Archive for the ‘Home and hearth’ Category

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.

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.

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.

Apple, Samsung and Hanes

February 2, 2015
What director Quentin Ferrentino sees just before the iMac hiccups, stutters and croaks.

What director Quentin Ferrentino sees just before the iMac hiccups, stutters and croaks.

Is the Super Bowl finally over? No, I see we’re still second-guessing coaches, lip-syncing sharks and that crucial, botched call — Nationwide’s decision to run that dead-kid ad instead of throwing it into the trash.

We didn’t watch any of it here at Rancho Pendejo, not even the ads. Herself was on a mission from God to clean up the joint, and I was doing a job of work, hammering away at a video review of the Novara Mazama for Adventure Cyclist and trying to troubleshoot ongoing technical glitches with the old iMac.

At 6 years of age, this ‘puter may be nearing the end of its useful existence, though a 15-year-old G3 “Pismo” PowerBook is still ticking right along with all its original equipment. Not so the iMac. Its optical drive croaked a while back, and ever since I “upgraded” to Mavericks I’ve been enjoying occasional and inexplicable freezes that force me into an irksome hard reset that occasionally costs me a bit of work. Kindly old Doc Google tells me I’m not alone in my suffering, and this is one of the reasons I’m dragging my feet on the Yosemite and iOS 8 upgrades.

Last night after a weirdo crash that left both monitors black, but with a moveable cursor, I booted into Safe Mode, which runs a few diagnostics, then said fuck it and booted again, this time into the Recovery HD, and ran Disk Utility.

The hard drive “appears to be OK,” says DU, so I repaired permissions and called it good. This morning nothing was on fire or defunct, which is better.

Now if Samsung will get around to installing a new drain pump in our 5-month-old washing machine, we’ll really have it going on. The goddamn thing has been on the sidelines for a week and I need to upgrade my undies to something a little, um, fresher.

 

St. Nicked

December 26, 2014
Mister Boo enjoys his Christmas chew.

Mister Boo enjoys his Christmas chew.

Christmas has come and gone without incident, mostly.

On Christmas Eve, at the urging of Herself, we streamed “The Interview,” because freedom, and now I consider that freedom owes me about $7 and 112 minutes of my life. Herself only gets about 90 minutes back because she fell asleep before the big denouement.

Come the big day we cooked up a mess o’ U-nited States of America American® vittles, just the way Jeebus likes ’em (roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy,  stir-fried succotash with edamame, and raspberry cobbler). Later we rang up or emailed various friends and relatives, and parceled out tasty tidbits to all the critters.

The Turk rests up after an exhausting day of sleeping.

The Turk rests up after an exhausting day of sleeping.

We engaged in no elaborate gift-giving. The move to Duke City and the ongoing reconstruction project that is The Six Million Dollar Boo did to our Visa card what Seth Rogen did to Kim Jong-un’s head, but our executive decisions and the consequences thereof have failed to draw the compensatory attention of the White House and the media.

Then it was early to bed — but not to sleep, not right away. Just as we drifted off, The Boo somehow tumbled out of the rack and onto the deck. I leapt from the sack to see whether his sole remaining eye was skittering around the carpet somewhere like a ping-pong ball that had escaped the table.

Nope. No harm, no foul. As Herself clicked on her bedside lamp, there sprawled The Boo, with a slight list to port, peering at me through the Cone of Shame like a dimwitted Soviet cosmonaut who’d forgotten to close the visor on his helmet before launch.

I’ll call that a Christmas gift.

Mia decides to vogue a bit as Herself and I have a bite of lunch.

Mia decides to vogue a bit as Herself and I have a bite of lunch.