Posts Tagged ‘The House Back East’

Air Subaru flies again

October 4, 2017

Bibleburg, as seen from the overlook at Palmer Park.

Another week, another flight aboard Air Subaru. This time it was back to Bibleburg to clear some stuff out of the garage at The House Back East™, which is to have a new proprietor by close of business Friday.

We’re talking your basic high-speed up-and-back, so apologies to the many Bibleburghers I missed during my whirlwind tour.

I was able to visit our old friend and former tenant Judy, who’s now living in a senior center off Lower Gold Camp, and looking fit despite a bad fall that required surgery, some aftermarket parts, and a whole lot of rehab.

Looking stormy this morning off the side patio.

Too, I caught up with John Crandall and the rest of the gang at Old Town Bike Shop, where we spoke of Tim Watkins, another recent victim of gun violence.

Then I beat it back to the Duke City in time to vote in Tuesday’s election, sign closing documents for THBE™, and score a half-bushel of freshly roasted green chile, some of which went almost instantly into vegetarian quesadillas for Herself and Your Humble Narrator. A green chile stew is to follow directly, as the weather is said to be turning damp and chilly for a couple of days.

And now, after piling a couple thousand miles onto the odometer in two weeks, it’s time to give the old hunk of junk a break. The Subaru could use one, too. So it’s back to human-powered transportation for a spell. Look for me on two feet and two wheels for the foreseeable future.

Property rites

September 7, 2017

The fabled House Back East®, soon to be under new management. Or so we hope, anyway. …

Hoo, nuts around here lately.

The House Back East™ in Bibleburg is under contract (for the second time in a week). Down here in the Duke City, meanwhile, the tree dude is popping round tomorrow to (what else?) have a squint at El Rancho Pendejo’s trees. The Furster, a.k.a. Air Subaru, gets a cautionary peek under the hood on Monday. ERP’s HVAC gets likewise on Tuesday.

And I finally found an affordable bike to review for the Adventurous Cyclists.

Whew.

Also, I got released from jury duty this afternoon. Hauled into court twice in three weeks, but never got to hear a case. Always a bridesmaid, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. Good for about $60 if the robes actually pay a guy for sitting on his ass … which, come to think of it, is what I do for a living, albeit at a slightly higher pay scale and in sloppier garb.

Most definitely not sitting on her ass is my sister-in-law Beth, who with her husband are beating it out of the bullseye Hurricane Irma has sketched on the east coast of Florida.

Herself thought they were bound for Pensacola, just a hop, skip and jump from the ancestral moonshining grounds of the O’Gradys in Perry. May the road rise up to meet them, but in a nice way.

 

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.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

December 1, 2014
The previous owner of Rancho Pendejo called this time of day right around sunset "the golden hour" for its effect on the Sandias.

The previous owner of Rancho Pendejo called this time of day right around sunset “the golden hour” for its effect on the Sandias.

December? Sez who? The calendar? Well, all righty then.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday are in the rear-view mirror — and also in the toilet, holiday-sales-wise — and Cyber Monday is upon us, with Solstice dead ahead.

Herself the Elder has been shipped safely back to Tennessee, Herself the Younger is back at work at the Sandia National Libraratory, and I am overseeing various maintenance operations at The House Back East® from Rancho Pendejo.  (Handy Household Hint: Never own more than one house at a time, and make sure it has wheels, an engine and a parking spot down by the creek. And yes, this is strictly a First World problem.)

I won’t torture those of you in wintry climes with reports of our weather (52 and sunny) or my plans for the morning once I hear an electrician’s report (hourlong run through the desert). Neither should you expect me to threaten anyone on Facebook, not even the Supreme Court, which lord knows has it coming.

Finally, Little Chris Horner seems to have stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum in the form of a gig with the Continental team Airgas-Safeway. No word on whether they’ll have the 2013 Vuelta a España champ bagging at the register, working a wet cleanup in aisle nine, or delivering propane to my new home down by the creek.

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.

 

April fuel

April 19, 2014
The Salsa Vaya takes five underneath a recently renovated bridge above the railroad tracks.

The Salsa Vaya takes five underneath a recently renovated bridge above the railroad tracks.

Y’know what they say about April showers? Well, we should be up to our keisters in May flowers if this weather keeps up. We already have a fine crop of dandelions in the front yard.

Deadlines and various chores have monopolized my attention lately. The House Back East™ has new tenants, and I celebrated by doing a bit of raking and bagging, as the back yard has looked a tad funky since our landscaper vanished mysteriously, leaving a mulching undone and his tools behind. Rumor Control hints at an extended visit with the authorities, but as you know we don’t believe the liberal media here at Chez Dog.

The garage was likewise becoming unmanageable. My half of it, anyway. It looked like the lair of a bike thief who was deeply into the art of stealing but contemptuous of the business end. And so today I tidied up a bit in there, too. Got Herself’s ‘cross bike up on a hook and everything, though there’s still an appalling pile of tires in one corner. And for God’s sake, if you’re a neat freak avert your eyes from the workbench.

In between shifts I took the Salsa Vaya out for a few gentle rides. You know, the usual — city streets, back alleys, pulverized granite paths, single-track, concrete bike path, the works. Everything but I-25, and I’ll get around to that before I’m through.

Today’s Bible lesson is “Thou shalt count the teeth on thy cassette.” That 11-30 cogset ain’t nothin’ of the kind. Big plate on that bad boy has only 28 teeth, which when paired with a 39-tooth middle ring makes me feel my years. Don’t make me use the granny without racks and bags, please, Lord. I’ll quit touching myself and everything.

 

Game of chance

April 5, 2014
Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

The forecast calls for a chance of rain and/or snow through Monday, and I beat the odds with today’s ride — a light drizzle began just as I hit the driveway.

Maybe it’s a good thing I swapped my tires out before I left. I had been running some portly 700×38 Schwalbe Little Bens on the Soma Double Cross, but the rear keeps going flat for no good reason. I’ve replaced tubes, checked the casing and the rim tape, you name it, and the sonofabitch still goes softer than Paul Ryan’s head when parked in the garage overnight.

Anyway, the DC now wears a frisky pair of 700×32 Panaracer Pasela TourGuards, and we’ll see tomorrow whether the garage gremlins treat the Japanese any better than they do the Germans.

Me, I’m being mistreated by allergies. Faugh. Our recent moisture is bringing all the neighborhood trees to hideous life. Look for pix of The House Back East®’s apricot tree in bloom here in a day or two as I gobble Claritin-D tabs like M&Ms.

 

 

La grand chef

December 30, 2013

Once again we have guests in the House Back East®, this time for a lengthy stay, and tonight they inquired how to operate the gas oven.

Imagine my embarrassment. I had no bloody idea.

I don’t remember the last time I cooked with gas, unless you count the grill, which I don’t. Santa Fe? Denver? Pueblo? And the HBE® has a rather elderly appliance. For all I knew, it might have required matches, incantations, the rubbing together of sticks.

Nope. Found the owner’s manual. Push in the temperature knob, assign a temperature, turn the other knob to “Bake.”

Another guest successfully unkilled. Winning!

The Salon Back East

November 26, 2013
PBR

Pabst Blue Ribbon, the choice of international filmmakers everywhere.

Herself and I were briefly patrons of the arts this week.

We had rented the House Back East™ to a gent name of Colm Ó Ciosóig, who was coming to town for an international film festival. Herself wondered how his name was pronounced — and so did I, being fluent only in American, Filth and Drunkard — so I looked it up.

Turns out Colm — a very pleasant fellow indeed — is the drummer for and one of the founding members of the band My Bloody Valentine, which recently concluded a yearlong world tour in support of its latest album, m b v.

• My Bloody Valentine’s YouTube page

Colm is also a film aficionado who shoots many of the backgrounds for the band’s shows, and he wangled a freebie to attend the TIE-Alternative Measures festival by agreeing to DJ at the closing soirée.

But it seems the festival endured a few hiccups and finally ended badly — some class of a dispute pitted the artists against the organizer — and come Sunday evening Colm popped round to inquire whether he might host a gathering of filmmakers next door. We were invited to join them.

We said sure, and before long there were a couple dozen artists, musicians and filmmakers from around the globe crowding the tiny house, merrily chattering away over barley pops. They were all quite delightful, and included us in their conversations, asking about the States and Bibleburg and complimenting the House Back East®. Marv’, the old saloon musician, would have had a wonderful time.

It was amusing to note that a thirst for Pabst Blue Ribbon is apparently not just a proletarian pose adopted by Yankee hipsters, because nearly everyone in attendance brought a suitcase of the stuff (we contributed a bottle of Bushmills). But perhaps the altitude affected consumption, because there was more than quite a bit left over after the party ended — about three and a half suitcases worth. A gaggle of journalists would have gargled the lot and eaten the cans.

So Monday afternoon, after Colm and the others had departed, I decided to support another class of artist — I hauled two suitcases down to Old Town Bike Shop as a gift to its long-suffering mechanics, who are always giving me freebies on annoying bits of work when by rights they should be charging me double.