14 September, 2016

Not Me Cup Of Tea

14 September 2016

R. Linda:

Well, well, well live and learn something about human nature, mine. I have to preface this piece because I am not necessarily knocking beautiful women of the supermodel kind, but in a way I have experienced something that doesn't often happen to the working joe like me. I also know I be not cut out for the social life of the upper crust Bostonian set.

Here it is, last weekend I was invited to a rather magnificent splash of a party in Boston. I am liked by one of the paper's executives, a mover and shaker in Boston. He lives on swanky Beacon Hill across from the park and has three big homes, one on the Vineyard, one in Aspen, and one in Malibu. I ran into him at the wharf about a week ago. I asked him how he was and he's a talker he is, and he proceeded to tell me his latest adventures in Abu Dabi and about his side trip to New Zealand. Then he said he was having a bash at one of the big Boston hotels and why didn't I bring the wife and come enjoy. Well, I was taken aback. He then said it was formal and it give me wife an opportunity to dress to the nines as all women like that. OK, Tonya is not one of those women, but he was nice for asking and I wasn't about to debate the issue.

He insisted we attend and I told him I had a wee bit of a cold and was on antibiotics. He looked at me a moment and said, "Gabe, you're up in New Hampshire right?"

"I am." I replied with a cough.

"Look you could do me a huge favour. My Porsche is being fixed by a friend of mine in Hollis. If I have him drive the car over to your place, would you drive it to the party and I will send you home after ward in my limo if that's all right?"

Hells yes! Porsche? ME ME ME I WANNA DRIVE IT!

Having made the deal, and gotten the particulars I was on cloud nine. So I take meself home and tell the wife she be invited to a society shindig and she is not excited but deflated. Me Mam on the other hand, was thinking what a great opportunity this was for me to "netwerk da hell outda dem high and mighties." Of course she would think that so the wife looked defeated as well and shrugged and said she hadn't a thing to wear that would be appropriate.

"Err look," Mam says, "we'll go tuo dat Davie's Bridal or whatever ye call it and git ye sumthin' grand we will."

"We will?" Tonya said looking at me terrified because me Mam's idea of grand is Victorian lace down to the ankles with old ladies shoes. Not exactly Tonya's style.

I looked amused (I couldn't help it) and shrugged.

"Gabe, don't you think he's using you to get his car down there?" Tonya mused.

"Not really, the fella that has it could drive it down but he thought I might enjoy the ride." I mused back.

"Yeah, well it seems suspicious to me."

"No, we talked about the Porsche and I said wistfully I wish I could drive one. I think he's being nice be all. Besides we have cart blanche at the party and are being driven home in a limo."


It was the very next day me Mam carted the wife off to the bridal store. I was looking at me cheque book in dread because those dresses do not come cheap (which was a discussion I had with them both before they left).

"Look err' sunny buy, if yer wants Tonya to standout she needs a good dress."

And that was that.

"But hey Gabe, you get to drive a Porsche." Tonya said not without a tinge of malice in her voice, and off they went.

I have a tuxedo thanks in part to me friendship with the Weasil who insisted he buy me one for one of his adventures out. So at least I didn't have to shell out a rental, only hoped it still fit and it did.

Well, the dress was bought, and you'll be happy to know it was not a Victorian number, but a chic salmon coloured hug her body you won't miss her dress. Oh yeah, complete with sparkly heels. I was glad me Mam does not know who Harry Winston is, or I could see her flying down there with Tonya in tow for a shitload of diamonds to enhance the un-enhanceable. That dress needed nothing to make it more spectacular than it was.

The dress
The Porsche and another one arrived at me door. The fella told me it was a breeze to drive and gave me some instructions on the motor and all it could do. Seems he owns four -- must be nice.

"Your boss said you never drove one before. Well, here you are," he said handing me the keys.

"Is there more to this?" I whispered. "Me wife thinks somethings up."

"Oh no," he laughed. "He does kind things for people he likes. No worries. Have fun and don't smash it." He left laughing.

That last left me with a hole in the pit of me stomach filled with dread. What if I did that? Holy cow I was now having second thoughts and there she was coming down the steps dressed to the nines, and he pulling away! What to do? I told meself to snap out of it and get meself going.

The goddess and I got in and after a moment of being impressed, I put the lovely wonder in gear and we eased on down the road like two fat cats that do this all the time.

Now instead of dreading the drive that I might ruin a perfectly good hairdo and an expensive motor, I was dreading the end of the drive. I could have driven that baby all night and the next day happy as a clam. But we arrived at the swanky hotel. Of course, the lady was let out first and she moved up to the doors and realised I was not with her. She turned around to find me still sitting in the motor of dreams, the valet tugging at me door to get me out. I know, I was being a jerk about that car but . . .

After a few minutes I departed the wonder mobile and started up to the front door where the wife was patiently waiting and a lot of fancy dressed people were milling about when suddenly the world stopped and this blond with suntan and black dress slashed to the navel, slit up to her waist comes model walking in me direction. She hands me a card and tells me in a husky, sexy voice to give her a ring. THAT NEVER HAPPENS TO MOI! I stood there with me mouth agape looking the jackarse I'm sure when the car's owner comes up to me and says, "It's the car."

Well, of course it was. He told me it happens all the time. I knew in the past he dated supermodels of which there were plenty at the party. We were sitting at his table and for some reason I had the honour of sitting next to him. He asked me about the car and we talked Porsche for about an hour before it turned to me exciting encounter outside the hotel.

"Never happened to me before." I mused.

"Gabe, let me tell you before I married I thought it was great to have a supermodel on my arm. But you know they are gold diggers, all about the money. They see the car, the well fitting tux, and bam they are right there. The foreign ones are the worse. They are groomed from very young to look for the wealthy American and go for it."

"Really?" I said looking around at some of the vivacious lookers working the room.

"Really. My wife I met at a convenience store out west. I stopped in after a jog to buy a cold drink and there she was a fellow jogger doing the same thing. We struck up a conversation about jogging and made a date to meet the next day. We did, she had no idea who I was and I was smitten. Told her that night I'd like to take her out. She said fine she'd be ready. I went to pick her up and there she was dressed in shorts and a tank top. I said I was going to take her to a nice place for dinner. She said, she was hoping I would take her for a sunset jog. Hell, I did! She was leaving for Boston the next day so I offered to drive her to the airport. I kissed her goodbye and then got my stuff from the rental, hopped in my private plane and made it to Boston before she landed. She was surprised to see me at the gate, and her face was all lit up, and that smile, I knew she was the one and proposed right then and there. I told her who I was, and she didn't care. It was refreshing after the super gold diggers. We've been together for 25 years and still as happy as the day we met."

I realised this guy be not fake or a user. He genuinely likes good people and told me he counts me as one. I also realised why he said that. After being at the party for two hours, I witnessed some behaviour I can't abide. Lots of flirting, married or not, propositions, drinking, and one-upmanship to the extreme. No wonder he likes me, I must be very refreshing since I don't partake in any of those things. Tonya and I left after much feasting and dancing to the promised waiting limo. It was rather nice to not have to drive back after a long evening. I will say the wife had a smashing good time in spite of all the suspicions she had thrown me way.

Perhaps she was right I was being used as the sane table-mate because everyone else was fake. She caught the supermodel's (who will remain nameless) attempt on scoring a big fish (oh wouldn't she have been disappointed?).

He tells me he's coming up to a reserve here to hunt in the fall and I be invited to go. Afterward, there is a dinner party the wife be invited to at "the club." That means another dress and I need to get a shotgun and hunting clothes. I don't think I can afford the attentions of me boss. So now I have to find a way out of this friendship. One night out with the jet set was enough for Tonya, she does not want to make a habit of it. Me either actually. In thinking it over if I wanted to step into that world or not, I decided not and actually find the Weasil's company (believe it or not) more me thing. I know I will regret ever saying that, but for the moment it's the truth.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

When is a radon system not a radon system?

14 September 2016

R. Linda:

Buying a home usually is not always an easy process. Forget the mortgage company puts you through  hell to have all the necessary paperwork for them to approve your arse for a mortgage, but every time you think you gave them everything but your first born, they ask for something else. Its like what? You need what now? Having been through the mortgage process, it be a lot easier than the radon test and aftermath.

When we bought the house, we had a radon test which is essential in New Hampshire because it is one giant granite rock, we aren't called the granite state for nothing. Granite exudes a toxic gas which when a house is built on granite a system to filter the gas is needed. The radon gas can be in the water as well as the air. We noticed we had a radon filtering system for the water and have had it checked out and it be working as it should. We thought we had a radon mitigating system for the gas because on the property disclosure it said we had one. Imagine our surprise when the radon test came back in with a 7.9 pCi/L We went into the basement looking for that particular system and found it. It be a pipe that filters the gas from the ground and runs up through the roof to the outside. Some systems have a fan to help extract the gas out, but we did not have that system. When we went outside we did not see the exhaust pipe. Both of us thought because of the many roof angles we just couldn't see it.

Well, you guessed it, there is no exhaust pipe. At the closing when asking about the gas filtration, the former owner assured us it was there, but was not a system with the fan that sucks the gas up and probably for a minimal fee of a few hundred dollars I could have one installed. He lived in the house for 11 years and never had a problem said he, plus he had 10 kiddos and all healthy (for now maybe).

I wasn't taking any chances with me own three kiddos, so thinking the fan was all we needed I called a radon instillation firm. Out came a very nice guy who upon looking at the outside of the house, informed me there was no exhaust pipe. Maybe, he said, it was hooked up to the water exhaust? Yet, he didn't think so, but he said he's seen some strange radon systems in his career and wouldn't put it passed the builder to have done something like that.

Well, no the gas filtration was not hooked up to the water filtration. As a matter of fact, one was on one side of the house, the other at the other end. He went over to the pipe that came out of the ground to find it was not even hooked up to anything. Just a pipe in the ground that was cut to look like it had  gone into the ceiling. What the heck? Upon further inspection of the attic, no exhaust pipe from floor to roof was to be had. Except for a dead squirrel on sticky paper that the former owner never removed. Ugh!

Fake pipe - notice the top is attached to nothing
After removing the squirrel I realised I had to have a whole system put in. So that's what is being done as I write this. Am I happy? No, but I be doing the right thing, because if I have to ever sell, at least the radon test will pass. Hopefully, that won't happen, but at least I will have a healthier environment for me family and they come first.

I thought something be up with the former owner. Me wife even said he seemed sketchy to her and we have, since moving in almost 2 years ago, are finding this to be true. Everything the building inspection found wanting, at the closing the former owner said he had fixed. Come to find he fixed nothing and what he did do were minimally inexpensive temporary fixes. Already I have replaced three chimney flues when the chimney sweep informed me I had in the fireplace the wrong liner for a wood stove. Then he told me I had the wrong liner for the furnace and neither was up to code. I had this replaced and wood stove removed. If I didn't replace the one in the fireplace we could have burnt the house down. Seems the flues were never cleaned in the eleven years the FO (former owner) lived here.

You know about the flying squirrel problem (which he assured me was non-existent), it took a professional wildlife company to come in to rid us of the varmints. Sticky paper was not the solution and what a miserable way to die. At least we killed none, just blocked them from their entry portals.

The house was constructed from steel beams, not wood as the builder owned a steel mill. The FO told us the house was really sturdy as a result. Now we used to live in a colonial cape that was built all post and beam in 1779, and talk about sturdy, that house may have had wavy, creaky floors (which we fixed) but you couldn't hear anyone in another room, and when you walked the house didn't shake. Not so with this 1996 gem, you do a load of wash on the first floor and the entire house shakes when it reaches spin cycle. We joked about it that we are about to blast off into space, but in truth it isn't reassuring that eventually the whole pile of sticks won't fall down on top of us. We replaced the washer for a quieter, non agitator model and still you can feel a slight rumble under your feet when it gets to spin mode. At least I don't hear me Mam shouting, "Get ready fur Scotty ta beam us all oop!"

So owning this house has been a money pit trip and then some. The grounds are lovely, not as woodsy as the old house which was surrounded by woods. This one has fields and such and a pond one can see from the house instead of walking into the woods to find it. The pond is filled with koi and absolutely serene to look out on while sipping a cup of joe. It be quieter and more remote and very rural compared to where we were. That town has grown and become more pedestrian and we wanted small town USA and are happy for the most part, though most people thought the town we came from just as rural. I just wish this house didn't have so many things I have to have installed or fixed. Yes, I be complaining a thousand + dollars later but it works!

The real thing
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

11 September, 2016

A fox hunt, a work of sabotage, and the sale of a "dog"

11 September 2016

R. Linda:

I don't know that I believe him, but recently Wolfie went to Scotland where some shooting of clay pigeons took place. He told me it was at a friend's estate, where he stayed. His daughter who lives in on the grounds had wanted to see him. She likes to shoot clay pigeons and so a party was got up and out of the scenes of Downton Abbey they all hiked to a back lawn (one of many I assume) and there they had flasks of fine scotch whiskey and baskets of luxurious eats with a lot of good hearted ribbing, followed by many laughs and of course the shooting of clay disks.

The idea of a "hunt" came up by one lady in the party and at first it was treated as a jest but later it was taken seriously by the horsey set among them, and a walking hunt changed to a fox hunt since it is the season. There is a ban on hunting the real thing in Scotland I believe, so that is why they were going to do the old soaking of a rag in fox scent, move it about the countryside and then fool the dogs to thinking it's the real thing. Sporting I suppose but I commiserate with those dogs not to find anything in the thickets but an old rag that's been dragged across country.

So since it is Autumn, the Master of the Hounds and Whipper-in would have their black Barbour jackets on instead of the pink, and everyone else was required to dress informal. I never knew there was a formal and informal dress to a hunt. But this informal dressing means a rat-catcher (tweed riding jacket usually with leather patches at the elbow) with a coloured stock or tie of black or brown, and brown or, black boots with a black Barbour jacket if you are not going tweeds, being the acceptable wear and oh the flask of whiskey to go along with the look.

Top is a riding "pink", middle is black riding jacket and bottom is tweed rat catcher
Another landowner was at the shoot and suggested a bit of a challenge:  Half the riders would leave from his manor and the other half at the estate they were shooting on. Whoever found the faux fox first, would host a dinner for all the next day. His group was calling themselves the Saboteurs (hum, does that mean they were to sabotage the other group?), and the other was called the Scots Alliance (which was odd considering a few of them were Irish). Now that's a politically charged name if there was one! I'd have gone beyond Scotland for a name and suggested Farage's Independents or Nigel's Irish Immigrants, but then that's me -- funny man.

So the day came and Wolfie was in a wee bit of quandary as he had mahoganies (for the uninitiated, those are black riding boots with mahogany or brown tops), and so while most of him was dressed in white shirt, black tie, black jacket, black helmet, black gloves, tan jodhpurs, and Stubben spurs, the boots were leading to a fashion faux pas among the horsey set. I asked him, did you run out and buy another pair? No, said he, he made do with his host's offer to borrow a pair of his blacks as they have the same size boot. OMG I said, that was close! Yup can't have that can we? Geez Marie!

So you know what I be talking about, Mahogany boots on left, blacks on right
Bright and early, everyone dressed informally (excuse me I have to chuckle up me sleeve) they mount  the 18 hand hunters and are being served from silver trays food and drink before they canter off after a phantom fox. The end of munch time is signalled by the arrival of the barking hounds who are all excited to get out there and lead the merry chase. What a bucolic scene eh? I can see it all in one of Frank Bennett's painting. That's because I be looking at one of those hanging on me wall.

The rules are these (bet you didn't think fox hunting had rules):

RULE 1 - At all costs avoid the Scottish Angus cattle -- go around. I wondered why and then realised that the cattle have long horns and boy that could hurt if one is poked in the butt as they dash through, or worse if one falls from said tall horse into cow manure, well so much for the fancy clothes.

RULE 2 - If you encounter a gate and your tall horse refuses to step over, you may dismount and open said gate, but for God's sake close it after you, so there will not be any escaping of cattle, sheep or whatever grazer is hiding in the bushes.

RULE 3 - When you do ride through said gate you shout at the top of your lungs, GATE PLEASE! to the next rider or wave your arm at them to let them know the gate will need closing. And you best hope they close it! Or YOU will be responsible for wandering livestock shitting all over estate lawns in the vicinity -- clean up is a bitch!

RULE 4 - IF you are at the open gate be ready to hold it open for the Field Master or Huntsman. You must wait for someone to close the gate in order to remount your high horse (yes, we are still on gate etiquette duty) before moving along. Knife and string in your pocket (according to the rules) is ESSENTIAL! I have to wonder what string will do to hold a gate closed against large Angus cows.

RULE 5 - Please do not get in the way of, nor hold up vehicular traffic. Let them go first OR you might find yourself being peeled off the pavement with horse long gone down the road. Walking back is a longgg journey especially when one is sore from being tossed off a tall horse!

RULE 6 - IF you come upon cattle in a field go AROUND them do not stampede through fences and open gates with them. The reason is self explanatory.

RULE 7 - Do not gallop down wet grassy hills or you may lose your life if your big horse takes a tumble on the wet turf with you head first over and well you can imagine the rest. BUT DO keep to the edge of newly sown fields of young grass and hope the landowner doesn't catch you! Bird shot hurts.

RULE 8 - If you should cause damage to a fence, gate or jump, you MUST report it to the Field Master and have your cheque book ready.

RULE 9 - Last rule and probably the most important: Have a good insurance policy because you could suffer catastrophic injury or worse (we don't have to name worse, you know what that is), to cover not only your neck, but damage to fence, property, horse (if it isn't yours), and delivery of your sorry self to casualty by ambulance or worse hearse to funeral home.

Good luck cowboy!

So this he tells me laughing the whole time and I be thinking, "Wolfie, you risk taker, are you crazy or do you just like to look handsome on a tall horse? That beside the point, and off they all go.

Courtesy Christopher Pledger for the Telegraph
The hounds start baying and that means they have picked up scent! Well, seems the hounds from the other estate also picked up the scent and off that group went as well. There was the sound of thunderous pounding of hooves, the hunt bugle sounding, riders taking fences and all getting over in one piece. So far so good, as they pick up speed, the hounds barking furiously they are on the scent still. Then something strange happens, one group of fox hunters rides right passed the other both going in opposite directions! What oh? Right? Or Tally ho, I don't know -- hey that rhymes, but I digress. Wolfie realising something be up pulls his big tall black horse to a stop as does his daughter. They exchange looks and looked behind them at the backs of the retreating Saboteurs. Oh yeah, you guessed it, the Saboteurs had lived up to their name and sabotaged the hunt. They turned around and rode after them, the only two of the Scots Alliance who realised the truth.

Which way? Courtesy BBC
Gaining on the retreating riders they saw ahead of them a swampy, moor-ish area and knowing that area well, Wolfie signals daughter and pulls off in another direction going around the swamp. As they move up a crested hill, they look down at scattered horsemen stopped up to their horses bellies in bog water. The only ones that weren't were the gent who challenged the Alliance. His group thought to take a shortcut through the moor without being aware of the water hidden under the debris of vegetation. He was on the other side berating them as they started moving their animals back the way they came. He was red in the face cursing them as Wolfie and daughter sat their steads and laughed.

Without any adieu Wolfie and daughter made it to the place both pack of dogs and hound masters were waiting. No one else was there. Their group they were told was in the countryside and probably would arrive in half an hour, the Saboteurs, same thing. Have gained the rag and acknowledged the winners of the bet, Wolfie and daughter headed back, but realised the town road was just beyond the field and so rode onto that to follow it home.

Now here's the crux of his story. As they are making their way down the road there is a wildlife refuge of sorts. A man was out in the middle of the dirt road in a quandary, a wild African dog had got loose because some hunt rider had opened his gate not knowing it was the dog's compound, and then made the cardinal sin of not closing it. Thus, wild dog out and about (or aboot as they say in Scotland).

Wolfie offered to let the man know if they saw it and off they pulled on down the road. Now here is where it gets dicey, as the two are approaching a lane that leads off to the village, a rather large dog with strange markings comes bounding over and jumping at the horses. Wolfie said, it was not acting aggressively, but like it was happy to see them.

"I wonder what kind of dog that is," quips his daughter controlling her horse who was trotting and then walking as dog came near and then backed off.

"That dog is the African dog," Wolfie instructed having lived in South Africa he knew what they looked like.

"Yes, I see it now," says daughter, "it looks like a hyena."

Meanwhile, happy dog is thrilled to be in their company and was trotting alongside, tongue lolling out with occasional adoring glances at the humans it had adopted.

"Should we turn round and hope it follows us back to it's owner?" Daughter says rather worried the carnivorous thing doesn't turn suddenly hungry.

"I should think not," Wolfie says focusing on the dog's mouth and sharp teeth.

It was then a passing motorist slowed down and with a bemused smile shouted to Wolfie, "Hey mate, what kind of dog is that?"

Not missing a beat and flashing a spotless white grin, Wolfie replied, "Why that's a digeroo took first place in new breed at Westminster three years ago."

"He's quite something," responds the motorist. "you looking to sell him?"

That gave the Wolf pause, he looked at daughter who shook her head, her eyes beginning to bug out of her head.

"Sure!" Wolfie says much to her chagrin. "I'll give him to you cheap as he's worth quite a bit, and seeing I have six more at home, how does 2000£ go by you? Do it on the cheap since I have no papers with me and will not sell him with."

"SOLD!" The man shouts and stops the car and peels out 2000£ notes and with extraordinary ease shooes the so-called digeroo into the back of his motor and drives off a happy man with a grinning digeroo.

"Da, you didn't just do that!" Shouts the incredulous daughter. "WHAT IF . . . what if . . ." She couldn't get the horror out of her mouth to form words.

"Be fine," says Wolfie, "I am leaving tonight so . . . no harm no foul. Besides on my way to airport I will leave the man who's animal it is an explanation of who has him and the 2000£. That make you feel better?"

"Not really," she muttered thinking about it all.

He did as he said, or so he says, and on his daughter checking the news reports everyday, there is no story on said wild dog eating it's new owner. She sits in dread before the telly she tells her father. He, is very cavalier and says having had experience with said wild dogs, once domesticated they are like all others and this one, was particularly happy to be in human company. Defends his action by further saying, "dog" will have a better life not being caged. Ok Wolfie, let us hope "dog" does not revert to past behaviour and goes on a feeding rampage in London or wherever he has motored off to. I tell ya!

I ask ya, does this NOT look UNUSUAL to you?
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

07 September, 2016

Weasil's Fancy New Kicks

07 September 2016

R. Linda:

It came to me attention recently, that the young whippersnapper (one Weasil by name), has a remarkable sense of fashion. Uh, maybe I need to change that to an extraordinarily odd sense of fashion showmanship. Whatever you want to call it, it is indeed bizarre what the Weasil wears that passes as the latest in men's accessories.

I will give you an example. Just the other day, I was fired an email from the young laddie that in his travels abroad he discovered the perfect pair of shoes. Further, that he did not buy them at the time because he was having a bad day and wasn't in the mood, BUT on hindsight and leaving the area, he realised those shoes were just the thing and he had to have them. Now this would have been all right if he was on his own, but no the wife and mother-in-law were travelling with him. The place he found the shoes was not one of their favourites (and if truth be known, they had been glad to leave it), so turning back just for a pair of shoes would cause dissension in an already stressful trip. The Weasil reckoned he could do without and probably find them online so onward with the holiday did he and they proceed UNTIL one evening in a large city with Internet, the young whippersnapper got online (having a bad fetish developed over those shoes) to find they were not online anywhere in the world, which meant one thing -- he had to go back!

"I am NOT going back there, but if you two want to I will stay here until you return." The mother-in-law, one Barbara but as Weasil calls her, Babbra stated in no uncertain terms.

"I DO NOT want to go back there either, I just want to get off this continent and go somewhere where  we won't be subject to snide remarks and no one understanding English." Amanda (the wife) interjected with some force I will say.

But Weasil was dead set on those hopper covers and informed them it was his fashion mission to go back to the place and get himself not one, but two pairs of the glorious must-have shoes. It was not without resentment and heavy sighs the ladies told him to do what he would and off to the spa they did go, leaving the Weasil on the phony baloney (phone as we call it) to make the necessary arrangements to go back to that dreadful place to pick up the golden prize (at least in his mind anyway).

It took the Weasil not a day, not three days, but two weeks to travel backward in time because he had avoided the rainy season but going back had entered full into it. There was mud he slogged through, fog so thick you could cut it with a knife and find yourself hacking for days just to get a peephole. There was of course the bloody language he did not speak and "they" didn't speak his either, so made for a lot of crazy sign language which took the Weasil near 250 kilometres our of his way of the sacred destination. Yup all those things made for a very wet and annoyed Weasil, but even more annoyed if not downright angry were the two ladies he left behind who waited, and waited, and waited with no word from the Weasil. At first they were worried, then they got nervous, then they got aggravated until anger took them over that he did not have the decency to at least communicate by carrier pigeon! I tell ya, women, sheesh.

I mean, how many mud spas, oily massages, facials and pampering can two women endure? Not to mention all that good food with heavy sauces and gravies, exotic fruits and veggies all in caramelised juices, not to mention chocolate, it was after all one of the countries of the cocoa bean. SIGH

Unbeknown to the ladies, the Weasil had found the road to the village of the must-have shoes covered in mudslide. His guides took him around to the other side of the mountain, yes R. Linda the village was on a mountaintop, and there he waited for climbing equipment to arrive with pack animals. Three days later with another downpour of cold rain, Weasil's shoe expedition started up the first muddy slope to the top. Mules lost footing and would slide by the Weasil after a shout out in the countries language to "watch out mule in backslide!" Finally after day one of a bone chilling night spent on the first slope (or as the Weasil fondly referred to it, Base Camp 1) the Weasil was ever ready to carry on to the next of six slippery slopes to the kingdom of the sought after shores.

And here I thought women had a shoe fetish, not so, Weasil can match them shoe for shoe he can. I won't bore you with the muddy, slimy details of the climb, just know the Weasil finally made it to the top, tears in his eyes only to find it was Sunday and the shoe store was closed. Oh what to do?

Wait around was the normal option, or break-in would be a second Weasil option, but no, it was a small place and that second option came not without its consequences. So nothing for it but to wait a day and hope Monday wasn't some kind of Yak holiday. It wasn't, that's the good news, the bad news is the cobbler had sold that pair of fantastical shoes the day before Sunday. To who, the Weasil wanted to know. Now I know what you are probably thinking, that the crazy Weasil would accost some other tourist for those sensational hopper covers, but that is not what happened. The cobbler could see murder in the eye of the slighted Weasil and suggested if Weasil had the time, he'd create another pair special made for the Weasil feet. Well, this was news and good news, hell yes, the Weasil said and slammed his muddy hoppers up on the man's workbench for measuring.

As with all things Weasil, the bad news is it took the cobbler three days to fashion not one, but four pair of the fashionable luxuries for the feet of the Weasil.

Meanwhile, back at Casa Unquieto the two lady companions of the Weasil were disgusted and tired of feasting (because they both put on a good 2.14 stone to be exact). No longer caring for the welfare of said hubby/son-in-law, they booked a flight to LAX. There they'd check into a fat farm for a week and then fly home with or without the Weasil and his new shoes.

Finally, having foot gold on his feet the happier than happy Weasil (there's a scary thought), marched around the shop to every floor mirror to catch every angle of his new hopper covers. Satisfied, he had the cobbler pack all four pairs of custom made shoes like the world had never seen, and off to slide down the mountainside with his guides and mules to the foot of civilisation (or something near to it).

It took him three weeks where it would have been one, to get to the Casa Unquieto. There he found the ladies gone with the wind long ago, but they left him a note of where they had gone off to. Immediately upon receipt of said note, the Weasil booked a plane keeping eyes, fingers, legs, and whatever else he could cross, crossed the weather would hold and he could fly out to Los Angeles. For once he was in luck and he left the country of extraordinary shoes, chocolate, heavy sauces and gravies and was on U.S. soil only to find the ladies had left yet again. They didn't wait the week they sweated off some of the fat, they decided THAT was too much like work so they flew off to sunny Scotland. Wait a minute, something is wrong with that. Let me fix it, not sunny Scotland, rainy Scotland. Yes, Weasil enjoyed about five hours of sunshine at the airport before departing for almost the same weather he left behind in shoe country.

Once on his native soil he hoofed it up to his estate where he found his two ladies sitting at tea in front of a palatial window, rain pounding on the panes, munching strawberry jam filled scones as he walked in wearing, you know what, and instead of the reaction he thought he'd get, they both stood up in terrified wonder of what on earth had got hold of his feet! Once he got them settled down and took the hopper covers off to demonstrate they were not rabid animals attached to his body, they unslung a heap of Spanish on him that he could not and to this day still does not understand. They had how many weeks in shoe country? A lot. And besides the feasting, facials, massages, swimming in the indoor heated pool, had picked up the language to a degree they spoke it fluently. Yes, they did.

Weasil told me he can't get a word of English out of either one of them. They look at each other and say, "quien no sabe" and laugh. They are more than angry at him and the one English phrase they get after the Spanish words, el tonto is: for THOSE ugly things we were left. Oh boy. And the Weasil, in his mixed-up mind thinks tonto means the Johnny Depp character in The Lone Ranger movie. Uh, not so Weasil tonto.

"Well, Kemosabe," he said to me (me thinking of the quien no sabe the ladies say to each other having gone straight over the Weasil head), "I have me the worldies bestest shoes evah!" And I will say they are remarkably unique. Yup they are and no I won't be getting a pair anytime soon. See below for the lovely articles that the Weasil sports and he has four pairs of them! Hey, but that's nothing after the hell he says he went through to get them. I dunno.

Jazzy right? Ya gotta be crazy!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

04 September, 2016

"Tell her to speak English please."

04 September 2016

R. Linda:

Since me Mam moved in with us, when Dragon comes to visit she is having a very hard time understanding not only me Irish accent (which has American inflections creeping in, so I be not as hard to understand as I first was), but with me dear old gray haired, apple cheeked Mam. Dragon is in a quandary over me Mam's accent. I be told when I be in the room with me Mam, any American inflections to me accent disappear like smoke and she is once again sitting with "foreigners" who don't speak English.

Oh yeah, that's what she complains loudly about the house. I, for one could very well take a mind to me speech and make it easier for her, but me heart won't let me. As far as me Mam be concerned, she grew up in Ireland, born and raised, and with the little time she has spent in America, she has not been exposed (language-wise) to any inflections of Americanisms in her spoken word. Yes indeed, she be a daughter of Ireland and will so remain. I get it, but Dragon does not. She be of the mind (like Donald Trump) if you live here speak the language. The problem IS me Mam does speak the language only with an Irish accent! And when I inform Dragon that she is the one with the accent she makes like she doesn't understand a word I say.

So Dragon took me aside (yes she be here AGAIN) and tried to reckon with me to get me Mam to try to be American. Like that's going to happen. I, in turn, tried me damnedest to explain it wasn't that simple to drop one accent for another unless you were a linguist trained for such things. It went in one ear and out the other. She wouldn't have it, certainly we both (me and Mam) could be more generous when we speak so the American ear can halfway understand what on God's little acre we are talking about, otherwise, what was the need to even be in the same room? Indeed, I wanted so much to opt for not being in the same room ever, but the wife would be upset and three people already upset didn't need a fourth in the mix.

I told Dragon privately, I would try to translate me Mam's words the best I could. So that was that until, yesterday when Dragon comes into the kitchen where both me and Mam had got up early enough to have our breakfast in peace without the Dragon.

Dragon threw a good morning to us, we back, well me Mam with "good morrow," instead of "good morning," the Irish greeting that has been around for hundreds of years. And I sighed, Dragon sighed and went to look out the window. She was checking the dawn weather and murmured something about it looked like rain coming.

Me Mam, not really thinking just wanting to be sociable says to us, "Oh ay, dere be a chunce (chance)  of light rain 3% an' a chance of torrential rain 97%."

Eeeyup! Said it just like that to which an exasperated Dragon turned around and looked at me, like WTF? I shrugged, like there was nothing to be done about it. And then it started to rain.

"I tole ye," mutters me Mam, "prolly clare (clear) oop on the morrow." And seeing the furrowed brow on the Dragon and thinking it was because of the weather adds, "when it gits dockah (darker) ye won't notice da bod (bad) weathah (weather) so mooch (much). At least da buyos (boys) hovent (haven't) any skewl (school). Be a goud (good) day fer da buyos ta stoody (study) dere skewl werk."

I put me hands in me face at Dragon's sour look. She poured herself some coffee and me Mam thinking Dragon not sociable first thing in the morning, decided to talk it up. I tell ya!

"Da rain will green oop da groahus (grass)," she rattles on, "git da sneaks (snakes) back in da wooods (woods) an' da buyos won't feel so bone rubble (vulnerable) goin' oout (out) in da yad (yard)."

Seeing this bought more silent so she went on.

"Got Kerry Gould (Gold) buttah." She inched the butter dish towards Dragon. "I bought a taub (tub) of it."

The Dragon made no move to make herself some toast, no just sat there staring at us both as she sipped her hot coffee, as if it was all a bad dream.

This further threw me Mam into conversation of the Irish kind.

"Do ye wan' a sue-flay?" Me Mam asked Dragon who looked at me and I translated souffle.

"No thank you." Dragon said slowly pronouncing each word as a hint me Mam might try the same.

"Gabe's vather (father) uoosed (used) ta like dem. Only he liked em' bootery (buttery) an' I tried to tell em' he woz (was) cryzee (crazy) dey were made only to poof (puff). One day I kooked (cooked) em' won (one) wit (with) booble goom (bubble gum) in it." And she started laughing at the memory as Dragon's eyes got big over the rim of her coffeecup. "He taught (though) it were mogic (magic) da middle grew and grew and grew!" Another outburst of laughter which I admit made me chuckle because I remember that scene from childhood.

"Da (the) colah (color) woz off an' he's (his) face an' ee' said jus' befur (before) it boost (burst), it were da strangest sue flay he'd ever taw (saw)." And into gales of of laughter her and I at the memory of me Da's face dripping exploded bubble gum. You had to be there. It was the last shuffle he ever requested. She never made another and told me later how much she hated making them so I knew she was toying with the Dragon who would never request one now for fear of what might be hiding inside.

Me Mam wasn't looking at Dragon's horrified look but out the window. She got up and said as she left the room, "Dat chunce of rain weirdly low roight (right) now, apart from the drizzle and slanty rain." And off she went leaving the Dragon in consternation of just what she meant by that.

I hightailed it out of the kitchen meself as I wanted no more complaints on me Mam who (and I knew it though Dragon did not) had overheard the accent conversation the night before and made sure she was on her most Irishness as much as she could be just to rattle the Dragon's cage.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

27 August, 2016

Of Birthdays, Grandpas, CNN, & Weasil Email One Liners

27 August 2016

R. Linda:

We went to a birthday party yesterday. The couple's twin sons were turning 3 and they, being friends of our youngest, we were invited to the festivities. Now living with the couple is the wife's parents. The father is fifteen years older than his wife and is up in age. He is hard of hearing and one must repeat several times what one is trying to convey. He refuses to wear a hearing aid, so having a conversation of pleasantries can become quite a bit frustrating to say the least. He also disappears into his room to read without a bye your bye and then reappears as if he never left. His young "chicken" as he calls his wife Margaret, waits on him hand and foot she does. She is ever devoted and he is a lucky man to have her.

There were the family and four groups of friends who had young 3 year olds besides ourselves, and a few teenagers, so at times it was chaotic with so many young children screaming and scampering about the place. Sometimes we had to shout to be heard and this shouting at our young ones to tone it down got rather sketchy when the old man would think we were shouting at him.

"Be quiet? I never said a word, what do you mean be quiet? Do I know you?" He'd point at one of us and we'd smile and gently shout we weren't addressing him but that rather rowdy 3 year old over there banging on the table with a heavy toy making lots of dings in the wood.

Well, we finally got to the cake. It was a delightful affair decked out in rainbow coloured sprinkles with a monkey (Curious George?) on the side and banana decorations strewn here and there.

Back of Monkey Cake

Monkey Cake

It was as we were all taking our first mouthful of cake that Gramps came out of his room. He saw his wife at table and said, "Margaret I needs changing."

Well, it wasn't hard to figure changing of what. And off they went. I tell ya it wasn't made better when  one of the teenagers said to another that the monkey's head looked like a lump of Gramp's s--t. This got the older kids into hysterical laughter, while we adults tried to ignore it all. I don't know how we all made it through cake but the kiddies (all of them), went outside with the teens for a wet game of Super Soaker.

Somehow us older kids got into a conversation on the presidential race.

"Is Trump looking to lose?" Our host asked. "Everyday he comes out with some outlandish statement that makes his poll numbers go down and it happens so often, I have to wonder if he knows he can't win, so he just says what he feels like because he knows he will lose."

This began a discussion on Trumps ego and what choice did we all have? It will be Hillary or the Green Party and if all else fails, a move to Canada.

I did not know my 10 year old had come in from the super soaking to dry off and heard the adults discussion. He stepped up and announced that if Trump wins, he is applying for citizenship to Norway. I had no clue he felt so strongly about the election.

Meanwhile, Mildred, one of the parents of a precocious three year old said to Allison, the mother of another one, that she really needed to go on a diet, but couldn't stop stress eating each time CNN came on.

I joined in because I too, have that tendency and told the ladies my stress food of choice was ice cream, and that CNN has a tendency like no other news programme for me to run for the cold stuff or worse the chips AND the cold stuff.

"Oh yeah me too!" Allison said shovelling a piece of birthday cake in her mouth. "I get particularly in need of gelato when CNN has the presidential race coverage. I can't wait for it all to be over so I can go on a diet and move to Canada."

Of course we chuckled and Allison being overheard there was laughter behind us. More adults joined in and I was reminded of Weasil's new emails. First it was the "We're all gonna die" emails he's fire at me at each presidential candidate mention (see Weasil's Email Terrors - 28 May 2016).  Now, he's moved on to terrorism and natural disasters. I got an email that said, "Well Gabbie, dere goes me trip to Paris!" followed by "Jeez Gabbie, dere goes me trip to Turkey!" followed by "Holy Moly Gabbie, dere goes me trip to Belgium!" and then, "Jeezums! Dere goes me trip to Italy!"

Though I will say he had a few zingers for Rio as well, "Wots dis bollocks I should stay home from Brazil because I might get me some Zika? Wots Zika? Or, who be Zika?" Then there was, "Wots da worldie comin' to when yer can't use a petrol station rest room in Rio wit out bein' held ee-uppie?" and finally, "I boughtie Amanda a burkini fer our visit ta da French Rivera and now she can't wear it? Is she to go au naturale?" This last stymied me because neither is Muslem. I asked him what was with the burkini and he said he thought it was the latest in old fashioned bathing attire spurred on by the fashions of Downton Abbey. I tell ya! Then he said he doesn't get the problem because it covers everything up so was the French Rivera full of perverts? I decided to end the conversation there as it was getting way out of hand. But the Weasil wasn't leaving off he wrote, "Wot happened to no touching without dinner and a movie first?" I foolishly wrote back that France was a very liberal nation and that it takes a lot of my energy to talk to him so I was done with the subject. He wrote back three words: "Liberte', egalite, Beyonce!"

So that's been me life of late. Yes indeed. When I am not sending you questionable works of art and leprechauns strapped to electric chairs, I be bedevilled by the rest of the world around me.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

06 August, 2016

No Do Overs! Not Now, Not EVER

06 July 2016

R. Linda:

Well, the day has come, me sainted Mam changed her name back to her maiden which means she had to go to the DMV for a new photo license. She was disappointed about that because she liked the picture she had, but with name change not only do you have to have your picture retaken, you also have to take the eye exam.

Wednesday night I was subject to the complaining about photo and exam. I was then told to wait an hour while she went to fix her hair, put on fresh makeup and then I sat through a fashion show of blouses, jumpers (sweaters), and even one dress suit she likes and looked very familiar. Oi!

"Soo, Gabriel, should I jus wear da red joompah (jumper = sweater) cus' it haz da turtle nick (neck) ta covah (cover) me troat (throat)."

"Mam," says I, "dat joompah be too hot and ye don't need to covah yer troat."

"Ooo-key (ok), if yer tinks (thinks) soo (so)." And off she went to change into another costume. I tell ya.

"I doan't (don't) luck (look) like I did when I wuz (was) tertay (thirty)." She announced coming into the room dressed like Jackie Kennedy going to Dallas. She had on a pink suit with dark blue trim that I had seen in hundreds of photos. All she needed was the pill box hat and gloves.

"'Err, were (where) did ye git (get) dat suit from?" I asked startled.

"Oh from da domedged (damaged) goos (goods) store in dat town next dour (door)." She stood brushing the material down.

"Uh, noo (no)," I said, "dat won (won't) doo (do)." I shook me head as she sighed and left again. I didn't want to know about the "damaged goods" store. It couldn't be THAT suit. I mean isn't that at the Smithsonian or some closet out of sight? No blood stains did I see, so why did she have THAT? I didn't want to go there.

She came back wearing a simple aubergine blouse which made her blond hair shine.

"Dats (thats) more like it," I said. "Off ya pop." I went back to me newspaper.

"Let me give ye a hoag (hug). Tonks (thanks) fer (for) yer 'elp (help)." She said leaning over and bear hugging me.

"Glad ta be a-service." I smiled as she left, still wondering about that pink suit.

The next day I went with her to the DMV. She looked very lovely, the aubergine blouse, the coiffed hair, makeup just so. We had the necessary paperwork in hand, and only had one person ahead. This was a big bruiser of a man. He had a cut off at the arms Harley Davidson sweat shirt that showed his bulging muscles and tattoos that ran the gamut from sexy nude reclining women, to fiery skulls and strange designs.

"Okay Harlan, just stand ova thaugh sos I kin take yer pictuah," the woman behind the counter said in her New England accent to the biker. "Now look inta tha camera." He did, she snapped, we all waited and then up on the screen came the result. It wasn't good. Harlan looked a bit demonic, he smiled at the last moment when he didn't mean to and there for all to see was his upper teeth missing. He had Jack Nicholson eyebrows and a shaved head. It wasn't a good likeness.

"That makes me look like someone ya don't wanna meet in a dark alley." He protested.

"Aw get ova yourself." The DMV lady said. "Be just a minute and you'll be set ta go."

"Mildred, con't we do a retake?" He asked.

"No we con't, no can do, ya have a line behind ya." She said getting the temporary paper license and handing it to him.

He looked behind him and the line was just me Mam and meself. We looked behind us as well and no, no one there. He looked back at Mildred. She shook her head no, her eyes narrowed. He looked forlorn for such a big man as he held the license in his meaty fingers and looked at it. He shrugged and left without another word.

"NEXT!" Mildred called like we were at the other end of the room. Gees!

We handed over Mam's papers, there was a chat about Ireland and Mildred's hubby being of Irish heritage which lended me Mam to ask if she could have her old picture on the new license, but Mildred wouldn't budge on that. Eye exam came and me Mam put on her reading glasses.

"Oh no, no. No readin' glasses." Mildred said.

"Boot (but) I kin (can) see far awey (away) but need me specs fer cloos (close) oop (up). See here," Mam said and read off a poster on the far back wall like it was right up in front of her. I couldn't read that wall, so I was rather taken aback, but said notta word. Then she proceeded to read the letters in the viewer, reading glasses ON and Mildred looked perplexed like this had never happened before.

"O...K." Mildred said looking askance at me Mam, then shrugged and told her to stand in front of the camera. This she did and she didn't hear Mildred say to say cheese because she was talking to me as the camera clicked. She thought the picture was taken but wasn't sure. She looked at me and it was me turn to shrug and nod that yes indeed, her picture was taken.

Mildred clicked on her keyboard and on the big screen was a photo of me Mam. Her mouth open in an 'O' and her lips a bit crooked in a strange palsy way, which had been the beginning of a laugh. It was bloody funny. I started chuckling and got a dirty look for me trouble.

"Oh noo, noo, dat will nevah doo." She said to Mildred shaking her head she was dissatisfied. Well, think of it, she went to all that trouble the night before and then this morning got up extra early to get herself "perfect."

"Fraid it hasta." Mildred said. "No do ova. Like I said to Big Harlan you get what ya get. Gotta move along theah, got otha customers." And she turned around to get the temporary paper license.

Me Mam and I glanced behind us, but there was no line. Mam looked like she was about to cry which is something she never does, but it was her winding up to a string of Irish cuss words that flew over the counter right at Mildred's back. Mildred, God bless her, didn't understand a word of it but she looked at first discontented, then amused as she handed me the paper. I half dragged me Mam out the door keeping the offending license close to me chest where she couldn't see it.

Once in the Saturn she grabbed it and wrinkled her nose at it.

"Woodya, luck at dis! Doan't even luck like me. I sade (said) take it ovah, but dat hag in dere only gives a budy (body) da forced (first) one an' dat be dat! How mooch (much) ye wanna bet me pic appears on AARP magazine? I luck OLD!"

Oi! I drove home trying to say encouraging things like she could change her name again and go for another picture at another DMV. I couldn't soothe the anger she had, so I stopped at a General Store on the way home that has an international biscuit section and bought her a box of Peek Frean Pearls and for meself Orange Pims.

Belgium chocolate with a layer of orange jelly on a biscuit YUM
I knew by Mildred's demeanour there were no second chances and me spouting off would not have helped. I wanted to post the picture but Mam wouldn't let me. She mumbled her offence all yesterday and into today. Of course, I didn't help much by saying (at looking at it) that Halloween came early and time for a lip plumping. Yea-ah not nice of me but she's taking this too far. I even told her Harlan's was way worse than hers, but she said, "Iffin' dats to make me feel bettah (better) hav' another tink on dat sonny buy (boy)!"


Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

31 July, 2016

When your dog does a Houdini with your food - is he pushing the relationship?

31 July 2016

R. Linda:

Wolfie bought up an interesting dilemma, the one where you come home from a long day at the office, and miraculously you have the house to yourself for a few hours. You fix yourself a plate of savoury wonderfulness and a cocktail, go out to your balcony or deck with your best friend, your dog, sit down and get ready to relax. Yes indeed, sounds like the perfect finale to a hard working day.

Only two things happened that put a wee bit of a damper on that whole scene. Like in the case of our dear friend Wolfie. His phone rings and it's the office and there is some crisis, he can't hear because his phone reception isn't good out in the back of his home, so he slips inside to get things straightened out and when he comes back he finds this has happened:

OK Where'd it all go? And that martini was full . . . 
He didn't have far to look. THIS was sitting nearby laughing to itself.

Yup a drink and few bites, thanks Da!
But wait it doesn't end there. Mildly annoyed, Wolfie goes back inside to make more bits of cheese and prosciutto not to mention mix a new drink and leaves his phone. When he comes back the phone is on the ground. He flips it on and what comes up? THIS:

Yup took a selfie for the doggy dating website
Sometimes man's BFF can't be trusted. Wolfie told his dog that the selfie looked more like a mugshot and he was posting it on the refrigerator as a reminder to said dog that he's pushing the BFF thing. Well done Wolf.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

The Revenge of the Flying Squirrels

July 31, 2016

R. Linda:

Living in a rural place, brings with it the stunning joy of watching eagles soar, hearing hooting owls at night, watching turkeys cavort in the driveway, deer bound through the fields, and bunnies eating all that lettuce your wife planted right when it was ready for your table. Yes, with the pleasant things come the unpleasant. Bunnies can be fixed by getting fencing they can't hop over or dig under, but there is the unpleasant critters called flying squirrels that are a true menace.

Bunny Heaven OR, better known as THE GARDEN that I broke me back on for the wife
What is a flying squirrel? It is a smaller version of its big gray brother, but unlike the big version, this one has its own flying suit. It has a membrane that when it jumps like a skydiver, the flight suit spreads out while it glides to (in this case) me roof. And it isn't just one, but dozens R. Linda, dozens and dozens of them. They chatter at you with more impassioned enthusiasm then their gray brothers, they let you know in uncertain squirrelese, the roof and attic belong to them, and they don't care you have a deed shows otherwise. Uh huh, they will even charge you you put a shaking fist out the window to try and scare them. The only one gets scared is YOU!

THIS is me nemesis AKA flying possum, AKA Pteromyini AKA MENACE
One was in our living area when we first moved in. Tonya said, "Oh that is an odd looking creature, it's kind of cute." Then she went screaming for me "Get it out of here, I don't know what it is." And I did shoo it with a broom out the door where it jumped off the deck to the ground below. I thought at the time there was something strange about how it sort of drifted to the ground, no hard fall from a high place. After, we didn't think of it at all until . . . one night we heard scurrying above us, we heard scratching and such a ruckus I went up to the attic, but nothing did I see.

The next morning it dawned on the wife a conversation we had at closing. We were told by the home inspector that there was evidence the house we were purchasing had bats at one time. But at the closing the former owner told us "By the way, I think we got rid of the flying squirrels. We used good old fashioned sticky paper to trap them." No one in the room asked how they disposed of said trapped vermin or asked when this had happened and why weren't we told? We should have because THEY ARE BACK! After that night and morning of realising what must be keeping us awake, I called the pest control. Well, here's the thing they don't kill these things, they find where they come in and put in a one-way door. So out they go at night to feed, and surprise, surprise, they can't get back in! You think that's a good idea? It sounds so until you are awakened at dawn with a hundred of them clawing at your roof tiles and eating the soffit to get back in. And mad? OMG they will charge your window (thank God we had screens up) and latch on chattering to you. We had to close our windows for fear they'd rip the screening to shreds. This continued for one week straight, day and night of chattering squirrels on the roof, jumping to the trees and back and forth, back and forth. Finally, they gave up, pest control came back, removed the doors and sealed the cracks. We were pest free for one month until they found they could run down the gutters and chew over the storm drains and inside once again. I tell ya! Pest control out again, same thing, only all this activity has attracted bats!

If I could get a good picture at twilight of the bats circling the roof I would put it in here. It looks like we live in Dracula's castle. I was ok with the bats, they eat bugs but when O'Hare discovered one curled up asleep in his sink, I called pest control AGAIN. Same thing, one way doors, swooping angry bats so much so we did not venture out at twilight.

So where am I going with this, hold on the roller coaster is only just starting to roll.

I have two cats that come in at night. We put them in the cellar. These two hunt all day and the tiger is quite successful with mice, chipmunks, birds, and SQUIRRELS, only not the flying kind the big grays. Oi!
Our two hunters
The other of them be a slight bit stupider, but a hunter he tries to be. The tiger likes nothing more than biting off somethings head and leaving the body. How do I know this? Me youngest came in and informed us at dinner, "Tiger iz eatin' someone." Well, the word someone had me up and outside. Yes, indeed, eating a chipmunk's brains. Lovely timing, but at least it wasn't "someone" I knew.

To show how the other one operates, here is a short video and it is a video even though NO ONE is moving at first. Me Mam wanted two sheep to remind her of home, I wasn't about to invest in the real thing, so for her birthday Tonya and I got her two resin sheep so she can look out her window and see them. Anyway, the video shows stupidity in the animal world at his highest.


Meanwhile, a month had passed and we were doing quite a bit good on the pest side. Yes, life was idyllic and good UNTIL me Mam went down the cellar to get a couple of pictures of Ireland she wanted to hang in her sitting room. Now me Mam has a cat of her own, Princess (so aptly named) because THIS thing fulfils no purpose in the house but be a spoiled primadona that does nothing really but eats and shits. But it be me Mam's cat so it is in that room being pampered where it is very pleased with itself.

But now the pedestal has fallen and "Princess" has been introduced (as have we all) to the world of outside pests bought inside to reign havoc by those low-life outdoor cats. Yes, the darling of the inside world be sporting fleas! How did this happen? Well, the vicious cycle has begun, or as me Mam puts it, the revenge of the flying squirrels.

Seems when she went to the cellar for those precious pictures, she stepped on something hard. She looked down and saw a "deed chipmook!" Only it wasn't a chippy it was a dead flying squirrel. We suspect Tiger got the thing and while the cellar door was open brought it in to do short work of. Only for some reason, instead of biting it's head off, he left it. IT had been down there for a long, long time.    Rigour mortise had set in long ago and so did the fleas. SO when she saw what she stepped on she flew up to her sitting room, where catching her breath, she looked down to see the calves of her jeans were covered in FLEAS! At first she thought fruit flies, oh if only. The poor dear danced around and I be sure Princess all interested in what was wrong with 'mother' came to investigate and well, you can guess the rest, and no those weren't fruit flies.

I called pest service AGAIN! We had to scour the house top to bottom, wash EVERYTHING and get all animals inside de-flead. That included the dog, Princess, the two culprits that brought the thing in and basically all of us etching people who reside in the abode spending six hours outside while we waited for the insecticide to do its thing. THEN we had to go back inside, and clean everything again, which we have to do everyday for TWO FECKING WEEKS! The worst is who wants to vacuum the basement. NO ONE, so Tonya has been doing it and complaining that she, "hates, hates, hates, THIS."

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

24 July, 2016

Notice to the Muse

24 July 2016

R. Linda:

Just so you won't think you have lost your mind by thinking the featured story is new but so familiar, I thought I'd best let you know I be not giving you the gaslight treatment or letting you think your memory be going on the fritz, or in the case you might get bored if I don't write another story on top of another, I thought to institute a click down memory lane to a prior story you may have forgotten, but will enjoy all over again if anything for the sake of redundancy I be practising the art of laziness. Yeah, I be having a little fun with your diminutive self. So just be aware along with the rest of the clan who reads me silly stories, you have not completely lost your mind yet.

I could have not have told you and let you go on thinking things (or more rightly stories) be getting somewhat fishy and Gabe be up to no good, when in the fairness of all things O'Sully I be recycling.

So there you are, informed.

I will warn you now, I be gong to feature an old goodie every so often for your reading enjoyment or distraction.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

19 July, 2016

Non-Convention Viewing, Ice Cream, The Bachelorette, A little more Ice Cream, Malania Obama(?), More Ice Cream, General Flynn, Major ice cream!

19 July 2016

R. Linda:

Disclaimer for those who watch the Bachelorette -- if you have not seen the 18 July episode, do not read any further

I have tried (not too hard) to stay out of this years political circus. But last night was so bizarre I just had to wade into the shallow end.

It all started with the subject of ice cream. Me Mam was watching Chronicle Main Streets and Back Roads about jaunts to out of the way places in Maine, that offer the travelling foodie scenic and in most cases, treats like homemade fudge, salt water taffies, giant lobster rolls, gourmet dining, local brews and lots and lots of ice cream. Me Mam noticed that everyone photographed in these segments (of which there are many jaunts across northern New England featured) show a lot of obese people and what are they doing? Consuming not the scenery, but good old New England creamery ice cream! Oh yes, we have a lot of that going on.

"I tell ya Gabriel, Rude Island and Maine seem ta hav' the most obese people in dem. All I ever see iz some parson of large proportions eating ice cream. Luke's like New Hampshire gonna be join' dat list." She said eyeing me.

This was a blanket statement said as I walked in with a bowl of the same. I turned right around without a word and back to the kitchen to eat me obese making food substance by meself. In the background I could hear the convention coming on. As I was finishing Tonya yells to me.

"Are you hearing this Gabe? The navy seal who just spoke seems a little unhinged don't you think?"

I walked to the door and glanced into the room to see a man with dishevelled hair, facial growth, generally looking like a homeless person and just shook me head. I hadn't really listened, but appearances . . . well. I was not going to get sucked in, so I went back into the kitchen to rummage in the fridge and what did I find? Neapolitan ice cream! Yes, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate! And what was on the counter? A last banana! I made me a banana split, all the gooey toppings, whipped cream and three cherries on top!

I had decided early on I was not watching the chaos convention if I could help it. The wife and me Mam decided to watch it, blow by blow. I left them too it and felt like I should be with them, but just could not bring meself to watch. So already in the kitchen, I put me banana split in a larger dish than usual to quell the stress level. I took meself to me office to do online shopping, something me wife does when stressed, and she has told me how beneficial this be, so I cruised Amazon, E-bay, Google, Wayfair, Home Depot, Nordstroms, Macy's, and Target, all the places she goes and nary a thing called to me. So, I flipped on the telly to the Bachlorette which was the only programme on besides the dreaded convention. I was on me third bowl of ice cream because quite frankly Jo-Jo stressed me out over Luke. Here he was basically pleading with her, to PICK HIM! He even had a candlelit path to a flower shaped heart and I nearly had tears I did, at the thought, until I realised the crew of the series probably made it.

Then at the airplane hanger, Luke asks for a moment alone with her, he blurts out he loves her, she looks like, I don't care but says she does. I was like WHAT? He pretty much gave her a sales pitch at his ranch and she needed to hear him say those words? It was obvious to me out of the other three contenders he tried the hardest. He pulled himself inside out and she didn't get it? SHE was going to send him home and now that he spoke the desired words, NOW she doesn't know what to do? I was like there is no chemistry Jo-Jo! NONE at all, send the poor man home before you scar his mental psyche for life! I know, too much ice cream, gets one on an emotional sugar high where I'd never get that way UNLESS I be forced to watch heartbreak or as me Mam says 'harttake' on the telly while gobbling down a banana split in a giant bowl with a tablespoon!

So I realise I be losing me manly thinking over this, too many times the wife and mother have sobbed their hearts out of some poor bloke going home on Jo-Jo's command, that it has rubbed off on me as me stress over convention and the possibility of a President Trump freezes me brain into absolute fear I will be moving to Canada real soon. I was feeling heavy and sluggish from many giant bowls of ice cream (which I managed to eat a whole container of peanut butter cup with caramel on me own), and drowsiness had set in. The convention was still on, so I shuffled into me bedroom with the full intent of dropping off. BUT that didn't happen. Me phone lit up like crazy with six different news service alerts. They all said the same thing, Melania Trump plagiarises Michele Obama's 2008 convention speech. WHAT?

As you can imagine, this news-hound had to tune in now. I tuned into CBS News and the commentators were saying how Tweeter Universe had lit up like a Christmas tree after the Melania Trump speech. They showed first a clip of Michele Obama at the 2008 convention speaking, then a clip of Melania and it was almost word for word. I sat there at first horrified that someone in the Trump camp did this, and was it to embarrass Trump, or a sick joke on Melania? I went for a drink because the ice cream had made me thirsty when the commentators went on to a ha ha segment of the delegation from Colorado walking out and then magically reappearing later like nothing ever happened. It sounded stupid, so off to the kitchen I took meself. Now I wish I had got something stronger like a double martini or a straight up Scotch! Because when I came back the commentators had moved on and they were gone. Shouting at me through the telly screen was the failed VP hopeful General Flynn the scariest man since Darth Vader threatened to kill Luke Skywalker. He was spewing fear mongering at a new level he was, and any thoughts of sleep went right out the window. I had to self medicate meself for sleep after listening to the alarming speech the General thought fit to deliver so close to a man's bedtime. I wish I had never clicked on that alert I do.

As I was getting into PJs, I switched over to CNN where thankfully there was a panel discussion going on with Flynn's booming voice and scary presence off in the distance behind them spouting off more gloom and doom. The commentator was talking loud to talk over the general as he tried to engage Donna Brazile in conversation on the Democrats side, but the general was still loud and I could hear him clearly over the in vain discussion to close him out. I switched off the telly having had enough.

I tried to sleep, but the General's speech played and played on me mind. Finally I got out the zzzqull and self medicated meself to blot it all out. And I overslept this morning as a result. Great general, just great.

I tell ya, if I look at the convention of a party I don't recognise, I will come armed with me personal stress relievers, a large bowl of ice cream and a Scotch neat. And me zzqull will be waiting on me nightstand with the Valium me Mam sometimes takes. I will be prepared IF I get drawn in and I be determined, not to be.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

17 July, 2016

The foot came down

17 July 2016

R. Linda:

When I was a lad growing up in Northern Ireland, me middle name was not Aloysius, as it said on me birth certificate, it really was Gullible. Me sister's middle name was not Maeve, it was Trouble. I found the truth out long ago when THE FOOT CAME DOWN!

Ah the dreaded foot! When me sister would get in trouble, which was her vocation in childhood, God knows she had to have one, I also somehow was the cause of said trouble. Like the time Aunt Seonaid (pronounced in Ireland as Cee O Naid; here they say Shon Ah -- which annoys me Auntie no end) came over for a visit. She arrived early, me Mam was out buying things for tea and me Da was at work, so she found me and sister Sheila the only ones occupying the abode.

Well, Auntie Seonaid was never a favourite of Sheila's so the reception was standoffish at best on Sheila's part. We three stood in the hall awkwardly so seeing Sheila wasn't going to give a proper greeting, I went in the opposite direction and lunged at me Auntie (trying to make a magnanimous gesture) and wrapped me arms around her in a boyish bear hug. This quite set us both back, because not expecting the lunge I sent her sprawling along with me gangly self! Sheila covered her mouth but the laughing was loud enough that it annoyed me Aunt in a big way. I struggled to disentangle meself from me Aunt and then gave her me scrawny arm to heave her large self up, which caused her to rise and me to go back to the floor. This, as you can well imagine, brought guffaws from Sheila who, not being able to contain the laughter ran to the back of the house.

Me ears where hot from embarrassment, and me Aunt's face with indignation, but she helped me up and patted me head saying what a true blue fellow I was. That helped and I offered to hang up her coat which she gave me, and being heavy, it almost felled me to the floor again, but I got it somehow on the hook. Breathless from THAT exertion, I turned to face her with a now what look on me dumb face, and then with the awkward silence filling the hallway, I had the bright idea to offer her tea. Oh yeah, tea, I had seen it made many a time, several times a day in fact and never retained the method, but there I was, offering it up. Aunt Seonaid was or seemed impressed with me good manners and said yes, she'd love a cuppa. So off to the kitchen we went, where me sister was doubled over in laughter in a chair, still covering her mouth to stifle the sounds. As soon as she saw us she was out the backdoor. Oh good I thought, I be in real trouble because unlike me, Sheila had made tea and I was going to enlist her help, but now I was on me own.

Now making Irish tea is not boiling water and dropping a tea sack (teabag) in. No indeed, you measure loose tealeaves out of a tin and put them into a tea infuser which be a stainless silver ball with small holes and sometimes a chain attached. It has a top and bottom that screw together. Once the water is hot, you pour it into the Brown Betty, stick in the infuser to brew and wait, and wait, and wait. We had oolong tea and I knew it took a good 7 minutes to brew to a robust flavour, but we also did not have a clock in the kitchen, and time for me was ever flowing, so I lost track. One of the other things I did not know at the time, it is one teaspoon per cuppa, and well I had loaded the infuser up I did.

Tea Things for those not in the know starting from upper left: typical British teacup, a Brown Betty (teapot), teaspoon measurer (yes, tea has its own measuring spoon), the infuser and of course the Irish Tea in its tin.
Well, let me tell you me Auntie was looking at me askance she was, and with raised eyebrows and eyes going from me to the teapot she was hinting the tea was ready. But in me mindless mind, it was not, but I got it, so I pulled the lid up, peaked inside and announced, "Not ready."

Sheila pointed out later, how did I know it wasn't ready it being a dark tea in a dark teapot? Exactly me downfall. Finally, me Auntie couldn't take the suspense and asked me ready or not please pour her a cup she was sorely in need of one. When I heard the word 'sorely' it sparked something in what little brain I was using and I said, "Auntie Seonaid do ye knoo we are related to da McSorely's in County Doon?"

This stopped her from reaching for the sugar cubes, and with brow looking confused she answered, "The McSorely's? The Jaymes and Catrine McSorely's? Da ones arrested?"

"Yes indeed the same." I said proudly.

Now the McSorely's were not a family to be proud of, James was a known IRA man and his wife Katherine was said to be the brains behind the force. They were both arrested the week before Auntie Seonaid's visit and had put up quite the fuss in the newspapers and on the telly. Oh they were led away hollerin' and gesturing all kinds of slogans sprinkled liberally with curse words. It was even shown on the telly and as they were escorted from their small council home there was a woman with her son on the pavement watching. As Mrs. M came near to the camera she spewed out curse words (that I had tried to write down to remember later but she was too fast for me) and on camera it was caught the mother quickly throwing her hands over her lad's ears. We got a kick out of that, at least me Da did when he saw it on the news that night. From me Mam there was a lot of 'tsking' going on.

There was a discussion between me parents that Jamie boy was me Da's cousin twice removed and our family had nothing to do with the notorious McSorley branch nowadays, because of James and Katherine's supposed involvement in IRA matters of a dark twist (as he put it). Well, this bit of news I  thought would enthral me Auntie, but no, it had the opposite effect, she forgot the sugar cubes and sat with open mouth looking properly horrified.

"On yer fater's side, roight lad?" She asked a shake in her voice.

"Oh yes indeed," I announced stupidly.

To be clear, at that age I had no clue what the IRA was. I was taken with all the talk and thought it was cool. But I was clueless and no one thought to educate me as I was thought to be too young to understand. I had been "drilling" with a wooden stick down me street thinking I was looking very much the man, as I had seen the British soldiers in Belfast do on the news and was of a mind that was what I would do when I grew up. Again, I didn't know why there were British soldiers in Belfast, why they did drills, nor that I was a natural opposite to all they stood for and worse that me neighbours must have been aghast at me antics. And why was that? Because, once again, the adults in me house thought I was too young to understand. Yes, I know what you are thinking, "Gabe, you were a dumb little fecker." Anyway, now the IRA thing seemed cooler than the British soldiers so there I was all about it.

"That's what I wanna be when I grow up." I stated with a fist bang on the table. "All that fame and probably fortune, dat's da life fer me!"

Well, as you can imagine me Auntie's mouth had dropped to her chest, her eyes were big with surprise and distress soon took over her features but I was too full of meself to realise that I hadn't awestruck her, I had shocked her to her socks! It was that moment me sister took to reappear at the kitchen door. She had heard the whole of me declaration and came in with a sneer on her face. She told me to fetch the milk she'd join us for tea but she required milk in hers, so would I be a dear and go to the front porch the milk was delivered and carry it in.

Stupid is as stupid does and that's exactly what I did. While I was gone, Shelia saw her chance to get out of trouble with her Aunt telling our Mam of her behaviour. Oh yes she did. She proceeded to fill me Auntie's head with what a troublemaker I had become in the neighbourhood. Marching up and down our street with a tree branch doubled as a rifle, I'd shout IRA slogans back and forth for hours. How I did this when me parents were out and how I had frightened the neighbours into not telling on me activities. Oh it got worse in the short time it took me to get the bottle of milk, but the damage was done AND believable because of me being a stupid proud arse and being all taken with the McSorley's. Oi!

I knew something was amiss by the way me Auntie Seonaid was staring at me, not looking, staring. I almost asked, what, but me sissy told me the tea was probably ready. She knew it was more than ready that is why she drowned hers with milk.

Well, I poured and knew right off tea should not be black, but it was flowing into those white china teacups black as black can be. I knew it had brewed too long and was going to have a taste probably bitter and much too strong for a ladies tea. But too late and I was too proud to admit me mistake and have Shelia make a fresh pot. I knew Auntie was in need of a cuppa and well this was strong and probably just what she needed. Such logic huh?

No one said anything but Sheila's sneer became more pronounced as she stirred the milk in. She took the first sip and acted like it was fine, and so I thought maybe it was. Me Aunt and I took our sips at the same time and oh my, she choked first and I spit mine across the table all over her -- it was that BAD. Thank you Shelia! Me Aunt's face was dripping black tea all down her ample dress front, as I sat not able to move in horror that I sprayed her like I did. She was still trying not to choke so she couldn't really talk or say a word. She gestured to Sheila for a tea towel, and of course Shelia was acting like she had no clue what Aunt Seonaid wanted. She pointed to everything but the bloody towel as me Auntie choked and shook her head. I grabbed the towel and went to wipe the tea off her bosom and she snatched the towel from me overly helpful hands, and finding her voice told me in no uncertain terms I knew nothing of serving tea and if a IRA man was what I was going to be, I could change me name to McSorley and go live with them! I'd not disgrace the family name that was associated through marriage with hers.

It was at that moment me Mam came in overhearing me Auntie's tirade. She dropped her sacks of groceries on the table and with a look here, asked what be bringing this drivel about. No one said a word. Then she noticed the tea in our cups.

"Wots dat yer be drinkin'? Liquorice?" She said picking up me teacup and smelling. "OOOH! Wots dis den? Who made waste of me tea?"

No one said a word. It was like we all were somewhere else.

"Do I hav' ta poot da foot doon?" She stood with hands on hips looking at all of us.

OH no not foot down time, both Sheila and I knew we were in trouble when the foot came down. I caved first and stammered, "Oh look Ma, Auntie Seonaid is here."

"Ah duh!" Me sister remarked unhelpful as always.

I know stupid, but like I say, not the brightest bulb in the box when one did not know what one other one had said about one. And that remark made me seem like I knew I was in trouble. And well, yeah. And without a pause, me Auntie told the story Sheila told her.

"Did ye knoo sister yer sonny buy here be marching oop an doon the rude barkin' orders like he be an IRA man? Wot bus' yer neighbours tink?" Aunt Seonaid had folded her arms akimbo with a huff and sat back in her chair challenging her sister to deny this bit of astounding information which astounded yours truly more than anyone else in the kitchen. Before I could shout in me defence, WHAT??? me Mam did it for me only not for me, for her disbelief.

Oh the whole sordid tale came out how I had practiced the IRA take down by pushing Auntie to the floor even before she was in the door. How I had "throne wit no respect" her coat over a hook instead of hung it proper-like. How I had regaled her with me adoration of the MeSorely's and finally and the best for last, how I had tried to poison her with tea. I tell ya!

No matter what I protested it went unheard. I don't know how many times I said, "Ma, coould I hav' a word? I be bothered by dis . . . " only to be shut down with me Mam saying, "It's foot doon tyme."

Well, when me Da came home he wouldn't listen either. Sheila had convinced me Aunt of the lies she told, and me Aunt Seonaid had convinced me Mam they were true so that was that. I was not to go out the door and carry sticks. I was to walk not march, I was to say to every neighbour I saw, "Lovely day  isn't it though?" Oi! I was not to watch telly or look at any pictures in the newspapers. I was not to utter IRA, McSorley, and most of all I was to STAY AWAY FROM THE TEA THINGS!

I was looking forward to a life of childhood depression for weeks on end. I just knew it. Then to make matters more bizarre, me sissy (in her warped mind) got all upset at all the attention (unwanted as it was) aimed at me, that she came home with a new beau. She had shoved the ever present Dolan person (who she later married), aside to bring home someone that would get her all that attention away from me and on her. Yup, she told me later she did it to "save yer sorry arse," but I don't think so. The Dolan person was so jealous he went out and bought her a babble he could not afford, but she wanted to make it all up. Oh yeah she can be materialistically devious. Another of her many troublesome traits.

I was in me room pretending to read a book but I heard the telly lowered and the sound of voices. I quietly stole to the doorway where I had clear vision and hearing into the lounge. There she was, in school uniform, her green jumper not buttoned in the right holes, holding the hand of a dark haired lad who's features were overtaken with a huge smirk, her looking dishelveled for effect. The lad didn't have the respect to take off his cap, nor let go Sheila's hand in front of the parental units. No, he was dirty, he was trouble just by looking at him and suddenly me black heart swelled to overjoyed as Sheila said, "Ma, Da, this is Jaymes McSorley JUNIOR." Oh yeah it was a beautiful thing it was, the smirk left the laddie's face instantly me father took hold of him by the scruff of his dirty jacket neck and waist of his pants, and shoved him out the door, slamming it with a bang. Me Mam's other foot came down because Sheila was soon joining me in the "reading room" as I referred to it.

"Wot were ye tinkin'?" I asked her all a-wonder.

"I can't hav' yer stealin' me tunder." She said with a wink and then plugged her earphones into her ears and went about listening to punk rock making sure to cover the plugs with her hair and the wire down her jumper.  Then she got out the Encyclopaedia and pretended to read. When me folks saw what she was reading she got out of punishment for being brainy! They were all impressed with her choice of reading material. I tried telling them to ask her something from that voluminous volume but that didn't happen. I tell ya, I couldn't cut a break and the reason I be even telling you this, is because I got the worse bit of news from me Mam this morning.

"Oh Gabe, I asked Tonya an she said it be alroight, but yer sister, her hubby and da 2 wee ones will be comin' to stay a week in August." And off she shuffled humming.

I nearly fell in a heart stopping faint at that bit of news. I haven't heard anything in years about the foot coming down, and why is that? Because I haven't lived in the same abode with Sheila in years. BUT I betcha as soon as Shelia arrives, there will be a lot of that coming about. Oh boy, first Dragon enters me life to make me miserable, now Trouble be coming for a week!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved