Friday, April 18, 2014

Mustang Alan, think you better slow your mustang down.



I was reading an article about the fiftieth anniversary of the Ford Mustang yesterday. It brought back some fond memories of that year, 1964. I was fourteen that year and when I saw the Mustang I knew I wanted one. Of course the ability to actually purchase any new car was many years away for pimply teenage Alan. For a long time I had to settle for other peoples cast offs, cars that already needed repairs the minute I drove away in them. Now a Mustang might not seem like such a big deal in this day, but back then there was almost nothing like it. So I was sitting back and reminiscing, wondering why I never did get myself a Mustang. Then it hit me. I did buy a Mustang. In fact I bought a brand new 1983 Mustang from Al Piemonte Ford in Melrose Park, Illinois. How could I have forgotten that I had bought what I always wanted? Easy, the entire experience was so horrid that I had erased it from my memory. It started with a with a misleading advertisement in the newspaper where Al Piemonte promised a new Mustang at an unbelievable price. Now who could imagine that a car dealer would run a misleading ad, that they would have only one car at that price and it was purchased before the ad even went to print? However, there were still many fine looking Mustangs on the lot at somewhat higher prices. I had Mustang fever and I wasn't going to leave without one. A big problem, very big problem, is that I did absolutely no research before driving out there. So when I drove away in my new Mustang after hours and hours of paperwork and negotiating, I had no idea what I had bought. First of all it only had four cylinders. For some reason I just assumed that a Mustang would have twice that amount. The first time I tried to burn rubber in a parking lot the car just went 'clunk'. I pretty much ripped the transmission out doing that, and back then warrantees were something like 1000 miles or one month, whichever came first. I also assumed that my new Mustang was front wheel drive because that was all the rage in 1983. It wasn't, and it never has been. The
The only photo I could find with my Mustang in it.
Mustang has always been rear wheel drive. That car also overheated from the first week I had it until the day I traded it in. It would overheat in the summer, it would overheat in January, it was such a piece of crap. They were never able to figure out why. Now back to the matter of the transmission. I bought a Mustang with a manual transmission because it was substantially cheaper. For a number of years I had been driving only automatic transmission cars, I had become used to that. One cold fall day I got into my four cylinder, overheating, manual transmission Mustang, and turned the key. The car lurched forward, over the parking lot bumper, and into the six inch thick piece of lumber supporting my neighbor's back porch. As splinters of wood, and bits of broken planters that had been on the porch bounced off of the hood of my car, I remembered. Manual transmission, push in the clutch.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Pillow



It was over three years ago, on Christmas 2010, that Mark received the present he had demanded. A brand new sewing machine. Mark had never sewn before, had never owned a sewing machine, but because of those stupid shows on cable television, those shows pitting designer wannabes against each other for money, Mark needed a sewing machine. The first year it sat on the bar in the sun room collecting dust. By the second year it had been moved to the floor where it helped anchor a little rug that tended to move around. Year three saw it pushed behind cases of soda and piles of unread magazines. So I was greatly surprised when Mark came to me and told me to "Put the sewing machine in the car please." I assumed he was giving it away to the Salvation Army, the Pet Shelter thrift shop, or some other deserving person who would actually use it. "Good," I told him, "I'm glad to see that somebody will get some use out of it." As far as I knew, Mark had never even turned the thing on. "I'm not giving it away. My friend Cisco is going to teach me to sew." So I picked up the sewing machine and carried it out to the car. Finally, something was going to come of the Christmas gift of 2010. Hours later Mark returned. He opened the front door, walked over to the sofa, and tossed two pillows on it. "Sewing is hard." Mark whined, "Cisco made me thread that machine. It took me longer to do that than it did to sew those pillow covers."  I looked at the pillows, "You sewed those? They're really nice, you did a nice job Mark." There was a bit of silence, and then Mark admitted "Well, Cisco kind of did most of the actual sewing. But I threaded the machine, and it was hard to see that little hole in the needle."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pain in the Brain


Tardigrade, about 1 millimeter in size

I did not watch the original series, Cosmos with Carl Sagan. I think that's because it was on back in the 1980's and I was busy working and drinking. Not necessarily in that order. I am however, addicted to the new Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's fascinating, entertaining, educational, and most of all it is scary. This week he went small, sub-atomic small, while last week he went big, to the outer reaches of the known universe. I find it very discomforting that the world as I know it is surrounded by such violent and disturbing things like exploding suns and tardigrades, infinitesimal animals that live in the water. When Neil deGrasse Tyson starts talking about the vast expanse of the universe and the tiny molecules that make up our bodies, my brain hurts. It literally hurts thinking of all those things. Meanwhile, in the bedroom, Mark is watching The Real Housewives Swap Husbands with Celebrities, or something like that. Once in a while I'll be in the bedroom and I'll be too lazy to get up and leave when one of those shows comes on. I have found myself watching Mark's shows on more than one occasion. Interestingly, they also make my brain hurt from watching them. They also make me just a little bit sad.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Dog's Life



There was a stain on the floor right in front of the big fluffy chair that I always sit in. No, I didn't make it. It was created by dog saliva. It was big and ugly and it went away when I laid the new floor a couple of months ago. Okay, so it might have had a little bit to do with me and my habits. Every time I would have a snack while watching television, the big dog would station himself directly in front and a bit to the right of me as I sat in the BFC. With each movement of my hand to my mouth his big blubbery lips would secrete a bit of dog drool. By the time I was done snacking his mouth was in full waterfall mode.
            If you decide to live with an animal one of the things you must accept is that they will make a mess, they will ruin something you think you loved. Early yesterday afternoon I was taking my daily siesta, I had barely closed my eyes when I heard the screech of Mark. "Waaa... she's puking. On the bed, she's puking." he screamed. Sure enough, Bette had upchucked one of the most foul smelling piles of vomit I have ever seen, right next to me. It was a real soaker, we had to strip the bed and wash everything. Again, I expect such things to happen every once in a while. Mark expects the animals to be sterile animatrons that come when he calls them and go away when he has no need for their affection. He can't cope with whatever they may excrete. Which brings me back to Chandler and the stain on the living room floor. He isn't staining that floor anymore. I pulled the rug under my big fluffy chair, he's drooling on that now. I find that a good upholstery and rug cleaner does wonders.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Woo Woo Girl


Ambrosia Greek Restaurant Fort Lauderdale

Seventeen years ago on a Sunday afternoon I made small talk with another man in a bar. Yesterday we went out to dinner to commemorate that occasion. Mark had the Greek platter, I had the lamb souvlaki, we both shared a bottle of Greek wine. I really can't believe it's been seventeen years. Honestly, I never expected it to last more than a couple of years, but here we are. It is possible that I am experiencing a form of midlife crisis though I am not midlife. More like early end stage. I want to leave this place, I am tired of Florida, and I fully intend to be living back in the city of Chicago by this time next year. One problem, Mark. I have to convince Mark that moving from year round snow free living is a good idea. I already have him half convinced. His doctor isn't helping. She told him that the  weather would kill him. I think that's just a little bit crazy. If the heat, humidity, and hurricanes don't kill him a little chill in the air with a few snowflakes won't do any harm. Besides, I've promised to install a top of the line environmental system in the new house we buy, with humidity control and a hepa air filter. I've also pointed out that Chicago has better health care. Doctors up there aren't sitting in their office thinking, I'd sure rather be out on my million dollar yacht with my mistress and a glass of vodka. Chicago doctors only think of that for a couple of months in the summer. And then there is the culture. Museums, theater, parks, music, and sports. Okay, the sports is for me, but we could go to the theater and see a different play every weekend. Anyway, I'll just keep trying to woo him to my way of thinking. I have big plans for our August trip to Chicago this year. I'm going to try to make it so much fun that Mark will agree, we should move to Chicago. One more tactic I could use, but don't want to, Mark wants a new car. He hates the PT Cruiser that I told him was the last car I would ever buy. I could be persuaded.
Greek Town Chicago