my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Month: December, 2014

no nappies

no nappies  3

Can you believe it, 2014 just up and came and went. MJE is trying to remember if anything of note happened over the past 12 months and all I can think of is that I am still above ground. I guess that’s better than the alternative, although there have been moments when I’m not so sure. Like when Decibelle lets loose that earsplitting howl, which unfortunately would probably still be audible in the hereafter. Talk about bum luck, totally dead but not totally deaf. The OB&C doesn’t have that particular problem, he’s deaf as a post already. I swear, I’ll say something like “Want a cup of coffee?” and he’ll say “Why in the hell would I want to waddle clay in a coffin?” And it is only downhill from here. Why just yesterday some friends and I frittered away what could have been a productive day on a long walk, and somehow got onto the subject of the appropriate time to have “The Talk” with one’s beloved. You know, the big one. The trickling sands of time, red sails in the sunset talk. When you look back on your long winding journey together, the successes, the disappointments, the tedium, and confront the reality of the waning years. The time to finally share with your life partner your most deeply held conviction.

“Just so you know, I am not changing any diapers.”

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the tale of the truncated tree

Truncated tree 12:23:14   2

MJE was ready to hang up her spurs in observance of the season but when opportunity knocks don’t be in the bathroom, hence the tale of the truncated tree.

A couple of days ago Bandoliera-Saturnalia and I embarked on our annual holiday tree troll. This year we ran into a bit of a headwind due to the rest of the merry makers not fully embracing the spirit of sharing and buying up every last fricking frazier fir for miles. We finally ended up at a hardware store in the next county where according to the proprietor they had “at least 25 trees” in the lot. What he didn’t say was that if you stacked all of them on top of one another they’d barely reach Jareem Abdul-Jabaar’s crotch. After a good bit of deliberation we chose the least pathetic specimen whose shortcoming, as it were, was the absence of its top 3’. A trapezoidal tree!!! Nobody else has one of those. SOLD!

We left it strapped to the roof of the car for a day or so to strategize but finally had just get on with it. But first, let the tree stand games begin! What sort of diabolical twisted creature created the xmas tree stand, or the xmas tree for that matter. Pagans. Obviously. Finally got it jammed into the stand, with about a 15 degree list to starboard which cleverly offset its shape, and dragged it into the living room. At that point Bandolita lit out like a singed cat rather than waste all day on this crap.

Just MJE and the tree, mano a mano.

The solution: a prosthetic peak. If Michael Jackson could have a nose tip created, anything is possible. So MJE whacked off most of the back branches (with bonus points for shaping the leftovers into a right angle so as to fit more snugly into the corner), bound them together with packing tape and wired the assorted shrubbery to the remains of the trunk. From a distance, at the right angle without glasses it was perfect. Sadly the ersatz pinnacle lacked the necessary oomph to hold up the tree’s shining star. It drooped like, uh, well you do the visual. Something more muscular was called for. A stout stick provided the proverbial lead in the pencil and a star was borne.

MJE  is going to knock back some nog and I suggest you all do the same.

edging into the holidays

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MJE, as the last post indicated, is no fan of the holidays. They make me nervous so I have to wade in slowly, like you do at the beach when there’s been a shark attack in the area. However, this year in a radical departure from the past, I decided to go beyond our traditional bowl-of-pinecones nod to the season and order some ready-made holiday cheer. I was smitten with a fabulous looking 3’ “faux birch” tree embedded with twinkling lights (promised to go for 320,000 hours, which is a lot longer than I’ll be going so that was a plus). It was to occupy a place of pride on the table in the middle of the entry hall, its lights radiating the  the warmth and merriment of this special time. When it arrived, it was encased in a packing crate large enough to house Michelangelo’s David. Just getting through the titanic amount of packing tape required a hacksaw. The interior was crammed with yards of bubble wrap, massive volumes of packing peanuts, crushed paper, excelsior and molded Styrofoam, all to protect a couple of pieces of fiberglass. A particularly jaded friend told me that she suspects that the true purpose of all of this excess packing material is to insure that the purchaser doesn’t even consider trying to re-pack and return the contents. True dat. I finally extracted my little bundle of yuletide magic. Guess what, it turns out that in order for the goddamned thing to cast its twinkling wonderfulness, it has to be plugged into an electric socket, the closest of which is about 15’ from its glorious perch. So now I sit in the darkness trying to make out the shape of my unlit faux birch tree which I now literally want to tear limb from limb.

I was relaying my tale of woe to our oldest grand daughter Bandoliera-Saturnalia who instead of commiserating, replied dryly “Well that’s what you get for being festive.”

Out of the mouths of babes, eh?

the holidays are upon us

Holidays are upon us pic 12:8:14 - 2

Yes, children of all ages, the holidays are upon us like a pair of cement overshoes. As you may have deduced, the MJE is not a fan. All the false bonhomie, forced familial bonding, guilt, anger, resentment, rage … sorry got carried away. The OB&C and I survived the first hurdle, thanksgiving, which we shared with four grandchildren, one boyfriend (the grand daughter’s, not the OB&C’s or mine) and our son and daughter-in-law. We used to “celebrate” it in a small house in the mountains but that situation became untenable when procreation exceeded the available square footage. This year we “celebrated” it in the low country of South Carolina. It has everything we need for a bearable holiday: it’s flat and not freezing. We can send Apricot and Seymour off on their bikes and be reasonably sure that we’d see them again, eventually. The youngest, two year old Decibelle, presents more of a challenge. She manages to rule the roost without benefit of either language skills or high tech weaponry. Armed only with the ability to stop an elephant in its tracks by virtue of a voice that can only be described as “auditory hell” she controls the whole shooting match. She has the lung capacity of Maria Callas, but sadly, lacks the range. She hits one piercing note that simultaneously shatters your eardrums and makes your crowns explode. And let me tell you, there is no negotiating with that one, she should be the next secretary of defense. She’d get Putin out of Crimea without a shot being fired. And ISIS? They’d be beheading themselves after ten minutes.

What a holly jolly thought that there are three weeks of anticipation, desperation and forced consumption ahead to celebrate a pagan holiday repackaged as Christmas. Gotta hand it to the Christians, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If they hadn’t done it Amazon would have.

spain in the ass

Mudslide-12=4=14 #2

MJE has returned from Espana. I know my legions of fans are relieved that I am back in one piece, as am I. I would have filed posts from abroad but the OB&C was so paralyzed with paranoia that Verizon was going to drain our meager savings, seize our house and leave us penniless that had I needed an ambulance he’d have let me bleed to death on the sidewalk rather than turn his roaming on.

If you want to hear about the glorious food, wine, scenery, etc. then damned well go to Spain yourself, you won’t get that from MJE. I try to convey the desperation that lurks just beneath the surface of every traveler in a foreign land and concentrate on the events of the trip that are indelibly seared into your pre-frontal cortex for their high crap factor. One of our more memorable days in that regard involved renting a car and driving through the mountains. We had a detailed map which the OB&C demanded we consult before we dared inch out of the lot.  The map was apparently self-inflating and so huge that it literally filled the entire car. I had to muster my most skillful jiu jitsu moves just to beat it into the back seat. Good luck ever folding that thing again. As navigational backup we also rented a GPS dumb dumb but never quite figured out how to use it. All it would tell us was how to get to where the last renter wanted to go.

Our plan was to visit the white villages en route to our destination. We had heard how great Ronda (help me Ronda, help help me Ronda) was, perched above a very picturesque gorge, so we decided to stop there for lunch. Unaware of what lay ahead, we wandered blithely down one charming ankle-breaking cobblestoned street after another, finally ending up in some farmer’s pasture, at the bottom of the aforementioned gorge about 1000 vertical feet below the town. Herein lies the question, who is the bigger fool, he who leads or she who follows? Nevermind, I know the answer already. But not to worry, opined the OB&C, look! here lies a steep, muddy goat herder’s trail which will take us right back up to town! But as luck would have it, I had neglected to pack my crampons in anticipation of such a situation. As I stumbled through the underbrush clinging to whatever would keep me upright I hit a slick patch, down which I slalomed until I made a full frontal landing and became a dry cleaner’s wet dream. Needless to say, by the time I finally dragged myself onto the end of the very last of the charming cobblestoned streets in town I was fully prepared to throw the OB&C over the ever-so-quaint bridge into the abyss.

Oh, and in Seville, the OB&C mixed up east and north on the map. We walked halfway across Spain in the wrong direction in an effort to find one of the most famous landmarks of the city. But really, he or she who hasn’t made that mistake on occasion cast the first stone. FYI, I have one in my hand right now.

Finally, we rented an apartment in Madrid at the end of the trip. Despite having just 48 hours before boarding our flight home and survived very well without a washing machine, the OB&C decided that since one was provided we sure as shootin’ ought to use it. Let me tell you, a NASA engineer could not have figured this thing out. We finally mashed enough buttons and got it to start, but without water. The end result was a cube of clothes that looked like those cars that get smushed in a wrecking yard. Good news is that it fit perfectly in the overhead.