Friday, February 20, 2015

Low Maintenance

The Good Husband

            I read Dear Abby more than I care to admit. The thing that draws me to her column is the discovery of how na├»ve people can be when in a relationship. Naivete bordering on stupid.

Last week, Abby got a letter from a lady who said her live-in boyfriend drank a lot every day. Mostly been and whiskey. The man drank a lot, but could really hold his liquor, however it bothered her that he might be an alcoholic. She said that while he doesn’t appear to be drunk, he’s bad tempered when he drinks. Regardless, Torn in North Carolina” doesn’t want to lose her boyfriend. She asked Abby whether or not she should marry the guy.

I believe we’re all of the same mind here. “Torn” is going to marry this jerk no matter what Abby advises. It’s so sad, but it happens in the lives of so many who apparently think they can change a person once they marry ‘em.

Fortunately Kay never had that problem with me. Quite the contrary. Her goal has always been to keep me on my path of low maintenance. I don’t require a lot in life. You give me a coffeepot, a toilet that flushes and a DVR, and I’m good for a whole day. That’s low maintenance.

I don’t play golf. Golf is expensive and it takes a lot out of a day. That takes away from your low maintenance score. I used to play golf, but I tired of the embarrassment. During my last game with my brothers, my first shot off the Tee bounced twice in the parking lot narrowly missing a Volvo 960 Wagon, a white Ford 150, and a poor Coca Cola delivery guy balancing a two-wheel dolly of Sprite. We had to let the foursome behind us play through so Larry, Dennis and Big Al could have time to finish their laugh. Hey, I even got tickled.

That was my last golf outing. My clubs were never used again… largely because Kay sold them in a garage sale. I think they went for twenty bucks. She could’ve gotten more had she tossed the clubs and sold the watch that I left in the bag.

It’s really a blessing that I’m a lousy golfer. Golf is a sport of gentlemen of means. I don’t have means. In fact, I don’t even have the clubs. Are you following me?

It’s the same way with boating. Boats are nonsensically expensive for a retired high school teacher/columnist. Any boat I could afford would require a short-handled paddle with an attached bailing bucket.

Another thing about boats is the fact that you have to haul them. I’d rather push a boat trailer than drag one. Trailers obey Newton’s Law of Linked Objects. – “The steering of a trailing object is equal in force and opposite in direction of the managing object.”  Newton didn’t even understand it.

 If I were trying to launch a boat from a boat ramp, I’d have to drive head on into the water and then get out and manually turn my floating car toward the ramp. I don’t back well.

That’s pretty much why Kay and I don’t boat or camp. I don’t like to camp unless I’m indoors. I need a shower and toilet and a side-table for my CPAP machine. In other words, a camping trailer, or a motor home. Problem is, a motor home is too big for me to drive without screaming at each approaching curve. And, the trailer? See “Newton’s Law of Trailing Objects.”

            Any person who doesn’t golf, boat or haul a house for camping is a winner in the “Low Maintenance Game”… available now from Mattel.

The three major factors in high maintenance are cost, time and effort. I can’t enjoy something that costs me a lot. I get nauseated after eating an expensive meal. It wouldn’t me nearly as bad were you to pay for the meal, but it’d still hurt.

I don’t enjoy drinking because I hate both the taste and the cost. A beer in some bars cost as much as a Starbucks Grande Frappuccino. And, some people buy more than just one beer while they’re in bar. Just ask Torn in North Carolina.

I don’t like to fish, ‘cause I’m afraid I’ll catch a fish and have to clean it. I don’t even like to bait a hook. Fortunately, the rubber worms don’t scream nearly as loud as the real ones or as loud as one of those minnows. Can you imagine how bad it would be if bait could actually feel pain?  

No, I do very little outdoor activity. I don’t play outdoor or indoor games. They cut into my naptime. I’m low cost, low energy and always around when needed. I’m a good catch. Take my word for it. Seriously, take my word for it. Don’t ask Kay.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Eating bad

Even fried can't help a gizzard.

            It’s been three days since Kay’s return from her cruise to Cozumel, and things are almost back to normal. I’m not even sure that’s a good thing. During her absence I slept late, went to bed late and ate meals containing greasy, fried, red meat with potatoes and rolls. Not proud of food intake.
            Doctors who hate people (DWHPs) say that we’re supposed to eat only four ounces of red meat a week. I tried that over a two year period once between my birth and 28 months-old. I could discern no change in my cholesterol. My feet did get four sizes larger, though. 

            The bad things I ate while Kay was gone were ham and eggs, bacon and eggs, chili, chili dogs, Frito pie, spaghetti, pizza and spaghetti on pizza. No sweets. Sweets are bad for you. And artificial sweeteners are worse. It would be better if you drank either full octane soda pop, or gravy. Anything but artificial sweetened stuff.

            There’s only one zero calorie sweetener that won’t kill you. It’s made from warthog bladders. I made that up. No, it’s derived from a plant that grows in a faraway land. Corsicana, maybe. I believe it’s called Steveno. Stevaria? I can’t be certain.

            At the present, it’s safe to ingest Steveno, at least until scientists find a way to kill lab rats with the stuff. Then you’re back to drinking gravy. Few people have ever died from gravy ingestion. A guy did gag once on a spatula that stirred gravy. It wasn’t pretty.
ay is back. As I was driving her home, I planned to take her to a nice place to eat. She said she had been eating “nice” for the last five days, so I took her to Hartz Chicken Buffet.

            Hartz has the best buffet in the Northern Hemisphere, which makes it the best in the universe. They’ve managed to perfectly fry every chicken body. After filling my plate, I watched as one guy loaded up on nothing but chicken gizzards. I asked Kay to go make fun of him, but she refused.

            Gizzards? When I was a kid, a plate of gizzards were the last thing taken from the plate of chicken. Mom always fried the gizzard, but we didn’t like it, didn’t understand it, and felt sorry for birds who had to carry one around. The texture is somewhat like two paddle balls attached by a rubber band. They were first used in the sport of badminton.

            Today’s chickens are a lot different than when I was a kid. It’s hybridization.. Today’s chickens only have eight pieces. Mom used to get chickens with 15 pieces. They each had four breast chunks, a pulley bone, a tail, a back, a neck, a heart, a liver, a gizzard, two legs and two thighs. If we had company, she’d throw in a couple unrecognizable pieces. I think she fashioned ‘em out of Spam. If you fry ‘em enough, you’ll think you’re eating a burnt thigh.

            Hartz made money off Kay. She didn’t fill her plate, ‘cause she’s all excited about eating the right stuff, and as soon as we got home, she decided to involve me in her dietetic scheme. The last two mornings I drank a concoction that is supposed to “cleanse” me. Some part of me. I think it’s my liver. Could be my gizzard.

            There are about eight ingredients in the elixir of life. I can only remember two of ‘em. Apple cider vinegar and Cayenne pepper. Together, they pretty much drown out the taste of the other six. After chug-a-lugging the liquid fire, one would need a bowl of ice cream to speak in anything other than a dry hack. We don’t have ice cream. All we’ve got are cold prunes. I’ve been grabbing a handful after each cleansing treatment. It takes four to five prunes to make the hurt go away. The good news is that something is gonna get cleansed. May not be my liver, but something somewhere is getting scoured. I’m just sorry I have to be around to witness it.

            Beside the bad eats, I am sleeping better since Kay’s been home. Usually I watch some action flick on TV until I find enough energy to haul myself to bed. Now, I get in bed when Kay does, and we watch a rerun of “The Antique Roadshow.” Few things make me sleepier than an antique dealer talking for 20 minutes about the glaze on the lip of an urn. Kay can follow the entire show to its end, without even a yawn.

            When I watch an action program before bedtime, I dream about getting shot or chased or jumping off a cliff while being chased. I hate dreams like that. When I fall asleep while listening to someone explain the history behind a South Carolinian syrup bucket, I end up dreaming about waffles.

            That’s what Kay’s cruise has done for me. I now begin my morning drinking a concoction made of dregs from the bowels of hell; I’ve given up red meat, pizza and potatoes. The last potato I tasted was a BBQ Flavored Pringle from a hidden can purchased in 2003. The Yoga program Kay has introduced me to has forced me to go to Sam’s to purchase a box of Depends that’s big enough to hold a Frigidaire.

            Oh, I almost forgot. I’m also acquiring a taste for prunes. Regularity is just around the corner. Can it get any better than this? No, I’m asking.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Kay Cruise

A cruise for “The Girls”

            When you’re with a group of people you can get into a lot of trouble. History tells us that… and I’m telling you that.

            During my sophomore year at SFA in Nacogdoches, the Lumberjacks won a championship basketball game that qualified us for a national tournament. NIT? RJU? Some tournament. 

The pantie raid as I remember it before the cops arrived
All actual photos were destroyed by the NPD. I'm pretty sure.
            The game was away, so we were all glued to our radios. At the final buzzer a few thousand of us immediately came out of our dorms and started cheering. Then we started running. Didn’t seem like any one was in charge. We eventually ended up outside one of the girls’ dorms. At that point, the post-pep rally turned into a panty raid. I never was sure what one was. I just know that I saw no panties. It was a panty raid sans any panties. 

            Just as things were getting interesting, the campus police arrived and chased us away. Everyone but me ended up outside the College President’s house playing on his lawn. I would’ve been there, but I was standing in the back of the mob right before the cops came, so when everyone turned to run, I became the “supposed” leader of the mob. And, get this, I had no panties!

            All the while I was runnin, I was thinking about how I would explain my arrest to Dad. -- “So, you got kicked out of SFA for orchestrating a Panty Raid? I don’t like the sound of that, son. By the way, what’s a panty raid?” – “Not sure, Dad. But, this one was somewhat of a disappointment.”

            Yeah, I’d end up with my picture tacked to a slate of cork on a post office wall. All because of going along with the crowd. So, what does this have to do with anything? I’ll tell you with what this has to do. Right now Kay is on a cruise to Mexico with – are you ready? – The Girls. Twenty of ‘em. 

            Kay is not only with The Girls, she’s one of The Girls. Who are The Girls? I know most of ‘em, and each seem to be almost normal… as women go. But, all together, they’re a “boxer/brief raid” waiting to happen.

            Getting ready for the cruise took Kay a good while. That’s because The Girls have a theme for each night. One night they’ll all be dressed up like pirates. Another night will be Marti Gras Night. There’s also a “Sparkle Night” when they all wear sparkly stuff. I’m just assuming here.  

            What I consider the scariest theme is “Pajama Night. They actually call it “Cozy Cozumel Night.” (Did I mention that Kay is involved in this thing?) Twenty women will enter the dining room during Cozy Cozumel Night wearing PJs. Am I the only one who sees this as possibly becoming Passengers-Go-Crazy Night? 

            For whatever reason, The Girls enjoy attracting attention while vacationing. Me? I prefer to go unnoticed while on a trip. The less I’m noticed, the more comfortable I can be. I don’t need to think up stuff to say or even pretend to listen. I can, for sake of a better word, RELAX! Break that word down and it means “To lax again.” Who doesn’t want to lax again?

            I don’t relax well in groups. I don’t even get a big kick out of spending time with The Guys. Guys don’t require nearly as much maintenance as Girls, but that’s because we are much less complicated. Guys can be sitting around a campfire smoking cigars. Someone might spit in the fire. This will touch off multiple spits. Finally, someone will say -- “You call that spitting?” -- After that it just gets gross. 

            Yeah, being with a group of guys for any length of time puts me on edge. Too much competing. It can get so aggravated that I sometimes try to change the subject. – “Hey, do these camo pants make my butt look big?” -- Stuff like that is what kept me out of the armed services.

            The only person who can put up with me for any length of time is Kay. Of course, Kay’s not here. Surely you’ve picked up on that by now. 

            Now that I’m alone, I can watch any action, blood and guts movie that’s out there. Don’t even have to share my popcorn. I still haven’t seen “American Sniper” or “Taken 3.” I don’t really care to see any horror flicks, ‘cause I have to sleep by myself. It’s odd how I feel more safe at night being with a person who doesn’t have the strength to lift a bucket of whiffle balls.

            Meals are not nearly as complicated now that Kay’s gone. I can eat breakfast for every meal if I want. Unfortunately, at Day 2, I got sick of eggs. At the moment, I’m not even crazy about movie popcorn. Too much of good things.

             The only thing that I’m the least bit worried about is Pajama Night. I can’t see anything good coming from that. Now Sparkle Night is a gas. But PJ night is a ruckus waiting to happen. I just hope there’s not any campus cops around. If so, somebody is going to find out how Kay’s passport picture looks on a cork slate in the oficina de correos. That’s how they say “post office” in the port of Cozumel.