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... 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.

" 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. 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, 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.