Roadkill

“The dog was chasing a squirrel and knocked me over…”

“Had to dive into a ditch as one of my elderly neighbors came careening around the corner in his Oldsmobuick Roadbastard…”

“Flashback to the war… No idea where the feeling came from, but i felt compelled to hit the dirt.”

Oh, it would be nice if i could use any of these as an excuse.  The reality is far more embarrassing.

“i tripped over my own right foot while walking my dog.”

i had to explain the creeping bloodstain on the leg of my khaki trousers this morning when i got to work.  Limping, of course.

It was just yesterday that i noted my knee was feeling good.  No residual pain from the basketball injury.  Hitting the gym very regularly, and back on my bicycle due to the early Spring weather, i have been feeling almost unbroken for the past two weeks.

Oops.

Just bruised.  Probably not serious damage.  But bleeding.  Since i was already at work,  i decided to try to wash away the bloodstains on my knee.  Mostly because everyone who saw me offered to go back to their office and try to locate their “Tide” stick*.  One helpful colleague offered me a squeeze bottle of carpet cleaner.

Clean up failed.  Leaving the restroom, my pants leg was blood-stained AND soaking wet.  A fashion statement that screams “Sexy AND professional”.

Once i got the bleeding stopped, and eventually got most of the body fluids out of my clothing, i realized it could have been much worse.

My dog had not yet unleashed his fecal missiles when i hit the pavement.  i’d braced myself during the fall with my right hand — which was NOT loaded with a plastic bag full of dog poo.  And my wrist didn’t snap.  Also a good thing.

What did my loyal canine life partner do when i unexpectedly dropped to ground level during our morning walk?  Wagged his tail, came over and licked my head!  He thought i was playing.

The true beauty of this animal is that his favorite thing is whatever he happens to be doing at the moment.  As charming as this is, it also makes him pretty useless in a crisis.  i should probably reconsider that alarm system

* Proctor and Gamble corporation makes one of the coolest damn things ever.  “Tide Sticks” are instant stain removers.  Useful for food and beverage spills.  Blood?  Not so much…. Unless they now make a version for serial killers.

Double Surprise Package

i’ve been gone for more of the month of December than i’ve been home. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s left me a bit more disorganized than usual.  Re-entry is a balance of art and science, and i needed to hit it hard to stay on track.

i’m pretty efficient when it comes to travel – including take offs and landings. Arriving home around 10pm Monday night, i was able to dump the contents of two suitcases, play with the critters, and do preliminary triage on a large stack of mail waiting for me on the table — and get myself to bed by 11pm.  Re-entry should be a fast, surgical strike to allow the rapid return to normal schedules and routines!

Amongst the shrapnel awaiting me?  Three “Missed Delivery” tags from FedEx.  Whatever was being delivered required a signature.  Hmmm… Hadn’t ordered anything lately, so i was pretty curious about what could be in the package.  If it requires a signature?  That usually means wine!

Did my darling sister in Florida send me an unexpected Christmas gift?

Back at work on Tuesday, i hit the gym with Studley.  In the spirit of making the re-entry process quick and efficient, i suggested that we could grab lunch at a sushi place south of town afterwards – and swing by the FedEx distribution center to find out the contents of the mystery package.

FedEx Woman #1: Hi! What can I do for you today?

daisyfae: i’m here to pick up a package – hoping my dear sister in Florida shipped her little sis some alcohol for Christmas!

FedEx Woman #1: Well, that’s a good sister!

daisyfae: Yes! At the moment, we love her very much!

As the clerk went back to extract the box from the warehouse, the second clerk asked Studley if she could help him.

Studley: No, I’m just here as her Package Sherpa – to do the heavy lifting!

FedEx Woman #2: Well, where’s your umbrella? Didn’t you notice it’s raining out there?

daisyfae: Ha! She’s right! All the other Sherpas bring umbrellas. Sherpa FAIL!

As we were horsing around with FedEx Woman #2, FedEx Woman #1 returns with the box.

FedEx Woman #1: This isn’t really all that heavy. Pretty sure there’s no wine in there…

daisyfae [checking label]: Well damn. i wonder what the hell she sent?

As i checked the return address, it was from some designer label store in Oregon. Didn’t recognize it. And then noticed something else.

daisyfae: Oh, shit! This isn’t even for me! It’s addressed to the people who used to live in my condo! Crap!

FedEx Woman #1: Well I guess we’re not loving our sister so much anymore!

image found here

Bird brain

For over 20 years, i was part of a close-knit technical community.  Seeing the same faces at meeting after meeting, conference after conference, friendships (as well as a few adversarial relationships) formed.  

Attending a round of drunken debauchery workshop in New Orleans a few years back, my pod of Dawg Boyz was doing our very best to support the local bar-based economy. 

Two colleagues, Charles and Greg, were avid bird watchers, and trying their best to call it a night to allow an early start to their birding adventure the next morning. Being one of the more emotionally mature folks at the table, i taunted them for being big pussies and wimping out.  

Greg:  But we’re going to be getting up at 4:00 am!  We can’t stay for another round.

daisyfae:  Aw, c’mon, you big stinkin’ baby.  You’re acting like a girl!  

Charles:  You don’t understand – this is quite serious business, and we need our sleep.

daisyfae:  Right.  Looking at birds is extraordinarily taxing.  How hard can it be?

Invariably they stayed a little longer – but only after i took the bait, and agreed to join them in the hotel lobby at 4:30 am to get schooled in the fine art of birding. And i did.

As it turns out, much of the ‘early’ was necessary to support their ritualistic search for coffee and donuts prior to the actual bird watching.  The drive to Lake Pontchartrain took another 45 minutes. 

i was still drunk from the night before napping in the back seat, while they drank their coffee and gnawed on donuts.   We entered the wildlife area, and i perked up a bit, attempting to pay attention and not welch on the bet. 

Parking and wandering down a few paths, we sat quietly and waited.  Charles kept making this annoying “pishing” sound – some sort of bird call.  Eventually, as the sun was just rising, they got quietly excited, looking here and there through binoculars.

Charles:  Pretty sure that’s a juvenile Wooble Nibbler*.  Can you see the tail markings?

Greg:  No, but it looks to me like a female Amber Bock*.

They tried to teach me.  i tried to listen and learn.  But it just wasn’t my bag…

As we were driving back, they continued to try to explain the joy they found in “collecting” birds.

daisyfae:  But you’re not really “collecting” them.  You’re just looking at the bits and parts of the bird and identifying it.  i don’t get it.  In my world, it ain’t collecting unless you bag ‘em and tag ‘em, then either put a carcass in the freezer or hang it on the wall!

It was pretty clear that this would be my first, and last, bird watching venture with them.  And that was fine with everyone in the rental car. 

Passing an old shed along the one-lane road, i nearly jumped out of the window.

daisyfae:  Hey, stop the car!  Did you see that?  Back in the weeds next to that garage!

Charles mashed the brakes, and i rolled down the window, squinting in the morning light.

daisyfae:  There it is!  Looks like an old flat-fender Willys Jeep!  Back up so i can see the grill and doors – need to figure out if it was a military or civvie… Jesus, i don’t think i’ve ever seen one un-restored in the wild!

* not actual birds, of course, but i obviously was paying no attention at this point.  The buzz was wearing off, and the hangover settling in, and i was thinking about my coffee still sitting in the cup holder back in the car…

Bicycle built for “Ewwww”

After an aborted bicycle* ride this afternoon, exploiting another weekend of indian summer weather, i was contemplating taking out the motorcycle for another cruise to nowhere.

We returned my wounded bike to the garage.  i asked my bicycle buddy, Studly McRocklegs - who is also my motorcycle buddy – to stick around a couple of minutes to make sure i could get the motorcycle to start.  A couple of tries, a little choke here, a little choke there, and he** coughed to life.

Straddling the crotchety old bastard***, i wanted to make sure he got a good warm up, and wouldn’t stall out on me.  As i revved the throttle, i put on a silly performance for Studly – pretending to be riding that motorized bronco for a bit of self pleasure.

i could barely hear him bust out laughing over the sound of the engine, but followed his glance to the doorway from the garage that leads to my kitchen.  Where my daughter was taking in my performance – displaying a look of the most abject horror i’ve ever seen.

Ya know, i didn’t think it was possible.  But i have discovered yet another way to traumatize my children…

pic found here

* Flat tire – about 8 1/2 miles into a planned 20 mile bike ride.  Oops.  We tried to replace the inner tube, but decided that timing-wise it might work out ok if Studly rode back to the car, and i walked the 2 miles back toward a place we could meet up for lunch.  Worked out ok, but i need to get my fucking bike fixed… Turns out, walking in bike shoes is not particularly pleasant.  Punishment for not performing proper maintenance on my non-motorized two-wheeled friend…

** Motorcycle.  Not Studly.

*** Motorcycle.  Not Studly.

the key to anger management

Unlike most post-vacation trauma, my re-absorption into the daily grind was pretty painless this time.  i’ve maintained a remarkable mellow state of mind, despite flights and airports and stupid, cranky travel people all around me.  My daughter noticed that i’m substantially less irritable.

That was until i made a trek to my pool earlier this week.  The pool is a nice place to just vegetate, when not infested with the Yappy Broads, or the Whiney Family.  Returning from an easy bike ride after work, my bike buddy and i noted that the pool was deserted, and it might be a good time for a splash.

Changing quickly, we walked the short distance down the road, and i put my key in the door.  The lock didn’t turn.  Trying several more times, i jiggled the knob* to no avail.

daisyfae:  Those motherfuckers have changed the lock while i was gone!  Son of a fucking geriatric bitch, they’ve changed the locks without notice!

i went off, in a big way.  Ranting about the Pool Nazis, part of the Condo Association board that frequently gets on my nerves, i was infuriated that they could change the locks without notice, or providing new keys.  Given the control tactics executed over parking and using the proper color of stain on exterior decks, it shouldn’t have surprised me.  The pool had been far more crowded this year, and perhaps they had decided keys had been leaked to the unwashed masses.

Not taking this well, i decided we were going to climb the fence and have a swim anyway.  Sending my bike buddy over the spiked wrought iron fence first**, i held his beer as he hoisted himself over the top, and climbed down the other side.  He was able to go through the clubhouse building, and let me in the front.

Still angry, we had a nice splash in the pool, while i continued to spew vile commentary about the uptight pig-fuckers that manage the association.  Spitting beer into the water, it felt good to defile it.  Oh, the angry phone call the bastards would get first thing Friday morning!  As i ranted and splashed, a couple of teenagers came through the door.  Apparently they’d been issued new keys. 

RAWR!

Shortly thereafter, one of the elderfucks also came through the door.  This is the guy i think is in charge of the non-existent newsletter – which hasn’t been distributed since his Radio Shack TRS-80 computer went on the fritz about a year ago.  Wasting no time, i confronted him as politely as i could.

daisyfae:  When did they change the lock for the clubhouse?  My key no longer works.

Elderfuck [looking confused]:  I don’t know.  I had to get a new key a few weeks ago because I’d lost mine.  I hadn’t heard about the locks being changed.

Still cranky, we finished up the swim and headed out.  As i left, i decided to try the lock once more.  It worked perfectly.

Oops.  Never mind…

* No.  Not like that.

** Because he has longer legs.  And i’m not stupid, even when enraged…