Tuesday, April 24, 2012


About a week ago, the hell-hound started to act a little funny – well, she thought she was funny, anyway, but to be honest, a dog wearing a joy buzzer when I tell her to shake wears thin pretty quickly.  But she also stopped eating, and was moping around and just not being her old self.  She didn’t dig through the garbage when I accidentally left it within her reach, and nary a spatula was carried out back for three whole days.

At first I was pretty pleased, thinking of the money I would save on food and cooking utensils were she to continue this behavior, but then I thought of my future political aspirations and the damage that Mitt Romney’s campaign has undergone for his treatment of Seamus (the guy’s a big enough douche-canoe in the first place, but how he’s polling above 10% with the dog debacle hounding him baffles me), and decided to take her in to see the vet.

Well, I dropped her off and went to work, and they called back with all kinds of crazy stories about her liver being all out-of-whack, and how they needed to do an ultrasound to get more information, and unfortunately, she had apparently pulled her “act really good and cute and friendly for strangers” routine, because they seemed appalled when my first reaction was “Can’t you just put her down?” and prattled on and on about what a sweet girl she was.  Sweet pickled pretzels, people can be so gullible.

So they did their doctor stuff, and determined that her gall bladder was all backed up or some such thing, which wreaks havoc on the liver (or so they say).  Oddly, they didn’t ask about her drinking habits, which was my first thought when they mentioned that specific organ.  Let’s see … I seem to run out of beer faster than I should … she has a bad liver … yeah, I think I know the problem.  But it didn’t occur to them that she might be part North American Booze Hound, instead leaning toward some crackpot theory involving the non-digestability of chicken wings and flapjack-flippers.

They seem to think she’ll be okay, and all I have to do is administer an incredibly complex and wildly expensive regimen of 4 different prescription pills for a few months and make sure I feed her bland food, like boiled hamburger and white rice.

Yes, I have to boil hamburger for her.  I’m down a thousand dollars and counting already for her majesty, and now I’m cooking her gourmet meals and bleeding from the bites on my fingers that she inflicts when she grabs the pills from me (she’s not the most gracious of eaters, and is especially aggressive when there is peanut butter involved as the vehicle for the medication).

Well done, Indy, well done – I never would have guessed that you could expand your abuse of me to include a loss of dignity and economic ruin.  Well done, indeed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Don't Have Cable, I Said, With Great Pretense

I don’t know what sort of inner demons inhabited the tortured soul of the previous owner of Casa de Acorn, but based on the decisions made concerning landscape architecture, they were some nasty ones.

As part of my efforts to get this blog to appear on the first Googly page when people search using the keywords “home repairs don’t do it yourself,” I’ve been chronicling a bit of my effort to build a quaint picket fence around most of my yard.  I haven’t, as of yet, described the horrific fence-like structure that currently runs along one of the streets; an abomination that even when newly constructed would have been well-placed in a tale by Poe, a seemingly ineffective structure providing no barrier to objects of the physical realm, but most assuredly having great importance to the beasts in the netherworld just beyond our perception.

The posts appear to be old railroad ties, about 10”x10” cross-sectionally, sunken straight down into the earth with about 2’ left exposed, as though that area of the yard marks the graves of long-dead riders on a doomed ghost train.  There are holes drilled near the top of each, through which runs a rusty steel cable from one end to the other, probably salvaged from some wrecked ship.  Several of the posts are now broken, yet still the cable passes through, so that the fence as a whole looks not unlike a suspension bridge ravaged by earthquakes and tsunamis, that whole section of yard eerily evoking images of death and destruction.

So anyway, I finally resigned myself to doing some actual labor and getting rid of that monstrosity.  I had to saw through the cable somehow, as it had large steel pieces at either end preventing extraction through the holes.  The cable itself was at least 2” in diameter, and so, recognizing the Herculean task before me, I readied myself with my hacksaw, a healthy supply of Schlitz Malt Liquor … and then called my buddy Don to come over with his electric metal saw.

I actually had made an attempt at severing it a while back.  By “made an attempt,” of course, I mean making The Live Acorn sit out there and try to cut through it with a dull-bladed hacksaw as repayment for past loans I had made to her, while I sat supervising, sipping an Old Fashioned.  After learning firsthand what it took for two strong, muscular men sorta tipsy buffoons using a power tool to get the job done, I’m extremely impressed that she made as much progress as she did.  I guess her endless sobbing about the burning pain in her arms wasn’t just a show.

But last night, I finally got the whole cable out, and with no small effort, loaded it up into the back of my car for a trip to the recycling yard.  I hadn’t given a great deal of thought to how much I’d get for it up until that point, but after hoisting it and judging its weight to be several tons, I must admit to some amount of excitement and thoughts of to where I should retire.  My giddiness only grew when I pulled into the warehouse, at which point they told me to pull back out and drive to the truck scale!  “I must be sitting on a goddamned gold mine!” I said to myself (and then admonished my inner voice for its gratuitous use of profanity).

Well, I got my “in” weighing, unloaded the cable, got my “out” weighing, and waited impatiently as the clerk did some calculations (I felt like a contestant on “Let’s Make A Deal” waiting for Monty Hall to open Curtain No. 3!).  "Well," he said … "Yeah?  Yeah?" I panted.  "That'll be exactly ..." "YEAH?  OH GOD SAY IT!" “... $12.60.”

Twelve dollars and sixty goddamned cents.  That doesn’t even cover the Schlitz.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just Even Up The Sides A Bit ...

I got a haircut yesterday, which, in and of itself, is not really blogworthy (though I most certainly have written about far more mundane topics), but it was just a bit different than my normal cosmetological experience, due to the … oh, quirkiness, let’s say … of the person administering it.

Due to shear* laziness, I usually go quite some time between cuts, which results in what some refer to as a goddamn rat’s nest that makes Medusa’s hair look prom-ready bit on the shaggy side when I finally go in.  I also get a pretty short cut, so as to maximize my intercut latency.  Without fail, the person makes one conservative pass at it, perhaps sensing that I prefer a longer ‘do (understandably so, of course, given my appearance upon entering the establishment), and I am left to ask them to make it a bit shorter.

Not so yesterday.

Yesterday’s stylist sat me down, and asked the regular questions about desired length and style, and I gave my regular answers, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  She then, however, asked if my past stylists used scissors or clippers.  “Scissors,” I responded, assuming that my answer would have some influence on the current cut.  “Okay!” she said.  “We’ll do a number 5 on the side!”

I didn’t know what that meant (outside of certain establishments in Reno, of course), and before I had time to inquire about it, she had grabbed the electric clippers and cut a large swath up the back of my head:

Above:  Agricultural equivalent of her opening salvo.

She proceeded to buzz-cut the rest of the back and around the sides, then mercifully switched to the scissors.  With each snip, she seemed to become more gleeful, making statements like “OH MY GOD THAT LOOKS SO MUCH BETTER!” and “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU LET IT GET THIS LONG!”**  She was extremely vocal about how much she disliked unkempt hair, and while she was otherwise very nice (not to mention pretty dang cute), I was more than a little disturbed that I lived in a society that would allow her to possess sharp objects.

She finally finished her work, and said “What do you think?  I left it a little longer on top than I wanted to, because I thought maybe you liked it a little bit long up there.”  (Her idea of “a little longer” was that I could actually grasp it between two fingers.)  I resisted the urge to say something like “Well, it’ll grow back someday, I guess …” or “My phrenologist will be ecstatic!”  and instead nervously stammered “it’s … it’s … perfect” while being careful not to make any sudden movements.

Because, as they say, discretion is the better part of valor keeping a crazy girl with a razor from cutting you to pieces.

* HA!
** Seriously - she held nothing back in letting me know how trashy I looked before.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eventually, I'll Just End Up Ripping Out The Foundation And Building A New House.

Maybe it is turtles all the way down.  I realize that that’s not the best analogy, what with the turtle thingy being a line of logical questioning in an argument against the construct of a First Cause, but I’m really getting a strong vibe of infinite regress on what it’s going to take to get a simple picket fence built.  I’d probably be better off comparing the process to peeling an onion, with each layer representing a barrier to a step in the overall project, and the exposition of one leading only to the recognition of a deeper barr …

Ok, you know what?  What I really should compare to an onion is my ability to form analogies:  it stinks and it makes me cry.

Anyway, here’s a rundown of how I got to where I am currently re: fence-building:

Initial Goal:  Build a picket fence around the perimeter of my yard.  (This will keep the big dog from wandering off when she’s out of sight on the north side of my house, which will ease my stress at wondering what she’s up to over there, which will lower my blood pressure, which will reduce the chance of stroke, which will increase the odds that I stay alive to feed her.  So really, this is all for Indy.)

In a rare instance of forethought, I had purchased the pickets last fall, and had only to cut them in half to prepare them.  The sawing process, however, brought upon the recognition of a necessary precedent step, which brought upon another, and another, etc., et al, ipso facto, e pluribus unum:

If I’m going to build a fence, I need …
  1. a clean and uncluttered shop within which to work, which necessitates …

  2. a storage shed in the back yard in which to put a lot of my crapola, which requires …

  3. digging up the sprinkler system so that the area upon which the shed will sit is no longer watered.
(“But Dead Acorn!” an astute-and-landscaping-savvy reader might say.  “You could just turn the flow off at the sprinkler heads to deactivate them!”  And while yes, that’s technically true, I’m pretty sure that there are some cracks in the system that need to be repaired; plus, I’ve got to dig out some pretty big weeds-turned-trees anyway, and I just know I’ll end up plowing under the whole damned back yard by hand as some sort of self-imposed penance for my general Life Of Sinfulness.  I’m tellin’ ya, being an atheist with overwhelming Catholic guilt is no mean feat.)

So here’s what I had “accomplished” prior to the weekend:

Above:  With my any luck, I’ll  hit the discover natural gas line and get sued by the city live the rich’n’easy life like the Beverly Hillbillies!  FUCK! SWEET!

As of now, the black tarp thingy is gone (the neighbor, understandably not wanting to be able to see into my bombed-out-Beirut of a backyard through the spaces in the fence, inexplicably put that up by taking off each board and stapling it to the back and reattaching it.  I just moved the boards together.  Crazy, I know).  I’ve also removed all of the pipes that aren’t supposed to be there, and turned all of the dirt out to the near side of the steps.  All without any adverse encounters with the 220 volt line that runs buried across it!

I’m pretty sure I’ve reached the center of the onion, as it were, and that I’m now working back outwards, reassembling the onion, reattaching the layers with hot glue and staples so that my pickety dreams will be realiz …

Sweet jeebus, there has to be an online course in analogy creation out there somewhere.