Monday, February 8, 2016

Midnight Rambler



When I was growing up, the first ten years or so of my life our little town was still a farm town. Yes it was a suburb of Chicago, but you took two lane country roads for miles before you entered the urbanized landscape of Chicago. And being a small town out in the country, everybody knew everybody else. It was mostly friendly and easy to talk to your neighbors. Now that town is part of the unbroken urban Chicago sprawl. 


I don't know if people back in the Midwest are as friendly as they used to be, but I am. I know most of my neighbors here in Gayberry, Florida. In fact Mark refers to me as Mrs. Kravitz, like on Bewitched, because I'm always waving at people, saying hello, and passing on gossip. My problem is that not everybody here is from a small town in the Midwest. The majority are from up around New York and have those "New York values". So I probably shouldn't be so insulted when I am walking Chandler late at night, and people ignore me. Sometimes I try to strike up a conversation with another dog walker and they keep walking without acknowledging me. Just last night as we made our way around the block in the dark, I came upon another man walking a dog about half the size of Chandler. I said hello and made some remarks about the dogs being all frisky because of the cool weather. Nothing. The other guy walking his dog looked at me as if I were some kind of serial killer, and said nothing. He just skedaddled on down the street. That happens often and I can't explain it. Maybe I just look scary at night, or maybe people just don't want to be friendly to a strange man at night. Whatever, one thing I do know is that Chandler is an excellent judge of character. After I said hello to that guy last night and was blown off by him, Chandler went nuts, like he wanted to tear the guy apart. Hmmm... maybe it was the other way around. Maybe Chandler went nuts as I said hello, and then the guy skedaddled.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mark's Balls



Mark thinks I break his shit on purpose. I break glasses, dishes, just about anything that is breakable. That statue that he tossed into the swimming pool a couple of weeks ago, that was thrown because I had knocked it over and chipped it. Yesterday I was sprucing up the yard. I bought tons of flowers and I was out in the front garden moving things around, getting ready to plant them. That's when Mark came out and stood there watching me.
"Hey, is that my gazing ball laying over there?"
I looked down, sure enough there was the "gazing ball" that Mark had bought a couple of years ago. It's the third gazing ball he has purchased and put out for the elements to trash. Both of the previous gazing balls suffered a fatal fall. One from the wind blowing it over, and the other one broken by the tree trimmers. The one broken by the tree trimmers elicited a profane tirade from Mark that included slurs against the Mexican workers that would have made Donald Trump proud. Anyway, I bent over and picked Mark's gazing ball from out of the vines and stood it up. The ball teetered for a moment, and then... CRASH tinkle.... clink.
"Waaaaaaaa... you broke that on purpose. you've always hated my gazing balls.. Waaaaaaaaa..."
I did not break the gazing ball on purpose. I never break anything of Mark's on purpose. I have horrible eyesight, horrible coordination, and horrible spatial awareness, so I am always breaking things. But yes, I have always hated those gazing balls.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Odor Evoked Autobiographical Memory


It is weird how the human brain is wired. Certain songs can transport me right back to a specific moment in my life, like when I hear The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Suddenly it's eight o'clock on a Monday morning in 1962, and I freak out because I haven't done my homework for Mrs. Meade's math class.
 
Grandma and Me

The same way that music triggers memories, odors also can bring back a certain time and place. Sometimes even what was an unpleasant odor at the time is now a somewhat pleasant time in my life. I remember a certain Chicago man that I knew back in the early seventies who did not have the best of personal hygiene. At the time it made me gag. Now, when I come across somebody who has the faint smell of an old goat, I get a good feeling. They say that smells are routed through the olfactory bulb in your brain, and that they pass very close to the region of the brain that handles memory and emotion. Yesterday I walked into our bedroom and a very familiar scent filled my nostrils. It was a scent that I have not encountered in over sixty years. I don't know where it was coming from or what caused it, but it brought me right back to my early childhood. It was the scent of old woman breasts, drenched in cheap cologne and sweat. Standing there in the bedroom I suddenly was two years old, on my grandmothers lap, staring down into the cleavage of her bosom at the dainty flowered hanky that she stored down there. It almost makes me not want to clean that room. It would be like losing Grandma again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Clean Up Woman



I used to have a cleaning lady. No, not my mom. Well, okay yes, Mom used to be my cleaning lady many years ago. But I'm talking about later in life. Like around eighteen years ago when I met Mark. I used to come home from work and find my house spotless after my cleaning lady was here. Unfortunately, he quit not long after Mark moved in. I was never sure of the reasons behind that, but ever since then I have been the cleaning lady.

After the lengthy job of painting the house and repairing the swimming pool, I have begun the process of preparing the house for sale. That means I am scrubbing the place from top to bottom, one room at a time. It's amazing some of the things I have been finding as I go through the place. I found ladies slippers under the sofa. I'm not sure where those came from. They aren't Alicia or Alexis' size. I have found an old television remote, an ancient condom (not used, still in the package), many old dog chew toys, and lots of dead palmetto bugs. No matter, this place will be gleaming by the time I'm done. I'm sure Mark will appreciate the cleaning lady and leave a nice tip.

Monday, February 1, 2016

WSVN: Channel Seven



I have 120 hours worth of television programs on my DVR. That's five solid days of television watching that I know I will never get to. There are movies on there from more than a year ago, about sixty hours of cooking shows, and way too much "Real Housewives" crap that Mark records. It almost makes me wish it were like the old days before recording a program was so easy. Back in the VCR era a program had to be worthy of my precious video tapes. I didn't just hit record because of a mild curiosity, I had to really want to watch a show that I recorded and I invariably did watch those shows. The VCR was not for recording The Cosby Show, or The French Chef, it was for recording Chicago Bears football and watching movies. All kinds of movies.

Three weeks ago AT&T U-verse started running a crawl across the bottom of the television screen warning us that soon our local FOX television station, WSVN, would be unavailable. Something about the station wanting to be paid for the free over the air content that you can get if you put up an antenna. They got greedy so AT&T U-verse took them down. Now all we get on channel seven is a blue screen with a messaged telling me that AT&T U-verse is working to return it to me soon. The first weekend without my local FOX channel had me mildly upset. It was a football playoff weekend and I missed one of the games. Sure I had no interest at all in watching the Seahawks and the Panthers that weekend, but still, it bothered me. However, as time has worn on I have come to realize that I do not miss FOX. I don't care that I can't see The Simpsons, Family Guy, or any of the rest of the FOX lineup. But that's me. Mark is a different animal. Right now, in the other room, I can hear Mark whining and bitching about not being able to see Grease: Live. So I reminded him that he has plenty of "Grease" on the DVR. He recorded all of those Real Housewives shows. Now that's greasy.