Patsy Porco

Archive for December, 2016|Monthly archive page

Happy New Year from Beyond!

In 2017, Humor on December 31, 2016 at 11:45 pm

My sister and my niece are on vacation in Scotland, where the New Year is rung in five hours before it is in Connecticut, where I live. So, while it’s 2017 there, it’s still 2016 here.

She just sent me a Facebook message:

My sister: I’m speaking to you from the future. We are 4 hours into 2017. We are allowed to send one message. Happy New Year. 
Me: You used your one message for me?! I’m so honored! Are things much different in 2017? I can only imagine.



Holiday Activities

In Humor on December 29, 2016 at 6:29 pm

My husband just came home from work. I met him at the door and asked him what he wanted for dinner, and if he wanted to go out tonight.

He answered, “I just got home. Let me decompose for a minute.”

“Decompose?” I asked. “Don’t you mean decompress?”

He took off his coat and hung it up. “No,” he responded.

I put on my coat and went out to buy some air freshener.


Two-Hundred-and-Thirty-Eight Dollars

In Humor on December 29, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Back in the day, when I worked in the radio industry, talk-show hosts would compile a reel-to-reel tape of shows that they had done throughout the year, which they called their “Best of” reel (e.g., “The Best of the Tom Jerry Show”), and during the last week of the year, the radio station would play one show a day. The shows were rarely their best, but the hosts just wanted their voices on the air during their vacation week. In the spirit of the “Best of” week, I’m rerunning some of my old blog posts. In my case, I think they really are my best ones. This one was published six years ago, so only my hardcore fans have read it. It’s been searched for, via Google, over the years, so I think people like it. I hope you do, too.

It all started in the middle of the night. A bag of bread, which was on our kitchen table when we went to bed, had been relocated to a kitchen chair and half-eaten when we awoke the next morning.

Being the brave rodent hunters that we are, we immediately summoned an exterminator. The guy showed up, said, “You’ve got mice,” put out some bait and said, “That will be $238. You have a four-month guarantee.” Then he told me to plug up areas under the sink with steel wool and ended with, “Call us in a month if you see any more activity.”

“Two-hundred and thirty eight dollars for bait?” my husband and I asked each other … after the guy left, of course. We didn’t want to look cheap. “We could have bought bait for a lot less than that,” my husband noted. What made the deal worse was that we were really only getting a three-month guarantee since we had to observe “activity” for a month before calling in reinforcements.

Of course we saw activity during the exterminator’s grace period. I was greeted every morning by black rice-sized excrement that I had to sweep up before I served my son his breakfast. One morning, I had to sweep up a dead field mouse. The problem seemed to be over at that point and we all forgot about it. Then, one morning, my husband found a gnawed banana on a dining room chair. The fruit bowl was on the dining room table, so something had dragged it down onto the chair before eating it.

Once again, we called the exterminator. A different guy showed up this time—their “wildlife expert”—and he told us that we still had mice, and that he had seen “activity” in the basement. So, he re-baited the traps. He then pointed out additional gaps that I had to fill. He told me that steel wool wasn’t good enough and that I had to buy foam insulation that turned hard once it was sprayed into crevices, and that I had to fill every hole with it. I told my husband what he said and my husband asked why we had to do the work when we were paying the exterminating company. I told him that the exterminator obviously had his limits as to what he would do for $238. Then I headed out to buy the foam insulation.

The next day, despite the insulation, the invader had again visited our dining room, where he took an apple from the fruit bowl, carried it into the kitchen, and nibbled on it under the kitchen cabinets. When my husband asked why in the world I had left anything edible out, I told him that we were trapping an animal, and this particular animal liked fruit, so of course I would leave fruit out.  He just shook his head and threw out the fruit that was still left in the bowl.

Later that day, on a walk with our dog, I spotted a cache of acorns at the base of an oak tree. I scooped up about thirty or forty and put them in a bag for my friend who likes acorns. When I got home, I put the bag on the dining room table. The next morning, the acorns were gone. The bag was still there, ripped to shreds, but the nuts were nowhere to be found. My husband and son claimed that they knew nothing about the acorns and even insinuated that the acorns were never there in the first place. If it weren’t for the ripped-up bag, I might have believed them.

Later that night, the dog started sniffing around the base of the stove. I peered under the stove and saw an acorn. I knew that whatever happened next wasn’t going to be good. My husband had the good fortune to be at work, so my son and I pulled out the stove. What we saw was horrifying: a real-live rat’s nest comprising a mass of insulation and steel wool, and piles of acorns, dog food, and excrement … plus a measuring cup, a stick of gum, and a Frisbee. It was like the Borrowers had moved in. As we stared in horror at the mess—while holding the stove in mid-air—the mess moved. Slowly, a very large, very black rat emerged from the piles.

We almost dropped the stove. Then the rat ambled over to a hole behind the stove and disappeared. The rest happened in a blur. We pulled the stove all the way out and started cleaning up the nest. After a large trash bag was filled with the detritus, we had to clean up the hole, which was crammed with acorns and steel wool, which made us wonder how the rat had gotten through the hole in the first place. Then the scouring and disinfecting began.

The next day, the head exterminator came and pulled out all the stops. He apologized for his team’s botching of the job and told us that he wouldn’t charge us the rat extermination fee. Apparently the $238 only covered putting out mice bait and making us do all the grunt work. He put out spring traps that could catch a horse and told us to call him after the weekend was over. We were supposed to, once again, observe “activity,” and if necessary, “finish the rat off” with a hammer if he got caught in a trap and didn’t die. T0 hell with that. We put the dog in the kennel, packed bags, and moved into a hotel. The rat won. He could have the house.

On Monday morning, after dropping our son off at school, we called the head exterminator and told him that we’d meet him at our home. We all crept into the kitchen, not knowing what we would encounter. Thankfully, the rat had met his maker, down in the basement. The exterminator offered to show us the dead object of our terror. I declined, but my husband reasoned that it couldn’t bother us now, so he looked. He later told me that the rat was bigger than his foot. After disposing of the rat, the exterminator returned and re-set traps. He also told us that we needed to have a “cement guy” reinforce our foundation so that nothing else could venture inside.

Wouldn’t you think that we would have done that immediately? Nah, spring seems soon enough. We still have a few months left on our four-month guarantee. We want to get our 238 dollars’ worth.dollars-in-bunches

Merry Christmas Season

In Christmas, Humor, Religion on December 28, 2016 at 11:09 pm

This was originally published in December 2015. If you didn’t read it a year ago, then, as NBC used to say about its reruns, “It’s new to you!”

As our pastor, Rev. Michael Boccaccio, points out every year, “Christmas is not a day, it’s a season.” The Christmas season traditionally starts on Christmas Day and ends on the Feast of the Epiphany (or Little Christmas in some parts of the world), which is on January 6, the day the Wise Men showed up at the stable in Bethlehem.

Partridge in a Pear TreeFather Boccaccio told us that, in the Catholic Church, the Christmas season officially draws to a close on the day that Jesus was baptized. That date varies from year to year, and can extend to January 15 or so. He insists that no Christmas trees or decorations can be taken down until that day. He threatens to make surprise visits to our homes to check that our decorations are still up after January 1, but we all know that he won’t visit, just like he knows that our trees and holly will be long gone before the middle of January.

But back to the Epiphany and the Wise Men: I’ve always had a problem with that story. Mary and Joseph were on their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for Emperor Augustus’ mandatory census when Jesus was born. Penalties for disobeying the emperor were undoubtedly stiff back then, so I imagine Joseph bundled Mary and Jesus up shortly after Jesus’ birth and hustled them out of the stable and off to the census bureau.

I don’t see them staying in a stable for 12 days. And even if the landlord did let them linger awhile, it probably took those Wise Men from the general area known as “the East” longer than 12 days to get there. They were following a star, and stars are only visible at night, so they would have had to have taken the days off to wait for nightfall … and to shop for gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

nativity_Depending on how far east they were, it could have taken them months, or years. But, if they were only a few miles east, they could have made it in time, star notwithstanding. However, nobody knows where they started from. I’ve heard stories that they showed up at Mary and Joseph’s house when Jesus was a toddler. Then again, the accepted story is that they were definitely at the stable at the same time that Jesus and His parents were.

This reminds me of David Sedaris’ story about the six to eight black men who accompany Santa on his rounds in Holland. Sedaris wondered why no one had gotten an accurate count over several centuries. I personally wonder why the whole Wise Men story is so vague, when the other details of Jesus’ birth were documented so clearly. A visiting priest to our parish complicated the story further by saying that there was no mention of three Wise Men in the Bible; only three gifts were noted. That means that any number of Wise Men could have been there bearing three gifts. Or maybe only the three best gifts were recorded, and the Diaper Genie and bottle sterilizer were left out.

Here’s another question I have: Why is the revised end of the Christmas season on the day of Jesus’ baptism — which occurred 30 years or so after His birth? I suppose the Church is playing it safe using that date, since The Wise Men had to have arrived within three decades.

However, if we use that logic, Father Boccaccio will make us keep our trees up year-round.

Wise Men


Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? Does Anybody Really Care?

In Humor on December 28, 2016 at 4:12 pm

If it weren’t for my pill organizer, I wouldn’t have any idea what day it is.pill-organizer

My company’s office has been closed since December 23, but we’re still supposed to put in two days of work from home before the office opens again on January 2. Sixteen hours of work should, in theory, be easy to fulfill in ten days.

However, the days have sped by in a flurry of holiday activity and now that things have calmed down, I can’t seem to get out of my pajamas until the sun sets.

Luckily for me, I don’t have to get dressed in order to work from home … or go to Walmart, where my satin, leopard-print ensemble fits right in.



(Credit to Chicago for the title of this post.)

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