This Ain’t No Dang Instagram

This is not Instagram, but an incredible simulation!

This past Sunday, with COVID’s permission, we had the entire family over to film another episode of Smitty’s Loose Change.  It was a delayed Easter, and an advance celebration of the great-grandson’s birthday, which is today.  (Oops!  Got my publishing dates mixed up.  It was yesterday.)

The culinary centerpiece was our version of a Black Forest cake.  Everybody eats – everybody helps.  Since the grand-daughter-in-law has come to love the base cake, and since it evades the grandson’s food allergies, she has learned to bake the spelt-flour/dark chocolate/mayonnaise cake.

The wife mixed up the whole-cherry sauce for it.  The grandson whipped the cream, fine-shredded a block of dark chocolate to sprinkle on it, and plated and served to everyone in the living room after dinner, while I wowed the crowd with my fantastic fork-work.

The daughter sent along some food for thought.

The grandson brought two 25 cent coins for my collection, from the East Caribbean States.  Canadian vending machines will reject American quarters because they are the wrong size and weight.  They cannot tell the difference between these and Canadian quarters though, which is how he got two of them in change.

The Grandson’s path from the bus stop to his housing complex, is along a community trail.  He spotted a piece of fluttering paper, and also brought a Nigerian 100 Naira note.  I did my usual money laundering, using warm water and liquid hand soap, getting rid of skin oils, dust, and COVID viruses.  Then I ironed it smooth and flat.  I have African bills from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and South Africa.  This was a welcome addition.

When I told the grandson that I had somehow lost the pictures of the stone cat for my The Year In Photos post, he riffled through his Smart phone, found them from 9 months ago, and emailed them to me again.  No excuses this time.  I claimed that I almost stepped on it, but the owner actually had it up on a porch railing, in the sun, much like a real cat.

At last, the star of the show, the closing act, the birthday boy himself, great-grandson, Rowan.  We thought that he might be getting Italian or Scottish red hair.  In a certain light, it seems that there is a slight, reddish cast to it, but in strong light, it shines a golden brown.  The women took another in, what apparently is going to become a tradition, a photo of four generations of males – me, the son, the grandson, and Rowan – showing how he develops, and the rest of us deteriorate, over the years.  😉

April, and this BEDA act, are rapidly drawing to a close.  Thanx for joining in the fun.  I’m going to slow down to my usual schedule again next week.  I have to!  One of the wheels on my walker has jammed.  😳

Journey Into Hell

Retail Therapy – And How To Avoid It

I wrote three years ago, about driving almost two hours – one hour of it in some of Canada’s worst traffic – and the two-hour, mirror, return trip, to obtain a vintage IBM Selectric, golf-ball typewriter.  It did not work.

The wife was going to contact a repair shop in Hamilton, which claimed that they could repair it.  We bought a metal typing table for it, at an office-goods recycling shop.

We did not contact the repair shop.
The typing table takes up a bit of the rapidly dwindling free space in the garage.
I put it on a craft table, between two storage bins, by the window in the computer room.
The cats love it.  They use it as a stepping stone to bask in the sunlight.
I own a vintage paper weight.
Anybody want it??  Free to a good home.  “Good” defined as one that will take it.

To Put It Another Way – II

Where, oh where did it all go wrong??  😕  I don’t know about all, but here are a few examples of Many a slip, twixt the ear and the lip.   😯

Pros
It seamingly permeates all of society – You seemingly don’t know one word from the other.

Leaving them so depended on others – That is dependent on knowing the correct word

The powerful engine enabled verticle takeoff – That’s just straight-up wrong.

They’d sell corpses to medical schools for extra mullah. – If they’d had a little extra moolah, they could have hired someone to teach them that a mullah is a Muslim teacher/priest.

A wisened runner – who should have wisened up to the fact the correct word, is wizened.

To shoe away pests at a campfire – now mosquitoes get free footwear as we shoo them away.

To unravel them aboard his dingy – He’s a bit dingy, if he doesn’t know it’s a dinghy

A car ran into a power pole guide-wire – Let me guide you to the phrase guy-wire.

Under the guides of friendship – Under the guise of correct usage, try again.

Computer litearate clerk needed – More than they realize.

He wrote the forward for the book – Looking back, he wrote the foreword.

The way ahead is wrought with danger – and it is fraught with pretentious misusage.

It would be wise to stick upon them – But I’d stock up on them

Black cats got a bad wrapwrap up that mistake and listen to some bad rap.

The idea sprung from the fact – I quickly sprang to correct that.

Technology could breach the gap – Shouldn’t it bridge the gap…. which is already a breach?

The plane was in the throws of destruction – I throws out the suggestion to use throes.

Amateurs

What word on this list reasonates with you? – The word resonates would, if it were there.

A copying mechanism to deal with problems – I’m not coping well with that spelling.

I conquer with Brian – You might conquer, if you were to concur.

It wreaks of scamming – Actually, it reeks of misusage.

I was working, went a high-pitched squeal…. – But when did it happen?

Should evoke a sign of relief from thinking people – I’m thinking that it should be a sigh of relief.

A starring wheel replacement – I’m steering you away from that.

A brain chokeful of grey cells – I choked, yelling that it was chock-full.

I hardly took a breath during my trade – which did not include the word tirade.

Hubby left a stinky thrown in the bathroom – I was thrown, until I realized she meant throne.

Therefor, he was wrong – but, Therefore is right

As I cantor up 9th Ave. – a Jewish singer tells me that it is canter.

It’s something we continue to carey with us – Drew says that it’s spelled carry.

The director when to the censor – I went to the Spellchecker.

Bible says not to ware mixed fabrics – so beware what you wear.

New Arkansas law to target instain mother who kill thier babbys.
Everything you’ve ever needed to know about rednecks.

A rouge motorhome ventured onto the track – That’s a huge mistake – both ways.

It chucks it up to illusion – I chalk it up to misusage.

She was ready to throw in the tile – Even before I wiped it with a towel.

He told a bold-faced lie – People with print programs haven’t heard of bald-faced lies

Anatomy Of Insomnia

If there’s no rest for the wicked, I must be evil, Evil, EVIL!  😈  If it isn’t one thing – it’s everything.

The wife normally goes to bed several hours before my dead-tired deadline.  She has sleep apnea, a CPAP machine, and a full-face mask.  Usually, it is whisper quiet, producing a soft, slight susurration of white noise that helps to quickly transport me to slumber-land.  Then, there are nights like….

4:55 am
I enter the bedroom, dispossess the cat sleeping at her feet, call the two Scotty dogs into the bedroom and up on the bed, and close the door to keep the cat out, and the dogs from getting into trouble.  I manage to wedge myself between the dogs, and finally doze off.

6:00 AM
The wife moves in her sleep, breaking the seal on her facemask, which begins to do an imitation of an tenor sax.
I burrow back into the pillow, determined to fall back to sleep.
Whether because of the instrumental, or the cat in the hall, one of the dogs uses my leg as a starting block, and leaps to the floor and whines.
My bladder insists that we’re getting up.

I stumble into the bathroom.  In the illumination of a small nightlight, I find a puddle of toilet paper on the floor.  The evicted cat likes to play with the rolls.  We have small plastic clips that prevent this, but the wife, in a semi-conscious state, apparently forgot to put it on.
I turn on the light to see, so that I can rewind it.
I’m now awake enough to realize I have twenty words that I want to add to a blog.
I step into the computer room and turn on the light.
As I’m typing, the cat marches back and forth in front of the monitor, leaps on my shoulder, and yells in my ear.  I add a prompt to a different blog draft.

With all this going on, the dogs leak out of the bedroom, and insist that they need to go outside for another leak.  I trudge downstairs, put them out, wait, and bring them in.
With the orchestra tuning up, there’s no sense going back upstairs.  Maybe I can doze off on the couch.  I toss a throw over me and get comfy…. And two dogs lick my face to find out why I’m not in bed.

A different cat who’s always looking for warmth, jumps up on me, and snuggles behind my knees.  Warm and somnolent again, we both try to go to sleep.
The computer-room cat walks across my chest and yells in my ear, to explain that he was trying to tell me upstairs, that he wanted to be fed.  Off the couch and to the cat food.

It’s now after 7:00 AM.  Perhaps I could lie back in the recliner.  Two dogs jump up and settle between my legs.  Warm and drowsy, I can feel sleep approaching.
The cold cat is now at the top of the stairs, complaining.  The dogs again use me as starting blocks to go find out why, rocking the recliner.
Soon, one dog returns, along with the cat, which cuddles into my crotch.  My mind is now racing with a theme for a 100-word Flash Fiction.

8:05 AM  The son arrives home from work.  Two humans, two dogs, and three cats create a combination of a three-ring circus, and a four-alarm fire.
Always bad, my memory is worse when I’m tired.  I had a great idea for the upcoming A 2021 Challenge, but have already forgotten it.  By 9:00 AM I have most of this post composed, but I have to have the wife to a 1:00 PM appointment.  We’ll be back up by eleven.  If you see a zombie shuffling past, it’s not looking for brains.  It’s just me, looking for mine, and hoping for my (early/extended) afternoon nap.

You Thought You Had A Shitty Job

According to Mental Floss, in the Victorian Era, ratteners would capture and sell rats to pubs where they were eaten by dogs and played with for entertainment.
Rats, I can’t believe I missed that “premium” entertainment!

The job disappeared when the internet made porn more universally available.  The word shrank down to ratter, and that task was taken by farm-cats, and digger-dogs like my two Scottish Terriers.

People in Medieval times were often given surnames based on their occupation.  The job, and the name, goes back far beyond the Victorian Era.  In both English and German, the spelling first became Rattner, then diminished to Ratner, like Brett Ratner, a Hollywood director, recently mired in a #MeToo and Time’s Up scandal.

Eventually some versions reduced to Radner, and to Radnor.  There is a Radnorshire in Wales.  This time the egg came before the chicken.  It was founded by a couple of English families who moved there to escape their cruel town and despicable occupation, to become farmers.

At the steel warehouse where I worked – long ago – the floor in the fabrication section was poured concrete, but in the actual metal storage area, it was flattened dirt, covered by pea gravel.  On one side, bundles of steel sheets formed stacks eight and nine feet high.

Rats got in, and would burrow under these stacks, occasionally causing one to collapse and tip over into its neighbor.  Righting one of these piles was a slow, somewhat dangerous task, often with product loss.

Nearby was a worker, a recent immigrant from Germany.  His job was to take bundles of 20 foot steel angles or flat bars, and use a large, gravity-fed, horizontal band-saw to cut them to smaller lengths, for fabrication.  Since the bundles might be fifty to a hundred pieces, each actual cut time could be ten to fifteen minutes.

During these un-busy periods, the company urged him to go through the storage area, spreading rat poison, and baiting and checking 15 or 20 big wooden rat traps.  He once proudly told me that he was the company ‘Rattenfanger,’ another German word for rat catcher.

After having to do this task twice, as a home project, https://archonsden.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/oh-rats/ .  I wouldn’t want to have to do it again.  I prefer capturing accolades.  Why don’t you stop by again in a couple of days, and bring some with you.  Remember, I prefer the butterscotch flavored ones.  😉

Flash Fiction # 269

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE

Ten in the bed, and the little one said, “Roll over!  Roll over.”
They all rolled over, and one fell out.

We started with a double bed.  I don’t like the word “Obese.” Good eating made us corpulent, so we bought a Queen-sized.

We had a dog, which was not allowed on the bed, then we got two puppies who were allowed up, but are no longer puppies.  Recently, a cold and lonely cat has added himself to the nightly pile.

There’s hardly room for my legs, and it’s almost impossible to roll over.  Somebody move, before I fall out.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #267

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

WHY IS A MOUSE WHEN IT SPINS?

Please ensure mind is in motion before engaging mouth.

I’m tryin’ to think, but nuthin’s happenin’!

Did I actually have my shit together in my youth, and only now is it coming unravelled quicker than a knitted sock the cat found?

Or was I always this spun, and I have just finally achieved clarity?

Old age is like waking from an epic drunk, on someone else’s couch.  It takes at least an hour for reality to come into sharp focus.

Do not operate heavy any equipment while under the influence.  Squirrel-brain is normal.  Afternoon naps are a proven effective treatment.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Humor With Balls

An old man walks into the barbershop for a shave and haircut, but he tells the barber he probably can’t get all of his whiskers off because his cheeks are wrinkled from age.

The barber gets a little wooden ball from a cup on the shelf and tells him to put it inside his cheek to spread out the skin.

When he’s finished, the old man tells the barber that was the cleanest shave he’s had in years.

But he wanted to know what would have happened If he had swallowed that little ball.

The barber replied, “Just bring it back in a couple of days like everyone else does.”

***

A cat shows up at the Pearly gates of heaven.
St. Peter says, “I know you! You were a very nice cat on earth and didn’t cause any trouble, so I want to offer a gift to you of one special thing you have always wanted.”
Cat: “Well, I did always long to own a nice satin pillow like my master had, so I could lie on it.”
St. Peter: “That’s easy. Granted. You shall have the satin pillow after you enter in.”

Next a group of mice appeared.
St. Peter: “Ah, I remember you! You were such good mice on earth.
You didn’t steal food from anyone’s house and never hurt other animals.
Therefore, I want to grant you one special wish you always wanted.”
The Chief Mouse replied, “Well, we always watched the children playing and saw them roller skate.
It was beautiful and it looked like so much fun. So can we each have some roller skates, please?”

St. Peter: “Granted. You shall have your wish.”
Next day, St. Peter is making rounds inside the Gates and sees the cat.
“Well, Cat…did you enjoy the satin pillow?”
Cat: “Oh, indeed I did. And say….that “Meals-on-Wheels” thing was a nice touch, too!”

***

Yesterday I was at my local COSTCO buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Biscuit, the Wonder Dog and was in the checkout line when woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had, an elephant? So since I’m retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again.

I added that I probably shouldn’t, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I’d lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry.

The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.

I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter’s ass and a car hit us both.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Costco won’t let me shop there anymore.

Another Near Cats-Ass-Trophe

Our beautiful boy was kidnapped.  Our beloved baby was snatched from us, causing 48+ hours of anxiety and worry, waiting for a ransom call for our feline hostage.

You’d think we’d know better.  You’d think that we’d learned from experience.  He wasn’t really kidnapped.  We ‘misplaced’ Mica, our oldest, and prettiest, Bengal cat.  The only time I left the house one night, was at 1 AM, to pick up the newspaper from the driveway.  I saw the cat perched on top of the humidifier, at 3 AM.  I say that it was the son’s fault.

I went to bed at 5 AM.  The night-shift-working son came home at 8 AM.  He says that he came in, locked the door as usual, and didn’t go out again.  It must have been me.  While we think that the cat is gorgeous, he has medical conditions that we dose him with four different medications for.

The son went to bed at 1 PM, which told me that it was time for me to get up.  I went to the kitchen and got juice and pills for the wife, and dropped a capsule in a shot-glass with a bit of cooking oil, for the cat.  I hold him, and the wife shoves the capsules down his throat.

I went back to the laundry room, where he has taken to sleeping on a pillow that now has to be washed.  He was not there.  Oh well, he’ll be back downstairs in the wicker basket on top of the storage cupboard.  He was not there.  I opened closets and cupboards.  He might be sleeping in the storage area under the stairs, where I can’t see.  He might have taken refuge behind the gas fireplace in the basement.  He might have climbed up on the suspended ceiling in the rec-room.

Two of his meds are to keep him from getting hyper.  Soon, he’ll be out, pacing and yowling.  By 7 PM we had to reluctantly admit that he’d somehow got outside.  He has no interest in the deck beyond the French doors.  One way or another, he must have got out the front door.

“Lost” cats remain around their home for a couple of days.  I put the wicker basket with a cat bed on the front porch.  “Put out something with your scent.”  The son added a pair of my socks from the laundry, and I shucked a sweaty tee shirt.

I put a water bowl and a plate of cat food beside it.  The wife felt that was a horrible idea.  Skunks…. and racoons…. and…. and…. hyenas will come to eat it and attack the cat.  The next morning, when the veterinarian suggested it and she authorized it, it was suddenly a great idea.

She even thought of a great addition to it.  Roll up the garage door a few inches – enough for a cat to get in, but not dogs or neighbor kids – and put food and water out there.  I got to check each door every five minutes quarter hour.  Now the list of chores begins.  Our pets are all micro-chipped, so call our vet.  Call the nearest animal hospital, in case someone brings him in.  Call the Humane Society and report him lost.  Use their online form to add a photo to the ‘Lost’ notification.  Get the daughter to put up a notification on Facebook and a couple of other social media sites.

The wife used the above photo to produce a “Lost Cat” poster, and printed a dozen copies.  With the help of the son and a roll of packing tape, we plastered 6 community mailboxes within a couple of blocks, and light poles at street corners.  Took a copy to the animal hospital.

Not only is he a handsome cat, but Bengals are expensive and valuable.  We were lucky to get ours at deep discounts.  Anyone who enticed him into their home might want to keep him.  The posters said that we loved and missed him and wanted him back.  They also added that he had health problems, and required medications.  Such a cat is far less likely to be kept.

All day, I wore a rut to the front and garage doors, checking.  I finally got to bed at 7:30 AM.  At noon, my first action was to open the front door to look.  I must have whipped it open a bit vigorously.  Something brownish streaked from the food dish, past the end of the garage.  Was that Mica??  I unthreateningly followed onto the common driveway with the other half of our semi.

Dogs are dumb enough to come if you call their name.  Cats…. not so much.  There I stood, like a fool, going, mrowr – mrowr – mrowr.  I looked all around, but couldn’t see him anywhere.  I got down on hands and knees, and looked under our car – Nothing.  I turned my head and looked under the neighbor’s car – and two bright eyes below two perky ears looked back – and answered, mrowr?  Mrowr?

I carefully backed toward the garage, constantly talking to him.  Slowly, he emerged, and slinked under the door.  I quickly went inside, and opened the inner door.  He’d skipped the food and water, and was sniffing at the junk along the far wall.  I sidled past him, pulled the cord to disengage the door, and pushed it down tight.  SAFE!!!  Now we have to undo all that we have done – call the vet’s, call the animal hospital, call Humane Society, get them to remove notification, pull down all the posters – I’m too busy stroking Mica.

Two days in the wilds of suburbia to get him all hyped up – two days without medication to take the edge off – he was a bit wound up.  After a couple of rounds of fresh food and water, we finally got him back on his meds cycle.  Always a bit stand-offish, for the first several days back he was never more than arms-length away.  Even now, he’s a far more sociable cat.