Where The Girls Are!

March 24, 2013

It has been quite some time since I have been in a house where teenage girls were staying.
This past week, my granddaughters and friends (GD&F) came to visit for spring break and stayed in my condo in southwest Florida.
I consider myself an easy-going guy, but honestly, I was not prepared for the complete apartment transformation a few pubescent females can make.
First, while greeting my neighbor in the elevator, I casually mentioned that GD&F were visiting.

His answer, ” We know we heard them” was a little surprising.

Next, the Homeowners Association might be on my case for excess hair.

Why you ask?

Well as the readers of this space know, I am follically challenged, but with the influx of GD&F comes enormous amounts of hair. While I spend virtual no time addressing my few remaining short strands of hair, hours and days are spent by teenage girls, washing, drying, brushing, tossing and tying hair. This apparently may have upset the building’s filamentous biomaterial balance.
There maybe some truth to this as the other day, I observed two brushes the size of frying pans  where I thought the bathroom sink used to be. I say that because the sink was covered with a vast assortment of female paraphilia.
So distracted at not seeing the sink in its usual spot, I almost failed to notice the half eaten bag of Cheetos on top of the toilet tank.

How odd.

Further inquiry disclosed that the bag was placed there and forgotten as a beach bag was being emptied. Needless to say, I was quite relieved that simultaneous eating and “uneating” was not taking place in my house.

While we are in the neighborhood, you should know I observed that girls, for whatever reason, use between 43 and 68 percent more toilet paper than boys. Just an interesting “factoid.”

Back to eating, the week before, when Prospero and Atticus visited,  I was impressed with their ability to make food disappear, but the girls seemed to hold their own in this regard. It might be fun to see them go head to head, especially if chocolate cake is involved.
Marathon sleeping is another event where both the boys and girls seemed to excel. Here however, I have to declare Sydney the clear winner with a very impressive 11 hour shift, only interrupted by a trip to the kitchen seeking a bowl of cereal. which after consuming in record time,  she returned to her room and locked the door.
Because of this penchant for massive door locking by teenagers,  I have taken  your advice, Mariah, and have purchased a very nice selection of door opening ice picks. FYI. They are kept in the kitchen drawer, next to the sharp knives.
Visits to the farm went as expected with near hand feeding of a willing bovine by Hadley and Kate occurring.
I can’t report on trips to the beach and the mall, because I eschew those locations, but I notice that  pink sweat shirts with “Punta Gorda” written on them are items of fashion this season.
All in all it was a lovely spring break for the girls, , I just need to figure out what to do with all this Activia yogurt they left in my fridge.


At 28.6 pounds, Mikey is courageous and will bravely rise to any challenge.

If he was a little taller, he probably would be a Navy Seal. No, on second thought, he is not a great swimmer, so perhaps a Recon Marine would be more his style. Oorah!
I have seen him take on opossums, ferrets and other intruders. He will also herd a 600 pound golf cart with fearless resolve.

He knows one speed ; flat-out fast.
This got him into a bit of trouble the other morning.
It started out like any other day. It was about 8:30 I was just finishing my coffee and finalizing plans for the day, when Mike started racing from window to window barking like he was possessed by the devil of Sirius, himself.
I looked up to see the object of his excitement.
It was Raven, the black lab bitch from across the street.
Raven is about twice as tall as Mikey and swift as the wind. He can’t keep up with her, but likes to try, so I let him out.
As he flew out the door and hit the patio floor, I heard a slight cry, but he continued on at full speed for another 50 yards until he caught Raven.
There, they exchanged the standard polite smelling and canine small talk for a few minutes, then Raven had enough and pranced off. Mikey tried to follow, but started to limp in the grass.
I called him in and inspected his feet, thinking he picked up a burr or something.
I could find nothing, but noted a small amount of blood.
His limping continued, so about an hour later, Donna took him to the vet to make sure it was nothing serious.
When they returned, Mike had a pink bandage around his left hind leg covering his torn nail.
“A pink bandage!” was all I could get out before Donna replied,
“That was all the Vet had, she said she was sorry.”
Me: “But a pink bandage, I hope this does not cause permanent scarring.”
Donna: “Just have him tell Raven he supports breast cancer awareness.”

Mikey: “Oorah!”

mikey with pink

I don’t like to be the Information Technology department at any time.

But it is especially loathsome to me when there is a problem with any electronic device that is assumed to be my responsibility to maintain.
I was always the type of kid who liked to take things apart to see what was inside. But I could never get them back together again. And if by some Divine assistance, I did manage some type of  re assembly, I would always have parts leftover.
Last week, Signore Pachioli, my accountant told me I needed a new computer program to upgrade the one I was currently using.
Apparently, my business is too complex now for me to keep the required records with just my abacus.
Luca I pleaded, I have had my abacus for 40 years. I bought it in China from a woman who was using the exact same model to ring up sales of calculators and transistor radios. Abacci have been used by ancient civilizations for thousands of years to keep track of the oranges they grew and the livestock they raised.
The irony of the situation was lost on Luca as he went on this accountant’s rant, “Blah, blah, blah…. debits, credits, ….devils and taxes, etc. Those people never had to deal with the IRS!”
Finally, I gave up and went to one of those big box emporiums of electrons.
After explaining to this nice young girl genius what I needed, she suggested I purchase this green and yellow boxed savior to my number collecting problems.

Two hundred dollars later, I was on my way to accounting heaven.
Little did I realize the road to numbers nirvana was paved with so many serpents and trolls.
First, I had no trouble opening the box and finding the CD and not much else. Such a big box for just one CD, I thought. Impressive.

But there in the bottom was a little instruction book in every language except English.
Anyway, I loaded the CD and after about an hour of waiting, warnings, and fidgeting, I was informed my installation had been a success.
I felt like doing one of those end zone dances footballers do when they score, but I resisted and maintained my composure. After all, I was working on accounting stuff.
So now, I was ready to talk to Signore Pachioli’s computer and everything would be back in balance.
Well, that did not happen…and I can’t figure out why.

So now I am out $200,  out of balance and out of control.

Alright, where did I put that abacus?

Two o’clock feeding

November 15, 2012

I was talking to Wendy the other day when we were picking up a table she had bought. It would not fit in her car, but mine was big enough, so I took her to the store. During the drive, we got caught up on all the latest news.
I was somewhat surprised when she told me her 15-year-old daughter, Sydney was bringing home the baby today.
“What baby?” I asked.
“Oh, it is her Family Life class baby. she has to keep it for two days.”
Oh, sort of like those 10 pound sacks of flour they made kids carry around in the seventies, I noted.
“Well, yes and no,” Wendy added. “This baby wets and cries, etc. Like a real baby.”
I was thinking about the etc. When I asked, if Sydney has to get up in the middle of the night to feed and attend to the new addition.
Yes, Wendy explained. It is electronically programmed to act like a real baby. It records all activity and how it is treated.

Then at the end it spits up (ha!) a report which tells what type of mom Sydney has been.

Too bad real babies don’t have that ability, I mused.

Later, I asked Sydney’s 12-year-old sister, Kate if she was going to be a good aunt and help Sydney with the baby.

“No way, Kate assured me, ” That baby is too noisy!”

“All babies are noisy, ” I reminded her, “at least you don’t have to pay for college with this one.”

Well, this week we are pulling wire. Fencing in the north pasture.

The alphabet people have denied my plan to plant citrus trees, so we are going to grow hamburger, steak and methane producing bovines in the north pasture.

Speed is of the essence  as the taxing authorities, to feed their lustful need for cash, seem to think I have a secret plan to pave over a 180 acres and put up a Mega Mart emporium of imported Chinese consumer items. Therefore, they no doubt are looking for a reason to revoke my agriculture tax status on that pasture.

So cows it is.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good steak or cheeseburger as well as the next guy. And watching a few Brangus bovines grazing on green grass is a bucolic and peaceful sight. But, some aspects of the cow business are well, unpleasant.
Like the first time I worked cows, about 15 years ago. Being nearly a 50-year-old tenderfoot, at the time, I arrived at the cow pens about 9:00 am after my bagel and coffee. By that hour, the cowboys had corralled the cows and were already sorting them. (These are real cowboys, with horses, hats, boots and cow poop covered spurs.) They would be insuring the cows get vet care, and certain little bulls would become little steers. Some other cows would be “directed” to the truck for that ride to market.
The thing about working cows is that it is an assault on one’s senses.

First, you hear the lowing and the cattle dogs barking. Then the smell of cattle under stress with the urine, feces and bovinian pheromones rampant. Of course, you taste and feel that cattle blood, sweat dust and dirt. On a hot day, both you and the cows are aggravated.

It is enough to make you a vegetarian.
But the real kicker is after the work is done for the day, the cowboys, drink beer and  grill up some very rare steaks to celebrate…when all I want is salad for the next two weeks!

Fingertips, Part 2**

September 2, 2012

Ever since I published “Giving the Finger(nail)”  last week,  I have been besieged with comments, emails and abusive phone calls advising me how really creepy it is for men (me) to have long fingernails. Women have been especially harsh in their criticism of me on the subject,  threatening to give my name to neighborhood watch groups, The National Enquirer,…  if not the FBI.

Even my own sister, Trudy, who has had perfectly manicured nails since she was born, has proposed disavowing all knowledge of my existence because of my state of extended keratin.

Lately, however, she seems to be softening her position and has invited me to join her for a manicure.

Nevertheless, I don’t think I will go with her to her Curl Up and Dye spa,  as I have invested a small fortune in nail care appliances and potions. I decided on the do-it-yourself route for the time being.

One thing I have discovered is that extended length nail care is time-consuming. All that buffing, filing and shaping quickly fills up one’s day. And if you break a nail, it is a heartbreaking, crushing hit to your self-esteem. It just fractures your entire day.

Being creepy is not easy,… nor is it for sissies!

On the positive side, I decided to eschew dirty, manual tasks such as pulling weeds or cleaning oven racks as performing them might ruin my perfectly buffed and polished nails.

Also, to assuage any latent feminine feelings I might begin to develop during this big nail process, I am reading daily episodes of  Wolverine  while increasing my rib eye steak, beer and pepperoni pizza intake.


** Fingertips 2  was the second part of a number one hit song in 1963 by a 12-year-old blind kid named Stevie Wonder. It is a rhythmic piece featuring bongo drums and harmonic solos. It has a “false stop” and was one of my favorites back in the day. If you were born after 1970, you probably don’t remember it. It is a long song, about 6 1/2 minutes, but don’t give up on it. It will lift  your spirits. However, be cautious,  it may get into your head.


Giving the finger(nail)

August 28, 2012

Recently, I have begun to grow my fingernails a bit longer.

This change in grooming and appearance has not come about  because I have become affiliated with some obscure eastern cult, nor do I intend to run away and join the circus. And, I clearly have no intention of challenging that old Chinese guy who holds the Guinness world record for  22 inches of “fashion length” finger extensions.

Honestly,  I don’t know why I am doing it. Maybe I decided to let them grow because it seems I can’t grow hair on my head anymore and my body has all this excess keratin just screaming to get out. Anyway, I did not think too much about my longer fingernails until, it was pointed out to me during lunch the other day, that men with long fingernails are considered creepy.

Creepy! Now I have been called lots of things by all sorts of people from my Drill Sargent to my mother-in-law. But I have never been associated with any aspect of creepy.

So,  what is it?   Could it be that there is a double standard in play here?

Of course it is ok for women to grow their nails as long as they care to grow them. Heck, they can even attach falsies to their finger tips and no one bats a false eyelash. Come to think about it, false eyelashes (among other faux accessories) are perfectly acceptable when adorned by women. But just once let a man (me) grow his fingernails a couple of extra millimeters and he is considered… creepy.

Well, I think I am beginning to like creepy.

I don’t know if I will get into the whole polish and glitter scene, and I probably will not ask Ellie to go with me to the Mall and help pick out some ladybug stick ons. But, an occasional “buff and rub” might be nice.

These longer fingernails permit me to scratch myself with renewed gusto and enjoyment, permitting a degree of satisfaction rarely achieved with shorter nails.

I also get to pick up loose change dropped at the grocery store checkout faster than folks half my age. Faster even than those young fresh-faced bag people who are so eager to assist the tottering elderly. I am certain that they are impressed with the near robotic speed and precision I can display while picking up runaway coins. Yesterday, I even heard one of them say,

“Drop a dime and watch the creepy old guy pick it up.”

Yeah, I am liking creepy.