

Herself the Elder has been shipped safely back to Tennessee, Herself the Younger is back at work at the Sandia National Libraratory, and I am overseeing various maintenance operations at The House Back East® from Rancho Pendejo.  (Handy Household Hint: Never own more than one house at a time, and make sure it has wheels, an engine and a parking spot down by the creek. And yes, this is strictly a First World problem.)

I won’t torture those of you in wintry climes with reports of our weather (52 and sunny) or my plans for the morning once I hear an electrician’s report (hourlong run through the desert). Neither should you expect me to threaten anyone on Facebook, not even the Supreme Court, which lord knows has it coming.

Finally, Little Chris Horner seems to have stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum in the form of a gig with the Continental team Airgas-Safeway. No word on whether they’ll have the 2013 Vuelta a España champ bagging at the register, working a wet cleanup in aisle nine, or delivering propane to my new home down by the creek.

High time to hit the road

October 30, 2014
Through a windshield, darkly.

Through a windshield, darkly.

It was 4:20 p.m. (smoke ’em if you got ’em) when I fired up the Forester for the latest six-hour drive from Bibleburg to Duke City.

Herself and I had been in the old hometown to prepare Chez Dog and The House Back East® for new tenants, a project I’d hoped would take only a couple of long, hard days, but I got there on Friday and didn’t get gone until Tuesday afternoon. Herself beat it on Monday, having one of them obnoxious “job” thingies that requires regular attendance.

So there I was, once again piloting a heavily laden Japanese automobile solo through the starry American night. It reminded me of the good old days, when all I needed for a cross-country jaunt was a bridge burned at one newspaper, a job offer at another, and a battered old rice-grinder that was nearly as full of shit as I was.

“What kind of sordid business are you on now? I mean, man, whither goest thou? Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?” — Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

I used to love those long nights behind the wheel, in part because I generally enjoyed some sort of illicit chemical assist, having studied at the feet of Jack Kerouac, Ed Abbey and the redoubtable Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Once a friend and I even took a page from the Good Doktor’s book — to be specific, a page from “Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas” — and ate some acid before stalking into the old MGM Grand to see what we could see, which proved to be much more than was actually there.

In short, it was a bad idea, like so many of the Good Doktor’s, and we quickly jumped back into our auto and drove straight through the inky darkness of the Intermountain West to Alamosa, Colorado, for a steaming plate of enchiladas and beans served up by my companion’s mom, who either didn’t notice or didn’t care that we were horribly twisted on LSD and Budweiser.

After a few hundred thousand miles of that sort of thing, coupled with deteriorating night vision, a bad back and a considerably diminished drug intake (I’m pretty much down to a cup and a half of coffee in the morning these days), I lost interest in snorting that long white line through the windshield and sleeping it off under the camper shell in some rest area or unpatrolled parking lot. When the sunlight started fading, so did I. A motel bed sounded a lot better than drumming on the steering wheel with ZZ Top, Bob Seger or the Allman Brothers cranked up to 11.

But I got a little of the old love back Tuesday night. As I motored southwest with the cruise control set at a safe and sane 75 mph a banana moon hung brightly in the sky dead ahead, the highway stripes rising up as if to meet it on the hills. Where to go? Mexico? San Francisco? Albuquerque, as it turned out. I left the stereo off and listened to the music in my head.

 

One, two, tree

October 18, 2014
The big maple in Bibleburg is doing its annual thing, carpeting the block with fallen leaves.

The big maple in Bibleburg is doing its annual thing, carpeting the block with fallen leaves.

The big silver maple back in Bibleburg is quite a sight come fall. Also quite a bit of work. It’s a rare year in which we don’t get more than a dozen 32-gallon bags of leaves off the auld fella.

The maple in the backyard in Duke City is a smaller edition, but further along in its seasonal disrobing.

The maple in the backyard in Duke City is a smaller edition, but further along in its seasonal disrobing.

But it’s worth it, because that tree sits on the south side of The Old Home Place®, and keeps the afternoon sun from cooking us like a pair of rotisserie chickens.

We have some class of a maple here in Duke City, too, but a much smaller model, on the east side of Rancho Pendejo™. It’s further along in the leaf-shedding process, but tidying up its droppings should be a damn’ sight easier on the lower back.

This also suits me right down to the ground, because frankly I’d rather be riding a bike than raking leaves. I’ve been discovering the wanderings of Trail 365 north of here, and it makes for some fun riding on the old Voodoo Nakisi. I surprised a couple of mountain bikers in a blind corner the other day and one exclaimed, “Nicely done,” clearly thinking I was on an actual cyclo-cross bike instead of a MonsterCrosser® with a triple crankset and 700×45 Panaracer Fire Cross tires.

Actually, check that, I’ve dialed the front tire down to a 700×42 Continental CrossRide. So I guess I am a manly man after all.