Sunday, June 29, 2008

Goin' To Town

I love to drive.

When I first got this car I would put the top down, put on my cool green Kate Spade sunglasses, crank up the stereo and just dri-i-i-i-i-i-ve for the sheer pleasure of it. It was so much fun that I felt guilty, as if I must be doing something illegal and should be getting a ticket for it.

Ev and I love car trips. We love to get out on the road and just explore shit. We'll drive down roads just to see where they go, engaged in great conversations. It's our quality couple time. We once went on a little drive in Arizona, intending to tool around the desert of southeastern Arizona, and we ended up eating dinner in Puerto Penasco, Mexico and then having to drive like hell to get back to the border before they locked it down at 10:00pm so we wouldn't have to call the kids and tell them we accidentally got stuck in Mexico.

I love St. Louis

There are about a zillion things to do in St. Louis. I love to shop at the Miniature Museum. The St. Louis Zoo is free. The food at the Schafley Brew Pub is most excellent, and you can pick up a couple of cases of Schafley APA while you're there. The Mississippi River crested up to the base of the Arch last week, which is something that would be very cool to see.

I love my kid.

I haven't seen him since Christmas and I barely recognize him now that he's pretty much a grown man. He's got a new job, a new car and a new girlfriend since he was here in December, and he sounds like he's getting his act together.

I love the 4th of July.

I like fireworks, fried chicken, potato salad, long holiday weekends and sparklers. I even like some of the patriotic music (with the exception of "We'll Put a Boot Up Yer Ass, It's the American Way" and songs of that ilk). Ev and I went to Cape Girardeau the first summer we were here and watched the fireworks on the river ... it rained and it was too crowded, but it was still very pretty.

This week all of those elements will align perfectly. On Thursday I'm driving my convertible to the St. Louis airport early in the morning to drop off Katie for her summer trip to Arizona, and then I have the day to myself in St. Louis, because I'm picking up my son and his girlfriend from the airport in the evening. Then we'll all drive somewhere to watch the fireworks on the 4th. They have to go home again on Sunday, so Ev and I will drive them back to St. Louis and then we'll have the drive home to do our thang ... cruisin' ... talking ... enjoying the scenery.

You'd think the juxtaposition of all the things I love would make me ecstatically happy. And it would, if I hadn't tallied up the two round-trips to St. Louis at 26mpg, at $4.05 a gallon, which equals roughly $200, which is the price of the goddamn airline tickets each of the kids bought to fly 3000 miles round trip between Phoenix and St. Louis. We'd be better off flying to the fucking airport.

I hate George W. Bush. I'd like to see him tarred and feathered, but he is so not worth the price of tar.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dodged Another Bullet

I'm feeling much better today. I cut and burned and cut and burned until I couldn't lift my arms anymore. Wisely, Al stayed home. I guess it's true: God DOES protect drunkards and fools. Somewhere along the line the Menstrual Gods rewarded me with another 26 days of sanity, so it's safe for Lori to come out of the storm cellar again.

And yes, Cedar. menopause is the reward for making it 30 years without killing anyone.

So I usually like to take a victory lap around the year with my coffee cup the morning after a day of good yard work, but it's been raining like crazy since the middle of the night, so the validation part of the day is on hold for a while.

I work this weekend, but I have the 4th of July holiday off with next weekend. Coupled with my hormonally-dependent peace and goodwill towards my brethren and sistren, I might spend part of it in the company of humans. Maybe.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Johnny Cash - Don't Take Your Guns To Town

Life's a Bitch and Then I'm a Bitch, Too

I've have very bad PMS for the last couple of days. Today is the apex. Therefore:

1. I'm irrationally angry.
2. I'm fighting the impulse to kill everyone stupid enough to speak to me. Luckily, that's virtually no one, since my kids are taking one look at me and slinking back to their room/home.
3. Gas is expensive, which means we have no disposable income, contributing to #1. However even if gas were cheap I'd still be angry about something. That's the good thing about PMS. It allows a person to be an equal opportunity hater.

Therefore, I'm going to finish my chicken and rice, take up my chainsaw, and finish cutting up the termite tree while fantasizing about who's face is on each limb. Then with any luck, the weather will hold and I'll throw the dismembered termite tree parts on the burn pile and burn the motherfucker to the ground while sitting in a lawn chair and drinking beer in front of it. If Al comes over I plan to shoot him.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Probably Don't Have Long to Live

I have a confession to make: I'm dealing with the heartbreak of mono globglowlaparaproteinmia.

Well, okay...maybe I'm not. But we had a patient come in with that diagnosis last night and I decided that if I ever choose to call in fraudulently, I'm using that excuse.

Clearly someone in Admitting tried to spell something phonetically and failed. Miserably.

So add mono globglowlaparaproteinmia to to list of debilitating illnesses I have that sometimes make me unable to go to work. The feline leukemia, the erectile dysfunction (hey, they said it could happen to anyone!), the mono globglowlaparaproteinmia, and it's more severe secondary stage, poly globglowlaparaproteinmia... it's a miracle I can get out of bed each day. Sort of a testament to my bravery, eh?

And on a completely unrelated note, except that it's my blog and I can talk about anything I want...has anybody ever had a citronella plant? Lori's going to buy a couple of them from Rural King, and I was wondering if anyone had any experience with them besides that they smell nice.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When Nothing Much Is Going On...

I was up late last night finishing a book, Black and White by Lewis Shiner, that I downloaded as a PDF file. I've never done that before but it had a couple of advantages, one of which was that I could increase the text size to 212% and read easily without straining my eyes. But besides the great (big) font, it was also a great read, and I heartily recommend it.

However, the price I paid for that nocturnal indulgence is that I slept late and didn't go outside or do anything of value this morning. So a few minutes ago I poked my head out the back door to see what the weather's doing before I get dressed for work....not that I would do anything different based on that information. I wear essentially the same thing every day anyway. One of four pairs of identical pants with one of six identical (except the color) short sleeve shirts in the summer, or one of ten identical (except the color) long sleeve shirts in the winter. I think my non-existent fashion sense may drive people nuts, but my theory is that once you find something that works for you, stick with it.

But that's not the important part. The important part is that when I went out on the porch I noticed that one of the rosebushes is beautiful, so I took a picture.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Baseball and Football

George Carlin ... safe at home at 71. Seventy-one???????? How the hell old ARE we?

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cock-suckin' motherfucker and tits.

RIP, George.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Steve Goodman: A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request

And while we're thinking about it, here's something just for Valerie!

Beyond Thunder(duck)dome!

Ev's gone to the store for more long-ass deck screws, so I'm taking this opportunity to post the updated project photos.

And they said it couldn't be done by two middle-aged lesbians of short stature! HA!

Well, okay. It couldn't have been done entirely by two middle-aged lesbians of short stature, but it could, by-god, be done by two middle-aged lesbians of short stature and one tall, agreeable, ex-husband! So there! Looks like a Tiki Hut, huh? Everyone but Ev thinks it would looks spiffy with a thatched roof. She's still holding out for shingles. Rob thinks it needs a bar ... the kind with the grass skirt around it ... and it certainly needs tiki torches. We all agree it's pretty fancy-schmancy for ducks!

Everything cooperated today. The weather is cooler, there's more shade and more breeze, the ladder gods smiled on us and we found a spiffy two-in-one step and extension ladder for a hundred bucks at Sears, and the girls couldn't go to Magic Mountain with their dad today as planned ... so he came here instead. Yay!

It turns out that a six-foot-tall ex-husband on an extension ladder is just the right height to get to the pinnacle of an 11-and-a-half-foot-tall roof ... if you leave little triangular openings for him to squeeze through with an electric screwdriver.

If we can't get him back out, we'll have to tell the ducks he's a pinata.

Now we have to cut and put up another row of bracing cross-pieces and cut little triangles (all slightly different -- don't ask) to cover the remaining Rob openings. I suspect we'll have to ply him with beer to convince him to climb the extension ladder and lay on the roof trusses to screw them in place.

Carrie helped out by whipping up a three-way-combo birthday and Father's Day feast of bacon wrapped steak and ginger-soy drizzle. It was oh-my-god delicious!

I've thrown in a picture of the lucky recipients of all this effort. Here they are, mindlessly dunking their heads in an afternoon mud puddle and dribbling on each other. They don't look like something that needs luxury accommodations, do they?

There is really nothing anyone could aspire to that would be a better deal than being a pet in this household. You don't see us building little Tiki huts in the yard for the children, do you??

Saturday, June 21, 2008


On our quest for "cheap and local" we stumbled across ... pretty!

Last week I was telling my friend, Pamela, how gorgeous the wildflowers have been on my way home from work, and bemoaning the fact that all my vases are packed away somewhere in the shed. On Wednesday we were working in Benton, and we had a few minutes to kill after lunch, so we went browsing in one of the antique stores -- and she bought me this pretty combination antique pitcher and wildflower vase for my birthday! Thank you, Pamela!

Ev and I went "to town" today to buy some straw for the ducks and a taller ladder to finish the Duck Dome, and on the way home we stopped along her mom's road and picked Queen Anne's Lace, thistles, Black-Eyed-Susans, Tiger Lilies and some tiny daisy-ish flowers and purple flowering vines we didn't recognize but liked a lot. Pretty, huh!?
Even Slipper-Dipper seems to approve of them -- or he's just concerned that we've done something new to his mantle. With Slipper it's hard to tell the difference between approval and concern.
I also managed to catch the ducks in the sunlight today and get a couple of shots of their pretty iridescent feathers. As you can see, Omelette has a lot of fluffy chest feathers now, and I could finally capture an image of the blue-green feathers behind her wings. All of the Rouens have the iridescent stripe on their wings, but it's a little different on all of them. Some have broader stripes of black and one of them has an almost purple stripe.

Friday, June 20, 2008

America's Pastime

Lori and I have the weekend off and we need to get out into the world. We stay home pretty much every weekend and enjoy it a's relaxing, low stress and we get to reconnect with each other...but this weekend we're feeling the need to do something recreational. Since we almost never leave the house voluntarily, I solicited some ideas from my friends at work. They were mostly useless except as comic relief.

I was trying to come up with something cheap and local since gas is so expensive. I asked Val if she'd ever been to a Miners game (the Southern Illinois Miners is our local minor league team) and she said, "I actually thought baseball season was over. It seems like it's already been going on for a really long time, doesn't it?"

Okay...maybe we're not the only ones who need to get out of the house occasionally...hmmm?

For those of you longing for a mercifully short baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. It's 162 games during the regular season and 20-ish more in the playoffs. The object of the game is to still have at least 9 players at the end of that time who are uninjured AND don't suck. And if you've got an extra pitcher or two who isn't just trying to make it until his post-season elbow reconstruction surgery, that's a plus.

Baseball isn't like's not one brutally hellish day in the hot sun drinking crappy beer. It's 80 hellish days in the hot sun, and another 80 in the bug-infested night. It's 10 mile long lines to get into the women's bathroom, it's $9 a cup Budweiser, it's a $12 hot dog. It's tradition. People who get up in the seventh inning to "beat the crowd"? Losers. Quitters. For my $35 ticket in the nosebleed seats, I want my money's worth. Not only an I going to stay for the entire game until they shut off the stadium lights, but I may hang around the clubhouse, follow a player out to his car and steal his hubcaps. Hell, he makes more money in the 30 seconds it takes to call 911 than I will in my lifetime.

I came of age during the Ryne Sandberg/Leon Durham/Ron Cey era of the Chicago Cubs. No one understands the concept of overpaid underachievers like we veteran fans of the 80's Cubs. We listened faithfully, knowing that we'd never be able to get thse 486 wasted hours per season back again. The important things were that A) the Cubs played in the daytime, so you could listen to Harry Carey's idiotic babble at work, and B) you could enjoy the spring successes while still looking forward in anticipation of the inevitable post-All Star break crash. Will it be July? August? When will the Cubbies have that 20 game losing streak?

Because baseball is a patient person's game.

So yes, Valerie...there is a baseball season still. And it will still end in heartbreak for most of the nation's fans. Long after the $9 beer has been urinated in the parking lot, long after the stupid Mardi Gras beads, the big foam finger, the Health Care Worker Tribute Day souvenir ball cap are all thrown away...there will still be another 120 games left in the season.

Viral Video

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My New Best Pal, Al neighbor Al saw me cutting shit up with my chainsaw, and he came by to talk. With a cooler full of bad cheap beer. However, since it was bad, cheap FREE beer, I set my standards aside and spent the afternoon having a play date with Al. This is why I know I'm secretly a saint. Because my goal always is to spend my days off working in monastic silence on my never ending yard project. But Al slipped in under my "stay away from me" radar, and then he told me so many retired guy stories that I couldn't send him away.

I now know: He's retired from the state hospital for the last 6 years; he's a Viet Nam vet who didn't make good use for the G.I. Bill; he has a daughter with two kids from two ex-husbands and he worries about whether she'll ever make something of herself; his wife would like to meet me (I'm pretty sure that's not true, but I didn't openly scoff); he got a new bass boat, and would love it if I'd go fishing with him; he admires my ability to work outside for 12 hours a day, but he worries about my safety; he thinks I'm plucky (although he didn't actually say plucky, he told me over and over again how amazing I was).

In return, I told him: I'm gay; I dropped out of high school, but I went back and got a college education, and his daughter might too if she's inclined; I thought I could drink beer, but he wins hands down...I know when I'm beat.

He choked a little on the gay part, but bucked right up after he drank a little more. He invited me, and later Lori, to stay for barbecue...his wife's a real fine cook. By the time I managed to back away, mouthing lie after lie (I'd love to stay for another case of Miller Lite and a burger Al, but I think my girlfriend's calling me for supper. Maybe another time, okay?)

Now that me and Al are best buds, I'll have to slink around under the cover of darkness if I want to spend time alone in the yard.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Like Bunnies Better.

I posted about Bruno the Pit Bull Bunny last night, and got this comment from EmilyS:

Bruno is quiet and well-mannered. He likes cilantro, dried papaya, banana slices, and hay. He has excellent litterbox habits. And he has yet to attack anyone"

actually that sounds a lot like my pit bull. Except for the cilantro-eating part...

And that reminded me that a few weeks ago I got bit by my mom's pit bull...twice. I walked up her driveway unannounced ("Mom? Do you have a phone?" says I. "Of course", says Mom. "It's not hooked up to anything, though." Sigh.) and did the rural driveway holler. "Hellloooo! Are you home?"

She certainly was home, and my first inkling of that was when her door shot open and a snarling pit bull ran down the driveway and clamped onto my calf, followed more slowly by my mother, saying "Down! Down! Don't worry, he won't hurt you."

Too late. He already did.

While she's explaining to me how nice the dog is and how his friendliness is often misunderstood, he broke from her grasp and ran back and bit my thigh. That was enough for me. "Mom, if you don't get ahold of him, I'm going to kick the shit out of him. And if I'm still mad, you're next."

She did, in fact, throw a chain around his neck that looked like it's previous duty was docking the QE2. Luckily the weight of that chain kept him from standing up tall enough to bite anything but my toes and I was fairly certain that I wasn't going to be caught unaware a third time. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...well, okay. My bad. Fool me a third time...OKAY, OKAY! I GET IT!

How Can You Tell a Pit Bull From a Bunny?

While searching for a good birthday picture for Lori, I ran across this post from a rabbit rescue organization called the Rabbit House Society Rabbit Center. Let's give it up for Bruno, shall we?
Friday 17 August 2007 at 11:14 am

He looks surprised, doesn’t he? It isn’t often we know the exact birthday of a bunny, but we do happen to know that Bruno was born August 17, 2006. That’s when he and his six siblings were found in the back of a pickup truck. The owner of the truck thought they were newborn pit bulls (!) and took them to the local shelter, where Marisa recognized them as bunnies and rescued them. Maya, a nursing mother rabbit from San Jose Shelter, generously agreed to raise the orphans as her own.
Despite his early resemblance to a pit bull, Bruno is quiet and well-mannered. He likes cilantro, dried papaya, banana slices, and hay. He has excellent litterbox habits. And he has yet to attack anyone. He is hoping his stay at the Rabbit Center will help him find the perfect home, where he hopes to be spoiled and fussed over.
For his birthday, Bruno has asked for a Michael Vick chew toy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Of Birthdays and Pig Milk

It's Lori's birthday and we'll be working opposite shifts so, romantic fool that I am, I'll probably send her a festive birthday e-mail filled with protestations of my undying love, and maybe a shopping list for Wal-Mart for on her way home. Hey, romantic fools need rice and kitty litter too, you know!

But really, just because I fall a little short on the holiday celebrations (okay, a LOT short) I still take these holidays to reflect on how lucky I am to have lured her into my life with the promise of rural splendor on par with Green Acres. But not, unfortunately, as lascivious as Petticoat Junction And by the way, who thinks it's a little bit gross to have those girls swimming nude in the town's drinking water?

"Honest, Ma...I caught the syphilis from those Bradley girls swimming nekkid in the water tank!"

Why wasn't Hooterville scandalized over that?

Anyway...about Lori's birthday...I love you, Sweetie. Congratulations on surviving another year in Hooterville. Next year, after we start the pig dairy, we'll be having ice-cold glasses of pig milk with our birthday cake!

Mmmmm...Pig milk! The other white milk!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Haircut...Plus.

I just got to perform an intervention. I was getting a loooong overdue haircut today, having that sort of stream of consciousness conversation you have with the person who cuts your know that one?

Me: I had to run to Wal-Mart this morning and I thought I'd stop for a haircut. My run to Wal-Mart is now over an hour long.

Her: I hate Wal-Mart in the daytime. It takes 5 minutes to shop and an hour to visit with everyone you see that you know.

Me: The worst is when you see your mom. You can't just blow by her and pretend you didn't recognize her.

Her: My mom can't go to Wal-Mart by herself anymore, She's recently become blind.

Me: Ack! How awful! What happened?

Her: Uncontrolled diabetes. She won't take care of it. We have a problem with that in our family. He (pointing at teenage boy) won't take his medicine for his seizures.

Me: Why not?

Her: He says it makes him sleepy.

Him: It does!

Me: I have seizures. I got hit in the head with a softball 10 years ago. I take the meds at noon and midnight when it's not so important that I be alert.

Her: He's had them for a few years...since he had a car accident. He doesn't go unconscious, he just blanks out. Stares into space.

Me: Absence seizures.

Him: yeah.

Me: They'll take away your license if you have a wreck and the cops find out you have uncontrolled seizures.

Her: That's what I told him.

Him: I know.

Me: Try noon and midnight. Set a timer on your watch or on your phone. promise yourself you'll be really responsible about it for a month...then see if you feel better. Just try, okay?

Him: Okay. I'll try.

Her: If he actually does it, I'll cut your hair for free next time.

Me: Woohoo! The future of my hair is on your shoulders, Kid. Don't fail me.

You have to feel good about that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane!'s official. I've got too many "arns in the far." Tomorrow's my day off, let's see if I can put paid to some projects. Today, however, is a bust. I slept in, then sat on the couch and drank coffee and read the Internets.

Today SuperEvie is wearing her undies on the inside like a mere mortal. But like the slightly neurotic mortal you all know me to be, I worry about the undone things. Tomorrow, I promise myself. It's only a day away.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

P.T. Barnum was a Big Fat Liar

There is not a sucker born every minute. There were, apparently, not that many suckers born between 1960 and the mid 1980's. Our friends and family are not suckers.

They discussed the geometry involved in the roof project, then watched us cut one roof panel, then indicated they were getting hungry. Wimps. It was only, like 2:30 in the afternoon.

We fired up the grill, ate the brats and German potato salad, drank the beer, had some chocolate cake for dessert ... and then discovered that we were all too full to go out in that ungodly heat and no longer committed to building projects. Even the ducks were too hot today. They hung out under the deck staying out of the sun.

It's becoming clear that this Ev and Kwach project is going to remain an Ev and Kwach project. We'll revisit the duck dome project on our next day off together. Hey, more glory for us!

We did have a rolicking good time, though. Many stories were told, much belly-laughter was had and the food was damned good. Sundays are best enjoyed as days of rest and relaxation.

: )

Of Bratwursts and Ducks

So, it's Sunday. A day reserved for church worship, dress clothes, potlucks, and CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS! And in order to save time, we've decided to forego both the church part and the dressing up part.

We're going to spending the day putting a roof on the duck dome. We pretty much finished everything that can be finished without a roof yesterday, then we hit the lumber store one last time before they close for the weekend and now we're ready to roll. This is where we're at:

As you cab maybe see, the structure is a bunch of equilateral triangles. The walls and floor are 8 ft. triangles and the roof is 10 ft. triangles. The peak of the dome is 11.5 ft., which made for a good geometry question in the truck on the way to the hardware store. "If the vertical drop from the peak to the top of the wall is 3.5 feet, and the roof strut from the peak to the edge of the wall is 8 feet, what is the radius of the dome?

We decided that that equation would require both a calculator and beer, so we waited to get home to figure it out.

The triangle frame is achieved by connecting the wall struts of a bunch of 5 sided metal plates, which can be used either for building purposes or as s handy outline for all your Satan worshiping pentagonal needs:

We've managed to lure our friends and families into this project with a promise of bratwursts and beer. They don't yet know what lies ahead. Heh. Suckers.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

More Blogging From Nowhere

My daughter Carrie has given up on the food blog. She's tired of food after 60 hours a week of it. Her new blog is here. Check her out, she's a nice girl.

Duck Dome: The Musical

The duck dome is coming along,...pardon the pun...swimmingly. Lori and I both had the day off yesterday and we got the unwieldy parts put together. That is, after we spent a few hours scratching our heads at the engineering puzzle du jour. This weekend we have friends and family coming over to help with the roof, but here's where we're at currently:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What the World Needs Now ...

Is ducks.

That's what I've decided. Everyone should have a couple of ducks. Forget a chicken in every pot ... there should be a pair of ducks in every yard. Ducks don't require that much care and they don't make that much mess and they're entertaining as hell. Ducks make you laugh out loud. Ducks give you a reason to get up and go outside early in the morning when all the really cool stuff is happening.

This morning, for instance, it's gorgeous outside. It's supposed to rain later, but right now it's breezy and cool-ish, and the trees are full of birds of all kinds, swooping around snatching up bugs out of the freshly mown lawn and singing their little bird lungs out. The ducks are especially fun to watch in the morning. If I didn't have ducks I'd be looking out the window thinking, "It looks windy and overcast ... yuck." But, because I have ducks, I drank my coffee and had my morning cigarette on the deck thinking, "It's so nice out here! The yard looks so good! Ev's 'take back the yard' project has really paid off!"

The ducks have been playing worm tag again today -- a game that always makes us laugh. One of them will come up out of a mud puddle with a huge, juicy earthworm dangling from its bill. The others will see the worm. The one with the worm will notice the others looking at it and take off running ... and swallowing as fast as it can. The others will quack and chase it as fast as they can, trying to snag the worm. This morning, the poor guy with the worm got running so fast it tripped over its own feet, but it still managed to keep the worm all for itself.

They're very close to learning to fly, too. For the past two mornings, as soon as they get out into the yard, they r-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-n to where our hill takes a steep slope downward, flapping like crazy, and they almost achieve lift-off. They try it a few times early in the day, and I'm hoping I'll be there when they first feel their feet leave the ground. I want to see their reaction.

Today they got curious about the back deck. There are about six or seven steps from the deck to the grass and Hillary decided to see what's up there, so she started climbing them. Three more of them followed her and she got almost to the top step, where she could get a good look. The rest of them stayed behind her quacking, "What's up there? Can we eat it? Are there worms???"

What's up there are Ev's pretty flowers. They love flowers. I guess we should discourage them from coming the rest of the way up, but I hate to discourage them from doing anything ...

Yes, I'm a permissive duck parent.

But the moral of the story is that everyone should have ducks.