Patsy Porco

Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

A Truly Awful Play

In Humor on September 23, 2017 at 9:38 pm

I took my husband to a play at one of our town libraries today. We met up with one of my friends, Kathi, and her friend, Dave.

Kathi and I, along with some other friends, had been to a play there a few years ago.  The play was performed by a traveling acting company. The actors were from New York and we live in Connecticut, and I think that’s as far as they travel. That play was based on a Nora Ephron book, I think. The scenery was bare bones, but it was really well done.

Today’s play, Marriage is Murder, was also put on by a traveling group. It might be the same group as before. If so, their standards have slipped drastically.

There were three actors today. One of them was a woman, dressed in black, who came on stage between scenes and cleared up all of the props used in the previous scene. She made exasperated faces and hunched over like she was carrying a load of rocks instead of papers and sweaters. She was the comic relief, and she was very funny.

The other two actors, a man and a woman, played ex-spouses who were trying to write another murder-mystery novel together. They had attained some success earlier in their lives with their mystery character, and they wondered if they could do it again … without killing each other.

The man was really good. His acting was terrific and believable and, most importantly, he knew his lines.

The woman was truly terrible. Her acting was over the top. She sneered, grimaced, and mugged. And she didn’t know any of her lines. She knew the general outline of the play, and that was it. Her lines were posted on every flat surface on the stage: on an ironing board, on the lid of a box of chocolates, on her martini glass. And she still flubbed them. On a number of occasions, she just stopped talking and looked at the script to see what came next.

It was horrible. Awful. Terrible. My head was aching when I got there and the pain escalated throughout the six — yes six! — scenes. The running joke was that the spouses wanted to kill each other.

I was pulling for the husband.

 

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Thank You, Rudy

In dogs, Pet Death, pets on August 30, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Rudy1Our beautiful Golden Retriever, Rudy, died two weeks ago. I didn’t think I’d be able to write about it because of how devastated we were, and still are, but I want him to be remembered in writing.

Until you own a pet, you don’t realize how hopelessly intertwined their lives become with yours. Every happy, joyful, thrilling, depressing, sad, dispiriting, and even mundane moment of your family’s life is shared by your pet, who contributes to your responses with joy, compassion, or equal boredom. When that pet is no longer with you, there’s a void in your lives and a gaping hole in your family unit.

My parents had black Labrador Retrievers from my teen years on. I never really noticed them, other than as peripheral beings who would lie around or occasionally swim in our pond. I know that my father considered Sam to be his dog, and my mother considered Chaka to be her dog. I’m not sure who Licorice, our first dog, belonged to. I was a teenager when we got her, and too self-involved to notice what was going on around me.

Rudy5My husband, son, and I have had only had one dog, Rudy. He had a personality as big as the house. He was so joyful that you couldn’t help but laugh at his big, drooly grin. Right up to the day he died, my young-adult son would say, “I love his face! Look at his smile!”

We really should have named him Joy. But he had other sides, too, and some were uncannily human-like. For instance, when I talked to him, he would cock his head sideways, like he was really considering what I was saying. When he saw me drinking wine, he would bark and bark so that my husband would notice. When my husband would say, “She’s allowed to drink,” Rudy would snort in disgust and walk away.

He disapproved of many things, so there was a lot of huffing and puffing from him. He didn’t like when I told him he couldn’t have what I was eating. He especially didn’t like when I stayed up too late, according to his timetable. He would bark and bark, and then my husband would yell, “Shuuuuut Uuuuup!” Then Rudy would snort and throw himself down on the rug at my feet. He would also be sure to give me the side eye while I continued reading or watching TV.

Rudy16Rudy was also very conniving. If he was outside and barked to come in, I would open the back door. Then, he’d just stand there. If I didn’t offer him something he wanted to eat, he refused to come in. However, if I closed the door on him, he’d start barking again to come in. Sometimes, if I got too close to him with whatever food I was bribing him with, he’d grab the food and run off like a burglar. We had to admit that he was clever to make us bribe him to do something he wanted to do, like come in.

We had an inkling from the day we got him, when he was barely eight weeks old, that our lives were going to get interesting. Of course he was terrified. We had just taken him from his six siblings and parents. We understood that. So, we tried not to react when he walked into our house and emptied his bowels on our new dining room rug.

Rudy8

Rudy in his homemade “Thundershirt.”

Our patience was sorely tested over the next year, however. He chewed baseboards, ate whole flip flops, and dug up our new carpets like they were dirt. He was terrified of fireworks, thunderstorms, and even rain. We learned that the hard way. One day, we left him alone and when we came home during a thunderstorm, he was happily sitting among endless curls of our new Berber carpet that he had dug up. When he was afraid, he would dig, no matter where he was.

He was also an escape artist. If the front door was open even a sliver, he’d dash out and run all over the neighborhood, behind houses, across busy streets, and onto lawns. I spent many a midnight running behind our neighbors homes, praying that they wouldn’t wake up and call the police. If it had happened to snow, the game level increased. He’d roll and jump and let me get almost close enough to grab him, and then take off.

Rudy2I remember telling a friend that the first months were exhausting, with all of the chasing and crying. “Why was Rudy crying?” she asked. “He wasn’t,” I said. “I was.” Racing up and down streets in my robe in the middle of the night was harrowing.

Rudy put my son through the same paces on their daytime walks. He learned to slip his collar and take off. No matter what kind of collar we put on him, he’d learn to escape from it. There were so many times that my son came home from walks cursing and sweating and dragging Rudy up the front steps.

But, we were always able to laugh, after the urge to kill wore off. Rudy was just so full of life and joy that it was contagious. We were able to forgive him for anything, even the times he pulled the leash out of our hands and dove into the nearest mud puddle or muddy brook at the park. At least those horrifying incidents made for good pictures. And, he always resignedly accepted his fate of being hauled to the dog-washing place.

Rudy13Rudy got bathed or hosed down a lot in the summer because, like all Retrievers, he loved to swim. He’d swim until the end of time, if we let him. We would take him to the dock of a nearby river, or to a nearby dog park at a lake, and he’d fetch balls in the water with all of the other dogs. Playing fetch combined with swimming was his idea of the best life had to offer, not counting food, of course.

Rudy3Rudy had another side, too. He was compassionate to the bone. If any of us were sick, depressed, or upset, he’d be right by that person’s side for as long as it took. He was so loyal that it touched our hearts. When we were sad, he was sad right along with us. If one of us were depressed, he’d lick and lick and lick our faces, letting us know that he loved us.

The day before he died, he was as lively as ever. He had slowed down a little, but not much. He was nine and would be 10 on Halloween. He and I had gone out back and played fetch, and then he dug and ate grass while I weeded my garden. Then, we went back inside and my husband and I left for the movies at 6:30 p.m. Our son was at work. When we came home, around 10, our son was home. I asked him where Rudy was. He said he had just gotten home and he had called Rudy, with no response. That was odd. Rudy was always waiting for us by the front door. As soon as he heard our car pull up, he would bark his head off.

I looked all around the house, and then went to the basement. Rudy was huddled in the dark. He had been sick. We cleaned him and the floor and then tried to get him to come upstairs. He refused, so my son decided to sleep on the basement couch, next to him.

Rudy18The next morning, we discovered that Rudy had been sick several times. We tried to comfort him and tell him he’d be okay. At one point, he demanded to go out back. We let him out. He never came back in.

Our son had to leave for work in the early afternoon, but before he left, he and I tried to get Rudy to the car to see the emergency vet. It was Sunday, and our regular vet’s office was closed. Rudy was very large and weighed more than 100 lbs. We couldn’t lift him, so we dragged him to a sled and got him on it. We planned to drag the sled to the car. Rudy was very weak, but he mustered his strength, stood up, and went back to where he had been lying. We tried again, with the same results. We decided that he wanted to stay home to recover. Our son left for work.

Rudy glassesMy husband and I took turns sitting with him. We truly thought Rudy was just sick and would recover. We knew that he was really sick, though. He had such little strength that, when he lifted his head to drink from his bowl, he couldn’t get his head out of the bowl.

I will be forever grateful that we kept a vigil with him during his last hours. After I sat with him, and told him that he’d be fine, that he was the most wonderful dog in the world, and that we loved him, I went inside and my husband sat with him. When my son got home from work and rushed out back to see Rudy, Rudy looked at him, convulsed, and died. He was waiting to see us all before he left us.

Rudy in poolThe shock was indescribable. The grief was awful. But we had to focus. Flies were landing on him and we had to do something quickly. We wrapped him in his vinyl blow-up pool, and dug his grave. We read that the grave should be at least three feet deep to keep animals from digging him up.

It was late afternoon and the sun would be setting soon. We dug and dug and, about two feet down, hit solid rock. We could dig no further. The sun was now lower in the sky. We could either find another place to dig or use the grave we had dug. Our yard is not an easy place to dig. We had encountered thick tree roots, vines, and rocks, that had to be cut or dug up, after almost every shovelful of dirt was removed. We didn’t know if our digging would be any easier if we started over someplace else.

We decided to use the shallow grave we had dug. We gently lowered him into the hole and covered him with dirt and rose petals from our rose bush. Our son drove to the hardware store and got topsoil and heavy rectangles of sod. We cried and cried as we covered him with more dirt, and then the sod.

Rudy4When we were finished, I walked across the sod to pat it down and made a horrible discovery. I could feel Rudy’s body under the sod. Oh my God. I was walking on his head.

It was dark by then, though, so we decided to wait until morning to do anything else. We placed the sled on top of him, to deter animals (As if that would work. We obviously weren’t thinking clearly at the time).

The next day, I cautiously approached his burial site. Thank God no animals had moved the sled or tried to dig him up. I lifted the sled. I walked on his grave. I could still feel him. It was a really terrible situation.

Our son went back to the store and bought more dirt and more sod. We piled sod on top of sod, on top of sod. This is not the recommended method for sodding a lawn. We didn’t care. We reasoned that, eventually, the first one or two layers would settle around him and then the top layers would lie flat.

That’s what we’re hoping. Meanwhile, there’s an unexpected mound in the middle of the grass. At least he’s safe.

We love you, Rudy. Thank you for nine wonderful years.

Rudy20

 

Three Rotting Bananas

In baking, Humor on August 12, 2017 at 12:13 am

I don’t like to cook. I do it, but I don’t enjoy it –– or attain a trance-like state while I chop, slice, and dice, like a friend of mine does.

“Chopping vegetables is so relaxing,” she told me a few years ago. To this day I don’t know if she was being serious, or lying to see my reaction. I just told her she was nuts.

Chopping onions burns my eyes. When I peel carrots, I always wind up peeling the skin off my index finger. Grating cheese always involves grating my fingernail along with the cheese, and then sifting through the pile of cheese to find the nail shavings. I now polish my nails bright colors so they’re easy to spot.

Most of all, I dread having to locate the necessary spices, because when I open the above-my-head spice cabinet, an avalanche of spice bottles roll out and fall into the sink, scaring both me and the dog.

By the time I manage to get whatever I’m making onto the stove or into the oven, the counters are littered with peelings, eggshells, onion skins, meat wrappers, and dirty pots, pans, bowls, and measuring cups. And the dog is underfoot, licking up whatever hit the floor.

As much as I dislike cooking, I thought I liked baking. Tonight’s attempt at making banana bread made me realize that I was thinking of someone else, maybe one of those cake experts on the Cooking Channel.

It all started with three bananas that were so ripe that they were going to liquefy if I didn’t do something with them fast. For as long as I’ve been alive, whenever someone complains that his or her bananas are brown, another person never fails to say in a perky voice, “Make banana bread!”

Up until today, I’ve always thrown out brown bananas (and steered clear of people who make upbeat pronouncements), because baking with putrid fruit never seemed honest. But, tonight, I decided to reconsider the ethical question of disguising rotten fruit as a loaf cake.

I looked up banana bread recipes and they all called for bananas that were well past the eating stage. Some of the recipes even gave instructions for transforming  perfectly nice bananas into sludge. All of the recipes demanded that the bananas be very brown, very soft, and very aromatic.

So, I made banana bread. The process was just as annoying as cooking, and easily as messy. Flour-drenched counters, a sugar-coated Golden Retriever, sticky bowls, and caramelized beaters awaited me once I slid the pan into the oven. It took me three hours to make one loaf pan of banana bread, not including the baking time. I blame the butter.

Who knew it took hours to bring butter down to room temperature? The recipe said to soften it naturally and not expedite the process with the microwave or hot water. Don’t you think that should have been mentioned right under the title, in all capital letters? But no, the author waited until I had mashed the bananas with sour cream and vanilla, mixed the dry ingredients, and tripped over the dog before mentioning that room-temperature butter had to be beaten with sugar.

Oh well. It’s done now. I have no idea if it’s any good. Nor will I ever know. I hate banana bread. I’ll probably freeze it, and one day when I can’t identify what it is, I’ll toss it in the trash.

Next time, I’m throwing out the brown bananas.

banana bread

 

 

 

Plant Sex

In Humor, Sex on August 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Sex confuses me. Not human sex. My husband and I have a son, so we figured out the basics on that.

Not animal sex, either … except for those species that reproduce without a mate, through parthenogenesis, also known as virgin birth. That’s just crazy.

Plant sex, however, is beyond my understanding, even though I took a botany course in college. What I mainly remember from that class is getting accused of smoking pot with other students during our break. We were smoking a plant, but it was the tobacco plant, not the marijuana plant. (This was in the 1980s when smoking was allowed in the hallways. Ashtrays were outside of every classroom.  Oh, the good old days, when everyone wasn’t so uptight.)

I also recall learning that there are female and male plants. There are also some plants that have both male and female flowers. Then there are plants with perfect, or bisexual, flowers (perfect = bisexual? There’s food for thought), containing both male and female organs. Bees, insects, birds, bats, or the wind take pollen from the male and deposit it in the female. Regardless of what kind of flowers a plant has, in order for a vegetable (called fruit) to grow from the flower, plant sex must occur.

I have a friend whose asparagus plants weren’t producing vegetables. She researched the subject and discovered that the male plants and female plants weren’t getting together. She then instructed her husband to take a Q-Tip and rub it inside all of the plants’ flowers. His hand-pollination worked. She got asparagus. The irony is that she couldn’t pick the vegetables that her husband helped create because you have to let those plants mature for a few years before harvesting them. The bottom line was that they bought their asparagus that year.

I once heard a priest tell us that his mother always wanted peony bushes along both sides of her front walkway. His father dutifully planted peonies. While the plants flourished, no flowers appeared. His mother figured out that the males and females weren’t mixing it up, so his father dug up every other plant on each side of the walk and moved them each to the opposite side. The next year, there were flowers. (I think the lack of flowers had to do with how they were planted, but I kept mum when I saw him.)

This year, I’m faced with a similar situation with my eggplant plant. It has lovely purple flowers, but no fruit (vegetable, actually). I looked up eggplants and found that they have perfect (bisexual) flowers, containing both male and female organs. Even though they have all they need to produce fruit, there’s still a chance that they could use a little help. (Really? You just know that the male part won’t put down the remote for even one second.) Therefore, humans need to use a fine brush, a Q-Tip, or his/her breath to get things stirring … but sex is most fruitful between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. Occasionally, afternoon nookie works, too.

So, if I want to grow eggplants, I’m going to have to get up early and assist in eggplant sex. Apparently, even bisexuals don’t have sex all the time.

eggplant 1

Ode to July

In Humor, Summer on July 20, 2017 at 11:32 pm

 

sunflowers

 

 

fireworksI wait all year for you to show

And when you do, my heart’s aglow

I wear few clothes, but just enough

To hide the cellulite and stuff.

 

 

hotdogs

 

Your days are long and hot and funbeach

The water’s warm from all the sun

We swim, we picnic, we yell at raccoons

Who knock over our trashcans under the moon.

 

raccoon

 

Rudy and Otto 4

Every day in July is a gift from aboveflip flops

There’s so much to do and so much to love

Swimming, sunbathing, water sports

Baseball, hotdogs, flip-flops, shorts.

 

 

yankees

 

Growing a garden, eating outsidesunset

Cutting fresh flowers, avoiding riptides

Biking, ice cream, watching the sunset

Kids, pets, adults … all soaking wet.

 

 

watermelon

 

ice-cream-cone-1274894_960_720As long as it is, with its 31 days

It still goes by fast, in a sun-drenched haze

So, don’t bitch to me about the heat

Or I’ll kick you with my sunburned feet.

 

 

feet

 

All photos were free/royalty-free from Pixabay.

Dog Justice

In dogs, Humor, pets on July 7, 2017 at 9:07 pm

If you have a dog (or cat or bird or reptile) or know someone who does, chances are one of you is going to ask a friend or relative to pet-sit while you go away for a few days. It’s a summertime ritual. It’s hard to say no to a friend or relative. It’s damn near impossible when you have a pet of your own. The first thing you think is, “Great! Now I know who to ask when I need a pet-sitter.”

That was our selfish thought last night when we agreed to watch our nephew’s Pit Bull puppy for a few days (after thinking that we wanted to help him out, of course). Otto arrived this afternoon. He is such a sweet dog. I got my lifetime’s allotment of puppy kisses within an hour of meeting him. It’s such a shame that some of these dogs are trained to be vicious. They’re very sweet and affectionate by nature.

Rudy & Otto 3Anyway, Otto and our huge Golden Retriever, Rudy, went crazy when they met each other. At first we thought they were trying to kill each other, but no. They were just over-excited and overjoyed. Once we calmed them down, they followed each other around for hours. When my nephew left, Otto had a moment of sadness. He ran to the window and watched my nephew go. Then he forgot why he was sad and went to find Rudy.

Otto and Rudy explored the whole house and the backyard. They got in Rudy’s pool together. They chased each other around and wrestled. They had treats together. They became buddies.

Then, at some point, Rudy realized that Otto wasn’t leaving. He had had enough of sharing me with another dog. So, Rudy decided to complain at the top of his lungs for hours on end. The barking became unbearable. Our yelling at him to stop barking probably became unbearable to our neighbors. We tried separating them, but they kept crashing through doors to reach each other. Then Rudy would start complaining again.

Otto got the idea that Rudy wanted him gone, so he started whimpering. Then he changed his tactic and decided to hump Rudy when Rudy was lying down. Rudy let out a rebel yell and we had to hold him back so he wouldn’t flatten Otto. Both dogs have been neutered, so the failed attempt at humping was Otto trying to show Rudy who was boss. Unfortunately for Otto, it isn’t him.

Dinnertime rolled around. Both dogs had their own food in their own bowls. Both dogs decided to eat each other’s dinner. Rudy ordinarily refuses to eat any dog food other than his brand. Today, however, Otto’s brand of kibble was the one thing in the entire world that he wanted with all of his heart.

After they ate, they ran out back and jumped in Rudy’s pool. Then they ran inside, rudy and otto 1dripping wet. Then they did it again. And again. The floors became pools themselves. The dogs skidded across the wooden planks as they flew from room to room.

My nephew had told us that Otto needed to be walked three times a day. Rudy loves walks but we have a fenced-in yard, so they’re not absolutely necessary. And Rudy never gets more than one walk a day. When it was time for Otto’s afternoon walk, I was the only person home, and there was no way that I was going to walk them both together. So, I took Otto out by himself. The look of betrayal on Rudy’s face was heartbreaking. When we got back, Rudy decided to make Otto pay. He followed Otto around, barking at him to go home.

I kept telling Rudy to be nice to Otto because Otto missed his daddy. Rudy barked at me and I knew exactly what he was saying, “Well, get him the hell out of here and give him back to his daddy.”

It’s going to be a long weekend. But at least we have a relative who owes us a pet-sitting.

 

 

All that Glitters …

In Humor on June 28, 2017 at 4:48 pm

My last post about body paint led several people to alert me to new bedazzling trends that are popular at summer festivals and on Instagram. If the crude terms for body parts offend you, please don’t glitter-bomb the messenger.

Click on the photos for the original articles.

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 4.27.38 PM

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 4.35.41 PM

I personally wouldn’t apply decals and sparkly paint to my chest, but I can see the usefulness of applying glitter to your bottom; it would cover a multitude of imperfections.

A similar effect could be obtained by sitting in the sand after being in the water. Just don’t brush it off like you usually do. When you eventually shower, the sand will wash off. The same can’t be said for glitter.

Existential Gardening and Body Paint

In gardening, Humor on June 26, 2017 at 6:58 pm

I spent the last four days gardening. Gardening doesn’t involve a lot of mental work so I had lots of time to think as I dug holes, stuck plants into the ground, plucked weeds, and battled termites that were living in a bag of mulch.

One of the things I contemplated was: Who decides what’s attractive and not attractive, desirable or undesirable? Why are weeds things to be destroyed when there are some flowers, which we pay money for and plant in our gardens, that aren’t as pretty as some flowering weeds?

This subject has crossed my mind many times. I’ve often wondered why hamsters and gerbils are kept as pets, but rats and mice are not welcome in our homes.

I once had a really intelligent boyfriend but, according to society (my best friend at the time), he wasn’t attractive. I waffled on whether or not I was higher-minded than society and could like him just for his brains. It turns out it didn’t matter, because he dumped me.

Today, after a few hours of weeding, I called my mother. She told me that my brother had gone to Comfest 2017, a community festival in Columbus, Ohio. My mother said that she never would have gone because women were encouraged to go topless.

“Do women have to go topless?” I asked.

“No, of course not,” she said. “But, women are welcome there without shirts.”

“Where did you hear this?” I asked.

“In the newspaper,” she said. “The article didn’t show the topless women, but it did show pictures of women who went wearing only body paint.”

Just hearing the words “body paint” made my brain groan. That was another conundrum I’ve pondered over the years.

“But, if you’re wearing body paint, are you really naked?” I asked.

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“I’ve seen some really intricate body painting that covers people really well. I’ve often wondered if people whose bodies were covered in paint were really naked.”

“Of course they’re naked!” she replied.

“Why?” I asked. “They’re more covered up than some people are who are wearing clothes.”

“This is ridiculous,” my mother said. “Body paint is not clothing.”

“But if it provides the same coverage as clothes, then ––”

“Let’s talk about something else,” my mother suggested.

“Okay,” I said. “But before we do, I have just one more question about the women in body paint.”

“I have to go now,” my mother said in an annoyed tone. “I’ll talk to you later.” Then she hung up.

Great. Dumped again.

I went back to gardening, but this time I sang along to the radio as I worked. My singing didn’t seem to annoy the neighbors as much as my abstract thinking annoyed my mother.

I think.body paint

 

Addendum:

My husband just alerted me to a new shirt-replacement trend that’s all the rage at popular festivals. I will not be discussing this with my mother, however.

Peanuts and Concrete

In Humor on June 23, 2017 at 6:07 pm

whiskey barrelOne of the whiskey barrels on our deck had rotted and was falling apart. No, there wasn’t whiskey spilling out all over the deck. If that were the case, I wouldn’t be complaining, which is what I’m about to be doing.

What was spilling out between the rotten wooden planks was dirt … and Styrofoam peanuts. Hundreds, if not thousands of Styrofoam peanuts. Maybe millions. At least it seemed like millions to me while I separated the peanuts from the dirt they were embedded in.

I went inside the house for a break, and to malign the former owners of our home.

“You know those whiskey barrels on the deck?” I asked my husband.

“You mean the half-barrels?” he responded.

“Yes, whatever,” I said. “You know what I’m talking about.”

“You’re the one who’s always correcting people about the proper use of words and grammar,” he said.

I sighed. “You’re right. Okay, yes, the half-barrels.”

“What about them?”

“Well,” I said, “The one closest to the grill was falling apart, so I took out the slats and removed the metal rings around the barrel. Guess what was inside?”

“Styrofoam peanuts,” he said.

“How did you know that?” I asked, flabbergasted.

He looked at me in the way that signifies he’s going to leave the room and end the conversation. I grabbed his arm to make him stay.

“Let go of my arm!” he said.

“Not until you answer me,” I said.

“I saw some peanuts lying around the half-whiskey barrel.”

“Didn’t you wonder where they came from” I asked, as I released his arm.

“No.”

I breathed deeply. “Well, the former owners of our house filled the bottom of the barrel — do not correct me and say half-barrel or I’ll kill you — with those damn peanuts instead of dirt or rocks. Then they threw in a bunch of wood to take up even more space before they added dirt. Now we’ve got mounds of dirt, peanuts, and wood on the deck that I have to clean up.”

“Nobody told you to take it apart.”

“It was an eyesore!” I kind of yelled.

“Are you asking for help?” my husband asked.

“No, I’m not,” I said. “I’m just letting off steam. Can you even believe that they took that shortcut, without thinking of the mess they were leaving us?”

“They probably weren’t thinking of future owners of their house when they did it,” he said. “Those half-barrels have been here for the 11 years we’ve lived here and probably for many years before then.”

“Don’t take up for those inconsiderate jerks,” I said. “We never would have done such a thing.”

“Sure we would have,” he said. “In fact, we did.”

“When?” I spluttered.

“When the former owners of our last house left piles of broken concrete next to the garage and, right after we moved in, you had me dig a giant hole in the backyard and bury the concrete.”

“That was different,” I said.

“How, exactly?”

“We had to bury it. The dump wouldn’t accept it and Norwalk forbids putting building materials in the trash.”

“But we still left a hole filled with concrete for the new owners. If they ever decide to plant something in that exact spot, they’re going to be very angry,” he said.

I thought about that for a minute.

“I’m going back outside,” I said. “The next time I want to complain, I’m going to tell someone else.”

“Oh, please don’t,” he said.

He didn’t sound very sincere.

peanuts

Addendum: After this was published, my friend, Christine, an environmentalist and gardener extraordinaire, posted an explanation on my Facebook wall (where this story also appeared) for the use of peanuts and wood in planters. It turns out that the former owners of our house weren’t inconsiderate jerks after all. Only we were.

Christine’s Comments: Uses for Foam Packing Peanuts: Check out #10: “Pour peanuts into a large pot and add soil to boost drainage and make it easier to move.”

Use of Wood: It’s permaculture practice to bury old pieces of wood because they absorb water and, as they compost, they release lots of good stuff into the soil. I don’t do the peanuts but I do bury lots of wood and it works wonderfully. I don’t have to water as often. When I read your story, permaculture was the first thing I thought of. That and the fact that I’ve found several pits of buried concrete in the yard usually just where I want to plant a tree!

Grow a Backbone

In Humor on June 18, 2017 at 2:25 am

With all of the innovations in the plastic surgery arena, you’d think someone would have invented a spine extender.

I know spine surgery is tricky, but if surgeons can cut into your brain with no ill effects, why can’t plastic surgeons add a piece of PVC pipe to your spine for added height, or even higher up for a swanlike neck? Nowadays, every part of the human body can be enlarged, lifted, smoothed, or improved upon, so what’s holding up advances in the height department?

Because cosmetic surgery doesn’t qualify for reimbursement under my health insurance, I’ve had to forgo lifts of my face, neck, knees, and glutes, but this operation might possibly be considered necessary for one’s health.

I recently read that a 5’9″ male is considered to be overweight at 202 pounds, but obese at 203 pounds. One pound changes his status from needing to lose a little weight to needing gastric bypass surgery. If that same man’s height were increased by one or two inches, he wouldn’t be close to being obese. He might not even be all that much overweight.

A rule of thumb for weight is that a man gets to weigh six pounds for each inch he is over five feet, plus 100 pounds. A woman gets five pounds for each inch over five feet, plus 100 pounds.

Up until middle age, I was 5’7-1/2″ inches tall. That meant that my ideal weight was 137.5 pounds, which was right on the nose. I weighed 138 pounds for years and looked fine to me. I could even get up to 144 pounds before I began to worry or take action. Then middle age hit me on the head, squishing me down to 5’6″ almost overnight. My new height changed my ideal weight to 130 pounds. I went from fairly slim and tall to chunky and medium height. I know for a fact that gravity hit me with a hammer from above, because my rib cage collapsed onto itself and the weight that had been evenly distributed there came crashing down and settled around my middle, like a little kid’s swim bubble. swim ring

After months of denying the existence of my new spare tire, I eventually had to face the truth the day I was confronted with a three-way mirror in a store’s dressing room. After several stunned moments of staring at my reflection, I reached up to get a dress that I had hung on a high hook. That’s when I discovered that when I stretched, the weight disappeared. It was gone, just like that. But, the catch was that if I wanted the extra weight to disappear permanently, I’d have to walk around with my arms extended to the heavens for the rest of my life, or lose the weight and exercise.

Then one day I got an email from a company that offered to extend a body part that I wasn’t born with. That was my Eureka moment. If they could extend that, why couldn’t they extend my spine, and my neck, while they were at it?

Unfortunately, I’m a big-picture person and don’t bother with details anymore. (I gave that up in my forties.) So, if anyone wants to take this idea and run with it, knock yourself out. All I ask is that I get free spine and neck extensions once the process is perfected. Or, that you figure out how to get the procedures approved under my health insurance.

 

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