Saturday, August 29, 2015

When Ants and an Aunt experience death, slowly, for their "own" sake.


There is no way to beat around the bush, so I'll just get this out: we have ants.

Gawd I hate the bastards.

And these are a different type of ant than the old fashion ants.  The are "crazy" ants.  You know how regular ants form a line from the nest to the food source?  Well with crazy ants - and I am being totally serious - they just scurry wherever their bodies will take them.  No rhyme or reason.

According to the pest company, the other problem with crazy ants is that they will swarm.

Now I keep a clean house, so these crazy ants are driving me insane. And not even Terro - my standard fall back for ant issues - will work here.

Enter the pest company.

In Ohio we had to call on a pest company twice in 30 years.

In the hot and sweaty mid-Atlantic, its an annual thing.  If it too wet out, the ants want to be dry.  If it too wet out, the ants want inside to find moisture.  Like your Jewish mother, they are never happy.

So out comes the Pest Company and the guy who owns it is a talker.  Jesus.  Yap, yap, yap.  And because you have to stay with them during the instruction, this guy is yap, yap, yap.  "Great house, going finish this basement, they don't build them like they used to, my mother would have loved a big kitchen like this, yap, yap, yap."

So I ask him if what he is putting down is going to kill these sons of bitches and he says:  "Well, they are going to track through this, and they are going to carry it back to the nest, and after a couple days their nest mates are going to feel so great, and the next day, a little worse, and the next..."

"Dead?" I ask hopefully.

"Well you want a long term kill, and with new ants hatching you want the colony to get sick, then collapse..."

And I am like "Whoa,"

And he's like "Huh?"

And I'm like "Flashback..."

And then he says "Acid will do that to you..."

I've never done acid, but the flash back was very real.

About 20 years ago, my Uncle Lou died.  Uncle Lou was our favorite Uncle because everything he did was magical.  He had married one of my father's sisters, made a fortune, then made a bigger one, but they had never had any children, so he doted on us.

Back in the 1960s, his house a top Bel Air had push button everything when no one else's house had push button anything.

My mother saw a keypad next to my aunt and uncles bed in the 1950s and asked what it was for.

"This," my aunt Betty said pointing to the red button controls "operates every light in the house.  The blue buttons are the intercom to every room in the house.  I can even open and close the garage door from here."  This, was James Bond super agent coolness.

But as he got older, this grew tough for him and Betty.  Betty died, and then he married Betty's sister (and my father's sister) Evelyn who had been widowed for decades.  And the two of them lived in the Bel Air House overlooking Los Angeles.  But Lou's health kept getting worse, and one day I got the call.

"Lou's dead," said my father.

So I asked when the funeral was and my yappy stepmonster gets on the extension and says that Aunt "Evelyn wants him buried in California."

"But Aunt Betty is buried here, in Ohio."

"Yes, but we told Evelyn we thought it was a good idea for him to be buried out there."

They thought it was a good idea for him not to be buried with my Aunt Betty?  He met her when they were five, and they were inseparable for the next 70 years, and Stepmonster thinks it would be a better idea for him to be buried 3,000 miles away?

"Why is this such a good idea?"

"Well," my father starts, "your Aunt Nan doesn't know he's dead, and were not going to tell her right away."

Nan was my father's other surviving sister.  A little bit screwy, but, that was Nan.  And Nan and Betty and Evelyn had all been close to one and other.  But my stepmother, not wanting to deal with high drama, decided that not telling her was the bets tact to take.

I pointed out that Nan was going to find out.  And she was going be hurt, and pissed.

"We think the best way to tell her is to tell her that Lou caught a cold, and week later we'll tell her that he's still feeling not so great.  And then we'll let he know that he's get checked out at the hospital, maybe a fever will set in.  Then we'll let he know that he's in the hospital.  Little by little and then he'll pass away."

Hold it.  "You're going to make him suffer, in theory, and make her worry about him and..."

"It'll be easier on her."

Lying to her?

"Don't accuse me of being a liar, Cookie."

I didn't need to accuse her of that.  We know she was liar.  She was also a whore.  But this was beyond was cruel.

And Nan didn't take it well.  In fact she worried that Lou was on the way out and wanted to fly to California to visit him.  That lead to me lies, and then Lou didn't "die".  He got better to so they could head Nan's off from a trip.  Meanwhile, Evelyn had been told that Nan was too busy to speak with her.  So I have one Aunt mourning the loss of her husband, and another Aunt who had no idea that he beloved brother in law - Mr. Wonderful as she used to call him - had been dead six weeks.

When the charade of the slow painful death came apart, so did Nan's will to live.  A month later, she was dead, too.

And now, my ants were going to endure a slow painful death instead of a merciful colony execution.

All I want is for the ants to go, and quickly.

But now I live with the guilty knowledge that today they feel a little off, and tomorrow, they'll feel a little bit worse and so forth and so on.

Would they, like my Aunt Nan, be told of an expected rally to stave off the inevitable.  Or would they, in their little ant way, call out for Doctor Kevorkian like Aunt Nan did as she sped towards her ending, hoping not to linger as Uncle Lou had, and Unlce Lou had not.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I am having another one of my sick headaches...


...here with the family in Massachusetts.

These trips are killing me.  They are starting to take a toll, I tell you.

Mostly we get here, eat a ton of junk (food is our medication of choice here in Wellesley) and we sit around and wait.

Serious, Godot will be here soon, I am sure.

MIL continues that long, slow voyage into the twilight of reality.   And now that she is in a home, our visits are essentially the same:

Mom: "When did you get here?"
Us: "We got into today."
Mom: "I know you both."
Us: "Yes, you do."
Mom: "When did you get here?

Tomorrow is her birthday, so we'll have lunch together, then we'll come back home.

But it's the sitting around driving me crazy.   There are only so many times you can go to the mall.  Or the grocery store.  Or the hardware store, with suspicions being raised along with some eyebrows.

Lots of people have invited us to see their homes when we are here, but the thing is - when you are staying with family, you "STAY" with the family.   You stay, and clock slows down to a c-r-a-w-l.

But I love the husband and I am his moral support.  So my place is by his side, simmering.  And good lucking wrestling TV remote away from the "Flipper-In-Law".

I do, however, get to use the many favors that I am accruing by sitting here.  Like getting to pick where we eat.

So here I sit, getting my sick headaches.  Counting the hours until we return to home, and the next dinner meal.

Here's hoping the clock starts running faster and clear traffic tomorrow.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What fresh Hell have we signed on for...



Cookie is not having buyers remorse, but it is quite clear that the new house is a bigger project than we thought.

But first of all, let's address these two idiots in the illustration.  They are painting metal kitchen cabinets without a drop cloth.  Fools.  Those metal cabinets need to be sprayed, not brush painted.  And they must have been drinking because no one is that happy to paint metal kitchen cabinets.

Back to the real world.  Anyway, as I was saying is that there seems to be a great deal more to do at the new house than we thought.

Cookie can work with electric and wire with the best of them.  I am respectful of the power of the bus bar.

Cookie can also sweat copper pipes with the best of them, but I don't mess with gas pipe, because Mama didn't raise no fool.

But Cookie has run into things in the new house.  Things that have required, dare I say it: PROFESSIONALS.

Mostly its been with the electric.

The previous owner was a retired electrical engineer, and he "dabbled" in "projects".  That right there tells you that nothing is connected in a logical fashion.

So when it came time to install the fabulous 1950s pierced saucer lamp that I have been schlepping around for the past 20 years in a box until I found the right room, I called in the professionals.  At first even they were perplexed by what they found.  When they started removing ceramic wire connections, I poured myself a drink and let them have at it.

In any event, I didn't have $250 to pay them, but it was worth the money.  The 1950s saucer lamp looks boffo.  And the Ikea light that we bought $20 looks boffo in the kitchen, too.  So much better than that yellowed fluorescent nightmare from the 1980s.

Still, I am worried about other electrical issues.  Like four way switches that date to 1928.  We have lots of them, and they are not a fast fix.  These I can handle.  But the electrician is coming back in a couple weeks to work on some other core issues, which include some scarey outlets with strange plugs.

Then there is the BLOB in the back yard.  There is a section of yard, that is mostly swampy, that has become a blob of think, very tall, grasses. How thick?  You would expect to find the baby Moses floating by in a casket.  Anyhow cat has made a den in the bullrushes, so to speak and the dogs have been driven absolutely crazy mad.  Poor Kevin went into the blob the other night to get said cat, and we had a serious time freeing him from it.  Next week I am taking a scythe to the mess and chopping it down.

Until next time, send positive karma to me.  If you happen to see Holmes on Homes, or Yard Crashers or Bath Crashers or Kitchen Crashers, send them our way as well.

Cookie needs the help...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Belle Watling's lights live here and some chainmail that doesn't.



This is the dining room light that came with the new house.  It has two matching sconces.   I think that they're a little too Belle Watling for our tastes.  The husband agrees.  But our tastes are expensive when it comes to lighting, and replacing these lights isn't in the immediate budget, so I guess we have to live with them.

I suggested to the husband that we paint the Dining Room red in their honor.  He's afraid that people would talk.

When I mentioned "Belle Watling" to a down the street neighbor—she, who is in her 30's—said "who?"

"You know, Ona Munson?"

"Own a Munson?  Munson is the name of the company that made that light?" she replied.

And something inside of me died, just a bit.   I explained the Gone With the Wind reference, and still it and the sarcasm didn't register.  The only feedback was the sound of crickets outdoors, and a bit more of me died.  It's a bitch growing old.

The lights hadn't been cleaned since LBJ was in the office.  The pendants were brown with cigarette tar, and most of them were handed to us in a box, chipped and their wires broken. The ones that remained on the fixture were fragile.  Just lifting them from the fixture caused most of the remaining wires to snap.  The lighting store wanted $10 a "dangle" to restring them.

"You could do them yourself a whole lot cheaper," said the man.

I thought about this.  Spend $400 to have him string these damned things, or spend $10 on a role of wire and do it myself.  What to do, what to do.

So I went to Joann Fabrics and Crafts and went looking for wire.  Jesus, they have a lot crap in those stores, and most of what they have you can add glitter too, if you choose.

Finally, having no luck, I found an employee, a young woman, who seemed to pulsing off a dykadelic vibe.   I asked her where they kept the wire.

"For crafting chainmail, I recommend something sturdier.  If you are repairing your existing chainmail..."

"I'm restringing crystals for a chandelier," I replied.

"Oh....in the floral department."  She looked crestfallen that I was not crafting chainmail.

Someone asked what I was wearing when this occurred.

"Tee shirt, cargo shorts and birkenstocks."

"Well," if I saw a womyn wearing that, then I would have gone with chainmail," said Friend.  "But you never know.  It must have been the Birks.  They are so out of date."

"AND," she added, "Ren Fair is coming up, so if you were going to be letting your last years chainmail out, now would be the time to do it."

Anyway, the Chandelier is clean, the bulbs save one, have all been replaced with LED bulbs.  Now I am off to Home Depot to find that last bulb. I will try not to look too dykadelic myself lest I mislead people again.

Still, I am now all sparkly, pleased as punch that at least its clean and not one piece of chainmail or Glitter was used to make it all work.

 

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Kabuki Theater of Real Estate, part duex."..

And then this realtor showed up, and she felt the house was over priced and under decorated. 

WELL...here we go again.

The Kabuki Theater of Real Estate production "The Seller's House" is set to begin.  Having found ourselves with two houses, we must now sell one of them.  And it won't be the new house, thats for damned sure.

So the husband and I have been cleaning the old hours - and reader, let me tell you, it is immaculate.  Nay, it is in eat off the floor condition, and staged to sell.

Speaking of eating off the floor, thats pretty much what we have been doing since the Agent requested that we leave the dining room table in the house for the staging.  Thank God for inflatable beds, otherwise we'd be sleeping on the floor, too in the new house.

The front door has been painted Sherwin Williams "JUNGLE RED" which is the same shade of red that you would find on Mary Harris' nails.

So the stage is ready and the first two scenarios have played out.

FIRST UP we had the brokers open house, which is unadvertised to the public, but the public can attend.  This is the place in the plot where the brokers leave their comments.  Six of the ten brokers said that the house had major curb appeal, was dated, but fairly priced.  Three of the brokers felt the house was charming, but only had one full bathroom, and would sell for 15k to 20k under what we priced it at.

THEN there was this chick, at the top of the page.  The tenth realtor hauled her fat ass into the house buy driving his Hummer into the driveway and bitching the whole way in about the lack of a wide enough driveway for Hummer, so a little bird (my neighbor Julianne over heard from her deck) tells us.

The comments from this realtor were actually comical:

"I can't see bringing any of my clients to this house unless the deficiencies noted below are fixed.  My clients are important people and their time is valuable."

 The deficiencies that this realtor wants corrected are: Enlarged kitchen added.  Brand new bathrooms, preferably in marble. Restain the hardwood floors dark.  Remove the large tree in the back yard; too shady."

My reaction to her comments.


Seriously?   I  mean what the fuck?

The end of her comments are almost commical.  After all that work, Ms. Real Estate Ball-Buster has the unmitigated gall to state that even after all those changes to the house, then the selling price would be $60k less than what we have it priced at.  She wants $100k of work done, and then the priced dropped.   And we priced our home $100,000 under the last home that sold in the neighborhood because it's smaller and needs modernization.  It's a modest house, with a modest price.

"What crawled up her ass and died?" I asked the agent.

"She's very demanding," replies the agent.  "She's also full of shit."

SECOND UP is our first open house, which has us both on edge.  I have never known a house to sell from an open house, except ours in the new house.  So stranger things can happen.

Just so long as the Ball-Busting agent doesn't return and demand that we hari-kari ourselves over the prices.

Its going to be a long few weeks reader.  A long few weeks...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Something that I just have to share...


This comes from the one and only Baikinage Overkill, the great one herself, so I can't even claim that I found it in my treasure trove, aka, the retirement fund, of art magazines that live in plastic tubs in our basement waiting to be sold as gay ephemera when they turn 50.

What I love about this is it is at once "undetectable", much like they claim Depends are, and yet it is designed to draw attention to one's, assets.   PLUS it advertises a bigger male "package" for just a few more kopeks more.

Wouldn't a low fat diet and some exercise be just as effective?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bill went there, instead of here.



Bill certainly did.

But the Credit Card Bill should have come here, to the new house.

Instead it got returned to the credit card issuer who gave me a nasty little call.

"This is Miss Jones with Credit Card.  May I speak with Cookie?"

"How do I know you are my credit card company?  You could be 'Rachel, from card member services.'"

Miss Jones asked me for the last four of my social security number, and I instead asked for her last four numbers.

"Mr. Cookie, why would I give you that?"

"You called me, YOU need to give me something to prove that you are who you say you are."

Finally, I just told her that I had a previous bill, and that I was ending this call and would call the credit card people myself.

So I did.  And after giving them the last four of my social security number, I said that I had received a call from Miss Jones.

"Do you know which Miss Jones you spoke with?"

No.  The bitch called me and started demanding information about my returned credit card statement.

So after giving them my "mother's maiden name" (which I made up as Snagglepuss, because anyone can get that stuff off Ancestry.com), we finally got to the issue.  They had to have a FAX from my with my new address.

That I can do.

Then they wanted a payment because I was past due because instead of allowing the Post Office to forward my credit card bill, it bounced back to them.

So yes, Bill went there.  And next month bill is coming here, where it should.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A new house, an old house, and midget who is a prick

Our Crepe Myrtle is lovely, but will be removed when we build a driveway and garage.  by the way, this is just one half of our new back yard. 

So, what has Cookie been up to these last two weeks? 

Well, we moved. 

We have left Tudor Cottage cozy for Dutch Colonial Center Hall granduer.

First the new house, which is substantially larger than the old house.  Everything is in the new house, although about half remains boxed up.  We had the locks changed because at the closing the out going owners handed us about twenty sets of keys, and they couldn't be sure that these were all the keys.  Each set contained anywhere between two and three keys per door, excluding the storm doors. The only thing that we didn't get was a pore key (obscure Green Acres reference) and the pad lock to the shed.  I guess at Contentment Gardens, their new retirement community, a pad lock is called for.  

The dogs are still a bit freaked out and very edging.  The scare quite easily in the new house and the boxes have them a a bit confused.  I say in a month, once the fence is completed in the back yard, they should start coming around. 

The old house, Tudor Cottage, is still an albatross around our necks.  Neither of us wants to go there and work on it, but this is crunch weekend with yard work and the final painting.  The kitchen is primed, but we have to get it painted "Agreeable Gray", a Sherwin Williams color that everyone agrees is lovely.  

I will say this - Cookie loves houses and becomes very sentimental about them.  But Tudor Cottage is a place that I never bonded to, and for that matter miss.  Indeed I walk in and immediately my inner voice says "ugh."  It seemed like a prudent thing to buy, but in the end, it "just didn't work for us."

Today I am home - fuming.  We hired an electrician to deliver more power to our second floor.  I had used him before and he seemed nice, albeit a midget.  Yes, he's a midget.  Well my idea of a midget.  He's about five feet tall, maybe 4'11".  A cocky little bastard.  But he shows up on time and doesn't gouge you.   Mr. Midget Electricians: "No job too big, and every job small priced."

Well, he turned into a massive prick today when he dropped the ball on the project we needed done and was supposed to be finished today.   This was a job that I didn't want to start on a Friday, because you know it's going to drag into Saturday then Monday and....  He promised me that his guys could get this done in a day. 

At noon today, guy one comes in and tells me that he doesn't have the right ladders and equipment to do the heavy duty line to the second floor and the third floor.   So I call Mr. Midget and ask if I get anything off for the inconvenience.  

Mr. Midget says he doesn't understand.  

I explain to Mr. Midget that because he didn't get his guys here first thing this morning that the work won't be finished, and that delays us in getting our offices set up.  PLUS, I shelled out a days wage for the dogs to go to daycare because he told us the night before he would be here first thing on Friday morning. 

"I don't recall saying that," says the little prince.

I do and it is in your text to me, along with me asking if it might not be better to start this on a Monday, and he said no, his crew would "just need one day."

"Look," says Mr. Midget, "I can pull my guys out of there right this minute if you are going think you are getting something for nothing."

And this is when Mr. Midget became a huge prick. 

We need this done, I just told him "fine," but added that I was not happy.  And he hangs up the phone in my ear.  Evidently Tom Thumb is a prick.  

Monday this will be done, and I will have electric, but he will always be a small, small man.  

And like I told the husband we just need him to get the job done.  And his people do beautiful work. 

Still, there is a part of me that wants to channel Dorothy Parker and say "With this crown of thorns I wear, why should I worry about a little prick like you."

Now, I need a nap. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Honey, the abomination is how you dress...



Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk of Courts Kim Davis has been in the news because she refuses to issue a marriage license to same sex couples.  Davis, a relative newcomer to office (sworn in January, 2015) believes in the Bible and only supports marriage between a man and a woman.

She feels that between two men or two women, it's an abomination.

Davis also doesn't like to make public appearances.  There is little doubt as to her reasons, but we can start with her hair, her glasses and her dress.  Make that her *sun* dress which she pairs with a perky gray long sleeve top.

Yes, Ms. Davis, your appearance is an abomination.

And then there is that pole of Jesus stuck up her ass. Doesn't do a thing for her posture, just makes her feel superior.

Now Ms. Davis, I think with a little help, and a little EFFORT you too can look PROFESSIONAL.

Just work with me, people. 

See, if we slap her head on a plus size model, because she looks like a plus size girl, slap some semi tailored clothes on her that didn't come from Wal-Mart, do something with that hair, she might feel a bit better about herself.  And people who feel good about themselves want others to feel good, too.  

Remember folks:  "Hurt" people hurt "people".   

Look, Cookie doesn't even know how to operate Photoshop, but my point is that she isn't a lost cause, she just doesn't feel pretty.

And come Monday when a Federal Judge orders her to start issuing licenses or be held in contempt of court, just might be being dressed by the county sheriff and discover that Orange is the new black.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

On schedule for the packing, mostly.



Well, the husband and I are on schedule with the packing for the move, mostly.  When packing for a move you have to be careful that you don't pack too much too soon or you'll find yourself unpacking what you have packed because you need something.

Nothing worse than needing something important, only you can't find it so you start unpacking what you just packed.  Or WORSE, and you go buy what you can't find, then you have two items when you only need one.

Yesterday was basement day, and I'll say that about 80% of the basement is packed and ready to go, more or less.  We did some culling - emphasis on "some".

Today was the garage.  Since the new house doesn't have a garage, but it does has a very large shed, a lot of what is in the garage that isn't garage stuff, is going to the new basement, which can absorb it, no problem.

We were a bit more ruthless in the garage.  My junior high school art projects went into the trash heap.  The pile of antiquated and broken yard tools joined the art projects.  The mummified squirrel who go itself trapped in the garage when we sealed up the big ass holes up by the soffit?  He too is in a better place and has joined my art work and the broken tools.

The husband wanted to bury it, but I pointed out that the new owners wouldn't visit his little grave as they never knew him as we did - a moldering carcass in the corner that cause two adult men in their fifties squeal like two teenage girls.

I will have you know that I was the one who put on the Big Girl Panties (this is figurative, mind you, not literal) and scooped up said mummified squirrel (with a shovel, of course) and dropped him in the contractor bag.

For those of you who have never seen a contractor bag, it's like a black plastic garbage bag, only heavier, but not like a body bag that Quincy* would unzip and look at a victim and then zip back up and solve the crime.  So it was fitting that squirrel went into it.

Then I became appalled, because my ancestors ate squirrel.  My mother remembers eating squirrel during the depression, until my great grandmother found out.  Great grandma was a farm wife, and they were mostly broke, too.  Then my great grandfather died and my great grandmother's cousin in Columbus introduced her to one of her husband's lodge friends and that man married great grandmother.  He had money, even in the depression, so when great grandmother found out that the family had been covering and eating squirrel, she sent her driver (yes, in the Depression) up home with weekly veal shipments.  Yes!  Veal!

Why?

Because in the depression, veal was less expensive than chicken.  And get this - my grandmother would make something out of veal called "City Chicken", which was veal cubed up to look like chicken.

Now look what I have done - gone and made myself hungry for veal.

Don't look at me that way.  Eating veal is the sacrifice we make so that children can get all that milk that they drink.  Besides, I only eat free range veal.  I am a meat eater because it tastes good.  But I won't eat veal if if it was raised in cage.  I am not a monster.  Well, not that often, at least.

Anyway, my point was when I started was to tell you that we are on schedule for the move.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go and pack some more.


* For those of you too young to remember, Quincy was the proto-Medical Examiner who also solved crimes.   Before their was CSI, their was Quincy, who looked and sounded like Jack Klugman, who was married to the absolutely divine and foul mouthed Brett Sommers.  Don't believe me?  Well fuck you and the horse you rode in on, then. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The one in which I tell the realtor to grow some balls.



Well, we are on the road to closing on the new house, mid-month, and today, the husband brought home 75 boxes for packing.  People, this shit just got real.

Up until yesterday, however, things were in flux.

We had our house inspection and we found most of the usual things that you find in a house approach 90 years old.  Old termite damage that was fixed when Eisenhower was in office, a few outlets with reversed polarity, sloppy caulk (and I hate that) around the shower, squeaky hinges...you get the idea.

But we also found something unpleasant.

The first floor half-bath had a badly cracked waste pipe vent right under the toilet and the pipe elbow was leaking.

Now to me and the Husband, this was a must fix on the part of the seller, because raw sewage is gross, a vector for disease and sewer gas not only can kill you, but it can explode.

So we submitted our issues (fix the cracked vent and replace the bad joint) and we waited.  The "Seller" (aka Doug and Audrey) said they needed another week to get estimates.  So like Dante we were parked in (moving) purgatory.  We were damned if we started packing, and damned if we didn't.

Like good buyers, we didn't push - let them take their time and do it well, and then Tuesday we get their response.

The would fix this, and fix that, and reroute this and that to conform to building code, however they didn't think that the sewer line was anything they wanted going on around them.

Huh?

So the realtor called us and said, hopefully, "Well?"

Shall we say that I conveyed to the realtor that all this other little shit was nice, but the sewer was non-negotiable.

"Well, let me see what I can do with their realtor."

Good enough.

Well, the next day I get a call while I am working at the Beef House Strip Club in the gift shop, and my cell phone rings.  I am not to be on my cell phone per Corporate, but it was our realtor so I took the call.

He starts out saying the sellers feel that...and that they really don't want to deal with the mess...and since we all know each other socially, its only going to be a $2,000 repair and do we want to throw a monkey wrench in the deal over such a paltry sum...

And reader, my limit had been reached.

I told realtor, that this was a business deal and not a friendly game of cards.  I reminded him that Seller - no longer Doug and Audrey, but "Seller" - got not only their asking price BUT a couple grand over their asking price.  I reminded him him that Seller tinkered for a WEEK extra getting estimates, and out of everything on the list, that this was the one that is a health issue.

"Well, what if they gave you $500 towards fixing this..."

And I said "Bob, grow some balls."  Go to their agent and tell them that we will pull the deal if that sewer line isn't fixed, and then you tell her that if they don't fix that sewer line and we pull out we get our good faith money back, they have to start from square one. And they will have to fix said problem now that they have been made away of it  No skin off our nose.  "You and I and the husband will find us another house with a better commission for you.  But seriously, dick's out and balls on the table this is a non-negotiable."

"Wow, you seem intent on this."  Think so? Uh, yeah.

So, yesterday we get the Seller's response.  They will fix the sewer, all costs, and that includes the foundation work.  In turn, we, the buyer will agree to pick up $500 of the little shit repairs.

Deal.

To me, the crapper being in sanitary condition was the point.  And the little shit?  $500 I can swallow.  
And our realtor did grow some balls.  One day I hope to see them in the flesh.  

But as the Husband pointed out, could we have set our selves up for a major karma backlash?  Could be.  But generally, I expect the buyer of this house to want a house in good condition.  That's just the nature of the beast.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marriage, John Robert's silly question, and Bristol Palin's Vagina



So, last week was one for the books.  I know, y'all are happy for everyone.  We can now discard "Same Sex Marriage" and just call it what it is, "Marriage".  I am all for making things simple.  Me and Martha Stewart - and I can't wait for her book on how to throw a reception for two guys or two girls - are on the same wave length.  Just like twin sisters, except I am the younger of the two of us by a couple decades.

Anyhow, I am happy, except Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who wrote in his dissent:


“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs.”

Immediately thereafter, he asked the silliest rhetorical question, ever: “Just who do we think we are?

To which I answer in the common sense fashion possible: We are AMERICANS, you meathead.

And Americans seldom do the easiest things to do, but we chart our own course and we are no one's second fiddle.  Given the chance to have our own King, or elect a leader we said no to the former and yes to the later.  No one had done that before in modern world.

Well, I guess if Justice Roberts had been there, we would have had a King (or at least an Emperor or some such), because that's what the Franks, the Holy Roman Empire and the French had.

I really want to sit down and have a drink with Roberts so we can discuss this.  Because it really was a stupid move on his part.

I have no qualms about honoring other cultures, and weaving the best from them into this great land of ours. But my mother's ancestors did not fight in the American Revolution against the most powerful army of its day and beat the shit out of the British so we could define our social structure according to Kalahari Bushmen.  Oh, hell no.

And did my father's parents leave "The Old Country" and come to America because it was just like the Han Chinese culture?  Seriously?  No, they came here because it was a beacon of freedom for all people, even for Europe's favorite punching bag: the Jews.  They could have to China, but they Cleveland was a smarter way to go.

Heck, how great are we?  We make up with our sworn enemies.  I love the United Kingdom, and the Queen's handbag collection.  English skally boys?  Amusing tricks, I say.  Bangers and mash?  Get enough Guinness in me and anything is possible.

Nor did we do so to honor the Han Chinese, or God forbid the Aztecs.  Hell, had we followed the Aztec model we would still be part of the United Kingdom because we would have just stood by while the British did whatever they wanted to do.

And the Carthaginians?  They were wiped from the face of the earth when they tried to spank down the Romans with elephants for God's sake.

So I don't know who or what John Roberts thinks he is, but the rest of us know that none of us are equal until all of us are equal.

Let me leave you with my favorite moment, which came from the "Chat" section of the Louisville, Kentucky newspaper's coverage of Bristol Palin's latest plight, her SECOND pregnancy without benefit of marriage.  Why do I read the "chat section and message boards"?   Because you never know what the great unwashed will say.  So I give you THIS:

"BRISTOL PALIN I AM NOT SPEAKING FOR EVERYNODY (sic), BUT WHO CARES. THAT IS YOUR VAGINA, IF YOU WANT TO HAUL COAL IN IT, THAT IS YOUR BODY PART, NOT THE WORLDS'. HAVE A BLESSED DAY AND GET SOME CHILD SUPPORT."

Now that is an opinion I can get behind.  No qualms or fussy rhetorical questions.  Just good old common sense.  Now, chew on that, John Roberts.

So, y'all have a blessed day, y'hear?




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Kabuki Theater of Real Estate

We have the Seller, the Buyer and the Agent.  Their roles are set and cannot be broken, lest "things" go awry. 

If you have ever bought a house, in the traditional sense, in the United States, you know that it is not a matter of looking up house, visiting, asking the seller what the prices is, taking out your credit card and buying said house.

No, buying a house is a more white knuckle transaction that involves going to showings, touring through your hosts home, judging their sense of color and decorations, talking about this funny scent or that ugly light and then fuming that the home of your dreams is most likely beyond your purse.

When you do find "the" house, then you enter into a formal ceremony that can last 24 hours or up to two months while the offer is issued on a presented contract, and is either refused with a huff, or silence, haggled over, or - it you are lucky - accepted, but with conditions.

This is a first act of The Kabuki Theater of Real Estate.

In this theater, each person has a role to play.  You have the seller who wants to get rid of said house at the highest price, you have the buyer who want to buy said house at the lowest possible price, and the real estate agent who just worries that something will get in the way of his or her commission.  In certain cases, there may be TWO agents.

After accepting the offer, certain things must happen.  Like Kabuki Theater, there are rules, and if the rules are broken, and tradition is left to wither, unspeakable things can happen.

Chief among these protocols is the tradition that the buyer and seller do not interact directly while the house is "in contract".  Not only that, but if they have to interact, the "action" is always indirect, and through the respective real estate agent - He (or She) is the gatekeeper of communication.  Messages go up, and then they are transmitted back down.  But the agent controls the conversation.   If there are two agents, then they converse with each other, but the seller agent NEVER contacts the buyers agent for any reason, except when the buyer's agent has lost interest in the deal because its almost done.  

This is where we find ourselves.

Today was the Chimney inspection of the "new" old house.  Imagine my surprise when I went to said house to meet our agent and the inspector to find the owners at the house that they were not supposed to be at.   Just like a home showing, the property owner is not supposed to be there - its part of the veil of smoke and mirrors - when there is an inspection going on because if there is an issue, it could become an issue.

The owners were there.  With a plate of fudge brownies.

This cannot be.  Why?  BECAUSE!

In ancient Greek theater the action never takes place on the stage.  No the action takes place OFF stage, then the actors talk what allegedly about it on stage, after the chorus recounts the action.  But there is NO action on stage.  Oedipus does not seduce his mother on the stage.  They do not try and conceive a child.  Their infertility is discussed, but everyone keeps their clothes on because that is what tradition calls for.  Damnit.

However, there was Audrey sticking her head in the fireplace and looking up it with a flashlight saying "This is so silly to pay someone to do what I am doing for free..." and Doug holding out a platter inviting me and Realtor Bob to partake in some Fudgy Goodness.  "They're extra chewy," he promised.

Leaving with the chimney inspector we were talking on the sidewalk - after all I am paying his bill - and here comes Audrey, dressed in red plaids, and face covered in soot (looking like the opening act of a minstrel show) asking "well, are we going to be able to sell this house?"

Realtor Bob, who is adorkable, stumbled over the words found his footing and defty regained control over the situation.  "I'll send a copy to your agent," Audrey looked perplexed.  Remember, she hasn't bought a house since 1965.

Anyway, the chimney passed.  Next up is the home inspection.  Realtor Bob contacted the selling agent and suggested that the Doug and Audrey go out while the inspection is going on.

However, in the great tradition of Kabuki, who knows how this next act will play out.

Anyhow, a moving date has been selected and the Moving company chosen.  So we are going forward, even if forward means taking an unconventional and absurdist path.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sometimes, it isn't all about the bump out



I know that many of you have been wondering "What has Cookie been up to?"

WELL...the husband and have been in quite a tizzy wondering what is to become of us and this house we bought when we moved to Baltimore.  Simply put, it doesn't work for us.  Oh, it oozes charm, no doubt.  But for how we live, it doesn't work for us.

So last year, in an attempt to make the house work for us, we removed the nasty old sliding glass doors on our side porch and replaced them with French Doors.  We also removed the sliding "drive through window" that a previous owner installed, with French casements. We decided that this would be our new back door once we built the deck off the back of the house.

This past February were in the backyard while the dogs romped in the snow around our feet and I said, "Maybe instead of building the deck first, we should talk to an architect about getting the kitchen fixed."  Because the kitchen really needed a total make over.  Seriously.  It's tiny and it is cramped and it didn't work for us.

So we started interviewing architects:

- The first arrived with a silk scarf around his neck and reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright, in a bad way - the way in which the architect creates his vision and owners are left to adapt to his design, and not the other way.  Strike one.  Then he knew nothing about houses designed by the Small Homes Bureau of the American Institute of Architecture.  Strike two.  Then he kicked at our dog Kevin.  Strike three, and he was out.

- The second man seemed like a better fit, assured us that we could get what we wanted, but then proceeded to tell us what we wanted.

- The third architect came in and had us picture this, that and everything else.  We liked him.  When we got his bid, we couldn't afford him.

- The fourth firm we liked very much and we decided to hire them, but postponed the contract signing from after our California trip.

Just before we left for California, I found another house that was perfect for us.  Bigger - much bigger.  In Baltimore County.  But the husband didn't like that it was in a "Village" community, and I had to agree that the village was a tight fit compared to Wide Open Spaces where we live in Baltimore city.  I mean we are literally down the road from a County and Hunt Club, and I happen to like wide yards and leafy vistas.

Our plan for this house involved tearing down the kitchen and rebuilding it, and adding a bedroom above it.  Then we would have added in a bath and a half.  The laundry room would get moved from the basement to the second floor.  The hot water radiator system would get pulled and would be replaced with a all-season forced air system.  Price tag?  $150,000 to $200,000.

We could create the house of our dreams.  It is within reach.  Really.  Nothing hard about it.

Still, we weren't motivated to sign the papers with the architects.  Every day we talked about it, but moving forward with it just wasn't something that we felt was a priority.

A week ago last Saturday we were at the neighborhood progressive dinner and the neighborhood grandparents, Doug and Audrey came up to us and told us they were moving into assisted living.  Now in the eighties, Audrey is a little unstable on her feet and the stairs at their house around the block from our house are too much for her to navigate.

"You should buy our home," said Audrey.  And Audrey has been saying this for two years to us.

I explained we would love to, but that it was too expensive for our budget.   Audrey invited us to the open house the next day, said she would make us a good deal, winked and went on her way.

One the way home from grocery store, I said to the husband "So, you just want to run through their house and see what a house at the top of our budget looks like?

So we did.   It was much bigger than our house, with more land, more features, and FOUR bathrooms.  Now we have ONE bathroom in the house that does work for us.  They have FOUR freaking bathrooms.   More than two people can in their kitchen - by like 20.   And in the basement?  Not one pipe dangling from the ceiling.  Central air?  Sure.   And a DISHWASHER.

We thanked the realtor, left, got home, looked around and I looked at the husband and he looked at me and we both said "Let's call Bob," who is our neighborhood realtor, "and ask him what he thinks.
And Bob came over.

And we talked with Bob.

And Bob said "Look, you can do all the things you want to do to your house and because of the street you are on, I can't guarantee you can get your money out of it.   If you were on Doug and Audrey's street, you could."

And Bob was right.  Because their street isn't a main drag.

(And Bob has a sweet body.  Did I mention that?  Is it evil to objectify your real estate agent?  Discuss.)

And then we put in a low ball offer on Doug and Audrey's house.

And Doug and Audrey saw it was from us and agreed to the deal.

And it was that simple.

And that is the story of how we decided that it is better to move than bump out, and cheaper, too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Snatch This Pebble From My Hand



So Cookie finds himself, and The Husband, in Los Angeles this week on a vacation/research trip that is equal parts both.  The husband humors Cookie's genealogy obsession, and Cookie in turn honors the Husband's desire to walk around gardens, famous and otherwise.  Together, we are a very easy going pair.

So Today, Cookie will trudge through the Huntington Library and Gardens, because the husband gave eight hours of effort towards Cookie's research on Wednesday.  It's a fair trade.

Yesterday, we were guests of the Los Angeles Public Library pouring over a private collection.  The visit was arranged months ago.

This leads me to mention an odd thing about the LA Public Library, Central Division.  They have a rare books and manuscript division.   But you wouldn't know it if you asked the librarians there.

My first visit to the department came in 1990s, about five years after the big fire.   I wanted to access the department because it held several one of a kind items I needed to look at for a project I was working on.  The man I was directed to, "Tom" actually refused to acknowledge that the items were in the collection.  "There is nothing in the collection that are not already in the authors published works.  I persisted - I wanted to see his notes, because as we all know, the notes hold the key to the methodology.

When I arrived at the library for the visit back then, I arrived, and I asked for directions to the rare book and manuscript division.

"I can't tell you where it is."

I explained that I had an appointment.  The person asked to see my ID and left the desk, made a call, came back and said, please wait here.  A man came and I was escorted to the department.  Score one for Cookie.

In 2012, we made the trip here again, and on a visit to the library, I asked again, preface it by saying "I don't have an appointment, and I know that one is needed, but isn't the rare books division around here?"

You would have thought that I had just asked to see Satan.  Her eyes got large as saucers and she defensively said "I can't tell you that."

Excuse me?

"You can't go there."  I explained I had no such intention.   I again asked if the division was nearby, and again I got a "You can't go there."  I again explained that I just wanted to get my bearings.  "I can't tell you."

And in 2013, we played this game AGAIN.

"I can't tell you that information."

This time I came prepared: "It's on the Third Floor of the Goodhue Building, isn't it?"

She was stunned.  Shocked, even!  "I can't confirm that."

Seriously?  Even though its on your web site, you can't confirm it.  Really?

At least in Kung Fu, the kid got a pebble for his trouble.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Could this be MJ's fate?



We hope not (but I couldn't find the female version, so just pretend...)

The spouse is always the last to know, part II



"You see Beverly," started Dr. Levine, "Jerry is sick, very sick.  Oh, he isn't ill in a way that you or I or any other normal person gets sick with the sniffles or the flu.  Jerry is mentally sick.  At some point in Jerry's life, he began to fetishize - the abnormal fixation on an inanimate object - on the feel of silky things that women enjoy wearing.  From there, his illness progressed to women's clothing, and from there to wearing women's clothing.  Perhaps Jerry had a childhood trauma that he buried deep inside his psyche."

"He and his parents have a strained relationship.  And his mother," I rotely explained, "is always meddling in our lives.  She second guesses all of Jerry's decisions on important life decisions."  

"I see.  Just as I suspected.  Now," Dr. Levine continued, "Jerry is unable to contain those thoughts.  He's going to need a great deal of treatment, and perhaps a stay in psychiatric hospital.  But what he needs now, more than ever is a sympathetic wife who understands that Jerry is a good man who can't help himself.  Beverly, can you be that wife?  Without you, Jerry may be lost to a life of depravity.  And your children could lose their father forever.  Is that what you want, Beverly?"

Monday, May 18, 2015

Comments, we get comments....

Even though DHTiSH has been slow of late, we still continue to get comments submitted to old posts. The number one post to this blog involves my love hate relationship with Love It of List It in which I went off on a tear about two old pissy queens who could act their way out of a paper bag.  But, wait, you say, is that also the post in which you called This "reality TV" a fake and a fraud?  Yes it is, I say.  

I mean, come on people, up until very recently, every episode went the exact same way.  You have a couple who needs marriage counseling.  They have vastly, and wildly different tastes and expectations.  You have a whiny guy who is a real estate agent.  And then you have Hillary agreeing to do everything the couple wants, for a set budget, with NOTHING set aside for surprises like bad foundations, poor original construction, things hidden, well you get the idea.  And when these people get mad, she schools them in a shrill voice.  And yes, I called her a cunt.  Now to a gay guy or a certain age, that's a word that cuts both ways.  It can be bad, but, it can also be good.  And with Hillary, who I do like, it goes to the good side.  I'd trust her with my house.

However, there are some people out there who really need to chill.  That post appeared years ago, and I am still getting hate mail and hate comments.  And these are generally from people who have read one post, and have decided that I need to be: 1) castrated; 2) killed or feel the need to 3) call me a mysoginist 4) call me a sexist.

Folks, build a bridge and get over it.  But, if you still need to shake you finger at me, go ahead.  But if you feel the need to threaten me or my safety, then I provide the following instructions:


And if you are Hillary Farr, I do love you.  


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Let's pretend, indeed.


Funny thing about the human mind.  When confronted with events and extreme stressors, it looks for a normal status, and fixates on that.

When the 9-11 attacks unfolded before my eyes in 2001, and my sense of safety evaporated in the crash of the first plane, then the next and the third and fourth and the collapse of the first World Trade Center tower and then the next, my brain chose the moment to find a task as far away from reality as it could go.

So what did I do?  I took apart the 90 year old sash windows in our bedroom and found some sash cord and I replaced the old rotted cords.

Our cleaning lady was at the house that day, and when I asked if she wanted to go home, she said that she felt it was better to keep working.  My husband came home and felt that the yard needed cut.  The sense of security in our nation had gone up in smoke and we found solace in going through the range of motions of the familiar.

Last night, that feeling of helplessness overcame us again.  Watching the rioting start - and it by no means was near of a catastrophe of the 9-11 attacks, nor was it as big and deadly as the Los Angeles riots of 1992 - and then the feeling of helplessness as we watched TV, it rekindled a lot of the same angst and stress of 2001.

For a couple hours, I walked in the shoes of my parents, feeling the same fears and uncertainties that they felt as Cleveland was rocked by riots in its Hough neighborhood, and then the Glenville riots of 1968.

Today my chest is tight, and my hopes are for a quiet quiet night.  At the same time, the events of last night - the riots, the fires, the gunshots, have delivered uncertainty.  The husband's place of business - two mid rise towers on the inner harbour are closed today and tomorrow.  The Orioles are playing ball tonight in Camden Yard, but the stadium will be off limits to baseball fans. I have been called off work for tomorrow.  Two malls are closed and many stores are closing early.  But the birds are still singing and the sun still shines.  Things are off-balance, but they will hopefully get back to something approaching normal.

So, we still wonder what tonight will bring, if anything.

And me?  Well we no longer own that house with the wooden windows, so I can't struggle with sashes and fix pulleys and replace cords and wrestle with sashes.  This new old house has vinyl replacement windows, so there is no escape or outlet for my angst.

I'll just have to get through it, and pretend, just for tonight, that its all so far away.

 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why, oh why, oh why-o?



As you read this, I am on my way, by car, on my way back to Ohio.

For one week.

By myself.  Without my husband.

But not alone.

You see Cookie has a conference that I must attend as part of my certification process for my new career, so I will be there for a week.

The conference is a four day hoot-n-anny, and it was silly for the husband to take off four days and sit around while I submersed in DNA Genealogy classes.

So while I am by myself, I am not alone.  Oh noes!

I sent out feelers to my friends to say "I'm coming back..." and soon found that my dance card is full to overflowing.

This is what I miss about Ohio - our friends.

One never knows how rich you are in friends until you move away.  Good friends are precious as rubies.  So my meals and evenings are FULL to overflowing.  I consider myself very lucky.

So I will not be sitting in a hotel room alone, nor will I be out getting into trouble.  Just doing research, meeting with old friends -AND- engorging on midwest cuisine.  I should be fat as a hog in week.

On the other hand, the husband will be here, at the house, working on projects.  Winter has finally yielded its unyielding icy grip on the mid-Atlantic and the daffodils have finally bloomed.  So he has his hands full.

But I will miss him and the pups more than anyone will ever know.

Next Sunday, I will be on the road the road again, coming home.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Back in the day...or is it that I am just getting old?



I would venture to say that besides easily identifiable porn hunk Paul Barresi (middle row, on right) that at least two other of these models (top picture middle and bottom picture) either did Playgirl photo spreads and or gay porn (usually at the same time).

There was also a very brief time in the pre coming out days that an International Male catalog would send me over the edge until in the afterglow that I realized that no-self respecting man would wear "The Stoker", a fishnet muscle shirt most favored by overweight men who would go to gay dance clubs because they thought it would make them look "hot".

I personally always like guys in the swimsuit cuts shown in the middle photograph.  Covered just enough.  I never understood "board shorts", and I certainly don't understand these fabric slings that European twinks seem so enamored with that cover the genitals and strap around the leg,  Having seen a couple images of these, sent to me by a female cousin - who seems to think that I drool over these sorts of things because Cookie is "GAY" - I really find them a bit disgusting.

She always seems disappointed that I don't squeal with delight when I get them from her, and she also seems to have a hard time with the concept that while its pure fantasy to look at a fit man, in reality, Cookie prefers someone a bit older than I, with a bit or reality on his body.

"What do you mean you deleted them?  My friend Beth, in Thailand, said that men just go ga-ga over these types of guys," says she, implying that the problem is mine, not in her sending me these images of high school graduate twinks.

I point out that 1) I am not, and never will be in Thailand, and 2) Don't understand mankind's obsession with youth.  It isn't as if a fifty year old man will somehow become anymore vital if a bit of ejaculate from a 22 year old guy gets on him.  He may feel flattered, but thats about all.  And in the end, that semen and his feelings of vitality turn to a watery liquid mess.

Don't get me wrong - Cookie can have very twisted fantasies - but skanky (or otherwise) hairless twinks under the age of 25 are never in them.

Me?  I like men.  Always have.   Always will.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Travel in my future but I am in hot water



So Cookie received the BEST two Valentine's Day presents imaginable this year.

Present Number One:  Since I have embarked on a career change - I mean working at the Beef Bran and Strip Club is a job, it certainly isn't a career - I have had to come up with my dream career and I have settled on Certified Genealogist.   It has been said that while I "can't remember where you put your keys five minutes ago," Cookie can find anyone.  I have been doing this as a hobby for 35 years and why not make big money and make it while traveling to glamorous places?  So to accomplish this, Cookie needs to get some serious research time in under my belt.

To this end, the Husband decided that it would be in our best interest to take a vacation, and combine it with some hard focused research time, which, Cookie can use towards the certification process.  So we are jetting to sunny California at some point in the future.  Felix has been told that we are coming and we hope to see him as well as Lady Donna Lethal.   If that wasn't glamorous enough, Husband is jetting us first class, coast to coast.  

And if that wasn't glamorous enough, Present Number 2 asks how much more could the big guy show me how much he loves me?

But popping for a NEW Hot Water Tank!

A what?

You heard me.  Ville Cookie, when purchased, came with many old things.  And old fashioned kitchen (no dishwasher), a purple bath tub (original to the 1932 construction of the house) and a garage that the doors don't work well.  While we relish the "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" life style, the hot water tank, vintage 1994 approached the end of its lifecycle ten years ago and has been filling up with water and sediment for way too long.   We know this because in the morning, when we are showering, washing dishes by hand or doing laundry, it sounds like someone is setting firecrackers off in our basement.

The loud popping is a bit unsettling, because it shouldn't be happening.  Mr. Bruce, our plumber, informed me (as if I didn't already know this) that the Popping is coming from the sediment in the bottom of the tank heating up and cracking, thus releasing air bubbles.

"You know," say he at $100/hour, "there are two things that leave you house weighing more than when you moved it in: your mattress, and your hot water tank."

In addition to getting rid of two ton Gertie, we are also moving the location of the new one to get it out of the way.  Right now she takes up a leisurely large percent of area that is prime space.  So the tank gets moved, we gain some space and we get more than 10 gallons of hot water at a time.

Imagine, being able to take a shower that is longer than three minutes.

Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

I am out of hibernation: March is here!



So, where in the Hell has Cookie been, you may be asking?

Well dear ones - you know that I am not a winter person.  So I was being very bear like until March 1st, which has come and gone.  So on March 2nd, I am here for all to bask in my greatness.

Someone, or another, once said that March is the cruelest month because it promises so much, and delivers mostly nothing but cold, wet, soggy weather.

Au contraire!

March is the beginning of the earth's northern hemisphere waking up after its slumber!  Or more to the point - We have made it through the worst of Winter.   Think about it:

1) March snows seldom hang around for a few days, let alone weeks.  It snows and it melts.  And the glaciers occupying the lawns of the suburbs north of Tennessee (except in Minnesota, where it will snow until May 1st) start to retreat.

2) Daylight savings time begins this coming SUNDAY at 2AM.  The down side is that it will be dark at half past crack in the morning for a couple weeks, but on the good side, you get home from owrk when it STILL daylight!

3) And with daylight savings time, grilling season begins!

4) Morning bird song starts up at this time of the year.  And little Robin Red Breast returns to eat worms. Right now we have a brood of dark eyed Juncos, finches, blue jays, wood peckers all dining at our feeders.

5) My camilla in the front garden, aka Camilla Parker Bowles, will bloom.

6) St. Patricks Day is coming, so the bloody Irish (of which I claim 1/16th of my heritage) can  get whatever it is that we need to get out of our systems out of our systems.

7) St. Patrick's Day also means that my evil stepmonster, "Pat" will turn 83 this year, and it makes me so happy that she is growing older with every day.  We are hoping that Pat lives to be 110, partly because I vowed to wear a red dress to her funeral, and mostly because she dreaded growing old and having her looks leave her. (Insert evil laugh.)

8) And TJB at SSUWAT can get down his spring wear and box up his velvets and furs.

So be glad that it is March - we survived.  The worst is behind us!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fall of 1968: Your next car



Top line, New Yorker



Mid-line "300"




Value series Newport


Friday, January 30, 2015

Quelle Horreur: The lie that tells the truth



I want you all to know that this is no "found on Tumblr" interior desecration.  This was taken, by moi, in my father's living room.  My father, was not a man known for his "taste" (if you can call it that) in home decor.  And that is the living room in the house of mirth where I lived from Kindergarten in 1968 until third grade until 1971.

But this lamp is what my Stepmonster, Shark, brought to the relationship.  Tasteful, just like her.

"Don't you love it?  It's art, don't you think?" she asked.

Yes, the woman who told my mother that she was going to redecorate the "kitchen and the bedroom first - because that's where a woman does her best work," moved into the house last touched in 1968 (this picture was taken circa 1995) and redecorated by plunking this thing down in the Living Room.

The picture simple doesn't do it justice.  I showed it, back when I took it, to my mother who stared at it and then said "Of all the women through his revolving do he finally found someone who has taste worse than his - but what is it?"

Good question.  "It's a lamp, but Frankensteinish."

She then tried to figure out what its creator was trying to accomplish.

"Well, it looks like someone took and ugly sofa lamp, and mated it to a pedestal for an occasional table.  But why is the cord coming out of top of the pedestal?  And that shade?  It's too small and ugly.  But there is something so absurd about it, it's funny.  Your Aunt Nan would just die for this lamp."

I asked her what style she would call it and she decided on "Belle Watling Rococo Revival."

At one point the lamp stood in front of the living room picture window.  Thats how I learned about.  I started getting calls from people I knew up in Cleveland, and they usually started with "Have you driven by your father's house lately?"  No.  Why.  "If you do, do it at night."

Finally, one friend described the sight as "A Jewish version of the major award" from A Christmas Story."

This I had to see.  My father and I weren't speaking - one of our many not speaking periods, so I took a business meeting and dinner in Cleveland just to see it.  The house sat at the top of plain hill, no trees to mask the view, and the curtains were parted.  The library of the house - the original man cave where my father's barcalounger sat before the 25" Zenith and where he spent all of his time - was lit up.

But in the living room window on the other side, there it was, lit brightly as to show off its garish curves.  It was beyond ugly.  But it was something so over the top.  As I have written about before, my father and his family members were the Jew's with the faux Louis XVI furniture.  And cherubs everywhere.  Even our Jewish Guilt was colored with faux gold gilt.  So this lamp was  something larger than life and so horrible that it went full circle into right into what we call "camp" - the lie that tells the truth.   It was so horrible, it was magnificent.

The surface, as I would discover, was in gold and copper metallic paint, and the 250 watt bulb illuminated it, so it glowed.  Like Jean Shepherd wrote in Ralphie's voice "we were bathed in the glow of electric sex" when his father turned on the infamous leg lamp, I too felt bathed in the glow from this lamp; bathed in glow of bad taste and Jewish Angst as only our family could do.

On my next visit to see the lamp in the window about a year later, it was gone.  I had hoped that someone had accidentally knocked it over and broken it.  But it was not to be.  Stepmonster, who my mother referred to as the Imperial Concubine, had simply moved it to another location away from the window.

Eventually, when my father was stricken with the first of many attacks that would end his life, I made the effort to overlook his transgressions over me and at me and sucked it up and spent time with him.  These visits were taxing.  Even though I hated him for what he did to me, and my mother, he was still my father.  Though he never drank a day in his life, his liver had cancer and he was dying, all the while the stepmonster was feeding him a diet high in sodium and off plastic plates.  It was on one of those visits when I could get in the house and that was when I took this picture.

We all are going to die, sometime.  It's what our destiny is from the day we are born.  But something that over the top, and that garish deserves to live on.  Maybe it's the Baltimore vibe.  Maybe its living down the road from Divine's grave and up the road from John Waters, but I want it. I want that lamp.

Why?

Because no matter where you go in life, you can never outrun your past.  It may not be who you are now, but your past can't be undone because its part of who you were.  And that lamp is the perfect symbol of the burlesque that was my life in Shaker Heights at one point.  Besides, every house deserves something that represents a joke or is pure "camp" - the lie that tells the truth.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mercury has been in retrograde!



It's been a day like this.

A well regarded coworker found another job in retail that pays better than the Beef House and Strip Club.  I will miss her because she was the type of person you want to work with.  Great ethics, a black sense of humor, and she brought out the best in her coworkers - these just don't fall off the tree with every application.  So not only are we short handed, but one of the regular came in and asked for said co-worker, and when told that said employee was no longer with us, Customer launched on another coworker who was trying very hard to help said Customer.

It was ugly.  People literally stopped what they doing and listened at the rant.

So a couple of us stepped up to back this co-worker up, get this person quieted down and out of the store ASAP.

Later in the day the husband of the crazy bitch came to the store and spoke with the Manager.  The husband explained that the wife was going through a rough bout of menopause and she just felt "horrible".  The manager listened, and told about the apology one by one.

"She going through the change of life," says Manager.

Well what the Hell is she changing into? A Harpy?

"Mehbee," said Manager, "she no want to take the hor-monays."

My mother used to say that Menopause is like "riding a wild bucking bronco to Hell for some women."

So riding that wild bucking bronco to Hell during Mercury's retrograde phase must be some kind of special trip.