24 February, 2018

No wi-fi for Valentine's Day? What? What? What?

24 February 2018

R. Linda:

Living in a house with me three sons can at times be exasperating. On Valentines Day eve, me wife had gone out and bought Valentine cards so the kiddos could give them out at school. For me, it was an eyeopener as these were not the usual Valentine cards with the little red hearts with the Will You Be Mine? on them, no no, they were this:

I cannot imagine, me as a small kiddo, giving little Molly McGuire a Star Wars Valentine. No there be much wrong with the whole idea of it. BUT this is what they do now. The boyos were saying "ick" when me Mam asked each one if they were giving Valentines to girls in their class.

"No ugly girls, boys!" Guido said after several icks issued forth from his 8 year old lips.

O'Hare looked at her like she was ready for THE HOME, and shook his head in disbelief.

The youngest was much more vocal and shouted at the top of his lungs, "I DON'T LIKE GIRLS, THEY ARE SMELLY, SILLIES!"

"Smelly you say?" Me Mam ventured into uncharted waters of a 4 year old BOY.


"Well then, ok." She said giving Tonya a shocked smile at which he was told not to shout at his grandmother of which he shouted back, "OK!"

I personally, think they all three of them have hearing problems. When I ask them to do something like empty the trash bin, they seem not to hear me. Me Mam says it be selective hearing because when she tells them she's made chocolate caramel turtles, they are right there. Whatever. They just talk very loud to suit me to thinking there not be a hearing problem.

They did all three of them chip in on their allowances and bought their mother this:

Boyos Valentine Candy For Tonya
I had tried to slip them money for the candy heart but they wanted to do it on their own. They are independent and that's a good thing, it's the hearing that worries me.

A few day later I came home to find we had no wi-fi. We live in a rural area of horse and historical buffs who don't like modern conveniences. Personally, I am surprised we are allowed cars and not horse and buggies. I told you the cable company offered to put cable in free and even bury the lines, but the town said no. The town over from us has all that and if you are on the town line, you can sometimes get the service. But it's sporadic at best, so we put up with the lovely look of the place in exchange for less services that other folks have.

The wi-fi is down occasionally, but this time it went down for four days, or what the boyos said seemed like ten years. I had to drive to the neighbouring town to a little eatery that has wi-fi to get and send mail. The boyos of course, have all those Play Station's that you need wi-fi for and wow the complaining. You'd think I was solely responsible for the interruption in service.

After telling them they have to live with it and go watch the TV or even better go outside and PLAY (the last being an alien concept to all three), they informed me they'd just sit in their rooms and stare at the walls. "WHAT IS THAT?" I shouted so the hearing impaired could hear me. No answer and they left me for O'Hare's room with one sitting on the bed staring at the wall, one on the floor staring at the floor and the smallest one with a piece of Lego examining it like he'd never seen it before and had no earthly idea what to do with it. That was day one.

Day two of no wi-fi bought pretty much the same thing but they started to beat on each other. Between the three adults in the house we must have broken up 6 fights an hour. Finally, on day four of no wi-fi, I was off from work, when O'Hare comes waltzing in from school to stand in the doorway of me office and say, "There is STILL no wi-fi," which he repeated at least ten times while I sat there looking at him in astonishment.

"I have no hearing problem, I heard you the first time, and no, there be no wi-fi."

He left me in a huff for his room to stare at the wall I guess, while I went back to proofreading an article I was working on.

Soon after Guido comes home, stands in the doorway and announces, "I see da Innernet isn't werkin',"

"That's right." I said, and he disappeared probably to the floor in his brother's room.

Tonya came home with the wee one and asked me if the Internet was working to which I shook me head and off they went to the kitchen.

I could hear the sounds of the other two drawn to the kitchen complaining of the fact they lived in a backwards boondock and wanted to move because you know why, and who's bright idea was it to move here in the first place and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

It wasn't 15 minutes later Tonya comes sweeping into my office locking the door behind her, armed with her candy box. She opened it up and shoved it in me direction.

"Been that kind of day has it?" I asked all sweetness and light.

She frowned as she chewed on a caramel the one candy she does not like. She took it out of her mouth and handed it to me.

"Here, you like caramel." She reached in the box for another chocolate and got a coconut which she also doesn't like. That she gave me as well, as she told me she was sick and tired of boyos complaining about wi-fi. I commiserated with her, yes I did, and by the time she was calmed down she had consumed more than half that box of chocolates to the few she forced on me and the one buttercream she complained I got that she wanted. An exchange of saliva drenched chocolate took place a few times. It is a rare thing Tonya shares a box of chocolates, as she is a fiend for Valentine candy in heart boxes, especially Russell Stovers. So I knew she was done, done, done. To keep her from eating the rest of the box and paying for it later, or worse her forcing the rejects on me, I went to me computer and lo and behold the wi-fi was back up!

I got up to go tell the boyos but she stood in front of the locked door.

"Ok, so I guess I won't. I said sitting back down."

(I blame this all on Dragon, who a few Christmases ago gifted each of the boys with Play Stations and has upgraded them every year (you should see me electric bill!). If it was up to me they'd not have but one and then allotted time each, but me threat that if grades failed they'd get no game time, backfired because all of them especially O'Hare are honour roll students. Defeated on that score, I have tried to make it two hours a day, but somehow I get busy and forget. I leave me Mam in charge most of the time, but we know how that goes, it doesn't.)

"Lets tell them at dinner, give them four hours to sit around doing nothing but looking like the world has ended. Then we'll tell them it's been back up."

Oh Tonya is a vengeful one isn't she? Unfortunately for her, Guido tried the Internet on occasion and found for himself it worked. In his room he turned his system on and was busy at it when his brother heard familiar Internet sounds and came wandering in to see what Guido was doing. He hit his brother upside the head when he found that Guido neglected to let him know SYSTEMS BACK UP. This brought the wee one in to complain he was tired of Peppa Pig and wanted to play a game on the game box.

Tonya left to set him up, and the sounds of people talking (that I don't know), strange cartoon sounds, explosions, gunfire, and crazy laughter filled the house. We are back up to that bizarre normal that invades a home. And the reason I know we are all back up isn't because I turned on me computer, but the game boxes are turned up to LOUD.

"And you wonder why dey don't hear ya," Mam said to me when I came in complaining I couldn't think for the noise, "all of em' haf da earplugs in and the volume turned up, so dats why. In Ire'lynd dey don't due dat sort a ting."

"Oh hold on," and I took her to O'Hare's room. O'Hare has this Irish gamer he spars with and the guy has his own Internet show where he explains his strategies of gamesmanship. He has pink hair one day, green the next, but the Irish accent be as thick as me Mam's. I showed her the young laddie who was on screen, platinum and blue hair this time, yammering away in his Irish accent about the latest in glitch modding which was lost on the two of us but not O'Hare who speaks back at the bloke in a feigned Irish accent of his own. I tell ya! It was so loud in there I had to close the door. I felt like I was at Temple Bar in Dublin with everyone shouting at each other over the pub noise.

I sighed, she left me for the quiet of her room at the back of the house where it be quite peaceful being away from the other bedrooms. I envy her.

As for Tonya, she's finished the boyo's candy Valentine they gave her and be working on mine. She told me she will be weighing in at a hefty 250 pounds soon.

"That's nice," I said, stealing a piece of candy. "I will have deaf sons, a reclusive mother and a pleasantly plumb wife. What more could I want except peace and quiet for a few hours."

"Give it up," she said, "you aren't getting that until they all leave the nest." She shoved the box at me and we sat there eating candy for the next hour. She won't be the only hefty weight in the house, I will be right there with her, only muffin top be me curse as you well know from a fudge episode YOU were responsible for.

Happy belated Valentine's Day Muse!

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

04 February, 2018

Dragon gifts me Mam, who horrified, gifts me!

04 February 2018

R. Linda:

To add to me frustration of trying to get anything around here done, me dragon lady mother-in-law landed off her broomstick at me front door. You don't know the pleasure I get at seeing her sneering face asking me snidely how I be doing. And each time I'd like to answer I was doing well until she appeared, but the wife be at me side, so I had to be nice speaking through me teeth how wonderful it was to see her. I could choke on me own bile when forced to be nice to the one woman in all the world who has made me her lifetime target for worse son-in-law on the planet.

After the trials and tribulations of putting up with me own Mam's antics I somehow found that the Irish do get lucky (on rare occasions) and was able to pawn me apple cheeked, grey-haired Mam off on the Dragon. This was Friday this happened. I needed to go into Boston for a meeting, and Tonya was at work, the kiddos all in school so that left you know who. As I slid me skinny self out the front door I wished them both a prosperous day. Me Mam caught on suddenly that I was leaving her alone with the Dragon. She asked me where I THOUGHT I was going. I told her the truth and shut the door. I chuckled to meself knowing she was none to happy, but hey after the coat incident (I know I be much too anal about that), it was her just desserts to spend the day with the wearisome dragon.

I laughed to meself all the way to Boston about how clever I was by not saying a word. I made me Mam think I had the whole day when in reality I had only the morning off. When I returned around 6:30 that evening, it was to a dragon lady very happy with herself and a Mam who looked rather too smug, which made me very nervous. What the two of them could have got them into such a self-satisfied mode of humour I had no clue. After dinner which was this:

I took me Mam aside and causally asked after her day.

"Well dere Gabriel, I haf sumtin' I wanna shoo ye." And almost covertly she lead me to me office. She flipped on the lights and waited. I didn't see anything different but then I did. On me book shelf was a face, a stone face. I looked at her in wonder and she explained that she and Dragon had tea and "crumpets" and afterwards decided (at least Dragon did) that they were bored, so Dragon suggested they go out. Mam tried her hardest to get Dragon out while she stayed home and prepared a game pie. That fell on deaf ears as Dragon offered to help when they came back. With no corner to run to me Mam sighed, got on her coat and off they went.

Now a side note here, me Mam likes moons, not the kind me sons whip out pulling down their pants at her, but any kind of statue or rendering of the moon she be all appreciative. We have moon art throughout the house like this:

Me Mam wanted to get home and not spend the day traipsing about small towns with Dragon. Dragon wanted to visit an antique shop and promised it would be their one and only stop since Mam seemed focused on making that game pie. Seems Mam embellished this story how the kiddos and me in particular, where hounding her for her Boxing Day Game Pie (in truth we weren't but it be a fav), and she must have been very convincing to get the Dragon to agree to one stop and one stop only.

She must have gone on and on about how put out she was, and how hard she works to help around the house and how she looks after the kiddos while the wife and I are at work, and how she does the laundry, tidies up the abode, cooks dinners and goodies, etc., none of which we have asked her to do. But she piled it on and somewhere in that black heart of Dragon's she actually felt sorry for me grey-haired apple cheeked little Mam. I tell ya the woman can be a real piece of work when she sets her mind to it, which by the by be all the time her mind is on THAT.

So in the antique shop (which be a rather large one), me Mam made well away for the 20 questions on everything in the shop that Dragon often subjects her to. Mam made off, or more like, sneaked off to another part of the shop. Dragon, feeling (as I said sorry for the little Mam) saw a moon face she thought to buy her to lift her spirits. So covertly she made her way to the counter, paid for the face, had it wrapped nicely and then took off after me wandering mother.

Once in the auto, Dragon lifts the heavy object from her shopping bag and not being able to hold it up  for long (because of the weight) gets it on me Mam's lap with a drop that almost crushed me Mam's thighs.

"Ock! Wot be dis?" Mam said trying to lift it off her pinned thighs.

"Open it!" Dragon demands all delighted.

"Well, ok but wot be it?"

"You'll see." Dragon said all happy with herself.

Mam ripped through the wrappings and when she saw the object d' art she went stone still. She couldn't find the words, for there in her lap was this heavy stone faced and I might add grim expression ancient colonial man. Yes, the head was in a moon shape but the rest of it was eerily familiar and if me Mam could have screamed "Get this thing off me NOW!" she would have. But knowing the Dragon was oblivious to what she had gifted her with, me polite Mam summoned the courage to say thank ye.

"I sense a hesitation Mrs. O. Is there a problem with my gift?"

"Uh noo, not exactly but wot do ye tink it be?" Me Mam was curious.

"Why a moon stone! Look it's the man in the moon." Dragon near shouted in glee. "I know you like moons so to boost your spirits I couldn't resist."

Well, me Mam could resist but she couldn't resist informing Dragon that what in reality she had bought her was a grave marker. Yup Dragon had bought a headstone! And Dragon was none too happy to know that. She suggested they go back inside and take it back and she'd tell the proprietor a thing or two for not telling her what she was purchasing.

Me Mam was of another mind entirely, no, she said, she wanted it because she thought it would make a wonderful addition to MY office! Dragon, appeased by that idea and all for it (of course she'd be) said all right and on the way home they Googled the piece since his name was on it. Yup, it was! Neither of them thought to go back in and ask WHY a grave marker was for sale in an antique shop. Neither thought it might be nice to return it to it's rightful dead owner, no it was better I should have it! I tell ya!

So when I saw it and knew instantly what it was me first question was WHY then it was where did she get it from and why was it on me office book shelf then I saw what book was placed next to it, Edgar Allan Poe's works! Getting no concrete answers to anything, eventually I got the story out of Dragon who told me she'd be offended if I got rid of it.

"Look at this way Gabe, it looks enough like you when you pass on to the great beyond we can use it to mark your ashes out in the backyard." She said this with a huge smile, yes she did, like this was no big deal, and wow Tonya would save a buck on a grave marker because now I had one! It could sit on the shelf watching over me until the day. Oh yeah, very nice sentiment. This has taught me NEVER to leave them both alone together. Here I was so smug with meself and now, hey I have a me grave marker which I never thought I'd see sitting on me book shelf while I be living!

Tonya, thinks its a hoot she does. She told me she looked it up (after minor concern we had a stolen headstone) and found it is a facsimile and thus ART. She be no better than the other two. AND the kiddos think it's great. It be me dog that comes into me office with sad eyes convinced I be departing this earth soon. It actually whines at me feet. So now I be creeped out. Here take a look-see.

Nice huh?
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

03 February, 2018

The Button-Down Shirt Caper

03 February 2018

R. Linda:

While we are on the subject of me mother, here be a blast from the past story-wise that be.

On discussing the "borrowing" of me new coat over tea yesterday afternoon (me day off), and with Tonya at work, we openly and at times, loudly expounded on the coat living for three days at Ben's house (Ben being me Mam's non-boyfriend).

"I noticed when he came to pick you up and before me coat figured in the equation," I began but she cut me off.

"Ock! Ar' ye goona start oop on dat agin?" She asked getting very Irish in her speech.

"Why yes I am." I replied holding a finger up for silence.

"I noticed," I got that far before she cut me off again.

"Ye goo on and on like yer beatin' on a dead cow ye ar'."

"Would you stop for just a minute? I be trying to tell you an observation on Ben I have."

She sat quietly not trusting I wouldn't go back to the coat fiasco.

"I noticed, that Ben wore a button-down shirt and it was buttoned." I sat smugly looking at her biting her lip.

"Wot ye gittin' at Gabriel spit it out would ya."

"Just that he knew his buttons on his collar needed to be buttoned and they were, unlike someone who went nearly two years oblivious to the fact one side of his collar was buttoned and the other was not."

"I see where yer gooin' wit dis."

"Yup, YOU were the culprit that for what two years was it? That YOU would button one side of Da's shirt and not the other, and HE not an observant man went off to work everyday with the one side buttoned look."

"Well, I wuz tryin' ta taach him a lesson, cor it took long enuff!"

"Yes, it did. I can still remember the day he finally discovered the truth. He came home red in the face that his boss's secretary had taken him aside and pointed out the discrepancy of his attire."

"Ooh he wuz nun too happy he wuzn't."

"Nope he wasn't. She had asked him how he managed to thread his tie though his collar, buttoning the one side and forgetting the other. Was it a fashion statement she wondered." I laughed at the memory and she looked very smug with herself.

"If I dint button his collar he'd a have both sides unfastened." She stated as if on a witness stand defending her bad self.

"Makes me wonder what else you are capable of that you do and we are not aware of the private japes going on in that steel trap mind of yours."

She narrowed her eyes at me which was a sure fire indication she was up to no good.

"Ah see there!" I said pointing at her.

"Wot?" She was acting all innocent like she had no clue what I was going on about.

"So what are you up to? Mixing cat food in with the hamburger meat? Making Bailey's whiskey cake when we are all at work and eating it yourself? " I threw those out just to get her attention. Then I hit her with the real magic acts going on. "Washing me socks with the towels so static cling makes for a fashion statement of me own, going to work with the bottoms of me trousers stuck to me ankles? Switching the two pictures in the hallway weekly, so we all think we are losing our minds? All that be you I suspect." I said watching her shoulders shake with laughter. Yes, she thinks all that gaslight treatment be funny. "You aren't careful I'll have you committed."

"Luck dey'd believe YOU when ye tell dem all dat an' dey loook at me all sweet and elderly." She quipped.

"Um hum."

"It wuz a new shirt obviously, so it was buttoned before he poot it on." She threw at me getting up ending the conversation.

She had brought the talk back to Ben and left me sitting there wondering what's next on her gaslight agenda. I tell ya the socks thing has me going. Every morning for a week the static cling they produce clamps me trousers to them like I be in a wind storm. For the life of me I can't release the trousers from the socks so I look like God knows what. All because SHE thinks it is funny.

Add to that we have two photographs of Ireland, hung as you come down the staircase. She made a big deal that the Cliffs of Moher should be at the upper part of the wall, and Kilkenny Castle on the lower. But just this morning the pictures are reversed. Yesterday, they were like they originally were hung, but weekly they switch. I'm not doing that, and Tonya isn't doing that and the kiddos could care less. I don't buy me Mam's suggestion the dog did it. Just giving you a little slice of what life with Mam be like.

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

02 February, 2018

The nerve I tell ya!

02 February 2018

R. Linda:

Me Mam has a man friend who lives down the road. She sees him at the general store and over time they have become friends. He'd like to be more than that, but after me Da, me Mam be shy of another relationship -- ever. The old fella respects this and so they have coffee once a week down at the store and he has been to the house to fix anything she needs repaired (because we know I be the furthest thing from Mr. Fixit).

Recently, she got an invitation to a dinner with a plus one which she didn't know what that was. I informed her she could bring a guest along if she wanted.

"Luck an' escort?" She asked.

"Yes, like that, it can be a woman friend as well." I said.

She thought about it and then reasoned her logic out loud more to see what me reaction might be methinks.

"Well . . . I could ask Ben, ya know Ben dat lives down da rood who fixed da dryer vent fer me."

"Oh yes, he's very nice." I said.

"Well . . . I could ask em' but I doont want em' ta git da wrong idea."

"What idea be that?"

"Well . . . dat I be interested in em' ya knoo." She was squirming a little.

"I think if you tell him you are invited to a dinner and you think he might like to come, because you have an extra invitation, and for fixing the dryer vent, and God knows what else will break and you'll have him down to fix it, so without saying how much you enjoy his company, so you don't give him THAT impression," she cut me off.

"Ay, ay," she hissed, "sum tymes ye doo goo on ya doo."

The dinner wasn't a formal one which was why I encouraged her to invite Ben. Ben be the furthest thing from an executive type. I doubt he owns a suit and tie, and if he did, I'd be very surprised. He's a good old boy as they refer to the casual, good hearted lumberjack types up here. I thought he'd be a perfect non-date since she enjoys his company and he enjoys hers. So she did ask him and he said yes.

The night he came to pick her up for the dinner, he was dressed in a new shirt (the creases from the wrapper where obvious bless his heart), and he had on a clean pair of dockers, not exactly what me Mam hoped for (she calls them old men pants) and the leather on his lumberjack-like boots was spit and polished. He looked fine except for the goose down vest. Yup the vest was his underpinning. There he was, hair combed, beard trimmed, bright and shinny, in clean clothes and there was that vest. It was the vest he wore everyday, it had tree sap stains on it and God knows what else. And it was a rusty orange colour from the dirt. It must have been one of those bright orange hunting vests when it was new, which might  have been forty years ago.

Mam was horrified but only I could tell knowing her so well. I was trying telepathically to tell her not to say anything, but that didn't work.

"Benjamin doont ye have a better coot?"

Ben looked down at his vest and was stunned that he didn't look as good as he thought. He stammered and sputtered and then said, why no this was it, but no one was going to see him in his vest so . .  .

I thought he had a point and foolishly said so, to which a dirty look was thrown me way by the little woman herself. She was not having it and because I made the mistake of voicing me opinion when it wasn't asked for, she went to the hall closet and got one of me coats for Ben to wear.

I was too much in shock to protest but she came trotting over and made him take his vest off and shrug into me rather nice cashmere half coat that Tonya had got me for Christmas. Stunned to silence I stood there watching her button him up and he was red in the face but complying. What be wrong with us men when a woman does the unthinkable, or in this case unthinkably surprising and we can't seem to utter a fecking word?

She began ushering him out the door and whispered to me that I had plenty of coats.

"But that be me Christmas coat," I whispered back at her, "why did it have to be THAT coat?"

"Oh hush now Gabriel, it be on loan fer one night what could happen ta it?"

What indeed?

I didn't tell the wife what happened to the Christmas present she was so proud of giving me. No, I kept that to meself and stayed up to await the two oldsters return so I'd get the coat in the closet before Tonya was wise to what had transpired.

Luckily Tonya went to bed so she didn't witness the fact that Ben dropped Mam off and gone on home. He knew he wasn't coming in for a night cap so he went on home instead WEARING ME COAT! Me new Christmas present coat that if Tonya found out, she'd never buy me anything again and worse she'd probably skin me alive to boot.

You're probably saying, "Gabe, just tell Tonya what happened." Problem be, me Mam would deny it was HER idea to lend Ben the coat. She'd convince Tonya it was MINE! I know the little woman she's cagey and can lie like a rug when it suits her purpose of self preservation.

I skirted around for three days without me coveted Christmas coat. Tonya noticed on day three it wasn't around to which I said it was in the cleaners.

"What already? What did you spill on it coffee?" She asked annoyed.

"Uh yeah." I said quickly moving off to make like I was busy.

As I passed by me Mam who heard that exchange I whispered for her to go get that coat today, not a moment later.

"Yer such a nancy about dat coot." She snipped at me.

"You'd be if Tonya was the one that gave it to you, and you know how much it cost I be sure. Probably got tobacco and sap stains all over it by now. He doesn't have another coat you heard him, so what's he been wearing these past few days, huh?"

Well, she did go fetch it, and thank goodness its back and it be no worse for the borrowed wear. I was not looking forward to going to work in that rusty used to be orange vest, I can tell ya that much I can. So I be breathing a sigh of relief on many counts you can be sure.

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

01 February, 2018

Who's That Crazy Lady?

01 February 2018

R. Linda:

We have new neighbours on down the road from us. They moved in recently and are settled enough to take in their surroundings. I be including me Mam as  one of those 'surroundings' because unknown to me Mam, she became the object of scrutiny and intense discussions with the newbies. Yes, she did and she did this all quite unaware of the entire situation.

We had one weekend that the temperatures listed towards the high side, enough warmth one could venture outside in a light jacket. That weekend me Mam decided it was spring-like and she got it into her head that she should begin to exercise the winter 'fat' (as she calls it) off by roller-blading down the road. Yes, for a woman who just turned 70 this be a wee bit of a shock to most people she'd get her ancient self on roller blades in the first place. I know the images of an oldster with a cane tooling down the road on roller blades be extremely hard to imagine, but well . . . she be a stubborn old bird and when she sets her mind (what's left of it) to doing something, there be no way to talk any sense into her not to do it.

Like ice skating if you don't clear the snow and ice chips off the pond you are want to skate into a bad patch and go flying on your keister. Well, same applies to asphalt if there be dirt or sand on it and you skate into that bad patch, more than a sore butt will result.

So she got out her skates (yes, she has a pair) and her helmet (yes, she's wise enough to protect the noggin) and off she set for the road. When she got there there was an inordinate amount of road sand (no road salt here) and that she could not have if she wanted to zoom down the road. She went back inside and got our big industrial broom and off she headed to the road to sweep. She swept the ENTIRE road from one end to the other.  Thankfully the road isn't that long otherwise she'd probably still be out there.

The only reason I know what she was doing is because Tonya had been outside walking the dog.

"Your mother is sweeping the road. Just so you know." She had smiled knowingly at me.

"What for?" I asked rather stunned.

"You should go ask her." Was the flippant reply.

"Maybe she got a part time job with the road department." I said brushing it off and going about me business.

Meanwhile, the new neighbours were coming home from their first shopping trip to the grocery store 45 minutes away. As they pulled into out street there was me Mam busily sweeping the sand to the sides of the road. Oh yeah they thought she was crazy, and couldn't understand why anyone in their right mind would go sweep a public thoroughfare.

About noon time she had it swept and ready and after a bite of lunch, and a bit of a rest, she donned helmet and blades and out she went. To say she looked like she was ready for Roller Derby would be an understatement. Elbow and shin guards, helmet . . . luckily she didn't have a cigarette dangling out of her mouth, and off she zoomed for a good 45 minutes up and down the swept road like she was in a race.

Meanwhile, the new neighbours were setting out again, this time to the local Home Depot over an hour away when they had to brake hard to keep from hitting her as she zoomed by their driveway entrance.

"Wasn't that the old woman who was sweeping the street?" The husband asked the wife.

"Sure was. What on earth is she doing now? She has to be a hundred if she's a day!"

Good thing me Mam didn't hear that.

"Well, she sure is fit I guess to be doing THAT." The husband said slowly pulling out as they both rubbernecked to see her reach the end of the road and with remarkable ease for a one hundred year old, I mean a 70 year old, make a turn on her heels basically and start back up the street at breakneck speed. They pulled over to let her pass and then slowly proceeded down the road as she made the other end and turned zooming by them with a wave. Tentatively they waved back and headed out.

It wasn't until this week I ran into the husband at the General Store. I introduced meself and welcomed him to our small 'hood' and after a while he felt at ease enough to ask me about the 'older woman' who lives with me.

"Oh, that be me Mam," I said, "when did you meet her?"

"We didn't, we saw her sweeping the road and then roller blading. She is quite good on those skates."

"Oh for sure she be, she is a crazy lady on blades," I said laughing and shaking me head.

"Eccentric." He smiled.

"You are being kind. When you saw her sweeping the road you had to wonder if you were living next door to a mental patient."

He grinned, "yeah kind of."

I told me Mam she was creating quite the reputation, she thinks its funny. The neighbours are probably peeking out their windows to see what she does next. I did tell her it was a good thing she was speedy on those blades, she'd out distance the man with the butterfly net had they called the men in the white coats.

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

28 January, 2018

You don't have to smoke it to get high - Case in point

28 February 2018

R. Linda:

The other night, me Mam, Tonya and meself were enjoying hot buttered whiskey after the  kiddos were put to bed. I had made a lovely fire and I had me green throw you made me covering Ton and meself. So we were very comfy. I was out of Jameson and the night was in the negatives, so I wasn't about to venture out to buy some. I made do with Bushmills not telling either that I switched out the whiskey. But me Mam knew and was teasing me about it, because for some reason Bushmills makes her giddy where Jameson does not. I made her two whiskey drinks that night and by the second she was off and running with the jests all directed at yours truly. So much for a cozy night in front of the fire!

"Remember da tyme ye went ta yer grandda's farm an he tole ye to git da sheep in an not only did ye git his sheep in, ya got da neighbours in too?" Mam said laughing thinking the whole episode was funny. "I kin still see da luck on yer grandda's face when he counted tirty sheep when he only had tweny-five." And more laughter.

This sort of thing went on for an hour and I was not enjoying the walk down memory lane because all her stories were of things I screwed up on. I was determined to get her back.

Amid the laughter from both women I said to me Mam, "Oh I remember when you had a memory loss that lasted two days."

"Wot?" She asked sitting up straight.

"Yee-ah, the time ye were dating me Da and he took ya on yer first date. He was being the big man and taking you to yer first concert in Belfast. It was some flower power group ye remember that? Oh wait a minute, you probably don't."

"What's this?" Tonya asked amused.

"SHE," I pointed at me Mam who looked a little uncomfortable for a change, "SHE went to a 1970s  concert not knowing who the band was she was going to see. The band was a free love and everything be just fine if yer smoking' pot kind of group, and if HER Mam and Da had known, she'd would have been grounded because they were considered a bunch of free luv druggies and some thought to throw in demonic. Any straight-laced Catholic wouldn't be seen at one of those venues. BUT, being young and naive and all struck with me Da she went! To be fair, she didn't know him that well so she had no idea his judgement was clouded. And it was in a dark theatre where she told me they could hardly see the band but for the black lights, and the music was so loud she lost her hearing for a week! Not the only thing she lost."

Tonya hooted at that thinking virginity and not what I was about to tell her.

"Anyway, she noticed everyone in the audience was smoking . . . and not cigarettes either. The roach clips were being passed back and forth and HER being a good Catholic girl abstained but me Da didn't. The concert became a blur because while she was not smoking, she was inhaling it."

Tonya and I laughed, Mam giggled, but I could see it was like she was hearing this story for the first time. And why? Because she couldn't remember most of it!

"So after the concert they get out in the street, and some fella comes up to them and says hi to me Mam, and she didn't know him, me Da didn't know him, and suddenly the guy realises wrong girl. So to save face he throws out his hand to me Mam, and says, "Hi I be sorry I taught ye were a girl I knoo, name Fiona. I'm Cillian." And me Mam (not because she be awestruck) said, "Hallo I be . . ." And she couldn't remember. And me future Da was no better he couldn't remember her name, nor his! The cannabis had wasted them both and they were clueless.

"To make matters worse, neither could remember what train they needed to take to Newry. As me Da told it he couldn't remember Newry! And me Mam (he said) was a bit better in that she knew they lived south of the city. Trains came and trains went and neither knew if they needed a train that went southwest or southeast. After about an hour of this, they went to a local tea shop to sober up neither truly knowing they weren't sober.

"They had several cuppas to no avail in the sobriety department and decided they'd both be in trouble as the hour was already late and they had better head somewhere at least. So the first train that came along was travelling southwest and lucky for them both that was the right train. Now it should be said the one train was one thing, but they needed a second one to get to Newry, at the time there was some work on the system so to get to Newry you needed to change trains. You see the problem? So when they got to the end of that train route, they were told to disembark it was the end of that line. Me Mam was getting a wee bit panicked, but they got off and looked at the list of towns on the board. Newly was right there, third from the top, but they didn't recognise it, I tell ya!

"After sitting on the waiting bench for 30 minutes, me Mam says, "I remember me name!" Me Da not satisfied with that said to her, "Ay, but what be mine?" This made her forget her own name again and she sat there in a near stupor and sadly said to him, "I dunt knoo."

"They had a wee bit of a heated discussion as to why they couldn't remember vital information when a constable of the law (making his rounds) came upon them. Well, they both had the idea they were high on "something," what exactly they were high on and how exactly they got high, they were not sure on that either. So when they saw the constable, they were suddenly mum for fear they'd be arrested for not knowing who they were and where they needed to go.

"Well, the constable saw they were sitting quietly so he went on his way. Now ya'd think if they at least had a town name they could ask the constable directions since the train station wasn't open. Only a schedule of trains and times was displayed on a board outside the place and a fat lot of good that does if ye don't know where yer going to.

"Three trains had come and gone and finally when the fourth one came, the two decided to get on as it was the last train south. On they went even though the sign said DUBLIN in big letters across the face when it pulled in, and off they tooled SOUTH. Even me sister Sheila who be topnotch in the cunning department and short on the smart department would have known Dublin was too far SOUTH and it was in the REPUBLIC! Bye d' bye UK of Northern Ireland.

"As they tooled on down the tracks they started to see things that looked familiar but could not agree that what one saw looked like "something" the other did not recognise, and vice-versa until it was too late, Newry faded off into the background and dark fields came into view which if you know the route from Belfast to Newry there aren't too much of those in the foreground, BUT if you travel from Newry south, oh yes there be lots of fields. It wasn't until they were seeing water (a great deal of it) they knew enough they were not in Newry but someplace else. Big city lights a few bridges over a river and much too much population to be anyplace but . . . say it with me kiddies . . . DUBLIN!

"It turned out to be quite an expensive trip and luckily if you are a resident of NI you don't need a passport to enter the Republic. So there they were. 2 a.m in the morning, nothing open, no one about the place, but by then they remembered their names AND where they lived. It was put by me Mam to me future Da she had to call her parents and tell them what had happened. His problem was he was responsible for taking her to a concert the parents didn't approve of, and that she was high on inhaling cannabis even though she did not smoke it. How to you put that into words without a consequence once uttered?

"Well, he called HIS parents instead as they be used to his wayward ways and THEY (brave souls they were) called HER parents and apologised profusely for their son's lack of brain use and told them that his Da was on his way to Dublin (the two being out of money) to carry them home. This was all done, and the truth of the consequence was me Da got off scot free because well, he's a guy and me Mam well she found herself looking at brochures for a nunnery!"

"Oh my," Tonya smiled amused, "but you didn't go to one quite obviously you're here."

"I did note. I wuz very profishinal, I stated da facts such as I could remember dem an ended up married ta Gabriel's Da . . . da troublemaker me own Mam called em' til' da day she oop an died." She was silent a moment and added, "An she wuz roight he wuz an still be."

"Ok Mam let's not get into THAT we know he's a bad man." I said laughing.

"Ye laugh now but ye wait until yer tree boyos get ta da "age" an' ye tell me how funny it be."

"Already it isn't funny," Tonya said, "just this morning I lectured Guido on not sassing his elders after he told me he wasn't going to take the trash out and he kicked at his brother's chair to emphasise his words nearly knocking him to the ground. I said as an after thought, "and be good to your brothers, so honour your father and mother and before I could finish my sentence he said, "yeah, yeah, yeah I shall not kill my brothers." I didn't find that funny.

"He be a smarty arse he be quoting scripture," Mam said laughing because she did find it funny.

If I could ground Mam for telling stories out of school and Guido for being a smartarse, I would. Wait a minute I can ground Guido! Geez you'd think I was inhaling weed.

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

17 January, 2018

Boy O Boy O Boy!

17 January 2018

R. Linda:

It snowed last night, and it snowed all day today and it's still snowing. That should make your day I be sure. Because it snowed the kiddos and Tonya had the day off but not so for meself, I had to trek on down to Boston. While I was gone, things were not uneventful as one might hope, and with three boyos things are always eventful.

Tonya had an ear ache so she was wanting to sleep but she couldn't for the housebound kiddos who were running through the place like it was an obstacle course. Me Mam finally got them in hand and told them to go out and do some sledding off the hill that goes towards the pond. Yes, she did say that forgetting there be a pond at the bottom, but luckily it be frozen so if they slid on out, they'd be okay, unless they started jumping up and down then well . . . Mam would be out there in a wetsuit fetching them from the freezing water.

Tonya and she were sitting in the front room sipping tea where they could keep an eye out on the rambunctious lot.

"Do ye have tree sleds fer da boyos now?" Me Mam asked Tonya.

"There are two, the two younger ones share. Guido puts his brother in front of him and guides the sled . . . usually." Tonya said thinking about that.

"Well, it lucks ta me lyck they haf' tree sleds it duz." Me Mam observed watching them.

And indeed they did! Tonya craned her neck to look, teacup in midair puzzled look on her face.

"Hum, that looks like . . . no cannot be but it does look like . . ." Tony's voiced trailed off in mid-sentence.

"Lyck wot?" Me Mam asked.

"Like . . . like . . . like the old cap to the septic tank." Tonya said. "Yes, that's what they have."

Well, as you can imagine what she said dawned on them both at the same time and putting teacups down with a clatter they both got up to go shout out the front door at the wee one who was having a splendid time sledding in the septic top. Last time I saw that thing, the septic guy had come and told us we needed a more heavy duty lid for the tank. This he brought and screwed on and the flimsy plastic lid he left nearby. I know it be all me fault that I was supposed to go out and remove the old lid, but I forgot. So it's been out there and well, I could see where it looked like a garbage bin lid and well . . . to a wee brain it was a great sled because the wee body fit perfectly in it. I can also remember the lid was none to clean. I'll leave it at that.

When they came in the wee one was taken by me Mam directly to the tub and that be that. I got a phone call from the wife of what occurred with orders that when I got home I was to remove the offending lid.

But that's not all that happened. The good news was I got out of work early so I got home around 4:40. While I had been driving home, the kiddos, refreshed from hot chocolate and home made hot cross buns (and a bath for one of them) got unruly again and were sent outside this time to make a snowman.

As I pulled into me garage, the three boyos greeted me from the backyard pleading with me to come see their snowman. They were quite proud of it, they had a carrot for the nose which they didn't need because the youngest crowned Mr. Snowman with his big bear hat and Mam had given them an old blue scarf to dress Mr. S up. So I walked up to him and admired him as a piece of great snow art. Then I noticed something amiss.

"Uh what's that?" I asked pointing to the bottom of the snowman. "Someone drop a couple of carrots?"

"Oh that," Guido pointed, "that's his wiener."

Ok then. This was the first snowman I'd ever seen with a wiener. Uh huh.

"Who's idea was that?" I asked looking at their cheery and proud faces.

"MINE!" The wee one piped up.

"No it wasn't, it was mine too." Guido said.

"And you O'Hare?" I asked the eldest.

"Biologically it is accurate." Says he.

Oh boy. While we were standing there me Mam came out to see what the fuss was about and to tell us Tonya was napping.

I sent the boyos inside, chiding them to keep the noise down, and saw Mam squinting her eyes at the snowman . . . snowbear.

"Nice job wouldn't you say?" I queried.

"Oh ay, very goud job." She said as I turned to leave, "But dey dropped tree carrots."

I turned back and saw her pointing at the wiener.

"No, the carrot is up there under the hat."

She looked at the carrot under the hat and then at the ones below and it sort of dawned on her, but she couldn't imagine what she was thinking was right.

"Yup they did." I said and took her stunned into silence self inside.

She's still sitting with brows knit sipping her tea as if she's not sure she's in the real world.

"Welcome to the world of boys," I said to her as I joined her.

"Ay, and I haf' one of me own an' he hasn't got rid of dat septic cap."

I looked at her and shook me head. I kept sipping me tea and well as time has gone by and she be mellow from her many cuppas, I still have not removed that lid and have no intentions of doing so until next spring. Anyway, I put the photo of the snowman below so you can marvel at the anatomically correct Mr. Snowbear.

I think thats one of Dragon's brooms he's holding
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16 January, 2018

It's a bird, no it's a plane, no it's a drone!

16 January 2018

R. Linda:

Just when you thought you've seen it all, you find you haven't. Case in point, this prior weekend I was invited to Cruella's place on the lake for an afternoon office party. Cruella usually has this excuse for mid-winter-after-the-holiday-stir-em'-up-for-enthusiastic-surge-into-the-New-Year, in Boston at a restaurant on the Wharf. This is her way of saying thank you for last years contributions to the news industry (oh making up all those fake stories is hard work! Yuk, yuk.), and here be to the coming news year that we all work even harder. These office gatherings go without a hitch and are nothing really to write about, but this year, THIS YEAR R. Linda, it be something to write about.

First the change of venue from Boston to Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire. The lake be a large one located in the Lakes Region where it be surrounded by beautiful scenery. There is Mt. Sunapee and Mt. Kearsage off in the distance, where at this time of year skiing abounds. The lake itself has a little village where in the summer there are a lot of those expensive old fashioned wooden cruiser boats called Chris Crafts. There are homes nestled in the surrounding hills, some summer, some year round, a condo or two placed in lovely settings, overall picturesque place and a home on the lake is a thing to covet. These are not log cabins, or those clapboard trailer-like cottages, no these are big, magnificent abodes with lots of glass windows overlooking lake and surrounding mountains. You get the idea.

Now why Cruella decided to host this gathering at her summer home, I have notta clue. I be guessing she wanted a change of instead of a dinner with a band and dancing, she'd opt for an afternoon of getting us out in the fresh air with things to do like for the ladies, there was a tour of a place that makes their own jellies, for the guys, clay pigeon shooting, for everyone tours of the lake on a mini yacht, and all afternoon luncheon foods galore, all you could stuff in your piehole. There were activities for the wee ones, pony riding on the trails, paint ball fun and games next to the closed tennis court, and generally all day baby-sitting so the parents could enjoy themselves.

I will say I thought she had thought of everything. Yes indeed I did, until our senior vice president of the company bought out his drone. He had one of those expensive models, an Inspire 2 Quadcopter with Cinema DNG for a pricey $6,000 R. Linda! It has super capability of high tech clarity when recording images from up above. It be his pride an joy, a Christmas present from his socialite wife! How fortunate you might say for him. Well, it was while it lasted. Oh but I get ahead of meself. Let me take you to the afternoon entertainments.

That weekend we had the January thaw, where the weather climbed from 12 degrees below, to a balmy 60 F. Everything was melting, making quite a river of water all over the place. The drive up to the lake was not without it's frustrations where the rivers had overflowed with ice jams and spread out onto the roads, which became fast running rivers on their own. Many detours but we all seemed to make it to Cruella's no real problems. Getting back? Not so much, but that's a story for another time.

We had got the younger kiddos into a game of paintball and dropped the eldest off at the pony barn because he saw a friend of his and they had opted for a woodland trail ride. Tonya and I went to the harbour for the lake tour, returning later to find, that the kiddos had switched activities and were happily romping in the back of the house in a game of tag. I opted for the banquet table while Tonya had a nibble and went off with Maureen for the jelly making. I was talked into skeet shooting by Patrick and Ms. Jaio of all people. Here is where things got interesting.

There were six men already shooting and we were chatting awaiting our turns when the big VP comes out of the house with his drone and a few cronies. They were just below us and Ms. Jaio instantly recognised (being a connoisseur of drones, of which she has a $250 model herself) the VP's new toy. Next, I found us standing with the cronies listening to our VP explain the great feats his drone be capable of.

It was around that time Patrick was called his turn at shooting clay pigeons and off he went while Ms. Jaio and I oohed and ahhed over the drone. The controls for the thing looked complicated to me, but not to Ms. Jaio, she was all about what it could do and the VP was quite impressed with her knowledge. Well, he started the thing up and on his laptop we could see the images the drone was transmitting as it slowly went up above the roof of the house (a three storied affair). With a quiet precision it started on down the hillside and the images coming back picked up the pony ride on one of the trails. The kiddos and ponies where completely unaware of the thing because it was pretty much silent. Then he careened it back up the hill and over the house so we could see the luncheon in full swing, up towards the tennis court where there were now adults playing paint ball, and around towards us with our faces looking up as he bought the thing down to rest gently on the winter lawn.

Impressive? You betcha! So impressive Ms. Jaio was salivating over it. Her drippy mess excited the enthusiasm of the VP who gave her the controls and told her to have a go. Well, I've never seen Ms. Jaio smile like she did, from ear to ear and up her nose. She was in drone heaven! She was very adept at the controls, she had the drone higher than the VP and she had it faster than the VP and she had it whizz this way and that and we were treated to a view of the surrounding real estate and even followed a car down the road as it made its way to the harbour.

I was asked if I wanted a turn and well, yes of course, I couldn't let the opportunity pass, it all looked so easy.

After a bumpy start I got the hang of it, but I did have trouble controlling it a wee bit. It reminded me of the small drone I had got Guido for his birthday that his mother drove into the pine tree tops never to be seen again. As that realisation struck I got shakier with the expensive drone, realising THAT and who it belonged too. I said I would bring it down and let someone else have a turn, but as I did it flew slightly left of the skeet shooters when suddenly there was a shot and the drone scattered into a thousand pieces out of the sky. A great shout went up from the skeet shooters with men pounding Patrick on the back that he "shot into smithereens whatever that was up there."

I stood as still as a statue watching this, me heart literally sinking to me stomach (a very strange feeling that), me eyes wide open along with me mouth. We of the drone patrol just stood their in shocked silence not able to speak, not able to move, but near tears! Well, Ms. Jaio was in tears. $6,000 blasted out of the sky with ME at the controls! Jaysus, Mary and Joseph!

I did utter the word, "bejaysus" and gulped as I willed meself to look at the VP. The heat in his face was rising, he was turning red with anger that was clear to yours truly. He lifted his hand and placed it on me upper arm and through pursed lips he said, "Not your fault Gabriel, you weren't near the skeets. The idiot who shot it down shot in our direction instead of the one he was supposed to. He did it on purpose it looked."

Uh oh. Patrick, I thought, oh me God Patrick did you really do that on purpose? Even worse, I was thinking I might have been too close to the skeet shooters, but the VP said not, and it was true, I could see it in slow mo, Patrick turning at someones urging to bring down the UFO. I had the drone behind the shooters, I remembered vaguely two men turning and looking up, one pointing, someone saying something about "spying" and the other laughing. Patrick was loading up his rifle, one of the men nudged him and pointed up, someone said something to Patrick and with infuriating slowness he lifted the rifle in the direction of the drone and then BLAM! I could still see all the pieces of the drone scattering skyward and earthward, coming down in a shower in the woods to me left. I could feel all over again that heart sinking feeling and see the anger on the VP's face.

Would Patrick have a job after this? I was feeling guilty though the VP and his cronies were right, I was never over the skeet field, but really? It was that I was at the controls. I thought to meself that Ms. Jaio would never have allowed that, she'd have been quick to pick up on the rifle turning in our direction, she would have whizzed that drone off in record time, probably bringing it back to clunk Patrick and instigators upside the head! But no, we are talking ME at the controls, slow witted to react to something I wasn't sure I was seeing at first, but when it sank in . . . too fecking late!

Well, we did try to pick up the pieces of which there were millions as the VP and one cronie walked with ill purpose toward Patrick and the skeet shooters. There was us picking up the debris field, and there was them shouting and waving arms around. We of the debris field slowly drifted back inside and watched from the safety of the windows the argy bargy going on. I could hear Patrick shouting, "I taught it were a pheasant!" And I thought that was a stupid idea, the thing wasn't as big or colourful as a pheasant. "Maibe a smulla burd lik a grous," Ms. Jaio whispered to me. Yes, a grouse would have been more like it or even a large starling, something smaller Patrick, I tried to send extrasensory messages his way.

Well, the gist of this sad but bizarre tale, is that Patrick still has his job and will pay the VP $4000 for the drone he destroyed. The other two who told him to do it, will be owing the VP $1000 each to make up the cost of a new one. As for me, I was patted on the back and told everything was settled, it wasn't me fault, blah, blah, blah. Which be a good thing because it wasn't really. Even Patrick reassured me the drone was to the left back over his shoulder not in the skeet field. I want to tell the VP that it was a dumb move on his part to fly the thing on the side of the house where they were shooting clay pigeons. Even dumber was me at the controls. Anyway, that was me eventful and guilt filled time at the annual Cruella shindig. After the drone affair at me own house, and now this, I doubt very much I will be investing in one, or trying out someone elses. As to Patrick, he be keeping a low profile, working his tail off to pay the VP back. And poor Ms. Jaio, she hasn't been right ever since. She even made a small shrine in her cubicle with a picture of the Inspire 2 Quadcopter with Cinema DNG. It was up for about an hour before Cruella came over and asked me what that smell was she was smelling from her office. I had sniffed the air and yes, I had been aware of the ordour, only I knew full well it was Chinese incense that Ms. Jaio had been burning at her drone altar. Well, Cruella made short work of that and the whole memorial be gone, but every time there is mention of a drone, Ms. Jaio loses it and the tears flow. I have tried being sympathetic, but Cruella does her Cher impression any time Ms. Jaio starts to tear-up, "Get over it!" she throws at her and what choice has Ms. Jaio but do smarten up until Cruella's back is turned. Then she sits as if in a stupor, tears in her eyes. You'd think it was HER drone that was blasted to smithereens. Geez techie types, I'll never understand them.

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09 January, 2018


09 January 2018

R. Linda:

Meant to post this Sunday night for you. I know how much you like to see me in subzero temps. Just one more thing, it be too cold to write any stories, LMAO. Anyhootie, below be the "warmer" temps compared to the double digit negatives we have been living through. Yup a virtual heatwave R. Linda!

You can guess which region I'm in from me teeth chattering
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

06 January, 2018


06 January 2018

R. Linda:

"Da, we are having a bomb cyclone," Guido said to me, pointing at the swirling and heavy snow fall outside the window.

"Nah, it is a bombogenesis." O'Hare, always the scientific smarty corrected.

"Pashaw, it be a snowicane." Me Mam piped up.

"Call it what it is a January Nor'easter." Tonya interjected.

"Em, no no, it be a blizzard fur sure." Cousin Sean announced.

"It be a snowicane they even named it Greyson." Me Mam countered.

"What happened to plain old fashioned snow storm?" I asked and they all gave me a "pssst."

Needless to say, none of us went anywhere 2 days ago. Tonya and Sean did take the kiddos out in the morning at the height of the howling winds to sled around the yard. A snowman was out of the question because rolling the white stuff was near impossible Tonya told me, because it would blow away. Meanwhile, me apple cheeked, grey haired little Mam was making hot cocoa from scratch and getting her fresh baked cookies out of the oven. I had gone into the front room and was watching the news, the weather news to be exact. I had turned the telly on just to have noise, but the first station that came on was a Boston one and they had pre-empted programming for the day to bring you LIVE and in person, the Bombogenesis! O'Hare would have been delighted to know he was right about what to call the swirling snow and winds that were currently freezing his fingers and toes off.

"Since when do we live broadcast typical New England weather?" I said to meself, clicking the channels to our local station. That station had cut into prior programming to update us that there was snow falling with hurricane force winds. No kidding? A glance out the window told me THAT. Geez. I flipped back to the Boston station, and there on me screen was a woman with huge pink ski goggles on her face, holding a microphone and telling me this bit of extraordinarily news that this was a "different" kind of storm. But I couldn't get over the goggles that covered half if not more of her face.

"Do you know how ridiculous you look dressed liked that?" I asked her under me breath. Not that I expected an answer but really?

"Ye talkin' ta da telly again are ye Gabriel?" Me sharp eared Mam called.

The kiddos came in with their adult snowmen, and they all peeled off outerwear completely covered in white crystals and sat down to the hot cocoa and cookies. I strolled in meself because well, I had been working hard critiquing the weather reporters.

It was an hour later I went back to watch the weather reports since that was the only thing on, and there was this male reporter also with goggles, a warm news parka braving the "bomb cyclone named Greyson," and I had to laugh. I be used to these studdly reporters dressed in a windbreaker, big flapping pants to catch the wind, out in the elements getting lashed by wind, rain, snow, sleet, ocean water, whatever be the serious weather of the day it need be broadcast live. I had to go get Sean to show him this guy dressed like Nanook of the North with GOGGLES. Here take a look see for yourself:

Maybe Boston stations can afford the heavy parka with goggles or in this case as Sean calls them -- googles!

Now I be used to THIS:

Pants flapping in the wind, light windbreaker, no googles or goggles, brave  man there. Notice this station calls it a nor'easter, blizzard with HURRICANE force winds, all bases covered!

Our local station, well this be New Hampshire and well, I guess we can't afford those heavy station parkas with logos plastered all over them and goggles, and certainly we have no burly macho types to stand out there like enthusiastic snow crazies in light flapping big pants and windbreakers, instead we have a nice young woman wearing her own jacket to do the weather report, and she was a lot easier on the eyes even if the wind and snow was pelting her face forcing her to pull faces.

Notice New Hampshire was calling this the January Nor'easter? No bombogenesis or Greyson's snowicane.

Meanwhile, out in me backyard, the bomb cyclone if you want to call it that, was whirling wind and snow all about the place and piling up here there and everywhere. The wind kept pushing the white fluff from one buffer to another:

Yup - not shovelling THAT!

We don't know our snow totals for the drifting of snow which in me mind qualifies the storm as a SNOWZILLA. Yes, I have me own terminology, why not get in on the act too? The winds have howled for three days consecutively and the furnace runs continuously because the temps have been in the double negatives which means me electric and heating bills are through the roof. I feel like me whole neighbourhood has been cycloned to Antarctica and bombed down in the centre of it. However, good news there be a heat wave coming, yup we are expecting to reach a balmy 24 degrees by mid-week. Uh huh. It be also me dreadful luck to have furniture the wife ordered arriving Tuesday which means I must get out there in subzero temps and shovel me arse off. I know you are happy about all this, but really the slow limping snow dance has got to stop there R. Linda. It be a new year so be kind because if me fingers fall off from frostbite, the blog will suffer until I learn to type with me toes!

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09 December, 2017

Cows in distress . . . or was it?

09 December 2017

R. Linda:

I've encountered another New England first. Yes, I have and while I felt like a bloody fool the night this "first" occurred, I have found I have lots of company that thought the same as me! Yes, indeed, I be not alone THIS time.

Last Tuesday evening around 9:30 I let the dog out and I was standing on the deck waiting (not really thinking of anything, but that I should have had a jacket on because it was rather chilly). I looked up at the cloudy sky realising there was to be no super moon viewing for this guy. No, the clouds had rolled in so no giant yellow moon looking like it was closer than usual. Yup, I was thinking that when I started to hear something nearby in the woods. It sounded like cows, not one or two, but a heard of cows. They sounded like they were in trouble, the mooing was very distressed it was, and I grew concerned until I realised I live in the middle of a forest and there are no cows. But it sounded like cows, and it sounded like something was amiss so I ran inside and got me Mam since Tonya was putting the kiddos to bed.

"Listen there." I instructed her as she (who had the good sense) shrugged into her coat.

"Ooh my," she said, "dat sounds like cows it duz. Due ye tink dey are got loose and are lost?"

"I wouldn't be surprised by the sounds but we have no cows around here."

"Ooh ay dere be down dat way on da Mass boder." And she pointed in a southerly direction.

Well, this be news to this Irishman, I was not aware there was a dairy farm nearby, but then I found out it is not nearby.

"Ay, dere be dat farm ye go by down where da Turners live." She said.

"Turners? They live way the hell down by the river, we aren't near there. We are like a million miles from there."

"Yer exaggerating dere Gabriel, not a million miles."

"Okay, you don't have to get exact on me, I be just saying they aren't close."

"Dose are definitely cows. Ye need to call 999."

"999 is it? Have you forgot where you be? You live in the United States of Trump or did you forget that? Though how you could forget THAT I don't know." I mumbled to meself.

"All right! 911 den, jus call and tell da constables wot you're hearin'."

"What WE are hearing." I said getting me phone out.  I was about to dial when a car pulled in me driveway. It was me neighbour next door. The mooing was loud and still going on. She got out asking me the ridiculous question if I could hear the noise. She is a selectman, so she was out looking for the "cows" but she couldn't see them from the road. They sounded like they were in the field behind me house, thus the visit. I got me torch and she got hers, and we both went down to the field and flashed it but nothing was there, but we could still here cows mooing.

Eventually the mooing sounds faded away to grunting sounds. Do cows grunt? Neither she nor me Mam knew the answer to that, but then the grunting faded and all was quiet. We Mam left us to go onto the town web page and it was lit up like a Christmas tree about the cows in the woods! Seems the entire town heard the cows and that encompasses a lot of area. How could that be everyone heard the cows at the same time, around 9:30 at night? Everyone thought the cows were in their yards and many, like me, went out to have a look around and nothing turned up. The next day the town over from us also had the same cow phenomena, but those citizens did us one better and called their local police (of which they have two to our one) and those two minions of the law went looking, but couldn't find the cows!

How was it possible that 23 miles of our little town and 6 miles of the other town, all heard the cow phenomena at the same time? How many cows were there? And with that much area there would have to have been a huge amount of distressed cows on the loose! How was it no one saw anything?

The next morning I took the wee one to pre-school and all the mother's and some dad's were hanging out at the front door with their coffees as they usually do. The talk was the COWS! Everyone in creation must have heard them, everyone but Tonya, who when Mam and I told her about cows in the woods, laughed and said we must be "tippling the Bailey's too much." Ha! Right you are Tonya, us and everyone in town. Geez!

Before we parents all dispersed, Charlie Baits showed up in his camo with huge mug of coffee. He was greeted as he always was, with "how's the huntin' Charlie?" and he laughed and said last night he wished he could hunt after dark.

"Hunt what cows?" One of the father's laughed. "You did hear the cows last night didn't ya Charlie?"

"Oh yeah I did. I would have loved to track down one of those bulls, I bet the rack was big from the sound of those grunts. Must of been two bulls I surmise each from another direction and those ladies they had to be west of the bulls calling like that. Was quite a sound show."

Well, we all stood there, jaws agape trying to figure out what the hell Charlie meant. Bulls? Racks? There were bulls in the woods with the cows? No way. Then by degrees it dawned on us when Charlie said, "Oh don't tell me you all thought those were dairy cows? Tell me as New Hampshire natives you've heard moose in rut. Oh come on now all of you, those were moose. Just ask Russell Jacks, he heard em' too. We were talking over our phones to each other when all that calling was going on."

Did we all feel dumb? Of course that  made more sense and Charlie and Russell would know being avid hunters. But one of us tried to pooh pooh that.

"Yeah but Charlie how could the folks here and in the next town over hear that?"

"When cows go into heat their calls ring out across the forest. Easy to hear. The bulls grunt in response and that was what that all was. You ever go outside at night and listen? It is stone quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Well, sounds carry in a forest more than you know. Come on, think about it moose in a forest make more sense than loose dairy cows." Charlie pointed out.

That cleared the great cow phenomena up quickly. Since Wednesday morning, there have been moose sited in the woods, no moo cows, just moose. Though me Mam still thinks it was cows. I was treated to a siting yesterday but still she refuses to believe me.

Right in our wood line, here be the proof, one cow moose taken through the screen window-- no way was I going out there.
Yes, yes that did make sense. Did we all feel foolish, you betcha! This is New Hampshire, moose country, why didn't one of us think of THAT? Goes to show how citified and transplanted most of our town is. The only native of the place was Charlie.

Everyone, with the moose sitings, have come over to Charlie's side, everyone but me grey haired, apple cheeked little Mam. She insists dairy cows were loose. No amount of explanation of a logical nature has so far prevailed.

"I don't know what your excuse is, I be from Ireland and we don't have moose, so really Mam?"

She just sits there over her cuppa mumbling how it all sounded like dairy cows. I can't let her get away with that, I have sent her sound clips of moose calling and rutting, and I know she knows now but she's too stubborn to admit it. Every time the subject comes up and I say moose, she corrects me with dairy cows.

Oh and to make you really happy, it be snowing. I know that will fill you with delight that we are about to get hit with 6" of the white stuff.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

30 November, 2017

Short Stories In A Life Made Chaotic By Circus Performers (of sorts) . . .

30 November 2017

R. Linda:

Big Tony and his lovely dragon lady wife came up for a visit. The visit had a purpose, it was called WE MADE A WILL AND THIS IS WHAT'S IN IT. Normally, the subject would be rather morbid and no one would want to discuss it but we had little choice. I offered to leave Tonya and her parents to discuss away while I took meself out and about, but no, I was to be included in said discussion.

Well R. Linda, it was like Barnum and Bailey had taken the floor, the circus came to town quite literally when we were joined by Bruno (Tonya's brother), his wife Jasmine, one of Tonya's sisters who is married to a guy referred to by everyone as THE Giordano. The other sister was not about the place because she's the smart one and one brother was doing his duty in Afghanistan.

So there we were, the usual suspects sans me Mam who had the good sense to be out and not anywhere in the house.

It started off all well and good that the kids of the Dragon couple would get equal shares of all the Dragons had accumulated throughout their lengthy life. But then it came to the house in Cape May, New Jersey and that too was to be split up evenly. But no, hold on, Tonya's sister who is married to THE Giordano pipes up she lived in that house the longest and so she should have a larger share. You could have heard a pin drop, yes indeed, everyone was gobsmacked. I, for one thought I wasn't hearing right and did mutter, "what?" Then everyone was looking at me! I shut me cake hole and pretended me coffee needed a refill and I took meself to the kitchen.

While in there me phone rang and I saw it was Weasil calling. I reluctantly picked up the call and he says, "Can you get fat eating nothing but hot dogs for a week?" And I hung up.

I reluctantly shuffled back in over a heated discussion on "entitlement" and the youngest or baby of the family thinking they were more special than the rest of the brothers and sisters, and oh me lord it was the family circus for sure.

I won't bore you with the gruesome details but after two hours of raised voices, tears, stomping around, throwing tantrums, it was sorted out. Me and THE Giordano were smart enough to say nothing, as we pretended we were spectators at the circus and not part of the show.

I was very thankful everyone had a plane to catch or someplace other than me abode to go, so when they all left it was like I had been holding me breath the entire time, and was finally able to exhale. I was alone in the kitchen unwinding when me Mam came in from wherever she had been.

"Wot's da motter?" Mam asked concerned. I guess me face betrayed the day I had. I wasn't about to go into it again, it wasn't worth me energy.

"Ok I need amusement, no clown hats though, I already live in a circus," I said with a sigh.

"Wot be the circus oop ta taday?" She asked, less concerned.

"They are bending over backwards doing tricks to make everything seem like they aren't part of a circus. The worst part of it is I feel like I be the audience watching the circus show, BUT they throw in audience participation and then I BE part of the circus show."


"Trust me, the big top was in town and parked in me living room . . . all afternoon!"

"Well, be it Dragon who's . . . "

"Oh yeah well she lives on another planet, and has a whole side show of her own. Half the time I think she's the carnival inside the circus because the circus stays stationary but the carnival which is Dragon, moves around a lot."

"Ooh my, sounds like ye need sumthin' stronger. We probably both due." Mam asked pouring us tea and eyeing the Baileys. "Ye should av' ad' da day I ad'."

"Why what happened?"

To make a long story short she offered to take our old neighbour to pick up his car at the mechanics. There was some problem with the starter so since she was in the area she offered the ride and he accepted.

Prior, me neighbour's dog was put down last month. He was 14 so quite old in dog years and he could not walk and his quality of life was nil. Though me neighbour said at his age (70+ years), laying around doing nothing sounded like bliss, but that's beside the point, the dog left this earthly place for doggy heaven. Anyway, they got to the mechanics to find a glitch was found with the starter and the mechanic needed to keep it another hour. Me Mam, having not much to do and certainly did not want to be around the abode with the Dragon family, offered the suggestion since it was near lunchtime, they go have a bite and by the time they finish his motor should be ready and they'd head back. Well, lunch was delightful, but for the call from the mechanic the part was ordered but would not be in until the next day.

On the way to dropping the neighbour off at his house, they were driving passed the veterinarian's and he asked if she could stop off so he could pick up the dog. She was thinking he lost his mind because he had the dog put down and looked at him askance but said, "sure."

"He won't make any mess of your seats or any noise. He'll play dead all the way home." The neighbour assured her as he went into the vets while she waited in the car.

Meanwhile, while she was waiting in the car and I was waving bye d' bye to the Dragon family, Weasil was texting me non-stop about dogs of another variety. I had ignored him for the most part, but as the Dragon limo was pulling out of me driveway, I saw it move over to let that infamous red Mustang by.

"Oh here comes your best bud," Tonya patted me arm and left me for the safety of the indoors while I stayed where I was watching the limo get back on the driveway and continue on and the Mustang roll closer. I could see the Weasil arm out the window waving at me and in the hand of the Weasil was a hot dog, one of those foot long dogs.

He got out of the car and bought in a tray of hot dogs with mustard and relish, a few with kraut, a bunch of icy Coke a' Colas and cheesy fries. I helped him bring it all in as he jabbered on about how he ended up at a hot dog emporium over Dunks, because Dunks had the audacity to not serve him a green donut.

Seems he had seen the advert, this one:

He even took this picture to prove that green donuts do exist!

And he, for some unknown reason had to have the green donut. BUT the Christmas donuts weren't available as of yet. What infuriated the Weasil was the Dunk's worker saying back at him through the speaker, "Green donut? We don't have green donuts."

His reply was, "Yessie yer do."

"No we donut." There was laughter coming through the speaker, than she said, "No, we do not."

"I drove me five miles outer me way fer dissy here donut." Says he. "I missed da turnie off and hadda drive all da way backie. So ten miles outer me way."

"Huh? I can't understand you." Says she with a snicker. "You have an accent with something else going on."

Oh yes he does!

So he gets frustrated and pulls into a parking place and goes inside where he can see for himself there is not a green donut in sight. As he comes out he sees across the street something called Bruster's and they are having a hot dog festival. Stressed as he is, he is of a mind that a "batch" of hot dogs, greasy cheesy fries and soft drinks would be the way to relieve his so far very tough day. I tell ya.

He takes himself across the road, orders up a "batch" of everything and then realises what he is about to consume might be fattening. And he's got a weeks worth of all of that heart attack food to eat on his own. Thus, the phone call to me!

As he gets to his car, there is a woman who is parked nearly on top of him. She has opened her driver side door and gone to the other side of her auto, and is rummaging around on the passenger side and he is standing there because he can't get to his passenger side to put the food inside the Mustang. She, is oblivious that he is patiently (if you can call it that) waiting for her to finish rummaging and coming around to get in her car, close her drivers side door so he can get into his passenger side and relieve himself of a ton of unhealthy food.

She came around eventually, as his fast food was getting fast cold, and when she sees him and realises by his facial expression he had been standing there for a while, she blurts out, "It figures, the one day I leave the door open . . . "

"Well geez lady, it's a parking lot," says he finally losing it. "Wot did ya expect!"

With a dirty look she got in her car and didn't wait for him to open his door, or even offer to help him since he had his arms full, no, instead she starts her motor up and pulls the hell out of Dodge. Just as he goes to open his door, another motor pulls in! So there he is waiting for that person to get out of their car so he can finally open his door and drop the stone cold fare on his passenger seat.

There you have it, how I came to be the lucky ducky who was forced to share cold hot dogs, and greasy cold cheesy fries with a watered down but very cold coke.

At least the circus (or I should say parts of it), headed down to Boston and the rest to New Jersey and parts unknown. I like that last . .  . I should move to parts unknown, where none of these circus performers including the ring master, one Weasil, can't find me.

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