Archive for the ‘Family’ 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.

 

Happy birthday, Sis

December 27, 2016
Peggy, Sandy and me, circa 1960, in Ottawa, Quebec, Canada.

Peggy, Sandy and me, circa 1960, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

A big feliz cumpleaños goes out to my baby sis, Peggy, who turns 60 today.

While I’ve had a high old time acting the fool, heaping shame upon the family name and running my mouth in public to no particular purpose, Peggy has worked quietly and anonymously to extend the helping hand of the State to folks who need one.

Whenever some knucklehead brays that government is the problem, not the solution, I think of my sister and smile.

Happy birthday, Sis.

Racing burros and raising a son

December 7, 2016
Hal Walter and his son Harrison working a burro near their home outside Weirdcliffe, Colorado.

Hal Walter and his son Harrison working a burro near their home outside Weirdcliffe, Colorado. (Photo poached from the video by Juliana Broste)

My man Hal Walter chats on camera with The New York Times about the great outdoors, racing burros, and raising an autistic child.

Hal is also working on an expanded edition of his book “Endurance,” and I’ll post a link to that when it goes live.

Sweet dreams

October 29, 2016
Mister Boo is overjoyed at the news of Herself's imminent return.

Mister Boo is overjoyed at the news of Herself’s imminent return.

Our long national nightmare is at an end.

I’m not talking about The Hilldebeast’s emails, which continue to be the gift that keeps on giving, even when they’re apparently not even hers. No, I’m talking about the imminent return to El Rancho Pendejo of Herself, who has been road-tripping for two weeks through Tennessee, Colorado and Utah.

Looking north from near the top of the Hillsdale Loop. To the south sits Interstate 40, which is a good deal less scenic.

Looking north from near the top of the Hillsdale Loop. To the south sits Interstate 40, which is a good deal less scenic.

The Boo will be ecstatic, or as close to that state as is Boo-manly possible (an excitable boy he is not).

Herself is the only human he really cares about. I am deemed suitable for short periods as a food delivery/excretion collection specialist (second class), but when she is around The Boo wouldn’t piss on me if I were on fire.

Oddly, though, his favorite spot for daytime naps — even if she’s home — is my office, just behind my chair. Go figure.

Meanwhile, yesterday in my capacity as commander of the 29er Jones Mechanized Infantry, I seized the Hillsdale Loop in the name of the people. Being a heavily armed elderly white guy I went unmolested by law enforcement. But I eventually gave it back anyway. Hey, somebody has to let The Boo out.

And finally, Khal checks in from scenic metropolitan Bombtown, where he is recovering from some medical experiments and limited to hollering at Siri via iPhone:

I am in an immobilization sling for another month so typing is “hunt and peck” with my left hand. Hence I don’t do too much of it.

It’s getting to the point where I might be able to take off the sling in a couple weeks to carefully work the right arm so might regain my voice, so to speak, and that will be a relief.

Probably no biking till January except on the stationary torture setup.

—K

P.S.: All the best to you and the gang.

 

Surf’s up!

September 7, 2016

It rained like a mad bastard here yesterday, just as Herself was driving (more like hydroplaning) home from work. If a fella wanted to waterboard someone, well, that would’ve been the time to do it. Just hold ’em face down in the cul-de-sac until they bubble “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Just that morning we had air-shipped Herself the Elder back to Tennessee after a five-day visit, and a lucky gal she was, having hit the sweet spot, weatherwise. The three of us spent an inordinate amount of time on the back patio with Mister Boo and the cats, watching the birds go to town on their various feeders. Though Mister Boo was mostly watching the door, being aware that his food was on the other side of it.

We have a couple more days of this sort of thing before the weather returns to normal, but I’m not complaining. As some of you noted earlier, the lawn is looking pretty a’ight, and if God is watering it, that means I don’t have to.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for some exciting news from Apple! Word is the new iPhone may not have a headphone jack! Film, as they say, at 11.

Memorial Day 2016: A namesake’s service

May 30, 2016
From the Perry (Fla.) News-Herald, dated May 23, 2008.

From the Perry (Fla.) News-Herald, dated May 23, 2008.

There was bad blood on my dad’s side of the family. We never learned the cause of it, and while we met his mother, sister and various cousins from the O’Grady clan, his brother remained a mystery.

The two men didn’t speak for something like a quarter century, and while a reunion was finally arranged while I was off at college, I don’t have the impression that the hatchet was ever completely buried, though my uncle and I share a middle name.

Dad rarely discussed his World War II service beyond the light bits, like occasionally ferrying some celebrity around, and while we got some hints as regards his war years from Mom, I came to think of her as something of a fabulist, a storyteller, putting a bit of spin on every tale. As a copy editor I retained a healthy skepticism.

But whaddaya know? While casting about for a fresh take on the old man’s war for today’s Memorial Day post, I stumbled across a newspaper report confirming pretty much everything I’d heard about his brother, Charles Declan O’Grady.

Like Dad, Uncle Dec was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, but assigned to the 504th Bombardment Group, 313th Bomb Wing, operating from Tinian in the Mariana Islands. While Dad flew C-47s out of New Guinea, Uncle Dec was occupying the other end of the aircraft as a tail gunner in a B-29, the “Dinah Might.”

The Kawasaki Ki-45 "Nick," one of which my uncle put in the drink a day before he wound up there himself.

The Kawasaki Ki-45 “Nick,” one of which my uncle put in the drink a day before he wound up there himself.

He was credited with destroying a Japanese fighter during a mission to Aichi Prefecture in Japan, on June 25, 1945. The very next day, Dec’s bomber was shot down over Ise Wan bay, near Nagoya, one of the largest centers of the Japanese aircraft industry; he bailed out and was rescued by a Navy sub, one of seven crew members to survive.

Twice wounded during the war, Dec was honorably discharged in August 1945, returned to his law practice in Perry, Fla., and eventually was elected Taylor County judge.

Dad, as you will recall, stayed in the Air Force until his 30 was up; he didn’t retire until I was in my first year of college.

And I didn’t meet Uncle Dec until Dad’s funeral, eight years later.

Bluesday

January 26, 2016
There's a slight chance of snow this morning. Doesn't matter, I'll be inside cooking chicken soup as a deterrent.

There’s a slight chance of snow this morning. Doesn’t matter, I’ll be inside cooking chicken soup as a deterrent.

The Crud is undefeated and still champeen. It finally got Herself, the last holdout in the Maryland Four, and as I understand it the past couple of days have been as unpleasant as a close working relationship with Ted Cruz.

She’s on her way home as we speak, and I hope she (a) left The Crud back in Maryland, and (2) in her weakened condition doesn’t collect another bug from the pressurized aluminum test tube busy folks use as transportation in these modern times (que viva Air Subaru, baby).

Freelance rumormongers don’t get sick days. We don’t work, we don’t eat. Especially if we’re too busy barfing to cook.

Meanwhile, back at Thanksgiving. …

November 27, 2015
Chicken cacciatore and a side of stir-fried succotash with edamame.

Chicken cacciatore and a side of stir-fried succotash with edamame.

It was quiet around El Rancho Pendejo yesterday. No friends, no family, just the five of us — Herself, Mister Boo, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and Your Humble Narrator.

Ordinarily we do the holidays with my sister and her husband, but with Fort Collins now an eight-hour drive each way, and the road conditions decidedly Novemberish between here and there, we decided to give the road trip a miss and instead treated them to a FaceTime video tour of our new digs.

Thanksgiving Day breakfast: leftover taters smothered in green with eggs over easy, English muffins and a side salad.

Thanksgiving Day breakfast: leftover taters smothered in green with eggs over easy, English muffins and a side salad.

This seemed a particularly bright move after we heard from our pal Hal, who did the big U-turn from Weirdcliffe to Highlands Ranch and back again, narrowly avoiding disaster. Via e-mail, he reported that Bibleburg “was dry on the north end and a fucking skating rink on the south end. A six-car pileup happened right in from of me on I-25 and I was lucky to not be No. 7.”

Good times. Maybe not.

So, yeah. We stayed home, and I whipped up a mess of Emeril’s chicken cacciatore with a side of Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash with edamame. Herself was detailed to prepare a green salad and a raspberry cobbler but instead chose to lean on her shovel, sipping a glass of vino, and who can blame her? Not me. Plenty of veggies in that succotash, yo. Plus we had a salad with breakfast (right), which included eggs over easy atop spuds slathered in green chile. And we had ice cream for dessert.

Hope your day went as nicely as ours did.

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.

 

 

Victory

November 10, 2015
The all clear has been sounded, reports the commander.

The all clear has been sounded, reports the commander.

El Rancho Pendejo is now firmly back under local control. The invaders have been repulsed, sent packing to Texas, Maryland and Tennessee.

Reached in his command bunker, which looks an awful lot like our kitchen sink, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein took full credit for routing The Enemy.

The doughty commander of the crack 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment noted modestly that for his valor he has been offered a full scholarship to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the nomination of the Republican Party as its candidate for president of the United States, and full oversight of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been repurposed to deliver a steady stream of Feline Greenies Ocean Fish Flavor Dental Treats to an undisclosed location.

Then he knocked a bowl off the counter and blamed it on the media.