Brother’s pig roast
Let’s see… went to my brother’s pig roast on Saturday. I was pretty glad I was able to give him a) the title to the antique car; 2) the antique cabinet from my garage that was originally from his wife’s parent’s house; and d) the gun cabinet that my brother had a friend of his make for our dad for Christmas one year.
Well, he didn’t really want that back, but I have no room for it and I currently have no guns as far as you know, so I don’t need it. We had a nice visit with some people, and then got rained out. We did, however, stay, as several did. Eventually we were the last to leave.
I had a talk with my brother in his "study." There’s an eclectic design mix: Modern computer and furniture, frilly lace curtains on the windows, and several deer heads on the wall. We both have our problems, it seems. I get my sister, and he gets his son. Of course, I also have Detroit’s son, but while he is parasitic, at least he’s not actively destructive like my nephew.
I laid out briefly our sister’s problems, and then he laid out all of Matt’s. He won.
The bottom line for my sister is, she is under-employed and actively engaged in bad decision making that keeps her from getting a better job. It’s going to be a cold winter, and she is not going to have gas for heat. I help her as little as I can, because I can’t help her much anyway. I certainly can’t give her any money, and even if I could I don’t want to because she comes to resent help no matter how badly she needs it. I swear, if she were a dog I’d drive her out to the country and leave her on the side of the fucking road.
So I offer helpful suggestions and find web addresses for her, job sites and charitable help on utilities and things like that. If she wasn’t so fucking impossible to live with she could get a roommate. She’s proven that she’s impossible to live with by going through several roommates, including me.
"Lazy, self-involved and clueless female with home seeks roommate to pay utilities and put up with endless ridiculous drama and random irrational behavior. Pets, smoking okay."
I sure as shit don’t need her back in my house. Detroit, course, resents everything and anything I have to do for her. I try to think of it as preventive maintenance: whatever I can do to help her from being homeless and hence a bigger burden on me–on us–is worth it.
By the way, you know, I don’t complain and seethe with a rolling boil over Brandon living in the basement and leeching of us and having no possibility of a future beyond masturbating and eating all my food. Even though I should. So lighten up.
Detroit, meanwhile, holds onto resentment like a porcelain collectible that will someday be valuable…and that’s just one of the many reasons why I love her.
As for the visit with my brother: I’m concerned about him. He has some various aches and pains, some of which could be serious. He has insurance, but won’t go to a doctor. He has a fairly irrational distrust of all in the medical field. He’s scared to get a physical, and doesn’t want a doctor to stick a finger up his butt for a prostate exam. Me, I look forward to it. Likewise, with our family history, he needs a colonoscopy. I need to talk to his wife and get her to convince him to go.
You know, our mom was like this, and she put off going to the doctor basically until it was too late.
Okay, what else we got–Two of the comedy clubs that I used to do open mic at are closed. What the fuck? Seriously. Fuck, comma, what the, question mark. I was thinking of getting back into it, so maybe this is an omen not to.
I fixed the lawnmower the other day, and cut the front yard. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for it. I’ve worked on lawnmowers before, but I’ve never actually fixed one. Detroit didn’t really know what she was asking for.
She started it up and it blew out some smoke. She shut it off. What can it be? It sat for about two weeks. Finally, I had the chance (and no excuses) so I took a look. It was good to have all of my tools handy and know where they were and what I needed. I rolled the mower out of the shed to the patio. I got out my little stool that is on wheels so I could roll around and get a closer look. Then I engaged the machine.
The guy at the hardware store said there are three things you need to do to your lawnmower every year. First, don’t get it wet. Second, don’t feed it after midnight, and third–
Wait, wrong list. Don’t get it wet, obviously–keep it in a building or keep it covered. But he said change the oil, change the filter, change the spark plug. Every spring that should be your routine. Since we bought it last year and I didn’t do any of that this year, checking those items would be a good place to start.
The oil looked good. A little dark, but not pitch black. We only have a few more mows left this season, so that will wait till spring. It wasn’t too full or too low, either, which I was told is something else that can cause a lawnmower to smoke.
But seriously–it’s a one cylinder engine with no real exhaust and no emissions equipment–I’d say it was born to smoke.
Next I got a socket and removed the spark plug. It looked decent. Good, even. It’ll do. Air filter next.
Bingo! The place on the filter that opened to the bottom of the tray where it actually sucked in air–all of those spots where clogged with oily dirt. It’s not getting any air.
I cleaned the filter out with some gasoline, which may or may not have been a good idea, and then rinsed it with water in the sink really good. I left it out in the sun for over an hour, way more time than it needed but I wanted to be sure there was no moisture in it.
I put the mower back together and bada-bing! It starts. No smoke. Hell yeah. I went ahead and cut the front yard because it needed it, and I wanted to run it to make sure I had solved the problem. Plus any points I earn with Detroit are redeemable for prizes later.
I changed my schedule at Domino’s, and we’ll see how that goes. But I need Monday off to drive my ass up to Troy and take my daughter to an Anger Management class. Of course she has anger issues. Never mind the divorce and all that–look at who her mother is. I tried to fill out the forms but they just made me mad. That’s more personal information than I feel like giving out.
Miranda seemed okay while she was with me. Even her mom asked her, "Are you sure you need anger management?" Everyone goes off now and then, am I wrong? AM I WRONG?! Except me, of course. I’m perfectly calm. I’m calmer than you are.
I’m still calmer than you.
I swear I don’t get the point, or the purpose. I’ve had a myspace–actually two–that I haven’t touched in a year or more. I started a twitter, too, God knows why. All of these are to get in touch or stay in touch with people. Coworkers, friends, family, former friends, former family, former schoolmates, ex lovers, acquaintances, customers, people on your street that you typically try to avoid–
For Christ’s sake, *why*? I don’t need and don’t want to be in touch with this many people. Status update? Fuck off. That’s my status. I have this…msn space, whatever the hell it’s called. I use this as my journal, to publish essays about my fascinating and incredible life. I have (or had) a few friends on here, but most of them are gone. I don’t have the desire or energy to look for new friends. Unless you’re going to show me your tits, I really don’t want to talk to you.
I think I just had a great idea for a new social networking site. No, not fuckbook, that’s been done. No, not titbook, either. I think I’ll call it…jadespace. You set up a profile and get a space, and send out requests to others. And then never go back to it again. Instead, you go out in the world and live your life.
It might catch on.
I remember the problems I had when I first started on myspace. That was more technical in nature: the site was set up so that retards could figure it out. Since I’m not a retard, it was counter-intuitive. I don’t have that problem with the Face; my problem is I don’t care enough to try.
So go ahead friend me on facebook. Try. Just try it. See what happens.
Actually what I feel like is this: I’ve been doing this for so long, in so many places, with so many people, that it’s becoming a blur. I doubt I’ll remember his name in a few years. I have trouble remembering my own right now. I think of all the friends I have had in the past–all work-related and employed at Domino’s–and I can’t recall most of them. All the hot young girls I’ve working for me are a dim memory.
But let’s speak of the here and now, shall we? The new manager’s sister worked for us for about two days before returning to her original store. She said it was because she liked the money better at her home store, but I know the truth. Sadly, she couldn’t handle the sexual tension betwixt us. The poor thing. All that smoldering passion beneath her tiny yet perky heaving bosom was just too much.
Adam, the new GM, *says* he is laid back, but compared to Dina, he is all gung ho and shit. This is his first store. I thought, "Aw, that is so cute. He actually cares and thinks he can get ahead here. How adorable."
One thing he did was take the fairly well-organized and logically arranged walk-in cooler and re-arrange everything until it was…what’s the word I’m looking for? Stupid. He made the walk-in completely stupid. I can live with it.
I feel about most things at Domino’s the same way I feel about the supervisor Tom. He says if no one hates him, he’s not doing his job. He wants to be feared and respected. When I see him all I think is "I’m about to be inconvenienced."
We’re about to do some funny things with the schedule, so we’ll see if I’m still laughing when we’re done. Ultimately I’m worried about this, the same thing I told Dina to watch out for: Sure, they are all fine and happy with me, sure. But they changed managers for a reason. Why not have the new manager come in and make all these other changes? We don’t have to fire anyone, just get rid of them, make them quit. Make their lives miserable and they’ll just go away.
I know this because I’ve done it myself, several times. I have no doubt that something very similar could have been said to Adam about me, and most definitely could have been said to whomever is Dina’s new manager about her.
But here it is in its ORIGINAL form:
THE SOUND OF SLICES
Pizza boxes my old friends
I’ve come to fold you up again
Because a GM softly creeping
Woke me up when I was sleeping,
And the threat of being fired still remains
In my brain
Within the sound of slices
On deliveries I go alone
Driving fast and getting stoned
Beneath the halo of a streetlamp
I deliver in the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash
Of a neon light
“Open All Night”
To serve the sound… of slices
And in florescent light I saw
10 thousand pizzas, maybe more
Pizzas stacking without leaving
Pizzas sitting and not going
Pizzas growing old and drivers never care
No one dare
Disturb the sound of slices.
"Fools!" said I, "You do not know!
"Sliced like that it cannot go!"
Hear my words that I might teach you
Grab my apron that I might train you
But my words, like pepperoni fell
And in the air the smell
And the people bitched but paid
For the pizza that I made
And the sign flashed out its warning
See the words that it was forming
And the sign said the slices of the pizza
Are for sale near the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whisper the sound… of slices
I still tear up when I hear it.
Imagine you live in a nice neighborhood–you think. But there are some problems, so you want to start a neighborhood watch. No one else wants to host the party, so you have it. And it’s not a party, you keep telling them, but the guy across the street shows up with a keg and a young couple from down the block order a bunch of pizzas and pay for it with your credit card that they stole from you.
During the meeting–which gets a little rowdy and out of control–two convicted felons that don’t even live in your neighborhood volunteer to house-sit for people when they go on vacation. Everyone nods about what a great idea that is. This creepy pedophile says that he’ll handle the after-school safe house program and everyone agrees. The neighborhood retarded kid is charged with keeping the minutes. Your neighbor’s cousin who lives in the basement that had served time for embezzling is unanimously elected treasurer.
The guy who lives behind you complains that your fence is too high because he can’t check out your wife in the pool. Someone else agrees and says your house looks too nice, it makes the rest of the neighborhood look bad. What are you trying to do, lower everyone’s property values?
You’ve already offered to help some neighbors–you’ve lent them a lawnmower and they broke it, and you’ve loaned out a ladder and never seen it again. Another neighbor–does he even live here?–cut down the tree in your front yard for firewood. You just got subpoenaed because he is suing you because his house burned down.
And even though there is no water shortage in this state, everyone votes to keep you from watering your lawn because no one else does either. The lady next door takes this opportunity to sell cookies for her daughter’s school fundraiser. Everyone claims they can’t afford to buy any, but they get all in your face when you say you don’t want any either. "You can afford it! You need to buy some!"
You have some mail that belongs to someone else, so you try to return it. They say, “No, that’s my bill for drug rehab. You can pay that, right?” Everyone agrees you should, and they all want to forward their personal property tax bills to you.
Two neighbors from down the street start to fight over whose tattoo is the most accurate representation of living for the moment, and it turns into a brawl in your house that spills into the yard. Prized possessions are broken or stolen, and your lawn turns into a muddy pit with all your flowers and landscaping destroyed.
The cops come. When questioned about who started it, everyone points at you. You want to put up your house up for sale and move, but you KNOW what the open houses will be like.
This is exactly what the UN is like.
One of those things I have seen is change and turnover. Recently I prophesied of a change coming. This morning, that change came.
It all started when–
Actually, it’s hard to say when it *started*. But here is where the end began. Saturday, Dina the manager was supposed to come in and do some marketing, like hand out fliers for a lunch special to businesses. Why she would do this on a Saturday–
Anyway. Rumor has it that she didn’t actually do that. She may have just fucked around that afternoon. And she was supposed to work Sunday and didn’t, I think. Since I don’t work those days, I’m sketchy on the details.
Monday I didna work, I forget why. Oh, I had to take the boys to the train station early Tuesday morning. So I’m all tired when this shit goes down, okay? I closed Tuesday and Wednesday night at Domino’s.
I guess during the day Monday or Tuesday, Tom the supervisor came in and questioned Dina about her work schedule, as well as some fiduciary discrepancies that he dug up.
Tuesday night, Steve mentions to me that there are some deposits missing, and Tom the supervisor had been snooping around. No problem, I thought. I know I still had Saturday’s deposit on me, but I would drop it tonight along with tonight’s. Right? Still, something ached distantly in the back of my memory. Steve said there are about 6 deposits missing. That’s not good. But still, only one was my responsibility, and I had it.
Let me explain quickly right here what happens. We close at midnight, and I have to be up early for my day job. Instead of driving the extra ten minutes out of my way EVERY night to the bank drop, I most often keep a couple of them on me, and drop them off at once. I know it’s not policy, but I don’t follow the rules on very much as it is, so why should this be any different? Besides, it’s much more convenient for me, and that is the ruler I use to measure most things.
I know I’m sloppy and a bit lazy, so let’s move on, shall we?
Wednesday, I get a call from Dina in the middle of the afternoon. Upset and crying. Tom the supervisor and Big John the Director of Operations are in the store. Fourteen deposits are missing, going back into August. They want them all here in the store by five o’clock or they will call the local police and press charges. Do you, she asks, know anything or have anything?
A brilliant flash of light, much like a mini-stroke, hits my brain. "I need to make a call," I said.
I called Mike, the driver. "Where are you?"
As it turns out, I had "loaned" Mike a deposit. Risky shit, I know. He needed to borrow the money for a day or two, and was going to replace it and make the deposit. Well…he hadn’t done it yet. He needed one more day–that day–and he would have it. But I didn’t have *that* day. I had two hours. He had the deposit with him, but he couldn’t leave the store. There were no deliveries, and Dina was gone. Tom and Big John were running the store while Dina went out to gather hers. I’ll get to her story in a bit. But Mike was right there at the store, with the two people expecting the deposits. This was going to turn into the Bourne Ultimatum or something. Our Man Flint.
Well I wasn’t going to get my nap in today. It was 230, the time I leave the bank when I am working at Domino’s in the evening. I get home at 3, and there is Detroit. I explain ever so briefly, leaving out any incriminating details, and tell her I need to leave now and take care of this. I give her Mike’s phone number, in case something happens. "In case I get fired or arrested. Or both."
I leave and I meet Mike, where he explains the incredible bad news. The deposit is still short; he needed today to get the money. How short? Two hundred seventy dollars. Oh, and the last one I had let him borrow (do you see a trend here?) his wife was supposed to drop off for him, but she had gotten sick and was sent home, and she never did make the drop. It is still short 30 bones. So we have an even 300 clams out. It was 330 pm. An hour and a half until I had cuffs on me.
Mike apologized up and down several times. To be honest, I wasn’t that mad, only because I could see me getting into this jam.
In fact, I was in this jam. I made a call. To Bunny.
"I need a favor. A big one."
"What kind of favor?"
"The kind that will keep me out of jail." I can only imagine her eyes widening. "I need three hundred dollars until tomorrow." Which is payday. I can cover whatever Mike can’t.
I get the money from Bunny, as well as a lecture from her, similar to the one I got from Detroit. The truth is, I agreed with them, and in fact thought the same thing months ago. More on that later, too.
I get the money, fix the deposits, seal them up, and deliver them about 4:15. I may or may not still have a job, but at least I’m not going to jail. I think.
That’s when I find that Dina isn’t there. She has been sent to fetch deposits that she has somewhere. She shows up about ten minutes after I do. On her heels, coincidentally enough, is Stan. He has on his normal closeted and quiet mask. He disappears into the back and then returns. never saying anything about the deposits. Like we don’t know, but of course he had some as well. What are we, a bunch of squirrels, saving this stuff for the winter? He leaves. Shortly thereafter, Tom and Big John leave. I was relieved at that, because there is only so much I can pretend to do while they are here.
When I deliver mine, I handed them to Tom and apologized. I said, "I’m sorry. It was just carelessness on my part." I went through my explanation, of course never saying anything about loaning some of the money out. In fact, when I cashed Bunny’s check, I got all twenties, and also traded in the three hundred dollar bills that were in there for twenties as well, so it would seem like a normal deposit. Nothing questionable.
Dina thought she was going to hear a verdict from them, but instead they left, leaving her future hanging in the balance.
This morning, Dina texts me, asking about the till. "what is the till set at? i have a feeling i am going to be met at the store."
Because although the till is supposed to be 400 dollars, she has borrowed money from it (hey, I have too, in the past) and currently she owes it 200 dollars. At least she didn’t borrow from the deposits that she had, and had a thousand dollars outstanding. *THAT* would have been a bummer. It was also what I expected of her as well. Maybe more benefit of the doubt is due.
I called her and told her the status. She said she was going to have money, ones and fives, like she was getting change for till. Good try; I hope they buy it.
Later this morning, some more texting.
From Dina, 1114 am:
I was right and you have a new gm
Reply from me:
bummer. RUOK? sorry.
Reply from Dina:
I am ok I wish you guys all the best! I definitely had the best crew ever! We had fun and I appreciate your work.
As I told both Mike and Steve–we’ve been looking for an out, and this might be it. I don’t know if the new manager is going to be a good guy or a dick. But if I need to, I can get out of there with no guilt.
It may be easier than I thought. I need to work certain hours, and I need to be off certain times and things. You know, they (Tom and John) could use this as an excuse to get rid of me, because they don’t like the idea of someone being part time. They want someone with both feet in, so they can control him. They might suggest to the new manager to push me, see if I respond.
I have the freedom to take it or leave it and not put up with their bullshit, and they don’t like it. We shall see, we shall see.
But I also see this as an out for me, in terms of getting away from the wide grey line. I want to be good, moral, ethical, et cetera. I’m not a fanatic or anything, but I want to be good. No, seriously. Stop laughing at me! One way or another, we all will be judged. I need to be cleansed. I also need to be around better influences, or at least away from corrupting ones.
Later that night, I opened up to Mike over a cigar and a Manhattan.
No matter how I explained it to him, he took it badly. He felt bad that I thought he was a bad influence. Well, he is. But I didn’t blame him. I made the choices. No one *made* me do it. But I just…I want to do what’s right.
And, as I added when I backpedaled, I said, "I want to find a part time job where I can get some better money, and maybe work less. Domino’s pays the lowest, I swear. And the hours are shitty. There has to be something better."
There *has* to be.
Got a call from Mike. He says the new manager (I don’t know his name yet–odd) says he plans to not change anything right away. He wants to work and observe and see how things go before he decides to make any changes. If this isn’t a campaign promise I don’t know what is. I feel fairly certain he is going to feel pressure from Tom and Big John to make changes. It’s only logical. Hell, I would.
I wonder if I should have called Tom and pretended to be upset, wondering why I wasn’t offered the store? That’d be funny for a second.
And there is still more to come.
Tags: recipes, Wiseguy Chef
The amounts work like this:
2 tablespoons a butta
Some garlic clove or what-have-you (in some form) minced garlic in a jar, or whatever floats your canoe, Skippy. A couple o teaspoons.
1 quart heavy whipping cream
dill–just shake a lot in there. If you measure it I’ll come over and kick your ass. But I would guess about a teaspoon or two
12 oz provolone cheese — more if you like
Lotsa Romano cheese (or parmesan, or a mix of)-if you want exact figures, call it a quarter cup. Happy now, bitch?
3 tablespoons o sour cream- just do it and shut up.
18 oz of noodles (1 and 1/2 packages of 12 oz noodles, if you cant do the math, you retard. Buy 3 boxes, then you can do it twice.)
Okay, in a sauce pan of some sort big enough for a quart of cream, melt some butta. Add the garlic, or whatever. Low heat, melt the butta and stir the garlic.
Pour in cream, turn up the heat. Add the dill and don’t walk away from it. Don’t burn it, don’t let it boil over. As soon as it starts to boil, turn down heat, pour in Romano or Parmesan and the sour cream. Turn the heat back on, stir, let it boil again slightly. Let it boil, turn the heat down, let it simma for a bit. Not long.
Turn it off, let it stand. It’ll thicken up, like your head.
Remember the noodles? While all this shit was going on, you shoulda boiled the water and then cooked the noodles. Don’t over-cook them because we are putting them in the oven. But they don’t need to be al dente either. If you don’t know what that means, fuck you. Cook the noodles, drain, and put the noodles in a friggin casserole dish. Pour da sauce over it, stir it some, and den pour da cheese on it. Heap it on.
Then, put that shit in the oven, 350 degrees American for 15 or 20 minutes. Ya want the cheese melted, and you want it a little brown. If you start the stuff at the same time, the sauce should be done before the noodles, so you can let it stand for bit outta the way whilst you deal with the noodles and what-have-you. Don’t fuck it up.
Once you master this, you can do some uther stuff. I’m not big on the mushrooms, but you can do that if you want. It’s your funeral, asshole.
I’ve cooked up chicken breast and diced them up and added it, and that’s good. I like broccoli, too. I guess you would add it before you add the cheese and bake it. I’m just guessing here. Same for the peas and carrots if that floats your boat. Just don’t fuckin eyeball me.
You know what’s good is steak tips, seasoned and cooked on the grill, and broccoli, and have that on the side with some of the noodles. I’m just sayin.
I’m not a sucker. Before, I would have said, "Oh, nothing."
Because then she would say, "Oh, we’re having a party–" or a get together or there’s a yard sale or some fun thing going on that would peak my interest and then she would say, "And I need you to shovel some manure for me." That’s essentially what it comes down to. But age and maturity and wisdom, et cetera, and experience dealing with her has given me a more wary approach. So when she says to me, "What are you doing this weekend?" I know just how to answer.
"No habla Englis."
"You do so speak English."
"No I don’t."
She needed help. Actually, this is truly a Friend of a Friend thing. One of her good friends (I am actually her best friend–me and Lynn) had a complicated situation. Her name is Laura.
Laura got divorced about five years ago. She has a new house. Her husband lives in the old house, and…let things go. It was in his name, so no harm to her. But it got to a point where it is going to be foreclosed on. In fact, the doors will be locked Sunday at midnight–that was last night. She couldn’t get her ex, Bob, to talk to her, answer a question, or give her any information until it was basically too late. Why should she care–his house, right?
Yeah, well, it was full of her stuff that she didn’t take when they separated, plus it had some of her kids’ stuff in there as well. With a deal made with a place called "Cash for Keys," they would give her two grand and deal with the foreclosure if she would get the shit out of it and clean the place up. She could use the money. She needed help.
Selflessly I asked, "What’s in it for me?"
Actually I didn’t ask, but before I could really get out a plausible excuse, Bunny told me her friend Laura was the one who could help me with my tax problems. If you recall, I haven’t filed for the last couple of years. Laura was going to help Bunny and the Big L with their corporate tax issues. My three years of back taxes was no sweat to her, but worth several hundred to me if I had to pay to get it done.
"Sure, I can help."
I got with cousin Joey, and arranged for the trailer. I told her that Saturday we could get the trailer and I could help a bit, and then Sunday afternoon I could help more, and I would have the boys–because I was going to make Alex and his buddy Mike help to earn their keep in the house.
Friday after work I went to see Cousin Joey to ask about the trailer. Of course that was a brief two and a half hour visit. We drank a few beers and smoked and talked about religion and God and faith. Seriously. This is the life I live.
Saturday morning was a good morning, and I took a nap. Then Bunny called, and I met her for the trailer. I followed her over to Laurie’s ex’s house. I worked there for about two hours. Laura was there, and she was very nice, and she was cute. She did remind me of my fifth grade teacher, Mrs Kraus. And her totally hot 24 year old daughter was there, Kelly. I ended up helping Kelly load her truck up with stuff she would take to her south City apartment. And there was this older guy helping that I thought was either Laurie’s Dad or maybe an older brother or an uncle or something. He and I worked together on the heavy stuff. I swear I didn’t know until today, Monday, that Bob was actually Laura’s irresponsible ex-husband. He just looked older than maybe he should have, and she looked younger. She looked 40, he looked 60. Actually, she’s about 48 and he’s about 53. That’s–that’s a bummer, for him.
Sunday I get over there with the boys about 130. We start with the heavy lifting. I have to drag the boys in to start. Once they get going, and I stay on them, they did a good job. But at first, we were talking inside, and the boys went outside to hang out. When we were ready to work I called out to them, "Whenever you’re ready!" They were smoking.
The Big L and I were downstairs trying to figure out this large, large object in the basement: A 57-inch rear projection TV. Big L and I are trying to figure out the logistics of getting it out of the basement while we wait for the boys. Finally, we waited long enough. What the fuck? I go outside, and there they are, just leaning against the truck, having a smoke. Still. I yelled at them. "HEY!" I clapped my hands twice, hard. "NOW!"
There was a guy across the street working on something, and he saw me. He laughed. "That’s pretty good. I like that."
The TV was a bear. It was in the basement, for crying out loud. We took the tiny wheels off to make it easier to slide up the steps. We got it on the steps, and under the low-hanging protrusion of drywall covering the ductwork. It was ready to go.
It wouldn’t go.
From the top, we couldn’t get purchase to pull. From the bottom, the boys had not the strength to push. After struggling for a few minutes with no results, I had me an idear. I slid past it to the bottom, and had Mike get on the top. I said, "Mike, you need to steer it. It’s going to slide over to the side, you keep it lined up straight and going up, and keep it going up over the steps as we get to them.
With that, I ducked down, got on the floor, put my back against it, and pushed. It moved. I kept pushing. The boys held it, I readjusted, and pushed again. We kept at it, me pushing it with my back until it was up and out of the basement. "Now what do we do with it?"
I still wasn’t clear to me who had ownership on what, or who Bob was. They wanted to sell the TV. They had no place to go with it. After much hemming and hawing and going back and forth and a call to Detroit–
The giant TV is in my garage. Pending disassembly of the fireplace, it will go in my living room.
I am going to pay for it, a hundred dollars. Not bad, I suppose. I will pay Laura. In addition to that, I got some prizes for free:
First, this thing in the basement on the workbench, it was a wooden cabinet with little drawers in it, exactly what I was looking for to put my nuts and screws and nails in. Yay. It’s pretty nice, and looks hand-made. I’ve been looking for something like this.
Next, I got a golf club. A long left handed driver, a one-wood. The big dog. A have a bag, now I have a club. I just need a few more clubs and I can take up golf.
And finally, Bunny handed me a couple of shot glasses and said, "Here, nobody will miss these." She knows I collect them. That’s awesome.
We worked for quite a while, emptying the house. I’m glad I have a skill that I can help people with: Moving. I’ve done it alot, and my dad taught me much about it, how to move, how to hold, how to grab, how to maneuver, how to make things fit. I did as much supervising and directing–of everyone–as I did actual moving.
The real test was the couch in the basement. It was going to go in the dumpster in the driveway. Problem: It had a hide-a-bed. And the hideaway was broke. We tried several different ways, getting it all the way to the top but not through the door. Finally, I got a flashlight and a screwdriver (Oh, yeah, the power was out. I had some natural light coming in the basement windows, but by sundown this pig roast would be over.) and I removed the hide-a-bed from the couch frame.
We took two trailer-loads of furniture to Bob’s brother–or maybe it was Laura’s brother–and then loaded up the TV to go in the truck we drove. The house was basically empty by then, and mostly clean. They were good to go. The boys had been cranky and beligerant for the last hour, but I squeezed every last drop of work I could out of them, until they started to get pissed at me. I would be a good foreman.
Today Bunny explained the holes in the story that I hadn’t figured out. She also said Bob was upset about the people coming over to help and the embarrassment associated with it–I don’t get that, not that much. But Laura told him that if it wasn’t for Kim being able to raise an army–if it wasn’t for me and the boys getting in there and getting it done–it would have never been done, so suck it up. It’s good to feel appreciated.
As I promised them, I got pizza and beer for us. When I finally–finally able to sit back on the couch with a beer in one paw and a piece of pizza in the other, I was so exhausted and hurt that I was done moving for a while. But I felt a real sense of accomplishment. Laura had been really appreciative of the work. Not, you know, "blow job" appreciative, but close. She said to get my tax shit together and get it over to her.
So that’s cool. I helped out a friend of a friend, and maybe made a new friend, and am one step closer to getting my goals for the year accomplished. Go me.
It was a fun-fun-fun weekend. At least, of the three-day holiday I had two days off–in a row, no less–and that made it pretty good.
Saturday I got up early with Grand Plans of Making Things Happen, but it was raining. I went out and got my coffee, came back and went to sleep. I pretty much wasted the day, and then went to work.
Sunday my friend Bunny was having a party for her daughter who just turned 21. Mexican Food and Margaritas, ye-ha! However, Detroit wasn’t feeling well that day. I laid around on the couch and watched TV with her for a while, but I had to make an appearance at the show. Detroit bade me go, and hence, I departed forthwith.
Joe from the bank was there, and so we hung out, along with the Big L, and the Big L’s dad, the…Bigger L. (By the way, speaking of references to The Big Lebowski, I bought the 10th Anniversary edition on DVD a week ago or so. It has a whole separate disk of special features, plus it came with some commemorative coasters, and the movie itself has English subtitles, finally. Not exactly a lightweight. Am I wrong? AM I WRONG?)
We had the guy talk going on, and that was cool. Later, Joe left, then The Big L’s dad. Soon everyone was gone, and I said, "Shit, am I gonna be stuck cleaning up again?" But just like the old days at Domino’s, we talked and I watched while she cleaned up. We managed to get to talk about alot of stuff.
Monday, I had been planning to barbeque. I went to the store early using Detroit’s card and spent more than she knows about. I also went to the liquor store and got cigars and supplies to make White Russians, because I was feeling it being that kind of day.
Still in the morning, I prepped everything up. I seasoned and wrapped the potatoes and corn, boiled the eggs for my deviled eggs, and then mixed my first drink and went outside to work on the grill(s).
The gas grill had been flaming up lately, so I knew there was a lot of residue in the bottom that was catching on fire. I scraped it up, brushed it out, and cleaned the grates. The I did the same with the charcoal smoker. Of course, I had to drag a trash can over and dump all the remains of the yard waste I had burned in it a week ago. As it turns out, that’s kind of illegal and you shouldn’t do it but since I got away with it, I guess I’m okay there although like so many things from my past it could come back to haunt me at any time.
But I used both grills because I had a plan. I put a rub on the meat, then grilled them, to get them brown on the outside, then I put them in the smoker to let them slow cook for a couple of hours. Then I sat and drank.
My friend Todd came over, as pre-arranged. I hadn’t seen him in over a year or more, but we had talked on the phone frequently about getting together. This time it worked out. He had just come back from a month-long "walk-about." He took his dad’s ashes for a ride, and spread them at a variety of places: a cottage the family had owned in Michigan, a favorite vacation spot in Kentucky, a truck stop in Pennsylvania (Ashes work really good for traction if you’re stuck in the mud. You’ll just have to work out for yourself whether or not I’m kidding.)
We sat on the patio and talked and drank, had a good time. Cousin Joey came by for a brief visit, ate some food and had a drink. I got pretty drunk because vodka does that to me, especially the large extra-potent drinks I was making. But I wasn’t as think as you drunk I am. I mean, I wasn’t. Detroit says I’m an ass when I’m drunk. I said, "You’se a bitch when you sober."
"So’s yer face," she answers.
It was a good time.
Fitfully, restlessly, I went to sleep.
My old house in the country, of course. It was a different-looking house, but that’s not the point. It was in the same place. We were looking at it from across the street. Someone else owned it, and wanted some renovations done and asked us to help. Except for the fact that it was haunted, we thought it was a good idea.
When we get in, our expectation is that the owner will show up, and we didn’t want him to see us. Not like we were breaking in or anything–we just came to have a look around. Still, there were things that he seemed to want to keep secret from us, so naturally we wanted to see what they were.
The fireplace was a secret doorway, and it was partially open. Playing with it a little, we tried to see what made it open, which comes in handy later. I was pushing on the fireplace, watching it move, waiting to hear it click. Suddenly it did, and the small black and white TV on a stand right by it shook a little. *more than a coincidence,* I thought. I tilted the TV back, and the fireplace opened up again. We found the secret to the secret entrance.
Upon entering, we found ourselves outside on the dock, by the pond. It was night-time. There was a wooden dock around three-quarters of the squared-off pond. I was on one side and Detroit was in the middle, with the baby. The baby was just sitting on the dock, and Detroit was turned away, I guess looking back at the house because we heard a disturbance.
At that point, a giant finger, or giant hand made of water came out of the water and grabbed the baby. I jumped in after it. I swam down (in my dreams I am an excellent swimmer) and found the baby, and wrestled it away from the giant hand, and quickly swam up to the top. I put the baby on the dock, and now it seemed like a toy baby, and not even life-size, but very tiny.
The water seemed to call to Detroit and she jumped in. The pond, like the house, was haunted. It was a special kind of haunting, where it could bend and shape reality to suit it, and it was making things seem to only half-make sense, like a dream does. The feeling was that the haunting was making this seem dream like to me.
This made it even scarier to me, and the depth of the water only added to my fright because I’m not a very strong swimmer, despite what I said earlier. I was already in the water, so I swam to Detroit where this giant water finger was wrapped around her. I fought it away from her, and got her to the shore, the one side of the pond that was just dirt. She was hysterical and upset for some reason, but I knew the only way in this situation to calm her down. I laid her back, I spread her legs, and I went down on her.
As I did, I realized that I was still in the water. My legs were, and my feet. Something grabbed my feet. Something small, it seemed like, was busy biting and nibbling on them. And then something larger pulled me in, pulled me under the water.
The water didn’t feel wet to me, but I did feel the pressure from the weight of the water on top of me, and I couldn’t breath. I could see under the water, but it was still dark, with a light coming from below that illuminated and hid at the same time what was pulling me under. I was starting to panic and thrash about, trying to get back to the surface. I could feel Detroit’s hands reaching for me, but in the dark and confusion, and me thrashing about, she couldn’t grab hold of me. I was yelling, and taking in water as I did, and I could see my grip on her slip away from me as I was pulled under. From outside my body, I saw the last bubbles leave my lips as as I started to slide down into the depths.
My toes were still being nibbled on–I couldn’t shake that feeling even as my cries of desperation woke me up. I was up, I was awake, and my toes were still in the water at the edge of the bed, and still being nibbled on. I drew them up, and got them under the covers. "Oh, Jesus," I said, at the point of awakenness. Detroit came to me and held me.
She got up and went to the bathroom, and turned the light on as she left. No bed surrounded by water, no finger pulling me in. The room seemed very normal, but I wondered what this room was like in its dream state. Detroit brought me a glass of water, because my mouth was dry after drowning in my sleep. I told her of my dream, and said, "I’m sure it has some meaning."
She said, "Drowning has to do with being under alot of pressure, alot of stress."
*Really?* I thought. *Then why haven’t I been having this dream for months?*