12 May, 2017

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

12 May 2016
862

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.

"Yup."

"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.

Hrumph!

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

06 May, 2017

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

06 May 2017
861

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."

Typical.

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!

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

29 April, 2017

A Wee Story

29 April 2017
861

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!

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

17 April, 2017

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

17 April 2017
860

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.

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

09 April, 2017

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

09 April 2017
859

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!!!

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

03 April, 2017

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

03 April 2017
858

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.

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

01 April, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

01 April 2017
857

R. Linda:

Ok, ok it is April Fools Day not St. Patricks Day but everyday in me abode is St. Patricks Day so enjoy. But know I won't enjoy because you got me with SNOW on April 1st. How you can be so mean to keep up the snow dance I can't imagine, but I know the white stuff be a direct present from your diminutive self. Sad face here.

A wee leprechaun counting his gold

This is what we have today -- the joke be on me!

Thanks for that NOT -- it had all just about melted, now it's back!

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

30 March, 2017

A remodel gone awry, book club postings, and bills, bills, bills!

30 March 2017
856

R. Linda:

I have been watching our electric bill climb to astounding heights and many a sleepless night have I encountered as a result. Add to that the tax assessor decided I had space not used over my garage (I have a finished in-law suite over my garage) and me house grew 1000 feet! I called the assessor because they already had the finished in-law suite in the assessment along with the unfinished space which made me wonder if that was part of what they were accounting as additional footage. I rang the tax assessor up and told her the problem. She told me the unfinished was a mistake and the new property tax amount stays. This threw me into stuttering and asking her to come back out when I was home so I could show her me house has not changed from the last assessment. She said she'd been out and it has changed and that's that.

"You can't fight city hall," said the Dragon who was sitting in the other room listening. Odd it is she can hear me in another room, but when you are right next to hear she is deaf as a post. Just this morning me Mam was telling the youngest boyo he had 'dirty ears' and Dragon is chiming in asking her what he has coming in 'thirty years.' It is stuff like that drives me up a pole very quickly.

Anyway that aside, I received me latest electric bill and was overcome with dollar signs to the extent I called four solar companies. One wanted me to lease the panels for 25 years. The other three wanted me to buy them and see a profit in 25 years. The first one I decided against because they had a contract for just coming out and another different one for when you sign up. I think I was one of the rare persons who actually read the entire contract through and rang them to question some of the obvious discrepancies. That surprised the person I was speaking with so I guess a lot of people just sign on the dotted line and then find when things don't quite work out the way they thought, they can't get out of the contract. Well, as it was they could only supply me 40% solar power which means I'd still be paying the electric company many rubles in ADDITION to lease payments.

The next three companies could guarantee 100% solar energy but the cost would be $59,000 from company 1, $79,000 if I went Canadian solar or $96,000 if I went American from company 2 and company 3 was a whooping $100,000 if I went with them. I'd get a tax write off but I'd still be on the grid paying me electric a little less, but still paying them, and I'd be paying a loan for the solar panels as well. I'd see a big difference by year 25. So thanks, but no thanks.

What to do huh? Well, Tonya had said the chicken heat lamps were a huge drain, but the kiddos don't want to part with the chickens and we do get enough eggs they sell them and it pays for the feed. Not being a Simon Legree I didn't have the heart to take the kiddo's egg business away. Tonya said, the kitchen appliances were drainers and we should start there because that would be less expensive than solar. Sounds good doesn't it? Uh huh.

So the first thing we did was get rid of the large microwave 1200 watts and replaced it with a smaller 400 watt version because we don't cook in our microwave, mostly reheat so really it was not necessary to have the huge oven. Next we got rid of the large toaster oven, not because it was old, it wasn't it was stainless steel and well Tonya wants black appliances. So that went for a smaller one with energy saving attributes.

I thought we were done. No, said she that refrigerator the former owners left us is missing the butter dish, a shelf and both chillers! They had the fridge so packed with food we didn't see all that until we moved. The thing is white which in a house full of boys doesn't stay so white and food falls out because there is not enough shelving and no chiller bins. There is a crack in the casement in the back and I think the thing is old. We should have bought ours it was two years old but it was too big so we opted to leave it. Stupid us.

Tonya informed me she wanted a bottom freezer, french door BLACK fridge no more of this side by side stuff. Well, okay there were March Madness sales so off we went. The idea was the black refrigerator would make the granite countertop (which is a very busy pattern) look more "refined." I didn't mind replacing it because we definitely needed to anyway and the energy saver we did find was so much nicer than we had. That would be delivered mid April. So home we went and we stood in the kitchen picturing the new purchase, looking at the two smaller ones on the counter when Tonya decided we need to replace the stove/ovens. We have two ovens, the house was billed as a double oven house, but not the typical double oven one thinks of, no we have two ranges. These are old too and white. And with the large black refrigerator, they were going to look like a zebra kitchen Tonya pointed out. I knew where we were going.

"It takes forever to get those two dinosaurs to heat up so you can bake," she said. "They must be original to the house."

I am thinking they work fine, wasteful spending here, but she is right, they both take a dogs age to heat up and I had to wonder if that isn't where a lot of the electricity is going. Sigh. I needed a break from appliances and have been following another blog that is a private book club of sorts. The blog master or in this case mistress, puts a book title out, the followers read it and then discuss it. This month the book is the English classic The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. I've never read it but our Fionnula and Wolfie were reading it and I check the back and forth between these two in particular because it makes for some very amusing reading thanks to Wolfie who has the most astute comments -- always a bright spot in me day, great way of phrasing things. Here's a sample:

Fiona: "I really should get myself back to going to church to see what the "preachers" are sermonising. I finished reading this philosophy last night, and find this guy sorting through things the way he did not my forte'. I understand the nuances of different philosophies when I read them but they do not stick in my head."

Wolf: "Philosophy -- such a fun subject. Um and I would find how to become a plumber just as fun. This is not philosophy my dear. Speaking of philosophy as you see it, reading this tome is like reading the rantings of a crazy person. I am sometimes amused, often times wishing to put my hands around his neck and squeezing hard. Talk about philosophical ideas mixed with comedy, and sprinkled with lots of crazy its like too much salt on an egg. I am halfway through and determined to find something of value in the stupid book. So far the dissertation on noses, did nothing for me but the small romance of Julia and Fernando kept my attention until it got totally weird. Going for Machiavelli next. Nothing like a little politics to get ones mind off noses."

Ha ha! These two can go at it at times and I simply love it. Takes me mind off electricity and appliances. But back to the appliances because Tonya took it a step further, PAINT. But since we were replacing the ovens (this was news to me) we should go back and pick up the black range hoods that were on sale, this being the last day. HUH? I didn't move quick enough she ordered them online over on her phone. I was sent to go get them and put them up. I did, I don't know why I didn't argue the point.

I install them (easy job that) and she says, "those look wonderful, we need to replace the dishwasher."

"Oh no we don't. It isn't that old that I can see, and its like the one we had only it's white."

"I looked on line and they are on sale too, I think we should go look."

I was all for a full out argument why not we should go look, when the visiting Dragon came drifting in and said she'd go too. UGH! I told them both to go ahead and let me know what they find.

"Give me your check book or card and then we'll go." Tonya said as I moved back from her outstretched hand. Really? We were doing this? We were replacing ALL the appliances in the kitchen like I be Prince Phillip with unlimited resources. I didn't think so and said as much, but the Dragon took charge, and threw me jacket at me and said she'd drive which is a no no. She can't hear AND she can't see.

The bottom line was I, me, found a dishwasher that was a reasonable price. The thing Dragon liked was it has a wine glass holder. Rarely do we drink wine and when we do, we hand wash because the glasses are a fine crystal (a wedding present) and we don't want to take the chance of chipping in a dishwasher. But Tonya liked it and I liked the price so everyone was happy. That arrives in mid April too, probably the same day as the refrigerator.

I started walking to the store exit when I realised I was by me lonesome. The ladies were on their way to the paint department. Oi! So I catch up to them just as they have picked out paint for the kitchen.

"Why paint it when you want to eventually get a new backsplash?" I asked Tonya.

"To freshen it up a bit."

She held up a sage green that I could live with. We got the paint, of course we did. That afternoon, she painted the walls and we realised the colour was off. It was baby blue, it wasn't mixed correctly. It was bloody awful! She decided it was more a sea foam blue and she'd paint the laundry room with it. Okay that's fine, not a total waste.

The next day I come home to not a sea foam blue kitchen but a cranberry kitchen. She got more paint and well, if she had told me what she had in mind I might have said no way, but to be honest it looks spiffy. I rather like it and we all (the entire family including Dragon) agree we don't need to replace the partial backsplash the cranberry looks great!

Here take a look:

Not bad considering it saves me money, LOL
Not only did she repaint the kitchen, she painted the mudroom this time with sage green. Yup she got more paint. She also got paint samples for the hallway and living room. If she wants to paint, I say go for it.

Here's the mudroom:

Sage green better than the white and why anyone would paint white in a mudroom I have notta clue
Meanwhile back at the book club:

Fiona: "I thought this book would be more like The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman. I  thoroughly enjoyed that."

Wolf: That's a problem, you shouldn't surmise one author's work to another. Maybe you should reread that one, it was at least a fun read. A note on Tristam since that's what we should be discussing but after reading it going off point seems to be the way of it, the author purposely left one chapter of blank pages. There are six pages of nothing. He thinks it funny. I don't because he goes into a dissertation on what he might have wrote in the following chapter. What a nutcase. Further he goes off point so much its like talking to a mutual friend of ours and at the end of it wondering what the conversation was about in the first place."

I have to laugh, I can "surmise" the mutual friend's identity as can you. Back to the paint and appliances.

Me Mam discussed the miracle of a door without an ice maker in it. We had one at the old house and clean up was constant. She also reminded us the non-joys of stainless steel and fingerprints. I was starting to feel better.

"Noo floods, no fingerprints, noo flyin' across the floor on a piece of errant ice. An' why would ya need a convection oven here when ya got gas dat kooks evenly? An' luck yer gettin' a grill on da stoovetop ya are, sumthin' ya had and dunt now. Wit black appliances ya dunt see da dirt!"

She had a point something it seems Tristam Shandy doesn't.

"An' Gabe, by Tonya not paintin' da kitchen green ya won't loose yer kookies."

Eeeyah, there be that. I lose it when I see a certain shade of green. It makes me violently ill. Every spring I couldn't go out at the sight of that kelly green new grass because I'd be throwing up at the sight of it. I can tolerate hunter green, forest green, but any light green and I'm worshipping the porcelain bowl. Any light green room I have to wear sunglasses. That be an unknown truth about me you didn't know. If that first 'sage' had been lighter I'd be on a perpetual diet by not being able to go into the kitchen. Anyway, I be lighter in the pockets, me electric bill stays the same for now, there is no kelly green, Tonya is redecorating and happy, Dragon be supervising and Mam be reminding me how I be making the new abode OURS instead of theirs. Okay then, but I be still not sleeping well. I be thinking it be the lighting that's causing the spike in electricity. I don't dare mention that for obvious reasons.

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

24 March, 2017

A Glutton for Punishment

24 March 2017
855

R. Linda:

Yeah, I know I said I wasn't going to anymore kiddie fund raisers, but this wasn't exactly a fund raiser though I lost three bucks on the attending. Me eldest came home all excited he was running a carnival booth. It is math week, and the school was putting on a math carnival, where the children run booths that you have to figure the math in order to win a prize. Seems like simple in and out and home we go, and an hour of yelling kiddos was better than the four and half I had on the pizza and movie excursion.

I said, yes, I'd love to attend. Yeah I know I didn't give it much thought, I was thinking an hour of children silently trying to figure out math equations, counting on fingers or worse, calculating on their cell phones at each booth and it wouldn't be so noisy or hyper as there were no soft drinks and candy. Well, I was wrong and it was too soon after the Monday night fiasco to attend another. I need to recuperate at least a week not a few days in order to steel meself for the next chaotic kiddie show.

The eldest had stayed after school to set up his math booth so the rest of us piled in the car (me Mam being the only holdout, but we dragged her along kicking and screaming anyway, poor soul), and arrived at the designated hour 6 p.m. Getting out of the car was fine, we met other parents we knew and inside we all went thinking easy-peasy, one hour and we were out. Well, as soon as I opened the school door to let everyone through (yes, I was the doorman yet again), I could hear shouting of excited kiddos and out of the corner of me eye, there were some running about chasing each other. Oh boy, here we go AGAIN.

Once inside we found it rather crowded which surprised me, but it was nice for the kids running the carnival to have a good turnout. Parents were standing around in groups chatting, small wee ones including our youngest chasing around, the middle one with friends visiting the math booths and yelling out any answer that came to their heads, and general chaos ensued.

The supervising teachers were dressed as clowns so recognising ones I knew was a bit difficult. The kiddos running the booths seemed to not care if their contestants got the answer right or wrong, they were enjoying being in charge. We went up on the stage that overlooked the floor where all the booths were to find there was a refreshment stand with candy and popcorn for sale and a few additional booths being run by two teachers in clown disguise.

All of me brood had me buy them cotton candy and I didn't want to because I was taking them out for dinner after, and wasn't wanting to feed them pure sugar and wire them up anymore than they already were. BUT to keep them from acting up in front of everyone I caved. I know pushover me.

The fact be that the wee one (when he doesn't get his way) becomes his alter-ego, Georgie and OMG. Georgie was a cousin of me wife's. He was the cutest little angel as a child and one look at that tow head with those big blue eyes and you'd think choir music would waft through the air. BUT Georgie was anything but angelic, he was a demon in disguise, dressed in a guise you'd never think could be so disruptive. He ran away at the tender age of ten (I think I told you this story) and took a railroad car to another town. Yup, me youngest has inherited the Georgie gene he has. And the last thing I wanted was Georgie in a restaurant.

Well, the wee one ran directly into a preschool buddy and they bummed heads causing the buddy to howl at the top of his lungs and mine to run away and hide. We found him behind a heavy-set clown and had to console him that it was an accident and though he wasn't hurt, his friend was feeling the blow and would be fine . . . eventually. The middle one Guido, had a fistful of tickets and where he got them I have notta clue as he is not the mathematical whiz his older brother is. We couldn't sort that out as he was not forthcoming until he later told us he had collected all the tickets that others had dropped on the floor. So at the end of the night he was the big winner of the single prize offered for the most tickets gathered for answering correctly at each both. I tell ya, that Guido is going to be something else when he gets older!

The elder, O'Hare was very happy with the booth running but a bit annoyed we didn't come over to play his game. We were told it was for the kiddos only, otherwise we would have. As it was we didn't get to speak with him because he was busy running the game. Who knew? So all of us except Guido and the wee head banger were in the doggy house. Oh and Mam had the excuse she didn't have her glasses and couldn't see. Right, O'Hare's booth had huge round circles and multiplication, division, addition and subtraction signs that you'd have be totally blind not to see. But he believed her. She's as bad as Guido telling him she came over but she couldn't see!

Here are a few shots of the carnival:

Upper stage where we were 'hiding'
Nearing the end
After ward, and promptly at 7 p.m. we headed out of noise central and got into the car with two tired kiddos, the eldest and the youngest along with Mam and headed out to the small town over for dinner at a place that reminds me of an Irish pub but is a small corner eatery across from the river. Here is a lovely picture of the river dam.

Picturesque huh? 
So because O'Hare had eaten pizza at school he wasn't hungry but he'd have dessert. This started a ruckus of sorts with his two younger siblings not wanting proper dinner but ice cream sundaes on a colder than north pole night. Their mother told them if they ate their dinner then they could have dessert. We ordered and it looked quite weird all of us with dinner plates and the eldest with the biggest ice cream sundae I'd ever seen. This caused a patron on her way out to stop at our table and ask him if there was a special occasion like maybe his birthday that he was getting ice cream and not eating his dinner. Oh boy. Tonya (who had a mouthful of salad) took exception I could see as she turned to look at the "intruder and self-proclaimed dinner police." I cut in quickly because I could see the windup coming and well, we didn't need a scene. I jovially informed the dinner policewoman that he'd already eaten so that was that and off she went. By that time Tonya had swallowed her bite and could have made a challenge about nosey parkers not minding their business, but I was fast and was able to nip that in the bud. She sat there steaming over it, I tell ya!

The bit that made me night though happened as we were placing orders. Tonya had stopped at a table to talk to someone she knew while we decided to order up drinks and crayons before ordering food. But she was taking so long and Mam was at her wits end trying to entertain the kiddos that I went ahead and started to order their food at least and I was glad I did that because the waitress food police was in attendance and if Tonya didn't like the patron's noticing what O'Hare was eating she wouldn't have been too thrilled with our waitress.

"What would you like?" The waitress asked O'Hare.

"A sweet tooth sundae, three scoops of vanilla ice cream, caramel topping, nuts with whipped cream and a cherry."

"No, I mean for dinner what would you like to order?" She said.

He explained he had already eaten and no, he didn't want an appetiser, could he just have the sundae please. Well, ok but if he changed his mind, etc., etc., etc. He did know that a hardy dinner would help a growing boy like himself. Yudda, yudda, yudda!

"And what will you have?" She asked Guido after the healthy eating lecture.

"I'll . . . I'll . . . I'll . . . "

"Really dere?" Mam said to him exasperated. "Dere be grilled cheese like ya like, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza."

"I'll have . . ., I'll have . . . uhhhhhh." Guido said looking at the ceiling and not the menu.

"Grilled cheese, he'll have da grilled cheese sandwich wit french fries." Mam said frustrated.

"Is that what you want?" I asked him.

"Yup." He said unfazed.

"And the little guy here, what would you like?" The waitress asked.

And the best part of me night was his answer.

"A banana."

Yup an ice cream sundae, a grilled cheese sanny and a banana.

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

21 March, 2017

How to be driven crazy within minutes

21 March 2017
854

R. Linda:

As if snow every other day isn't enough, and me upper arms ache from the shovelling of such, me brain and body were subject to more abuse at the hands of wee persons who's aim in life is to have a good time, practice high pitched screaming at the top of their lungs, jump around unabated, push other persons out of their way, and generally cause mischievous mayhem. I know all these things one can attribute to Weasil, but this goes beyond Weasil, to many uncontrolled little pint sized Weasils.

Our local elementary school was having one of four fund raisers (I get a raging headache thinking about it). This one was touted to be at a local pizza and pasta restaurant where the kiddos would get to see a movie. In this case the new trolls movie, which if you grew up in the nineties (I believe it was the nineties) as an American kiddo, trolls were the thing to watch on the telly, view in the movie house, and collect for your bedroom bookshelves instead of books!

Some enterprising and still fan of the trolls decided to bring the colourful bunch back on the big screen, fill it with a lot of infectious songs for dancing, clapping and singing along (even if you didn't know the words) and cause in a small space filled with some 60 kiddos and their put upon parents, guardians, grandparents and what-have-you, a great deal of STRESS.

That was the scene of me life last evening. We left for the "festivities" as that's how the wee ones were seeing it, for the adults more like a torturous evening in a mental hospital. We arrived at the designated 6 p.m. me three wild children, me Mam (who made the mistake of saying she needed to get out), me wife Tonya, and meself. Tonya had invited a friend of hers and her daughter and hubby to join us. The idea was while the kiddos all watched the movie, the adults could kick back and talk and enjoy the time. NOT TO BE. Best laid plans and all that rot!

We had found a large booth in a crescent shape in the back which would accommodate all of us. At the time it was just me immediate family we were waiting on Tonya's friends. We had been sitting all of three seconds when a woman Tonya knows came over and told us we had taken her booth. Seems she has eight kiddos. Well, the waitress had taken our drink and appetiser order and we were expecting others, plus we had two extra kiddos sitting with us who where friends of O'Hare and Guido's so really we were not about to up and move. I wanted to say, here I'll help you pull tables together but her brood had already did that, plus the two extras at our table were two of hers I found out after she huffed off! So really?

Carolyn (Tonya's BFF), arrived with daughter Carla letting us know that the hubby was looking for a parking space and would be with us shortly. One look at the unruly crowd and she says, "Did you order drinks? Because I think something strong would be a good idea."

At first I wondered if that was a good idea because as it turned out, we were the only table with mixed drinks and it being a blue drink you couldn't miss. Everyone turned to watch us take a sip when the blue strong ones did arrive. I know what they were all disapprovingly thinking. But it was only one and they didn't know that. I was concerned Tonya being a kindergarten teacher would lose her job if loose lips went back to the school she teaches at, and someone accuses her of driving drunk with kiddos in the car, which she wasn't driving at all. She didn't care she said, because by the end of the night, the rest of them would be ordering something stronger than a coke.

Prior, Tonya said since we'd be there for several hours probably one drink would be fine. So I signalled the waitress one Rebecca, and Carolyn ordered for us while her hubby was valiantly battling his way through wee ones to the table. The drink was made up of rum, blue curaƧao, coconut milk and pineapple juice. Mike, the hubby changed his to beer which I wanted as well, but too late, Rebecca could not hear me over the noise. I am providing the recipe card below in case you want to try this, it be rather STRONG.

One will do it and ease the ringing in one's ears and partially blur eyesight but unfortunately, it won't make the chaos go away and it will wear off in 45 minutes.
The appetisers (hot wings and smothered nachos - because I know you will ask) arrived with the kiddos cokes. Appetisers were gone in seconds and these were big platters. Children are voracious feeders, you have to be quick but we weren't. The only good thing of an empty stomach, is the effects of mellowing out compliments the Jack Frost last a wee bit longer.

One sip of me Jack Frost and I thought I'd be on the floor (there was more liquor in it than pineapple juice). I will say by the time I finished it (which didn't take long after having to go retrieve me youngest from wiping the floor with some small fry he had pushed down. I tell ya!) I could have gone home and slept it off -- it was that potent.

There was a stage next to us for Friday night entertainment and the wee ones were up and jumping off, very close to a large plate glass window that looked out on the common. One of them was either going to fall off the stage and break something, OR be shoved out the window. Me Mam was rather distressed that no one was chasing the kiddos away from the window and stage (there must have been 25 of them up there), but I told her to keep sipping her Jack Frost, and it would all go away like a bad dream.

I ordered (because you'd want to know) a pineapple an artichoke heart pizza. Me first ever and I rather think it be me new fav pizza. The movie came on and the room was darkened so you couldn't see what you were eating in the gloom, but it was obvious Carolyn got a slice of the pineapple because she was shouting at us from the other side of the table, "What am I eating, it's sweet and tomato tasting?" It was me special pizza, a slice completely wasted by an undiscerning palate.

I can't say we had an enjoyable conversation among us adults, no it was too noisy, there was a lot of up and down to retrieve kiddos behaving badly and intense moments of crying over something or someone. We'd have liked to have ordered alcoholic drinks the entire night but refrained since we were driving our precious cargo home. Precious but unruly I should add. The kiddos were all on the stage by the middle of the movie, jumping, shoving, pushing, crying, laughing, shouting, girl screaming (that shatters the ear drums), yelling, singing, dancing, whirling, just a mass of small bodies careening all over the stage and just below it. Notta one watched the movie! Only zombie like adults stared at the screen, trying to shut everything out. I be happy to announce no one went out the window, though there were a few cases of scraped knees from jumping off the stage and into someone below. Yup there was.

The movie was just as loud as the kiddos, and the percussion was enough to vibrate you off your seat.  I was up several times chasing after me own brood. Here is a picture at the beginning of the fun night, and another just before the movie came on. I didn't take anything after because I was pretty mellow and exhausted, plus very full of pineapple pizza.

Don't be fooled, the hellions were all on the stage to the left
Rebecca taking our order or trying to over the noise


BUT by the time I got home, I was deaf, half blind, and borderline crazy. The kiddos all fell asleep in the car on the way home. Why couldn't they have all done that during the movie? There are three more of these delightful evenings offered. One at Burger King, and two I definitely will be sitting out, Chuck E Cheese (just the germs alone make me ill forget that chaos), and Roll On America. I know that last you want me to get on skates and break me fool neck. Not gonna happen.

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

14 March, 2017

A few infamous people and not so famous watchers want to know

14 March 2017
853

R. Linda:

Ivanka Trump is wondering why her clothing and shoe line isn't selling. Fionnula said the reason is: "We have got to know you and we don't like you."

She looks like she's packed up her high heels and is outta here!
Nigel Farage is spending a lot of time in the U.S.A and seems to be doing what he can to help President Trump's agenda along. Weasil said this: "Iz dat a comedy act or wot? Cue da Benny Hill music, two clowns on international stage! An' look at the size of Nigel's hands compared to Trump, makes ya wondah if Nigel's the one in charge."

Nigel's got puppet hands
President Trump is still spray tanning and Tomas asked: "Has he always been that shade of orange? I have a ginger cat the same colour, makes me wonder if Trump eats the same cat food."

Nick Viall of Bachelor fame just proposed to a mean woman according to many viewers. Me Mam had this to say: "He be an ejjit, he had a perfectly good woman dere and he picks da whinny one who once she got the ring is da boss of him."

Photo Courtesy ABC - The happy couple?
Sean Spicer the gum chewing chew you out WH press secretary has not gone unnoticed by Wolfie who said, "I was glad to see they took his gum away and lowered the podium, though I still get confused if Melissa McCarthy isn't the real Sean Spicer."

Which is Spicer and which is McCarthy?
Kellyanne Conway at seeing a camera runs in front of it no matter why the camera is there. This prompted Maggie to remark, "I want to know why she looks like she's been on a bender and is still wearing yesterday's make-up."

Anyone got a comb? Or is that a wig?
And lastly, we come to our very own Muse, R. Linda who wants to know why Gabe isn't churning out stories one after the other. Doesn't matter she's near blind and can't see them to read them, and doesn't take Gabe's sense of humour when he tells here there is a new story on the blog and when she can't find it he tells her that's because she's blind and can't see it, well excuse day has come for Gabe and well, he can't churn them out because he's blind too. See below:

Dark shades are proof positive Gabe be a blind guy.
Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

10 March, 2017

Blue hair and more blue hair with helium voices, turkey attack, medical visits, a tour of town resources, and a box of donuts

10 March 2017
852

R. Linda:

At the request of the blue haired person requesting a story (see below the lovely shade of blue), and me having none to give, I decided to look for one in the only place I know for sure I'd get one. I made a call to Weasil. Yup, I didn't want to do it, but I did. Sometimes, I get the Weas, or as is more often the case, I get a person I don't know who has the misfortune to end up with the Weasil's former phone number.

Ah yes, blue as the sea, very nice R. Linda - I like it better than the purple
Well, this time I got the young whippersnapper right off, and was somewhat surprised that happened, which is often my reaction. When I get a stranger with his former number they always talk in high harassed voices, and seem near the edge of breaking, so I was glad that wasn't the case this time.

"So Weas, you want to get together?" I asked with some hesitation.

"Yuppers, dats up me street." He replied eagerly.

We made plans to meet at a doctor's office where he had an appointment. I wondered why he'd be seeing an American doctor when he lives in Scotland, but I didn't ask because you know what happens, he gives me some lame explanation that confuses the hell out of me.

I met him just as he was being called in for his "exam." He gestured I should come with him, which was not what I wanted to do. The nurse looked kind of sceptical like she wasn't sure who I was and why I was accompanying a fully grown man into an exam room.

"He's me nanny." Weasil quipped to my denying such a thing.

"Well, he can sit over there, but first I want you to pee into this jar for me." She gave him a plastic container.

"Well, as long as I dunt hafta drink it when I'm done, okie dokie." He said and off he went.

I was left to sit there waiting and wondering. But I didn't have long he was back in a jiffy.

I was lost for words not sure what was going on. I said out of habit, "how's it hanging?"

And the answer was, "long and limp."

Oh boy, I was regretting this idea for a story more and more.

"Sos wot ya think of da nursie?" He grinned switching gears.

"I don't know." I shrugged. Really? We were discussing women?

"She smells of glue and chardonnay to me." Weasil said unabashed.

I asked him why we were there and he said because he needed to have a drug test, that some medication he was taking was making him feel strange. I bit my tongue wanting to say that's normal for him, but I did not. Another nurse came in and drew blood.

"Sumthin's wrong." Weasil said watching the red stuff being drawn.

"What do you mean?" The nurse asked.

"It should be blue."

And -- we were done and out of there.

We decided to get lunch because he told me he was feeling faint from so much blood loss. Right. I foolishly said, "I want something I can sink me teeth into," to change the subject, and he said, "yeah but den yer gonna hafta pull em out of whatever you sank them into."

"You're being awfully cheeky today." I quipped as we made our way into a pub where he ordered a black and tan.

I sat there affronted by that, trying to think of something to say but I was speechless. He knew what he did, and stuttered, "Takin' a bit of da sauce of da dog."

"You have had a few of those this morning?" I asked incredulous since he was supposed to have fasted for the urine and blood test.

"Dey will nevah know."

"Oh yes they will."

We ordered burgers, me with fries, his with crisps which were slow in coming, so Weas being Weas got up and got the platters that were sitting on the end of the bar waiting for pick up by a very busy waitress.

"Your fries are delicious," he said handing me the plate with the fries.

I was stunned, but that was typical of the Weasil. He'd take a few crisps and reach over and take a few of my fries. He was pretty full by the end of lunch and I was still hungry since he ate most of mine. But he wanted to take off so that was it.

Because he has done all there is to do in Boston, we took the trip back to my neck of the woods. I knew this was an excuse to stay at me abode, since I was the only one with a vehicle. Though I have found the bus schedules out of Manchester so I be feeling a bit better that I have a way of unloading the Weasil back to Boston.

Well R. Linda, call this me unlucky day because when we arrived, in me driveway a limo was leaving and a limo spells D-R-A-G-O-N. Yup, there she was at the door waving at Weasil, not me, she loves Weas. Behind her in the gloom was me Mam, her lips tight, her brows nit, looking extremely unhappy. And she would be, she and the dragon-lady don't see eye to eye.

Mam came bursting down the steps and she caught hold of me arm as Weas went to hug the dragon.

"Ya need ta take her out somewhere, she's bean here all a 2 minutes an' drivn' me nutters!"

"Okay, okay," I said as she roared back up the stairs and shut the door!

I stopped the love-fest by announcing we should go out for another lunch or tea maybe. Weasil put both hands on his belly and made a face like he was full, but Dragon, was all about tea. Weasil decided tea was okay "sorta" and I piled them into me car and off I drove. As I swung into the centre of town which is laughable for a centre of town, because there really isn't one. Dragon saw a sign that says MOANA playing two nights only.

"I didn't know you had a movie theatre, Gabriel." Dragon said all astonished. "Where is it?" She asked looking around the town centre as if it was in camo.

I swung around the corner and down a long road past a few farms.

"Whats all that in the fields?" The near-sighted Dragon asked.

"Potatoes!" I said, when in actuality they were this years crop of rocks.

"I see they are all shoving up through the dirt, what a crop I didn't know New Hampshire grew so many potatoes."

Weasil was looking at me with a new found respect and an evil grin.

I got to the end of the road where there was one big field with a drive-in screen and stopped the car.

"Here's our movie theatre," I said proudly.

Dragon squinted and then put on her glasses. She was silent for a moment looking at the "theatre."

"Oh my," she said taking off her glasses and looking at me in pity. "You have one of the only two remaining drive-ins in the country."

"Yes, yes we do." I said proudly and drove on.

I was headed to the next town over which was a little bigger than my own and with a large population of expat Brits, one of them had opened a tea shop. As I made me way down the road, Weasil pointed to an above ground pool and pointed it out to the dragon-lady.

"Dere iz da town pool!" He gestured magnanimously.

I stopped the car, she put her glasses on and looked incredulously at the old pool.

"It is small and above ground!"

"Yuppers," Weasil said all proud. "All dey could afford."

Okay, it was hard not to laugh at how incredibly gullible the Dragon is, but to be honest there was more than a grain of truth in what Weasil said. That above ground pool WAS the town pool when there was maybe ten people in the town. Now there are a few hundred, which made the concept rather bizarrely ridiculous. But SHE believed it.

Well, we got to the tea place to find it closed. The sign on the door told us the only day it was closed was this one. There was another sign in the window with a British flag on the background. It said, "Send Nigel Farage back to Britain." THAT started a discussion because you know Weasil isn't a Nigel fan. We piled back into the car and it was decided (mostly by me) to stop at Dunks for coffee.

Now the Dunks I go to is in that same town over since it is bigger than my own town and we not having one, well, it is the logical choice. It is an old building with a sound system that distorts voices from the shop to the car and back. There have been many a time the person on the Dunks end sounds garbled and I have ended up with an order I didn't order, or got so frustrated, I'd go inside to order. So to meself I be thinking, "this should be good, wonder what we'll end up with this time."

So I pull up and Minnie Mouse on more helium than usual says, "Welcome to Dunkin' Donuts, how may I help you?"

So Weasil, being Weasil holds his nose and says back in his Mickey Mouse voice, "I'll hafa large cold caramel swirl, vanilla latte with a dash of espresso and a dozen assorted donuts but hold the jelly donuts, the French crullers, and the apple cinnemum-mum ones."

Silence. Nothing came over the speaker for at least three minutes which prompted Weasil still holding his nose to say several times, "Hello! Hello! Did ya faint? Or did ya close up and go homie?"

The microphone crackled and then Minnie came back and repeated his order telling him to drive up.

"No, no there is more," I said in me normal voice which got me a WHAT? I looked at Weasil and he grinned leaning over me to speak again as Mickey. Dragon told him what she wanted and I did as well so he ordered. Dragon was having fits of laughter which the person on the other end was not pleased about.

"What is so funny please?" Minnie asked.

"Oh nothing." I said and got a "WHAT?"

"Oh yeah, can I change me order to a hot cappuccino please?"

"A hot cup of bingo?" Minnie asked.

"NO, a hot cappuccino." I tried again.

"A hot cup of beano? We don't have that and I don't know what that is. Is there something else?"

UGH!

"Surprise me then." I said, which is what I usually end up saying.

"OH IT'S YOU." Minnie said somehow recognising me voice.

We drove up for our order and all three Dunks workers were at the window and they all looked less than pleased with us. Upon seeing this, Weasil went into hysterics covering his face and saying, "Please dunt spit in me coffee!"

I told the three unhappy people that their sound system sounded like they were on helium.

"Well, you sounded the same," one girl said taking my money.

"Ooh sumone's not had enuff coffee," Weasil whispered theatrically. That didn't endear us because as we pulled away and Weasil opened his box of donuts, he had 4 of each of the donuts he said he didn't want. I was going to pull around and go inside to rectify the "mistake" but he said that was okay he'd eat them anyway and didn't want to put up with "grouchy persons of unknown origin."

Dragon was telling us she thought salt was in her coffee not sugar, but Weasil took a sip (much to her horror and handed it back) said not, otherwise I would have driven back there. I was in a moving vehicle with two overly imaginative types and knew not to take their word on anything.

Weasil and Dragon had both ordered iced coffees and it was a freezing day. They sat there complaining (as they sipped) how cold they were. I tell ya! Who orders iced coffee on a degree negative day! I turned on the heater and because I had a hot coffee, started to sweat profusely.

"Damn it is hot," I said hoping they'd tell me to turn the heat down or off.

"Aren't you supposed to be clutching pearls while saying that?" Weasil asked. This brought Dragon to spitting out her cold bevy all over the backseat of me car in amusement. I stopped the car to hand her a box of tissues to clean her and me seat up. As I was leaning over the backseat with the box, I hadn't noticed the turkeys crossing the road. I heard a plunk on the hood of me car and as I turned around there was a turkey on me hood walking up and pecking at me windscreen. I hit the windscreen with me hand to scare the large bird but it squawked at me raising a wingspan of almost 6 feet. I've never had a panic attack, but I think what I was feeling at the time was what one felt like.

Dragon started screaming in the backseat we were going to be eaten by Thanksgiving dinner which didn't make things any better.

"A bunch of girlies," Weasil said getting out of the car.

"Oh my God, get back in here!" Dragon shouted, "They'll get you and us, close the door, close the door!"

The bird on me hood was still pecking at me through the window and I had covered me head with me hands not knowing I was doing that, it wasn't like the bird could get me, but Weasil's appearance brought the rest of the flock running to protect the big guy on me hood. I looked through me fingers to see then pecking furiously at the Weasil's shoes UNTIL, they suddenly stopped and squawking ran into the woods. I looked down and saw the Weasil had on his yak shoes, you remember THOSE from Weasil's New Kicks, 7 Sept. 2016), I find Weasil's unusual attire normal that I hadn't noticed what he had on his feet until then.

Even the big guy on me car took off. The flock looked like a bunch of Victorian ladies hiking up their skirts and running off.

The last turkey crossing the road on the right is the Tom
"WELL, THAT was close." Dragon said brushing herself off like she'd been out there turkey wrangling.

Weas got back into the car extremely satisfied with himself and off I drove us home.

I'd like to say once we were home things calmed down but that didn't happen. What did happen is Tonya had teachers conference so she wasn't home (lucky ducky), me Mam had retired to her room to watch the telly (less time spent with Dragon), I took the youngest to get him bathed and ready for bed. O'Hare I left doing homework, so the only one left with Dragon and Weasil was their buddy in crime, Guido. I had made the terrible mistake of telling Weasil YOU had blue hair. Well, he was discussing how interesting Dragon might look with green hair. Sitting there listening was me Sneaky Pete, Guido who was enamoured with the idea of having hair a color different than his own. When I came down from putting the youngest to bed, THIS IS WHAT MET ME AT THE FOOT OF THE STAIRS.

I TELL YA!
You don't even want to know what his mother said when she came home.

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved