Mar 25

What’s in the Air Tonight?

Ah, spring must be in the air. The last clumps of snow in the parking lots have melted. The HOA is planting pretty flowers. Furry creatures are scavenging anew. Blooms are threatening all over. It’s like one of those old Disney cartoons out there, with dancing trees and shit.

And my nose is running like liquid waste from a paper mill, probably replete with all the environmental hazards that entails.


“You won’t find Bambi here, son.”
Image credit: Pollinator

Yes indeed. Allergies have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. This first occurred to me when I was four years old. A stray kitten wandered into the backyard, and like any four-year-old I was completely enamored with it. That is, until my sinuses went haywire, my face became became blotched red and swollen, and my eyes damn near sealed shut. No kitten was adopted that day.

Ultimately I was put on a prescription allergy medication and remained on it until I was a teenager. Beachy seems to have inherited this trait from me. Accordingly she can’t play with the Pyramid Brothers unless there’s a bottle of Children’s Benadryl nearby.

Fortunately my allergies have subsided somewhat since childhood, which in turn has allowed me to be the cat person I am today. Nevertheless, the constant presence of cat dander here at the Command Center is not exactly helpful for my sinuses.

Upon waking up with a head full of self-produced, off-white brine at three in the morning, I knew today wasn’t going to be particularly pleasant. This was exacerbated by Sneferu’s nightly chore of annoying the ever-loving crap out of me, which he performs dutifully.


“Purr! You know you love me! Now let me claw your back!”

Ironically, Sneferu also has allergy problems. While they don’t seem to slow him down, they do often make him sound like Bill the Cat. So I’ve come full circle. I once sniffled and sneezed because of a kitten. Last night I sniffled and sneezed WITH a kitten. Who saw that one coming?

Naturally, I used up the last of the allergy meds when Beachy was here last weekend. Time to hit Albertson’s for a refill. I’ve dealt with my allergies long enough to know they’re not going to succumb to some candy-ass homeopathic remedy. I need to break out the heavy duty stuff. The stuff that takes down an elephant at 100 meters. I’m not screwing around here, dammit!


Eh, close enough.

The allergy medicine seems to making a little bit of an impact. I was able to write today’s entry without having to squeegee snot off the screen on a regular basis. That’s a good thing by any author’s standard, right? Oh, I do love my craft.

Mar 03

Expired Food

Regarding yesterday’s post, it occurred to me the pronunciation of “x” in Basque is roughly equivalent to “sh” in English. Therefore, I fell into my own double meaning trap by referring to my daughter as “Bitxi.” Crap. And I thought I was so clever too. Well, back to the sandbox with that one.


In short, no cigar.

Anyway, it was shorter than usual weekend with my daughter. That means I’m back to my slovenly bachelor ways sooner than usual. Coffee and hot sauce days are back again.

I’ve been separated and for the the most part on my own for well over four years now. I also have the cooking skills (or perhaps more correctly, the cooking desire) of a sloth on barbiturates. Any dish more complex than “microwave for two minutes” earns a blithe dismissal. I often get nutrition rather in spite of myself.


Yeah, buddy.

This is not to say I subsist entirely on takeout. I’m not that rich. Like most people around here, I’m familiar with the neighborhood Albertson’s and Fred Meyer. It’s just that most things I buy are prepared foods. Prepared foods have expiration dates and rarely come in sizes appropriate for one. In other words, I wind up throwing out a lot of expired shit.


Yes, even the spray cheese expired. I’m such a barbarian.

This is one of two things about me that irritates my daughter to no end. The other being that I never carry change, which inevitably comes up every time we pass a gumball machine. My rebuttal of “We live in a cashless society” brings no relief.

The expired food issue came to a head about a year ago when my daughter attempted to eat expired pudding, “attempted” being the critical term here. She then looked in my refrigerator and announced EVERYTHING I had in there was expired. Turns out she was right. Oops. Expiration dates remain a contentious issue when she’s with me at the Command Center.

I suppose she’d appreciate it if I got a girlfriend (or at least a roommate) who could cook. I’d like that too, actually. Or, maybe I could learn to cook for myself and become the Gordon Ramsay of Idaho.


Image credit: Dave Pullig

In the meantime, a diet of such culinary delights as frozen chimichangas and chicken nuggets await. Yes, I’m well aware this does nothing for my weight problem. However, barring further freak illness and/or injury I think I’m set to make a return to the gym this week.

Oh, this should be good.

Feb 28

The Costco Slog

Yesterday I broke down and did what I should have done a couple weeks ago. I went to Costco. The Pyramid Brothers were low on food and litter. I didn’t feel like a trip to Albertson’s was enough. I needed to think BIG. Costco is the place for that.

Did you know Costco has a funeral section? Neither did I until today. If I go all I ask is a simple, tangible memorial free of any Thomas Kinkade influence. After that do what the fuck you want to with my remains.


Not Kinkade, but the same sort of kitsch and revisionist hell.

Anyway, where the hell was I? Oh yes, if you’ve ever been to Costco, you know everything is big. You also know you wind up spending a hell of a lot more than you intended. Cat food and litter obtained, but how about something called “channa masala?” The nice lady offering samples introduced me to it. Damn good actually, and it has garbanzo beans! That’s one of the great terms in the English language. I bought two boxes.

Dr. Pepper? Haven’t had that in a long time. Gatorade? Hell yes! Sadly, it was only after I left I discovered I bought the “low calorie” crap. Well, such is life.

But both the best and the worst purchase of the day was a “Chairmat,” which is one of those large plastic surfaces designed to protect carpet from rolling chairs. Given that the Command Center was obviously flipped as cheaply as possible during the worst of the housing crisis, I’ve needed one for some time.


Pictured: the result of a half-assed flip.

It’s the best purchase because I’m genuinely concerned I’m going to tear a hole in the carpet. It’s the worst because, well, try fitting something like that in a 2004 Ford Focus. Not pretty. The best part is I had to do it only once.

Ah, but the worst was yet to come. The Command Center is located entirely on the second floor of my building. That means I had to carry all this crap up Astroturf-covered stairs with a still-sore side from my fall. I’m still feeling it. I’m thinking trying a return to the gym next week, but damn. More on that later.

The nice part is I’m well-stocked on needed liquids for the immediate future, as well as cat food and cat litter. I also have enough coffee filters to last me until the heat death of the universe. Like many other things, the best part about going to Costco is when it’s over. update: Holy crap! For the first time I made the “Pitches We’re Considering” folder today. That means I’m one step away from snark with at least six figures of hits. I’m not celebrating yet, but I feel good.