Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Holy Ass-Melting Car Seat, Batman!!

Oh, yes. The skin from my hamstrings shall peel off on my black leather seats. And go crunchy directly. At least I'm not wearing forty pounds of gear.

So this guy is coming down here from Tucson to do my roof. He's doing it for about three grand less than my lowest bid to date, he's licensed, and he's going to run wiring into the ceilings so I can have ceiling fans in the bedrooms. See, right now, there are no fixtures on the ceiling--each room has a wall sconce. The one in my room is actually kind of nice, but in the other two bedrooms? Oh, my. They look like cheap '70's bathroom lights. Which is most likely what they are, just incidentally.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hold My Beer, I'm Fixin' to Try Somethin!!

James is this good-looking Border Patrol Agent. We chat from time to time, even though he lives about forty minutes from here in a little Copland town. He asked me what the fee for the LSAT is these days, clearly insinuating that he possesses some knowledge of that test, and here's my response--it's rare that I'm proud of an email, but I like this one:

"I registered several months ago...I think it was $110, but don't quote me on that.

The appliances turned into a total fiasco--to make a long story short, the two dudes who came to deliver and install my new range and refrigerator got soaked from head to toe and at the end of it all, there was water gushing out of my ceiling. Yep. Just another day out on the prarie. And now I have to drill a hole in the house to get water to the icemaker. Go figure. I think the Sears guys were completely mystified by it all. The previous owners of this house must've had an Uncle Cletis who came over with a six-pack and did all their wiring and plumbing..."Hold my beer, I'm fixin' to try somethin..." It's pretty bad...*sigh*...bit by bit, I'll get 'er up to code. It's a great house, though, worth the trouble.

Did you take the LSAT at one point? Lemme guess, you scored absurdly high and now you're going to try and punk me out...bring it on, I can take it...165? Higher??"

It's not undue flattery, he's a pretty sharp guy. And the bit about the appliances--well, this a blog, not an email, so I'll elaborate. I bought gorgeous new stainless steel appliances for the kitchen, and had the fridge and range delivered first, since they don't take much installation and my moving cabinets around won't matter. So they show up, these two bubbas, and one strongly reminds me of Woody Allen at his absolute bitchiest, bossing the slow one around, ostentatiously impatient and annoyed with his subordinate. The other one was guileless as a stuffed animal. But you could tell his heart was in the right place.

So the range goes in, no problem, and they pull out the white refrigerator, disconnect the water line to the ice maker water-door thingy, which worked when I first viewed the house, but not after I moved in. And they get the fridge out as I'm sweeping up the dust kittens, and we all witness that there are two (2) water valve stems, one connected to the white fridge, the other not. So they figure out that it leads to the sink on the other side of the room, and switch them out. So Woody goes under the sink to turn it on, frickin' cranks it, and jumps right up before he's had time to realize that water is shooting from the wall and all over the simple one. And by that time, it was soaking his ass most democratically.

He went on and on about how he couldn't understand how it could happen--it was pretty weird--and we swiched to the other hose, the one that had not been connected to the old fridge, the one that has just firehosed these two dudes from Sears. Then Woody goes back under, doesn't friggin' crank it this time, barely opens it...and we hear water pour into the ice maker. See? It comes out of the door just fine, let's push the new, stainless steel fridge back against the wall.

I keep thinking the two guys are standing too close, because I keep feeling dripped on. A little surreal. Even moreso when I looked up and water gushed from the ceiling, the part I'm told is called the soffett, where the a/c ducts are. Flat roof, you know, nothing between the ceiling and the actual roof.

Turns out, when they replaced the east side of my patio due to termites (all gone now), they'd snipped the water hose that came from inside the kitchen, out the patio wall, along the patio ceiling, to a spot on the wall that I now have to drill so that we can reach the extra valve at the water heater. I drilled holes in the ceiling so that the water would drain out most ricky-tick, then cranked the a/c to dry it out. Patched the holes in the ceiling, painted over it, seems to be okay.

A pox on that previous owner, though. I don't even want to disrespect anyone's Uncle Cletis, I'll just hypothesize that they were hopeless drunks with an endless supply of duct tape.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Collection is Born

It's a modest start, these nine crosses I bought--all handmade, in Mexico. And now I'm hooked. I'm looking at the calendar and deciding when I can go back down there for more. And then there are these carvings and paintings on old wooden doors, all these wonderful, darkly Catholic images. I will have something permanent and beautiful to show for my time here in this dingy little town.

And on that note, nothing demonstrates the virtues and vices of a town like having a guest to show around. My lovely sister, Kelly (who has lost 30 pounds and looks fabulous, the Divorce Diet) was here last weekend. With the exception of the little border town in Mexico--always interesting--I saw through new eyes how little this town has to offer for entertainment. Sure, Tucson is close and there's always Rocky Point (Mexico) and San Diego within driving distance, the immediate area is pretty low-rent. I loved to have visitors in upstate New York--Sackets Harbor was always a good time and the sheer physical beauty of the area always brought a smile to my face. Likewise New Orleans and Athens, GA. But I've lived in many a boring town while working in and for the military...and therein lies a big motivation for law school. I want to choose--and love--where I live.

I'll get there. In the meantime, Mexican folk art and frequent trips to the more interesting points on the map near here.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tarpoleon Blownaparte

New Orleans has responded to Katrina exactly the way I envisioned, with a biting, often self-deprecating humor. I couldn't resist: I bought one that says, "FEMA Evacuation Plan: RUN, BITCH, RUN!!" Admired but not purchased: "I stayed for Katrina, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. And a flat-screen TV. And a new Cadillac."

Two other Jazzfest spottings: "My Other T-Shirt Has Your Mom In It," and the Grand Poobah, the best t-shirt of all time, direct line to the Motha'ship, had a big picture of Bush flashing a peace sign, with the caption, "BET YOU'LL VOTE THIS TIME, HIPPIE." A guy walked around Jazzfest with a piece of blue tarp as a cape, a big sideways hat, with the sign, "Tarpolean Blownaparte."I don't care who you are, that's funny.

All my favorite haunts are back in full swing. The centuries-old live oaks still stretch all the way across St. Charles Avenue, the streets are even more pitted and buckled than before, the Quarter is still full of people whose lives somehow skidded to a halt in this place, the shows at night in the clubs still dwarf the overcrowded, unwashed masses that comprise a day at Fest. I ate every time I could put more in--oysters, crawfish, lamb couscous and fried eggplant topped with oyster dressing and wild mushroom sauce.

I didn't linger in the Quarter--I worked on Canal Street at Chartres for a year, and between shifts I walked the Quarter for hours. It was virtually unchanged, except that a bar where I drank with friends next to those great double doors that stretch across the front of the buildings down there, floor to ceiling, inches away from a crashing thunderstorm, the galloping fury of Faulkner's vernal equinoxes flooding the streets in a sheet. I can't remember the name of the bar, but it was Lundi Gras (night before Fat Tuesday) 1998, it was on Royal Street, just before I joined the Army, and we'd just gotten off of work. We still wore the black slacks, the proper shirt and tie of our upscale, Creole restaurant, loosened and untucked. We'd all worked double shifts in the madness--we were rode hard and put up wet. But there was no sense trying to drive out of there right then, with the rain and the scurrying, squealing frat boys. The four of us silently watched it all come down through those fifteen-foot-tall door/windows, all thinking about how lucky we were to live in that deranged, charmed city.

And the streetcars aren't running--the city lacks the funds to pay the drivers. Who make jack shit anyhow.

It's been years since I could remember New Orleans this way, what it felt like to live there. It took leaving the Army and watching my possibilities bloom out with the lightning-bolt epiphany that life is long, it's fun to be single and make crazy decisions like going to law school, and I somehow ended up owning a gorgeous house in the desert with all these years left to go, which I can fill any way I choose.