Sunday, May 13, 2012


Due to the overwhelming number of requests we've received to revive the blog (okay, there was one request), I thought I'd take a stab at it.  It's entirely possible the request was made so I'd stop haranguing and offending people on Facebook with my a) politics, b) homosectional agenda and c) potty mouth.  But, whatever the reason, let me just catch you up on what's been happening in Nowhere, IL since last October. Just think of this as one of those (very belated) newsy Christmas letters and skim to the parts that interest you.

We had a slight windfall last summer which we put to good use doing some remodeling, some traveling, improving the quality of our food and beer intake and generally living a few inches higher on the hog.  It was  fun while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end, so we're back to our usual status ... poor, but happy.  I'll just hit the highlights.


We finally decided to start tackling some of the cosmetic changes we'd been planning, starting with the removal of the previous owner's ill-advised and poorly executed attempt to collect a little more rent money by creating a creepy fourth bedroom out of what used to be a spacious open landing upstairs. We knocked down walls, tore out the unfinished closet, removed a door, pulled up the carpet, pried up the old linoleum, scraped the tar paper off the oak floor, refinished it, bought a fancy sofa and chair, bookshelves, a faux fireplace entertainment center and a flat screen TV, installed a satellite dish and turned the space into a sort of family room / tv room / sitting room. It's awesome.

We bought a new fridge and freezer to replace the rusty old freezer and the assortment of beer and apartment fridges we'd been living out of like teenagers for two years, and refinished the wood floors in the dining room and entry hall.  There's one more floor to refinish downstairs, but I've discovered that refinishing floors is like childbirth. You have to let enough time pass to forget the pain before you dive in and do it again. Not enough time has passed yet.


About three months after we moved Katie to Wichita, Ev moved her to Chicago. I had to work, and there isn't room for three people in her truck anyway, so she was on her own for this one, and it was a killer. I've lost track of how many days she was awake, but it was way too many for human beings. 

Our other trips were much more fun. We went to Pineville, Kentucky in September to meet a couple of longtime online friends, Ron (who lives in Pineville) and Lou (who drove down from New Jersey) and attend the Great American Dulcimer Convention. It was a great trip!  I got to see Harlan county, which I'd heard about for years since my ex mother-in-law grew up there. We enjoyed good music and great company. Ron and Lou are even more fun in person!  In fact, we had such a good time that we've made reservations to go back this September and do it all over again. 

When Christmas rolled around we came up childless for the first time in recorded history.  Ev's kids are all living in Chicago now and wanted to do an All Sibling Christmas, and my son is living in Nashville and couldn't get time off work, so Kwach and Ev decided to do something different this year. We didn't decorate, we didn't cook, we didn't buy the tiniest of gifts ... we started a new holiday tradition we'd like to call Jackpots for Baby Jesus. We'd like to call it that, but we can't, so we'll just call it the No, Virginia, They Don't Loosen Up the Slots For Christmas casino tour of  St. Louis. We got a fantastic deal on a room at the Omni Majestic Hotel and practically had the hotel and downtown St. Louis to ourselves ... free parking everywhere!  Woohoo!  Christmas dinner in the hotel restaurant was fan-tabulous, the gambling was less than fan-tabulous, but lots of fun, and we fnished our trip with the tour of the Schlafly bottleworks we've been promising ourselves but never got around to. Bought lots of spiffy Schlafly memorabilia and a few cases of beer, gave the last of our gambling money to the Casino Queen and headed home having enjoyed the best no-stress, non-Christmas ever. If fate is kind we'll do THAT again, too ... but with more winning.


It hasn't been a great couple of years for Smith-Rubinas pets.  First we lost Mrs Underfoot to a pack of dogs in our front yard, then Cuppy got too old and too sick and was dangerously close to losing her other eye, so we made the decision to put her down. I couldn't bear to do it, so Ev was kind enough to take her for me. Unfortunately, I paid her back in kind much too soon.  It seemed like we barely turned around before I had to do her the same favor with Melon Kiwi who just couldn't bounce back from another flare-up of the kitty AIDS. We were both a pitiful mess over the loss of these two. 

We settled into our new two dog, four cat status, but the Circle of Yife turned around yet again. Cooper had been going downhill for awhile, developed a chronic cough thing, had a strange bout of vestibular disorder that scared the hell out of me because she couldn't walk or stand up without falling over and running into walls for about twelve hours. She got over that and within a week had a full gastric torsion after eating her breakfast on New Year's day and was in heart failure by the time we reached the vet's office. She was such a big goofy pain in the ass ... balding, covered with fat lumps and skin bumps, deaf from chronic ear infections, allergic to everything but air (and maybe that, too) and had about the grossest assortment of behaviors known to dogdom, but damnit, I miss her something fierce. I hope we're done losing pets for awhile. 

So 2012 started out badly, but it's been going very well since then.  We barely had a winter, we managed not to be evacuated due to flooding this year and Spring came early and went completely nuts in our yard. Everything is growing like crazy, all the flowers are blooming, the tomatoes are starting to appear, Ev finished her big raised bed project and filled it with hostas, irises, an assortment of lilies and various and sundry other plants, and we've added a little paving stone path, a variety of whimsical decor items and a nifty spinning brass sprinkler. I made a gnome door for the tree at the back of it just this morning. We installed a tiered garden fountain we got from a friend who was moving and built a patio we just love, added more flower beds, planted some hops along the wall of the shed and I FINALLY got the front door project finished ... stripped off the old black paint and painted the ten foot tall front door bright red.  Now everyone in town knows which house is ours. They no longer say, "There's a house there?"  Now they say, "Oh!  The house with the red door!"  

I'm still opinionated, Ev still loves her new job and her co-workers, she's made a new best friend, the kids are all loving their lives, the remaining pets are healthy, the house is "coming along" as Ev says and we still feel like we won the relationship lottery. Oh, and we got Android phones just like people!  Android phones and TV?  Who are we???

Other than an end to the War on Women, a Democratic majority in Congress and the death of religious extremism in America, what more could anyone ask?


Tim said...

YEAH! It's great to see you back...

Pork with Bones said...

I am glad to see you posting again. I don't think I have commented before, but I have followed your blog for years, and I missed you.

Kwach said...

Aw, thanks! I'll see if I can't inspire Ev to blog, since hers are much more fun than mine!