25 June, 2017

The Man In The Flying Machine AND Someone Gives Himself A Haircut!

25  June 2017

R. Linda:

Rumour has it that in our town there is an aviator of ancient age who flies his small craft over the wooded hills and dales just above the treetops, who has a penchant for cutting his motor and drifting on the wind.

I have been told of this right off when I say where I live, so the old aviator has a bit of a state-wide reputation for this particular need to cut his engine and thus me little village (if you can even call it that) has a precarious claim to fame (of sorts).

Now I have lived here three summers and the first I heard the low flying craft, as it rattled the ice in me iced tea glass and shook the hammock I had ensconced meself in, was the first summer of me living where I do. But I hadn't heard the silence of cut off engine until me second summer.

The one thing I love about where I live is the peace and tranquility which takes quiet to another level. All one hears is the birds or the wind in the pines and thats it. Now on occasion I am rudely awakened out of that lovely feeling by the old tin can that comes rattling out of the skies. But that was nothing, me slight annoyance of interrupted dreaming in me hammock ended the first time I was aware the engine of the old rattle trap cut off! I tell ya, for a minute there, and from somewhere in the back of me sleepy brain, I had thoughts he had flown over quicker than usual and was gone UNTIL I heard the spat, spit, sputter of an engine trying to turn over. Then it was an oh my God moment, where be that old dude? Is he just above me and about to drop on me out of the sky? It sets ones heart to racing when one realises the reality of the situation IF he can't get that engine to start!

You would think by the end of that fateful summer I'd be used to the engine cut offs, and the sputtering of the engine trying to fire over me house and me head, but no, it be a feeling of dread and foreboding, of crossing fingers he gets the thing started, eyes squeezed shut the impact of his falling plane doesn't hurt me too badly, body in a tense position waiting impact, breath held until finally, after what seemed an inordinate amount of time the engine takes and the rattling proceeds across the cloudless blue sky!

This so unnerved me last summer I was afraid to go outside for fear of the old codger and his beloved clap trap falling out of the sky on top of yours truly, that I thought for sure I was brewing an ulcer. I think me behaviour mimicking impending doom had a lot to do with the wee ones playing outside and when the sound of the rattle trap would suddenly happen, they'd shout to each other to seek shelter and run. I think that be me fault me kiddos are paranoid about the great outdoors in the summertime. Sigh.

So here we are starting summer number three and just today being a quiet Sunday morning, I took meself out on the side deck to sip me joe, enjoy the delicious breeze and begin a sunny day. That is until the morning peace was shattered by you guessed it, the flying geezer and his rattle trap flying machine. Even the hummingbird that was sucking up the nectar from some red geraniums took off at a remarkable speed to get out of the way of falling flying machine should that be case. After seeing that, I was thinking I should get the hell inside but then I thought, if the ancient flyer hits me deck he hits me house and if I be inside, well what are the chances I survive? I know this sounds like the rantings of a crazy person, but truly if you haven't witnessed this bizarre phenomena you can't commiserate with me in any honesty can you?

You will have to take me word for it this is not the way for Gabriel to spend his Sunday mornings, or any morning, day or night living in fear of a plane dropping on his abode. Someone (I don't remember who) assured me there be a second engine starter so the old fool isn't likely to drop out of the sky (anytime soon?). Well, ha ha lets hope.

Here are a couple of shots of this morning's fly by with cut engine. For some reason he must have known I would write this story so instead of flying low (as he usually does) he flew higher to make it almost impossible to get a good photo.

Can you not just hear the noise, then nothing?
As he circles get lower and lower and drifting, drifting, drifting . . . 

BUT hey we aren't quite finished. To add to me morning excitement, me youngest did me a bad turn last night. Yes, indeed it was a bit of a messed up pudding of a time. The ladies including Sean, decided to go to some library book and art illustration show. I was tasked with minding the three kiddos. Easy peasy, NOT! The eldest got his nose out of joint and was complaining Guido was jumping on the trampoline with a broom. OK. And next thing Guido be inside crying he hit his head while jumping on the trampoline with a broom handle. OK. So while I was listening to O'Hare berate his brother for foolishness on the trampoline with a broom, and dabbing hydrogen peroxide on the cut on Guido's head, I was not mindful of where the youngest was at. OK. Well, after settling the dispute of why we don't jump on the trampoline with a broom, and having bandaged Guido's head over abundantly to scare his mother when she got home. I know I shouldn't have, but I was out of me mind with three boyos. I had just got Guido looking like the mummy when down came the wee one looking rather odd. At first I couldn't put me finger on what made him look different, but O'Hare instantly saw it and said nothing, laughed and pointed at his little brother's head. Then I saw it, the laddie had taken scissors to his hair. His excuse, "I wuz hot sos I did a lil' cut." I'll say he did, but more than a little, he chopped the golden locks at the front of his head to the root! OK!

When his mother came home the first thing she saw was the mummy and that was not funny in her book, no she was not pleased with me. She unwrapped me handiwork to see an inch cut that did not require stitches, and had been dressed. So there Tonya! Then she turned around at the prompting of Mr. Tell On Everyone, O'Hare pointing at the wee one sporting his new look. Well, lets say she lost it be an understatement.

"What happened to you? What happened to those beautiful blond locks?" She was down on her knees running her fingers through what wasn't there anymore. She was not happy and O'Hares tattling didn't help. She got the full brunt of the broomstick on the trampoline ("And where were you Gabe when THAT was going on?") and then how I thought it funny to dress Guido up like the mummy, ("Really Gabe, what a waste of bandage.") and finally because I was busy being a mummy-maker I allowed, yes ALLOWED the wee one to self inflict damage to his golden locks. OK!

So today I be in the doghouse over me "misguided sense of humour" and in particular not watching the little one so he'd not look like a punk rocker now. Yes, she took the clippers to the rest of his head to even it all off and he screamed bloody murder but she did it.

Yeah acting like nothings different
End result - all those curls his mother loved  -- GONE!
Me morning was rather shattered by the new look me wee one be sporting after his do-it-yourself haircut and me angst was added two-fold by the ancient dude and his rickety flying machine turning motor on and off and on and off. I will see that shaved head in me dreams and hear that damn plane as well. Like I said before, Gabe needs a vacation preferably where there are no children and things with engines that can be turned on and off and could potentially fall upon Gabe's head.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

22 June, 2017

KIDS!!! They will be the death of me

22 June 2017

R. Linda:

Today, I had taken the day off because I had a dental cleaning scheduled. The only person who knew of the appointment was Tonya. I just assumed everyone else knew but no, no, they did not. Bright and early Tonya was off to where she teaches to clean out her classroom now that school is out. Me Mam went for a senior citizens hike on the seacoast and somehow me cousin Sean talked his way into joining the seniors. So the only one left to watch the kiddos while I was gone, was . . . you guessed it the Dragon.

BUT come around 11:00 a.m. and she is dressed to the nines and out the door with the neighbour next door. I was gobsmacked I was. No word she was going anywhere, no good-bye, no nothing, just off she went leaving me with the three kiddos and a dental appointment. I rang up Tonya and gave her my tale of woe and she told me to bring the kiddos over to her school they could help out -- like that's going to happen. They can't even make their beds or clean their rooms they aren't going to clean her classroom. I can tell ya that much.

I informed the threesome what the plan was, and they reluctantly said, "OK." All down in the face they were, and kicking things and pushing each other. I told them to get themselves ready by a quarter to the hour of twelve. That by 11:30 they better be dressed, have their shoes on and turn all the electronics off.

Meanwhile, I let the dogs out (yes, Dragon's hound be here too) and having that coon dog on a long leash because he wanders, I had to go down the back steps to reel him in. As I made it to the top of the stairs with dog in hand, I noticed I was glued to the deck. I had a hard time lifting me feet and when I did there was a sticky sound. Because I was struggling with the hound I didn't really look but as soon as I got him in the door I took off me shoes. On the bottom was a caked mess of gooey stuff. I had a devil of a time getting it off the soles of me shoes. I went back out and here is what I stepped in thanks to the youngest who has developed a bad habit (we had a gutter guy over to clean the gutters and he spit a lot and unfortunately, me youngest was impressed and picked up the habit) of spitting gum and now sticky candy.

The remains of a sour patch bear
Once I had gotten over the abhorrence of what was on the porch and off me shoes, I went back out to try to get it up off the step. It wasn't coming up so I had to leave it as I was running out of time. I'd need to hose it off so off I went to shower and get meself ready.

At exactly 11:30 I called out, "Shoes at the ready? Start putting them on, and I hope you look decent and you have 15 minutes before you turn off electronics. OH AND which one of you left a sticky mess on the backstairs?" Answer, no one did. I tell ya!

And then another forlorn in regard to the electronics, "OK." Gees Louise.

I walked by their rooms at 11:40 they were dressed, shoes on, miracle of miracles. I came back in 5 minutes and they were turning Play stations off but I could hear the TV on in the other room. I knew the youngest wouldn't turn the telly off so I went and as I reached down, me hand came into contact with something warm, mushy and soft textured. I pulled me hand up to see it was covered in a brown gooey mess.

I looked down at the telly receiver and this is what I saw:

Looks like pooh doesn't it. I was near beside meself.

Reluctantly I took a sniff of me hand because you know what it looked like, POOH! Here I was all washed, changed with a handful of . . . chocolate. Thank God for that! I would have been wild with disgust and not a little bit angry if one of the wee miscreants had purposely left me a pile of pooh on a hot receiver, me being out of time and having to get moving or I'd be late for me appointment!

Quickly I turned the receiver off, I had just enough time to wash the chocolate mess off me hands and get the threesome in the car. Once down the driveway and out of hearing distance of me neighbours I lost it by yelling at them, "WHICH ONE OF YOU LEFT A CHOCOLATE BAR ON THE TELLY RECEIVER?"

Guido found that funny and starting laughing and said, "Musta looked like poop! Hahahahaha!"

O'Hare's reaction was, "Ewwwww!"

And the youngest, nothing to say, so we knew instantly who left the chocolate to melt all over the receiver which if it broke the receiver, yours truly would have to pay for. 

Come to find out that the chocolate wasn't a bar of chocolate, but an ear-less Easter Bunny (ok guilty about the ears) that the wee one had stashed away since Easter! Deciding it "tasted funny" he decided to discard it where no one would see it, on the shelf below the telly where the receiver just happens to be. 

I sent that last picture to their mother before we got to the school. Yup I did. I ratted the youngest out I did. Ask me if I feel bad about that. NO I DO NOT. As soon as I dropped them off I left with no time to talk to Tonya, but she found it funny. I could tell by the way her face was working when she saw me, yeah trying not to laugh. I should leave the sticky mess on the back stairs and that awful chocolate melt for her to clean up, but I won't but still I be thinking about it. If its all that funny . . .

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21 June, 2017

She Will Drive Me To Drink

21 June 2017

R. Linda:

Besides the fact I think I run a hotel, think about that, me own immediate family, me Mam living with us and me cousin Sean making no move to find a place of his own, OR A JOB! I now have Dragon up for what looks like the summer! I want to know what is so wonderful about the New Hampshire woods, when one lives on the Jersey shore in a big house with an ocean breeze all the time?

It be midsummer and not even a fairy in sight because the witch be here. I know I sound unkind but when you think about who landed on her broomstick it isn't without merit I say what I do. Just last night she mistook one kind of food for another! You know she can't see a bloody thing!

Tonya had rung me to let me know she was going to be late and since me Mam had conveniently taken herself out of the house (so she didn't have to put up with the Dragon), it was left to me (since I was on me way home) to make a simple dinner for the kiddos.

"I think there are hot dogs in the fridge, but I'm not sure if there is enough. Call my mom and ask her and if you need too, just pick another pack up. There are plenty of rolls." Tonya said.

"Oh you call her for me, please." I begged.

"Can't I'm late, bye." She hung up on me.

For joy! It took me 20 minutes to get the nerve to call the wicked witch and ask her to check out the hot dog situation, WHICH she found repugnant.

"Yes Gabriel, there is a full package of hot dogs." She informed me like it was an imposition.

When I got home, I turned on the grill, went to change and then got everything I needed out, the last being the hot dogs. This is what I got:

"Yes Gabriel, there is a full package . . ." Right
What she saw was this:

Yee-ah a full package of cherry tomatoes!

I tell ya the woman is something. I had to put everything back, turn off the grill and go back out, drive the long drive to the grocery store because of her poor eyesight! Gees the woman!

By the time I got back both Tonya and me Mam were home. Me Mam had cooked up some kind of Irish casserole out of odds and ends she found in the fridge. I will say the meal was better than hot dogs but still, I had to drive 45 minutes to the market and 45 minutes back! I had little to say.

This morning the Dragon does her usual regaling me of the news for the day. Now remember first thing in the morning I am not with it. I can hardly function until I've had at least two cups of joe. So when I am sitting there listening to the Dragon News Anchor Woman I get a little disturbed.

Take for example these gems that were shouted at me as I tried to enjoy me coffee.

"Brussels station suspect had mail bombs. My goodness he must have stolen mail and made bombs out of them?" She didn't stop there. "Saudi king outs nephew for son, oh my." She wasn't finished. "Republicans jitterbug about health care. Hum." Yeah hum indeed. "Valedictorian's mic cut off after he bashes stool." WHAT? Okay stop I wanted to shout but no she went on. "Chelsea Clinton slaps Bannon for fat sharing." PLEASE STOP! "Oscar legend Daniel Day-Lewis retreating from acting. Ooh I wonder what happened? Who's after him?" And finally, "Trump votes love the shave. Well, he does shave everyday doesn't he? So what's the deal with loving to shave?"

I wanted to throw up me hands, say yes, everything you just read makes perfect sense. But I didn't, I did what I usually do which is, "Here give me that newspaper." I read all the headlines to her as they should be read but she was too focused on a valedictorian beating up a stool. Asking me Mam what kind of stool did he beat on, was it a milking stool, a step stool and why a stool? I tell ya that I have an ounce of sanity is nothing more than a miracle.  And me Mam, all she can do is sit there sipping her morning tea saying, "Oh dear, oh dear." Go ahead laugh, not funny when you are subject to this EVERY morning and I be not a morning person!

I be thinking I need a vacation from family. I should do it, yes R. Linda, I could fly to Colorado and hunt snakes in your yard, OR I could fly to Scotland and pull up all the Weasil's prize rosebushes, OR I get a pair of hedge clippers and go give Dewdropper a haircut! OR maybe, just maybe I should join the pirate's life with Captain Jaack and drink meself into a stooper! Or, I could go find the guy with the good hair and watch him swing it out of his face all day. I dunno, there has to be something else beside concierge of Hotel O'Sully and personal waiter to a Dragon lady, or matchmaker to a lazy cousin, ughhhhhhhh!

As me sainted little grey-haired apple cheeked Mam says, "OH DEAR!"

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

10 June, 2017

Permanent Brain Freeze And Then There Was The Matter Of The Bakery Girl

10 June 2017

R. Linda:

Well, I was in for a new experience I was. Me Mam usually does the grocery shopping but she's got a permanent chill and refuses to go. I have taken up the gauntlet as the supermarket be on me way home, so it takes nothing for me to stop in.

I had to chalk up me Mam's reluctance not to any chill, but that she went at the crack of dawn (a new time for her) on what she believed was the off day that the old men weren't let out of the old mens home to shop on that day or that early. Well, what she discovered to her abject horror, was that the even older gents were shopping at that hour, on that particular day. The only good that came out of it was they were ancient specimens of men and she being younger and more spry of limb, could outrun them. That be all but one, the one in the motorised wheelchair gave her a good go he did. Therefore, I thought it was THAT and not any chill.

So last night I did the shopping. We are 45 minutes away from the nearest market and that is a place we fondly call Market Bucket, or more often "the bucket." This be (just to remind you) the self same place me Mam fights off the old geezers of which New Hampshire seems to have a higher population of than any state in the nation. But that's neither here nor there, nothing I would have to worry about. No, me worries became more temperature related . . . or make that cream filled.

Like I said, I thought me Mam had had it with the geezer population and that was the real reason she didn't want to go there. But no, she said the store was cold and I didn't believer her. Well, turns out she be right about the cold.

The dairy section is turned down to subzero temperatures which makes for a quick run through to get what you want and get the hell out of that aisle. When I first turned the corner I saw people rushing through like jackrabbits being chased by a den of foxes. I soon found out why as I turned me trolley into the aisle and started up it.

The hairs in me nose froze first and I think I had icicles on me eyebrows and lashes by the time I reached the milk section. Me teeth were chattering up a snowstorm as I grabbed the milk and ran to the frozen food department seeking warmth. And it was warmer in the frozen food section than in the dairy aisle. Go figure! But then I remembered I was supposed to pick up some Dubliner Cheese, so I had to brace meself to go back in. I ran me trolley down the aisle safely as there weren't too many shoppers in dairy for obvious reasons. I couldn't find the freaking cheese so I saw a bucket worker in his white coat next to the yogurt just standing there so I tooled up to him.

With me teeth chattering I asked him, "Pardon me sir, but can ye point me in the direction of the Dubliner Cheese?"

No response. I asked again, clearing me throat and speaking louder and more precise. Still nothing. I moved around in front of him and O-M-G R. Linda, the man was a frozen block of ice! There were icicles hanging off his nose, his lips were purple and he was sporting a slight sheen of glazed iciness like he'd been caught in a blizzard on top of Mt. Everest!

I was concerned the man be a frozen block of ice and probably dead! You can't have dead people in the dairy section! Me, being me, looked around for help but no one was stupid enough to be in the ice cold dairy section but meself. So, seeing no help available and being too far from the half way warm frozen food section, I looked around to the other end of the aisle where the bakery was. I lifted the man up like he was a cardboard cutout of himself, and shuffled holding his icy self to me chest to move him where I knew the bakery section would have HEAT from the ovens, BUT I had to stop for the fear of freezer burn through me shirt. I put him down and then decided to drag him the rest of the way. He was heavy encased in all that ice!

I got him into Bakery when the gum-chewing girl (yeah real attractive for a bakery worker) asked me what did I think I was doing? I told her over me shoulder as I grunted to drag him closer to the counter opening where I was of a mind to drag him back to where the ovens were, that we had to resuscitate him before he froze to death if he wasn't already.

"Uh no, not in my section you aren't mistah." She snapped her gum.

"You have a better idea?" I said determined he was going to the oven no matter what I had to do to fend her gum-chewing self off.

"Nah, but ya can't bring dead people into my bakery!"

"I don't know that he's dead. Why don't  you make yourself useful and call 911 while I get him to where he can thaw out."

"And why don't you . . . "

I won't write what she told me I could do with me frozen "friend" but it wasn't nice and had to do with arseholes. Anyway, THAT got me more inclined to do what I said I was going to do and while I fought her off as she beat me about the head and shoulders with a spatula, I managed to get him to where several cakes were baking.

"Open those oven doors and I swear I will throw every cupcake in this bakery at your face!" She sneered popping her gum.

"I be not going to open the oven door!" I said under me breath as I tried to stand me frozen block of ice upright in front of it.

It was just as I turned in her direction I was hit square in face with a over sized, gushy pink cupcake. I was offended and shocked all at the same time. How could she? Out of the instinct for preservation I picked up what was close to me and lobbed a cream filled eclair at her head. A distinct SPLAT told me I connected with me target.

She had ducked to avoid the mushy treat so it was a shock to her when it hit. She slowly made herself upright as the cream oozed down her face. She looked mad. I was sure of it by the animal sounds she was making. But then she just stood there her face crimson, the remnants of eclair stuck in her hair. I couldn't help it I started laughing. That was the last thing I wanted to do, but as I laughed, her eyes grew wide, her mouth started working and quicker than a baseball player she picked up a colourful birthday cake and with stunning accuracy got me square in the face AGAIN! Now it was her turn to laugh and mine to lose it. I picked up a tray of cream puffs and wham, a cream puff body slam if ever there was one. I won't bore you with what pastries went flying back and forth, but by the time the manager saw us we had pretty much cleaned out the bakery section. There was a crowd of shoppers outside the counter looking at us with shocked expressions all around.

We two combatants where shamefaced when we looked at what we had done, but then I remembered me mission of thawing and saving the life of a dairy worker. I spouted what me purpose had been and then pointed behind me. The store manager looked at me like I was lying and herself (who had lost her gum which went flying out of her mouth when I hit her with a well placed cannoli) was sneering at me. The dairy worker was nowhere to be seen. No, he had thawed out and snuck off knowing full well there would be hell to pay, OR maybe he was the one went and got the store manager. I don't rightly know. What I do know be the bakery worker be out of a job and I have a giant bill for pastries I never got to eat.

What was worse, I had to break the news to me Mam I couldn't set foot in the Bucket ever again and she'd have to brave the wave of old men who find her attractive and do the shopping. I have heard about what a stupid imbecilic thing I did. Mam tells me 20 times an hour how glad she is she changed her entire name she won't be associated with ME. That I have sullied the name of O'Sullivan and after a quick run to the Bucket an hour ago, she tells me there is a sign with me face on it warning the bakery workers to beware Gabriel O'Sullivan, he be not allowed anywhere within 200 feet of the bakery department and 500 feet of the entire store!

"I hope yer happy wit yersel Gabriel, ye be infamous in a grocery store of all places!"

Yeah well Mam, better than if me face was plastered as a White House Staffer!

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05 June, 2017

Dream house? Nah money pit!

05 June 2017

R. Linda:

What are the old sayings, "my casa is your casa" and "every man's home is his castle." Yeah right on the first, the second not so much. My casa is anyone's casa if they want to help me pay for it. I tell ya, just when you think everything be in running order and going smoothly, something raises its ugly head and wham, you are knocked off your feet, or in me case, your wallet is wiped out along with your bank account.

What's the other saying? "Everything happens in threes." NOT SO, try six, seven and eights! I know you are saying, "Gabe get to the point will ya." Okay, okay, I will but let me start where every story should start the beginning. I'd like to start at the end as I know it at this moment but I be too pissed off, so okay without anymore hedging around I will get to the beginning.

It all started when I bought this house, me castle. Yup it was a castle for a short time it was, later it became "THE house," and then "the money pit" and now "the dump" I live in.

I know, I know I am not getting to the point. It be very hard to get there with so much anger built up. But here goes: It all started when the generator guy came to service the generator. He told me the oil in the outdoor generator hadn't been changed in three years! I was told it was serviced by this self same generator guy every year. Well, no, no it had not. Not only that but did the former owner (a minister by the way, a man of God) tell me that it had been hit by lightning? Well, no, no he hadn't. Well, it had! So $250.00 for servicing, oil and to be given the news me generator maybe on its last legs. That it still works be a miracle, but it does. I bit me fingernails waiting for it to fail in the middle of a blizzard, but it didn't, not yet anyway.

Okay so there was THAT. The central air guy came to clean the units. Did I know that one of the units only blows air because it hasn't been hooked up? WHAT? Yup, only the two units worked the other one well . . . not so much Gabriel. Okay that explains why those rooms never cooled off. SO we fixed that. Paid the price of $350.00 not only unit service, but electrician to come out and hook up the other unit, an extra $250.00.

We thought we were good after that, but no wait, things come in threes. The radon levels in the house were sky high and we had on the property owners disclosure statement that a radon mitigation unit was in the basement. We went looking for it and found this pipe coming out of the basement floor and thought, okay there it is. But why isn't it working? Maybe it needed a fan, some units need the fan, others are put way into the floor and they exhaust radon out, so maybe we needed the fan part to pull the radon up and out. Well, you remember me story, When is a radon system not a radon system? 14/09/16. We discovered the bogus pipe that had no exhaust and needed more than a fan, a whole system? Yeah well there was THAT, $1300 later.

That was three strikes but we weren't out quite yet in the broken-down, obsolete category. Oh no, there was the flying squirrels that the minister's wife told us about at the closing. He wasn't happy she was telling us that the big sticky sheets of fly paper in the attic were there to catch the critters. We ended up with pest control for two years trying to rid us of THAT problem. You remember me story:   The Revenge of the Flying Squirrels 31/07/16.  Cost $650.00

How am I doing on the WHATS WRONG WITH GABE'S HOUSE? But I be not done yet. Yes, it gets worse. Me electric bill be sky high, it's reached the $500 range in the winter and I did not know why. I even looked into solar panels but the cost of THAT was $98,000 can you believe. "But Mr. O'Sullivan you get a $2,000 rebate from the government." Yeah that's a whole lot NOT! So that idea went the way of historical estimates.

So, the wife decided the kitchen appliances were bad. They never worked properly she said. They look bright and shiny but she suspected they were original with the house which was built in 1996. Okay, so the range hoods when turned on would sound like air planes landing in the kitchen. You needed ear savers to blot out the noise it was that bad. So we replaced those. Lucky us got two on sale, $80 bucks.

Next was the refrigerator. The dial was turned to frozen everything and still the food inside was never cold, but lukewarm. We replaced that with a French double door model that is energy efficient for a whopping $1250. Okay done right? Nah, the dishwasher decided since the range hoods and refrigerator were gone it too would give up the ghost and it did by l leaking soapy water all over the floor. SO we replaced THAT $400 bucks later.

We thought we were home free. There was a change in the electric bill by $150 buckaroos. Well done, high five and all that rubbish. We reacted happily all too soon because this weekend, I noticed an awful smell. I thought it was the dog, but no it wasn't Frisky. I asked me Mam if she smelled what I was smelling and she said, "Oh fur sure it be doon da basement." Thanks for telling me this odour had been rising all week to the lower levels of the house. I went down there to find the furnace room flooded. For joy and there was a neon yellowish liquid in the water and it smelt suspiciously like anti-freeze. And it was anti-freeze! I was down there moping up inhaling that shite until I was starting to see things.

Seems the minister had filled the water system in the boiler with anti-freeze so he could turn the heat entirely off for the winter. He neglected to tell us THAT.

I called the furnace guy, he told me for one, the furnace was too big for the house. I didn't need a 6 coil boiler, I needed a four! So the $7,000 he first quoted me came down to $5,000. Then he said, did I know I have a gas line that is heating water in an old water tank that hasn't been used in years. No, I did not. "Well," said he, it be "manufacturing mold because it isn't being used AND it is building pressure so it could explode." Ask me if I was thrilled to hear THAT. Take a guess.

Then he turns to the wood burner and says, you are wasting oil by heating that thing even though you aren't using it, the boiler is heating the water that goes through the wood burner. For joy, does it get any better than this homeowners?

So if I seem a little angry, it is because I BE THAT. I will tell you the gas line be now OFF, and the failing boiler be no longer heating the wood burner. So me "castle" shouldn't be exploding anytime soon. Or, I don't think it will. At this point, I be sitting here waiting for . . . whats that old saying? "For the shoe to drop." Yeah that be it.

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26 May, 2017

Our "Psychic Child"

26 May 2017

R. Linda:

The Thursday before last, things got rather bizarre, I know like that doesn't ever happen. Well, the bizarre was Guido. We call him Sneaky Pete because he has a habit of quietly coming down the stairs and listening to adult conversations. This annoys me Mam because she's of the old belief little ears, big mouths. He has been discovered several times by his older brother, who feels it is his job to yell loudly that Guido, "is listening to your conversation people!"

Any opportunity that O'Hare can tell Guido what to do, how to do it, and then critique said chore or what have you, he does it. Tonya has spoken to him about this brother's keeper thing and she thought she had that under wraps, but no, this week O'Hare came home from school all sad because his friends were "mad with him." When asked what happened, he said: "The music teacher told us to practise our instruments while she was out of the room. Cory, Cody and Matt were too busy talking and I told them to practise or they'd be in trouble." There it was, he just can't mind his own business. I said that they were his teacher's problem and if he was practising himself he didn't have time to reprimand them. He said he WAS practising and shouting over his snare drum at them. "Oh great," said I, "they were mad at you because you were being teacher's pet."

He couldn't accept that, he said he was only doing the right thing. I explained in painful terms that doing the right thing when it counted was admirable, but in this case the three ex-friends were not his responsibility AND it wasn't a matter of do or die if they got caught not doing what the teacher had asked them. Oi!

So this now boils down to O'Hare shepherding his younger brother about the house because he thinks he's helping. Then he wonders why Guido gets upset with him and won't play or talk to him. I tell ya! I have had that conversation so many times this week I be blue in the face from it.

With O'Hare's giving Guido's sneaky antics away, Guido has found another way of listening, yes he has. And it is rather ingenious if I do say so meself.

Thursday night, as I mentioned before, was a rather bizarre evening. We were at the dinner table when I said softly to remind Tonya, "You know who be dropping in Saturday." She looked at me confused and then remembered when Guido interrupted with the name of the person who was a surprise to me cousin Sean. Sean's engagement didn't work out and after he privately told us the sad, sad story of "herself" becoming demanding once she had the ring on her finger, and that any female, young or old he spoke even a hello to, she berated him for cheating on her. There was more of this nonsense and to his credit, instead of becoming hen-pecked Harry, he broke off the engagement. In his heart he misses his Irish Rose and there are occasional telephone calls between them, but Tonya is out to nip that in the bud with another Irish Rose we all know, who I don't think a good choice at all after the Patrick fiasco.

Well, surprise over once Sean heard the name and well, he wasn't at all surprised since there was no surprise now, but he was delighted that on Saturday, Maureen's sister is coming to visit. At least that's what I thought at first. It was supposed to be a pleasant surprise because he had expressed interest in the young woman, and Tonya had  me arrange for her to come visit. So that was that. I did wonder how Guido knew that, but it slipped me mind to ask because Sean was all full of questions.

"How did ya git me Rosie's number?" Sean asked.

"Your Rosie?" Said I, "No Maureen's sister Rose."

OMG -- The brain dead eejit thought I meant HIS former flame of the same name. Well, grand smile wiped off his face instantly. What to do?

"You wanted your Boston Rose to come here?" I said foolishly.

"Well, noo, I wuz tinkin' dat wuz da Rose yer wuz aboot."

"We can cancel Maureen's Rose from coming." Tonya said looking confused.

"Oh noo, noo, leter coomb, yer never nose wot may becoom of it." Sean said half-heartedly.

Well, we got into a discussion of cancelling and he said no, but the disappointment was obvious and we had Guido to thank for it. We had made the visit on Saturday one of casual dropping by, like "Hey, look who just happened to be in the neighbourhood." That sort of thing, but no, now the Guido was out of the bag, as me Mam says. We even stated it was a drop in, not an invite, but once again that was blasted out of the water, with "Nah da, YOU invited her b-caus mom tole ya to."

Tonya asked me aside but in hearing range of Guido, if I would pick up the you-know-what from the bakery for the visit and before I could say "yes," Guido said loudly, "Oh yeah Da dunt fur git da strawberry short cake." THAT was a surprise too, it be Sean's fav cake and cake out of the box now thanks to Mr. Informative. How he knew that I don't know.

Well, since last night's 'revealing' conversations and surprises blasted out of the surprise pit, Guido went on a tare of telling secrets no one knew anyone else knew, and it got rather exciting at one point, when Guido made the great reveal on O'Hare that O'Hare had made a framed poem expressing his love for a certain 11 year old girl named Amy. Oh boy! THAT came up when I was instructing O'Hare to get his homework done and asked what on earth he had been doing for the past hour. Seems he was working on the "Amy Project" as Guido put it and wasn't doing his homework. I had no clue what that was until Guido went into O'Hare's room and pulled it out from under the pillow.

O'Hare's mouth was gaping in surprise until he got the question of how did Guido know about THAT? Yeah, with the door closed no one could see what O'Hare had been doing, but O'Hare was on the phone to his BFF and though he was whispering to his BFF somehow, Guido knew what was said. I do remember during that hour, that Guido was supposed to be doing HIS homework, and he did skip in and inform us he was done, could he do what he wanted. The answer was yes, once his mother looked the homework over. Where he went, and what he did, I have no clue, but me Mam was convinced he was crouched at O'Hare's keyhole listening.

"Eeder dat or da lad be psychic." She said in a whisper. Uh huh.

As the next week progressed, more and more things were being said, that were said between other people, O'Hare and Amy in particular, and O'Hare and his BFF Martin, along with what advice me Mam had given him on girls, etc. This led to a red-faced O'Hare who wasn't about to share the Amy courtship quite yet. He had only told me Mam and so when Guido came out with delicious little ex-secrets, he blew up at HER (poor woman was very confused and stammering her innocence, but O'Hare wasn't buying it). Meanwhile, Guido walked the premises with a smug smile on his not so innocent face.

With too much being said by Guido that he shouldn't know, I was curious. So the other night when we had the same thing about finishing homework and being on free time until bath and bed was scheduled, I made to see what he was doing, in the hopes of catching him at someones keyhole. Well, wasn't a keyhole, no, no, no, much more ingenious than that. The boyo knew he'd be seen in a home with open concept, and having been told about the Sneaky Pete business he became even more sneaky.

I watched him from me office window. I had turned out the lights so I could see him, but he couldn't see me as he made his way down the slope in the front yard. There he made his way to a certain tree and sat down for a very long time. I couldn't figure it out. Why would he sit in the gathering dusk not moving, but sometimes laughing to himself, or nodding, or shaking his head? At one point he was trying to stifle his laughter by holding his sides. This concerned me that he was having a fit. I was about to leave me sneaky hiding place when he got up and came inside. Curiosity consuming me I silently slipped out the front door and took meself to said tree. Well, well, well, I found the source of Guido's listening device. While I was standing next to the tree I could hear O'Hare telling Martin that he was "going to 'hang' with Amy at the roller skating party and give her the gift" he made for her birthday. Ah ha! Guido was getting his info from a water pipe! See here:

Yup Guido sat next to THIS and heard all the house goings on
I have since had a talking with Sneaky Pete Guido about this. I told him how disappointed his Mam and meself will be to find him listening in on other people's private conversations. I hope I have nipped this in the bud I do. He begged me not to tell me Mam because she'd be not trusting him ever again. This I said I'd do, unless I caught him at it again. Meanwhile, me Mam be telling her friends how psychic the laddie its. "He jus seems ta noo tings," she'd tell her friends all in an awed whisper. Yeah, psychic me arse, sneaky clever more like!

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

12 May, 2017

Want a Tattoo and can't afford one? I discovered a cheap substitute

12 May 2016

R. Linda:

I often wonder at the differences between each of me kiddos. The first is sensitive, artistic, and be well ahead of his class. The second be me tough guy, he has no qualms exploring places I wouldn't go, picking up snakes in the fields, and racing his four wheeler over hill and dale with no regard to personal injury. The youngest looks like the sweetest angel on earth, BUT he has an alter-ego, Georgie, who be demon material if he doesn't get his way. Somehow I have managed to juggle these differing personalities and learned by parental experience how to handle them. Well, I think I have. Or, at least I thought I have until this morning.

It seems just when you think everything be going well, one of these three manages to thrown a monkey wrench in the works and it all goes to half-baked pudding.

Me wife has got it into her head to sign up for EMT (emergency medical technician) school, because it is something she always wanted to do. This course is a gruelling 150 hours of book learning and classroom training, along with ride-a-longs with the local EMS services on calls. This has taken a huge chunk of time out of her being here and the slack of parenting has fallen to me Mam and meself to make it up.

In this learning experience for me at least (can't talk for me Mam), I be learning things about me kiddos I didn't know before. All those little things one ignores when their Mam is handling them, turn into not so little things when it be me responsible for the meditation, sorting through, and general upkeep of healthy and happy kiddos.

The last morning I find out I was supposed to attend a parents luncheon for the fifth grade students. It seems last week when me fifth grader was sick with stomach bug, the middle one Guido, was supposed to take the form and money to his brother's teacher to hand in the reservation. Yesterday the eldest finds Guido didn't do that. Therefore, because Chef Bev needs to know ahead how many to cook for,  I was not allowed to attend. At this he set about berating his brother loudly through the house. When I was able to get out of both of them the trouble, I find meself in a quandary what to do, because Guido made it all sound so innocent. He swore he took the form to his teacher, who told him to run down to the office and drop it off with the secretary there. He says he did this. So not his fault. Yet yesterday, O'Hare (me eldest) told me his teacher said there was a girl in his class he could have his lunch with as her parents couldn't make it for the parents luncheon. He informed her otherwise and she said she had no form given her so "Dad can't come."

When he got home last night the you-know-what hit the fan and he was screaming at his brother that he, O'Hare was now subject to sitting with a GIRL for lunch while all the other parents would be there. A girl! Can you imagine the insult of having to have lunch with one of those? Oi! It wasn't so much me not being able to attend, it was the girl business that had him in a muck sweat. I tell ya!

So this morning Guido's orders where to go to the secretary and find out what happened to the form per O'Hare's instructions. Like that's going to happen. Anyway, I come down to breakfast, hear this going on, and not having had a drop of coffee, I wasn't looking at the kiddos, just listening to them trying to get the coffee in me cup. Meanwhile, me Mam be working hard over the cooker making eggs and rashers and she was using her head in communication I should look at me boyos. I pretty much ignored that because I didn't have to look at them, I could hear them. I took me cup to the sunny window in the hopes they'd stop. Tonya, had taken an early EMT call so she was gone. I was more thinking about her than listening to the ever escalating discussion behind me. After a few sips I turned from looking out the sunny window to the kitchen isle where heated discussion of instructions was still going on. The sunbeams did not let me see the two kiddos clearly so I was not aware of appearances.

But me Mam was looking at me strangely, her eyes near bugging out of her head as she slid eggs and rashers on a plate in front of me. She was still using her head to get me to look at the boyos for what reason I had notta clue.

Me breakfast was slid toward me and as I was about to give me two pence that both of them need stop the argy right now. I looked at them and while O'Hare was red in the face from yelling, his brother was an entirely different matter altogether. Yup.

"AND, YOU LOOK LIKE A JERK!" O'Hare yelled at Guido.

I would have to agree because the young laddie had taken a Sharpie pen and drew all over his face in what one can call war-paint.

"What possesses you?" I half yelled, totally taken aback, near spitting out me coffee.

"Ima goin' ta war!" He answered emphatically.

"With the school secretary?" I asked incredulously.


"So you draw on your face? Jayus, Mary and Joseph," says I, "go wash that off."

Me Mam interceded and hurried Guido off to the powder room. She came back to continue breakfast and he came in a few minutes later, his face looking like she had used an ice scraper to get the marker off. I looked at her in amazement because now he looked like we had slapped him or abused him in some way. I was about to say to her that I hoped the redness wore off before it was time for the school bus, but I didn't get a chance.

"O-M-G! Da he's got dots in his hair," O'Hare told me, "look at his head he has black dots like a leopard."

I got up and looked at the buzz cut of me middle child and sure enough he had black dots all over his head like a wild cat. I was floored. There isn't enough coffee in the world that would wake me up as fast as this did.

"WHAT are you doing to yourself?" I shouted completely losing me cool if I ever had any to begin with.

"Itz only Sharpie. It comes off." He said.

"You bet it does young man, you march back upstairs and get that off now!"

He slammed himself out of the chair, and walked heavily pounding his feet up the stairs as I sat at the counter thinking I needed something stronger than coffee.

"I told ya Da, he probably spent that $5 on something at school and threw the form away." O'Hare chimed in.

"Sharpie pens most like." Me Mam mumbled but I heard her.

"That be enough." I said. Then I looked at me Mam watching her shaking her head and biting her lip. I knew she was trying not to laugh.

Guido came down looking like a human being, a nice change to the human drawing board he had made of himself.

"You were really going to school looking like that?" I asked him.

"Why not?" He said taking a mouthful of cold egg.

Why not indeed. I tell ya, I noticed since this EMT training started and me advanced role in parenting be underway, a few gray hairs creeping into me hairline -- I should be entirely silver by the time me wife gets back to her regular routine.


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06 May, 2017

Halloween Comes Early For Gabe -- OR -- Expect The Unexpected

06 May 2017

R. Linda:

I had this creepy feeling for a few days, and the last two it felt like something wicked was coming me way. At first I thought I was about to have a Weasil visit or worse a Weasil and Rabby visit. But that didn't feel right and I shrugged it off. But the feeling persisted. I got so hyper with meself I actually broke down and rang up the Weasil, but luck was in me corner, I got voicemail. It said:

"Iz be outtie da country at da mo. Leave yer monicker and numbah, and iffin I felz uppie ta ringin' yer arse backie . . . I jus might."


I was filled with relief thinking I could mark Weasil and Crazy off me list. But still the feeling persisted. 

Yesterday I had an appointment to do a story in Salem, Mass. You know they live for Halloween down there. Well, now Halloween and ghostly things may be all year long instead of one ghoulish month as a result of the Mayor of Salem seeing what looked like a ghostly face in a lamp right outside the Michael Ruane Judicial Building! Yes, R. Linda I am sure Mayor Kim Driscoll at first thought she was seeing things, but no way Jose! There WAS a face in the lamp. To document this phenomena, Mayor Driscoll took a snap and here it is:

Photo taken by Kim Driscoll - courtesy the Boston Globe
Its enough to make the hair on the back of ones neck stand up. It has a look of annoyance, but I guess if me mug was stuck at the top of a lamppost for eternity I'd have that same kind of puss on. Anyway, I was sent down to see the lamppost and if there was indeed a scary face in it. 

The day was bright sunshine, so I couldn't see the face, but that doesn't mean it isn't there on cloudy, spooky days which would account for a much more appropriate time to see it. While I was there, I thought I caught sight of someone I knew. Yes, R. Linda, I had that creepy feeling come over me and that got me attention to walk up into the brick paved mall because I thought out of the corner of me eye, I saw a form I knew. 

I went up towards the Depot Shop and stood on the corner looking around. I saw nothing, so I walked back and stood in another spot when yes, there she was creeping along the buildings watching yours truly like the hawk she be, even if she can't see all that well for a DRAGON! See here, I caught a picture of her gliding along the store fronts.

HA! She thought I wouldn't see her 
I know a witch when I see one. No, she didn't fool me one bit. I caught up with her and she gave me this song and dance she was visiting relatives. Yeah well, we know what relatives those are, the ones that live in New Hampshire. She came down to Salem to spy on yours truly, I just knew it. 

She stood in the middle of the mall reiterating she was NOT spying on ME, but really was there to meet OTHER relatives. What was the MATTER with YOU Gabriel? And on and on she went. She took hold of me arm and half dragged me down the mall back to where that crazy lamppost was. I wanted to ask her if she had put a spell on Big Tony and that was HIS face caught frozen in the lamppost, and I actually did ask her that and she hit me with her serpent staff over the head calling me a big IDIOT and a DOLT!

Well, it wasn't long before I started to feel REALLY REALLY foolish. She hadn't made up a tale at all, she WAS there to see family. Family I hadn't met or heard about. Yes, she has family in Salem, Mass. and WHY that should be a revelation to me I don't know. I should have EXPECTED as much considering, right?

Well, here they are the rest of her clan. That's Mabelle, Marigold, Macy, Casey, Tabitha, Becca, Harmigie (what kind of name is that?), and . . . JANET! I guess Macy and Casey are twins? I dunno about that Dragon sometimes. SOMETIMES? I mean ALL THE TIME!

You can tell the family resemblance, they all look the same and look at all the gawkers, you'd think they were all dressed  like a bunch of witches
I tell ya!

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29 April, 2017

A Wee Story

29 April 2017

R. Linda:

Having Sean staying with us "indefinitely" has not come without some hiccoughs. I need not rehash Easter dinner, but I will tell you the latest event that could have been a barrage of needless medical bills.

Me little grey haired, apple cheeked, Mam was busy today. She did her laundry, the kiddo's laundry, tidied up the house, sweep the back deck, fed the rabbit, rinsed the dishes and decided to take a break. She went onto the back deck with our dog to relax a wee bit. Already out there sunning himself was cousin Sean who did not a lick of anything all day. Anyway, Mam is out there enjoying the breeze, the quiet when Sean interrupts her peace with this:

"Due ye always shake like dat aunt?" He asked her.

Well, me Mam wasn't aware she was shaking but she looked down at her arms resting on the chair and oh dear she was shaking like a leaf.

"Well . . . I be a bit hot frum werkin' house chores," said she continuing to shake.

"I tink maybe ye should goo inside dare auntie, yer gonna haf a heart attack out here in dis heat."

"Oh my," she said, "the breeze wuz coolin' me off it wuz. How's me colour?"

"Well, when ya came oot ya looked kinda red in da face ya did, but now yer kinda pale."

"Oh my," she said, watching her shaking getting worse.

"I'll drive ya ta da casualty." Sean said about to get up.

That's when I came out to take in a breath of fresh air. I could see right off something was amiss and heard Sean's offer. I asked what was the matter. I was told me Mam was probably having a heart attack or worse stroke from doing too much housework.

She looked perfectly fine to me, except there was worry on her brow. I watched the shaking and noticed the dog was leaning up against her chair panting. Un huh, thank you Sean.

I called the dog to me and miracle of miracles, the shaking stopped.

"I suddenly feel better," me Mam said noticing she wasn't shaking anymore.

I tell ya!

I explained it was the dog doing the shaking next to her chair and that she was perfectly fine no thanks to Dr. Sean who looked quite a bit embarrassed about upsetting the olwan. Can you imagine if he did drive her to casualty and they sent her for tests? Gees Louise! I am grateful he be looking out for Mam and all, but couldn't he be a bit more observant before he puts the fear of God in her and has me paying large medical bills for nothing? Oi!

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17 April, 2017

Sean said, "Uh Gabe, I tink I be feelin' raindrops dare."

17 April 2017

R. Linda:

The one good thing with cousin Sean staying for a bit, is there be no room at the inn for the Dragon lady. We were Dragon-free for Easter, what a nice change that was. And that's where the nice ended, because the rest of the day was an unmitigated disaster. Oh yes, it was.

On Good Friday, me Mam insisted we go to church. That would be her, Sean, and yours truly, since Tonya and the kiddos were off to school. Me Mam being a good Catholic she expects the rest of us to be that too, even Tonya who be a Baptist. It was quite interesting watching Tonya's reaction the first time in a Catholic church. Her eyes got big at all the statuary, gilt and marble.

"I feel like I'm in a museum," she whispered to me.

Then the up and down, on your knees, stand, on your knees again, bow your head, hold your hands in prayer with fingers pointed up, not folded like a Baptist. It was all too much for her, by the last time kneeling she was groaning loudly on getting up. So it be a good thing she had to work or she'd have to lie and tell Mam she wasn't feeling well.

Anyway, we did enough standing, kneeling, sitting and praying for the entire family. Sean sheepishly asked Mam if we were expected to do this all over again on Easter Sunday.

Well, the talking to he got, and she actually took him by the ear like a bad little boy and shoved him in the car with no ceremony lashing him with her tongue the entire ride home. He had nothing to say for the entire drive, I will tell ya that much. But me Mam couldn't stop her whipping up on him about being a good Catholic. Gees Louise!

I remember years ago when we were kids, the last time she got on his case. It was Ash Wednesday, he was staying at our house because his Mam was having his sister at hospital. Me Mam sent Sheila, Sean and yours truly to church for the ash ceremony, only Sean wasn't feeling particularly religious and ditched us to spend his pennies at a candy shop.

When we came in with the proper ash mark on our foreheads, we were Sean-less. Before Sheila and I could make up a story on where Sean was, he came loping up the backstairs with the proper ash mark on his forehead. We found out he was smoking with some boyos and used cigarette ash to mark himself so Mam would think he was a good Catholic boy gone to church. I tell ya!

It was a week later she found out the truth, I don't know how but think me sissy squealed on him. Me Mam let into him like hellfire and brimstone. His face would get guilty red every time he saw her. Still does to this day. Guilty, guilty, guilty!

So Sunday morning came and guess what? We were all too sick to go to church but Mam. Annoyed with all of us including the Baptist, she took off by her lonesome to pray for our speedy recovery. She also told the boyos that it was too bad they were sick, no Easter candy for them. There was a miraculous recovery made by O'Hare and the wee one, they got their shoes on and out the door they went with her. The middle child, not so fast. HE wasn't going anywhere, he standing his ground no matter what and was quite confident he'd have his candy because he already squirrelled it away.

"Yer Mam be driven' me round the bend dare, Gabriel." Sean said. "She be a misery and quite a bit off her latch don't cha tink?"

"Well," I said getting all Irish meself, "she be a little short of us she finds out we aren't sick, but dare be hope dare be in all dat prayin' she and da boyos are doin' has made us all feel really good."

"You are awful, but I like how you think." Tonya said.

We were having the usual Easter guests over, these be people who have no one to spend the day with. We have done this for a while and opening our home is no problem. Because I was going to be helping out in the kitchen I foolishly left it up to cousin Sean to set the tables.

Sean had heard it was going to be a good weather day with a temperature of 80 and he suggested we have Easter dinner on the deck.

"I don't know how we'd fit all those people on the deck," Tonya said liking the idea but not sure if we could do it.

"I need ta tink about dis, but if it cont be done den inside it be." Sean said determination in his eyes.

And tink I mean think he did. We were very busy in the kitchen so we weren't watching Sean express himself through seating arrangements. You have to know that our deck be large, so accommodating tables and chairs seemed an easy project even for a 4 year old. What trouble could Sean get into right? Well lots.

We did not see the seating arrangements because he came in after working out on the deck all morning, with a huge grin of satisfaction on his face. We assumed all was ready and we need not trouble our brains. Wrong!

To make this clear to your minds eye, what Sean had done was set up three big tables on the deck. On the second story deck he had used card tables in a line with a chair at each so the guests would be facing the backyard, not each other. In other words, elbow to elbow. He presumed the sliding doors would be perfect to come up behind the diners so they could be served over their shoulders. Uh yup.

We discovered this bizarre arrangement too late to fix it! He had done a lovely job of place settings with flowers on each card table. If only he had used the rest of the deck for the people on the upper deck he'd have gotten a gold star. But no, we had this crazy up your nose arrangement that was worthy of a disaster award.

No one thought it a wonderful idea. So not being able to do a thing about this but hang Sean by his thumbs as scenery, Tonya reluctantly made him agree should any of the "rail diners" complain we are to set them on the deck no matter how tight a squeeze.

The one that was the least happy was me returning from Easter service Mam. As soon as she saw the set up she started to complain what a dolt Sean was. Sean explain there was a great view of the mountains and the diners would appreciate it.

"Ye could put all da tables on da lawn instead, and everyone can eat together." She argued.

That would have been too easy.

"No time Mother O'Sullivan," Tonya said gesturing her head in the direction of the arriving guests in the driveway.

I tell ya me knees, ankles, and feet hurt from the getting the rail diners up the stairs, out on the deck, then running back downstairs to cater food up through me bedroom to the deck where six were seated all in a row. They didn't know what to think of this arrangement. One rather liked it, the rest . . . not so much. They were yelling down at the diners on the deck in conversation so it was rather a loud bit going on.

It was a tight squeeze up there, but I finally got everyone served when I sat down to me own dinner on the deck to be summoned back upstairs because the rail diners needed more cranberry sauce. OI!

I was like a jack rabbit, up and down, up and down. Just as I was about to take me first bite of turkey, Sean says to me "Uh Gabe, I tink I be feelin' raindrops dare." Yes, the heavens opened up. Yes they did, it freaking poured. The guests on the deck (because they had room to move) gathered up the plates and took it all inside almost unscathed. The rail diners, uh . . . not so much. Sean and I ran upstairs because Sean had wedged them all in quite tightly and we had to extract them from the tables and pull them inside where they were dripping wet, their turkey and fixings floating in rainwater . . . need I go on? I ran out of towels, luckily not turkey, but who wanted to eat after THAT? No one.

We called it. An early Easter was had by all, where they all ended up going home and we have lots of cake. Yes, dessert was partaken by a few hanger-ons from the lower deck who thought it was all very funny. The upper deck? Every single one went home . . . mad and wet.

I have a feeling a lot of the guests will not be back for next year's feasting. No, I think Sean put the kibosh on Easter dinner from now on. He is persona non grata right now. The boyos are the only ones talking to him about how cool this and that person looked drenched to the skin. How they now know potatoes don't float once mashed and how gravy glistens in water and looks like blobs of dog do. Oh yeah pleasant stuff those kiddos.

How can someone who looks good until he opens his mouth be such a bungling idiot? Well, me Mam will make sure he doesn't hear the last of it.  Yup.

BUT we do have a lovely cake Tonya made. See below:

Tonya putting finishing touches on Easter Egg Cake with Sean supervising
Finished Cake YUMMY - so at least there is that.

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09 April, 2017

I had a bad day and then I had an even worse surprise

09 April 2017

R. Linda:

Here's the thing, everyone has bad days, but why is it I have REALLY bad days?

I was doing great up to Thursday, I was healthy as a horse, everyone in me house was good, the Dragon had gone home WITH her hound. Life couldn't get any better right? Wrong!

I wanted to give Tonya a special birthday, she's been upset over federal non-funding of educational materials for schools, and has donated a lot of her time to after school programmes. She's knackered from it all and so I wanted to make her feel appreciated. Her 30 something-something birthday was coming up, so I got with me Mam and discussed a party to celebrate and lift her spirits.

Well, things went smoothly in big part thanks to me Mam. Tonya had a hankering for Italian food, so I was making lasagna, and Mam her famous Italian baked chicken, and Tonya's close girlfriends were making a huge cauldron of Italian veggie soup, fresh baked Italian bread, and an assortment of Italian appetisers and desserts. I had a cake (non-Italian), but what can ya do, right? So all set.

On Friday, a good friend of all of ours died prematurely. I was not sure to go ahead but I made a few calls and everyone was on board. A few didn't come because they were in mourning so very understandable, but most everyone did come and I see like in Ireland where we celebrate the life led, these people did too. That we did after the birthday celebration and was all very respectful in toasting our departed friend and telling fond stories.

So once over that hurdle whether to proceed or not, I had one more event I had to attend. O'Hare the most musical of me bairns, was in a multi-school concert Saturday morning. The night before I walked into his room to get him off the Mastercraft and into bed. He was all excited we were going.  I made arrangements for the two boyos to stay with me Mam while Tonya and I attended O'Hare's big event. Problem I have is the wee one turns into Georgie, his alter-ego, and we had front row seats and we didn't want Georgie stealing the show. Guido on the other hand didn't want to go. If he wasn't singing he wasn't interested. Ok then.

About 9:30 that night, I started to feel like the British Army had rolled over me. I had a cough that choked me, fever and body aches like you wouldn't believe. I took meself to the Immediate Care and they stuck me in a gown in a room and left me there for one solid hour. I finally opened the door and asked them if they had forgot me. No, no, they were busy, please go sit on the gurney and doctor would be in as soon as he could. Right they were, soon in their language was another 45 freaking minutes. I sat in that cold room, with nothing but a hospital gown on (and why I needed to change into that I do not know), coughing me fool head off and generally feeling worse and worse.

This time I didn't get a chicken soup prescription, but was given general cold meds, an inhaler and when I said I had a commitments I HAD to be on hand for, steroid pack was prescribed. The verdict was bronchitis. I got dressed, went to chemist and waited there for another 30 minutes for me big medication order. I popped a pill before I left because I wasn't sure I'd make the 45 minute drive home. By the time I got home I felt 30% better. Mam had made me tea and as we talked I was starting to do a lot better only I didn't get any sleep, I was too wound up so I watched the moonlight creep s-l-o-w-l-y cross the walls of me room all night.

By 6 a.m. I had just started to drift off when I get the sound of a coyote howling next to me head. Me phone was alerting me to a text from me eldest who had set me phone up with his fav alert, which is enough to give one heart failure if you don't expect it. He wanted to know what time we were leaving for the concert. I was livid. I told him the time was 9:00 sharp. Now let me sleep PLEASE!

By morning light, I awoke pale, feverish and hacking me head off. I was determined not to disappoint O'Hare and go to the concert. Me Mam was all for calling the guests and putting the party off, but I said no, I hoped to be better by evening. However, we were out of coffee and you know what that does, makes Gabriel a very grouchy man.

I was very pale, the lobes of me ears were bright red (no clue why) and the tip of me nose was red and raw from blowing it so much. I looked strange I know, but I piled Tonya and O'Hare in the car and saw I needed petrol, which annoyed me I didn't get it the night before, so I told them I had to stop for that and there was a Dunks there so I'd get coffee.

At the petrol station I pulled in and there was a line. Me gas tank be on the passenger side of me car so I had to wait for someone with the same problem to leave so I could pull in. This took some time, but I finally managed to get a space. I discovered I left me credit cards home and had only cash. So I went inside the convenience store told them to put $20 in me tank, as I was in a hurry. I go out after paying and get the pump in the car and it doesn't work. I go back in and tell them to turn on the pump. I go back out and the pump stops after 8 cents. I was like wtf? I go back in and tell them to quit fooling around and back I go to finally get the $19.92 worth. Gees!

I got in me car and pulled into Dunks drive-thru to find at least 30 cars in line. Well, I couldn't wait because that would make us late, so unhappy, I pulled off and headed to the school two towns over coffee-less.

We got to the school very early. The concert was for 10:00 and it was 9:20. We dropped O'Hare off with his music teacher and I could smell heavenly coffee.

"There is a snack bar open outside the gym, they have coffee." A school official told me.

We weren't told how to get to the gym but I saw a row of chairs and headed that way and I was right, gymnasium. I left Tonya talking to someone she knew and headed for the hallway where I was told the snack bar was. Well it was there, but no coffee! Soft drinks and juice. There was a woman standing to the side with her cup of Dunks and that's what I was smelling. Grumpy, I went to me seat in the front row trying not to have a coughing fit.

When the concert finally started, fifteen minutes late, I was in a bronchitis haze trying to keep the coughing under control with me handy dandy inhaler. The first batch of chorus came out, all early teens from a school that was from a community with a snobby reputation. I was gobsmacked at the appearance of so much green hair. Long, short, in-between all green headed young people, dressed in strange variations of clothing in white and black, looking like they'd rather be at a rave than putting on a concert.

Once over the shock and wondering what was in the water in that town, the music director informed us we'd be hearing one African song, one Hebrew song, and one WASP song. Okay I put WASP in because really? There was not a black or Jewish person in the whole auditorium but I thought the idea of inclusion was great but where were the people we were honouring with inclusion? Not to sound a bigot, but the reason there are not many blacks or Jews OR anyone else, be the economy sucks in New Hampshire. If you aren't in the tourist trade there are no jobs. Those people are too smart to come up here to end up on welfare in a welfare system that isn't that great. Plus its hard to heat a house if you have no money and knowing the winters are severe . . . too smart to move here.

So we were subject to pitchy singing of all three tunes, the glum and unenthusiastic songbirds with the green hair reminded me of St. Patricks Day. Tonya told me the next group (band this time) was started 6 months ago, so get ready.

I would think ear plugs a great little item to sell at school concerts especially when there are brass instruments. With me head full and me trying not to cough I was besieged with bad and I mean really bad music. Tonya texted: "I am so amused and I know it isn't kind but I am fighting bursting out laughing." The reason was song one sounded exactly like song two and three. The brass section couldn't play to save their life, one of two clarinets was faking it, and the snare drum and other clarinet and recorder were the only three who had the songs down. BUT when saxophone goes off on its own and the poor tuba girl be trying to catch her breath before passing out, well, hard to appreciate the time spent a tune way off key. At one point Tonya told me I was coughing in time with the tuba. How awesome considering neither the tuba player or yours truly could catch our breath.

The next group was ours, and when I heard our little school of five chorus members where combined with the host school of at least 30 . . . well, I wasn't hopeful since they hadn't practised once together. BUT they were the best, they were enthusiastic, they gestured, they SMILED they were having fun. They sang tunes that were recognisable and really did a great job. By the end of it I was feeling better. Me Mam had said music would uplift me spirits and well I had me doubts, but she was right.

By the time we got home I was feeling even better. Trial by what was pawned off as music was over and party was scheduled at 6 which means 8. I was taken aside by me Mam who told me she'd start the lasagna and chicken at 6:30 and if I needed her she'd be in the attic for the rest of the night.

"Wait a minute," I said catching her arm as she made to leave, "why will you be in the attic?"

"Oooh Gabriel, dat man be a coomin' an I jus' caunt bring meself ta disappoint em'."

"You mean Ken?"

Ken be a very nice older gent who be single and he likes me Mam a whole lot.

"Dat be da one. I went ta da town hall ta register me motor an' he came in to register his. He dint noo I wuz in da clerks office an' when I came oot, well Gabriel, he lit up like a Christmas tree he did. He wuz so nervous at seein' me he couldn't git his word oot. I wuz embarrassed fur em' I wuz."

"You should reconsider Mam. It would be good for you to go out get back in the swing of things." I said amused at her.

Ooh noo, I be not wanting' a man in me life. Yer faher wuz enuff! I do jus' fine witout one I do. I be froostrated wit dese old geezahs. Dey half no dignahtee. It be like dey all need a hoag and I ain't given noo hoags. Dey can find a hizzie like Dragon fur dat dey can."

"I will keep you safe, don't ya worry, but don't sit in the attic all night, gees Mam." I said putting an arm around her, trying not to laugh. I gave her a "hoag" (hug) in reassurance.

Well, as it was the party was probably the best we ever had. And I didn't have to be me Mam's protector she did just fine on her own. Yup, this morning I was doing just as well, feeling better, glad Tonya was happy and had a great birthday, the kiddos were all in good humour and the few people who over-nighted it had a hearty breakfast thanks to meself, were off with leftovers and then the doorbell rang.

Yup it was a good couple of hours until I opened that door. I thought one of them had come back because they forgot something, but no, who be on me doorstep, suitcase in hand? None other than cousin Sean. Yup. You remember cousin Sean? Well, he's baccckkkk!!!

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03 April, 2017

What we gave up for lent one year -- you'll never guess

03 April 2017

R. Linda:

Last Sunday morning, the adults of the house were relaxing in the living room after breakfast. The boyos were upstairs playing and we had a lovely sunny morn to sip coffee and chat a bit. The talk was of Easter and what Tonya wanted to serve for dinner, and me getting a lecture from her on NOT to bite the ears off the Easter basket bunnies so there will be harmony in the house Easter morning, and none of the usual finger pointing and screaming, "DA ATE THE EARS OFF MY BUNNY!!!"

I told her it was hard not to do that, it was an Easter tradition in me house when growing up that me very own Da did the same to me and me sister's bunnies, and well . . .

"Don't you do it Gabe." Tonya said pointing a finger at me.

Remember these:

Guido's rabbit 
O'Hare's bunny
Meanwhile, me Mam sat silently nursing her cup of joe saying not a word but looking at me knowingly. I said I wouldn't, but I didn't promise, the reason being I can't help meself when it comes to bunny ears and for some reason unknown to meself, I get great satisfaction from chomping off those ears. Maybe because it was done to me, I think it fine to do to me own kiddos.

"I think we should incorporate some of your beliefs into the kids." Tonya said thankfully off the subject of chocolate bunny ears.

"Like what?" I asked surprised at the sudden change in subject.

"Well, they should give something up for lent. Didn't you do that when you were young? Like candy or doing something you liked to do?"

"Uh yup." I answered thinking back on the Lenten season and how long I used to think it was as a kid. I remember sneaking candy bars at the local newspaper store, or playing Pack Man at a friends house, out of the sight of me Mam.

"You did that every year growing up right?" Tonya queried. "It made you better to honour the Lord."

"Uh yup." I said not really thinking about it.

"Nooo, nooo he did not." Mam crooned. "He and Sheila were little sneaks. Dey taught I dint no dey'd goo ta dere friends hoouse and do wot dey were given' oop. It got so bad dat as teenagers I let em' off da hook. Ye remembah when dat wuz?"

"Oh yeah I do," I said, the whole unorthodox scene dawning on me. "It was when that very straight laced Catholic couple you were friends with came for tea at lent. You had little cakes you served and you had Sheila and I dressed up like it was Easter to come greet them."

"Every year dey came and every year I'd dress me bairns up to da nines sos dey could see how mooch dey had grown inta proper gent and lady." Mam interjected to Tonya.

"I think I had just turned 13 and I remember I didn't want to meet them, but Sheila reminded me we'd get a teacake out of it. I hated getting dressed up to be looked over by those two old fogeys." I complained.

"Ah but ye got a cake outer it, dint ya?" Mam said and then turning to Tonya she continued. "Da coople wuz surprised I'd let da two haf a teacake each at lent. She asked dem if dey had given oop sweets and I knew dey would say no, dey dint haf ta give up nuthin' and den I'd git lectured fur not being a better Catlick parent, so I said dey had given up soomthin' else instead."

I remembered instantly what she was talking about. I remember it well, like it was yesterday. There Sheila and I were, genteelly munching our cakes when the woman disapproving quite obviously to our eating something sweet, had asked the dreaded question as to what we gave up for lent. I was about to say we gave up nothing and I am sure me sissy would have said the same, and not being smart enough to know better, me Mam knowing that pipped up before we could utter a word of truth.

"Dey haf given oop fish." Mam said loudly.

There was silence and we stopped chewing long enough to know we better chew faster and get out of there. So while we were choking down the cake the woman regained her composure and blurted out in question, "Fish?"

"Ooh ay, dey be big fish eaters dose two." Mam said proudly.

I near about choked on me cake as did me father on the coffee he had just swallowed. He was wise enough to say nothing to contradict his wife.

"Dey luv, luv, luv fish. Any kind o' fish. Plaice, pollock, coley, ray, huss. It be fish night every night beside Fridays if dey had dere way o' it." She said with smug satisfaction.

I nodded me head vigorously, happy me mouth was full and I didn't have to say anything. Me Da told us we could go along which we did as quickly and as courteously as possible.

"Oh dey were soomtin' dat coople. Dey were strict Catlicks an if yer dint do things by da boook ya were a sinner." She reminisced.

The eldest and middle kiddo were hiding behind the couch playing sneaky pete and heard all this. I don't have to tell you they were all about giving up fish (which they won't eat) for this thing called lent. Well, there was a discussion I can tell ya that much of protesting kiddos and unrelenting adults. A compromise was reached in which we will celebrate Shrove Tuesday and then there will be no PANCAKES until after Easter. Uh yup I can live with that as well, since no one said anything about donuts.

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