Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The ol' pet tree

“Feeling Fall”

    ROOFTOP – All right, now it feels like fall. You know when it feels like fall? Now. I think I just said that.

    I can understand why you had trouble hearing me, ‘cause it’s so breezy. Breezy and cool. And, clear. In fact, to see a bluer sky you’d have to travel to Oel in the galaxy Trifore. They’ve got an unnaturally blue sky there. Scary blue. Take my word.

    Another fall sign is the one tree we have with some red leaves. It’s the Chinese Tallow at the edge of the porch. The one I usually climb to get up here. Unlike the oaks out there, the tallow leaves do turn a lovely red.

Kay was out a few minutes ago with the camera. Mumbled something about the light being all wrong and went back inside. I guess the light would be better were the tree on the north side of the house. I’m not moving it though.

I don’t know if you knew, but my first pet was a tallow tree. The one on Camille Street. We weren’t allowed animal pets, ‘cause you had to feed ‘em and they made a mess in the yard. That was back when kids played outdoors and rolled around in the grass and stuff. Dogs and cats were not welcome at the Hayter house.

So, one day I asked Mom if I could have the tree in the backyard. She said, “I don’t know. Which one do you want?” I took her to the kitchen window and showed her the forked Chinese Tallow.

"Well do you think you can take care of it?” Can you believe that Mom never took a parenting course? She honed her skills on the first four Hayter kids. By the time she got to Al, she forgot all she learned. Anyway, she gave me the tree, and I befriended the thing. Even talked to it. “How was your day? You need more water? Oh, I got my report card and Ol’ Ms. Smith gave me a ‘C’ in conduct. Dad’s gonna kill me. I’m scared to go inside. What should I do?”

When Dennis found out that Mom gave me a pet tree, he laughed big time. And, when he heard me talking to the thing, he told the world about his idiot brother. He’d swing around on the thing just to tick me off. “Is this its elbow right here? Do you think it hurts when I do—this!”

I suppose I should’ve thanked my big brother for trying to humiliate the weirdness out of me. Unfortunately, I wore humiliation well. Always seemed to fit. I was a mess. I’m so much better now.— Beg pardon?

And, who wouldn’t feel better on such a lovely day?  After all, it’s fall! I’ve been so anxious about its arrival that Thanksgiving snuck up on me. Sneaked? What’s bizarro is the fact that none of the Hayters have stepped up to the plate to host the family get-together. They all have families and have apparently made other arrangements. It can sure happen.

So, Kay and I are staying home and preparing something we wouldn’t ordinarily prepare. The ol’ surf and turf. Lobster and steak. The two times we bought lobster tails they were frozen and we tried to steam ‘em. They were rubber tails. Kay read where you’re either supposed to grill or sauté a frozen lobster tails. I’m grilling.

Thanksgiving morning, we’re going to eat breakfast, read the paper, watch about ten minutes of the parade and then play some one-on-one football. With only one person per team you pretty much have to play tackle. Touch would just be stupid. “Okay, hike.” Touch. “That’s not fair.  

No we’ll have to play tackle football. As soon as one of us gets hurt, I’ll do the fireman’s carry and get her inside and then fire up the grill. It’ll be different, but good. You know what it will be? Different, but good. Just seeing if you were listening.

Hey, Happy Thanksgiving from the Hayters. And, befriend a tree.


To view Brad and Mark’s review of Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet click below.

Mark can be reached at mark@rooftopwriter.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Too much information

“THE Procedure”

    I’m pretty much the head of the household. Have been for right at 40 years now. I’m the man in charge. Nothing occurs without my tacit approval. That’s how I approve stuff. With tacit.   

    I say that to say this. I’m losing it. And, I’m beginning to wonder if I ever had it. Sometimes I sense that I’m a pawn in a game of String-Mark-Along. And that Kay is pulling all the strings. I fear I may have married into the Corleone family.   

I had a procedure done last week. THE procedure. Upper GI with a colonoscopy twist. If you haven’t had that, get ready… unless you have no insurance, in which case you’ll have to wait till you find yourself carrying your colon around in a suitcase. Health Care System? Where’s that?

Anyway, before the event, I fasted while going through the entire gut flushing episode. Wasn’t fun or pretty. Photos at six. After a long, riotous night, Kay took me to the hospital the next day for THE procedure. She helped me fill out all the forms. She had to. I don’t know stuff?

Sooner than I expected, the nurse shouted my name into the waiting room. As I headed for the door I could hear people mumbling. “Oh, poor guy.” – “He’s gonna have a little lighter step when he comes outta there.” – Waiting rooms.

When I got to the door, the nurse asked if I’d like my wife to accompany me. I thought Kay was right behind me. I turn around and saw her reading National Geographic. Something about the Lost Penguins of the Maldives. 

“Kay!” I gave her my “This way” head gesture. It’s served me well. As she walked passed me, she gave me a swat on the rear with the National G. I’m sure nobody noticed.

I needed Kay there for the questions. Oh, the questions. “Mr. Hayter, was your prep successful?” I looked at Kay and she nodded. “Yes, ma’am the prep was a gas.”

“Mr. Hayter, do you have esophageal protuberance lucidity? Kay looks up from her penguin article and nods. “Of course I do. Doesn’t everyone?”

I won’t tease you with further details of the demoralizing, humiliating and shamefully puzzling procedure. But when it was over and I surfaced from the deep funk of anesthesia, Dr. Pearce came in and gave me the good news. A kind man who left no turn unstoned. I may have still been a little groggy.

I stopped listening after he said there was nothing to worry about. I did hear something about a clip inside me that will… I don’t remember. Disintegrate? Pass? Make its way out my left nostril? Who can remember? Kay can… and did.

Later that evening, Kay was giving a family member the lowdown on THE procedure. She rattled off a whole list of details. A polyp, cauterization, something in the esophagus. Nothing to worry about. Need to do this again in five years. Then she started talking about the misplaced penguins. The girl loves penguins. 

When Brad Meyer asked me about the results, I said, “Uh, I’ve got a clip in my stomach. I think.” It was more than he cared to know.

I don’t know how Kay remembers all the boring stuff of life. Stuff that eventually resurfaces as important. Me? I remember nothing. Yet, I’m the one in charge of the household.

On the way home from the hospital, I was really hungry… from “the prep.” I asked Kay to stop somewhere so I could get a burger and onions rings. She said, “No. You don’t want that.”

Wow. She knows what I want and don’t want even before I do. You can see what’s happening here, can’t you? Well, I wish you’d let me in on it, ‘cause after 40 years with Tricker Girl, I don’t know which end’s up… metaphorically speaking. I speak metaphoricals sometimes. 

Tune in to www.waymorefm.com  at 5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday to catch Brad and Mark’s “You’re telling me” live program. You can contact Mark at mark@rooftopwriter.com.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Missing lunch on the roof

“Lightening up”

    ROOFTOP – I dragged you up here this morning in search of happy thoughts. Kay thinks I need to lighten up. She picks up on every little signal. Drives me nuts.

    Anyway, I decided to placate her by sitting on the roof till I lighten up a bit. First thing I notice from up here is all the mole mounds below. Kidney bean shaped things. And, look at the tunnel protrusions in the grass. Irritating as all get out.

    Do you have any idea how many cats there are in my yard? I don’t either. A lot of ‘em. Might even be some up here with us. They’ve been known to climb.

How many of the cats belong to me? None. Zip, zilch, nada. Yet, I tolerate their activity ‘cause I figure they’ll keep varmints out. Moles, snakes, Gila monsters… the usual. Well, they’ve done wonders with the Gila monster population, but not so good with other stuff.

Cats are curious aren’t they?  Supposed to be. I’ve read books about curious cats. Not recently, but I’ve read some. Yet, the cats that congregate around my place don’t give a ripe fig for anything but birds. These stupid cats hear burrowing underground, and what do they do? They stalk birds. “Ah, the ground is vibrating. Time to catch a bird.”

Last week there was a two-foot coral snake by the back door. The red and yella kill a fella kind. I about lost my breakfast over the sighting. I appeared so shook that Kay asked if I wanted her to kill the snake. My entire feminine side was screaming, “Yes! Of course I do! What are you waiting for?”

But that one extra Y chromosome spoke up. “Nah. It’s a job for a guy. Let me get the shovel.” I didn’t enjoy dispatching the demon serpent. I’ve never seen a snake die easy. I’m only glad God didn’t give ‘em vocal cords. A snake scream would pretty much do me in.

That being said, the chance of a coral snake biting me on the ankle is slim. They’ve got small mouths. It’d have to bite me between the toes. I don’t go outside barefoot. Regardless, I couldn’t run the risk of losing one of my neighbors’ cats.  I couldn’t live with that.

Okay, what else do we see down there? Yes, the old Jungle Gym is still there. I’ll dismantle it this winter. Yes, I’ve been saying that for six years, but this time I really mean it. Probably mean it. Regardless, give it a rest will ya? I assure you, we’ll all miss the wooden contraption after it’s gone. It’s the way of things.

Whoa! Did you hear that? You’re right. It’s a rooster. Not much of one by the sound of it. The thing lives closeby. I don’t know if it’s a young rooster or a really old one. Either way, it needs some serious work on its crowing. It’s got the Cocka doodle down pretty well. But, the “do” part is so lacking.

“Cocka doodle squak.” Just pathetic. Isn’t that something? An embarrassment to fowldom. Seems to crow only when I step outside. Regardless of the time of day. A real loony.

I’m the luckiest man in the world. I’ve got moles, snakes, bird-chasing cats and an emasculated rooster. The world is not looking all that well from up here.

Except for that. Did you see it? Just flitted past us. Yep, a monarch butterfly. How do they do it? Fragile as a daydream, yet it will keep plugging away until it ends up somewhere in Mexico. Maybe not that particular butterfly, but one of its kids or grandkids. I don’t know what you call butterfly offspring, but you get the point.

What say we leave on the Monarch sighting. I’ll walk into the kitchen and show Kay that I’m chipper as a… cat trying to attack a cardinal. – “Scat! Leave the birds alone! Go eat a mole!” Doesn’t that beat all?

Well, I guess this minor tirade of mine means that we’ll have to stay up here a little longer. Back to work. We’re all on the lookout for happy stuff. Let’s all spreadout. Report your findings. And work fast, ‘cause I’m not missing lunch. Not this time. – Yes, I’ve been through this before.


You can reach Mark at mark@rooftopwriter.com