Posts Tagged ‘Chez Dog’

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.

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.

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.

 

Strange beverage

March 16, 2014
The sky is crying.

The sky is crying.

Oh, ’tis a fine soft day in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ninety-three percent humidity is good for the skin after a long day spent drinking watery green beer with a few thousand of your closest friends followed by a nap in a shamrock-colored puddle of pee under the old F-350.

I managed to skirt the no-fly list once again and am squatting in the Charlotte airport awaiting the next pressurized aluminum tube full of viruses bound for Chicago, where I understand the climate is likewise good for preservation, especially of things like wooly mammoths, Ben and Jerry’s, and other frozen goods. Just as well, as I’ll be chilling there for at least a couple of hours before catching a Ford Tri-Motor for Bibleburg and Chez Dog.

Skipped the final day of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, as two days gave us a pretty good look-see at all the touring bikes that weren’t there and I like to rassle my travel arrangements early, especially when I have so little say in how they get made and turn out. If some TSA dude is gonna beat on my kidneys with a mop handle I want to get it over with early, is what.

Meanwhile, Mr. Deme is in Detroit, where he reports he is sipping a Miller Fortune.

“All I can say is we really needed High Life in another package with a bit of Malt Liquor Bull added to it,” he adds.

I recommended a chaser of Listerine, or perhaps some Park Tool chain cleaner.

“That’s next,” he said.