24 May, 2020

4 Stories In One, This Time

24 May 2020
987

R. Linda:

Let This Be A Lesson To Those With Camera's On Their Computers

SOOO . . . Me Mam has brought Halloween sooner than later. The middle child Guido by name, has made of his room an electronics nightmare as far as she be concerned. Not only has the child (if I may refer to an 11 year old as such), strung LED flashing and changing colour lights all around his room, he has a gigantic screen that takes up his entire desk, and gamer hand and headsets Best Buy hasn't seen the like. I tell ya!

Anyway, Guido is a 24/7 addict of  U-Tube, gamer sites, etc., and with being home this behaviour has turned our soccer star into a troll of sorts. He be grumpy where he used to be a happy sort, he be annoying to the extreme with the attitude he's adopted, and we hardly recognise this new Guido compared to the old one.

For the past three weeks, me Mam has gotten up at all hours of the night to open Guido's door and tell him "enough be enough, shoot it doon!" which be Irish for, enough is enough shut it down. Well, he doesn't shut it down, instead he puts on the headset and whispers so she can't readily hear him. Two nights ago, Mam (who's room be next to Guido's) could hear giggling and laughing and after tossing and turning, she had had it. She got up, opened Guido's door and there he was hard and fast asleep! BUT the screen had a tiny window on the upper right where there were four children about the same age as Guido, who were sitting together silently watching Guido sleep. As soon as Mam came in to try to turn the screen off, they elbowed each other and their eyes shifted to watching Mam come into the room. Well, nothing was said, and she wasn't sure they could see her or not, but when she sat down on the edge of the bed looking for the off button, they all were staring directly at her! Nothing was said, as she slid her hand around the screen looking for the power button. But the "children" continued to look at her with "evil smirks," elbowing each other covertly as she ran her hand around the screen unsuccessfully.

The scary screen in Guido's cave (he had moved his bed)

Annoyed, she shook Guido who, upon being awoken out of a deep sleep was less than helpful in telling her how to shut the system down. As she's trying to get Guido awake enough to help, she turns towards the screen to find the little box where the miscreants were huddled had become full screen and it was like they were sitting next to her! This surprised and scared her at the same time. As she turned to Guido, the screen went back to the small box, but the trick had done its damage and now me Mam was absolutely certain these "evil spaun" could and did see her.

Guido finally out of wanting to be left alone hit a button and the "children" disappeared and the set when dark. Unnerved by the experience Mam went back to her room but couldn't sleep. She went downstairs and made herself a cuppa tea to calm her nerves. It wasn't until 6 a.m. she finally went back to bed and sort of had an uneasy sleep.

That morning she told us about her adventure with Guido sleepily eating his breakfast. Well, as you can imagine, this shocked the heck out of Guido. WHAT??? People watching him as he slept? WHAT???

Ever since this "incident" Guido has slept in his younger brother's room and refuses to sleep in his own because he said, he doesn't know if these evil spaun have the capability to just turn on his set and watch him. I did tell him as long as everything was shut OFF that shouldn't happen and I doubted they had that capability. Geez!

My Job In Life Is To Be Annoying

This brings me to where we are today. Me Mam and Guido are butting heads and here's why: Since me Mam swore up and down the "children" were watching her and Guido, and Guido refusing to sleep in his room, he has gone in and put his screen and controls under his desk and further tarped the whole set up so IF the evil spaun should show up, they won't see much under cover of the tarp. I know the 11 year old brain be a curious thing it be. Only a week ago, me Mam had told Guido to clean his room up. There was clothing and granola bar wrappers strewn about and she wasn't about to have this. Clean it up he did, but since the "incident" he has made it one messy disaster and so she went in and found he had put blankets over his windows, the LEDs were flashing, the electronics were covered up, the bed wasn't made, and it was hot from being closed up and he was in there complaining it was uncomfortable.

"Well, fur one ye need to oopen the windoos, and where be the electronics? Oh they be covered and all dat heat be making it hotter in dis room an' ye have all da lights on! Ya need ta clean it oop."

Guido liked the new look of the room and basically shook his head no. As you can imagine, this be not the behaviour me Mam expected and so in a stern voice she told him the same thing and to do it NOW. He refused informing her it was his room and he could do as he liked. She in turn, informed him it was HER house and he had to abide by HER rules. At which he mumbled she was "annoying" him. As you can expect this brought down the house with her and she let into him to wit, he in turn told her this: "It is my job in life to be annoying. It is cool and like to be annoying." To which she told him he was being a horse's behind and just clean it up. To which he started to (but like me Mam he can't not run his mouth), informed her he would but under protest of being his own annoying person and she'd just have to get comfortable with that because this was what he wanted to be, ANNOYING!"

Let's Hope He Doesn't Grow Up To Do This

Meanwhile, back in Ireland me cousin Sean has been dating 2 women. You asked me how Sean was, well here it is. One woman, he's known for a very long time and she be divorced with 2 wee ones. The other woman he only met on his return to Ireland not that long ago. Well, it seems the divorced one be of the mind that she and Sean are on the road to getting engaged. She has no idea that there be another woman Sean be dating at the same time, and vice versa. Not long ago, the divorced one was having her mother visit and wasn't available to do up the town with Sean. The other one, had to work at her job of waitressing, so old Sean found himself on his own. Being Sean and not having a vehicle he asked the divorcee if he could borrow her new car. She of course, said he could and so he did. Wanting a night out on the Dublin town, he drove to a bar that just happened to be next door to the girlfriend's workplace. Sneaking into the pub, Sean, being the life of any party even when there isn't one, got flirty with the female bartender, a woman of ill repute. Having had a few and flirting his arse off it was clear that Sean was in his cups. He decided he should leave and so lurched out to the borrowed car. As he sat for a moment trying to remember how to put the motor in gear he got a text. He opened it up to see the bartender had sent him a picture of her lady parts. This so excited old Sean that instead of putting the motor in forward, he put it in reverse and as a result of his lead foot he smashed the car's bumper behind him. Well, you'll never guess who's car that was? Yeah the waitress he was dating. She came running out to find her shiny red sports car with a crumpled bumper and there was Sean in a car she did not recognise looking like he had no clue what happened.

Well, to make a long story short, the waitress found out about the divorcee and the divorcee found out about the waitress, BUT neither knew about the bartender. After the waitress had her repair estimate, Sean told her he would pay for the damage, but he didn't which ended up with the waitress suing the divorcee's insurance company for the repair money. Sean was hauled into court as he was the perpetrator of the damage and was being sued for his part in the "accident." Unbeknownst to all 3 parties the judge had the police report and proceeded to read it aloud.

"It says here Mr. O'Sullivan that you told the officer you had a few drinks, started the car and thought you put it in drive when in reality you put it in reverse, hitting the plaintiff's auto. This after you received a text message from a woman who sent a photo of her private parts. You told the officer upon seeing the photo, you got excited and that's when you hit the plaintiff's car. Is the correct Mr. O'Sullivan?"

Well, you would have thought a gun went off in the courtroom, both women exchanged high eyebrow glances with WHAT written all over their faces.

The judge continued, "You told THIS to the male officer to impress him, as only men will do with other men and you see where it has got you Mr. O'Sullivan?"

Yes, yes, he saw where it got him. A DUI, a fine for THAT, a fine for damages to BOTH vehicles, and he be dateless AGAIN. Yeah just when things were looking up for old Sean THIS happens, as he says, no fault of his own. Yeah right, and I have a bridge over the River Liffey to sell him for a half penny.


Culture Shock

Tonya's brother Bruno, has a college age daughter who had started university up here at Plymouth State (this was before the lockdowns happened). So this fall when she came up with her mam and da, they stopped by here first for lunch. The daughter was all excited to be away from "congested New Jersey" and on a prior visit to look over the school was all happy with the scenery and things to do in the surrounding areas. Well, two weeks into her studies, I had happen to be in Plymouth on work and I stopped by to take her to lunch. The poor thing was all out of sorts, gone was the excitement and pleasure of being away from home. Her demeanour was such I just had to ask her what had happened.

"Uncle Gabe, its like being on another planet up here. I had like no clue what all the L.L. Bean bags were about and L.L. Bean? I mean really! I was like further surprised when a classmate included me in a trip to shop for clothes, I thought yea great let's go. Well, we went to the like freaking GAP uncle Gabe, the GAP! Who shops at the GAP? And for khakis? I was like, no, I won't wear khakis and worse they were picking out FLANNEL SHIRTS! I was sooo horrified. I was like where is Bloomies? Where is Macy's? Isn't there like a Neiman Marcus up here?"

Oh the poor thing. I thought to meself I should have warned her, but didn't think of it at the time.

"And I thought things were odd like when I first moved up here and was looking for a supermarket. There are none! Instead, there are these like bodegas called General Stores, I mean like what is THAT? This is SO not New Jersey." She sighed. "I thought like how great it would be to like, get away from all the competition, big hair, and snarkiness and here I am with like, farm folk! OMG!!!"

Oh the poor thing had to endure this culture shock for at least 3 months before being sent home for lockdown pandemic. Tonya tells me the niece has already applied for another college, Rutgers in NEW JERSEY. She refuses to come back to "Like agricultural central, the land of L.L. Bean" and would rather be with the hip generation. Well, LIKE ok then.

Gabe
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved

16 May, 2020

3 More Stories In One


16 May 2020
986

R. Linda:

Local Clean-Up Of The Family Refrigerator

Yesterday (6th of May), me Mam was cleaning out the refrigerator. She usually does this, but yesterday she had had it. As I was walking by the kitchen I heard this, all for me own benefit I be sure.

"Wot be the matta wit males in dis hoose? Every tyme I goo inta da fridge, it be a mess of old food and drippy messes!"

I walked a little faster to be as far out of earshot as possible, but with open concept living, she could see me and I could hear her.

"Ooh wood ye luck at dis! Wot eva dis wuz it turned green and be tryin' to get oot of da jar."

I had sat down on the couch and slouched me big self down, hoping she'd forget I was there. But after she said what she did I heard a big THUMP as the jar hit the bottom of the trash bin and that made me jump.

"New sense in me tryin' ta wash dat oot, I'd be scuubin' fur a year I should."

I sat trying to read me phone messages as she muttered on to herself with a thump, emphasising each sentence. There must have been 9 thumps of old food being thrown in the bin.

"Da poor people of da worl be starving' an' we here in dis hoose be wastin' food we are!" That followed by another THUMP and that followed by the crash of glass on glass as whatever was in that jar hit another discarded jar. To be snarky I wanted to say, "Whatever happened to recycling?" But I knew she'd have me washing all those jars if I opened me piehole. I tell ya, if I could have got up and moved to another room I would have,  crawling was not an option but for her seeing me moving she'd have me ear in the kitchen showing me the debris from the refrigerator and probably blaming ME and me prodigy, so no I slouched even more. I thought after another 15 minutes she had forgot I was where I was, but the resident Bob cat noticed me and came  sauntering up to me meowing for attention. This brought her right to me with a jar filled with greenish slop that she opened and told me to take a whiff.

I did to please her and gassed meself so bad I had to stand up as I choked me way out of the room, cat hanging off me jeans where he had hooked himself, but her voice followed me, "I should haf ya coom back an' clean da rest o' it."

I unhooked Bob's claws from the skin under me jeans and noticed as I turned on me way out that the cat was all about the bloody green jar, the smell was attractive to it, and I croaked out at her, "Give it to the cat." It would serve Bob right if he up and died from being a glutton he'd eat anything, and for reminding her I was where I was hiding from her, or at least trying to hide.

This be what she opened and shoved under me proboscis:

Looked like fermented brains in a jar

THAT was 6th of May. Since then if anyone of us "boyos" want anything in the kitchen we sneak down, make sure the Mam isn't in the vicinity, grab a snack and scurry off. It be a matter of time before she discovers the discarded wrappers and old food in their rooms and me office.


Mother's Day and beyond!

Holidays (if yesterday was any indication) will be rather bizarre from now on. Me Mam hasn't seen Ben since everyone was told to shelter in place. He called and asked if he could drop off a plant for me Mam, and was told to come ahead. He said he would not stay long and meet us outside. Well, it was bizarre to say the least R. Linda. There we all were social distancing, standing outside in the not so warm windy gale that was buffeting us all over the deck, shouting over it to be heard. There was a lot of hands to ears in listening fashion while yelling over the wind, "WHAT?" If anyone had seen us they'd have thought we were all hard of hearing or just simply daft.

Can you imagine what Christmas will be like? All of us out on the front deck, outdoor lights on as the snow be falling, exchanging gifts by tossing them the desired 6'? The wrappings flying away in the wind, as the kiddos complain, "I'm cold." Then me Mam trying to serve her hot wassail punch with it freezing before it can get to frozen blue lips. The faery lights twinkling as we stamp around trying to get circulation in our toes and blowing on heavily mittened hands as if THAT would warm frost bitten fingers. Our nose hairs frozen, breathing great clouds of steam and some wise-arse kiddo measuring the distance to make sure 6' is far enough. I tell ya!

What could be worse? How about Thanksgiving, me fav American holiday. There we would be setting up saw horses with boards over them to make a giant table from one end of the front deck to the other. All of us sitting 6' apart sliding food that be getting cold back and forth to each other.  Yelling to be heard at one end of the table to the next. Waving at our neighbors five acres away doing the samething. All of us deciding we don't want ice cream on our apple pie or cold whipped cream on the pumpkin because it is too cold to eat that way. Besides us all getting up for hot showers to get the slopped gravy we slid back and forth off ourselves.

And Halloween, WHAT do we do about THAT? We could have each of the kiddos dress up and go out the back door, ring the front door bell, hear them shout, "Trick or treat!", Tonya and I acting surprised, and giving them candy as we turn to each other and say, "wasn't that cute?" And we shut the door as they go around the back to get back in to count there loot. One candy bar a piece! Wowey wow wow!

Being Bored And Finding Common Ground - sort of

Then there be the new email activity that at times makes me laugh like a hyena and other times marvel at why, and what I am looking at. All this because we have no entertainment but what we can make ourselves.

YOU decided to send me pictures of things around your house that you just happen to hold dear and rather like the look of. Me reaction was at times thinking I was in a museum for the dead, or from a section of Hogsworts that I didn't know existed.

Like this for example:

What in the world?

And upon reflection I realised me Mam has a collection not unlike your own. See here:

Me Mam's odd collection 
Crazy stuff she values
More strangeness - crystal balls
                 
I sent these to you and you were DELIGHTED! So much so, you sent me this:

Me reaction was HOLY MOLY

I showed me Mam and she too has a bone collection of another kind, see here:

I  know I be clueless too as to what this is besides what she tells me which is a unicorn sword

As if bones and spheres weren't enough you flipped on me and went straight to bugs.

Yikes!
Not to be put out in the Egyptian category, me Mam sent you THIS:

Uh yeah Anubis in with the good books -- I tell ya!

I hope this concludes you and me Mam's trading off bizarre collections of useless stuff. I see a big Ebay future for both of you.

Gabe
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved

30 April, 2020

"How To F- - k Up A Garden"

30 April, 2020
985

R. Linda:

You know of the Honey Do List that wives draw up for their husbands? Yeah well, mine is astronomically long. With the Stay At Home rule, I have no choice but to do some of those things listed. Most are garden chores. I thought I did me due diligence by cleaning out the garden beds around the house, and it would keep me out of the garden proper. But no, no, I be wrong. I had THIS waiting for me:

Mound of loam 
I have no excuse on earth but the same old same old, like "Me darlin' I be working from home I be. I can't just stop and go out and clear the garden." And, "Darlin' can't ye see I be helpin' the kiddo with his school work?"

Yeah well, not good enough. School doesn't last all day and either does work from home. The latter has a few breaks with it and an hour lunch, which if I was in Boston gives me time to get to an eatery, have lunch and get back. BUT in your own home you don't have to go far for the kitchen, have a bite and be done with time to spare! In some cases there be eating sanny in front of computer while working. And all this has been noticed by the lady of the house it has.

So with me selective hearing, I didn't hear, "Gabe, can you get those last two beds cleared and put the plastic over them?" No, I heard, "Gabe, when you geta chance can you clear the last bed so I can put the plastic down?"

Now, I will freely admit the wife does a better job at gardening than I could ever do, EVER! So when I saw what she had done I was impressed. But then I saw what she wanted me to do, and was feeling very overwhelmed.

Tonya's finished beds
Beds left for ME!
She said she'd make it easy for me, loam had been delivered and I could use me neighbours borrowed tractor to go get it and put it in the cleared beds. First let me tell you I have never operated a tractor in me life! Further, this tractor be older than me! And, it be slower than molasses on a hot July day. I'd be out there for five months just trying to get the tractor loaded with dirt and then another five months tooling it to the garden and by the time I got to the garden bed, I'd be too exhausted to do anything.

Ancient machine
In with all these directions I was told to put in a small koi pond, you know one of those prefab things you dig a hole, set it in and Bob's your uncle and you are all set except for a trip to the fish store or whatever store has fish.

So feeling like I had to use the tractor, I decided to get it running and into the garden and just maybe I could clear a bed with it and I tried I did, but it was an awful result. I even got some dirt to push up against the pond once I got that in. I dug a hole, put the pool on top and it started to rain. Oh gee what bad luck me. Ha ha. And I left it and went inside. Well, it poured and it filled up the prefab pond and when I came out the next day, the pond was full and had risen up about half a foot and the dirt I had put around it was spongy, it felt like walking on a water bed. I tried putting rocks around the perimeter but that didn't help. The rain had filled in the hole underneath as well as the prefab pond and now it was swamp land. Which meant that if you stepped over to the pond proper, you'd be up to your knees in mucky mud! I had even installed the bamboo fountain that was supposed to aerate the water for the fish, BUT when the valve would fill and spill over into the pond, it sounded like an old toothless hag clapping her jaws shut. Not exactly the sound one wants for a meditative space.

Floating pond and clapping fountain
Was I in trouble? You betcha! When the wife came out to inspect the "damage" she turned to me and said, "How to fuck up a garden!" Yes, there were tyre tracks from the tractor where the ground should have been smooth, yes, there was churned up dead grass in the flower beds I tried to clear with the tractor bucket (which doesn't work by the bye), there was nothing done RIGHT or to the satisfaction of her ladyship.

What was left to do? I'll tell you what was left to do, THIS:

All one needs for chocolate covered cherry shots
I went inside and me Mam was clucking her tongue at me. I knew me trying to go around what I should have had made more work than desired. I stuck me lower lip out at her and she came over and gave me a hug. I feigned like I was weeping and she said, "Here, here, now . . . coom wit me I have sooch to remedy dis." And while I sat at the kitchen island she bought the ingredients for sweet shots SHE likes. We had seven in succession - not the wisest thing to do - and I knew by the sixth I was going to be in trouble and probably kill meself so I said to her to wait a bit. Well that seventh shot curdled from the Bailey's (thank the fates for that!) and neither of us committed suicide by shots.

We put all the evidence away before the wife came in from the "fucked up garden" and went to the front where there be a natural pond with a large water feature and sat on the steps listening to the silence when in the back we heard a gun fire. Then several more shots.

"Probably yer wife practicin' how she's gonna shoot you next time she sees ya." Me Mam, helpful as always said to me.

Turns out it was me neighbor shooting off  rounds because he was bored, but after the shots of alcohol and me mind not functioning as it should, I was convinced it was the wife. I happened to look at me Zulruru wristwatch and noticed me heartbeat was 96! It was from the booze. I took it off and it was down to 81, then this happened see below:

No heartbeat!
I didn't notice the battery needed charging and put it back on after I had shown the features to me inquisitive Mam. I went to blood pressure to show her how that works and me blood pressure came up 128/96. I should be having a massive heart attack or worse be dead!

I had felt ok up until I saw THAT, I will admit to a slight headache, and we did stop the drinks, which be rather a unique thing because me little gray haired, apple cheeked old Mam doesn't imbibe. She'll have a social drink and take a sip but usually she doesn't indulge which was an indication she had seen me garden work and well, it caused HER to drink!

We were debating I start some burgers because it was getting late and I knew Tonya was still in the garden, and me making dinner might make up for the "damage" a wee bit. I looked at me watch to see the time and OMG! The time was there but I had no heartbeat!!!  Below the little red heart were three lines, R. Linda, THREE LINES indicating I had flatlined and was dead. This excited me terribly I can tell ya that much. I felt me chest to make sure I had feeling and was really there, and I looked at me Mam and told her I didn't know how I was animated when I was dead. As you can imagine this caused her alarm and she was at first thinking I was loosing it (I was) and then on being the rational person she be, realised that couldn't be happening and had me explain how I was a walking deadman.

I showed her the watch that by this time, the date was gone! THAT put me into more of a flux because if I was dead, I didn't know how long I had been because I didn't have a date so as time is infinite I must be DEAD!

Mam had a time trying to look at the watch face with me jumping around in amuck sweat and tsked at me to stop because wasn't me that was dead it was the watch.

"Lookie dere the numbers are fadin' oot so ye need to recharge da battery ya dolt. Dead indeed! It's a good thing yer fatha ain't er' ta see dis display of crazy."

Good thing NO ONE was there to see me display of crazy. Obviously, the shots did more to me brain than me heart rate.

"Yup yer more brain dead than anything," Mam said going inside.

Just then I heard another shot and this time me addled brain played the trick that I was shot through the non beating heart! I staggered back and almost fell down the stairs from the shock that I actually thought Tonya had snuck around the side of the house and took aim because she was THAT angry with yours truly. But no, I looked down, no red stain on me shirt, just mud from the loam. I felt like a real jerk and was and am glad no one was there to have witnessed me being a crazy person.

Sigh!!!

Gabe
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved

26 April, 2020

The Who Says This Game

26 April 2020
R. Linda:
984

In this time of ultimate boredom when one be home with nothing much to do but learn the uninstructed art of teaching elementary school to three boyos who find the effort tedious, there comes times when one needs a break and we breakout the Who Says This game. So because I be out of funny bone material and you insist I write SOMETHING, I will share me game with you.

So, it goes like this, you throw out a quote or action that someone does and see if the rest can guess who the perpetrator of said quote or action be, and the person that guesses right gets to go next. The one with the most unguessed quotes wins! Silly I know, but everything in life right now makes no sense and seems dumb so why not?

Let's give it ago shall we R. Linda?

Who do we know who gives FaceTime interviews online with their doctor, WITH the back of their head showing because they don't like face-to-face meetings?

Hum let me guess . . . YOU!

Who do we know that says about the Weasil, "He's an acquired taste, you either get used to him or you don't!"

Weasil's wife that's who!

And again, when it comes to the Weaz, who says, "Never say die because he never thinks it through."

The guy with the nice hair that's who!

Who says (in regard to the Dragon lady), "You're an attractive woman but you're mentally unhinged?"

The Weasil does! And to her face and lives to tell it.

Who wanted 'bedtime light bulbs' for her birthday?

Me Mam, the only woman in the world that thought light bulbs were great birthday presents!

Who said about Captain Jaack, "He's a man of dubious character."

That was ME said that!

Double question for you:  Who said, "I have an idea!" and who answered as if in pain, "Oh God what is it?"

Weasil said the first and the Wolf said the second!

Who said, "Fudge no hand beater, Gabe. What are those? Cookies? (slapping me hand away). You're going to be late so we will save some food for you when you get back, oh wait, you are going to 2 other parties so we won't hold some food for you. Hahahahaha!"

You! When visiting me house after making fudge and cookies, and me being roped into 2 Weasil house parties and then coming back to the one you and Tonya were giving.  AND there was no food left after visiting two parties that were drinks only! I needed sustenance and there was none! But YOU were basking on a sugar high from homemade fudge and cookies! Who does that? YOU do.

Who said (after going to an indoor concert where the audience was passing roach clips back and forth, "Bats, bats everywhere and they have everyone's phone number."

The Captain after being roped into a FISH concert by the Weasil. Note here: took the Captain two weeks to recover.

On being lost in a castle in Scotland, "Where are you?" the answer, "I'm everywhere."

Me, in a dark tunnel with no light asking the Weasil where he was.

Who said, "My date ended with her looking like a wet weekend." 

Me cousin Sean after his first date with the amazon woman he eventually had move in with him. Oi!

Who said to a waitress (after the FISH concert), "You're so petty you look like a cartoon."

Weasil, who else would say such a thing and he ended up with less than good service.

Who said to me in London as we were waiting an elaborate menu choice the Weasil made which sounded yucky and way too expensive for me taste, "It's all your fault you taught him to read."

The guy with the good hair! And it was me fault I had gone over road directions with the Weasil until I was blue in the face on how to read a map. I should have known he'd treat that the same when reading a menu.

Who said, "Did we break the lens?" after jamming into a diner booth for a photo the Dragon just had to have and the camera didn't work?

Me Mam that's who! And she was hopeful about it because she didn't want her picture taken with a bunch "of losers" who consisted of me, Sean, Sean's amazon, the waitress (who we didn't know), the busboy (who we didn't know) and the manager of the diner (who we also didn't know). Yes, the Dragon likes grouping people who don't know each other for photos and why? No clue but that's she's a crazy woman, and it's damn uncomfortable for us and she knows it and probably does this on purpose.

And lastly, who said, "Yeah, that's the ticket drink that bleach, it tastes like Koolaide."

YOU! After I sent you an amusing series of Trump piccies with him taking the first sip and following with a Windex chaser.

And that's the game!

Gabe
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved

23 April, 2020

Trying to find our way through the pandemic


23 April 2020
R. Linda:
983

Life on the frontier be a challenge. We might as well be hewing logs and building our own shelter. The kiddos (just for a distraction) have set up outdoor tents in the living room and sleep in there for a lark. What be so appealing about sleeping on the floor instead of a nice comfy bed was lost on me until I discovered it was TV all night long. 

We have made our own bread (see below), have an order in at the farm store for chickens so we will have our own eggs and chicken meat, Mam volunteered to wield the axe. The kiddos are learning the way to hold ones nose and swallow powdered milk, and basically how to be unsociable and perfect the art of the pugulists. 

Mam's homemade honey white bread
Arguing and emotional fits have taken us to new heights in the psychology department. As well as me trying to instruct three different age groups in mathematics that I do not recognise. Even the teacher among us finds it hard to teach her own kiddos without patience creeping off into a corner as she tries to fend off frustration. 

This begs the question how we are going to get through this long haul before one of us locks themself in a room, or decides to leave home, or which one of us will be the first to end up in a psych unit.

There be no sign of other life but us and we seem to be on our own little planet. No, no waving to neighbours (because we can’t see them, everyone lives on at least 5 or more acres with woods in-between). There are no Amazon trucks tooling down the driveway, no family visiting, it is like living on the moon, because we are in a way and in our minds, the last people on earth. 

All is silent ourside, only the wind in the trees, happy birds chirping, no traffic (which we don’t have much of and don’t hear anyway), no sounds of neighbours out and about, just us and nature. No barking now that the dog died and me Mam is convinced she died from the virus. I have to wonder because it was sudden. 

Tonya’s sister-in-law in New Jersey has the virus. She had a high fever, went to hospital, it broke, was sent home. Two days later she was confused, couldn’t walk, was very tired, slurred her speech and ended up in hospital again, this time testing positive, with pneumonia and stroke. Luckily the stroke be recoverable, but a day later she was sent home. A fellow teacher of Tonya’s in Massachusetts was found unconscious on the floor in her kitchen. She was put on oxygen and tested positive. She was sent home the same day she came off the oxygen to recover.

The virus thus, for us, be very real. So far the only one in the family to be tested was Tonya. Turns out she may have had norovirus (see her covid19 test below). She’s fine now, so we’ve had our scare and can’t think where she would catch norovirus but at the post office, her one and only trip out. There she was masked and gloved as suggested and there was an old geezer in shorts on a cool day, looking like he just got off a cruise ship (maybe he did), and instead of social distancing, he fills out whatever form it was he was filling out, and instead of going behind Tonya, crosses in front of her, hits her elbow as he passes and stands right behind her. She, got testy and said, “OH GEEZ!” and he looked insulted but did not step back. There are those among us . . . 

THE test

The youngest (thanks to the oldest) has FaceTime or Skype set up with of all people — the Weasil. If I had known I’d have made sure THAT didn’t happen. BUT the youngest be having trouble with his spelling (and to be honest I think the words are too big for Kindergarten) so, the oldest who does have a running commentary with Uncle Weaz told him of this problem and Uncle Weaz offered his services. So now the child is spelling the word SURE like Weasil spells it SHURE! WHEN is WEN, and WHAT is WOT, and then there be all the British ‘U’s that are inserted in words that do well in Britain, but not here. As if teaching wasn’t bad enough now we have to reteach, and of course we don't teach as "funner" as Uncle Weaz and get yelled at by the wee one for being too serious. Oi!


With so much together time, the oldest used to like getting out for walks with the late crazy setter and the "woof, woof", he misses in greeting every morning. So we have had the sad demeanour going and honestly I was feeling good about not being jumped by said setter every time she saw me, but I do miss her. I don't want another setter EVER. I recently was having computer problems and saw a follower of mine had emailed me, so in the off chance he was till online I emailed him quickly and he was still there. We set up IMs and in the small talk after he helped with me computer woe, I told him of the demise of boy's best friend. He told me his dog be having puppies in late summer and he'd give us one in September when they will be ready for new homes. The eldest was very pleased to know this. Of course, I haven't broken the news that we aren't getting a hyperactive crazy setter but a mellow, gentle collie! Yes-ah, Lassie.

I have consoled meself in this way:

R. Linda, I know you will get the joke!

And I do understand we all need some space, but I find like me wife, even when I think I be alone, I'm not. Just last week I was running down the centre line of a road not far away, in the very early morn, when I had a large truck (which be not allowed by the bye) bearing down on me. Driver thought he could save time by taking unpatrolled backroads and there was ME taking a jog. We talked a wee bit from a safe distance, but just when one be alone with their thoughts and the quiet and beauty of nature, one be interrupted by big trucks!

The last run
Gabe
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved

05 April, 2020

3 Stories - The Memorial, A Very Wired Coffee, and A Trickster In The House

05 April 2020
982

R. Linda:

Here are three stories for you that I never got around to writing awhile back, but now that I have nothing much to do, HERE THEY ARE!

THE MEMORIAL

I feel like I live in a world turning upside down -- this I mean outside me personal space. For example, in 1979 I remember me Mam telling me NOT to talk to strangers. In 2003 I remember me wife telling me NOT to meet with strangers. Now there is Tinder and the like that basically makes it just fine and dandy to not only talk to strangers, but hook up with them for a one nighter. WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?

You remember Patrick? Well, Tinder be his to go to app. Enough said but the stories he has!

I don't know about you, but me kiddos (at least the eldest), used to watch Dora the Explorer when he was a wee lad. He told me that as a teenager, the guys are watching Dora but a rather dirty, grown up Dora exploring things we can't speak of here. WHAT?

No more late night Dora for him! I now unplug the wi-fi at bedtime and that does that.

I used to think the first class ticket bought for the Big Bird costume (being transported on a plane) was bizarre, and often wondered what folks in first class thought of THAT, but that be tame to what I be witnessing now.

Like Weasil in first class, you get the picture . .  .

There be the matter of funerals, I know not a fun subject but in this case, all I can do be laugh, to keep me sanity intact. About five months ago, a man died of an overdose from self medication (not uncommon in New Hampshire) and he was cremated. I knew him a wee bit and was invited to the memorial service. This I went to, and while I was waiting for everyone to arrive, I buddied up with a friend of mine and we both had beers and had stepped out back of the house. There on top of a pile of rocks made like a cairne, was a baggy of white-ish powder. I turned to me bud and said, "Oh look someone left their stash and forgot it."

"Oh, no that's not drugs, that's Alvin."

I was taken aback.

"What you mean that's Alvin? Those are his ashes?" I was in disbelief.

"Yeh, Carol divided them up so we all get a bag to spread."

I was lost for words, but me thoughts were in a jumble of nonacceptance.

"This be what Alvin wanted?" I asked.

"I don't think he knew he was going to die, so I don't think he had any say in this." Me bud answered contemplating his beer. "I was at a funeral of a friend of mine out west a few years back and they divided his ashes into four boxes and spread them in four different places." He said looking off in the distance making me question to meself if the memory was even a good one.

"I told my wife, don't put me in a cardboard box and divide me up and scatter me all over the place." He said with some anxiety.

I didn't know what to say and couldn't take me eyes off Alvin sitting on a rock waiting to be spread, or just left there. I had no clue and didn't ask.

Later on we all drove out to the spot where Alvin succumbed which was on a beach, and there was a tray of the same baggies and we listened to the gospel reading and then we were instructed to come up and take a bag of Alvin and spread his ashes in the water. REALLY?

Yeah roll up the pant legs and stand in the water with Alvin's ashes swirling about your legs. Then come out with nothing to wipe them off with, NO!

I didn't do it, I'll tell you that right now, creeped me out it did. Didn't sleep for a few nights after that. I also made sure with me wife if anything happened to me not to divide me up into little baggies and scatter me to the four winds. I tell ya!

"I already have plans for you," Tonya said, "I'm using you as fertiliser for the garden."

Nice huh?

A VERY WIRED COFFEE

It may be it was the gloomy and rainy weather, or it might be the sadness that summer be gone and the mood be set for the long snowy winter promised to come. Or, it might just be one person who works at Dunken Donuts who just can't get it together. I would think that if you worked in a coffee joint, you'd be sipping coffee all the day long, or at least if you had the early morning shift you'd be doing that just to wake yourself up.

Early one chilly morn we had to go to Merrimack, NH to pick up a futon me wife ordered for one of the boyos bedrooms. We got there around 9:30, picked up the futon and I saw a Dunks down the road. Having had two small cups of joe that morning, I decided to stop for a medium sized latte and a hot coffee for Tonya.

The place wasn't very busy, so I thought to meself, good we be in and out and on our way. We walked up to the counter and this rather sleepy individual asks me if he can take our order. I told him I wanted a medium size latte, hot, whole milk and a Boston creme donut to go and the gracious lady would have a large French vanilla swirl hot coffee with caramel and whole milk and an apple fritter.

"Uhhh . . . we don't have any French vanilla."

"Ok then." And I turned to her in question and she says, "Then just a hot coffee."

"You want that hot?" He asks.

"Yes." Says she looking like did I not say that?

"What size was that?"

"Large, hot coffee, whole milk no sugar."

"Oh ok." And he punches in whatever on the computer.

So the girl behind him has whipped up me latte and has the hot coffee coming when he says to me, "Uh, an apple fritter and???"

"Boston creme," says I, "but wait, I see you have coffee rolls, I'd rather one of those."

"Oh . . . so no Boston creme?"

"Right, a coffee roll instead."

So he gets the coffee roll and then looks at me for a minute and says, "Do you want the other donut in the same bag?"

Oh boy, "Yes." Says I looking at the wife like IS IT ME? Then he says, "What was the second donut?"

"An apple fritter." Tonya said.

He gets the apple fritter and he hands me the bag and says, "Now that's two donuts, and one coffee and what was the other?"

"A latte." I said holding it up for him to see.

"Oh right." He punches in the total and tells me it is $11.40 or some such number. I have nothing smaller than a twenty dollar bill so I hand him that. He looks at it like he's never seen one before and then looks to the girl who is getting coffees for a drive thru order like help me! He finally decides in his sluggish brain she is busy so he looks at the computer and then starts counting out me change very slowly. Coins first, bills second and when he gets it all together nearly drops the change trying to set the bills and loose change into me out stretched hand, but it all went flying on the counter and to the floor. I tell ya!

Somehow we made it out of there and as we were pulling out I asked Tonya if it was me, or was the guy in a fog.

"No, was definitely him and SHE wasn't much better. He needs a cup of coffee or several cups to wake the heck up!" She said sipping her own.

I took a sip of mine and wowey wow wow! I almost went through the roof. The coffee making chickie had given me not a latte but a full cup of ESPRESSO! I was in coffee heaven! Why couldn't she have done that for her co-worker? But I was very pleased and beyond thrilled. Only problem is, I can't shut up. I be so wired it will take me two days for the wired-ness to wear off. I must be obvious because I have been running around doing things around the house since we got back. Even me Mam remarked how energised I be.

I was doing the laundry, I was shovelling the walk of black ice, and then using ice melt on it. I did all the lunch dishes up, I vacuumed the living room, I popped more popcorn and even made caramel to roll it in, I washed the dog, I even washed the cat!

Talk about energiser bunny, that was me! It took until 2 a.m. for me to wind down. I watched reruns of CNN that's how crazy I was or how fried me brain was from the Espresso! The next day I could hardly function, I was beyond knackered, I was in exhaustion mode. I could hardly get out of bed, I slept in and when I did awaken I was groggy and almost disoriented. It took me three days to get back to normal and now I wonder if that coffee guy wasn't feeling the after effects of an Espresso probably given to him by his co-worker. I will never know I guess, but I am suspicious!

A TRICKSTER IN THE HOUSE

After me Espresso recovery, the littlest of the lads told me he be invited to his first birthday party and he was very excited. Its today and he is asking every few minutes, "Is it time to go yet?" It's getting as bad as the "Are we there yet?" question that drives me up a pole.

So yesterday, Tonya asked him what he wanted to give his friend for his birthday. The response was at first after much thinking, squinting eyes, looking at the ceiling and finger on chin, "How about . . . uh . . . uh . . . uh . . . a shirt!"

"A shirt? I'm sure he has lots of shirts, think of something else you think you'd like to give him." Tonya said.

Back into thinking pose he went but Guido pipped up with, "Howah bout a stuffed animal?"

"Yeah, a stuffed man-a-mal!" The wee one said looking bright as a polished penny.

"Well, okay, are you sure?" Tonya asked.

"How-a-bout a . . . CHAIR?!" He threw out at her.

"A chair? That's something your grandmother might give someone." I said as Mam sat down with her tea.

"An a tea-set with fine china and napkins," she said good-heartedly.

Of course that got the wee one to thinking she was onto something and he nodded his head that yes, that was it, a chair, and tea-set.

"Your friend is a boy," Tonya pointed out, "don't you think a toy would be a better idea?"

"Not necessarily," Mam said stirring the pot, "buys like tea, luke at his fodder dere sipping' on tea."

I realised I was sipping on me tea and put it down feeling self conscious.

"How about a trip to Paddington Station?" The eldest unhelpfully threw out as he passed.

"NO!" The wee one cried. "HE DON'T WANNA GO DERE NOT NOW NOT EVER!"

"How do you noo dat?" Me Mam asked.

"Cause he iz fraidies of Paddin'ton Bear and dunt wanna meet em' in a dark station!"

"Ooh really dat bad is it?" She replied.

"Yeah it iz cus he hadda bad sperience wit Paddin'ton."

"Wot 'happened?" Me Mam egged him on.

"Well, he walked inta his livin' room an Paddin'ton was sitting' on da couch, an he sat down in Paddin'ton's lap and Paddin'ton put his arms round em' an wouldn't let em' go!"

"Ooh my." She crooned.

While this back and forth was going on, the middle child Guido stopped to listen. I should have been suspicious of that but I forgot about it as the subject dropped and Tonya decided to take the wee one to the toy store to peruse the possible gifts.

It was late that afternoon I noticed Big Dog (Guido's oversized stuff animal) left sitting in a chair in the alcove. I was going to call Guid to remove it but he was nowhere to be found. I forgot about it until ten minutes later (after Ton and wee man returned home), that I heard this blood curdling scream come from the alcove.

We ran in to find the wee man struggling to get out of Big Dog's clutches! Me enterprising middle child had cut the stuffing out of Big Dog and got himself inside it. He had to have been sitting motionless for an hour awaiting his prey to come home from the toy store. It didn't end there, he got the eldest (who hadn't been home for the wee man scare), completely off guard. Big Dog was lying on O'Hare's bed when he jumped on the bed and got a huge surprise when he went to hug the literally 'stuffed' animal that hugged him back. There was a yelp and up he rose looking to bash the dog, but before he could I told him NO! Guido removed the head and laughed his arse off and oddly enough so did the weest one!

"Like dat dint 'appen ta yersel." Me Mam said shaking her head with the perpetual cuppa tea in her hand.

Attempts at scaring his mother and me didn't work and Big Dog be in the closet ready for another day. I give it until Halloween we don't see Guido dressed in the dog suit roaming the house in the dark looking to scare us. I just hope he doesn't fall over the real dog who thinks the suit be quite the thing and takes to nipping at the heels of the 'costume' whenever it be in motion. I tell ya, never a dull moment!

Come sit on my lap
HA HA HA HA!

Gabe
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved

04 April, 2020

Forget what's a weekend? More like what's a week day?

04 April 2020
981

R. Linda:

There be a lot of what's today? Its been one long weekend, or the never ending weekend, or who cares what day it be, it be the same as yesterday! So there is THAT.

Then there be, "I can't seem to get rid of this cold." And someone will respond, "Me too!" Well, duh people, we are closed in the house TOGETHER, passing the cold back and forth, so no you won't be rid of it until we can go our separate ways and you can unload it on someone else. Geez Louise!

There's the hidden goodie thing which I be guilty of as well as the middle kiddo. Me Mam has been baking everyday to: 1. keep her sanity, and 2. to keep our mouths full so we don't whine to her about being cooped up like a bunch of chickens. The things she makes are not her usual, she's been experimenting and some of the desserts and sweet snacks are divine on the tongue. Meanwhile, Tonya had ordered in bags of crisps, pretzels, granola bars, fruit roll ups, and these too are secreted off. This has led to 'hording' the extra's by secreting them off to some unused cupboard, or in me own case, desk drawer where no one would think to look. There be so much of this going on the horder often forgets where he or she left the goodie. The horded goodie is oft exposed by the dog finding it and a child bemoaning the loss. This has led to the weekly scavenger hunts (that be when one of us remembers it is Friday). We all get set in the living room, turned in different directions and when Mam shouts "GO!" we take off and tear the house apart and whatever one finds be his or hers. 

Last night it came to me it wasn't Sunday it was Friday and I called "SCAVENGER HUNT!" Everyone came running and Mam got a prop gun that fires a banner that says BANG and she got in position not to be run over, clicked the gun and the BANG flag came out and we all took off! I think I be the luckiest one, I found in the back of the refrigerator a pot o' chocolate that someone squirrelled away. HA HA!

Hmmm
A Snickers bar was found in me desk I forgot about, so I be wearing a sad face at the loss. A bag of crisps were found under a bed, a slice of lemon cake was found behind the microwave, and lastly a dog bone was found under the couch. The dog wasn't happy. 

It be a fine thing we be reduced to such antics but we find our sanity is being sorely tested. We can't watch the boob tube because of the same old same old and depressing stats that are dancing across the bottom of the screen. We've had some rankerous card games where we have ALL learned to cheat like it's going out of style. Board games get extremely boring after the 45th time of play and this has led to the creative juices ceasing to flow. I have instituted a new activity of telling a story spontaneous when asked, "What if . . ." That at first was filling the air with a lot of hemming and hawing, but the eldest kiddo really got into it and now stories flow. Some are simply silly, but some are rather thought provoking. Like: What if you were the first man on Mars? Or, what if you woke up and found you were really a girl and not a boy of 10? What if you stayed up late and saw the Easter Bunny and he spoke to you? Or, what if you saw something valuable that you just had to have, what would you do?

Me Mam has another way of keeping her sanity, she goes on fantasy shopping sprees on Amazon. She clicks a product and puts it in her shopping list and goes on to the next thing so that by the time she has three hundred items she stops, deletes them all and then goes to eBay where she clicks on the heart or like button and waits to see what seller will get back to her with a good price. She also looks at vintage and antique anything and has found some rather odd oddities that she uses as points of discussion. Sometimes this be interesting, other times it be like being on Oak Island and wondering just where the treasure in such an item really lies. 

So we are passing the time in ways we never even thought of. We are learning an appreciation for family and missing those that aren't immediately with us. We realise how friends are important and necessary to one's enjoying life and extending our horizons in ways we might not have done but for their friendship.

Not one of us likes this being stuck at home. But we have found ways to get out and do things on the property we might not have thought of. The dog gets more walks than it ever did before and I am sure will be not happy when life returns to some kind of normal. 

We speculate what that normal will be but have stopped for the alternatives are not exactly compliant with how it used to be. Freedom seems limited and something else will take over that we see coming and its very Big Brother. How did we get here? I often think it be from the division that has wedged us against each other. The sheep who follow and the prophets who warn about such mindless wandering and plundering of an earth in trouble. Now we are in real trouble, we don't know what to do, control be out of our hands, so what next?

The worst of this be seeing the wonder of life taken out of a child's eyes to where there are no real new explorations into life, just the same humdrum from day to day. We work hard at me house to make that palatable, but it isn't easy. Skyping helps, but the conversations are all back to what be happening that one wants a few minutes away from. 

Anyway, I know there be a lesson in all this, at least I hope there be. I'd prefer to get something positive out of all of it than not. I will and am enjoying me family, noticing more than I would have about each one, and that brings me satisfaction that these things are all attributes I'd have missed otherwise. 

R. Linda, stay healthy and safe as I wish all me followers and readers. Be smart about this and stay home and find the joy in those who are with you. 

Gabe
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved

30 March, 2020

Incapacitated

30 March 2020
980

R. Linda:

After taking a tumble the other morning on black ice, I find I can now walk a little with one cane instead of two. I have only screamed in pain a half dozen times today, so making progress. The cat thinks the canes are rubbing posts and slows me down, but other than that I be doing super.

I have had a time of it sitting down. Once in a chair I cannot get up. Forget lying in a bed, you might as well leave me there to die, because the pain on moving or even TRYING to obtain an upright position be too intense in the pain department -- and I whimp out. So learning to sleep upright in a chair be a revelation to meself that it be just as painful as lying in a bed.

All around me are the two women of me house cleaning and disinfecting and doing a wonderful job to keep our environment a healthy one as we weather the pandemic. However, I feel very guilty asking them to bring me things since I can't do for meself, so I have enlisted the small mechanic in the house to literally pull some strings and help me in me limited capacity to make a pulley system from the kitchen to the living room where I be prisoner of me back.

He found clothespins in the basement from where I have no clue, but was able to rig a double string pulley of sorts, from the lamp next to me to the pot holder thingee in the kitchen, so that he could clip a bag of crisps to the string and all I had to do was pull it to me and he pulled the string back to retrieve the clip. This was working great while the ladies were upstairs cleaning. He even clipped a ham sandwich to the string and but for the dripping Colman's, I was able to pull it to me. As it was almost in me clutches the dog came and with it's snappy jaws got the sanny before I did! Of course, the dog cleaned up the mustard mess on the floor before the ladies could see it which was the only good thing, but I do wonder how its stomach was handling the spice. Then I remembered if that dog will eat tin cans and nothing happens, a little spicy mustard won't do a thing. We must perfect the use of condiments on sannies.

We worked to heighten the string up so the dog couldn't jump and get it. This we accomplished (without the mustard) by the third try because el dog got the next sanny as well. Problem was instead of using the lamp base (which almost fell to the floor because of doggy jaws pulling down on sanny and string) was me using me two canes as a system to let the strings slide high in the air out of reach of jumping dog. I will give her that, she was persistent and the word "NO!" means nothing.

As for drinks, the wee one uses those paper dixie cups. He clips one half full to the string system, I gently pull, and Bob's your uncle, I have a drink or in some cases a sip, but we are perfecting it! And yes, the dog cleaned the spillage up as well because at first we were both overly confident idiots we could do a full cup. Uh no. The child does in fact tell me we are building up our "guns" so we will have muscles like Schwarzenegger by the time I regain me back health. When Guido heard this, he instantly took over in the pulley department because as you already know, he be the athlete in the family and if anyone is going to have big muscular arms, it's going to be him!

Of course, if we hear either of the ladies coming down the stairs the pulley system disappears in a flash. Yes, me boyos are quick and quick witted because we know their mother will shut it down and me Mam has no problem waiting on me and I don't want to spoil her pleasure to do just that.

The only bad on this besides the back pain be I be subject to constant news on the pandemic. I can't get away from it. I get conflicting reports on all the newscasts and forget the politicos who say one thing and then someone steps up to the mic and says another. I would throw me arms up if I could do it without howling in pain. So I have taken to recording programs so there be no commercials about you know what, and what happens? Take the other night, Grey's Anatomy came on (Tonya's fav show) and there be this beep beep beep and under the picture a banner appears all about the latest on the pandemic. I can't get away from it. It addles me brain it does. We be doing everything we are supposed to, no outside visitors, no going out for pizza, staying inside and when we go out we don't leave the yard. We are all aware of the danger and what be going on, and we be following the directions we were told too, so a little relief from it for just an afternoon or evening would be such a special thing.

I have read and re-read books. I have played games with the help of the youngest moving me man across a board, card games, naughts and crosses, etc., and being bored out of me skull I sleep a lot in me chair. That be until the cat jumps on me lap and starts rubbing up against me face with his wet nose, me trying to brush him away but unable (because to lift me arms HURTS), and what happens be shouting for help when someone, usually me Mam, comes and retrieves that offending animal and I be left breathing in fur that flew when she lifted him away. I tell ya, I can't cut a break right now.

Gabe
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved