16 August, 2014

She named them Left and Right

16 August 2014

R. Linda:

Last week I received an email from Capt. Jaack who told me he had a gift from Wolfie for me sainted grey haired, apple cheeked mam. I had shared with Wolfie me mam's giving up on the male population for having any worth whatsoever and he thought that sad. But he did state he understood her disappointment, after all not everyone could have good hair and be as loyal and well balance as himself. Uh huh.

Anyway, he had sent Jaack something he had found in Japan that he thought would delight me mam and give her a good laugh as well as something to look after to keep her a wee bit busy. Now Jaack said he had seen Wolfie since the trip to Japan and had received the "gift" to give to me to give to me mam and he had been looking "after them Mate, fresh water, nice view," on a weekly basis. What Jaack was talking about I did not know and when I asked, he said he did not know either and couldn't venture a guess because he didn't know what he was looking at. This of course intrigued me no end. What on earth had the Wolf come upon that you couldn't make out what it was, that would make me mam happy, that needed a change of scenery and fresh water? Clueless! But I was thinking whatever it was it must be ALIVE!

"Well, I'll give you me address you can send it on." I emailed Jaack.

"No, you don't understand I can't SEND these through the mail Cappy, I have to BRING them to you." He emailed back.

Now I was truly stymied. So I made a date to meet him next he was down me way.

This Saturday morning very early (because he had a Captain Jaack booking), our very own Captain pulled up me driveway looking totally unsure he was in the right place until he set eyes on me coming out the door in me wife's bunny slippers which I had not a clue I had slipped into. He knew he was in the right place. Well, I had no coffee so I was in a daze I was, so bunny slippers it was.

"I knew you by the bunny slippers," the Captain said leaning out his window looking down at them. "Very you I might add."

"Thanks," I quipped back peering in at his passenger seat where a cardboard box sat on the front seat with a tea towel covering it.

I asked him if he wanted to come in but he said he hadn't the time, rain check though and with that he gingerly lifts this heavy cardboard box and gently hands it off to me from the drivers side window. As I say, it had a tea towel over it that was from Ireland and sent by the thoughtful Wolfie from that place because he knew me mam would appreciate the thought. That was I suppose if she did not appreciate what the Japanese things in the box were. I went to pull the towel back but Jacck stopped me by telling me that "they might catch their death, take them inside and then unpack them, Cappy. But I think you can leave them as they are and let your mother get a look first." And he winked at me making me very suspicious of what on earth was in the box. "OH and Gabe, they are in water so don't slosh the box." He started to back the car up, "Oh, and they don't bite!"

With that he rolled up his window, and backed down me driveway, his head nodding at me not to peek, he was watching me. I tell ya! So I went back inside being very careful and I could hear water inside the box, so I carefully set the box on the coffee table in the living room. I decided I'd go make me some joe to keep from peeking. That didn't keep the cat from taking a look though. When I came back into the lounge, there was the cat, head under the towel, one long arm in the box the rest of him hanging out.

I near dropped me cup as I ran to get him out of the box before he killed or ate whatever was in there, or it killed and ate him! Once I got him out from under the tea towel he was rubbing up against me and meowing to be let back up on the table. Now I was truly curious as I sat there making sure Mr. Kits stayed floor level, I took a quick sip of me coffee, I put the cup down quietly and looked around. No one to be seen, so I extended one arm out toward the towel when a voice made me jump and withdraw it back.

"Is dat me present?" Me mam said shuffling into the room.

"Yes, yes it is." I said with a sheepish smile I be sure.

"Aw and dat Wolf be such a taughtful laddie he be." She said, her eyes gleaming in anticipation. "And och! Woulda lookit dat he poot an Irish linen on toup for goud measure. What a taughtful laddie like I say."

I was frowning now, thinking like I was not a thoughtful lad? Come on! But I held me tongue and temper I did as I watched her slide the towel off and then near put her head in the box looking at what was inside. I got real curious when she started talking to whatever was in there, the box muffling this: "Oh look at yas, yas two . . . ooh such big 'ins ye be, bigger den I remember."

Okay that was it, I pulled her by her bathrobe sleeve to move her back, but she swatted me and told me to be patient she'd take them out, but before she did she wanted to tell me something about Wolf.

"Wot about 'em?" I asked in a hurry to what was in the box.

She picked the box up and stood there waiting for me to settle it down. I did.

"Yer Mr. Wolf has sent me not only a lovely tea linen from the old sod, but he has sent me your father's balls he cut off and dey are a nice shade o' green dey be."

I sat there with me jaws to the ground. NO, she never just said that and NO, I didn't just hear that and NO, HE NEVER DID!

She knew I was about to jump out of me seat so she put her hand out to me chest and kept me seated as I heard water sloshing in the box.

"Gabriel you finish yer cuppa and I will get fresh water in here." She said moving off.

"You mean embalming fluid dontcha?" I said still in shock.

I guess the commotion awoke the wife because she came lurching in the lounge asking me why I was shouting so early on a Saturday morning and at who because I was by myself.

How was I to explain? But I didn't have to, the moment she saw the tea towel, she went for it and asked where it came from? Had I a friend on the General Hospital set who sent me the towel for her? Oh how wonderful, we must frame it just like the one on GH. It dawned on me she thought the towel was from me! I tried to explain, but she was too busy ooh and ahhing over the tea linen.

Yup she wanted to frame it just like at Kellys on GH

I stuttered trying to tell me wife that Wolfie had found me errant father and cut off his balls, and put them in water and sent them to me mam! And I did get that out without knowing I did because she dropped the tea linen to the floor and stood looking at me in horror.

"WOLF DID WHAT?" She said as if she didn't hear me right the first time.

I shrugged I didn't know what more to say, so I said it again.

"OHHH," she mock laughed, "this is a joke right?"

"No, no joke," I said cryptically, "he's a northern man after all there Ton."

"So are you, I might point out." She pointed out!

"No, I mean a Proddy northern man probably into things he shouldn't like blowing people's kneecaps to bits and stuff like that." I said mindlessly.

"Well . . . " Tonya said giving THAT some thought but before anymore could be said, in came me mam with this small fish bowl of sorts and inside were two things that looked like separated testicles with a green fuzz growing on them.

Tonya gasped, bringing her hands to her mouth in horror, stammering, "is that, is that, is that . . . "

As for me, I could feel the size of me eyes must have been like car headlights as I watched me mam advance into the room, put the bowl on the table in front of me and smile with great satisfaction at the two green balls in the bowl.

Here they are!

"Are . . . are . . . " Tonya started, "those little glass rocks on the bottom?"

I exploded with a WHAT because the little glass rocks on the bottom where the least of me concern.

"Well, I don't know." Tonya said flustered.

"Da Wolf put instructions in da box, he did," me mam said, "I hafta keep dem in artificial light and change da water once a week, and no chlorine in da water, and squeeze 'em every so often to get da nitrate outa dem."

Both Tonya and I looked at her in amazement. She said all that like it was nothing. We both directed our gazes back to the balls in the bowl.

"Oh my." Tonya said to me and me back to her.

Later when me mam was elsewhere Tonya and I took a real good look at those green balls.

"Your mum said when you squeeze them they float for a while. I wonder what they feel like."

"Tonya!" I said in genuine shock.

Several times that day we'd both go look at them and every time we did, me mam seemed to know because we could hear her laughing in the other room.

"So glad she thinks this is funny," Tonya whispered.

"Yeah, me poor da. I know he's a bad bad man but . . . cut his balls off? Really? And by Wolf?" I whispered back.

"How much do you think she paid him?" Tonya said.

I didn't get to answer because over our engrossed shoulders came this, "Oh I see ye are gitting to know Left and Right." And she walked away.

"Left and Right?" Tonya whispered trying to catch her breath.

"That's what she said, OH MY GOD, she named them!" I breathed out quickly looking to see if me mam was within earshot. She wasn't.

'You better fire an emergency email off to that Wolf and find out what condition he left your father in." Tonya hissed.

And I did, I went right up to me loft, locked the doors and emailed the Wolf. I wanted to Skype but he wasn't around. Or, if he was, he wasn't saying so. An hour later I got this:

"Your da is doing well, though his voice is a few octaves higher than it was. He limps a bit, but that will right itself in time. Otherwise, don't you worry none I am an ace with a scalpel."

"BUTCHER!" I shouted at me computer screen and then an IM came ringing in.

Wolf: Calm down your da is fine. I don't know where he is anyway
O'Sully: He better be, so who's balls are they?
Wolf: They are Marimos
O'Sully: Who is this Marimos and what have you done with him? And more important why would you send his balls to me sainted mother?
Wolf: LMAO
O'Sully: Glad you find this funny. Japanese guy is he?
Wolf: Mari means a bouncy ball and Mo is a generic term for plants but in this case a species of algae that grow in water. They are called Marimos, mossy round balls of seaweed I guess. Your mam is in on the joke. So was Jaack.

Nice one on me and Tonya! Oh and Tonya got me mam watching that soap and yes, the two of them are taking that tea linen to be framed for OUR kitchen wall. I suggested they take the Marimos and have them stuffed in a shadow box for me mam's bedroom wall. So far mam is liking the idea but she wants the real ones. Oi!

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

13 August, 2014

Soft Ice Cream or more like, Sloppy Cones!

13 August 2014

R. Linda:

I want to know who invented the soft ice cream cone? Such an experience should come with a warning: EAT FAST BUT BE WARNED YOU MAY SUFFER COLD HEADACHE IN THE PROCESS AND A LARGE DRY CLEANING BILL WITH HUMILIATION ON TOP OF IT!

Well, if I had known THAT, things might have gone in a different direction or not at all! But I didn't know THAT and so I was in for it I was. And when I get some free time I am going to go hunting for the inventor of said ice cream.

It was the weekend, last to be exact when me dear old Mam was missing Ireland and in the doldrums over it. Well, I couldn't afford to fly her there and back so I thought I'd do the next best thing take her out for a ride to see lovely scenic and many treed New Hampshire with a stop at that soft ice cream truck that had installed itself for the summer down the road. Yes, me intentions were all good ones they were, but as with every good intention I have, that too went astray and ended up a sloppy, cold, wet, sticky mess!

I had driven over the hills of Petersborough I did, and then upward and onward all the way to Alstead and back. Her take on this, "I tink you live in one big forest Gabe I 'ave never seen dis many trees since . . . since . . . since I don't knooe."

"But Ma, isn't it all scenic? I mean all these trees and woods and forests and bears?"

"Oooh da bears now dey be da ting dey be." She said looking scared.

We had come upon a family of three crossing the highway and I joked about them looking for Goldilocks and she better duck in case they think she's her. Me mam did not find me funny, she sat there like a deer caught in headlights watching them meander across the road. I had stopped so she could see them and what she wanted was for me to floor it and get passed them.

"Ye shouldna stop Gabriel, dey might come an git on da motor and rock us out fer dere dinner!"

I would like to say that would never happen, but it could, so as they crossed one stood up to full height and he was a big fella so I made sure I was way far on the other side of the road as I passed him by, and of course me waving and saying, "Bye bye Michael Collins!" did not earn me any kudos from the little gray haired, apple cheeked woman with the big eyes in the passenger seat.

So for the rest of the drive me mam was unnerved and wanted to go back before something else got her. I was hoping not to see a moose because those are big mothers and that would have had her locked in her room forever, or finding a way back to Ireland in a huge hurry, but I be not mean, I couldn't do that to her, so I turned the car around and we headed back.

I thought to calm her down and since we were not far from me house, I'd stop and get her and me an ice cream. Nice of me right? Intentions good? Oh so I thought. So she tells me she'll have what I have since she knows nothing about this soft serve ice cream. And would I mind if she waited in the car in case there were bears about. I tell ya! Well, I got out and went to the stand, looked at the menu and decided vanilla with the hard chocolate shell topped on a cone. There was one person ahead of me and she ordered one of those and it looked good, but it was a size medium which looked like a size gigantic to me and it was leaning as she was licking at it to keep it upright. So, I decided to be safe and ordered two smalls which were the size of a large! I tell ya. I was told to pay first because once I got the cones I'd want to hoof it to the car. I had no clue why, but ok. So I am handed the first cone and it is wrapped in paper napkin around the cone and I go to the car and handed it in. Then I went back for mine and same thing.

As I was turning from the counter to go back to the car I hear, "OOOH HELP!" and there was me mam licking her hand, the ice cream and then the top of the cone as the ice cream ran in drippy white streams out of the chocolate hard shell and down the sides to drip where it pleased which was not only her hands, but her lap, her blouse, the seat of me car. I tell ya! And, her face was white with the stuff as she tried her best to keep the drips from dripping.

When I got up to her window my cone was dripping too! What to do?

"'Ere lick dis will ya." Me mam shoved the drippy mess at me. So there I was looking like a horse's patootie licking her cone from inside the car and then licking me own outside the car. I must have looked like I couldn't get enough of the stuff I was consuming her cone AND mine all at the same time!

Here take a look at this:

Me Mam's cone still a drippy mess but not as bad as it was 
So I realised I was being looked at by everyone who was sitting at the benches near the stand. They must have thought me the right pig or just mad. I couldn't wait to get out of there but I couldn't because the damn things were dripping and well . . . you get the picture. So I continued as we'd both lick hers then we both would lick mine, until I got enough cleaned up that I could sprint to the drivers side and get in. Oi!

Only the wind from me running made me cone weep more. I couldn't cut a break! So I had to sit there, at once licking mine, then hers, then mine and she doing the same because we couldn't lick around the top on one side the other didn't weep.

Then something really terrible and awful happened, we stopped in mid lick looking at each other when the cold headache smacked us both in the forehead.

"Owww . . . ooh . . . " me mam moaned.

"Cold headache?" I asked and she nodded, "me tooo."

So now we sat there smacking our foreheads with sticky napkin bits stuck to our hands and letting the soft ice cream run down our shirt fronts our hands full of the sticky stuff so we could touch nothing and the napkins saturated and tearing in bits and sticking to everything including MY TONGUE!

"Gabriel get out and goo git us sum fresh paper." Mam said.

I looked at her stunned, I was wearing ice cream, me face and hands, arms and clothing covered in it and she wanted ME to get out of the car in front of all those people and get fresh napkins. Oh no, not this guy. I'd had enough observation for one day by the masses thinking me a horse's arse I wasn't about to venture for a second showing. Especially now, covered in paper napkin bits, sticky ice creams, crumbs from the cone, oh no, no, no.

Suddenly she shoved her cone in my other sticky hand and shook her head at me.

"Wha . . .?" I started to utter.

BUT that didn't stop her from getting out. I wanted to crawl under the dashboard, she had the stuff in her hair, on her face, her clothes! I tried to tell her but she was off to the stand hot for those napkins. People all turned to look at the mess she was and smiles were being exchanged at the humour of it, and it was then I noticed all of them, YES every single one of those people had a CUP under their cones and some had spoons so when the stupid thing melted they could eat it without wearing it!

OI, OI, OI!!!

Live and learn R. Linda. This is the last time I ever do soft serve ice cream. EVER! And don't tell me about sweets, I learned me lessons on the donuts and now the ice cream! So done, done, done.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

12 August, 2014

A Really High Sugar High

12 August 2014

R. Linda:

Having someone who was born and raised in Ireland living with you in your new adopted country can make for some rather bizarre situations, not to mention conversations. Yes, indeed this be the case in me abode. There be not a day that goes by R. Linda, that something goes amiss or becomes explosively funny, or just plain sad. I never realised how sensitive to the different uses of words in the English language that one can set oneself apart from the rest of the users. It be a conundrum for sure with all the colloquialisms flying about me place!

Just this morning, I was sitting at the breakfast table in a semi-conscious daze when THIS took place around me:

O'Hare (eldest son at 8 years old): "Gran, yer choppin' the toast to smithereens!"

Me Mam (eldest person in the abode): "Wot you mean smithereens?"

Me (awaking from morning coma): "Ma, he means bits and pieces."

Me Mam (looking at O'Hare as he slid the toast to his side of the table): "Oooh wouldya loook at 'em he 'as a face like a bulldog chewing' a wasp he does."

O'Hare (taking that remark like an insult): "Huh?"

Me (looking to defuse the situation): "She means you look glum."

O'Hare (with a shrug of the shoulders): "Oh."

Me (waking up and finding some humour, addressing me Mam): "Ye coulda said he 'as the face of a Lurgan spade!"

To which we both laughed but the eldest son looked at us in mid-toast chew like WHAT?

Me Mam (addressing O'Hare): "'E means ya 'ave a long face on yer like a long, thin spade we buy in Norn Iron."

O'Hare (very confused not on the spade but another two words): "Wot be Norn Iron?"

More laughter from the two older people at the table, like it was a private joke.

Me (enlightening the lad): "That's how people in Norn Iron say NORTHERN IRELAND."

O'Hare (looking confused and shaking his head at us): "Ya sound like rednecks."

Me Mam (her turn to look confused): "Wot arr rednecks?"

Me: "Culchies."

O'Hare: "Wot are culchies?"

Me: "Country folk."

Me Mam (with a mischievous gleam in her eye): "Ye wanna confuse 'em call 'em a 'coillte'."

O'Hare (getting frustrated with us): "And I wanna know wot THAT means!"

Me (laughing me arse off and making it worse): "A person dat lives in da woods!"

Me wife (sitting down): "I thought Coillte and Culchie were the same."

Me and Mam exchanged glances and shrugged. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. They were terms we both grew up with and well . . . we weren't about to debate them what would be the point?

O'Hare (getting a zinger in on me): "Yeah well you talk Gaeilge like jailtacht!"

With that he got his school lunch and left us sitting there looking at each other.

Me (losing meself back into me Irish accent): "'Ow did he know wot dat word meant? 'An how duss he knoo to pronounce Gaeilge I ask ya?"

Me Mam (looking very sheepish): "Oi might 'av said sumthin' long dose lines ta his attempt at a gaelic greeting. Said his gaeilge sounded more like jailtacht."

Me (amazed at her): "Does he know dat yer callin' his fine self an Irish terrorist and he just called me one?"

Me Mam (looking a wee bit guilty): "Maa bee he does and maa bee he don't."

That ended the first barrage of Irish vs. American English salvos but it was all to raconteur at dinner.

Me mam sat down and asked O'Hare: "'Bout ye?"

To which he looked at her with a look on his face like -- oh no not again. I, seeing he was confused went to clarify the question, only she saw his confusion so tried again with another Irish question that more confused the lad.

"How's she cuttin'?"

To which he looked at me in stunned exasperation, but before I could open me piehole, me mam cut in again.

"Ok den when sum one asks ye dat yer ta answer wit "full o' da blade."

O'Hare sat there, his mouth hanging open now totally confused. He whispered to me he thought she had the nerve to ask if ate cheese and how his farts were going? I had all I could do to keep a straight face and shake me head no. So I jumped in and told him that was an old nautical phrase and that I was surprised me mam would know it being she wasn't a culchie person nor a sailor.

Never one to let an advantage float away on an ancient nautical question and answer, O'Hare laughed at us and muttered, "Fer sure an let's goo ta da pub and have a few a wots goood fer us."

This he thought very funny, but me mam did not. Now it was her turn to furrow her brown in confusion.

But the lad wasn't finished, he looked at her and impolitely pointed his fork at her and said with a mock Irish accent, "An YOU can sit in da snug while we's drinkin' on our jars!"

Well, she flung down her spoon, sat up rod straight with jaws agape looking at the young lad like he had thrown a snake in her potato soup. I tell ya!

"I feel like a culchie alien," me wife laughed to try and lighten the mood. She might have reprimanded the youngster but she had no clue what he said.

"Yer a bold laddie now aren't ye?" Me mam said to O'Hare.

"UGH! Wot does THAT mean now?" He asked her his fork in the air like a sceptre.

"It means you are getting naughty." I cut in.

O'Hare shrugged, "Naughty Da? Really like doncha mean My Bad?" He went back to his meal unconcerned which further turned me mam off and not to be ignored she said to him, "Would you stop giving out?"

To which he looked up at her in amazement. Me wife the same look on her face and I knew where she took that phrase, to "giving out" being "putting out" which had the entire wrong connotation to it, but before I could jump in O'Hare put his flatware down and with his hands jammed in a fist he rested them on the table and looked at his grandmother sizing her up.

With deliberate slowness (more to see how much he could get away with) he said, "WHAT should I stop giving out exactly?"

To which me mam's mouth opened wide in surprise and she leaned forward and said, "WOT I SAID."

To which his turn, he said slowly again like she was not understanding him, "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, do I have an odour about me that I am giving off? OR, is there another IRISH sayin' you've come up with to scramble my BRAIN!"

Well, that was enough of that, he was sent to his room without the rest of his dinner. I tell ya!

I came back to table leaving Tonya to lecture O'Hare in his room, to hear me mam saying, "Wot a quare ting ta say so it is."

Meanwhile, me wife comes back from escorting the eldest son to his room to think about his manners, when she notices the cups for the tea are not out, so she goes to the counter where there is a teacup holder thingee and see they aren't there.

"Where are the cups at mother O?" She flings over her shoulder.

"Dey be in da press." Mam answers satisfied she had cleaned them up and put them away.

"O K," drawls Tonya as she turns and looks at me in question.

"Uh oh!" I said getting her look, "da cupboard, dats wot she means."

"Good, I was about to go out to the apple press in the backyard," Tonya muttered turning to the cupboard where yes indeed, there lived the cleaned and sparkling cups.

So this be a short example of life at me house at the moment. But it has consequences it does R. Linda, very bad ones at that.

No one understanding anyone but me understanding both sides pulls on ones psyche. It amazes me how quickly this type of thing can get out of hand it does. So yesterday when this got to mega proportions of foolishness on everyone's part, what usually happens to me happened, which is I get a sugar craving. Now mind you I just recently had laser surgery on me right eye and am scheduled for another on the left eye next week. I have been very happy with me 20/20 vision in the right eye, or I was until I got so stressed from the argy bargys in the abode that I went out to get me a refreshing Arnold Palmer at Drunken' Donuts.

However, when I got there I ordered a jelly stick of which they were out but they told me they had jelly donuts. Oh, ok good I told them give me two of those, but then I thought, everyone at me home was stressed so I changed me order to a dozen jelly donuts. So I pull out and go on me stressed out way and when I got home I told them all I had jelly donuts, but seems while I was gone, me Mam made some barmbrack (an Irish tea cake) and they had all eaten their fill.

Well, the jelly donuts would go hard and stale so I had me three of them with me Arnold Palmer. It was too hot for tea or coffee so finding the donuts made me powerful thirsty I had a coke a cola and another donut. It seemed as the day wore on, and I got more and more stressed, I'd stop in the kitchen and take a donut and another soda. I did this all day until dinner I wasn't hungry but there was one donut left. That I made short work of around 6:30.

Then something very strange happened. By 6:40 I had a very bad headache and double vision. I was sitting in the kitchen watching the telly since everyone else was in the lounge watching a movie, sipping on another coke and finishing the remnants of the last donut when I noticed that Brian Pitts of ABC News had four eyes and I am not talking glasses, I be talking EYES. I closed me left eye and sure enough I was seeing double eyes. I closed the other and opened the left eye and that eyes seemed fine. Hum. I turned a few stations and same thing on everyone, the talking heads had more than two eyes and none were wearing glasses! I debated this phenomena all night with me silly self and was set to call the eye doctor and tell him NO SURGERY ON ME GOOD EYE! And, WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME RIGHT EYE?

The next morning, no double vision, no headache, just a wee bit wired. Yup I sugared meself up but good. I be lucky I didn't stroke out! Have to deal with all this better don't you think?

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

09 August, 2014

A good thing that came out of a not so good thing

09 August 2014

R. Linda:

Today takes the cake and beats all. Because the day is nice here we decided to have an early lunch outside. I never thought we'd have a short invasion of sorts, but we did. I thought me nicely planned lunch would go awry but something nice did come out of it.

We have this old glass top table and Tonya and me Mam set it all up nice with home brewed iced tea with fresh mint from our garden, lovely old plates me mam brought over from Ireland (Belleek) and crisp lavender napkins she made into what looked tulips.

Now invited for lunch was an old friend of mine who lives in Harrisville, N.H. a very picturesque spot. He and I worked together when I first came to work in Boston and so our relationship has lasted. He's an older gent (me mam's age - and no don't get the matchmaking thing going) and I thought she'd like to have a conversation (for a change) with someone closer in age than me three boyos, and Tonya and meself.

She was all fine about this, and like you she didn't want any "o' dat matchmakin' goin' on." Me friend Lawrence arrived and he was dressed in all creamy white. He had on a fine pair of trousers that matched the vest (with gold chain and watch) against the white and narrow blue pinstripes in his shirt, rolled up mid forearm. To top it off he had a straw Panama hat that made him look (as Tonya said) like Big Daddy. His ruddy face was filled with smiles, his blue eyes twinkled and retirement has done him a good turn. He is a very happy man in that he now has the time to write that great American novel he's talked about for so long.

Me mam went all shy at such a "distinguished gentleman" but he soon pulled her out of her shell, thanks in part to our uninvited guest.

We had a fabulous lunch of young cress topping Angus burgers with a white mushroom sauce, homemade crisps, a Greek salad (to die for), and for dessert an assortment of our own wild berries over homemade Irish ladies fingers, topped with whipped cream, coffee and brandy. Yes, I was in hog heaven.

Lawrence and I walked off lunch a bit while the ladies cleaned up. We had O'Hare along with us because he was convinced me white haired friend was really Santa Claus on holiday. Oi! As we came back we stopped to chat and I noticed me mam in me hammock and Guido acting persistent about something.

"Whatcha doin'?" Guido asked me mam.

"Readin' a boook why?"

"Wotz a boook?" He asked looking perplexed and scratching his head.

"Dis," she said holding it up for him to see. "Doncha read boooks?"

"Nope, I read dis," he said holding up his IPad.

She looked as the words went scurrying across the screen and a voice read them out and went to the next "page" where the same thing happened, screen page after screen page.

"Ooh," she sighed getting it.

Not to be outdone on the attention bit, O'Hare strolled up.

"What's up?" He asked her.

"Wot's the matter?" She asked back, concern taking over her features and she swung her legs from the hammock in case she were needed elsewhere.

It was his turn to look perplexed because he did not know in Ireland to ask "what's up" means "what's wrong?" Oi, oi, oi.

Before things got out of hand we walked over and I thought to take the two boyos inside and let Lawrence and mam chat. And no, I was not matchmaking. The boyos took off without me so I pulled up a chair for Lawrence by the hammock and me mam asked me to join them, so that would end any matchmaking which never entered me mind. I got me a chair and then went back to the table to get us all glasses of iced tea when up strolled me drunken neighbour, who isn't the brightest bulb in the box. I could do nothing as he took it upon himself to join us before I could invite him. He had got a chair and raked it over the lawn to where me mam and Lawrence were chatting nicely. The chat suddenly turned from low keyed to the loud voice of the uninvited butting in. I could hear the chat from where I was and it went something like this:

"So, YOU are Irish are you, where in England are you from exactly?" Me neighbour didn't ask, but more like confronted me mam with THAT question.

Me mam sat there blinking. Speech was incapable at this point as she was pretty insulted I would guess at the look on her face.

"I believe you mean where in Ireland is she from?" Lawrence said with a good natured tone as to not humiliate a man who was so good at doing that all on his own.

"OH! Is it Ireland?" Dumbarse asked surprised. "I didn't know being Irish meant you were from Ireland I thought it meant England."

Oh my God! I handed out the iced teas and sat meself down struggling with how to get rid of him posthaste. I was also thinking if a lesson on Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Great Britain were worth a try, but decided not to attempt to educate a fool.

"Someone told me Piers Morgan is Irish is that so?" He asked just to say something. "You must be missing him over there."

"Ooh no, we don't want him back, you can keep him," she said looking like she was deep in thought, but was probably thinking the same thing I was.

"Oh but I thought he was going back there." He said looking at his tea. He suddenly turned to me and asked if I could put some rum in his drink. I declined by saying I had no alcohol of any kind in me house. Ok I lied, but really?

"You don't want him back? How you going to keep him out?" The foolish twit asked her.

"Well, we do have RAF to shoot him out of the sky should he attempt a return. Wot else are they good fer?" She said looking down at her shoes sheepishly.

"Oh, I thought . . . well you could close the borders?" He suggested scuffing his soles in the dirt, kicking it up enough Lawrence reached down to brush the dust off his creamy trouser leg.

"We tried dat wit barricades and sooch but he still manages to make it in," she said starting to squirm.

I sat there doing all I could not to burst out laughing.

"I suppose you can stop boats and planes coming in make sure he doesn't set foot on the old sod."

I was so near to interjecting that we weren't really having this conversation when Lawrence piped up.

"Maybe the penal colony will take 'em." He surmised.

"Penal colony?" Stupid asked all interested, looking Lawrence up and down to size him up.

"Ay, wot be it called . . . oh yah, Australia." My mam interjected with a bright smile at Lawrence.

"OH!" Stupid said stunned.

"I suppose . . . " Lawrence mused to me mam, feeling Stupid didn't like the idea, "maybe the decent thing to do would be to give him to Canada."

"Oh they'd trade you for Bieber and then what? I don't know which is worse." She answered shaking her head as Stupid looked from one to the other.

"Well, they are the same kind of troublemaker so . . . Piers should be shipped to Canada I say. But as you say they might send us Bieber so maybe we should drop Piers in North Korea."

Stupid looked at Lawrence to see if he was serious, Lawrence trying not to chuckle.

"Well like I say," me mam interjected all serious, "send Piers beyond the Wall." And she nodded as Lawrence nodded back knowing full well what she meant.

Oh these two could be dangerous together, I thought to meself. It wasn't much later that Stupid left being none the wiser who Jon Snow was or where exactly the Wall was located. China he thought, but wasn't sure. He was not getting any alcohol or any gossip, nor any wiser so off he went. I can't say we were sad to see him go, but I think he helped forge a new friendship between two very nice souls.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

29 July, 2014

He's the man!

08 August, 2014

R. Linda:

Well, now I've see it all. The bi-annual trip to Kittery, Maine with Mr. Weasil and Mr. Kincaid has come and gone until the fall. Yes, indeed.

I should stop here and say no more, but I can't help meself I need to get this out. This trip was filled with flirting up a girl with a boyfriend, one of us getting punched in the face for our nerve, an entire pizza that disappeared while one of us was minding the food, ordering speciality drinks we had no clue existed and worse liking one of them, a rather harrowing drive to Maine being cut off by a logging truck, and the missing cheese on the cheeseburger.

I got the cryptic message on me voicemail from a voice that was all too familiar. It didn't identify itself but then it didn't have to.

"Itz da man, me an Willie Wonka be at yer door tomorry." CLICK.

Well, ok then lucky me, and how is it the young whippersnapper knows when I have a day off I wanna know!

I knew what that message meant, yes, I knew the time for the Tri-State Tour was coming up I just didn't know when, but now I did know and I was in a terror over it because I now knew! Yes, I was terrified, those two miscreants make sure I end up in not one or two states in the union, but THREE! Always we end up in Massachusetts at the Dunkin' Donuts in Salisbury because as "the man" says, "It be da nicest Dunks in da worl and we needies us to go dere at leastie once a year ta pay homage!" When put like that . . .

Now we have something new going on with the Weasil. Ever since he found out that Wolfie and little Wolfie went to Brazil to see England lose the World Cup (I need not mention NI nor the Republic qualified for the games?) ANYWAY they did this dastardly trip WITHOUT the Weasil in tow. Yes, they never mentioned it, never said they had tickets, never said they had hotel reservations, airline tickets, no, they mentioned nothing, never even said the words -- World Cup, Brazil, GREAT SEATS,  GOOD TIME, notta! This situation (as you can well imagine) got the Weasil in a snit it did and out of that snit came the birth of THE MAN. Yes, Weasil refers to himself as THE MAN, or in Weasilese, "Da man!" OK THEN.

I don't know how Rabbie Kincaid became Willie Wonka, but when one considers the size of that great Scot the images of tons of candy bars seem to invade the imagination. But enough on Kincaid, I digress, let's get back to DA MAN because I must get this out and off me chest once and for all.

Now in the scheme of things I knew none of this. I had not a clue the Wolf clan had gone to the games, but on hindsight that doesn't surprise me. That Weasil knew about it doesn't surprise me either as he knows all about everybody, everyday, every hour, because he hacks into their phones, computers, any electronic devise any of us might have is NOT safe I tell ya! Thus, the covert plans between the two were KNOWN, yes they were R. Linda.

What better way to get back at the two Wolves than plan something just as spectacular . . . only in his case, the Weasil could come up with nothing. BUT the tri-state tour was coming up so THAT would have to do (yeah, like the two Wolf twins would be salivating over a stupid trip to Maine and back when there were all those babes in Rio -- give me a freaking break).

The next day dawned bright and clear and there it was that shiny red Mustang slowly pulling up me driveway, the crunch of gravel under the tyres warning me that the two ball busters had arrived. Reluctantly, I scraped meself off the door I was holding shut and opened it cautiously. I saw no booby traps so I went out to the vehicle.

I slipped quietly into the back seat because it was plain the two of them had pulled an all nighter. They had circles under their eyes like two raccoons about to steal through a cat door and raid the kitchen. There were steaming cups of Dunks in the cup holder by the console. A hand slowly and unsteadily handed me a cup of me own. I was grateful and grunted thanks in response so as not to rock the zoned out boat the two of them were obviously in.

We slowly crept down the driveway to the sound of gravel crunching again, then silently down the smooth paved driveway of me old neighbour to the road where we came to a stop and it took a few seconds for the Weasil's brain to kick in as to what direction to go. I tell ya! When the decision was made he realised half way through the turn he was going in the wrong direction and without looking made a U turn in the middle of the road. Thank God it was a country road less travelled. Gees the man!

We backed up, we went forward, we backed up again, we went forward! This took something like 20 minutes. I think I caught a nap it took so long.

It wasn't until a half hour later both boyos kicked out of rote and became as human as they can manage between them. The chat turned lively and stupid as usual and I shut me eyes, sipped me coffee and hoped they would forget I was even in the motor with them.

But that didn't happen as you can well guess. They poked fun at me between reminisces between them. I sat back there and responded with, "yeah, yeah, yeah."

All the way up to Maine we had this logging truck that would pass us and then we'd pass it and this was going on until I got a wee bit concerned that we were playing auto roulette with a large crushing weight on gigantic wheels. The driver of the logger was not looking pleasant when he passed us and this concerned me more. But not the Weasil, he'd fly by that truck and each time yelling out the open window, "Ima da man!"

Somehow we made it to Maine in one piece but not before we were almost run off the road as we came up to a toll booth. The truck swerved around us and cut us off to get in front as we were slowing for the stop. Of course the truck went to the truck lane, but it pulled off slowly making Weasil near put us through the wind screen as he applied the brakes.

I tell ya, the young whippersnapper should know better than fool with truckers! But his excuse to me was he be DA MAN and being he be DA MAN he has to act like he's DA MAN. Of course he had a word for the driver of the logging rig that sounded like trucker but wasn't. I'll leave you to rhyme that one out.

Not the logger we were playing motor roulette with, but you get the idea
Because of all the excitement, that left a powerful thirst to the occupants of the front seat. By now I had a headache and an empty cup. It was decided we'd stop at a Dunken Donuts, no not the one in Massachusetts, thank the Lord for small favours. Now I happen to like the Arnold Palmer drink Dunk's offers. I had a similar drink at a restaurant and besides the iced tea and lemonade it was spiked with rum. Very tasty but I knew this would be sans rum at Dunks, but I needed something cold. So we pulled up and I told Weasil what I wanted and he and Rabbie got a laugh. I be thinking they think I be ordering a girly drink, but no they thought I was making it up. Weasil kept saying I was trying to embarrass him because he is The Man, and Rabbie kept saying, "come on dude get serious wot do ye want?" I swore up and down it was a real drink and just order it. So Da Man reluctantly orders an Arnold Palmer. The voice comes back and asks if he wants whipped cream on the Arnold Palmer. Well, now the Weasil believes me. I say no, he relays the message and in the passenger seat a snickering Rabbie leans towards Weasil's open window and asks for a "Monica Lewinski."

"You didn't just do that." I remarked looking with gaping jaws of incredulity at Mr. Kincaid, but before he could respond the voice came back and said, "Of course there is whipped cream on THAT one." And we could hear an evil snickering coming back over the loud speaker but we weren't sure. We all exchanged looks, but there was an increasing scowl to Kincaid's brow as he had no clue what to expect in a cup, and he got a cup. Of what we are not sure, but it had whipped cream on top and was kind of creamy looking. Stupid drank it and rather liked it and I dread think he will be ordering Monicas at every Dunk's he goes to.

Once we had the thirst in the front seat sated, it was announced by Wonka he was hungry and not for chocolate, he wanted pizza. SO what did Weasil do? He drove directly to a pizza place. We went inside, ordered a large pizza with the works and sat down with cokes. As we are sitting there waiting for the pizza, this rather lovely and long legged chickie comes in and orders a coke. She was standing at the counter minding her own business when the two bozos decided they needed to get her attention. So without ado Weasil got himself up to his full height and stalked over to where she was standing and started a conversation with her in his best British.

She, poor brain dead thing, did not know this was a Weasil ploy and was rather overcome with the smilies as she turned to listen to him lay it on thick. I for one, was horrified a married individual (even the Weasil) would do such a thing so I elbowed fatso and said, "You are single, you gonna let him take your girl?"

"She nought me girl ye knoo. Never seen er' before." Says stupid.

"And you never will at this rate." I interjected.

"Huh? Oh, ye think I should goo an jaw wit er' say wot?"

I nodded not sure what the hell he had said. And that must have been the right thing to do, because he got himself groaning to his feet and shuffled up to the other side of the beauty who was pretty smitten with Weasil or so it seemed. Either that or she was trying to be polite and think of a way to run out.

However, being sandwiched between the two of them got her brain working that she might not be safe. Oh gee do ya think? So she found an excuse to leave as soon as she got her coke.

Weasil came back and sat down like he had failed as the other one continued to stand at the counter watching her go off into the noontime sunshine.

"Dint she SEE she wuz talkin' wit DA MAN?" He commiserated. "Wots wrong wit 'er?"

Suddenly without warning Rabbie says, "I'll be right back," with an obvious determination in his voice, and heads out the door. I could see a group of young people and the young chickie complaining to one rather jacked fella, and I kind of figured about what or rather who she was complaining. As Rabbie came up to the group, one young man looked rather disturbed as he stared at the oncoming Rabbie. Me brain was saying to meself, "Uh oh, this cannot be good."

The two of us sat there trying to see as the circle of people closed around Rabbie, blocking any view. I told Weasil I was going to go look for him and if the pizza came while I was thus engaged, have the pizza guy keep it warm until we came back.

I went outside and saw our Mr. Kincaid in a dilemma of huge sorts. Seemed the girl didn't like he followed her and her BOYFRIEND didn't like he followed her and well, there was a bit of ear boxing going on between the boyfriend and Willie Wonka AKA Rabbie Kincaid.

I ran up to stop it and near had me sunglasses broken by Rabbie swinging at me because he was in a muck sweat and not looking who he was batting at. I dragged him away with the shouts of the boyfriend coming after us saying depreciating things about Rabbie's nerve and weight, yes he just had to get that in, and then at me as some "tall drink of water with as funny an accent" as Rabbie's and illegal aliens, and oh it went on and on and on all the way to the pizza place.

I got Rabbie inside pulling on his collar and throwing him in a chair which considering his weight wasn't an easy task, and it was then we both noticed that the pizza tray was empty, but there was evidence there had been a pie on it from the crumbs left.

"Did you eat that entire pizza by yourself?" I asked Weasil trying to catch me breath.

"Yuppers I dun so," he mumbled through a mouthful of pizza crust. "I eat when I gits me excited and all datty goin' on outty dere . . . AND Iz da man ya sees so welly!"

You can't leave the Weasil alone he won't do something like that.

"Wot 'appened ta YOU?" He asked Rabbie.

"I wuz jumped frum behind."

"Yeah you got jumped from behind, that's why your face is all hacked." I said annoyed.

"Why is it me and Justin Bieber can't catch a break?" He moaned.

Wonders of wonders though Rabbie had lost his appetite so we decided to carry on, Rabbie looking like he had been dragged face down through the parking lot (which I kind of think he was) and off we went.

The shopping experience was as painful as it usually is. Weasil decking himself out in a light blue Lauren polo shirt, Ralph Lauren navy blue blazer with coat of arms on the pocket, white linen trousers, no socks and deck shoes topped off with a captains hat. Oi! He stopped at every mirror in all the stores we went into to admire his manly reflection. "Iz DA MAN!" he'd say loud enough for the entire store to hear him. I tell ya! After a while I was laughing so hard at this display I had to take meself several aisles away to contain the laughter. The other one had bags of tie dyed shirts from Old Navy in XXL and was feeling quite the hippy. Which he looked anything but. He looked like a homeless beach bum high on himself. And me, nothing as usual. Just along to be insulted. Like this for example:

Weasil: "Sos yer tellin' me yer bad self wuz not popular in school. Wuz datty dere all da way through school or just in da beginnin' when yer wuz an ugly little kid?"

Me: "No, I said I was shy and reserved most of me school days until I got to college and then I was very social."

Rabbie: "Yeah well when someone says that about themselves we think . . . " and they both said this together holding their fingers up in an 'L', "LOSER!"

Me: "Thanks. Wow."

There be no need to tell anymore, but one last crazy happening. On the way home, since Rabbie and I had nothing to eat all day thanks to the pizza monster, we stopped at a hamburger joint. Strangely enough, The Man wasn't hungry, gee I wonder why not? Anyway, Rabbie decided to leave Weasil to order for him while he went for a "wash up." Never a good thing to leave Weasil to do anything for oneself and not be there to supervise. Let me tell ya! We get our turn, I ordered a burger, fries and a coke and Weasil orders Rabbie a Cheeseburger "witoutty da cheese," french fries, onion rings, cole slaw and a super duper sized coke. I stood there like I wasn't with him because when he ordered the cheeseburger, hold the cheese, the person taking the order stood looking dumbly at him, as if he thought the man was kidding with him. The orders came out before Rabbie was back, so me and Weas went to sit down. Rabbie comes up looking all refreshed, hair sopping because he put his head under the sink (don't ask me why) and he pulls up a chair or I should say scrapes the chair along the floor like fingernails on a blackboard, and sits it down.

"Sos wot ye order me?" He says rubbing his hands together looking down at the giant burger.

"A Cheeseyburger," says you-know-who.

"Ooh good!" Says the Scot and he bites into it and is chewing along and talking with his mouth full until the very end he notices something seems to be missing. He was running his tongue over his teeth so I decided to take the plunge.

"How'd you like that cheeseburger?" I asked genuinely wondering how he could demolish the burger and not notice there was no cheese thanks to his cohort in crime.

"It wuz good but I dint taste the cheese," he says frowning.

"Datty dere iz cuz ya ate it too fast." The Man comments with a sneer.

"I guess," sighed Rabbie, "but good cheese iz like that ye don't tastes it roight away."

OK then! I wanted to knock their heads together. Is Kincaid that stupid? Well, I guess so! And Da Man was enjoying the stupidity no end, I can tell ya that much!

We took off after that, the man snickering himself silly all the way to the motor, Kincaid oblivious, his tongue still searching his teeth for remnants of cheese, and me just wanting to get home as soon as possible. I'd had enough. But me getting home fast didn't happen because we went to Salisbury to the Dunken Mecca of New England, and once again Da Man was in rare form, announcing as we walked in, to the whole store he was buying coffee for everyone because he was THE MAN! And everyone was us three, the four people behind the counter and the one guy who already had coffee munching a donut, looking stunned at the Weasil's nautical get-up. There was no one else in there! I must find someplace to hide come fall. I can't do this anymore. Any ideas on your part would be appreciated.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

28 July, 2014

Only a woman would invent a time saving device that can make a man's life miserable

28 July 2014

R. Linda:

Who invented the dishwasher? It had to be a woman! I just know it.

Here's the problem (such as it is) -- I, me, man of the house, decided to help with the dishes. The womenfolk were in the living room after dinner last night, looking at a watercolour painting young O'Hare had done at school. Now this painting was put on the wall at school because teacher thought it was the very best in the class, so of course, the kiddo was hot to show it off. Now, I had seen the painting earlier as I was off and picked the youngin's up from school. So for me to be back admiring it (which I did put in a quick appearance) was not necessary to be exposed to me Mam asking all kinds of artistic technique questions, with the wife in there adding to it!

My God it was a kids watercolour for heavens sakes! It's not like O'Hare be the next Picasso. Geez.

SO, I decided to be a good Do-Bee and clean up the dinner dishes and put the leftovers away. Now mind you the two women of the house were quite a bit aware of me efforts and so decided to prolong me labours by staying in the living room admiring the piece of art that will probably be framed and hung over the fireplace. Uh huh it certainly sounded that way from all the attention it was getting.

Well, let me tell you ladies, never again! I put the leftovers in the proper Tupperware containers, yes I did. I put the crusted pans in the sink with a dab of Dawn Dishwasher liquid to loosen the crust up AND I started to put the flatware in the dishwasher. Now ladies I truly do NOT see why every single spoon has to be in different slots in the door where the flatware goes. Truly I do NOT. I put them in one compartment for easy putting away. THAT was me logic.

Secondly, after I rinsed the crust off the pans I put them in the top wash bin of the dishwasher because they were practically clean and I did not see they needed a heavy duty cleaning by being on the bottom wash bin of the dishwasher. The plates, and cups and saucers were grimy with food and no I did not rinse them -- I mean what is a dishwasher for? To wash the dishes! Come on! So I put them in the bottom where the jets are to make sure that grime was washed away.

Lastly, I put the dogs dishes in with them because, well the dog needs sanitised and clean bowls too, don't ya think?

OK so I am ready to wash. I get the Cascade packet, put it in the little slot, close it and as I go to push the rolling wash bins in, me Mam comes rushing in waving her hands in the air like there be a fire and shouting, "NO, NO, NO!"

What the sharp eyed Irish woman saw WAS the dog dishes and she quickly took them out and threw them in the sink telling me not to wash animal bowls with people stuff. REALLY MA?

I explained the dishwasher had a sani cycle so what was the problem?

While I was questioning her logic she was looking at the flatware and asked me who taught me to load a dishwasher?

"You did." I said smugly and for that she swatted me like I was ten!

"NEVER! Gabriel Aloysius O'Sullivan. You lie like a rug ye do! I never told ye to do sooch a ting as dat, NEVER. Da spoons will all spoon togeter so the front of the first one will be clean and the back of the last one will be clean but all the ones in-between will be durty!"

So to please her and mumbling about silly and stupid dishwasher rules, I took out every single bit of flatware. She in turn took each one and placed a fork and a spoon together and there a knife and here a knife.

"Satisfied?" I asked ready to close the thing up to start it.

"No, now wooldya lookit dat." She said pointing to the bottom shelf. "Pots and pans on da bottom and plates and coups on da top. Jaysus, Maree and Yoseph!"

"What difference does it make?" I shouted in utter, complete male frustration. It made no sense to me, NONE.

"Ye want to get da cooukin' pots really clean an dey take more water force, da coups and saucers will all break from da force of a dat jets! Ye'll end oop wit broken crockery ya dolt!"

"I do it all the time and never a broken anything." I fired back but she pushed me, yes, she shoved me out of the way and rearranged the whole thing. I tell ya! Women!

That was it, I walked away and passed the smiling wife who looked like she had sympathy for me, but I betcha she didn't really, was a show she was putting on. She was probably thinking, "Good, show that man a thing or two Momma O'."


Yeah that's right I put in the dog bowls and cat bowls with the one single glass at the top! I got me revenge.
Yeah and they are none the wiser. I just can't wait for one of them to drink out of that glass so I can tell them it was in with the animal bowls. Yup, or maybe I won't. Might be safer that way.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

19 July, 2014

Welcome to America Mam!

19 July 2014

R. Linda:

Well, me Mam be moved in and she seems as settled as she can be with three kiddos finding her a novelty. The poor woman has no time to herself, no none but she's been very good and patient with the three whirlwinds that ambush her as soon as she appears anywhere in the house.

She also has managed to pick up three suitors in a very short period of time. The first one at the grocery store. She was all about going to an American supermarket so I took her. She got a cart and I got a cart. She insisted she needed a cart of her own, thus two instead of the one we really needed. I went to put mine back but she told me not to, because I had Tonya's shopping list I should go take care of that and she'd pretend shop for herself. I didn't ask, I just did as bidden.

We'd meet occasionally and in one aisle she had a bag of Dove white chocolate bits and that was it. I smiled and went on me way and she smiled and went on hers. At one point I caught up to her in the drink aisle. She had in her cart (besides the chocolate bits) two large packages of chicken wings, a six pack of some beer I'd never heard of, two cartons of Coke A Cola and a 12 pack of Snapple Iced Tea. As I came up to her an old man about her age also came upon her and he looked in her cart and said, "So you having a party?"

Looking rather stunned, she stammered, "Yes, yes I am."

"So looks like you have all the fixings. Chicken wings, beer, that's going to be a GOOD party."

"Oh, oh I hoop so," says she in her Irish accent, flustered and looking in her cart.

"Your husband's a lucky man," he grins.

"Oh, noo, noo, noo hoosband," she says shaking her head in adamant denial.

"So whens the party?" Asks himself.

"Oh . . . Oh . . . Wednesday," she finally says brightly, thinking Americans are a friendly lot.

"Can I come?" Asks himself.

That's when I stepped in.

"Mam's what's this then?" I said pointing to the items in her cart.

"Oh I taught I'd make ye soom of me special chicken and I bought soom beer fer ya sonny." Says she.

I looked at the old geezer and raised me baseball hat in greeting and he continued on his way getting me subtle message to move on. I tell ya!

We had a short 'discussion' on me paying for the goods in her basket but she wouldn't hear of it she wanted the 'full American supermarket experience'. So we pulled over to a checkout and I let her go first. The man doing the bagging looked like a leprechaun with dark brown hair. His eyebrows were arched in the most mischievous demonic way I'd ever seen. He shouts (because I be thinking he might be hard of hearing) at me Mam, "HELLO THERE! HOW ARE YOU TODAY? DO YOU WANT THE BEER IN A BAG OR OUT?"

Well, me Mam be used to answering one question at a time and I heard her mutter under her breath, "Oh dear me."

She smiled and looked at the checkout girl who was busy ringing up her items then back at the loud little man. She heaved a sigh and quickly said to him in a rather loud voice to match his own, "HELLO YERSEL, I BE FINE TODAY, NO LEAVE DA BEER OOT."

"OH IRISH ARE YE?" Says he with a huge smile, "ME TOO! PEOPLE FROM COUNTY CORK!"

"OH HOW NICE FER YERSEL." Says she nodding and I knew she was thinking, ugh County Cork!

He asks her about bagging this and bagging that, or keeping it out, and he's busy putting bright orange stickers on everything to indicate they've been paid and all the time he is keeping a loud and running conversation with herself and she was trying to keep up until he too asked if she were having a party but he wanted to know if she was eating all that chicken herself because if she was, he'd love to join her.

At this she turns to me and whispers, "Are dey all like dis? Or, is it da chicken?"

I smiled and shrugged for in reality I've never been accosted in the supermarket but one time and it wasn't even comparable. I had been at the checkout with heavy items, like soft drinks, fruit drinks for the kiddos and some beer for meself when I noticed the bagger was an old woman who looked like she was in her 70s. She was slowing putting the crisps and Cheetos in a bag and so I thought to help her along by putting the heavy drinks on the bottom of me cart. She stopped what she was doing, put her hands on her hips and informed me she was "very capable of doing THAT!" Oh yeah shopping in America be a whole different adventure to bringing your own bags to market and bagging yourself.

But back to me grey haired apple cheeked Irish Mam. She pulls on me sleeve and whispers up, "Do ye tip dese people fer putting da food stuffs in da baggies?"

"Oh no, no, no, no." I said quickly.

"Are ye sure?"

"Oh yes, very." I replied.

With that she returned her attention to the man ignoring that he had left a question about eating chicken lingering in the air. She paid the bill, and he asks her if she needs help getting her market items to the car. Oh no she informs him and points at me and says, "Dat's me strapping big sonny boy, he can do it." And with that she goes off with her cart leaving him looking after her, or I should say leering after her until he turned to look at me and start bagging me items.


Well, I wasn't telling him where we lived, so I said SHE was visiting and I lived in Vermont. Thought to do some shopping on this side of the border. Like he believed THAT.

I got out of there and got to the car. Me Mam had finished putting all her wares in the boot as I came up. She wanted to know if she could drive the car as she wanted to experience the great American highway. I took pause.

"You do know they don't drive on the right side of the road here, they drive on the other?"

"Of course I knoo dat, so give over the keys and I will be careful." She said.

I reluctantly handed over the keys as I finished putting me items in the boot and she went to familiarise herself with the dashboard. I did all this packing up food items slowly trying to think of a way to get the keys back and get her in the passenger seat. But I could think of nothing she couldn't argue me out of. Oi!

Well, after many seat and mirror adjustments she got herself situated and carefully she backed out and got to the service road and she was fine, then to the highway and she got into the slow lane and she was fine with that too. She informed me we needed petrol and should she stop at the petrol station she could see up ahead. I said yes and that the gas tank was on me side and to just pull in. The station was one of the few that was not self service so I stayed in the car as the attendant came around and he looked in and smiled at me Mam. He was a little younger than her, but he didn't seem to notice an age difference as he said, "Hello lovely lady what can I get for you?"

Not expecting THAT she giggled the silly woman, and then looked at me and asked, "Regular?"

I nodded and she said "regular" and the attendant went to put the gas nozzle in. But then he came back to chat and the smile was one of infrequent teeth, but me Mam made not to notice and they were talking about the weather when he suddenly asks, "Did you say you cut hair?"

"Uh . . . noo, I did not." She answered a wee bit flustered.

"Oh I thought the last time you were in you said you were a hairdresser."

"Dis be me first time here." She informed him.

"Oh? I could have sworn . . . anyway the gal cut my hair cut it too short," says he running a greasy hand through very short cropped hair. "You can see my bald spot." He shook his head in disapproval.

I won't bore you with the give and take that went back and forth on the haircut that was got so he'd look good when he went to a gun show. Did she like guns, oh she supposed so. I sat there thinking I didn't just hear that, but I did. Was she new to the neighbourhood, well yes, yes she was she was still moving in. OH was she now? Well, if she needed help he'd be glad to run over and help her unpack. Yeah I bet he would. I tell ya!

Well, we laughed about the three pickup artists and I looked at her and thought, you know she doesn't look her age and she's kinda of a cutie even if she is me Mam.

"So which one of those guys is the new man in your life?" I asked half jokingly.

"Och! Notta one. I be done wit men, never again, I be strictly me own woman and I don't need a man!" She protested with I will say a lot of Irish vigour. "Besides I be livin' in a hoose wit tree young boyos and den dere be yer grown self. Dat be quite enough."

I had to chuckle to meself, she be a strong woman and a wilful one. I don't think I have to worry about her with all these "friendly" American men. She'll get the hang of it soon enough. But how is it these guys can sense a single woman without having ever seen her before?

Like she said there are a lot of old geezers in the world, oversexed, overrated, and more ready for the undertaker than they know. Trying to capture their youth she says, while she'd rather enjoy her family and grow old gracefully. I think she's on to something there.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

16 July, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night -- oh yes it was

16 July 2014

R. Linda:

Tonya had gone to Jersey to visit her sister. Sister had a baby recently (I mentioned that to you I believe) and so big sister winged her way down to help out the new mom and dad. With everything going on here and us being so busy I thought it was a good idea Tonya go for a long weekend and the kiddos and I would be spending quality time together. That's what I thought anyway.

After seeing Tonya off on a very early flight, the kiddos and I went home to go back to bed, but you know when you are overly tired it's hard to just fall back into sleep mode no matter how much you want to. As a result only one of us, the middle child Guido, was able to do that and he did it sitting up propped against a wall, a Legos character in one hand and the other just dropped on the floor in exhaustion. The eldest, O'Hare was zooming around the room dumping toys everywhere and I could do little about that because the baby was wailing up a storm he was missing his Mamma.

All day long it seemed I got no rest for me weary bones. If I wasn't picking up toys that were a danger to me staying upright, I was pouring chocolate milk or making peanut butter and jelly sannies. In between all this I was getting bottles for the baby and changing his nappies.

I planned a movie night so I went out and rented Frozen, though they've already seen it, I was sure all that singing and silly girly empowerment stuff would put them out like lights. Well, they complained they'd rather see Shreck, but that movie has more action than Frozen and the kiddos were more likely to act out characters in Shreck than anyone in Frozen. So I put me foot down and made them sit on the couch to watch while I popped up some popcorn and denied them Mountain Dew (which would wire them instead of do what I wanted, go to sleep). I even thought of making turkey sannies because of the melatonin in them and that would make them sleepy. But they only wanted popcorn and to complain about "Who eats popcorn with milk I wanna know?"

"Well, you do," I said to a complaining O'Hare.

"It ain't fair havin' to watch us a girlie movie when we want SHRECK and eat popcorn with milk!" O'Hare battled back.

"Dis sucks it iz like havin' Weasil as a father!" Guido declared glaring at me as he put down his glass of milk. "Ya dunt expects us to drink dis stuff does ya?"

WOW to be compared to Weasil was just . . . awful. BUT I held me ground it was milk and no sugary drinks of any kind.

Somehow we got through 3/4 of the movie. There was a lot of sighing, shifting positions, blowing out air, to such an extent I asked them if they'd rather just go to bed. Surprise to me, they took me up on it and marched upstairs. Luckily baby went to bed before the movie and was sound asleep, which was one down and two to go and a good thing -- to me at least.

When I got upstairs their room was strewn with Legos everywhere. I ordered clean up and was told by O'Hare that the mess was all Guido's who reluctantly admitted it was. I told O'Hare to brush teeth, jump into bed, put his light out and Guido would do the same once all was cleaned up. With that I went back downstairs.

There was no moon that night, and rain and wind had come in just about the time I escorted the two kiddos upstairs. I thought it would be a perfect night to catch up on some writing so I turned off the lights as I went and decided to use my wife's computer downstairs (because I didn't want to disturb the boyos by going to me loft upstairs), so I started working on a story for you (not this one).

It was a "dark and stormy night"  quite literally
I had been at it for maybe 45 minutes when I heard a sound behind me. It didn't really register until I heard the sound again and I turned to look into the dark shadows of the hallway but I didn't see anything. I turned back to the computer screen when I heard, "Ah hem!" which had me quickly turn around to be looking at some dark small shape with points like devils horns standing right behind me. I switched the lights on quickly, nearly jumping out of me skin to see THIS:

Yes I was visited by BatBoy in the dead of night, a dark stormy night at that
I sat back down staring at this dark apparition on a dark, stormy night. It said in a very deep and cryptic voice, "Batman has a message for ya, Batman doesn't like chores, chores suck!"

"Uh ok, but does Batman know if Guido has cleaned up all the Legos and gone to bed like a good boyo?" I asked playing along.

"Batman helped him! It wasn't fair he hadda do cleanup by hiz self!" The deep voice said as if I should be ashamed of meself.

"Okay then. I got the message Batman, now I will assume you want to leave as stealthily as you entered before I go up to check on Guido and O'Hare?"

"Yezz but let dis be a warnin' ta yerself." The deep voice said as it majestically swept around cape flapping behind him, but then he stopped, put the cape up to his face again and gave me a parting shot before disappearing up the stairs, "An no more girlie movies fer Guido and O'Hare!" With that he was gone.

I sat there and chuckled to meself, completely out of story writing mode. I decided to switch off the lights and go up too, but not before I made sure Batman morphed back into Guido. By the time I slowly reached the boyos room, their lights were out and I could hear O'Hare snoring, but Guido was in bed feigning sleep like I didn't know he was Batman. I closed their door and put the hallway lights on so I could make sure there were no toys to trip over. As I reached me bedroom I got a thought for the story I was working on prior and so went to me loft and quietly started to write the thought down when suddenly there was a flicker of lights from the storm. I stopped writing, looked up, and the flickering stopped. I went back to me writing when I thought I had noticed something unusual sitting by the door when I looked up at the lights. I did, there sitting next to the baby gate was THIS:

I tell ya! Creep me out more why doesn't he

There just sitting still staring at me through slits in the Batman mask was me dog! Me Irish Red and White Setter! I was like what the hell be this then? There was a note on the floor that must have fallen off Batdog and it said, "Ima watchin' ya! signed Batman."

How perfect to have the watch dog watching me. OK!

"You poor thing, come here girl let me take that off you." I said and nothing. She just sat there content to stare at me through the eye slits. I got up and when I did she went tearing around the room, jumped the gate and was gone flying down the hall, her cape waving in the breeze of her motion.

I hate to tell you this, but I spent the better part of the dark, stormy night chasing that dog around the house. I couldn't leave that outfit on her for fear she might get caught in it, thus the running after her. It got to be a game, I'd be waiting for her in one room and she'd go shooting through to another. Finally, I sat in me desk chair in me loft in exhaustion trying not to fall to sleep, the one thing I wanted most.

I'd catch meself because every time me eyes would start to close around the corner came THIS:

Batdog on the prowl
By the time Tonya arrived I needed me a holiday. So I went to Ireland to get me old Mam to come back with me and I will say THAT turned out to be no holiday at all.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

22 June, 2014

Hippies making coffee, quiches filled with corn, and an artist from outer space

22 June 2014

R. Linda:

Last weekend me wife and kiddos went for a weekend in Jersey to visit the Grand Dragon who unfortunately has the distinction of being me mother-in-law. So off they went leaving yours truly on his own. I had to work Saturday anyway, so I had Sunday to meself. Now me neighbour to the northwest, one Arnold by name was also on his own and unlike meself, he had no clue what to do with his free time. I had run into him at the pizza shop Saturday night and he expressed surprise at seeing me kiddo-free and I asked after him and he told me about being lost with what to do without his wife who was on a business trip to Chicago. As we exchanged commiserations it was somehow decided I should join Arnie for breakfast the next day.  We'd go out to this beanery place he knew of as he heard they had the best coffee and as you know, yours truly is addicted to the stuff so it was a date!

The next morn, bright and early Arnie pulls up what he thinks might be the driveway, and out I come, hop in and off we go to this hyped coffee place. When we got there I was rather surprised it looked like a hippy hangout, you know the type, the women in long skirts and blowzy blouses and the guys all sporting scruffy beards and dirty long hair with beads around their necks. Certainly not what I was used to, which are the suave hipsters plugged in and either texting with their smartphone or using an I Pad, very techie types dressed in the latest designer duds. Yes indeed. No Boston here.

So we looked at each other and Arn says to me, "Well . . . my daughter has a friend who displays her artwork here. I promised if I was down this way I'd go and look at it. This artist left college to spend all her time on painting." And then he sighed.

"Why the sigh Arnie? You think she should have stayed at university?"

"No, just that she's . . . well I met her twice, she's a pretty thing, but she's . . . uh." And he shrugged.

I didn't want to pry as I got the impression the "pretty thing" was odd, so I asked no more and got out and followed Arnie inside. It was so laid back in that shop you could lay on the floor and no one would care. I mean people just lounging around hanging on the counter, sitting in the window, or just lazing and humming to themselves or sipping Joe as you stare at the wall or off into space. The service was the same. We had to wait for the girl to give someone their coffee order, then she proceeded to wash the dishes! Yes, fully knowing we were next in line, I tell ya. When she was done she asked what we would like. Well, I saw on the board they had quiche so I asked for that. She pointed to a clear plastic display where there were three quiche pies. I looked for a plate there were none, just napkins and excuse me but I wanted my quiche heated please. Well, she handed me a paper plate like I had killed a tree and waited for me to open the case and take a quiche. I did and placed it on the corner fully expecting she'd pop it in the micro but instead she asked me if there was anything else. Well, yes, yes there was I'd have the . . . the . . . good heavens there was no regular coffee it was all almond mocha this or honey cream that or roasted cinnamon to where confused I blurted out I'd have a honey nut almond cream latte! And by George you would think I asked for something more involved the way she looked. She got out the honey nut liquid, then the almond cream, then the whole milk, then she poured the coffee which I suspected was regular coffee, then she placed it under some kind of super blender and Viola! I was handed a tall cup of whatever with a foamy leaf design on top. Well OK!

Meanwhile the quiche sat on the counter.

Arnie steps up and orders something with the insane name pinnacle toast with butter and an almond mocha latte. I paid for both orders thinking that might hurry along me quiche being microwaved, but nah, the dude who used the "heating implements" was busy making Arn's pinnacle toast which as we watched he did in slow motion the buttering of the strangely named bread. But we couldn't see the butter only the slow slow motion of the knife as he worked the stuff over the top of the four slices. And it took forever! When it was finally slammed on the counter the toast was covered in homemade peanut butter and oh my Arnie is allergic to peanuts!

Meanwhile the quiche sat on the counter.

I said to the hippy lad that me friend ordered the butter not peanut butter.

He looked at me and said, "So enjoy he got more for his money," and he shuffled away into the inner recesses of the back room where I am sure he went back to his bong.

"You don't understand," I shouted to him but all I could see was a haze of smoke and little else. I turned to the girl behind the counter who had been filling coffee orders the entire time but Arnie said not to bother, he'd scrape it off and a little of the stuff wouldn't hurt him . . . too much. Maybe a bad case of hives. I told him I thought the artwork was in the side room to take his stuff and I'd join him as soon as I got me quiche heated.

Another hippy child appeared from the smokey back and right away I picked up me quiche and asked politely if she'd heat it. She said nothing but you could tell she did not want to do it. As it was heating she started to give me a lecture on microwaves and how I would be consuming them, etc., and how dreadfully horrible they were. I wanted to walk out I was so incensed, but Arnie was waiting so as soon as the quiche came out I'd free meself from the lecture. But she told me to go join me friend she'd call when the quiche was ready.

I turned to go and thought, hey wait a minute it doesn't take but a few seconds to heat a quiche. Was she going to nuke it? Make it hard as a rock? As I turned around there it was me quiche sitting on the counter, herself fading into the back smoke filled bong room. I wanted to tear me hair out.

Well, I grabbed the quiche, went to the side room and found Arnie looking kind of green with read blotches on his face as he sat munching and looking at the wall beside him. There was a good sized painting he was staring at. So I sat down and looked at the picture too. The entire canvas was covered, there wasn't a fraction that didn't have something on it. Talk about minutiae the painting was many subjects jammed upon each other and most of the things represented were skeletons, people holding hearts as their bones protruded from different parts of their bodies. Everything was in black and white except the blood red and dripping hearts!

I absentmindedly cut into me quiche and took a mouthful only to stop in mid chew and look down. The quiche had CORN IN IT! Who knew corn was used in quiche? Certainly not this guy. It was the oddest tasting quiche I'd ever eaten. Before I could say anything Arnie was getting up and signalling me to move to another table, the picture was a bit much for breakfast decor. So we slid over to the table across from us and started to peruse the painting on that side of the room.

The painting was in brown tones with flares of colour here and there, but it was of skeletons with guitars with butterflies acting as one winged musical insect notes that turned into big horrible looking angry bugs.

"This your daughter's friend's work?" I asked.

"Oh yeah that's her, lots of problems . . . deep psychological problems." He shook his head as he stared at the artwork.

I am thinking oh yeah there is. Lots and lots of problems. How am I supposed to enjoy the corn quiche looking at the very busy morbid artwork? I suggested another table, but on second look around we stayed where we were. All the work was bizarre and busy, very very busy.

"It must take her years to complete one of these." I said.

"I guess," Arnie said not able to look away from one incredibly ugly and threatening looking bug.

I bit the bullet because I had to know, "May I be so bold as to ask what her problem is?"


"Aliens like in spacemen?" I put me fork down I had lost me appetite as concern took me over.

"She says she is abducted almost every night by aliens and when she comes back she draws what she saw." Arnie explained.

I got up and looked at a few more of her works and they got worse and darker and busier and I am thinking psychiatric institution needed. So I sat back down and told Arnie that now I was depressed.

"Then lets do what our wives would do, let's go shopping!" He perked up.

I was looking at his swollen red face. No way, he looked like he had the plague. I made up some lame excuse I had a Tonya assignment, I had to mow the lawn and as I am saying this I realise he lives just above me, so now I have to mow the lawn, stupid me!

As we are walking out, this pretty petite brown haired girl is getting out a Volks Beetle (well what else would her hippy self drive?) and she takes a double take and sees Arnie. She screams his name and comes running over to throw her arms around his neck and jump up and down in like a dog who's owner has returned. It was rather embarrassing but Arne took it in stride, disconnecting her bony fingers from around his neck.

"O M G!" She throws at his appearance. "Did THEY come for you too last night?"

"Hives, I am allergic to peanut butter and even though I had a small bit . . . how bad is it?" He asked realising what she said and walking over to the car side mirror. Well, when he got a gander of what he looked like, I am sure he felt foolish for suggesting shopping in public.

"They came, didn't they?" She said looking at him all hard and serious.

"This isn't happening," I said to meself and started walking towards Arnie's motor.

I don't know what was said, but she was animated like a cartoon and he was backing up towards the car. I leaned over and opened his door wide so he could just fall in and not struggle to get away. And he did get in quickly, slam the door and turn the ignition. SHE was still out there her mouth running a mile a minute, the prettiness gone, a strange expression that looked very alien taking over her face. I thought she'd turn bright neon green next. I looked back as we drove off, she still standing there running her mouth, the long skinny arms gesticulating and the bony fingers pointed at the heavens.

"Well," I said brightly, "at least you got to see the artist."

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved

10 June, 2014

One thing is for certain -- he isn't Mr. Ed

10 June 2014

R. Linda:

I did not grow up on a farm, nor did I belong to any animal husbandry or agricultural clubs when I was a wee kiddo growing up in the town of Newry, Northern Ireland. This sort of thing just didn't go on in me little corner of the town. I don't think I ever gave a thought to barnyard animals in all me born days so to put me in charge of a large barnyard animal, that the size alone scares the bejaysus out of me . . . well it was a unique proposition it was.

Me old neighbour who lets us poor folk in the woods (whose road was taken away -- your remember THAT) use his paved driveway to get to the road out of the woods to the highway, has been nice to never complain about us three neighbours coming and going at all hours up or down his driveway. No, notta word. However, recently he asked us (the men of the  households) if we would be kind enough to keep an eye on the old farm while he and the wife went to visit their only child out in Vermont. It would be only three days (Memorial Day weekend) and that would be it. So if we could just feed the animals and clean out their mess well it would be much appreciated.

What can one do when one does not pay to use the man's driveway, and yes I know and he knows there is no other way out of the woods by means of his drive, and he even plows up to our rocky driveways any snow or ice in the winter without being paid for doing so (though we have offered but he always says, "No, one day when I need some help you all can do payment that way") and that is what occurred. Yes R. Linda, the day had come!

I was the last one down to the meeting in the barn so I got the chore that was left. Oh yes I did, and that chore will teach me NEVER, NEVER, NEVER be late for a meeting because the leftover chore OR more correctly the one nobody else wanted was saved for yours truly! Oh yes it was and what a chore it be.

I was in charge of Armageddon. Yes and you may well imagine with a name like that this animal was trouble with a capital T. He is a horse, a jet black Frisian (I was told that is the breed) just a tad smaller than a freaking shire horse. This big guy I was told was master of the barn, ruler of the farm, and full of himself and I can attest he is all that. And I found this out the hard way.

When I looked in the stall he seemed bigger than I remembered, but to be fair I've always seen him at a distance, all harnessed up pulling heavy stuff for me old neighbour, making it look rather easy. But when I thought back on some of the large trees he'd pull out of the way, or the waggon filled with heavy machinery that was being hauled to fix some broken part, well this be one powerfully strong mother.

I looked at him in the stall as he munched on his hay. The size of the hooves were gi-normus! He didn't like me looking at his shiny self and to let me know he didn't like me looking, he'd pick up one of those big feet and slam it down on the stall floor making me glad me own large feet weren't underneath his.

"So is he tame?" I asked reluctantly.

"Oh sure," the old man laughed, "once he gets to know you he's like a cat."

"A cat? Not a big goofy dog?" I asked thinking cat? Really?

"Well Gabriel, he's sly like a fox and clever like a cat. Big goofy dog," more laughter, "no, not anything like that."

I was told to come down in the morning and give him his hay first, then his grain and lastly get the water bucket, clean it out and refill it to the top. Because Army (as he is affectionately called by his owner) will drink lots and lots of water. I was to let him eat in peace and comeback in an hour, and if the weather was nice to let him out in the field, if it rained keep him in. If it rained I'd have to muck the stall with him in it, but just give him hay and he'll be a good boy.

"Oh and Gabe, if he's in you'll have to come down several times a day to make sure he has hay because he'll destroy the stall if he's bored and lots of water because we don't want him dehydrated."

My neighbour Chemical Ali (as we call him behind his back) had arrived first for the meeting and so all he was doing was feeding the poultry. All he had to do was let them out of the coop and spread the stuff they eat on the ground, put the hose in the water thingee and he was out of there until the afternoon.

Charlie the other neighbour got the keys to the house to go in and feed the dog and the cat, let them out for some exercise and then come back at the end of the day for the same procedure.

The cows were up in the fields and Lois was always their caretaker so she wasn't even at the meeting and not really considered one of the driveway freeloaders so she really had nothing to do but keep an eye on the bovines.

I was shown were everything I needed was, and well I was not happy I had heavy shite to shovel and haul away (at least I had use of the tractor) and then I had to shovel sawdust into a wheelbarrow and then spread it around the stall. So I tried to psyche meself into this, I told meself that here it was me opportunity to pretend I lived on a farm and this was the prize stallion I was in charge of, etc., but walking passed me hammock on the way home made me NOT WANT TO DO IT!

So the next day, me first day on the job, I go down at 7:00 a.m. resenting I cannot sleep on me day off, to feed and get Army ready for the day. Unfortunately the heavens decided to rain the entire day so that meant Mr. Army would be indoors. This unfortunate turn of events, I found out quickly did not sit well with that gi-mougus horse.

When I got there and opened the barn door I could hear him stamping impatiently so I opened the stall window so he might feel a little less confined. I turned the lights on and suddenly forgot what I was supposed to do first. So I went to the tack room and got down the feed bucket and started to fill that when I hear him slamming the stall window. I looked out and he picked the thing up with his teeth and hauled it upward and then released it and BAM it slammed down hard on the stall door. He did this the entire time I was trying to measure out the grains he was to get. I shouted to him I was coming, gees give me a chance I be new at this sort of thing.

I got the bucket and he saw me coming and stopped the banging of the stall window watching me come on. I thought good, he's quiet. I go to unlatch the stall door (oh and there are two latches because he's a Houdini, he can unlatch the top one and has let himself out, therefore a bottom latch he can't stretch that powerful neck to get at with his teeth). So I bend down to unlatch the bottom one and suddenly I feel this awful pressure on me back like someone took a row of clothespins and clipped them to the skin on me back. It hurt! The black devil had bit me and what an unpleasant surprise that was. I dropped the bucket luckily not spilling it because I didn't know how I'd have cleaned it up with those flashing teeth above me, and he was snapping the long yellow choppers as he stretched his long neck out the door trying to bite me again.

Lesson one: Never, never, ever open the stall window until AFTER stupid has feed in his bucket.

I put the bucket down which got him front kicking the stall door with those massive hooves as I went for a push broom which I raised in his face to back him up long enough I could shut the stall window. Once I had that he had moved to the back of his giant stall and was kicking now with one of his hind legs the back of the stall. I was afraid to go in. I had thoughts of opening the stall door a crack and throwing in the grain, but I thought better of it. So slowly I opened the door after grabbing the bucket and entered slowly, me back up against the opposite wall from Mr. Horse and then very quickly I dumped the grain in the wall feeding station and then quickly hoofed me way out as he came at that feed station like he hadn't had feed in years.

I tell ya! I got that door closed and wondered how I was supposed to complete the rest of the morning ritual. Oi! Neither of me other two neighbours would appear until around 8, as those animals could go longer than Mr. I Am Going To Kill You And Then Eat You.

I will be honest once he was at the grain I quickly got the water bucket out of there, hosed it down, filled it up, lugged it back to it's place, clipped it to the wall and ran out. I looked outside the barn and it was drizzling. I checked me phone and it said rain all day. Oh goody. That meant I had to muck that stall with snappy horse inside with me.

I got the muck buckets, the shovel, the rake and filled the wheelbarrow full of sawdust. I was all set except for one thing, me good trainers were not going in that stall one more time. I saw me old neighbours Wellies and put them on. They barely fit, but I didn't care. It was then I remembered the hay. I hadn't given stupid his hay ration. I went over to the bale on the floor and took a section and started for the stall but stopped just five feet from it. Mr. Grouchy had finished the grain, didn't want the water but was sizing me up standing there with the hay. His eyes were red in his head R. Linda, I swear they were. The demon horse from hell stretched his neck trying to reach me and the hay and curling his lips back over those long yellow teeth, he started snapping at the closed stall window. He used his teeth to grab hold a bar but couldn't grip the bars that well.

Talk about intimidation that horse was the epitome of that word. I approached slowly and took a handful of hay and threw it at the window but it was too light and fell shy the window. Which meant I'd have to bend over and pick that up but at least with the window closed, I'd not get bit again. So I took a bigger and heavier handful and squeezed it through the bars, and he grabbed it and threw it over his head. He looked at where it fell but made no move, instead he was facing me waiting. I did the only thing I could to keep me safe, I slid the door open a tad and threw the whole section at him just missing him as it landed next to his bad self, but at least it was inside the stall. There he started to rip it apart and munch.

I left him at it deciding to come back later and muck. It was just too much adventure for a man who hadn't his morning Joe.

I did find an ingenious method of looping the water hose through one of Army's outside facing windows where the water bucket was just beneath. Once I had it lined up I turned it on and easy-peasy water in the bucket without harm to yours truly's life and limbs. I left the hose there all day thinking I would periodically come down and refill the water bucket. Only stupid had other ideas on that score. He must have grabbed the hose with his long teeth and pulled the hose into his stall until it was strung taunt from spigot to window. I had a hell of a time hauling it out the stall window so I could re-set the nozzle up with the bucket. The third time I had to do this exercise, I got just so far and could not get the hose to slide out the window. Frustrated it was hung up on something I went around and inside the barn and there he was, standing on it. I shooed him from outside the stall but it took me getting a horsey treat to get him off the hose. He was turning out to be a real pain in me Irish butt.

I would also feed the hay through the stall window bars so I'd stay safe. But it came time for the evening feeding and the mucking of the stall. Sigh. Gearing myself up for an unpleasant time, I got everything I needed situated outside the stall door. I heaved a sigh and started forward, but he came at the stall door like he was going break it down. That gave me pause it did. I decided to get a section of hay and offer that, get him to the hay rack on the other side of his stall. I started to open the door and as soon as I was half in, he grabbed the hay and ripped it from my grasp. I was not happy. He was in me way now so I kicked the hay towards the rack to where I scooped it up quickly and threw it in.

Whew! He was over there ripping it back out and munching, so his teeth were occupied. I hurriedly got the muck buck and rake and started the back-breaking art of stall mucking. Horse manure when combined with sawdust shavings can get very heavy. I was a sweaty mess in no time. I had been busy on one side of the stall and had made me way to his end. I noticed he'd rip out a chunk of hay and then go to the water bucket, throw it in, wash it around with his muzzle and then clamp down on the twisted wet mess of hay and proceed to eat it! I guess since he wasn't getting pasture grass he was doing the next best thing. I thought that quite smart and amazing until he started splashing me with the wet hay. Then he'd wave the wet hay around over my head so I was dripping in dirty hay water. Yes R. Linda, he was a real fiend.

Finally, finally, finally, I got the damn stall cleaned out and new bedding spread around but I had help on that last. I had dumped the sawdust in a pile, and went back to get the rake to spread it but no, no, no help needed there he was with those giant feet pawing at the stuff and it flew, oh yes it did. Then he got himself down and rolled in it! I thought he was having a fit, I had no clue he was enjoying himself.

He got up shook himself like a giant dog and faced me as if to say, "Where's me dinner?"

I hustled to get the fresh water in first as he stood there watching me, snorting the whole time making me move even faster. Then I got the feed and instead of rushing for it like I expected he started at me while pawing at the sawdust. I had done something wrong and only realised I didn't get the hay in there before the grain. Mr. Army had a routine and I was not playing by the rules, so as soon as I walked in with the hay, he grabbed it almost biting me hand off in the process and he threw it in the corner! Yes he did, he threw it all over me clean bedding job. Then he turned his back on me like I was a nonentity and not worth his time. I tell ya!

I'd like to say me three days of horsekeeping got better, but it was touch and go for a while. I had another day of rainy weather so he was in and unhappy. The last day was nice and I was relieved because I was sure he'd kill me if he did not get out. I had to go in and clip the lead on his halter after I fumbled trying to figure out how that thing was put on. I be sure I didn't have it on right, but I didn't know. So I clipped the lead, opened the stall and he shot out of there like there was no one on the end of the lead. I was half dragged to the paddock. I had scuffed me jeans and when I fell he did drag me a good couple of yards before he stopped to look back and horse laugh at me.

Somehow I got him in the pasture, and as I tried to unclasp his bad self he took one big tug and the lead was out of me hands and he was flying around the pasture with it trailing in the breeze.

"Oh please don't fall on that, I be in big trouble you do," I mumbled to meself watching him throw up his heels and kick and then rear and buck and finally rolled around on the grass. He'd show me what freedom was. Freedom from me that is.

I'd like to think it ended there, but alas it did not. I had to go bring him in. I chased his giant arse over that field for two freaking hours! I could not catch him and he wasn't about to let me. He'd stand there looking back at me his giant butt facing me. As soon as I was within four feet of his head, he'd snort and run off. It was a game, a frustrating game. I was near tears, yes I was, like a girl, but you had to be there, the sun had gone down and there I was three hours overdue for me own dinner!

I collapsed me tired self in the middle of the field when I saw this figure in muck boots making her way towards me in the twilight. It was Lois, thank God for naked favours. She said she'd been up on her porch that overlooked the field and laughing at the antics.

"Antics? Right. His antics, me frustration!" I moaned as she walked up to me.

"Let me get him, Army and I have a good relationship," she said, but before she could even go get him, he whinnied and came trotting up to her like she was just the greatest thing on two legs. I tell ya!

She gave him a lump of sugar and he chomped down on that, his eyes for the first time totally content and happy. She picked up the lead and started off to the barn like she was leading a docile dog, but I knew if it was me he'd be anything but docile.

"You go on home Gabriel, I'll close up." She said, waving at me as she and the dark giant faded into the distance.

I sat there for not long at all. I got me defeated self up, brushed me butt off of grass and clover and headed over the fence for home. I could see the lights of me abode welcoming me and I could imagine the smell of a hot dinner waiting for moi. As I stepped in, Tonya came up with a martini and handed it to me.

"Here you need this. I saw you and El horse in the field, gees Gabe if Lois didn't get down there I'm afraid you'd have been there all night."

"IT WAS BLOODY DREADFUL! AWFUL, AWFUL EXPERIENCE!" I shouted letting it all out. I know very lady-like, but you don't know how scary that horse was and how careful I tried to be. I didn't tell the old neighbour that his beloved devil horse was just that. I made him out to be a perfect angel, but the old man knew I was lying.

"Angels and demons, Gabe, angels and demons." He said walking away as we parted the day after.

I thought that's exactly what it was, I was the angel Gabriel come to help the not help able demon horse Armageddon and he just can't be saved! Neither can I, yeah I realised I be a helpless wonder when it comes to barnyard animals. As if the turkeys aren't enough and the beavers, don't forget those mailbox stealing buck toothed beavers! Now I have a horse to contend with, and I know I will be stuck again, because that's Murphy's Law for Irish Gabe!

The demon horse next door
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