Friday, September 29, 2006

And they're off....

In more ways than one.

We are going to Bremerton this weekend with the band for a show. We are spending the night in a Hotel, so it will be a nice change. Since the performance is in a theater, we don't have to set up lights and sound system, just the drums and a couple of speakers and maybe a spare amp, and the keyboard. That will leave up plenty of time to just relax, go to dinner, and listen to the show.

Yesterday was an absolutely perfect fall day.

I woke up feeling so good, I decided I felt too good to go to work. I have been in need of a day all by myself for quite some time now. I haven't been able to take one for the last six months, and since the kids moved out, I have been waiting for the "right" day.

I slept in, I read a book some, I went and got my hair cut, I went out and looked at cars, wrote in my blog, curled up and took a nap (without any threat of being disturbed!)

It was gloriously, totally quiet.

I could feel the tension leaving like the water in the bathtub when you pull the plug.

In the evening R and a friend came by. Ms. B came over with brownies baked in the shape of a heart, and all was well with the world.

Life is great when the clouds clear and the sun breaks through and you find yourself standing in a beam of light.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Al to the rescue

I was sitting on the couch half watching the Mariners lose yet another game while reading a classic John D. MacDonald Travis McGee (The Deep Blue Goodbye) when the phone rang.

It was Ms B, the lady next door, and she was a little shaky and shrill. She is a very nice single mom with two girls, the oldest in her last year of middle school. Her former husband lost his job and couldn't find another, so he ran off to Florida and divorced her.

I occasionally do guy stuff for her. NO NOT THAT KIND OF STUFF. Sheesh, get your mind out of your pants.

"There's a rat in the toilet, what should I do?!!"

I talked to her while trying to find my BB gun, but it was nowhere to be seen.

After a little thought I asked her if she had a bowl shaped pasta strainer. No, but she had a flat one. I told her I would get my bowl shaped strainer and be over in a minute.

After being guided to the throne room, I flipped the lid, and sure enough, there was a full grown live rat.

I scooped him up with the pasta strainer and put the flat strainer over the top. Rat under control. Of course he was not happy with the situation and was trying to escpae, but I kept the lid firmly in place.

"I don't have a cage or anything, what do we do with him?" inquired the lady. She is the sort that couldn't stand to have me crush his little vermin ridden skull right there on the batroom tile.

"Tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to take him for a little walk, and I'll be back with your pasta strainer in a little bit."

I had a cardboard box that was covered in plastic. about 12" square and only had a small opening. I sprayed Mr. Rat down with Thrust to calm him, and dropped him in the box. I then sprayed some more into the opening and then covered it.

Thirty seconds later Mr Rat was anesthetized.



I went over to return the strainer and told Ms B that he had taken a long and permanent nap.

That would have been a real shock. Lift the lid, prepared to expose your most sensitive parts, glance down and there, swimming in the bowl is a big hairy wet rat. It would make you reluctant to expose yourself, make yourself vulnerable.

Of couse, being male I would never have the problem. I never put the seat down except when I have to.

Got any dragons you need slain? Princesses you need rescued from a fate worse than death?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fall Back

As in the time correction for Daylight Savings Time: Spring Forward, Fall Back. It is an appropriate reflection for reasons other than setting the clock.

Whenever Fall rolls around in the great cyclic spiral, I go back in my mind to previous Autumns. A lot of good things happened in late Summer, early Fall.

Here's a memory from one October a long time ago.

We had gone out to the U. District to score some weed. I used to hang out there a lot, so I knew a lot of people. Bruce, J.B, Dave and I. We were wandering up the Ave tring to find the best deal on a lid. When we did, the dude wanted $12.00 for a lid of some "Special Shit". We went over to the Drug Store to get change (Ironic, huh?)

We all came back out and headed down the street. Bruce noticed some guys following us. We decided to split up. When an opportunity presented itself, J.B. quietly split to go make the deal, and the rest of us headed back towards the car. Sure enough, we had the same two guys following us, so we cut over to the alley, and then back over to the street,

We had no idea who there guys were, but they were big and ugly and looked vaguely crimnal.

When we stopped at the light, one of them rushed up and grabbed Bruce by the shoulder. Bruce turned around and belted the guy in the mouth.

A whole lot of yelling and pushing ensued, during which we found out that they were undercover cops. I ended up being the mediator between us and the cops, a position I ususally got stuck with. I explained to them that they had never identified themselves as Police, so we were well withing our rights to defend ourselves. Although there was a curfew on, we were all over 18 and therefore exempt.

They said they were going to arrest us on suspision of posession. I volunteered that we were all clean, and they could search us right there. Eventually cooler heads prevailed, and they let us go.

Little did I know that Bruce was standing there with his stash in his shoe.

We hooked back up with J.B.. It was a little after noon, so we headed out for a drive in the country. Of course we had to check out the quality of our purchase.

We were on a two lane counrty road out in the middle of nowhere. J.B. was driving. All the sudden he swerved to the left, then to the right.

"WTF J.B., what are you doing?"

"Don't you see them?"

"See what?"

"The Wooley Bear caterpillars!"

He was veering the car back and forth on the road to run over Wooley Bear Caterpillars. You know, the big puffy orange and black ones. They were all over the place. Now that we knew what he was looking for, we started spotting them for him.

I have always wondered if they were really there.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dust Bunnies

When I was stumbling down the aisle on my way to get jump started with a 20 0z. Diet Coke this morning, I was viciously attacked by a commando dust bunny. I thought he resembled the head of Osama Bin Missing. Luckily the adrenalin rush keyed up my response and I not only escaped serious injury, I eliminated the threat for the good of my fellow countrymen.

This is not the first time I have withstood attack by forces of unsuspected and misunderstood nature.

When I was not as rational and mature as I am now I was once attacked by a force of nature that was unsuspected.

I love watching cheap horror movies. I don't know what impulse it is that drives me to always look under the rock to see what lurks there, but said impulse is a part of my nature.

Back when I was having one of my "Unassisted by a female presence" periods in my life, I was staying up late watching horror movies. What movie I was watching escapes me, but it was a classic. Perhaps "Atom Man Vs the Mole People", or maybe "Godzilla Vs MechniKong".

The house was silent except for the settling noises a house makes at night to get revenge on the owners. I caught a motion out of the corner of my eye.

As I turned my head to look. It was a very large dust bunny comeing out from under a chair. It start moving towards me. Neither one of those things was by itself alarming. I mean, dust bunnys bred under every piece of furniture, and occasionally a breeze would inspire wanderlust in one and it would set off in search of a new lair.

What was disturbing is that THERE WAS NO BREEZE!

As I watched I saw the mutant dust bunny deliberately move towards me! Yes, It was moving by it's free will. In other words IT WAS ALIVE!!!!!

As my heart beat faster and my palms started sweating, in an act of foolish bravado I got off of the couch and got down on the floor to look more closely, knowing full well that I was exposing my jugular to whatever freak of nature lurked there by the telephone table. Oh shit, it was trying to cut me off from the phone!

Heedless of my danger, I got close enough to inspect it

It was mouse gray, and about three inches in diameter. It lunged forward towards my exposed flesh, and I jumped back.

Retreating to the kitchen, I got a chopstick, and came back and with trepidation and trembling hands, poked at it.

It jumped in a frenzy of activity, trying to make it under the telephone table.

Thinking quickly and using my lightning fast reflexes, I got an empty mayonaise jar and and dropped it over my ferocious invader, and put the lid on.

Holding up the jar I looked at its underside, trying to figure out what manner af predator had invaded my sanctuary.

It had webbed feet and toe pads.

A light came on, and I started to laugh.

My son had been raiseing tree frogs in his room. One of them had disappeared a couple of days ago.

In an effort to bluff his way out of the house, he had built himself a gillie suit out of volunteer dust bunnies, who readily attached themselves to his slimy sides so they could make a break for it.

It was their unfortunate luck to run into me, standiing guard over home and family.

The frog was cleaned and returned to Froggie Bottom Detention Facility, where his sentence was extended to life.

The recalcitrant dust bunnies did not fare so well. I destroyed them and their sanctuary.

Ever since, I have been concerned that they were out for revenge.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

King Albuchadnezzar
You are King Albuchadnezzar, the emperor of Babylon. You are part of a long tradition of Middle Eastern dictators. Like any good dictator, you possess the attributes of pride and ambition in good measure. Your ambitious nature drove you to conquer much of the Middle East, including the kingdom of Israel. You subsequently put the people of Israel into bondage. You also tend to be very direct with your friends and enemies alike. You prefer to tell people exactly what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. Your position in society and your imperial army give you the ability to do this with impunity. Unlike many Middle Eastern despots, you are a very good ruler and you happen to treat your own people quite well. You might be a biblical villain, but I’m sure you’d make a good dictator in the 21st century, if given the chance.

Brownies for breakfast

I was going to be good......



When I got in today, there were two things on the communal table. Salsa, and brownies.

Salsa is good for you. Lots of veggies and spices. No sugar. No carbs.

But we're talking brownies here. A 12'" X 18" slab of brownies.

Since no one else would step forward and cut the slab, I did the honors. The sheet was very firmly stuck to the cardboard, so on my second attempt to cut a square loose, I butchered it. We didn't have a spatula of any kind, so I was using a butter knife.

Well, I couldn't foist off a butchered brownie on someone else, could I. I mean I have standards.

So I had to destroy it.

So you see, it really wasn't my fault.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I should have known better....

When the kids left, Mrs. A was still wound up tighter than a recoil starter. One little pull and she would go WHIRRRRR and little parts would start flying off.

I told her to relax, that it was over. She told me "Oh no, it's not over!"

As usual she knew what she was talking about.

They showed up at her workplace yesterday, and more or less demanded money from her. She relented and gave them $20. They complained "This is all you are going to give us?" Of all the unmitigated gall.

They were trying to make it sound like they could not feed K. unless we gave them money.

Mrs A. told them if they couldn't feed K. that didn't make her a bad grandma, but it did make them bad parents. Needless to say that did not go over well.

Evidently they think they are above going to the food bank to get some groceries. Probably couldn't fit in between their busy social life and the time they need for playing video games.

Mrs A. told me she doesn't want to see or talk to them.

Fine by me. Now if she will just stick with it..........

Monday, September 18, 2006

For Clyde II

In a e-mail conversation with Rick the other day, he made a remark about "What if someone in the future was looking at your blog, what would they see?" or some such.

Although I like the poem, I suppose it might not make a lot of sense to anyone without some context.

When I was first learning my trade as a Manufacturing Engineer, I was working at Boeing Aerospace's Electronic Systems Division in Kent. We were doing some state of the art electronics Research and Development.

I had a lead man named Clyde Sparks, who was quite a character. One of his favorite sayings was "We are all just monkeys walking around with suits on". So I wrote the poem.

BTW a hire-suit is a tuxedo like you rent for a wedding, which is of course also known as a monkey suit.

So although the poem is light and maybe even humorous, it asks the bigger question about determinism.

We like to maintain the illusion that we are in charge, but who's to say we arent marching to someone elses music. Are we in charge of our destiny?

Or are we just monkeys in suits?

Friday, September 15, 2006

For Clyde

This image was around last week. It was one of those "Write a story of 500 words or less" things. Well I didn't do it but it reminded me of this:







For Clyde

The mustacioed organ grinder

and his hire-suited charge

cavorted on the waterfront

Beside a rottin barge.

In the failing light of evening

they divided up the loot

the man he kept the cup of coins

the monkey kept the fruit.

And when it all was over

And each received his due

I wasn't sure if I ground the organ

or wore the monkey suit.

A Ray of Sunshine

The clouds for the moment have lifted, and a solitary ray of sunshine has found its way through the overcast and lit up our little corner of the world for at least this brief moment.

And the weather's not bad either.

Mrs. A came away from out counselling appointment yesterday feeling much better about everything. She really needs to have her actions validated by a Professional. I tell her the exact same things the Therapist does, but because I am sitting on the same side of the room as her, my words just don't carry the same weight.

At any rate, the weather was beautiful. The hard rain had cleared the air of all the pollen and pollutants, and the sun was shining in that half hazy end of summer light that seems to carry all sorts of subliminal messages. It probably has something to do with the change of seasons bringing out some ancestral migration urge.

We went in to Redmond Town center. Several years ago they built this huge area that is all upscale shops, restaraunts, craft stores. The have a real nice All-you-can-eat Sushi place called Todai's. I have been trying to get Mrs. A to go there, but she isn't as enthusiastic about sushi as I am. (BTW for all you troglodites not all sushi is raw fish).

At any rate, when we got to the map, I noticed that there was a Thai Ginger place, so we elected go there. The food was great.

We took the long way home, around Lake Samamaish. The sun was low in the sky and being reflected off of the lake. The air was still and we were in no hurry. It was beautiful. Too bad I didn't bring the camera.

When we got home, the kids were moved out, so now it is just Carol and me and Vinnie. Carol and I got up this morning with smiles on out faces. Vinnie is a teenager, so to him morning is an evil thing.

I sure hope the little ray of sunshine hangs around.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hump Day

If Mrs A. and I can just make it through today,Ii believe we will be over the hump. The kids went down to Sumner and got the trailer yesterday. They are getting a heck of a deal. It is a 30' Fleetwood travel trailer, complete with working appliances. I was afraid they would end up in some 12' tin can. At least now they have something worth working on.

They are moving the rest of their stuff today, and I am giving them the rest of the money so they can get the trailer moved into a trailer park.

Mrs A and I have an appointment with a therapist this afternoon. She feels a need to have things validated by someone outside the situation. I feel no such need, but if that is what it takes to help her, I'm all for it. Having worked in the field myself, I have no illusions about what can or cannot be accomplished by therapy, but if it makes her feel more secure in her choices, it certanly can't hurt.

The upside is that I get to take off work a couple of hours early.

Too bad it is raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Shootout at the not-so-OK Corral

Mrs A. has been teetering on the edge of a blowout for the last couple of weeks. We have both been hovering on the edge of a major confrontation with the kids.

Some time back I told them that September would be a good time for them to find other accommodations. They basically told us that there wasn't anything available in their price range (free) so we would have to cosign a lease for them to move. This didn't set well with us.

So they have been mooching off of us and "Borrowing" money. You could feel the pressure building up like the air feels right before a thunderstorm.

Mrs. A. was trying to get ready for work this morning when the kids got into a fight. Nothing unusual about that. So it was F this and F that so Mrs A yelled at them to just knock it off. They took exception, so she told them to just get the Hell out.

They called me and told me that in order to move they need $450.00. That is $200 for a trailer and $250 for a space in a Trailer Park.

I told them I would be home at lunch time to give them the $200.00, and could give them the rest tomorrow. It is worth it to me to get them the heck out of our house, but mostly for Mrs. A's peace of mind.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I woke up this morning with this absolutely great idea for a blog entry for today.

Of course I imediately went back to sleep and forgot it. I should have written it down. Several times now I have awakened from a dream that would make a great short story and thought "I should write that down" but of course I don't, and by the time I am fully awake, it is long gone.

On the other hand, frequently after waking, and in the harsh light of reality, the ideas suck.

I have had a series of related dreams for years, that actually hang together as a coherent story. The Government has been overthrown and I am leading a small group of rebels going around attacking government outposts. We are living in the mountains in Eastern Washington or North Idaho and conducting guerilla warfare. I never die or get hurt in these dreams, but get a great deal of satisfaction blowing things up.

Wonder what Sigmund would have to say on the subject.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I wear a black stud in my left ear to remember 9/11. I swore I would wear it until they brought the twisted mental defectives who thought up this terrible act to justice. It is too bad that five years later I still wear it.

I have no vendetta against the Arab peoples of this planet. Like any other people, they are mostly good people trying to survive in a very confusing and complicated world. Doing the best they can.

So remember the victims and heros today.

ps: I "Borrowed" the picture from Rick's Blog.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Short week, long day

It always seems to me like life demands that you have to take so much crap at work every week.

It doesn't matter how many hours you work, you still have to account for the same amount of crap. So weeks with a Holiday in them mean the crap just has to be shifted to the other days to make up. The weeks that are really bad make up for the sick days you took when you weren't really sick, or the time you go on vacation.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job and have a hard time thinking of doing anything different, but there is always a certain amount of crap to go along with the gravy. (Now there's a nasty visual).

So hope everyone has a great Friday and a better weekend, and be careful of the lumps in the gravy.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Parrot Joke

A guy I know has a pet parrot. He fed it by hand. Hepoured some nuts or sunflower seeds in his hand, and the bird would eat them out of his hand.

The problem with this was that the bird was an agressive feeder and sometimes would bite his hand. As a result his hands were always sore.

He decided that the best solution would be to file off some of the parrot's beak.

He went down to the hardware store to buy a file. The clerk asked him what he needed, and he said "I'm here to buy a file."

The clerk asked "What kind of file we have flat files, round files, rasps, even half round bastards. What are you going to use it for?."

The guy explained that he was going to use it to file off part of the beak of his parrot.

The clerk said "You can't do that, the parrot will starve!"

The guy said "I didn't ask for advice, just a file!"

So he bought a file and went home.

A couple of weeks later he was back at the hardware store and ran into the same clerk.

The clerk asks "So hows the Parrot?"

The guy says "Oh, he died."

The clerk says "HA!!! I told you he would starve without his beak!!!"

The guy says " You don't know anything. He was already dead when I took his head out of the vise!"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Last Deck Post

So, I promise I won't bore you any more with anything to do with my new deck, But I did promise to publish a photo of it when it was done.

Here it is with the new furniture. We've had dinner out on the new deck the last couple of days. It was real nice.

I sure am glad to be done with it.

Welcome back Blogger

For the last couple of weeks, Blogger has not allowed me to access the site from work. Don't ask me why.

I felt like someone stole my binkie, and I didn't have my blankie to console me.

Today everything has returned to the status quo (you notice I didn't say normal).

The deck is done. Yesterday, Mrs A and I went out looking for outdoor furniture for the deck. We found a very nice aluminum and wood table and chairs marked down from $699 to $349 on an end-of-season sale. Unfortunately it had no umbrella, and they were all out of replacements. They suggested I go straight to the manufacturer.

So we had hamburgers outside on the deck last night, and it made it worth all the hard work and cusswords. I hope my neighbors have recovered from the shock and the blue sulfurous cloud that hung over that corner of the house during construction.

So long to Steve Irwin, who was way too cocky and obviuosly took too many risks, but entertained millions of nature lovers. He will be missed.