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You don't understand. I'm a mysterious loner, not lonely.

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A bowl of corn, motherfuckers!

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Is that man-ass I smell?

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I'm loaded with tumors darling, and I don't even know it.

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The View From Down Here
                    
    March 2008


 

March 31, 2008

Weekend get-together at the Compound

-- Black Lips Houlihan (aka Andy) has returned home, but he's acting strange. I don't know if he's mad, and giving us attitude, or if he's missing my parents. 'Cause he had a pretty good deal going in West Virginia

My Mom and Dad are retired, so there was somebody with Andy almost all the time. He got two long walks every day, another dog to play with, and continuous praise and attention. And I seriously doubt he was called a quivering sack o' ticks, even once.

So, I'm thinking he might be in mourning, because he has to live with us again. And how sad is that?  It would be much easier to take if he was just pissed, and giving us a cold doggie-shoulder.

Clearly, there's but one thing to do: buy back his love with cookies, car rides, and spaghetti with meat sauce.

Because I miss Andy Classic.

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March 27, 2008

Too chubby to fit in regular sizes

-- We had an 8 PM flight out of Newark , and Toney thought we should leave our house at one in the afternoon. It seemed excessively early to me, since it's less than two hours to the airport, but I wasn't going to be held responsible if something went wrong and we missed our flight. Know what I mean?

Turns out nothing went wrong, and it wasn't too early. By the time we drove, stopped at a McDonald's in New Jersey (where I ordered a sweet tea, and the girl looked at me like I was speaking the Xhosa click language), parked, rode a shuttle to the terminal, checked our bags, went through security, and all the other crapola necessary, we didn't have an abundance of time to spare.

The British Airways check-in area is in a basement, and feels like an afterthought. It looks like they just wedged it in there, because there were no better options. It's also dry and dusty, and far too warm. While we waited (and waited some more), Toney had some kind of scary coughing fit, and I was afraid we were on the verge of an "incident."

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March 26, 2008

3 Random and Unrelated Images

-- You know how you often go on vacation, or take a trip somewhere, and it feels like you stayed one day too long? Well, we didn’t have that experience with our London adventure.

Oh, it was certainly time to come home… But it felt natural and true, like one more day would be too much, and one less wouldn’t be quite enough. We got out of there exactly when we should’ve, and don’t usually synchronize things so well. We accidentally got it right.

We were dreading the flight back, but it wasn’t bad at all. Our shuttle showed up at the hotel as scheduled, we got to Heathrow with time to spare, and there were no issues whatsoever. It was shockingly stress-free.

They were offering eighteen(!) movie choices on the airplane, and I was interested in exactly one of ‘em:
Juno. But that channel – and ONLY that channel – wouldn’t work. I thought about asking one of the sashaying “attendants” about it, but knew nothing would come from such an exercise.

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March 17, 2008

How he'll be traveling next time

-- Operation Andy Drop is complete. Our dog is now at my parents' house, hanging around on their couches instead of ours, and I'm returned home with a chronic case of Phantom Ass Syndrome (PAS).

It pretty much sucked, but the rest of us can now leave on our Big Trip, assured that our beloved Black Lips Houlihan is in safe, reliable hands. And that's the important part...

He and I left on Friday morning around nine o'clock . I'd wanted to get on the road a little earlier, but you know how it goes. I didn't exactly have my shit together, and was rampaging through the house like a retarded boy at a taffy pull, trying to avoid another "Why can't you get your shit together?" lecture from Toney.

I tossed a bunch of stuff into the trunk of my car, and flung some more into the passenger seat. It turned out I took some things I hadn't intended (I had no use for a spaghetti strainer, for instance), and forgot other items. I was already on the interstate when I realized I didn't have Andy's leash, and had to go all the way back home and start over.

I might've said a few
bad words during this particular segment of the trip...

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March 13, 2008

A loving and selfless husband

-- I had to run a few errands today. I got a haircut (from a dumplin woman with, apparently, cloves of garlic tucked in her folds), had lunch at Subway (a 12-inch turkey and ham sub, with lettuce, tomato, green pepper, and onion), picked up a prescription for the oldest Secret (double ear infection – days before leaving on our trip), bought a pair of jeans (to replace the latest victim of my denim-destroying ass), and topped off my gas tank at Sam’s Club (saving me a full three cents per gallon). 

And I hate to be a whiner, I really do, but I just can’t shake that low-grade “flu” I had earlier in the week. I felt like shit on the half-shell on Sunday, and much better on Monday. But I back-slid on Tuesday, and haven’t been able to pull out of it since then. Now I’ve got congestion, harmonica-neck, and a cough that feels like a million needles flying around.

Also, my left contact lens has been giving me problems. I can’t see without those things, glasses just don’t do the trick, but I’m afraid I’m developing one of those weird Ralph Nader wonk-eyes. And I can’t have that. Today I put the lenses in when I ran my errands, but have just been wearing glasses around the house. And everything’s in soft-focus, like on the Lifetime Channel.

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March 12, 2008

Always keep your eye on the ball

-- I realize it's only a few short steps from spoons or bells or Avon bottles, or whatever else old ladies like to collect, but I have a thing for coffee mugs. Whenever I visit someplace new, I always feel compelled to buy a mug – just to make it official.

And, as is so often the case, I have a very strict set of rules when it comes to mug procurement. I don't like novelty mugs, anything with an unorthodox shape, or the ones made of rubber, or anything like that. No, it has to be of standard construction, with a loop handle on the side, and a simple design; nothing retina-searing or gaudy.

The only exception? Occasionally I'll buy one of the big oversized models, the kind that requires two hands to lift to your quivering lips, when full. Oh, and pub glasses are also an acceptable substitute, depending on the situation.

Over the years I've built quite an impressive collection. But Toney regularly weeds it out (without my involvement), and moves the so-called excess to the basement. So, I literally haven't seen many of my "pieces" in years.

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March 11, 2008

Three celebrities without their necks

-- I’m driving our dog Andy to West Virginia on Friday, and returning on Saturday. My parents are going to watch the hound while we’re away next week, and I’ll be logging roughly 1100 miles, roundtrip, to make it happen.

Crazy? Perhaps. But we put him in a kennel years ago, when we went on this trip to Cape May
, and he barely survived. When we went to pick him up he was skinny and terrorized, and big clumps of fur had fallen out. He acted like he didn’t even recognize us, and was walking toward the light, I think.

Border collies are notoriously neurotic, but I think Andy got an extra dose of it. And I vowed we’d never put him through such an ordeal again. So I’m driving 1100 miles to make sure he’s comfortable while we’re away. It’s the least I can do for good ol’ Black Lips Houlihan who, you know, lies around on couches for our benefit.

-- In anticipation of the near future, I got an oil change over the weekend. I was at least three thousand miles overdue. I also asked the guy to rotate the tires, check the air pressure, and inspect the brakes. This is how I do auto repair…

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March 10, 2008

Beer sandwiches drugs and beer

-- I'm suffering from an advanced case of kazoo-neck. Every time I take a deep breath there's a lot of vibration and buzzing, and it sounds like I've got a kazoo wedged in my windpipe.

I think I'm on the mend, but the weekend wasn't much fun. I did a lot of couch-wallowing, and felt so shitty I couldn't even enjoy it. I've learned there's a big difference between sick-wallowing and lazy-wallowing, a big difference indeed.

On Saturday I even took a nap during the middle of the day, something I'm generally opposed to. Grown men shouldn't nap. Ya know? But in my weakened state I found myself powerless 'neath the Scrote-watching blanket, and konked out for a good three hours.

Yes, it was almost Nostrilseque around our place this weekend; the only things missing were the hot water bottle, the giant bouncing Adam's apple, and the jugs of rot-gut skid row vodka.

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March 7, 2008

Thanks, but I believe I'll just have a Pepsi

-- Yep, I’m sick. I knew it; I could feel it coming. My throat hurts, and I’m dragging massive ass today. I have a lengthy list of things I want to accomplish on my 3+ days away from work, but suspect I won’t be marking too many items off. I just want to lie on the couch and stare at the flickerbox. To hell with it.

Last night we attended a so-called art show, at the older Secret’s school. Here’s a sample piece. And Toney’s in Philadelphia today, attending a “flower show” with her cousin, which means I’m responsible for providing dinner tonight. Translation: I’m responsible for
driving us to a restaurant tonight. Plus, the mouse-killers are supposed to arrive between three and four. 

Sweet sainted mother of George Thoroughlygood! Why so many complications? Can’t a man just snuggle ‘neath a
Scrote-watcher, and allow the illness to run its course? Apparently not. There is no down-time, ever. Not ever.

Yes, the whining is officially underway.

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March 6, 2008

Jive that simply cannot be contained

-- Apparently field mice are entering and exiting our house at will. At least that's what Billy Bob Thornton tells us. For $148 he'll get rid of the little bastards, and for $36 a month he'll make sure they stay away.

We're definitely taking him up on the "get rid of them" deal, but are undecided about the monthly maintenance plan. It would also cover ants, wasps, spiders, and all other unwanted pests, with the exception of Pennsylvanians for Hillary volunteers. So it's tempting.

In any case, a team of professionals is coming out on Friday and doing what they do. Billy Bob said something to Toney about traps and glue strips, and I don't know what all. It's supposed to be invisible to us, and safe for pets and kids. Sounds good in the abstract, but we'll see what reality brings...

The guy reportedly walked from room to room, looking in closets and under stuff, and could tell Toney if mice had been hanging out in there(!?). The good news? The kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedrooms have yet to be "visited." The bad news? They've been frolicking and having a mousely hoedown in the family room –
and the Surf Report bunker.

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March 5, 2008

Satan has no tiny Duke head

-- Still no evidence of the mouse Toney thinks she saw on Saturday night. We've seen nothing, heard nothing, found no leavings, and Andy is acting normally. I prefer to believe it was just a false alarm, that's the scenario that works best for me.

But I don’t think I believe it. Every time I enter the family room or the bunker now, especially at night (for some reason), I brace myself for a spaniel-sized rat to come falling from the ceiling – then, in one smooth continuous motion, attach to my face.

Yeah, Toney said it was a really small field mouse, but it sure as shit isn't in my "visions."

I think we should probably call a pest control outfit, especially since the place will be sitting empty for a week. But I know they'll find something, because it's in their best interest to do so. And I a) don't want to know about it, and b) don't want to pay for it.

But, I guess, it's better than coming home from
England and finding a miniature version of Burning Man taking place in our kitchen. Right?

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March 3, 2008

Head: she giveth, he taketh away

-- Earlier in the week Toney and I made a grand proclamation. All four of us, we said, would chip in and clean the house every Saturday morning, and wouldn’t go anywhere until it was done. The insane schedule we keep makes it difficult to stay on top of things, and all of us need to shoulder part of the responsibility.

So, we got out of bed on Saturday, the first Saturday, and Toney looked at me over her coffee mug and said, “I don’t feel like cleaning, do you?” I said, “I never feel like cleaning,” and that was that. So much for grand proclamations…

We had a few things we needed to take care of, and started at AAA in downtown Scranton
. There we traded some American money for British money. Rather, we traded some American money for the promise of British money. They have to get it from a bank in NYC, and it takes two business days.

I know there are ATMs all over London
, but I think fees are usually at the jail-rape setting. We’re already upside-down with the exchange rate, we don’t need to make matters worse with “international exchange fees” and other nonsensical code-phrases for legalized theft. AAA members don’t have to pay any fees whatsoever, so we ordered enough pounds sterling to at least get us started.

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