Monthly Archives: April 2012

Weird Week

I mentioned on Thursday that it had been a crazy week, and McD and Beaucha were both like, “Geez, yeah it has.” Funny, I thought: I know it’s been crazy for me individually, but apparently that was part of a larger, universal craziness. Like a crazy front moved in from the north and has been affecting everyone’s weather. Was it crazy for you, too?

I mean, it’s not like we’ve been running around dodging bullets and, like, corralling monkeys. It’s just that stuff has been a little out-of-the-ordinary, and even the ordinary stuff has been a little…off. Anyway, this was my six-day weather pattern:

Sunday: UFC 145 aftermath = lounging around the house all day. First hockey win in four months (in the final game of the season). Talked about religion and karaoke over a post-game Applebee’s steak. The Progeny cried, loudly and a lot. She knew it was going to be an off week.

(Right now, Lefty’s all, “Please. In that case, every week’s an off week.”)

Monday: First thing, the faucet hisses and goes silent. No water? Really? This is where we thank our lucky stars that I showered the night before. At work, a 350-word profile about biologic injections that target the specific inflammatory pathways affected by psoriasis. Uh…huh. Then boxing, a surprising second wind in time for a couple laps around the building, 30-rep sets of squats.

Tuesday: Headed east into the sun at 7:45, eerily quiet early morning LWR—which, frankly, looks like post-apocalyptic Stepford. The start of a five-hour pancake tour across Sarasota. FIVE HOURS, people. Like an alternate universe, stuck on a loop. Pancake after pancake after goddamn motherfucking pancake.

Station 400‘s blueberry and almond pancake with vanilla butter, lemon rind and berry syrup.

That evening, a marathon home inspection. No big reveals—salvageable roof, and we already knew the house is filled with little things that need to be replaced. No tip-of-the-iceberg problems like, “You think this light switch is bad, but actually the wall is about the fall over.” Or “That’s not actually water damage; you have hedgehogs.” By 8:30, still no dinner, brain filled with HVAC stats and sheet rock estimates. And beer. And pancakes.

Wednesday: Random interview with a speech pathologist regarding therapies for disphagia. Bite your tongue between your front teeth and swallow. Wayward, low-level anxiety. Five-man hockey clinic.

Oh, and in case you missed it, Boston lost.

Thursday: Still a wee bit of anxiety—free-floating, a phantom sense of doom, now mixed with residual glove stink. (Smells like…Monday?) Monotonous copy editing—in a cute outfit, I will say. (Also weird.)

Then some lady up and crosses two lanes of oncoming traffic to ram her E350 into Unconditional Surrender. Tell me that’s not the weirdest thing you’ve seen all week.

Thursday evening, kielbasa and 18 holes of Wii golf before meeting the Deelios at Evie’s for game 7. Ottowa lost. (This…is not weird.) Devils’ second-OT series-winner.

Overtime game sevens and Thursday nights with friends. Something magical. Something to remember.

And here we are on Friday:  The revelation that a former associate was arrested (in another state) for pulling a gun in a federal building.

OK, universe, I’m just going to go with your flow this week. (Actually, ladies, come to think of it, maybe the universe and I are synched up.)

Tonight, we head east to ride horses—CCB’s first ever equine adventure. Then Sammys and take-out barbecue around somebody else’s pool in the country, talking philosophy and TV with the ‘rents, looking up at the stars. Maybe we’ll ask the universe what’s up.

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IiiiiiIIIIt’s TIIIIIIIIIIIIME!

So we’ve decided we’d like to make our little UFC gathering on Saturday a bit more of an event. C’mon over, we’ve got a guaranteed tensome. There hasn’t been a fight in a while, first of all, and this one promises to be another satisfyingly bloody embarrassment for one of our favorite jerkoffs.

Secondly, it’s CJ’s birthday. Don’t make the kitten cry.

We’re thinking the standards–some beer, some booze, maybe some nachos? Something like that. Sound good? See you there? It’s going to be a Deelio-riffic Big J/Little J/Krazy K kind of group. You know you don’t want to miss that.

(Seriously: Jon Jones has almost a 10-inch reach advantage on Rashad Evans. This is going to be epic, as the kids say.)

Don’t forget your game card.

If you can’t come, you can still play along at home. Here’s how it works:

Drink a Four Loko. Then a beer. Fill out your sheet. Wait for the fights to start. (Drink another beer.)

Watch 135-pound fighters whirling around the ring. Put a big red X through your first fight predictions. Watch 145-pound fighters whirling around the ring. Put a big red X through your second fight predictions. Pour a Jack and Coke. Explain to the cat the benefits of the butterfly guard.

Watch your third pick take a widdle nappy-nap on the canvas. Submit to the appropriateness of two-fisting while watching combat sports.

Rally shot? AWESOME idea.

Kitteh refuses to learn proper kimura technique. Bandage face. Add beer. To stop the swelling.

Watch fourth fight. Check your picks. Ponder why you picked “Round 8, minute 3r1rsosfjsmmmthhfhrss” in a three-round fight. Give yourself 10 bonus points. For being awesome.

Watch fifth fight. Ponder how the cat has more correct picks than you do. Edit your sheet to declare Joe “Rogaine” Rogan the loser in every fight. 10 more bonus points.

“Rogaine sucks!”

Develop a drinking game centered on Joe Rogan sucking. Develop a shot called “Joe Rogan Sucks.” Develop a plan for marketing your shot recipe until you’re interrupted by Joe Rogan sucking.

“Shots!!!”

Leave remote with cat; take a widdle nappy-nap.

Wake up to Animal Planet Late Night. Change channel back to Pay-Per-View. Scold cat. Order pizza.

Discover half-finished beer behind a book shelf. Go ahead and assume it’s yours.

Watch…wait, which fight is this?

Eat pizza off game sheet. Ponder why pizza has more correct picks than you do.

Ooh! Main event?! Yay!

Declare yourself the new Official Voice of the Octagon. “IiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIIIIt’s TIIIIIIIIIIIME!!!!!”

Make yourself some hot tea with lemon. And honey. And…blue curacao?

Try to google Jon Jones’ tattoo. Fall asleep midway through typing “Phillillippippiansssss.”

Wake up to Mike Goldberg shouting “IT’S ALL OVER!” Assume he’s got a point there. Apologize to cat.

Blame Herb Dean for ending your night prematurely. Go to bed.

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Lan

Just to give you an idea of why we love Lan so much, this was the lineup for our $50 (apiece) chef’s tour Friday night:

Pre-dinner “snack”: Fried wontons with white bean hummus

Amuse bouche: A single mussel in shell topped with a Siracha and somethingerother sauce

Course 1: Curried rabbit soup with enoki mushrooms and cilantro

Course 2: Fried clam salad with lemon vinaigrette and chorizo; hard-boiled quail egg

Course 3: Breaded, fried sweetbread “chicken nuggets” and crispy fries with tarragon mayonnaise

Course 4: Puff pastry “Hot Pocket” stuffed with smoked mozzarella, salami and tomato with a garlic herb sauce and marinara and a roasted serano pepper

Course 5: Chevre (regular and smoked) and beet tart with honey, hazelnuts and truffle vinaigrette

Course 6: Flounder stuffed with spinach and crawfish and smothered in beurre blanc with roast red potatoes

Course 7: Seared scallops with pineapple salsa and parsnip/potato mash

Course 8: New York strip with papaya barbecue sauce and zucchini

Course 9: Lamb pot roast with a strawberry port wine sauce

Dessert: Chocolate mousse tart, buttered popcorn ice cream

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Neighborhoods

Hmm…so perhaps we don’t have to move after all?

Landlord might want to sell. We’re talking bargain-basement here. Of course, there’s a lot of work to be done, home ownership’s greatest hits: roof, electrical, plumbing. Still, it is under heavy consideration.

I’m developing a chronic case of whiplash from changing plans so quick and drastically. For the past month I’ve been visualizing life in different neighborhoods—gated, manicured and fresh-wind-blown from the river; quiet, sunwashed, blocks and blocks of 60-year-old stucco; busy, central, a walk to Publix, a bike to downtown.

I’d already started packing, dammit…

Getting to know your neighborhood follows the same timeline as getting to know a coworker. You’ve got your own space, but you see her every day. You learn little things here and there—she has a lot of dog-walkers, she’s close to a great little café, she floods when it rains. And then one day, bam: You realize that she’s got a juvenile detention center, say, or a sewage treatment plant.

It was a few months into our year and a half residence in Gillespie Park that Little J and I realized our yard was a throughway for questionable characters headed to and from the park.

Actually, Gillespie Park had a great personality. (And as you know, that’s code for “your neighborhood is fat.”) It had the Mexican neighbors who spoke little English but were generous with beer and laughed with us for hours as we stood in their dusty driveway; the gazebo over the pond in the park that took the place of previous neighborhoods’ bay views;  the sketchy apartment complex, the police substation, the “Ring of American Heroes” or whatever—gilded busts in the far corner of the park sitting in a circle, staring at each other in perpetuity.

One time I was awakened by knocking at the door. It was 8:30 on a Sunday morning, and I ignored the knocking until the person turned to tap on my window, which faced the front porch. At that point I figured it was the landlord and shuffled blearied to find the key (the deadbolt required a key inside as well as out—fire hazard, no?).  But I quickly realized it wasn’t the landlord when I heard an unfamiliar voice say (or so I thought), “Did I wake you?”  I swore under my breath, Yeah you frigging woke me it’s 8:30 a.m. on a damn Sunday who the hell keeps knocking when nobody answers—

I opened the door to a diminutive man holding up a tinfoil bundle partially wrapped in a dish towel. “Barbecue?”

“NO I DON’T WANT ANY BARBECUE, DAMMIT! WHAT THE HELL?!”

It’s hard to predict what idiosyncrasies we’d encounter if we moved. But after dreaming of new neighborhoods for a month or so, changing plans and pondering staying put has given us new appreciation for our little corner of the south downtown Bradenton ghetto. Sure, there really is a sewage treatment plant four blocks away, and yeah, our whole world smells like burning orange peels when Tropicana’s in full tilt, and yes, there’s drugs and crime and those two kids who overdosed a few Christmases ago. It’s a homely little area, but homey, too.

“I was gonna miss McKechnie,” CCB admitted yesterday. I’d been dreaming of granite countertops and grounded outlets and roads safe for biking, but yeah, I agreed: I like being able to walk to baseball games. I like the bicycle ice cream man and his bell; I like the whistle of a pre-dawn train delivering oranges; I like strolling to the Red Barn for Maria’s tacos on Sunday mornings, darting across First Street to Banana Bob’s tiki bar, traversing the car lot to buy beer at the gas station, and all of the incredible examples of humanity at those locales. I like how, when the wind blows just right over the laundromat on the corner, the whole neighborhood smells like fabric softener.

Last night, we sat on the front porch, looking out over the neighbor’s yard full of cars, the barren duplex next door and the frightening apartment complex beyond that, and we watched an incredible fireworks display from McKechnie throwing gold and green and purple over every weedy yard and broken street light. Opening day. Here’s to closing.

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