Posts Tagged ‘Herself the Elder’

‘Better Call Santa,’ or ‘Breaking Bethlehem’

December 26, 2020

No snow in them thar hills for Christmas.

Father Christmas has done his usual drive-by on us. A few donuts around the cul-de-sac and off he shot into the frosty Duke City suburbs. Couldn’t ID the plate on that rig, but it was probably stolen, so why bother?

Anyway, all the John Laws on this side of town were tied up with some act of misbehavior down on Copper (and no, the irony did not escape us). We saw their Mickey Mouse ears all aglow to the west like some SWAT-team Star of Bethlehem as we turned off Copper onto Tramway, homeward bound following a visit to Herself the Elder’s assisted-living residence.

Earlier, Herself distributed freshly baked molasses cookies to the neighbors in a brazen act of socialism as I contemplated the verities.

Father Christmas,
give us some money.

We walked off our breakfast pancakes with a brisk hike through the foothills — “Merry Christmas!” shouted a happy family from their backyard hot tub, and no, I am not making that up — after which we motored off for the aforementioned holiday chat through HtE’s bedroom window, like family members visiting a jailed relative.

“I know, I know, you didn’t do nothing, habeas corpus and all that, but they still won’t set bail, and that abogado pendejo Saul Goodman won’t return our calls — ‘Better Call Saul’ my ass — so you’re just gonna have to wait a while longer, OK? Next time we’ll bring cigarettes and commissary money, I promise.”

Back at the shack we rang up my sister and her husband in Fort Fun, after which it was my turn in the kitchen barrel. The main dish was a largish Alaskan salmon filet (h/t Matt Wiebe) drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled generously with salt and pepper, and baked at 425° for 10-12 minutes, after which it got a squeeze of fresh lemon. Sides were white asparagus, arroz verde, and a green salad. Fake beer for me, a nice Provençal rosé for Herself.

As we ate we finished our binge-watching of “Breaking Bad,” because nothing says Christmas like an apocalyptic settling of old scores among meth kingpins.

Speaking of holiday entertainment, at some point during the day I gave ear to “Desert Oracle Radio,” a podcast recommended by Adventure Journal magazine. I’ve only listened to two episodes so far, but I’m gonna give it a tentative thumbs-up based on the Christmas show alone, which touches on our beloved Land of Entrapment and a few of its holiday oddities.

Herself thinks Ken Layne sounds like the Motel 6 guy. (“We’ll leave the light on for you.”) I think he sounds like the Motel 6 guy (with a smack habit). Take him for a quick spin around the Mojave and tell us what you think he sounds like.

The Claus that refreshes

December 25, 2020

Off the back as usual, you grumpy old elf.

While Santa was nestled snug in his bed, with visions of sugarplums and various other acid flashbacks dancing through his head, Ms. Claus was up and taking care of bidness as per usual.

Herself the Elder enjoys an early holiday chat with Ms. Claus through her bedroom window.

In point of fact, she was out in the frosty air, delivering a big box of Dunkin deliciosity to the residents and staff at Herself the Elder’s assisted-living house.

The coffee was made in the kitchen with care, for she knew that eventually, against all odds, that grumpy old elf St. Grinch would haul his fleabitten carcass out of the sack and stumble blindly around the joint screeching for stimulants to jump-start the undersized and frequently offline Freon pump in his rib cage that he claims is a heart.

Now she’s home and banging around in the kitchen making pancakes and eggs over easy, with more coffee, still more! Molasses cookies are likewise on the program. Your basic Joyeux Noël, n’est-ce pas? Feliz Navidad? Nollaig shona dhuit?

Whatever you call it, have some on us. Her. Whatevs. I’ll have more coffee, please.

Cast off, matey

September 20, 2020

The New Albion Privateer, in matte black.

There’s a new ship in the harbor: a New Albion Privateer.

The temptation is to load it down, saddle up, and sail away. But to where?

Lacking a passport, I’m restricted to the lower 48 states, Alaska and Hawaii being something of a long bunny-hop by bike. I don’t think Hans Rey could make either in one go, even if he started with a bean feast, a lit fart, and a tailwind.

Unfortunately, several of my preferred bolt holes are either hot as blazes or actually on fire. And if I leave New Mexico, I face a 14-day quarantine when I return.

Plus, Herself would have to rassle up her own grub in my absence, in addition to working for our living, catering to Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and assisting the assisted-living place with Herself the Elder, who recently took another digger, this time breaking her right wrist.

HtE is issued a fresh 14-day quarantine every time she leaves assisted living to see a sawbones, which is not nearly as much fun as seeing the road unfold before you from the saddle of a brand-new bicycle.

This is a review bike, of course. Merry Sales provided frame, fork, and a big box of bits, but the Great Parts Shortage of 2020 being more or less ongoing, I had to contribute a few items from my personal collection, among them a wheelset, inner tubes, saddle, and brakes.

Between us it made for a pretty tasty build, and I can’t say much more than that until the paying customers get theirs. In the meantime, I’m getting mine.

Still sticking pretty close to home, though. I’m not getting too far away from the mailbox until our ballots show up. That’s a review I can’t wait to write.

The fire next time

July 29, 2020

That may be Cthulhu’s eye up there in the clouds.
Or it could be the moon.

This is what the eastern sky looked like around 7:30 last night.

“No more monsoons! The end is nigh! Prepare ye for mostly sunny and warmish!”

Which it was. Eighties as I pedaled off nine-ish this morning, and it only got hotter.

Later in the afternoon Herself popped round to the Dark Tower for a window chat with her mom, but couldn’t stick it out more than a few minutes.

Don’t expect her to have a window chat of any duration with Louie Gohmert, though. Not even if the dumb sonofabitch wears a diving helmet and a diaper over his Bug-hole.

And now for something completely different

June 1, 2020

“If you want anything done in this yard you’ve got to meow
until you’re blue in the mouth,” says Miss Mia Sopaipilla.

We’ve been cocooning a bit, I suppose.

It’s not easy to watch America doggedly screwing its head even further up its own arse, especially while striving to make some novel observation about the practice. The bon mot proves elusive. So we’ve turned our gaze elsewhere.

The back yard has needed work for a while now, and it’s been getting some. Weeds pulled, vines excised, lilacs pruned, pond rock and red mulch laid down, balky gate repaired, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

In the process we discovered a few new aches and pains along with an old faucet and four sprinkler-system heads we didn’t know we had. They could be part of some prehistoric irrigation network; for sure there are a couple real anachronisms on the other side of the yard, metal jobbers buried in the pine duff like the plungers on land mines.

We’re not great with roses, but occasionally we get lucky.

The apple tree by the kitchen window has had the schnitz. All the neighbors say it’s never been worth a damn, and we’re starting to agree, though Spike the Terrorist Deer, that notorious outside agitator, seems fond of its bitter, undersized fruit.

So that will probably come down directly, along with a Siberian elm that is more than a match for my skills with a shovel and bad language. Probably have to take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

The neighbors with the little girls have partnered with another couple up the street to form a collective of sorts. Between them they have five munchkins to educate and entertain, and they share other interests as well, so it seems a great leap forward.

The gang performs a daily bicycle/scooter rodeo that relies heavily upon our steep driveway for a launching ramp, so we’re making our own small contribution. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

Elsewhere in the cul-de-sac, a four-legged neighbor went west. Daisy was a sweet old Lab who, with her cousin Gunner, served our little community as a combination of early warning system and welcome wagon.

Gunner is deaf, and a bit shy, but Daisy had been known to stride into homes like a Monty Python bobby, as if to enquire, “Wot’s all this then?” Their human has already arranged a new companion for Gunner, a black Lab pup tentatively named Henry.

Beyond our immediate ’hood, Herself the Elder’s assisted-living home has undergone a round of Bug® testing, and the all-clear has been sounded, though the lockdown remains in force.

Last Friday we delivered a load of Asian food for the joint. Pre-Bug®, Herself had been taking her mom out on Fridays for a bit of shrimp fried rice, and we decided to revive the practice as a take-out deal after Daisy and Gunnar’s person said he’d been doing something similar for his mom.

Then we thought, “Why not spread the wealth a bit?” From each according to his ability, etc. So everybody got some, including us, because I am a sucker for a six-pack of gyoza and pretty much anything else I don’t have to cook.

Speaking of wealth, when the light is right we can enjoy what the previous owner of El Rancho Pendejo called “the golden hour.” Once the day’s chores are finished we park ourselves on the back patio with frosty beverages in hand, admire our handiwork (such as it is), and hope to pan a little color from the dung as it all runs downhill.

The golden hour. “Well done, Yahweh,” as Doc Sarvis once said.

Welfare check

May 11, 2020

Herself chats with her mom jailhouse style,
on the phone, through a pane of glass.

We swung by the Dark Tower yesterday, bearing gifts.

Herself the Elder had requested huevos rancheros for Mothers Day. So we ordered up the takeout from Weck’s and ran it on by.

“You’re spoiled!” exclaimed a staffer. Dern tootin’. As spoiled as one can be in an assisted-living facility under lockdown in plague time, anyway.

Ain’t nothin’ a couple sacks of mulch and a cat statue can’t fix.

Afterward we continued a ongoing backyard-cleanup project. I’m a lifelong asthmatic with a personal, portable plague of allergies, the most severe of which is to yardwork.

But the space was starting to look like a tumbledown Tinkertoy tower of rusty playground equipment, a bullet-riddled ’63 Rambler American on blocks, and a three-legged pit bull with bowel issues would actually constitute improvements.

So, yeah. Yardwork.

Up north, where the yards are 35 acres, my man Hal forwards a Colorado Public Broadcasting piece about how gig workers there — including him — are getting the runaround from the plague-jiggered unemployment system, such as it is.

“This is exactly what happened to me when I applied,” he said. “I apparently need to call there. But of course cannot get through.”

Well, you can always get through here, bub. What’s going on out there in Greater Dogpatch? Are you digging holes and filling them in again? Redistributing wealth? Fetching takeout to shut-ins? As the Year of the Plague drags on toward Memorial Day, we want to hear how our readers are getting by. Wag your tales in comments.

The Omega Cat

March 21, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla mans (cats?) the battlements.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla, The Last Cat Standing, checks the southeast perimeter for any sign of Spike the Terrorist Deer.

Things are greening up and budding out, and staff seems preoccupied with other matters, so Mia stands the watch.

In addition to the wine delivery we had a couple of packages to drop off at USPS, so I strapped a Wald basket on the rear rack of the Soma Double Cross.

One never knows. The sneaky sonofabitch might like cat food.

Meanwhile, staff kitted up for another wine run yesterday afternoon. We chatted briefly with Herself the Elder via phone, next to her closed bedroom window, and then scurried back to El Rancho Pendejo as a light sprinkle began.

We saw quite a few cyclists on the Tramway bike path, in some cases moms herding mobs of children.  I think of being on lockdown with a herd of bored and restless rug monkeys, and I wish I’d been kinder to me sainted ma, who was sentenced to life without parole as a housewife and mother.

Elsewhere, I see our “leaders” have been up to the usual, which is to say not much barring high crimes and misdemeanors.

It really is long past time for the press to quit covering what Chazbo Pierce calls “the daily briefings from the Coronavirus Superfriends,” which have devolved into miniature campaign rallies for Il Douche, free telemarketing for his only product, bullshit.

There is no breaking news to be had at this surgical theater of the absurd, and responsible journalists should take the time to suck it up, watch the comedy, pluck the rare diamond from the dung, and pass the stone, with an addendum tallying the ratio of facts to lies. No diamonds? No distribution. See James Fallows at The Atlantic for more. I like James so much that I ponied up for a subscription.

In other news, United Airlines is cordially invited to go fuck itself. Jesus. These people are completely without shame. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I would rather pay to push my Subaru uphill into the wind, wearing roller skates and this goddamn ankle brace, than fly United for free.

Year of the Plague

March 13, 2020

Everyone’s world is getting just a little bit smaller.

Has everyone settled in to The New Normal yet?

Herself had to make a supply run to Herself the Elder’s assisted-living home yesterday, but since she forgot her biohazard gear and breathing apparatus, she had to leave the goodies on the porch. The joint is on lockdown, with the drawbridge up and the moat full of gators, piranha fish, and plugged-in toasters.

She managed to snap a selfie at mom’s bedroom window, though. And of course, when you can’t get actual facetime, there’s FaceTime.

Elsewhere, the noobs are trying to figure out how to work from home. Lucky for me, I have a black belt in social distancing, which I have been practicing since 1991, when after 15 years in the Petri dish of daily journalism it was suddenly just me, my Mac SE, and a Hayes modem, in a spare bedroom.

Also, as a geezer with a broken ankle and the Socialist Insecurity due to start rolling in next month, I don’t have much to do or a pressing need to go somewhere to do it.

So I got that going for me, which is nice.

The hard part, for me and for thee, is the temptation to go all COVID-19, all the time. Don’t do it. Send a daily hate mail to the White House and then call it a day.

Watching this lame reboot of “A Day at the Races” ain’t doing it for me. There are more horses’ asses than horses in this one, and I don’t think the fat fuck playing Dr. Hackenbush is even a vet, much less an MD.

And now, today’s musical selection:

 

Sunshine patriots

February 15, 2020

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), demonstrates his readiness posture for the press.

Herself has three days “off” each week, but the “off” part is short for “off her rocker.”

Yesterday she pulled a full shift with Herself the Elder (eye appointment, lunch, New Mexico ID, etc.). And today she attended the local Donks’ 2020 ward meeting (she is a precinct chairperson and narrowly escaped sentencing to the pre-primary convention).

Tomorrow she has to give me a haircut. Yeah, yeah, I hear you laughing out there, but it’s harder than it sounds, chasing down and eliminating rogue hairs on my vast expanse of scalp. Like mowing the lawn for someone who doesn’t give a shit about lawns. Why can’t a fella go bald all over at once, is what I’d like to know.

In solidarity I went for a couple nice bike rides in the sunshine while the cats napped in sunny spots. Tough work, but someone had to do it.

Mama and the papas

February 7, 2020

Herself and Herself the Elder surfing the Innertubes for Kindle books.

We took Herself the Elder out today for a bite of lunch, a bit of light banter, and some medium-heavy shopping.

A tip of the Mad Dog sombrero to the staff at the Weck’s near Juan Tabo and Copper; they were exemplary, nearly as sweet as the two giant brownies we had for dessert.

Too, kudos to HtE, who has bounced back quite nicely after a long stretch of physical, emotional, and geographical challenges. She’s still using a walker, but her strength, endurance, and mobility seem greatly improved and she may be able to graduate to a HurryCane before long. We bought her one today, just in case.

I could’ve used a walker myself after that meal. Or maybe a wheelchair. The Original papas plate is a major gut-bomb, especially when you smother it with green chile and chase it with a brownie.

I felt like Monsieur Creosote after I finished that bad boy. Thank God nobody offered me a wafer-thin mint.