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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sky Is Falling In.

L-MoonSm.jpgAYING IN BED, reading, around 1am, and the dogs start barking: old Maier out in the yard with his old-dawg bark, young Colonel Roughskins down in the kitchen with his high-pitched yelp; and dogs in yards around the neighborhood blabbering and shouting. Coyotes, thinks me, for they had been out in force earlier in the evening, under a crystal-clear sky with just one puff of cloud strategically sat before a huge autumn moon: kind of effect that puts one eerily in mind of "Independence Day" or "Close Encounters". Keep the cats inside tonight, then, no matter how loudly they complain: already lost one this summer. Chow, or Chum: whatevs. Coyotes, then, or Roughskin's Celebration Song, for he had indeed dodged a bullet that day being hugely sick and diahorretic the night before, causing us to cancel his scheduled surgery. He doesn't know it yet, but they'll be coming off tomorrow - Wednesday. Poor wee man. Wee man not much longer. How callously our women dismiss these things, whilst every full-blooded male in the house cringes and shivers as though it were he?

Not coyotes. Lying in bed, dogs racketing, wife commanding Go tell that little bugger to shut the hell up!, then a rumble, a scrape - like somebody shifting furniture out in the yard. Whawossat? Thunder. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, out of clear skies, Thunder. And rain - our first since May.

The season has begun, then, wherein Los Angeles local news goes ape over rain, and Los Angeles bloggers go ape over Los Angeles local news. Reading my mail this morning in front of the TV, not watching, not really listening, just using it as background. Catch the edge of a voice saying "winds of around 45mph, that's Tropical Storm speeds, Steve!", turn round in my seat to shout back "Shut the fech up! Tropical storm my hairy arse, ya useless bint!" only to catch myself, nick-of-time like, notice the banner says Florida and Rita, not Sepulveda Pass.

My kids, they love the rain: but my kids, all of them, they are idiots and not to be paid any attention. They are indeed living proof that the old admonition to "ignore them, they'll go away" is total bollox. They won't, dammit. A very different kind of love, this, that they call on the phone of an afternoon to yelp But it's raaaaaining! I need a lift home! They're so cute when they're young - that's the thing! It's a Trap, a big-ole' bad-ole' Trap, with a capital SUCKER. Just wait a couple of years, see how smarmy and cutsie ole' Lileks is then, eh? His little girl will be different, natch, she won't turn-out like that. You just keep telling yourself that, pal: we all do.

Me, I know better about rain. I've had my fill of rain. I've served my thirty-five in the wind- and sheet-blasted streets and doorways, smoked chill-sodden cigarettes under gloom-laden skies for my country. I don't care if it never rains here - it can rain everywhere else and flow here properwise: that's what the Colorado river is for.

The one concession I'll grant to this rain, this little pour, is that it sort of saved my bacon. I had forgotten, past two days, to run the backyard sprinkler. I still have to do this by hand because the electrics, bless them, are buggered. A pinch in the cable somewhere, a break, and I haven't had time to run new. Such a pain in the arse that, too, since it runs through plastic conduit, much of it buried, between the valve and a grille in the garage wall. Lots of corners, which impede the snaking of new wiring. I used to be a sparkey, an electrical fitter, long time ago, but there's good reason I'm not any more. Too much else to be doing meantime to waste any more time on sprinklers. That can wait. We're still without a kitchen - won't see the new one until the end of this month - and we're still moving outlets around, anticipating cabinetry. We thought the fridgerator would stay in the same place, but we discovered this weekend that it won't: it moves to the right a couple of inches, but that's a couple of inches too far for the outlet it uses. Another hole in the wall. The new French Doors we installed look real good, though. It'll all be worth it in the end. You just keep telling yourself that, pal.

We've been without a kitchen for two, mibbe three months. All it contains is a small minibar fridge and a microwave; that and a ton of boxed household crap; oh, and ladders and tools and buckets and wires and stuff. We're heartily sick of eating out - rather, of eating in of take-out. Every week we cycle the list of favored take-out restaurants: Monday italian; Tuesday something exotic from the Valley my wife will pick-up on her way home since all The Spawn feed on grandma Tuesdays; Wednesday maybe korean, maybe burgers, maybe mexican, depending; Thursdays everyone eats at grandmas, even us; Fridays is pizza. Weekends are whatever. I will not tell you how much we spend on dinner every night, but there are seven of us and prices here are booming. The fortune we are spending on a spanking-new kitchen, with its sumptuous new shiney new super-cool stainless-steel range, that we may dine on Hamburger Helper for the next twenty years. We won't ever be doing this again, I can tell you! Not until next year, at least, when Upstairs will be made-over. After that? Feck it! We'll sell! We'll sell on a thursday while the Brood are out collecting their welfare checks, change all the locks, and head-out for Kansas or Idaho or somewhere far.

More sickening still, more desperate even than eating-in take-out for months, is that we are glued day-in and day-out to HGTV: to Home & Garden television channel. We know every goddamned show inside-out, every presenter Yay or Nay; favorites and tossers. We like, in ascending order: Curb Appeal, Designer's Challenge, Landscaper's Challenge, What You Get For The Money, Kenneth of reDesign, and Designed To Sell. We like House Hunters for scorn, and Weekend Warriors for schadenfreude. We hate all those crappy penny-pinching shows like Design on a Dime or Crap in the Attic; but we despise, with all of our being, Debbie Travis and all her foul works. The stake is too good for her, says we.

How sad is that, people? How sad that we, skirted descendant of fierce and terror-charging highland warriors, whose DNA is most assuredly better than Life Insurance, how sad that we are reduced to this, this avid consumption of H. G. T. V.

For shame.


Blogger DarkoV said...

I empathize with your HGTV ordeals and hope that your cable develops the same kink your sprinkler system has. It may be the only way to escape the bottomless pit that is home and garden renovation.
On the other hand, it sounds like you have not been entranced into the Style channel. You'll know when that phase has come. You'll see your kids looking at you with what seems admiration. It's not admiration; they're sizing you up for a complete makeover. A complete surprise makeover. If you see tv cameras outside your door one day, make speed post haste out the back. The coyotes will be kinder to you than those style makeover artistes.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

laughed out loud on the Lileks comment. easy to be all optimistic when they're 8,9,10. 17's a bitch my friend. 12 is the new 15. take it from me.
--madame l.

10:45 AM  

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