Archive for the ‘Home and hearth’ Category

Crashed in the feed zone

November 2, 2019

Exhausted by a long morning spent waiting for breakfast, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) commandeers a sunny spot for purposes of R&R.

The cats are getting the old one-two this weekend.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla recovers from a nasty bout of Delayed Meal Syndrome atop the bedroom dresser.

First, Herself has flown off to Florida to visit her mom and eldest sis, which means that reveille and mess call have been bumped from 4 a.m. to a more reasonable hour dictated by the whims of the interim quartermaster, a renowned wastrel, sluggard, and layabout.

Second, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. tomorrow, which means an additional hour of kip time for staff and more grumbling in the chow line for the cats.

“Unconstitutional! Due process! Coup!” they yowl, baring their fangs, spreading their claws, and hissing like the Devil’s teakettle on full boil.

No, wait, that’s the House Republicans. Another bunch of neutered housecats entirely.

 

Morning report

May 10, 2019

We won’t need any sunscreen today.

No, you haven’t stroked out. All is well. What you’re seeing is the wind-driven rain smearing Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s upper-deck observation window.

Frankly, she finds this irksome. The Enemy is everywhere, and eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, as we discovered last night when a stray cat materialized outside the Southwestern Sally Port.

I was loading the dishwasher when a horrific yowling and clatter nearly gave me a stroke. I thought maybe the Dead had breached the Wall, but nope. It was Mia, scattering the vertical blinds as she marched to and fro alongside the sliding glass doors, challenging a feline interloper to personal combat, while Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) formulated strategy and tactics from his command post in the rear.

This morning I awakened to find that the commander and his staff duty officer had deployed various biological countermeasures overnight (the Geneva Convention notwithstanding), and terrorists had disabled the coffee grinder. But I was able to bring the base back to full readiness with various cleaning products, some elbow grease and much bad language.

Opening a few windows helped, too, until the rain started coming in sideways.

That is all.

Fiddler on the roof

February 24, 2019

Who’s dumber, the guy who built the house with the flat roof
or the guy who bought it?

When I write my doctoral dissertation on snow removal it will be titled “Flat Roofs Are Stupid.”

Adios, summer

September 2, 2018

The backyard maple catches a bit of late-day light.

Ordinarily we don’t expect much when flipping to the next page in the calendar, any more than we do when crossing a state line, unless we’re driving a hot car wearing the wrong plates with an old enemy bound and gagged in the trunk next to a suitcase full of cash, cocaine, and at least one unregistered firearm while the underage runaway in the passenger seat passes us a fat spliff soaked in hash oil, pulls off her tube top, and asks if she can pretty please have a pull on our fifth of Jameson.

Float like a hummingbird, sting like a bee.

But it rained a good deal of the first day of September, and we opened most of the windows at El Rancho Pendejo to let the cool breeze blow through, and that sort of felt like the end of summer to me.

I rearranged my office for no good reason, playing a selection of weather-appropriate Irish tunes on the stereo, while Herself vacuumed the house.

Today I vacuumed the lawn, which is more fun, because you can do it outside in the fresh air and there is no stopping to empty the bag, because our lawn is a cannibal and enjoys eating its own clippings.

The two-tailed swallowtail is the state butterfly of Arizona and the largest swallowtail in western North America.

After chores we poured ourselves a couple of cold beverages and sprawled on the patio for a spell, listening to some Miles Davis, enjoying some more of that cool breeze, and watching a pair of hummingbirds battle each other and the bees for a short snort from the feeder as a pacifist two-tailed swallowtail stealthily worked a bush along the back wall.

Tomorrow is Labor Day, and labor we shall not. Something in a bike ride, I think, clad in red.

Holy macaroni!

May 12, 2018

Good God, what a motley crew. No wonder I drank. I bet this photo wound up on bulletin boards in newspaper HR offices nationwide, bearing a red stamp reading “DO NOT HIRE.”

Herself and I celebrated 28 years of unholy matrimony this morning with the traditional “Happy Anniversary” dance in the kitchen.

And what a long, strange tripping of the light fantastic it’s been, too. When we got shackled up at Jekyll & Hyde State Park outside Fanta Se in 1990 Herself was managing the DeVargas Center location of B. Dalton Bookseller (anyone remember bookstores?) and I was an editor at The New Mexican (anyone remember newspapers?).

“Is there a bus ticket and some fake I.D. in here somewhere? Goddamnit!”

Just shy of three decades further on down the road, she is a skilled, respected information-services professional burrowed like a tick into the leathery hide of the Military-Industrial Complex, while I … I … ai yi yi. The less said about that, the better. For every up, there must be a down. That’s Scripture. Ballistics. The Scripture of Ballistics? One a them there.

Anyway, that we have nearly made it to the Big Three-Oh is not my fault. She had Lasik. She can work an Excel spreadsheet. She knows where the guns and the airport are.

But Herself is in the habit of collecting stray animals and is reluctant to concede defeat, even in the face of tattered furniture, soiled carpets, and a dwindling income stream that one might blame on an aged prostate if a work ethic had one.

Fortunately one of us remains viable. We started small, in that teensy rental roach motel on Romero Street, and now we have this fauxdobe hacienda with a great big yard. Sometimes she lets me off the leash to chase rabbits.

That’s what she’ll tell the cops and neighbors when they wonder why they haven’t seen me wobbling around on the bike lately, anyway.

“I took my eyes off him for one second and he was over the wall and gone! Beg pardon? What’s with the shovel and the mound? Oh, just turning over an old flower bed. Why do you ask? ’Scuse me, I have a flight to catch.”

Acid test

March 26, 2017

The back yard is flowering up at light speed.

As I fought my own losing battle with seasonal allergies on Friday it was a pleasant distraction to see Darth Cheeto and Paul “Lyin'” Ryan sound “Retreat” and skedaddle off into the swamp, their shit-stained tails tucked between their legs.

The weather here has abruptly become more seasonable, which is to say less awesome, but Herself and I got out for a 40-minute trail run yesterday. Her pink “Bernie” shirt accessorized nicely with the blooming foliage while my wheezing was just another instrument in the symphony of shortcomings that is the U.S. health-care system (albuterol inhalers just plain cost too fucking much, even without additional tax cuts for the rich).

For a guy whose stash box once made Walgreens look like Baskin-Robbins I have developed a surprising reluctance to take drugs, for anything, even asthma and allergies. Non-Drowsy Claritin-D 12 Hour (pseudoephedrine sulfate) reminds me of decent speed for the first couple of hours, but after that it’s all like, “Dude, where’s my cognitive functions?”

That said, when I saw I was down to my last two tabs I was all like, “Whoa!” and toddled off to the Walgreens for another box.

That shit don’t be cheap, neither. And you can’t just pull it off a shelf. No, you must negotiate with the pharmacist to get it (thanks, meth-heads). But once you show the whitecoats that (a) you have all your teefers; (2) aren’t furiously scratching any open sores; and (III) aren’t twitching like you just got tased by the John Laws, why, all you have to do is fork over the $23.99 for 20 tabs.

Shit, that’s about what I used to pay for acid in the good old days (dealer’s discount). It was loads more fun than Claritin-D, and I don’t recall my nose running, either.

Cranks, stanks ‘n’ thanks

November 24, 2016
Shut up, kid.

Shut up, kid.

Editor’s note: This was intended to be the kickoff to a podcast, but I couldn’t quite corral the folks I had hoped to rope in as contributors. So instead it’s just words in a row, in the usual fashion.

Thanksgiving, man.

The holiday is practically synonymous with “turkey,” and man, did we ever have a big one come home to roost this year. Orange. Noisy. Indigestible.

He looks more like a turkey buzzard, when you get right down to it. Your turkey buzzard sings no songs; when it speaks, it does so in grunts and hisses. It roosts on lifeless trees, and will shit on itself to stay cool when things get too hot for it.

And if you fuck with it, it will puke on you. Generally around three in the morning, on Twitter.

Still, hail to the Chief, right? Right.

Thanksgiving, man. Definitely a holiday with its ups and downs.

In my misspent youth Turkey Day around the O’Grady table was often an exercise in intoxicant management and impulse control, which can be rough on the digestion. Also, the crockery. Once I left home and took up the news biz I generally worked holidays, having no family of my own to preside over with a scepter of vodka and crown of thorns. It’s a lot more fun to argue with people when you’re getting paid and can eat whatever you want for lunch, especially if it’s whiskey.

Once I was married and the parents were gone, the daily news biz receding in the rear-view mirror as I detoured into the cycling press, holiday mealtimes mellowed considerably. Herself and I spent Thanksgivings with friends and neighbors, or my sister and her husband, since Herself’s kin were a ways off in Texas, Tennessee and Maryland. Lacking a sparring partner, I indulged my contrarian streak by cooking non-standard meals — Chinese, Mexican, Italian, whatever. “Home for the Holidays,” “Alice’s Restaurant” and (if we were driving to my sister’s place in Fort Fun, for some reason, “Sam Kinison: Live From Hell”) replaced the turkey in our family tradition.

Thanksgiving, man.

Herself the Elder joined us for our first Thanksgiving here at El Rancho Pendejo, but I can’t remember what I cooked. Last year, with just the two of us, it was chicken cacciatore, Emeril-style, with a side of Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash with edamame.

And this year? Braised turkey thighs with roasted spuds and steamed asparagus. It’s just the two of us again — sis and bro-in-law had hoped to come down, but work intervened, and Herself the Elder is in Florida inspecting another daughter’s new quarters. Thus, something easy, for a simple mind in complex times.

One thing that won’t be on the menu: Arugula. Twice now I’ve come home from the Whole Paycheck with bad batches and I’m kind of over cracking the lid on its plastic coffin and getting a $4 snootful of stank. Who knows what’s going on there? The arugula dude probably left his 18-wheeler parked in the sun while he was doing the nasty with a lot lizard in the sleeper, but who am I to judge a man by how he spends his lunch hour? I like to spend mine eating lunch, but it’s not for everyone, especially if you’ve been taking those little white pills and your eyes are open wide.

Thanksgiving, man.

I’m lucky I made it to the grocery at all last week. I put it off until Friday afternoon, which is amateur hour — all real pros shop on Tuesday or Wednesday — and I nearly didn’t get there on Friday because it took three or four tries and about two hours to send a two-minute video review to the Adventurous Cyclists in Missoula, almost certainly because the Duke City remains mired to the driveshaft in the Adobe Age and uploading video via our internet hookup is the equivalent of tossing a thumb drive into the arroyo behind the house and hoping the wind blows it to Montana.

So I’m sitting here watching the progress bar mostly not move and thinking Jesus, the Merrick Garland nomination is moving faster than this file. Hell, the entire federal government is showing more speed, if only in reverse, motoring back to the Articles of Confederation or maybe King George III, if George wore an even cheesier wig and was the shade of an overcooked yam.

I stopped the upload and restarted it, then stopped it again and restarted it again, and finally unplugged the modem and stomped around the house, which still smelled faintly of rotten arugula. Then I plugged it back in and hey presto! The file finally transferred and off to the Whole Paycheck I went.

So I’m thankful for that.

And I remembered not to get any arugula this time, for which I am also thankful.

What are you thankful for?

Now we’re cookin’

October 30, 2016
"Is that an apple? May I have some?"

“Is that an apple? May I have some? That Man never lets me have anything good. And he beats me while you’re gone.”

Mister Boo is overjoyed that we’re back to business as usual around El Rancho Pendejo. That Lady Who Gives Him Things is making a fruit salad, and pieces of apple are rolling downhill.

Giro bouquet

May 29, 2016

With the Giro finally in the history books, Herself and I decided to spend the morning upgrading a few of the empty pots cluttering up El Rancho Pendejo. We also finally got around to installing our shrine to the Egyptian feline goddess Bastet. Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Defense Regiment), and his aide-de-camp Miss Mia Sopaipilla had complained that we were hampering their freedom to worship as they choose, and their protests are rough on the carpets.

Turkocalypse now

December 31, 2015
Never get out of the bed.

Never get out of the bed.

“Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger.”

Maybe. Especially if the bush is in a sunny window. It’s nearly noon, and all of three degrees above freezing, and the weather wizards say that’s about as good as it’s gonna get around here until sometime in 2016, when we could be looking at 45 and sunny.

The horror … the horror. …

Still, a man must ride. The world is full of bicycle reviews and deadlines, and never the twain shall meet if a man doesn’t ride.

And after the riding there shall be the cooking and the eating of the tinga poblana, a recipe I found when I was purging my collection in the process of searching for something I hadn’t prepared yet.

And after the eating there shall be … resolutions? Naw. I’d like to ride more in 2016, maybe (gasp) do some more self-supported touring, and toward that end I’m throttling back on the workload a bit, discarding the most irksome of my chores like unused recipes. That’s about it from this end.

How about you folks? Any big plans for the New Year? Sound off in comments.