I’m in the middle of Day Four of a big nine-day vacation from my job. Back in January Toney and I scheduled the time off, with plans of taking a trip to some beach to be named later. Then we spent what little money we had on getting our deck repaired, and that, as they say, was that.
But, there’s nothing wrong with a staycation. Except, of course, the word staycation itself. High douchery! Toney ended up temporarily giving Monday and Tuesday back to The Man, but I let mine ride. Like a boss. So, I’m off Monday through Friday, with a Saturday and Sunday tacked onto both ends. Nice.
The plan is to log some hours working on my so-called novel. But it’s been a while since I updated the Surf Report, so I’m gonna clean out the notebook today (AKA procrastination) and play it by ear for the rest of the week.
I have no idea how it’s going to go with the book. My track record hasn’t been stellar, if you want to know the truth. According to Scrivener, the first draft is 10% completed. Ha! Stephen King writes more during his 7:12 a.m. daily dump (I hear he’s remarkably regular). This thing is turning into my own personal Chinese Democracy.
In any case, I’m going to bring you guys up to date on a few things today, and take it from there. So, let’s do it.
Every spring I feel the ancient pull of baseball, which is apparently encoded in my DNA, and vow to get back into the sport. I long ago lost the way, my friends…
Last year I toyed with the idea of purchasing a package from MLB which would’ve given me access to all the live radio broadcasts, for every team. But I didn’t think I’d actually use it, and ended up hemming and hawing myself into oblivion. But this year I pulled the trigger. I went with the monthly option, which I don’t believe was available last year. And so far… I’ve heard at least part of every Reds game.
I’m loving it! I’m listening to broadcasts out of Cincinnati, with Marty Brennaman — who has been calling Reds games since I was 11 years old. I’m learning the players’ names again, and feeling the old magic a bit. I love baseball on the radio. I like to watch it on TV, too. But there’s something special about listening to the games. They stream perfectly through my phone or computer, and there’s an on-demand feature which will allow me to replay the games I missed.
It’s pretty great, so far. But I do have some concerns. I haven’t paid attention to the sport since the late 1990s, and a few things have changed. For instance, why no black players anymore? What’s up with that? They’re all white or from a Caribbean island. Where are all the Reggie Jacksons and the Joe Morgans? Jackie Robinson is probably spinning in his grave. Also, what’s this bullshit where managers are allowed to “challenge” an umpire’s call? I don’t care for that, whatsoever. And all the “pace of game” initiatives make me nervous, too. A pitch clock? Seriously?? There are no clocks in baseball. I HATE when people monkey around with the sport. Hell, I’m still pissed off about the designated hitter rule from 1973, and don’t even get me started on inter-league play.
But, I’m enjoying listening to Marty call the games again. And it doesn’t hurt that the Reds are winning so far. I know their prospects aren’t great. But that’s OK. It’s still baseball.
Last weekend I took our old propane tank to U-Haul in Scranton, to get it filled. And the guy refused. He told me they’re only good for 12 years, and ours was manufactured in 1999. Wotta nerd! When I woke up that morning I couldn’t have predicted I would encounter a hardened propane stickler later in the day. But he told me they start to leak after a while, and become dangerous. I considered going elsewhere, in search of a not-so-rare “who gives a flying fuck?” gas steward. But, he scared me with his talk of danger.
So, I bought a shiny new tank at Sam’s for $30. Our old one looked like it had spent a winter at the bottom of a lake, and now we’re rockin’ a tank that looks like it’s been buffed and waxed. Heh. On Saturday I took it back to my friends at U-Haul and there was further weirdness.
They had signs all over the place advertising “pay at the pump” capabilities, and I assumed they would have one of those handheld deals through which my card would be swiped. But, no. The guy took out an iPhone and snapped a picture of my credit card. WTF?? I howled in protest, and he acted like I was crazy. “It’s how our software works. There’s nothing to worry about,” he assured me.
Nothing to worry about? What in the finger-snapping hell? Nothing except for the fact that some shitkicker at U-Haul now has a photo of my credit card on his phone. I submit that there’s a very real need to worry. That thing could end up on Reddit, if he wanted. But, we’ve checked the account every day, and all is well. So far, anyway. Have you encountered this kind of thing? Am I behind the times and overly paranoid, or would it bother you, as well? Dammit.
A couple of weekends ago Toney and I went to a brewpub in a nearby town. We like to support that kind of thing, when possible, and had been meaning to visit the joint for some time. It’s run by local folks, who supposedly brew a lineup of tasty beers. But it was not a positive experience.
We parked on a side street, and walked past an open door leading into their kitchen. And let’s just say… there’s no way I’d eat anything that originated in that room. And I have very low standards. Good god! It was a fully-realized shithole. “I guess we’ll just have a beer?” I told Toney, as we headed toward the front door. “I’m not even sure about that,” she replied.
We walked inside, and the place smelled like a wet dog, and had the ambiance of an employee break room in the back of a Staples store. It’s all just linoleum and metal tables and chairs. The bar looked like it was meant for a basement in a private residence, and there were four or five people gathered around it, shouting and working hard at getting even drunker. Weird. It’s not like they were serving Keystone Ice in that place.
We sat at a table, and when I pulled the chair out it made a super-loud scraping sound. They really need some rugs or drapes, or something. Sound just ricochets around inside there. After about five minutes a woman came over, from behind the bar. I ordered an IPA, and she told me they were out of it. So, I ordered a lager, which was also not available. “How about just telling us what is available?” I offered.
Toney and I both went with an Irish Red. And when she brought it, there was not even a hint of foam on top. We looked at each other doubtfully, and tasted it. Flat. The flavor wasn’t bad, but there was no carbonation whatsoever. And it wasn’t cask style, or anything like that. I don’t believe it was designed to be flat, I believe it was just old. Oh, I’ve been around enough beer to know the difference.
But, we choked them down, and got the hell out of there. We’d driven about fifteen miles to visit that place, and couldn’t have been more disappointed. Oh well, we’d done our part. We’d gone into it in good faith.
And that night Toney began complaining about an upset stomach. We were watching House of Cards, and she said she was just going to go to bed after one episode. We watch them two at a time, but she cut it short. She went upstairs, and I switched over to Amazon Prime, and began watching The Americans. And about five minutes later I heard her shout, “Oh, gawd!” followed by frantic movement.
I sprinted upstairs (well, the fat man’s version of sprinting), and saw my wife standing in deep shadow like the first Beatles album. But, unlike the Fab Four, there was a great quantity of vomit gushing out of her mouth. Holy shit!! “I couldn’t make it,” she kept saying, between spasms. I don’t think my deep, deep grimace has fully released, more than a week later.
After we cleaned everything up, and I successfully fought my own puke-launch, she came downstairs. “That was the first time I threw up since September 6, 1997,” she proclaimed. “How do you know the exact date?” I asked. “It was the day of Princess Diana’s funeral,” she said. “And how the hell do you know THAT date?” I asked, even more confused. It had something to do with my parents coming to visit us in California, and she had shrimp scampi at a restaurant called Sisley in Valencia, and Princess Di had just been killed… I’m still not sure how she knew the exact date, but she did. So, it was almost a 19 year vomitless run. Impressive, and very Seinfeld-like.
We don’t know for sure that the stale beer was the culprit, but if I had to put my money on it, I would.
I can’t remember when I last threw up, but it hasn’t been 19 years. ‘Cause I can recall puking here, in this house, and also crapping my pants at the same time. It was blowing out of both ends, and mister… that’ll flat-out ruin your day. But I don’t do it often. If I stick to beer I never throw up from drinking, and thankfully haven’t experienced food poisoning, not a single time in my life. I did puke in the bathroom of the second prom I attended, though. I had the flu, or somesuch. It was not alcohol related. Terrible night…
Any idea how long it’s been for you? Do you have an exact date, like Toney? Shit, I’m getting queasy, just writing all these different words for vomit. But if you have any spectacular upchuck tales to tell, feel free.
I’m not anywhere near a full notebook purge here. But this thing is approaching 2000 words already. If you don’t feel like talking about puke, I’ll leave you with an alternative Question o’ the Day: what automatically disqualifies a movie or book for you? What words in the description cause you to shout ‘next!’ and move on? A few of mine: special needs, Alzheimer’s, cancer, politically-charged, race relations, LGBT, moral message, giving back, environmental, the power of love, hallucinatory. What about you? Use the comments section.
And have yourselves a great day, my friends. I’ll see you again soon.