Posts Tagged ‘Herself the Elder’

¡Feliz año nuevo!

January 1, 2020

Another one bites the dust.

Well, here we are. 2020. A whole new year to play with. It’s like bringing that new bike home from the shop. Can’t wait to take it out for a spin.

Actually, I’m in no rush. It’s still below freezing out there at the moment, and it wasn’t much warmer when I took an old bike for a spin yesterday afternoon.

It was a Steelman Eurocross, and the only reason it and I were on the trails was to squeeze one final drop of fun from the old year. There was a chilly wind from the north, and I was wearing my heavy-duty bib tights, two long-sleeve polypro undershirts, a stout long-sleeve winter jersey, tuque plus cycling cap, winter gloves, wool socks, and winter shoes.

The trails were just a bit tacky, which was fine, especially when I took a detour through a gravel wash. This is a long, gradual uphill, and not ideal for 33mm tires in dry conditions unless you’re Belgian or Dutch. I put ’er in 36×28 and ground me some gravel, just like the Kool Kidz do.

All in all this proved a relaxing interlude between bouts of tech support at Herself the Elder’s place. She’s been having trouble getting her iPhone and hearing aids to make nice together via Bluetooth. The cable-TV setup is likewise challenging. Once again we find engineers making things more complex than they need to be, just because they can.

“Lookit me, I’m engineering!” Indeed you are, Poindexter, and I hope your granny writes you out of her will.

So, yeah, studying the catechism of elder tech, pondering the mysteries. Lacking faith, but doing the works in hopes of enlightenment.

After some success that can be described only as limited Herself and I came home to El Rancho Pendejo, warmed up some leftovers, watched a bit of standup on Netflix, and called it a night long before the ball dropped in Times Square.

Tomorrow, we agreed, would be another day. Year. Whatevs. Where the gravel at?

Feed bagged

November 29, 2019

Dinner, tabled.

Well, that could’ve gone better.

Thanksgiving 2019 proved something of a bust at El Rancho Pendejo. The mom-in-law was not feeling up to snuff after a poor night’s sleep and hardly any breakfast. A record-shattering snowfall and the subsequent need for shoveling same delayed dinner about 90 minutes. And Mama Kerr’s lemon meringue pie never came off the bench.

The paprika chicken with turnips and taters got in the game, though, as did the stir-fried succotash and baking powder biscuits.

By the time we had all the starters lined up on the field, alas, the MIL was not exactly eager to tie on the old feed bag. She nibbled a bit of this and that, and then asked to be taken back to assisted living. The abrupt changes she’s endured in the past couple of weeks — moving from sea level to altitude, trading a tropical climate for our semi-arid variety, and waking up to a historic Thanksgiving dumper — probably didn’t help matters.

But I got in a bit of upper-body work, shoveling the driveways here and at assisted living, so I got that going for me, which is nice. There are plenty of leftovers, which is nicer. And today Herself will take her mom out for a manicure and maybe a smallish bite of lunch somewhere.

Meanwhile, the merchants are pitching but I ain’t catching. Let ’em blacken someone else’s Friday, sez I.

What won’t stay down, must come up

November 20, 2019

“Patrick O’Grady to the white courtesy phone. …”

Well, this has been quite the week.

Herself the Elder came to town Saturday with Beth, the eldest daughter, and the next few days were your basic whirlwind of activity: getting her settled in the assisted-living place; acquiring and configuring a TV that was too smart for anyone’s good; rounding up an adjustable bed and all the other bits that make a room a home; doing battle with the medical-industrial complex; and meeting the staff and other residents.

It was going pretty smoothly, all things considered, until Monday evening, when I contracted some variety of nuclear gut-rumbler, and the less you know about that, the better.

Then Herself got it yesterday, which meant she couldn’t go to work this morning or drive Beth to the airport at 3:30 a.m. In the rain. Because it always rains at stupid-thirty when a fella who has spent the last 36 hours cuddling the commode suddenly finds himself drafted to drive to the airport at 3:30 a.m. In the rain.

Anyway, Herself the Elder and Beth seem to have dodged whatever floored me and Herself, so, yay. We are taking light refreshment and shambling around El Rancho Pendejo like the living dead. And I finally got caught up on HBO’s “Watchmen,” if getting caught up means continuing to wonder just what in the sweet holy motherfuck this thing is about.

Now I have to catch up on the news, which likewise. Pray for me.

Channel surfing

November 12, 2019

TV or not TV? In this case, it’s definitely TV.

Any of yis care to weigh in with a recommendation for a new TV that’s not insane?

I’m hunting one for the mom-in-law, who needs it for the new digs. Nothing huge, probably a 43-incher or under, and preferably a model with easily navigated menus and a remote that doesn’t look like the dashboard of the Millennium Falcon. Just your basic Ralph Spoilsport model, a personal remote-controlled, picture-sized color TV, with matching brass knobs, the kind where you reach above the bar and press the button right there under the handy laminated imitation-masonite Wild West gun rack with the look of real wood, for the channel of your choice.

We’re dealing with the elderly and feeble-minded here, which is to say me, a guy who hasn’t set up a new TV in the better part of quite some time.

Thanks for the insurrection, and now back to our morning concert of afternoon showtime favorites — the Magic Bowl movement from Symphony in C Minus by Johann Amadeus Matetsky.

Happy birthday to Herself the Elder

November 5, 2019

Herself the Elder and Herself the Younger.

Herself the Elder celebrated a birthday today with two of three daughters and one son-in-law (not me).

I’d never tell a lady’s age, but rumor has it she first appeared on the scene in the same year as White Sands National Monument, Esquire magazine, and the Marx Brothers Movie “Duck Soup.”

“I didn’t come here to be insulted!”

“That’s what you think.”

Anyway, a delicious seafood luncheon was had, “Happy Birthday” was sung by a son-in-law not in attendance (me, via FaceTime), and now the birthday girl and her middle daughter are kickin’ it back at the crib.

Which will not be her crib much longer. With the Not-So-Great Pumpkin poised to become the apostheosis of Florida Man, Herself the Elder will be abandoning the Sunshine State and setting up shop in the Land of Enchantment. She’s not overly fussy as regards neighbors, but one must have some standards.

Herself the Elder should be in residence here in ’Burque by Thanksgiving. Seafood will not be on the menu. Once she realizes we’re all sand and no ocean she’ll probably join a club and beat me over the head with it.

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.

 

We should sit like a cat

July 9, 2018

“I heard there are alligators in Florida,” says Darby. “I’ll be taking my meals right here, thank you.” Photo: Herself

“If anything is more irresistible than Jesus, it’s Mickey.”

Carl Hiaasen, “Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World.”

Herself the Elder has gone to Mickey.

It happened the way Ernest Hemingway described going bankrupt in “The Sun Also Rises” — “gradually and then suddenly.” One minute she’s in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the next, boom! Mouse Country. It was that quick. Except for when it wasn’t.

Herself the Elder retired a couple years back and decided shortly thereafter that it might be nice to be closer to one of her three daughters. I could dig it, as I live fairly close to one of them myself.

She checked out a few places in the Duke City, and did likewise in the Greater Orlando Mousetropolitan Area, and unless you acquire a concealed-carry permit, a theft-proof auto and an ocean with attached beach, Florida is going to win that matchup two falls out of three.

And then things just sort of stalled out, because moving is a huge pain in the ass and doing nothing is always an option. As far as I’m concerned, anyway. Gives a fella time to think.

“Why did you sit around all day?”

“I am the Buddha known as the Quitter.”

Jack Kerouac, “The Dharma Bums”

This laissez-faire approach doesn’t work for everyone, of course. It seems particularly ill-suited to most women of the female persuasion, who appear to have an innate compulsion to take hold while the menfolks sit around scratching themselves, farting, and hooting contentedly. And thus, eventually, the creaky familial machinery started rumbling to life.

Beth, the Florida daughter, stood, rolled up her sleeves and said something to the effect of, “Are we doing this or what?” HtE replied in the affirmative, a strategery was devised, and they were off to the wars.

Herself booked a flight to Florida to help set up the new digs. Beth ordered up the movers and jetted to Oak Ridge to supervise the packing up, then flew back with HtE in tow. And Heather, the Tennessee daughter, collaborated with family friend Janet to chauffeur Darby the cat to Mousesylvania by auto.

It’s not that simple, of course. Nothing is. But for the moment, everyone’s settling in. Even Darby, who was not consulted about any of this.

We should

sit like a cat

and wait for the door

to open.

“Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry,” by Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison

No turkey, but a trot

November 24, 2017

Black Friday me arse. Here in the Duke City we’re expecting blue skies, a high near 70, and no bloody shopping.

Another Thanksgiving done and dusted. A thousand thank-yous to everyone who continues to pop round to the rumormongery, if only to see whether I’ve croaked and left them a slightly used bicycle or two or three.

Posole verde on the fire.

We kept it light this year. Neither family nor friends were in attendance (we phoned Herself the Elder, my sister, and our former Bibleburg tenant Judy) and thus the kitchen drudgery was nothing out of the ordinary.

I cooked a simple posole verde based on a recipe by Rodrigo Bueno, Herself whipped up a raspberry cobbler, and that was that. No leftover turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and whatnot for snacking purposes, but the post-feast cleanup was greatly expedited.

Before sitting down to eat we went out for a short and leisurely run, neither of us having legged it around and about for a while. It was a gorgeous November day, with temps in the 60s and nothing but blue sky overhead.

Indeed, it was so pleasant we gave the cats a good airing, too, and they spent the rest of the day snoozing in their respective towers by a window.

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), keeps an eye peeled for Rooski ratfuckers.

Ordinarily we watch “Home for the Holidays” on Thanksgiving, but this year we opted for a few episodes from season two of “Baskets,” a weird little series starring Zach Galifianakis. It’s not for everyone — especially now, since disgraced weirdo Louis C.K. is one of the co-creators and producers — but it’s definitely … different.

Elsewhere, there’s nothing different about the way special counsel Robert Mueller is pressing his inquiry into the Rooski ratfucking of the 2016 elections.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla favors a sunny spot underneath the yard art.

The Old Wise Heads speculate that Mike Flynn has rolled over and begun chirping canarylike arias, which is generally what happens when the laws have you by the short and curlies and wish to grab hold of someone a little higher up the criminal chain of command.

It’s probably a tad early to give thanks. But may we please have a few indictments neatly wrapped and under the tree by Christmas, Santa baby?

It’s all a blur

July 2, 2017

Eastbound on I-40, way too early in the morning.

This is how I feel when I get up at stupid-thirty on a Sunday morning: cloudy, out of focus, poorly composed.

This is why I rarely get up at stupid-thirty on a Sunday morning. Alas, this particular Sunday morning Herself needed a lift to the Greater Duke City Cosmological Airport; she and a sis are paying a call on Herself the Elder in Tennessee, which is a right smart drive for anyone who isn’t marginally employed, like her chauffeur.

My rule of thumb regarding travel beyond the city limits is simple: If the trip is under 2,000 miles and doesn’t cross any oceans, it’s Air Subaru for me. Oak Ridge is a piddling 1,400 miles from here, and damme if I’ll submit to the tender mercies of Benighted Airlines for a short hop like that.

Now I’m back at El Rancho Pendejo, and The Boo and I are both out of sorts, our routines having been upended. Not quite as badly as Alejandro Valverde’s, though. I guess he ate shit in yesterday’s Tour opener and needed a bit of time on the surgeon’s workbench afterward.

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?