August 4, 2006

-- Eninen and their brood of li'l see-through children arrived at our house Wednesday afternoon. Toney called before I left work and asked me to meet everyone at TGI Friday's for dinner. I sighed deeply and said I would.

Predictably I got there first, and went inside to start the big-ass-table procurement process. It was kids-eat-free night, and the place was pure pandemonium. The twelve year old hostess told me it would be at least 45 minutes, and I just mumbled a defeated OK and told her my first name. Then I went outside and called Toney, to give her an update.

They were just pulling into the parking lot, and the 45 minute thing caused uncertainty. And there's nothing worse than uncertainty when Nancy & Nostrils are involved. What to do? What to do?? I just stepped aside and started goofing around with the Secrets. I didn't even want to hear it; it makes me too sad.

Finally, after an inordinate amount of discussion, it was decided that we'd go to Don Pablo's instead. The translucents can't be expected to wait 45 minutes, you see, they're simply not accustomed to such things. In my head I was saying, "It's funny, the Secrets never had that problem.... Must be a case of DDD: Discipline Deficit Disorder." But I kept it to myself. By now I've surely earned a black belt in keeping it to myself.

OK, they said, we'll drive over there and make sure there's not a line there too then you follow us after you tell them inside that we don't need the table or we could just wait and everyone go over together or do we want to call and ask them and maybe just stay here after all because it's kids eat free....

I used to find humor in some of it.

I went back inside to return the ridiculous vibration device designed to alert us when our table is ready, and everybody else committed themselves to the arduous task of preparing for yet another one-mile journey. 

The teenager was gone, replaced by a middle-aged woman with an air of authority. I handed her back the vibra-box and told her we'd decided we didn't want to wait after all. I expected a half-hearted shrug of the shoulders, but got something else entirely.

"How long were you told it would be?" she asked, shocked, simply shocked.

"Forty-five minutes," I said.

"WHAT??" she hollered, then flew into action. She started snapping her fingers and waving her hands around and calling huddles....

"Two minutes," she finally announced.

I called Toney again and they were just pulling out of the parking lot. She did a big swooping U-turn, and came back.

As soon as we sat down I ordered a beer from what I thought was our waitress, but she said, "Um, I don't work here, mister. I'm nine." That's a joke, of course, but I didn't waste any time getting to the heart of the matter. I requested a large, very large, Samuel Adams draft, and Toney hollered across the din: better make it two!!

Dinner was good, and I picked up a couple of quality nuggets of ridiculousness as we ate.

Nancy told us of a birthday party that the oldest translucent recently attended, where gifts for the birthday boy were not allowed. Everyone was instructed to bring bags of dog food instead, which would be donated to the local animal shelter in the boy's name. 

Man, if my parents had pulled some shit like that with me when I was seven, I'd still be pissed....

And now what's Nancy going to do on her kid's next birthday?! She's got her back to the wall at this point. Because she's in a game of one-upmanship of fucked-upness (rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?) with her colleagues, and this dog food deal has gotta have her sweating. It's gotta.

The second nugget concerns an old friend of Nancy's, who is planning to come stay with them for ten days. It's a furry-legged woman she knew in the pre-kids days, and she's a nervous wreck about the pending visit. Says she's afraid of what the woman might think of her, since she's "changed so much."

And that's when Nancy let-loose this classic: "What if she finds out I sometimes use the air conditioner in my car, or that I buy white eggs at Ingle's?"

I nearly did a spit-take.

At home that night their semi-retarded hammerhead dog tried to bite me, over and over again. They claim it was abused by its previous owner, and that it's now afraid of "large men." So there you go.... The shit-wallowing hound repeatedly tries to extract my Achilles tendon, and I'm insulted via the explanation. Classic.

As soon as we got back to the house Nostrils started reading an Entertainment Weekly article about Johnny Depp, and Toney told me he'd read a Rolling Stone article about him earlier in the day. She whispered, with raised eyebrows, "I think Johnny Depp is more than just a passing interest."

The hell??

Nossy was sitting on the couch and would periodically throw his head back in uproarious laughter, then read aloud another quote from Depp that he'd found especially hilarious. Things like, "After a day of playing Jack Sparrow, I'd sometimes need a good soak in the hot tub." Gut-splitting comedy!

Then I swear it's true: he got up and walked urgently into the bathroom, with the magazine tucked under his arm, and stayed for a long, long time. I looked over at Toney with alarm, and she gave me a "told ya so" look. And I experienced a full-body shiver. Then I found myself mumbling the improbable phrase, "Please God, just let him be shitting...."

Toney and I went to bed extra-early for some reason, and started playing a continuing game of Future Jobs For The Translucents. We try to come up with dream jobs that would completely devastate Nancy & Nostrils, and it's proven to be a lot of fun. Toney's very good at it, but I put myself way out front last night with "army chaplain." 

Feel free to play along.

Now you're pretty much up to date on the latest visit. The gang left on Thursday morning, but not before dominating the downstairs bathroom for literally hours with shower after shower and several of their weird metallic chemical dumps -- all while I was trying to get ready for work.

And I left the house talking to myself in a voice that I didn't recognize, and fully convinced that Nostrils had used my deodorant.

See ya on Monday.

August 10, 2006

-- Sorry for the brief interruption in service. I thought I'd be able to maintain while Eninen and her gang passed back through here, but I was wrong. In fact, I have a little confession to make.... I was planning to just chug right along with the "regular stuff" and not even mention that they were visiting again.

I know it probably sounds nuts, considering all the golden comedy opportunities they provide, but I find myself not really wanting to write about them anymore. Maybe I'll try to explain it all someday, but probably not. It would require introspection and self-examination, and that might eat into my TV time.

Anyway, I was not able to maintain during their visit, because it was like a freakin' emergency room around here. And a few things happened that I simply cannot withhold. I mean, I'm only flesh and blood, after all.

So let's get to it, once again. Shall we?

-- Eninem were in Canada for a few days, visiting some of BN's relatives. They stopped here for one day on their way up, then a couple of days on their way back. Toney had asked Nancy, back when all this was being planned, if they might want to go to Knoebels, and they thought it was just a wonderful idea. I had my doubts, but nobody asked for my input.

Shortly after they arrived Monday evening, BN had his laptop out and was walking around our house looking for a three-prong socket. I know there aren't any, but said nothing. I was in a semi-foul mood and was getting a kick out watching him become more and more exasperated. And just as he was approaching the cusp of a full-on hissy-fit, I grabbed him an adaptor out of the tool box.

He asked if he could tap into our wireless network, and I told him no problem. I gave him the password, but he couldn't make it work. He kept getting an error message that said he had an invalid IP address. He called this an ip, not I.P. but Ip, and I've never heard of such a problem. He said it had happened several times before, in cafes and whatnot, so I assume he's somehow fucked-up his machine. Whatever.

He kept monkeying around with it, but wasn't able to get onto the internet. Even when he used a neighbor's unsecured network, the same error message popped-up. He told Nancy that he was having trouble with his "ip and wiffy." It took me a couple of seconds, but I believe wiffy is WiFi. Heh.

The translucents had been packed inside that ridiculous vegetable oil car all day, and were bouncing off the walls almost literally. They were acting like wild animals, and kicking up a racket like you wouldn't believe. And even though our kids hit the sack around 9:30, no attempt was made to hold down the noise. I mean, shit. People driving by probably thought it was some sort of government-subsidized halfway house for the insane and energetic.

On Tuesday morning BN announced that he wouldn't be joining us at Knoebels, after all. He was going to stay home and "write."

This, of course, sent me into an insta-panic. I went immediately to the bunker and began rifling through papers, and hiding shit. I got on the computer and removed things from my favorites, deleted my cache files, and did away with all my previously-viewed sites menu. I just knew he'd start rooting around in here the moment we drove away. I even folded up a tiny piece of paper and wedged it under the top drawer of my file cabinet, so I'd know if it had been opened -- like Mannix.

But Nancy apparently laid down the law to him in private, and he abruptly changed his mind. He was going with us, after all. Good deal.

We got to the park around noon, I guess, and things went amazingly well. The oldest Secret brought along a friend, and they wanted to ride the roller coasters and that sort of thing. So I went with them, and Toney went with Nancy's gang to the kiddie section. We were separated a good part of the day, but from all accounts everyone had a great time.

Nossy didn't ride a single thing (he said he'd only been to one amusement park in his life, Disneyland when he was twelve, and seemed intimidated), but ate his way through the place, snorkeling down nearly every food offered for purchase. I personally saw him attack several slices of pizza, and a large container of cheese fries. Toney said he also plundered into submission an oversized sausage plate (on which he slathered mayonnaise -- blechh), cotton candy, a corn dog, at least two funnel cakes, and even one of these, if you can believe it.

In fact, she said he launched into a tirade at one point because Nancy wouldn't let him sit down when he wanted to, and his funnel cake got cold. Supposedly he was throwing a shrill teenage-girl tantrum and screaming things like, "All I wanted to do was have a funnel cake while it was hot, and a nice cup of coffee in the shade! Now all that's ruined, just ruined!!" He whined that he only likes the gross-ass things when they're "piping hot," so he polished off the cold one and got a hot replacement, which he also ate.

But, overall, the day went well. Nancy even rode the log flume with the translucents, and nobody melted down into wild sobbings or freakish fax machine noises or anything. It was a good time, and the royal family, shockingly enough, gave Knoebels nothing but praise. They bitched a little about the amount of money they spent, but at least fifty bucks of it had to be for Nostrils' food. I mean, the man was putting on a goddamn clinic.

I'm just thankful this wasn't going on while we were there. Shit, I'd probably still be having nightmares. For several reasons.

They cleared out of here sometime yesterday, and you're pretty much up to date. And, realistically speaking, there's no need to worry about me holding back on the future Eninen stories. Sometimes I feel a twinge of unease about it all, but then someone has trouble with their ip and wiffy and all that goes out the window....

I'll turn it over to Metten now, and wish you folks a very pleasant Thursday.

See ya tomorrow.

May 3, 2006

-- I neglected to tell you folks about the big Nancy/Nostrils/Sunshine Easter candy controversy. This all came to a head after everyone had left, and we've been receiving the news via highly biased long-distance reporting. But I think I've got a pretty good handle on it now.

As you know, the whole gang was here for the holiday, and somebody asked Nancy about Easter baskets. We (Toney) always put together baskets for the Secrets, and didn't want to neglect the translucents. But, of course, we knew we'd better ask first, because God knows what Nancy's feelings on the subject might be.

Surprisingly enough, she gave her blessing. She said they don't celebrate Easter, but a little candy couldn't hurt. She told Toney and her mother to include the translucents, and she'd kick in some money for it.

So that's what they did. They went shopping and put together five identical Easter baskets. And a splendid time was had by all. Nancy never made good on the money, but no big deal. The translucents got to eat something other than soy blocks and obliterated peas for a change, and their shocked expressions alone were worth the price of admission.

A few days after Easter Sunshine and Mumbles left here, and went to the House of Nancy for a brief stay (also to undoubtedly rip apart me and Toney to Eninen, instead of the other way around at our house). And Sunshine found that the remaining Easter candy had been confiscated, and Nossy was snorkeling it down on the sly. He had it in a tin, hidden behind a giant fern on top of their refrigerator that you have to open from the hinge side of the door.

And Sunshine went off. She made a huge issue of it, and things became heated. Nancy said they'd decided that the kids had had enough candy and didn't want them to have anymore. So butt out! Sunshine said she hadn't put those baskets together for Nostrildamus's perverse enjoyment, and if he's going to be the one eating everything, she damn well better be getting her money back.

Nancy refused, saying they don't celebrate Easter and there wouldn't have even been baskets if "Toney's kids" weren't involved. Sunny kept demanding payment for the candy, and it was all spiraling downward.

Finally Nostrils snapped.

Reportedly his face went beet red and his grotesquely large Adam's apple was jumping up and down his neck. He slapped his hand on the table, and let out a womanly shriek of frustration. He then stormed out of the room at an accelerated clip, his chin held defiantly high. Our source claims that it was almost impossible not to buckle over in laughter.

Then things turned decidedly darker. Nossy eventually returned to the room with the translucents in tow. He sat them down at the dining room table, and placed a giant, nearly life-sized, solid-chocolate bunny in front of each of them. Then he told them to start eating. Grandma, he announced, bought that candy for them, and they were going to eat it -- in front of her, and all at once.

There was supposedly much crying and pleading from the see-through children: "We don't want anymore! Please don't make us eat anymore!!" And Nostrils with blood-red eyes, screaming like a crazed maniac: "Eat. Those. Bunnies!!"

I guess it was full-on pandemonium, and Sunshine & Mumbles finally bailed out of there, disgusted and appalled. And I don't know what happened after that.

Is that some shit, or what? Sweet Maria, it makes me want to go out and rent Blue Velvet for some reason.

April 27, 2006

-- On Sunday morning there was a long, confusing "who's on first?" conversation about what the plan for the day should be. Nancy and the gang were supposed to leave around noon, but they wanted to do something as a family before hitting the road.

Somebody suggested the train museum in Scranton, but there wasn't much enthusiasm for that. Sunshine wanted to go to the mall and have lunch at the food court (her idea of paradise), but the mall was closed because of Easter. Maybe the kids could swim in the indoor pool at the hotel where Eninen were sleeping? That seemed to get a semi-positive reaction, but Sunshine was still stewing about the mall being closed.

"Out west," she hollered, "nothing closes, ever!" Poor Veruca wasn't getting her way.

And as we were preparing to leave, we learned that Sunshine & Mumbles wouldn't, in fact, be joining us. She'd apparently called Wal-Mart, and found out they were open. She "needed" to go there, she announced, and they might meet us at the pool later. Crazy as hell. If she doesn't browse several racks of plus-sized blouses at least once within any twenty-four hour period, she starts panicking.

So, the rest of us went to the pool, and I free-fell into a lounge chair. The Secrets got in the water (caaaaanonball!!!), and we waited for Nancy's brood to come down from their room. And waited. And waited.

Finally they arrived, the translucents sporting massive 1940s summer camp life vests, and Nancy in a bathing suit as well. Sweet Jesus. She told us she was going into the hot tub "for a soak," and started doing something to her hair with a scrunchy. She had both of her hands behind her head, placing her two rich pit-pelts on open display. Some guy, wearing sunglasses and carrying a cooler, did a double-take and almost fell into the pool, like something off a Peter Sellers comedy.

I looked away and saw Creepy holding Translucent 2's head under the water, and laughing maniacally. Portrait of the Organic Slasher as a young man.

Toney's cell phone rang, and it was Sunshine -- who was now deeply depressed. She'd driven all the way across the country, she said, and nobody wanted to do anything with her. We're all in the same town, she sobbed, possibly for the last time ever(?), and everybody's doing their own thing.

Toney reminded her that she was the one who went her own way, the rest of us were together at the pool. But this inconvenient fact was ignored, and she launched into her stock speech about how she never sees her grandchildren, and none of us seem to care.

And all this was being said, on Easter morning, from beside the Poppycock endcap at a Wal-Mart store ten miles away from all five of her grandchildren, there for the seeing. Hilarious.

Toney hung up, shaking her head in disbelief and mumbling profanity. Nancy was all sprawled out in the hot tub, her eyes closed and her head thrown back theatrically like a commercial for a day spa. Nostrils was running frantically around the pool with a bowl of mashed peas or some shit, trying to stuff spoonfuls of it into the translucents' mouths while they swam.

What a grand gang of freaks I've somehow surrounded myself with.

Sunshine & Mumbles eventually showed up, but Sunny was in martyr-mode again, and was silently looking off into the distance, wounded. I was praying for her rickety deck chair to collapse, but it held (dammit).

As we prepared to leave, Nancy came over and started drying herself off with a towel. And that's when I saw, with horror, that there was more on display than I'd previously realized. Sure, her pit hedges were now damp and glistening, but there was something going on down south too. It looked like she was smuggling one of Tina Turner's wigs, and it was far too much for any standard swimsuit to contain.

When I was, say, fifteen, I probably would've gotten some sort of cheap thrill from this spectacle. But now? I'm not trying to be dramatic, I thought I was going to vomit. I could even see it from behind! Blech.

We made a plan to meet back at our house for lunch in half an hour, then all went our separate ways. Sunshine walked silently to their van with her chin held high, being strong in the face of the great wrong that had been visited upon her. Stoic.

We later learned that, because of her deep despair, Sunny had popped a few of her "antibiotics" after she left Wal-Mart. 

And as she made her way downstairs to our family room, she put her entire body weight on the handrail and ripped it clean out of the wall. Then she passed out on a couch for the rest of the day, occasionally sitting bolt upright and saying, "Where?! What? Who am I?!"

Yes, it was an old fashioned Easter straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.... How was yours?

April 26, 2006

-- On Saturday we were planning our big deck fiesta and Nancy sent Nostrils, who was still recovering from his yeast infection or whatever, on a booze run. She told him to pick up supplies to make "lots" of margaritas. And he returned an hour later with supplies to make "lots" of sangria. Including various citrus fruits and, I think, peaches.

Nancy flew into an uncharacteristic rage, grabbed up the wine bottles (and her testicle lockbox) and tore ass out of here as fast as her Crisco-powered car would carry her. She later reported that the man at the liquor store had chuckled and said, "Oh, I remember that guy. He seemed confused." She didn't appear to see any humor in it.

-- During the preparations, it was fully concentrated in here. Everybody was home and just running wide-open. The five kids(!) were making a high racket, Sunshine was fanning herself with enthusiasm and bitching to beat the band, Eninen were flitting around doing this and that (their specialty), Toney's brother was asleep on the couch again and making sounds like a hydraulic crane, and I'd started drinking early.

In fact, I had five or six lagers in me before I even turned on the grill. Everybody else was hitting the novelty liquors, but I made a decision to stick with what I knew. Since it was going to require ample amounts, I figured it would be best not to venture into uncharted territories.

At some point Toney started setting out the chips and salsa and fancy-ass cheeses and whatnot, on the deck table. She created quite a spread, and it attracted most of the adults. Last to arrive was Sunny, who lumbered over with a sneer on her face, fanning and gasping like a trout on a pier. She surveyed the selections, and started in with the bitching.

"Where's the Heluva Good dip?!" she thundered. "I wanted the Heluva Good! ...Ohhhhh great!!!"

Toney, clearly pissed, got up and honored her royal highness's request. And Sunshine proceeded to utilize tortilla chips as little more than a vehicle with which to move sour cream.

I sat out there for a while, trying to be hospitable, but didn't last very long. Toney and Nancy almost got into an argument about breast feeding (again). Nancy, of course, thinks that giving a baby a bottle is right up there with the holocaust, and believes it should be outlawed. It ended when Toney rammed a verbal shiv under her ribs: "I thought you believed in a woman's right to choose?"

Fuck this, I thought. I'm outta here.

I retreated to my beloved babyshit-green sanctum beneath the earth, put on a CD, and cranked off a series of complaining emails to my friend Brad in North Carolina. I re-read our conversation yesterday, and experienced a full-body shiver. It was like war dispatches from an imbedded reporter who had, you know, been drinking heavily.

No way I could get away with hiding out for very long, and eventually returned to the "fun." And this is when Nancy dropped one of her classics....

She was pontificating about gender roles (paaaarty!), and how she's not very fond of the South, but is thankful that they somehow found a fairly progressive area there to live. For instance, she said, the oldest translucent likes to wear a skirt on special occasions and nobody gives him much grief about it.

Total silence. The birds stopped chirping in the trees, and I believe Toney's brother even briefly powered-down the hydraulics in the living room.

Nancy went on to say that Translucent 1 wears a skirt to school on "special days," like when he loses a tooth, and had packed one for Easter. I just about crapped through my patio chair.

Sunshine began howling in protest, and all hell broke loose. Huge argument between mother and daughter, in which the phrase "You're trying to create faggots!" was used... And all I could think was: be absolutely sure you've got fresh batteries in your camera. When the Easter finery appears, you've gotta be there to record the moment!

Unfortunately for all of us, Sunny apparently ruined it by raising so much hell. The skirt never made it out of the suitcase, and I wasn't able to snap my Pulitzer photo. Dammit!

During the episode, though, we also learned that Eninen bought Translucent 2 a pink bicycle with the words "Sweet Stuff" printed across the chain guard(!), and makes him ride it around the neighborhood. She claims that he picked it out, but Sunshine asked him about it in private and got another story. 

Too much fucked-upness....

I started cooking the burgers, and Nossy came over and began talking conspiratorily. He said he wanted to apologize about all the "accidents" that kept happening to the youngest Secret, at the hands of Skirt Boy. He was talking real low, apparently so Nancy couldn't hear. He said that the kid has a mean streak in him (no shit?!), that concerns him greatly. 

I was barely listening, because he's all apologies, no action. I wondered if I were to give him a little bump with my ass, if he'd go over the railing? Our weight differential is substantial, and I'm convinced that it probably would've worked.

And believe it or not, things eventually calmed down. I think all the booze helped, and my kick-ass mega-burgers too. Nancy and the translucents had this for dinner, but Nostrils snorkeled down a freakin' wall of beef. 

By the time the sun was going down there was actual laughter on the deck, and it wasn't even attached to cruel mockery for once. Who could've predicted such a pleasant ending to the day? Certainly not me.

And I promised to finish this up today, but I've still got a little more. Tomorrow for sure, and then it's back to the regular stuff on Friday...

Have a good one.

April 25, 2006

When we returned from Yuengling, Nancy and the translucents were at our house and everything becomes a blur. Instead of attempting to keep the chronology correct, and all that crapola, I'll just give you some "highlights" of the rest of the visit. 

I'm getting a bit tired of this subject, to tell you the truth, so I'll hit the high spots today and tomorrow, then put it all behind me. Where it belongs.

-- As we walked through the front door, after our brewery adventure, it was like 9/11 in here. There was crying, people holding bloody rags to their scalps, piercing sounds that may or may not have been a team of British ambulances... Sweet sainted mother of Chip Z'Nuff!

The oldest translucent (aka Creepy) had apparently flown off the handle again, and smashed a light saber over the head of the youngest Secret, and it was complete mayhem. When Toney started asking questions, Nancy said it had happened "on accident," and it would be the first of many similar so-called accidents that would occur over the next 36 hours. Always, coincidentally enough, at the hands of Translucent 1, and at the expense of Secret 2.

If there was ever a kid crying out for an extended series of ass-kickings, it's Nancy's oldest. That, or an exorcism.

-- Nostrils arrived later that night, but was feeling a tad under the weather. I think Nancy prepared a hot water bottle for his vagina, and tucked him into beddy-by. Whatever. Those people, for all their healthy eating and exercise and whatnot, are CONSTANTLY sick. I live on beer, meat, TGI Friday's Loaded Potato chips, and complacency, and rarely miss a beat. Toney points this out to Nancy from time to time, but gets no reaction. Pass the brown gravy.

-- On Saturday we took the kids to a park near our house, and Nancy was sporting a scarf wrapped tightly around her neck five or six times, and a pair of sunglasses so large and so ridiculous I was having trouble not laughing in her face.

I'm not kidding, they were like something a person might win at a carnival for knocking over milk bottles. I told Toney and Sunshine that Elton John would probably try them on, scratch his chin, and say, "No, that's too much." 

She looked like a glaucoma patient on a doctor-sanctioned outing. And for the rest of the day I was humming "Video Killed The Radio Star." I tried to stop, but couldn't.

-- After the park, I escaped... I mean, went for a haircut. The radically tattooed "I want to be different like all my friends" teenager(?), who was apparently going to tend to my Jiffy-Pop follicles, was taking her good sweet time with some hipster dude who was getting the full poofter treatment, with aluminum foil strips and the whole nine yards.

She was running her mouth a mile a minute, constantly bringing up her tats and how she's so misunderstood by her parents and grandparents, blah, blah, blah. Under normal circumstance I would've been irritated, but on Saturday was thankful for the delay.

And when she finally called me to The Chair, she looked me up and down and said, "Wow. You look like a trout fisherman."

The shit?

And this stuff isn't coming too easily for me today, so I'm gonna stop right there. I'll finish up tomorrow. There's still a true Nancy classic to go, so stay tuned.

April 24, 2006

-- On Good Friday Toney, her brother, and I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands of Pottsville, PA, to tour the Yuengling Brewery. I'd been there many times, of course, but it was Toney's first visit. And her brother.... well, he thinks Killian's is wildly exotic, so he knew nothing of the magic that awaited him.

Sunshine had conspired, once again, to make us late. She'd asked Toney's brother if he wanted to go with her to the store, at eight o'clock in the morning or some shit, and stayed gone for hours. We were supposed to leave at 11:15, and they didn't return from "the store" until 11:35. At about 11:20 I started speaking in tongues, I think. I was beyond pissed, pacing around the house with my eyes bugged out, rubbing my hands through my hair, and cussing like an auctioneer gone bad.

Toney called their cell phones multiple times, but they were all turned off(?!). And when Sunshine finally returned, casually loading a cannoli into her face, we had "words" on the front lawn. How much of her crap am I required to eat? I mean, seriously.

"Oh, did we make you wait on us for a change?" she said, in a very pleased and smartass tone. Grrr....

Things were ratcheting up like our Big Blowout in California, when I told her exactly what I thought of her bullshit, and she stormed out of our house in slippers, dragging half-closed suitcases with giant bras spilling everywhere. "You've declared war on me!" she hollered, and I busted out laughing in her face.

She and Toney didn't speak for months after that, including an entire Christmas season, and I ended up feeling guilty about the whole thing.

But we got away on Friday before a mushroom cloud was allowed to form, and I was pounding my fists on the steering wheel, ranting like a maniac. Then I realized that the woman's son was sitting right behind me, and he might not care for some of the things I was saying about his mother. So I just swallowed it all, popped in a Def Leppard CD, and tried to regain my composure. And eventually I wasn't feeling the urge to go all Kill Bill anymore.

We met my friend Steve at the brewery, and even though I tore ass down the interstate, we barely made the last tour of the day. But we did make it, and it was a good time, as always. 

The best part is the old caves behind the brewery. They were used, in the days before refrigeration, as cold storage. During prohibition the government sealed them off with brick and cinderblock, but Yuengling reopened them to tour groups in 2004, in celebration of their 175th anniversary. Just incredibly cool.

After the tour, we all wedged ourselves into the ancient bar there, and began partaking of the "samples." One old guy said, "Wow. This is going from a Good Friday to a GREAT Friday!" Uproarious laughter all around.

As I sipped my Black & Tan, Toney told us that Nancy was a little irritated that we hadn't included her and Nostrils in our day trip. She said they would've loved to have gone with us, and didn't understand why we couldn't wait for them.

Pretty funny. I could just imagine those two asking a million questions, and arguing with the guide the whole time. Before it was over, the tour group would've probably turned on Eninen, killed them both, buried them deep inside one of the caves, then taken a blood oathe to never speak of the day. Heh.

After our samples, we visited the gift shop. They have a really cool metal sign there that I'd been hemming and hawing about for years. Every time we went I'd stand and look up at it, but could never muster the courage to actually buy the thing. But this time I had Toney with me, and she gave me her blessing.

And here it is, in the bunker. Is that awesome, or what? As you can see, I'm having to rearrange some things to make it fit, but it'll all work out in the end. And the golden elixir is finally receiving its due, at Surf Report Studios.

Most of the pictures I took during the day were shit, for some reason, but here are a few that aren't too bad. And these are the ones from last time, in case you're interested.

After we left Yuengling my Blazer wouldn't start (again!), on the same day I'd paid my mechanic, Johnny Sack, four hundred bucks to fix the problem. I called him on my cell phone, and he was appropriately apologetic, vowing repeatedly to "make it right."

He told me to give it thirty minutes or so, and it should start. So, we all piled into Steve's car, went to Cracker Barrel for a late lunch, and it fired right up when we returned.

And sometimes I wonder why I drink....

When we got home, Nancy and the Translucents were there. Nossy was only a few hours behind, and before bedtime our house was like a full-blown nineteenth century mental institution.

I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

April 11, 2006

-- Last night, after the kids were in bed, we all free-fell into couches and chairs, and Toney, her brother, and I started in on the Yuengling. I think Sunshine was flying high on her "antibiotics" again, and launched into one of her marathon rants about her arch-nemesis, Nostrils. This is one of her favorite subjects, and she can go on for hours about the guy.

She retold the story about the time they were all staying with us in California (at this house), and Nostrildamus said he was going to go out for a run. He disappeared into a bedroom, then came out in a sweatshirt, long underwear, and Pay Less sneakers that looked to be about three sizes too big. The things were slapping the floor as he walked.

And I'm serious, it was literally long underwear, with the fly out front and everything. They were skin-tight on his pipe-cleaner legs, and it was all we could do not to laugh when he entered the room. Sunshine says his legs are so skinny they don't even touch at the top, and I think she's right.

So he goes out into the neighborhood in this get-up, and we're all about to crap our pants trying not to laugh in front of Nancy. Wotta douche. A little while later I went to the store (probably for more beer), and saw him sitting on a wall a couple of blocks away, looking off into the distance and smoking a cigarette.

Yes, it's one of the classic tales....

But last night Sunshine took it to another level, and unleashed some new material. She said she's been thinking about it, and believes she has it all figured out. Nancy, she says, is so "eat-up" with radical feminism, she now hates men. And it pisses her off that she's not gay, and can't just live her life without them. So, as the theory goes, she went out and found herself "a dyke trapped in a man's body."

Those were her exact words. "Think about it," she said. "He acts exactly like a gay woman!" 

The concept is a little confusing at first but, upon further review, I think she might be on to something! And it ended the day with a good, twisted laugh.

Good ol' Grandma and her pharmaceuticals.

April 5, 2006

-- We're busy preparing for the invasion. Sunshine and Mumbles are already on the move, and should arrive here on Friday or Saturday. Once again they're driving all the way across the continent, so as to avoid getting on an airplane (AKA flying death tube), and are reportedly in Wyoming as I type. Toney's brother arrives (via death tube) several days later, and it all comes together with Nancy and the gang a few days after that.

Toney is packing her dresser drawers with items she's afraid will be broken. I believe she's got a Cuisinart food processor up there, and her grandmother's vintage casserole dish or some deal. In amongst her socks is an Oceanic Airlines coffee mug and another that she purchased here. Those are hands-off items, and she'd surely stroke-out if she ever saw Nostrils with his quivering liver lips locked onto one of them. And I know exactly how she feels.

I've got my Invasion Technology all lined up and ready to go. Portable DVD player? Check! With power cord and headphones? Check! iPod, completely maxed out with 70s punk? Check! Laptop computer with wireless card? Got it!

Now I just need to load in the bottled water and canned foods, and I should be able to survive inside our bedroom, with my head beneath the covers, for days on end. Oh, I might also need some Kleenex to wipe away the tears.... I'd better put those on the list too.

Wish us luck!

March 15, 2006

And now the other two "terrible car trip" stories... a little less long-winded than yesterday.

-- During the time we were in Atlanta, my parents lived in Charlotte for a while. They were only there for a few years, and eventually had to return to West Virginia to take care of my ailing grandmother. But during their North Carolina stay Toney and I would drive up there for visits quite regularly.

One Christmas we went up and, for reasons I can't now remember, all of us then piled into my parents' car and continued on to WV. And that was the scene of Terrible Car Trip #2.

My Mom and Dad had a dog then that they pampered beyond belief. The thing was treated like a hound-prince, to the point where it might make a less-secure person feel a little jealous. <ahem> They didn't even feed him dog food. Oh no, they cooked meals for him. He was always scarfing down perfectly prepared turkey franks, hamburgers, and various other quality meats. Huh.

It might've just been my imagination, but I was certain that the dog walked past me a few times, after polishing off a steak dinner or shrimp scampi or whatever, and threw me a smug look that said, "That's right pal, you've been replaced."

Eventually he developed some sort of gastrointestinal disorder and, near the end, began shooting great jets of coal-black shit for impressive distances. Once, when my parents were camping somewhere in their Shania Twain tour bus, they went out to dinner one evening, and when they returned they found that the dog had fired off another of his rectal salutes, from one end of the long, long trailer to the other. Just as black as tar, and across chairs and everything.

But he hadn't yet reached the ass-blasting stage when the car trip took place, he was only perpetually flatulent then.

Also, my parents were still smoking at that point (both have since quit), and you can probably connect the dots. Yes, Toney and I were huddled in the backseat of that car, from Charlotte, NC to Charleston, WV, while my Mom and Dad cranked cigs like something out of a Bogart movie, and that stupid dog vented his molten-hot frankfurter gas in our direction. It was the middle of winter and the windows couldn't come down... it was horrifying.

Every now and then, when she'd catch a whiff of something "new," Toney would audibly gasp in shock and bury her face in her jacket. She rode for hours breathing down the sleeve of a coat, and I was worried she might start crying.

Yes, it definitely qualified as a Terrible Car Trip.

-- The last one is kind of a cheat, because I wasn't actually there. But Toney tells the story of traveling from Atlanta to Athens on a hot summer day, in a Toyota full of garlic-eating Arabs.

Please, allow me to explain...

Nancy's first husband was Palestinian (I think), and was from all accounts a nice guy. He was out of the picture before I came into it, but obviously fostered a lot of good will. I've never even heard Sunshine utter a negative word about the man, and that's saying something. Sunshine doesn't like anyone.

He had/has brothers and sisters in Atlanta, and I guess it would turn into a full-blown family reunion whenever he and Nancy rolled into town. Supposedly all of them could cook like nobody's business, the whole family, and it was always a good time.

Once they decided to take a day trip to Athens, and five or six people shoehorned themselves into a Corolla. Toney says it was really hot and humid and, needless to say, there was no air conditioning. As they traveled, one of the brothers broke out some road snacks: raw garlic sandwiches on white bread, with lots of mayonnaise.

Just the thought of that makes me sick. I mean, fuck! And can you imagine the smell? Toney says there was also a little pit-funk mixed in (source unknown), and some fetid cologne as well. What a heady stew!

But as bad as it was, she maintains, without hesitation, that dog farts & cigarettes is far worse than garlic & B.O. I'm not sure I'd agree with that... 

Maybe it's my West Virginia upbringing, but I'm more at home with dog farts & cigarettes. Sure it's unpleasant, but it's also a part of life. Garlic & B.O.? I think that's a little too worldly for a simple man such as myself. Ya know?

-- And now I'm going to turn it over to Buck, who has a few more things to say on the subject....

Have a great day. I'll see ya tomorrow.

March 14, 2006

Over the weekend Toney and I somehow got onto the subject of terrible car trips. We, like everybody else in the world, have been involved in our share. And since the conversation made me jiggle with laughter, I thought I'd make it the subject of today's update...

-- A million years ago, before we were married, Toney and I took a trip to Oregon to visit Nancy. I'd only met Toney's sister once, at the Braves game where she was knitting and wearing a blouse constructed of what may or may not have been Saran Wrap, and didn't really have a good read on her yet. I knew she was a little flaky, but who isn't, really? ....I was so innocent then.

Nancy received one of her many degrees from a university in Oregon, and was still living there when Toney and I got together. I'd never been to the state, and am always up for an adventure. So we flew into Portland, and Nancy picked us up in her already beat-to-shit Volkswagen. (You should see it now.)

We spent a couple of days at her tiny cat-laden house, where I sneezed and wheezed and contemplated suicide. I told Toney they should change the name of the place to Sporegon, because I was a basket-case from the moment our plane touched down. With each breath, I sucked in another insidious mass of mucus-triggering, energy-sapping agents, and it was all I could do to sit silently in the corner with my mouth hanging open like Gomer. I must've made one hell of an impression.

After a few days in that paradise, we prepared to drive down to Nevada where Sunshine lived. It was reportedly a long ride, but I didn't care. I would've gone by pack mule.

Before we hit the road we swung by the hippie-dippie bakery that Nancy frequented, and each of us bought a muffin and a vessel of their coal-black Venezuelan diarrhea-blend house coffee. If I'd known it was going to be our only "meal" of the day, I would've gotten more.

We drove and drove and drove. It was me, Toney, Nancy, and whatever stinkin' sack o' ticks dog(s) Nancy owned at the time. It was hot and humid and, needless to say, Nancy doesn't believe in air conditioning. I had a novel with me (Mohawk by Richard Russo), and stretched out in the backseat and tried to read, with a smiling and panting dog-head three inches from my face.

At some point Toney casually mentioned that she could go for a bathroom break, and I seconded the motion. Nancy said nothing and kept driving.

After a while Toney brought it up again, and received the same silent reply. When she pushed the issue, Nancy said that we hadn't been traveling very long, and we could surely hold out a while longer. They started arguing, and Nancy finally agreed to stop.

And then she kept on driving.

Toney began yelling at her to find a damn McDonald's or something, and Nancy started lecturing us about the proper method of taking a car trip. She was talking down to us, seemingly implying that we were common white trash because we needed to take a squirt. What's with this chick? Is she insane or something?? If I'd only known then what I know now....

After a while I started to become concerned. Were we being held hostage? I'm not kidding, the thought actually crossed my mind. I was worried that we'd somehow stumbled into a real-life direct-to-video movie. Also, my bladder felt like it was stretched to twice its spec capacity, and my kidneys were buzzing in my back. I was about ready to unzip and just let the chips fall where they may.

She finally stopped, under protest, in a town straight out of Gunsmoke. No shit, there were wooden sidewalks and everything. I think a tumbleweed even blew by as we passed the saloon. Toney and I tore out of that rolling heatbox and sprinted inside a bathroom at the Shady Rest Hotel (or whatever), where we found sweet relief.

We were both so pissed we were ready to knock Nancy over the head with a tire iron, and leave her body in a shallow grave in the desert. Grrrr....

When we returned to the car, our host was busy digging a bruised and discolored pear(?) from a filthy hemp sack. She ate it theatrically, smiled and turned her face to the sun like a character in a 1960's musical, then did stretches in the grass as the breeze gently rustled her pit hair.

It was almost too much to comprehend.

We were on the road that day for more than eight hours, and never ate a thing. She simply refused to stop for food. I believe she offered us some unrecognizable fruit (hedge apples?) from her bag of tricks, but I couldn't do it.

After a while the hunger went away, and the hallucinations kicked in. As we crossed the Nevada state line, I could've sworn I saw a giant Monte Cristo sandwich driving a riding lawnmower beside a grade school.

And I was planning to tell you THREE terrible car trip stories today, but got a little carried away. I'll try to get to the other two tomorrow. In the meantime, let's hear yours. Use the comments link below.

See ya tomorrow.

February 3, 2006

-- Don't tell anyone, but I'm typing this on Thursday, and only pretending it's Friday. The real Friday is reserved for extracurriculars this week, so I'm working in advance. By the time you read this I should be either fully-engaged in an exciting new project, or sitting at Friendly's sobbing into a three-egg skillet meal. I hesitate to make a prediction.

Have I ever told you the story of the day I first met Nancy? No? Well then gather 'round children….

It was a long time ago, before Toney and I were even officially "together." We'd met at work and began a confusing ritual of going to Sunday brunch every weekend. It was one of those deals where I didn't exactly know what was going on. Her boyfriend (ex-boyfriend?) was still living with her and her roommate, but supposedly it was for financial reasons only. Needless to say, I was highly skeptical.

And what exactly were we doing, anyway? Dating? Being brunch-buddies? Who the hell knew? I certainly didn't. The only thing I was sure about is that I'm from West Virginia, and the term brunch-buddy doesn't exactly roll off my tongue.

It was a weird period. I liked her, obviously, but didn't much care for the situation. I'd swing by her apartment to pick her up, and her boyfriend (ex-boyfriend?) would be sitting in the living room eating some sort of slimy crap that smelled like farts and feet (militant vegetarian). He'd give me a jaunty little wave, and say, "Hey, man!"

I didn't know him, but wanted to kick him square in the balls.

The story gets kinda complicated, and I don't really feel like going into it. But at some point we stopped meeting up for our regular Sunday brunches (connect the dots). And when we'd see each other in the halls at work we'd just grunt at each other, and keep walking.

None of it was exactly unusual for that time of my life, but I hated it. Toney and I seemed to click, and I always had a great time with her. But, I kept telling myself, it just wasn't meant to be. There was nothing left to do except maybe go to Manuel's and drink to excess. It was out of my hands, so start me a tab, bartender.

Months passed, and my ex-girlfriend (girlfriend?) and I started spending a lot of time together again. It hadn't ended very well the first time around, and we were treading lightly. It was almost working, but not quite. Something was a tad off, and I just wanted this weird, disorienting period to come to an end. Why wouldn't it end?

Then came the company Braves game.

Every summer they'd have a big night at the ballpark for the employees, and recognize us on the scoreboard and all that jazz. It was a good time: baseball, beer, and unrestrained mockery of upper management. I never missed it.

This particular year a co-worker named (I shit you not) Andrew Jackson asked me for a ride. As we were pulling out of the parking lot he turned and said, "So, is Mr. Jeff Kay a drinking man, by any chance?" I told him I hadn't developed such a powerful upper body by accident, and we stopped at a convenience store. There we bought a sack of Budweiser tall boys, which we drained (he with a straw "for a better buzz") in transit to Fulton County Stadium.

After we'd hit the beer stand at the ballpark at least once, we made our way to our seats. And Toney was sitting right beside me(!?). Not good. The thought of making uncomfortable small-talk all evening wasn't exactly what I had in mind; I was all prepped for drunken rowdiness. I wished I'd been smart enough to use a straw.

But everything was OK. There was no weirdness, and we picked up like nothing had happened. In fact, I started to get the feeling that she was being kinda flirtatious. I wondered if it was just the alcohol talking, but Andrew got up to go to the can, positioned himself behind Toney and gave me two secret thumbs-up and a big exaggerated wink. I'd only seen people in movies do stupid shit like that, but it confirmed my suspicions.

A couple of innings into the game Toney suddenly asked if I wanted to meet her sister. Completely confused, I asked if that was a euphemism or something. But she was being quite literal. Her sister, who, as far as I knew, lived in Washington state or some place, was apparently inside that stadium somewhere with her (first) husband, and his family. Bizarre.

So we started walking, and when we reached the ramp to the section where Nancy was reportedly seated, Toney asked me to wait for her. She disappeared for a couple of minutes, then returned with a woman carrying a load of stuff in her arms. The hell?

We were introduced, and Nancy was holding a big ball of yarn, two knitting needles, and what appeared to be half a sweater. She'd been knitting. At a Major League Baseball game. In 95 degree heat. And a sweater no less!

She offered to buy us a beer, and that sounded good to me. She said she'd better take her knitting stuff back to her seat, and it would only be a second. Both of them left, and I stood there wondering why she'd dragged all that crap out there in the first place. I was so innocent then....

When they came back I believe I audibly gasped. I could now see that Nancy was wearing, and I'm not exaggerating, a see-through shirt. It was constructed of a material so sheer it went exactly counter to the very concept of a shirt as I knew it. And underneath? Nothing but skin. As she walked there was a great deal of swinging and swaying, and her nipples could be spotted from fifty yards out. People were doing double-takes, walking into each other's backs, spilling soda everywhere.... I couldn't believe it.

I led everyone to the beer stand, but Nancy had a problem with the Bud and Coors they were selling. She wanted something a little less prole, she said. I had no idea what she was talking about (prole?), but didn't put up an argument. We began hoofing it in the Georgia humidity, in search of fancy-pants beer.

At this point I believe I issued my first-ever Nancy-related grrrrrr.

After at least two full rotations around the stadium, we found a little stand that sold Samuel Adams. Finally! Nancy walked up to the guy and asked how much the beers cost, and it was something like six bucks each. And you can probably guess what happened after that... Yes, she didn't want to spend that much money, and we ended up buying Budweisers at the very stand we started from.

And so it goes.

January 31, 2006

-- A week or so ago I told you about the trouble that Nancy is having with the translucents' school. Apparently they're expecting the kids to, you know, show up for class every once in a while. Can you believe it?! Nancy doesn't like anyone telling her what to do, especially the person she suspects is behind all this harassment: George W. Bush.

Last I heard, the oldest see-thru child had eleven unexcused absences, and the school district was sending Eninen threatening letters about it. One said that the two of them could be jailed if the matter isn't addressed. Heh. Nostrils on Cell Block C.

Of course, they never answered the letters or followed-up in any way. And they've now been contacted by a state social worker(!), assigned to their "case." The woman keeps calling to set up an appointment, and Nancy is reportedly hostile toward her. She won't agree to a meeting, and keeps telling the social worker to leave them alone.

Yes, it's only a matter of time before Briscoe and Green walk into Nancy's "Hating Men In The French Language" class, and take her away in cuffs. Stay tuned for further developments.

-- On a related note, Nossy is now working nearly full-time in Connecticut or Rhode Island or somewhere up there, and flying home on the weekends. Apparently he was awarded some sort of grant (a lot of money) to do a load of research, then write a book on his findings. I guess it was a prestigious honor, but Nancy is not amused.

She's pissed that she's being left alone to take care of the translucents for days on end, and is making him pay the price for it.

For one thing, he was supposed to start the project months ago, but she insisted he delay it. Then, when he finally made a half-assed attempt to get into it, they followed him around on all his research trips so she wouldn't have to care for the kids by herself. (Hence, the eleven unexcused absences.) In fact, that's the main reason they were up in this part of the country a few weeks ago; he was supposed to be doing research in NYC. But Nancy and the see-thrus dragged along behind him, and he got nothing accomplished.

He's already been warned that the university is concerned about his lack of progress, and they reminded him that the money will have to be repaid if he doesn't live up to his end of the bargain. That apparently scared them a bit, and he's finally getting down to business. And it requires him to be away from the house during the week, so Nancy has implemented a few "rules."

He must arrive back in town on Friday night in time to take her out for dinner and drinks, then bathe the children before bedtime. (Later he's undoubtedly required to strap on a leather mask and high heels, or whatever, but that part of the story is sketchy.)

Over the weekend he must clean the house, top to bottom, including a full scrub-down of the shower and toilets, dusting and vacuuming, and the whole nine yards. And when he's done with those chores, it's time to pay the household bills and tend to the family's laundry (which includes the ironing of Nancy's shirts and pants). 

Plus, and this is my favorite part, he's required to cook a week's worth of meals for Nancy and the kids, place them in individual Tupperware containers, and label and freeze everything.

All this before he flies back out on Sunday evening, the selfish bastard.

Make of this what you will.... Please note that I am taking the high road here, and have not expressed an opinion one way or the other. At no time, for instance, did I use such loaded phrases as "testicle lockbox." I'm merely reporting the news, and letting you decide.

And I know this is a bit short, but I didn't update yesterday until after I got home from work. I need to get my rhythm back, and maybe this will be my first step to recovery?

See ya tomorrow.

January 24, 2006

-- When Nancy was here I noticed that she kept grilling the Secrets about individual recognition at their school. She wanted to know if their teachers name Students of the Month, and hand out active listening awards, and that sort of thing. The fact that she kept bringing it up, again and again, was a clear sign that she had herself a brand new axe to grind.

Fighting an instinctual urge to spring from my chair and scream, "Get away from my kids!!" I sat back and watched it play out instead, as sort of a lazy man's sociological experiment. And when the Secrets told her that there are indeed Students of the Month at their school, and all sorts of lesser awards as well, she immediately adopted a saddened, deeply saddened, expression. It was as if she'd just learned of a death in the family.

Apparently they don't "do" individual recognition at the couches 'n' wind chimes school the translucents attend, Fidel Castro Elementary (I think). Special recognition is only given to groups, not any one person. They all work together, you see, sacrificing for the greater good of whatever boogery "society" they're currently being forced to live within. From each according to his ability, and all that crapola.

Why, you start allowing individual kids to reap the benefits of hard work and sound decision-making, and who knows where it could lead? Left unchecked, you might have a bunch of miniature Richard Bransons and Bill Gateses running around. ...Somebody please hold me.

Nancy's always been big on groups. She's constantly talking about her "lesbian friend," her "Cuban friend," her "friend that's recovering from an abusive relationship." There are no Jennifers or Lisas in Nancy's world, only group members. And each group is assigned a list of attributes, which are absolutely carved in stone.

All Republicans believe exactly the same things, for instance, as well as Canadians. Unless, of course, said Canadian is a gay man, in which case he gets moved to a different group. Gay always trumps Canadian in her bizarre rocks, scissors, paper worldview. And Republican trumps gay, and so forth. You pretty much need a schematic to keep track of it all.

A couple of years ago I told you about a picnic that Nancy and Nostrils attended in Texas, where there were several black families in attendance. Nostrils was overheard (by Sunshine) telling a man that the oldest translucent is super-smart, then added, "he can even find Africa on a map!" And Nancy walked around all afternoon attempting to strike up conversations about the horrors of slavery. It makes me cringe just thinking about it...

Afterwards, Eninen expressed surprise at how stand-offish some of the people at the picnic were, and wondered it it was because they were from Texas. So make note of that revision: Texas now trumps black.

I don't know... I made a vow years ago to stop trying to figure those people out, and I've kinda slipped-up today. Now I'm sitting here with a throbbing headache. I'm not even sure I have it right, but I'm finished with it, nonetheless.

Nancy also got up on her high horse about school lunches while she was here, and how they're now serving designer pizzas and fancy-pants sub sandwiches in some districts. But the poor kids, she claims, still have to eat standard cafeteria fare, like salisbury steak. 

"When a ham sandwich becomes a status symbol in a country as rich as this one, something's terribly wrong!" she said, as if addressing a rally of some sort. 

You guys can analyze that if you want, I'm done.

-- I promised to empty my notebook of all the Nancy stuff, and here's what's left, in bite-size nuggets:

She mentioned that somebody gave her and her so-called husband Nossy a box of "chocolate pasta" for Christmas, and they ate it with a bleu cheese sauce. Who gives pasta as a gift? And what in the pan-fried hell is chocolate pasta? With bleu cheese?? Shit! I'll take that salisbury steak-of-shame any day.

Nossy is now reportedly writing his first novel. He says that while he has no actual experience in writing fiction, he believes it runs in his blood. His father, he reports, was quite successful during the 1970's, working in the "science fiction porn" genre. You think I'm joking?

One night for dinner Toney made some sort of rice dish, and Nancy wanted to try it. But, she knew it had been prepared with chicken broth. "Have you ever considered cooking a meal without corpse juice?" she asked, during the evening meal.

Eninen are constantly chasing the translucents through the house with some sort of vegetable speared on a fork. "Eat this!" they scream. It's never-ending chaos. One night Nancy wasn't having any luck with the middle kid, who was refusing a big ol' droopy piece of broccoli the size of a billiards ball. She told him that if he didn't eat his vegetables, bad things would happen to him, "like getting hit by a car." Can you say Richard Speck?

And that's that. Good riddance. Where's the fucking Tylenol?

January 18, 2006

-- On Sunday I learned that Nancy was nearly arrested by the Philadelphia Police Department during their trip up here. She was finally let go with only a lecture from a cop, but I guess it was a bit dicey for a few minutes. And when she returned home, there was a letter waiting for her from the local school board, also threatening incarceration. She blames it all on the Bush administration.

Allow me to explain....

You see, she's an animal lover -- or so she claims to anyone who'll listen. This is one of her most well-known personas. But, and I'm not making a joke here, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I treated our dog Andy the way she treats her animals.

She makes them eat a vegetarian diet, something like a shot glass of brown rice a day, and you can see their ribs rolling around beneath their nasty-ass stank fur. The idea of an occasional bath is probably something propagated by American Big Business, like those Nazis at Proctor & Gamble, or whatever. 

She also takes her dog(s) with her everywhere she goes, and doesn't hesitate to keep it/them locked inside her car for hours at a time, while she shops for organic underwear and mysterious vegetables straight off the "radioactive seeds" episode of Gilligan's Island.

I'm fairly certain that at least two of her cats have committed suicide along the way, by escaping the house and promptly flinging themselves in front of oncoming vehicles. What can Brown do for you? Crush my fukkin head, please, and bring me sweet relief. (Meow.)

Their old open-sore orange juice-pissing dog with the please shoot me eyes finally died a year or so ago, and they immediately went out and bought a puppy. I'm not clear on what it is, but it's high-ugly. He's pure white and has the body of a medium-sized terrier, but the head of a pit bull. He's roughly the size of Andy, and they've already made him go weird.

When I first met this curious-looking hound, he was frisky and playful, and I took an immediate liking to him. I felt bad that life's lottery had caused him to land in the House of Nancy, and considered sneaking off to a butcher shop to buy him an illicit cow heart or something. But it was none of my business.... And now he walks sideways and runs into walls and shit. I have a feeling that it's brain damage brought on by hunger, elevated temperatures inside that toy car, and the constant smacking of lips and sucking of teeth at home. Sad.

And when they were in Philadelphia, for Nostrildamus's job interviews, they locked the dog inside their car again, and somebody called the police(!).

When Nancy and the translucents returned from whatever they were doing, there was a cop waiting for them. And he was not amused. Apparently he threatened all sorts of things, including a short stay at the city jail. Man, I would've paid money to witness that conversation! I have a feeling that they didn't really touch on Nancy-training too much at the academy, ya know?

But he finally let her go, after giving her a ration of shit for a few minutes, and she's still pissed about it. She told Toney on Sunday that it's because of George Bush's America, and the country's "violent shift to the right," that cops are now telling people in the streets how to lead their lives.

"The government needs to stay out of our business!" she reportedly shouted, as if from an elevated platform. And probably right before moving on to other subjects, like how the government needs to mandate what schools our kids go to, what they'll learn there, which doctors we visit, how much money the doctors are allowed to make, and how we are to feed our babies. But that's just a guess; I wasn't actually involved in the conversation.

And the ironic part of all this? The person who called the police was probably the Nancy of the Northeast.

When the gang finally returned home, they found an "official" letter there from the school board about the oldest translucent's many unexcused absences this year. Apparently he already had eleven at the time the letter was written. It's probably increased since then.

Eninen see no problem in just keeping their kids home whenever they feel like it, when they travel somewhere, or for no real reason whatsoever. And she sure as shit ain't gonna tell the the school what's going on; it's none of their business. The translucents might be there, and they might not. Nobody tells a woman what she can and can't do with the fruit of her own reproductive system!

Indeed, she yanked the kid out of class for an entire week to come up here. Just all willy-nilly.

The board reminded Eninen that this is a serious matter, and if not addressed could lead to all sorts of bad stuff -- including the arrest of the parents(!). And, needless to say, this is all because of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program.

From what I understand, the translucents are enrolled in an "experimental" public school, where everybody sits around on couches, incense is burned and there's lots of wind chimes, the kids don't get grades, and all the school supplies are placed in a common pool where it can be accessed on a "by-need" basis, so as not to damage the self-esteem of anyone via crayon-envy. I think it's called Fidel Castro Elementary, but I'm not sure about that.

Yet even there, Eninen can't get with the program. Nothing is ever enough.

January 9. 2006

-- On Friday, if you remember, Nostrils had missed his bus to Philadelphia (a tradition) and was frantically attempting to load roughly the same amount of crap we have in our basement, inside their little soy-powered car, so he could make his one o'clock job interview. It was chaos unleashed; they were reportedly sprinting up and down the steps of their hotel, hollering and waving their arms, and dropping duffle bags from the second floor into the parking lot.

Toney helped a little, but quickly extracted herself from the situation. It's a little hard to work up a good head of sympathy when the problems are all self-inflicted, and repeated over and over again. So she left them at the absolute zenith of their frenzy, and came home. And as she was coming through the door, her cell phone started ringing for about the fiftieth time that morning. It was Nancy.

"Hey, would you like to join me for a quick soak in the hot tub, before we check out of this place?" she asked.

The heck? One minute they're running around like the Normandy Invasion, and now they're going for "a soak?" Just when you think you can't be surprised anymore, they turn right around and surprise you again...

Nostrildamus had called the recruiter at the job fair, and told him he wouldn't be able to make the one o'clock appointment. Apparently the guy wasn't very nice about it, but he rescheduled the interview for the next day. Eninen were offended by the man's "attitude," but quickly dismissed it as his problem, not theirs. As far as I know neither of them, in their entire adult lives, have made a plan and stuck with it, without changing it a dozen time. It's the way they live, and everybody else is just supposed to deal with it. They're academics.

Nostrils also had a three o'clock interview with another person on Friday, but the extra two hours they'd gained, by backing out of the first agreement, had afforded them the luxury of a visit to the hot tub, and taking it easy for a while. Man, I bet the filters on that thing were so clogged with body hair when they left, the hotel people just tossed it into the trash.... It's a wonder there wasn't a fire.

Anyway, as you might have guessed, he missed his three o'clock appointment too. And is that not hilarious? They're the smartest people in the room, and can't wipe their own asses.

He had to call and reschedule that interview as well, and I'm unclear on what happened after that. We never saw them again, and as late as Sunday morning they were still in Philadelphia kicking around. I think they're home now, but I'm not sure.

Toney's now getting a lot of grief from Nancy and Sunshine about how she "allowed" Eninen to stay in a hotel, and how she didn't "make time" for the royal family while they were in town. Of course Toney told them, when they were thinking about changing the plan for the hundredth time, that it was going to be hectic if they insisted on visiting after everyone had gone back to work and school and everything. But that doesn't matter. Toney's always the bad guy. Unless, of course, it's my turn.

And so it goes.

January 5, 2006

-- Apparently Nancy is irritated about a conversation that she and Toney had last week. If you remember, the gang was scheduled to descend upon the compound during the holidays, when everybody was at home. But, of course, all that changed fifty or a hundred times, and now they're visiting while Toney and I are back at work, and the kids have returned to school. Makes perfect sense, right?

We don't want them hanging around this place alone all day, tearing shit up and going through our stuff. Not to mention, having sex on our comforter. (Just the thought of all that hair-in-motion atop our handmade quilt makes me queasy.) Apparently Toney hinted at this in a phone call a few days ago, and now they're staying at a hotel to make some sort of "dramatic" point.

And, man oh man, BN is pissed. He hasn't said ten words to us since they arrived. He just sits around sulking in silence, drinking hard liquor and beer on ice(?), and snorkeling down Bugles with malice. Yes, there's a lot of love in the air.

But we didn't arrive at our concerns in a vacuum. They do tear shit up, on a regular basis. And that's with us here. We've had to toss at least one VCR into the trash after they left town. And Nancy once ruined an expensive cooking pot by stirring something horrible and gray with a fork, and GRINDING it into the non-stick stuff at the bottom. That had to go straight into the landfill as well. And Nostrils burned a big circle into our kitchen countertop with a ludicrous hippie-dippie contraption he uses to prepare his jet-black diarrhea coffee. That's just three things off the top of my head... There are more, plenty more.

So, let 'em be pissed. I'm sure it bothers Toney a little, but me? Pass the beer nuts.