“Slow Ride, Take It Easy…”

April 14, 2017 at 9:00 am (Cussed Dumbers, The Easy Chair)

You know middle age is approaching when multiple people get excited about a toilet.

I introduce the Cadillac of toilets. We haven’t named it yet, but I’m thinking Pacific Princess. (It’s as big as the Love Boat!) The Nightclub Store has been getting some cosmetic surgery. MISTER Edamame is afraid he’s going to lose us as a tenant, so he’s been throwing money into the building. We have a new floor covering, linoleum that looks like hardwood and buffs up nice. There was nothing wrong with the floor! It had been replaced ten years ago, the whole floor, not just the linoleum. But if he’s buying…

How about something useful? Make the outside surveillance camera operable? (Oops, did I say that?) We have sixteen cameras inside, and he bitches about the wires, but says nothing about the busted camera that dangles from a cord from the awning outside. He had the laborers use a few zip-ties and corral the wires, painting some of them beige to match the wall.

When I heard we were getting a new toilet, I had mixed expectations. Since the previous remodel we’ve had this, this… kid’s toilet! It can’t be more than twelve inches off the floor. Our older employees take so long in there because they can’t get back up. And then there’s Art East, who is no fan. “Did an adult install that toilet? How the FUCK does anyone over four-feet tall keep from dipping their junk in the water every time they sit down?” He does a Lewis Black-worthy rant, and I wish I could do it justice. It’s hilarious.

I suppose I should keep my voice down, as these toilets fall into a gray area. See, they were made before the great “toilet-water act of 1993” or whenever economy-flush toilets became mandatory. MISTER Edamame bought a dozen or so cheap before they were pulled off the market, and saves them for times like this. In order to fix the little toilet, he would need a new piece of plumbing installed. (Costing $600.) So MISTER Edamame released his miserly grip just a bit, hooked up this huge, classic throne, and now we’re shittin’ in tall cotton!

It’s too bad Weird Steven no longer works with us. He lives/lived a block from the Nightclub Store, and it irked Grinder no end that he would come use the store bathroom instead of the community john at his hotel. (“He’s too cheap to buy toilet paper!” “He only works sixteen hours!”) Weird Steven got fired for not having a phone, and stopped coming around a couple months ago. If I offended him, I wish I know what I did, so I could do it again, before I apologize for whatever I did. His conversational blurbs were often interesting, and that whole “learn something new every day” rule of mine was easy to attain, because of his oddball factoids. Back in line in the hotel hallway, and don’t forget your TP.

It’s nice to have a comfortable bathroom for employee use. One can drop off a few friends at the poo’ without baptizing their bits, and without spending half an hour with a plunger getting rid of the evidence.

Want to use it? Fill out an application. Employees only. Spouses of employees only if the parking garage is the final option. I let Rain use the bathroom, but not if any rat co-workers are around. Giggles, notorious for his bathroom activities, has been spending 2-3 hours after work, poking around in the back. Eva finally laid down the law, “At 7:45 you get your stinky ass out of here!”

All praise the Porcelain Gods!

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Greetings and Hallucinations: Ten Years Gone

April 1, 2017 at 5:30 am (The Easy Chair)

Good morning, everybody!

It’s Saturday, April First, AKA April Fool’s Day. It’s also the tenth anniversary of this blog. No foolin’.

I have always wanted to be a writer. (Actually, I’ve always wanted to be a rock star, but since I have no talent or musical training, I’ll be like Barry Manilow and write the songs that make the whole world sing.) Since the physical act of writing isn’t the part I enjoy, (creating the story/atmosphere/characters would be that,) I learned to parse my words and make sure it sounds correct before committing to paper. Once I read Stephen King’s tutorial in About Writing I made it my life’s mission to obtain a word processor.

First it was a Mac, up until OS 8.6, at which time I went turncoat and got a PC. I would compose on Wordpad, or something like it, copy and paste it into email form, and send it to a few friends and relatives. I’d just said goodbye to a three-year relationship, and thatgirl suggested I start a blog. “It will be a great outlet for you, and you can chronicle all your stuff in one spot.” I went to WordPress.com, started piddling around, and voila! (Or ‘Wallah!!!’ as the ignant would spell.) I am Big Daddy to my own website.

Eight-hundred-plus adventures later, I’m still at it. Not many folks have blogs, at least ones in current production. I don’t write as much as I want to, but that’s a lazy excuse. (Sometimes procrastination works for me; I have a tendency to want to write the story before it has played out. Hold your horses, Wilbur!) I must self-flagellate: (Flagellate means praise, right?) I do think my writing has improved over the years. Practice (plus reading stuff written by GOOD authors) doesn’t make perfect, but it does inspire improvement.

Yeah, I’m still at it, and in some ways the situation is much the same. I just finished a long-term relationship with a woman I still dearly love, but I’m finally okay with it because she has moved on and has someone to take care of her. It was the same ten years ago. Neither thatgirl or Rain need a man to take care of them, but once another came on the scene I felt comfortable taking my emotional leave. It’s the protector in me, I guess. It’s not my problem anymore.

So I have my pages here, to vent, confess, plot. I see no reason to stop now. Writing is therapeutic for me. I don’t have a lot of readers, but I do have a faithful core, and I love you guys! Hugs, hat tips, bong hits and booty calls! Take the ones that apply to you! (Keeping my butt to the wall when Grinder comes by, tho.) Big thanks to Art East, for his visual contributions and continual egging on. You bring out the devil in me, bud.

Thanks to Dr T. A recent check of my phone showed we have shared 3,178 texts, mostly involving work schedules and the Chicago Cubs. The next nearest persons with that many convos are Rain and Dizzy, with about 1,200. This made me go “Hmm…” until I realized I’d piled up so many messages from Dr T because I’d never gotten irritated and deleted all his messages. There’s much to be said for friendship. I treasure yours.

A hearty hello to my buddy back east, Uncle Jeff! I’m guessing you’re spending this Fool’s holiday shooting craps in Atlantic City. (I shot craps once, but Rain couldn’t figure out a tasty way to cook them.) Thank you for all you do. I love getting the east coast perspective.

And now, it’s time to venture off to Master P’s. I’m at the Nightclub Store until midnight, then I have three days off. I intend to make the most of it.

As my Australian friends would say, “Cheese might!” Here’s to another ten years, and may the stories only get better.

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“How’m I Doin’?”

March 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm (The Easy Chair)

preying-mantisFine, just fine.

March 1 brought change to my life. My relationship with Rain changed forever. We have friend-zoned each other. I think this is going to be fun.

I make light, but it hasn’t been exactly easy. For the last six years she’s been on the edge of every thought. Everything I do I would factor her in somehow. It’s all part of being in a relationship. We fell in love. It/we may not have been a traditional couple, but we were a fun, colorful couple. (I had to stop and change that to past-tense. Still used to it being “us/we.”) We were constantly in contact, when her phone wasn’t turned off or lost. And when that happened? We would meet by giving or knowing each others coordinates.

So when I have to wait five minutes for the bus, I don’t pull out my phone to call her, or text some mushy love note. I craved a cigarette. Wow, that’s where my tobacco habit transferred to? She was good for me in many ways. She kept my hands busy.

My last relationship, before Rain, was an off and on three years kinda thing. We still chat via internet on occasion, and I still love her like yesterday. She’s doing well, has been in a relationship for years, and I am happy for her. But I couldn’t let go of her until I knew she had someone. It’s been the same way with Rain. We’ve broken up a handful of times, but never because of someone else on her part. (My part? Whistles, glances heavenward…) Now that I know she has someone who makes her happy, I can let go a little bit. I’m still going to care what happens to her, and still going to miss her sometimes.

But I won’t miss waiting on her.

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Xmas Comes Slowly This Year…

December 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm (The Easy Chair)

skulls-and-caddy

…But it comes!

I have most of the stuff I really need. I have a lot of stuff I want, or can get it without much effort. What I’ve wanted this year are not material goods. Peace in my soul and mind cannot be bought. While not in distress, I’ve felt better mentally.

I need a hug. Preferably from an old friend. Do Christmas wishes come true? Since Monday is also considered Christmas this year, I have until midnight to find out.

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Merry Xmas, Dahlinks

December 25, 2016 at 12:25 pm (The Easy Chair)

washing-machines

I was the first awake in the house. I skipped shaving. It’s Christmas and Sunday, for Chrissakes. Besides, I am on a mission.

I scooped up socks, stripped my bed. Stuffed an energy drink and fresh trash liner into the duffel bag, and loaded it into the granny cart.

Off to the light rail and the laundromat. Laundry is two weeks overdue, and strangers thinking I’m homeless are offering me blankets.

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Let There Be Light!

December 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm (The Easy Chair)

YamhillLamppostMy phone was ringing at 8 AM. Whoever on the line better be ready for an outburst. I don’t do morning, as Rain says.

“Hi, this is the electrician with REACH, we’d like to come take a look at your bathroom. Would an hour be okay?”

“Of course, but knock twice at least. We are day sleepers, and might be out of it…”

Last August, during the height of home repair ambitions, I attempted to swap out the light switch in the bathroom. Sister had pointed out that the wall was hot around the light switch, alarmingly so. After much internet research and a consultation with the carpenter neighbor, I tore into the wall and immediately regretted it. The wires didn’t match. I duct taped everything, and got the electricity turned back on just before sunset. Since that time we’ve been using a Coleman lantern in the bathroom. D batteries are expensive, but one set has lasted months. It’s better than a fire.

Soon, urban lumberjacks were invading the house with ladders and groovy tools. Drills with lights inspired Alien imagery as they poked through the attic. The old ceiling fan came out, looking an accordion made of dust. While one electrician worked in the crawlspace above, the other ran wires through the wall, and soon we had light over the bathroom sink. No more shaving like Ray Charles!

Once the electricians departed, and Luna came out from under Niece’s desk, I took the inaugural shower. A hot, steamy, fog-engulfed experience had been replaced with a completely dry mirror. The air was crisp by comparison. The mold on the ceiling might eventually go away after all…

It may not seem like much, but it’s the universe’s Xmas present to us. Our most gracious thanks to you, Universe. For light. For being. For everything.

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A Long, Cold Winter

November 18, 2016 at 12:29 pm (The Easy Chair)

I’m cold.

I grew up in Sandy, Oregon, 25 miles from downtown Portland and about 50 miles to Mt Hood, elevation 978 feet. (Give or take. Dad always called it “a thousand feet.”) It was colder than sea level, but hardly arctic.

Growing up a fat kid, cold didn’t bother me. I never believed in that theory anyway; my skin is on the outside where the nerves are. But as I age and lose weight, it seems like I’m cold all the time.

It hasn’t been a problem the past couple years. Winters have been rainy but not cold, and I had Rain sleeping with me, so the body heat kept my room toasty. With her gone, it’s been cold around here more ways than one.

We have a super-efficient furnace installed by the Russians that lived here previously. It’s big, meant to heat a small business. We turn it on for ten-fifteen minutes and the whole house is good for hours. Except lately, when you turn the heater on, the gas builds up and creates a scary light show when it ignites. So Sister called a repairman, who claimed “it was just dirty. $118 please!” We have a call in to him, to come move the dirt around again so we can stop shivering.

Stoned, Cold

Stoned, Cold

I know, we’re in for a long winter if this 40-degree stuff is getting to me. But we haven’t had much cold weather. It’s been two years since I’ve worn The Great Pumpkin, but I won’t be cold if I break that out. It’s rated at -30 degrees. I’ll smoke a big fat one and slip into my Tang-colored poofy jacket. Say hi if you see me.

I was worried it was me, getting sick or something, but my niece and sister are huddling under the covers, and have made a deal with Luna. She’s guarding them furiously from the bed, all snuggling and watching cartoons until work time.

I’ve been keeping my room as warm as possible, using 60-watt bulbs in the lamp, leaving the computer on, etc… I feel like Tony Soprano wandering the property in my bathrobe. (Blue trenchcoat, not pink shorty. Rain made that bathrobe disappear. Waah.) By the time I get showered and layered up, it’ll be too goddamn hot on the bus and I’ll have to peel down.

I’m not as cold as my homeless friends. I have a roof. I have a family to keep me warm on the inside. I have a goofy dog who loves us in that unconditional way that dogs have. Luna’s growing, looks like a black Hee Haw dog. She bays at the moon when left alone, she sounds like a fire truck. Django the wandering tomcat has been spending more time at home lately. Guess he’s been getting cold too. The mice and Guinea pigs are low maintenance; happy to see us when we bring carrots and peanut butter.

Time to make the doughnuts! I’ve been steady working Friday and Saturday nights at the Nightclub Store, and I imagine tonight will be busy. Busy with thieves, scammers and those pretending to shop just to get out of the rain for a few minutes. “Snap to it, let’s go! Beep beep beep, buy your shit and get on outta here!”

There I go, being cold again…

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Fall Has Fallen

September 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm (The Easy Chair)

20160907_113333Who says Oregonians don’t use umbrellas? A little rain doesn’t stop Niece from a morning of backyard reading.

Fall came at exactly September First. The clouds rolled in, I think it may have rained, I don’t recall. I know it looked like it was going to, and that was good enough for me.

We collapsed and retrieved the cloth-based items, like chairs and pillows. I was sure to close the vents and cover the barbecue. We don’t want an adobe oven next spring.

Not that it will take until next spring for me to barbecue, or do yard work. I was out there at 9 AM (dawn in my world) weeding the driveway. We don’t have a car, but we have room to park one.

I’m almost downtown, where the leaves are hinting at change. School is back in session, and the smell of Autumn is in the air. The sunshine was nice, but clouds and rain are more suited to my mood these days.

It’s almost time for the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

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Football Without Balls?

July 30, 2016 at 12:34 am (The Easy Chair)

It’s a couple days until August. Football season is right around the corner!

If you have cable, it’s already here. As a bored youth I remember watching the spring and summer excitement of baseball fade as football returned. Before college or pro football in the USA, there was the Canadian Football League. With their three-down possessions and extra-large field, the games were exciting. And they showed on Wednesday evening!

I will enjoy the CFL when it’s time, but tonight it’s still baseball season. Though it’s 1:30 in the morning, thanks to cable TV I can watch my dream world series match-up. Mariners vs Cubs. I already know the Cubs won 11-0, but I will watch anyway. The Harry Caray impersonators do Harry better than Harry himself. Sorry Harry, your performance has been a bit stiff of late.

While waiting for first pitch, I channel-surfed. Legends Football League? What do we have here? John Elway gang-tackled by a bunch of gimpy old guys? Couldn’t hurt to look…

Lady Football League

I could miss the first couple innings of the Cubs game. I mean, I already know they won, right?

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A Fine Pickle

June 23, 2016 at 10:54 am (The Easy Chair)

A short history of Portland baseball. We now resume our regular programming.

I went to a ballgame last night. It was pretty good.

Pickles game

It was my first visit to Walker Field, the minor league ballpark hidden in the trees of Lents Park. The Portland Pickles are in their first year, a college-level league that keeps major league-potential talent busy playing throughout the summer. Since the Portland Beavers left town, I have been to one baseball game, the Hillsboro Hops. With all due respect, it felt like Indiana and I tend to hate Hillsboro. So I was goddamn happy to have a team to root for other than the Hops. I’d had a great time with my friend, but the baseball experience left me wanting. I wanted less Christian Youth Corps and more Bad News Bears.

As the man who founded Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlors said, “Give them the pickle!”

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