Author: wideeyedfunk

Flocks

Outside the fall rains finally arrive in Buffalo. The vees of honking geese that crowd our skies in October huddle in clusters of grey and white blobs today. Sometimes a vicious hiss leaks out from the mass. I give them a wide pass. Inside the campus skyways, I smell wet wool, paint from the constant renovations, and French fries. I stick to the 2nd floor of the buildings, walking windowed bridges from one end of campus to the other. I’m my own parade through the arts, humanities, and law neighborhoods. Rain slashes the skyway windows, making them cozy. I need an armchair, ottoman, and book to set up a comfy encampment. Duty calls and I keep moving: work to do, money to earn. I’m on my way back from my cross-campus errand when I hear soft, high singing coming from ahead of me – many small voices not in tune or in sync and the trample of many feet. I guess some of the birds came in out of the rain. I round a corner …

Kitchen Transcendence

I meant to take a nap. Sunday afternoons are for napping.  Especially rainy Sunday afternoons. Really especially rainy Sunday afternoons that were preceded by a two-mile morning run in the park during a down pour. Blech in all directions on that little event: run (yuck), run for two miles (yuck), run in the rain (yuck). I looked at Hamish the Corgi and he gazed back at me, content laying in a sea of his own shed hair. We sighed at the same moment. Time for the Oreck Fun Police. Together, with Miss-Tibbit-the-Useless, we dusted and whirred around the downstairs. Miss Tibbit curled on the red tufted settee in the front parlor. Hamish lounged on the orange passion flower upholstered Victorian settee in the living room. Each dog picking the furniture piece that best set off their shiny, shedding fur. I put away boots, hung up coats, dog towels, and discarded umbrellas. I straightened pictures, cleaned up eviscerated dog toys guts. And I vacuumed. And vacuumed. And vacuumed. Tip: dogs shed. You’re welcome. When it was …

Sequestering.

“Ma, can you hear me better now?” “What?” Evidently not. “Ma,” I said, “can you hear me better? I got a new phone and it should have better sound.” “Well, I guess so.” She didn’t sound convinced and I could hear her phone shuffling around. We talked for a bit. The WideEyedDad’s birthday is coming up. They’re still unpacking 40 years’ worth of giant Victorian house Attic Stuff into their Retirement Bungalow. There are, as you might expect, frustrations in the process. Treasures rediscovered. Rediscovered and not to be disposed of. One family’s trash, same family’s treasure. So, birthdays are tricky. The last thing a retirement bungalow needs is more Stuff. At a certain point I lost my mom’s attention. I heard the phone shuffle again and her voice was distant, “They’re here,” she called. “What, oh, ok. They’re here!” I could hear my dad’s voice arriving and passing by. “What do you think they want?” he asked. He sounded a little excited, tone high and lifted. “Probably it’s your new SIM card,” my mom said. She …

The pretentious saudade sandwich.

“How much bread do we have?” I pawed through the rumpled empty-ish but not quite bags of bread on the bottom shelf of the fridge. That’s the anti-mold area. “Four slices.” And that’s how it started. Simple enough. Four slices of stale but not yet sticky or fuzzy New York rye with seeds. (Tip: rye bread takes FOR-EVER to get moldy in the fridge. It hardens first. Always edible with some mandibular exercise.) I’m pretty sure the staleness would have been called for if this had been a hipster recipe and not happenstance. Let’s call this the first whiff of pretension. Staled New York Rye. The WideEyedSpouse grabbed his refrigerator pickles off the shelf-that-is-not-broken on the fridge door. He made them from scratch with local-grown pickling cucumbers purchased from the youngest son at a family farm stand at the local farmers market. Another pretension aromatic wafting through the kitchen. He plopped a few tablespoons of Trader Joe’s something-sickeningly folksy all-natural mayo into a bowl with an assortment of smoked peppery things from the spice cabinet. …

21.

You would think that the 21 year wedding anniversary gift was paper, since the sticky tab shopping list on my desk today stated clearly, in capitals, with black ink, “toilet paper.” We both would’ve missed it if Google calendar hadn’t sent an email. I reminded the Spouse and he paled. “Did you plan anything?” he asked, looking sort of like someone who smelled a storm on the wind. “No,” I said. “Should we have?” he asked still looking kind of squirrelly. I shrugged. Some years call for the pomp. Some don’t. The Spouse and I, we’re in it together and counting years is fun but they don’t matter. Not always. Not like the day-to-day love. You know what matters? In my rush to get home, to see the Spouse at the end of a day or servitude to The Man, I failed utterly to pick up some toilet paper.  

The Kraken came to Buffalo.

Hamish the Corgi and Miss Tibbit-the-Useless forced us, absolutely forced us, to go to the land of whale hunters, pirates, beach plums, and Range Rovers. Hamish felt that his territorial expansion needed more activity in the Northeast. Miss Tibbit thought she sniffed something interesting coming from Boston-ish. We rented a house, packed ALL of the bikes and some of the wine, and aimed the Mighty Pathfinder at Cape Cod.  Hamish remembered that he cannot swim at Sheep Pond in Brewster. He remembered that a body can’t drink wave water on the beach flats of Crowe’s Pasture in Dennis. Sweet Tibbit watched ants march across the kitchen floor toward her food bowl. WideEyedUncleB graciously hosted the mass of us for an afternoon in Scituate. “Hack!” Miss Tibbit coughed with purpose above his living room rug. We waited, alert and conversation suspended, for more. Later, the Spouse reported that he was prepared to catch pukies in his hands. “Great,’” I said. Later, I found the Spouse swabbing Tibbit-pukies from WideEyedCousinA’s pantry floor in Norwell. “That dog needs …

Eight inches below normal.

I think I mowed the grass once back in June.  Then I maybe mowed the taller, more resilient weeds in July. Now, mid-August, I just don’t care. And I think if I subject the brown crackly stuff that used to be my lawn to a mower, I’ll be reenacting the Worst Hard Times (dustbowl) right here in Buffalo. Lost the cucs. Potatoes barely holding on. Tomatoes are producing by sheer force of the WideEyedSpouse’s will and liberal use of the hose. The avocado tree has a few leaves left. The pear trees produced nothing. (But then, they never have except that one pear the first year, which a squirrel ate right in front of me. A**hat squirrel.) The shaded coffee trees are weird, one is flourishing (no beans yet, still young) and the other is withered and weak. I think the healthy one is stealing the soul of the poorly one. Should make for interesting coffee someday. I’ll call it SoulStealer. Buffalo SoulStealer. It’ll make you feel awake and strong but you’ll have questionable moral …

Demon office products.

I can feel it waggling under there. First there’s a crusty unsticking feeling, then the waggling. Paper cuts are mild indignities: fierce bleeders, quickly healed. Cardboard paper cuts require reconstructive surgery. I think. I think they do, even though I’m not that kind of doctor. But manila folder paper cuts, they ride that spectrum between. A sting rather than a bodily insult. No surgery but no speedy bloom serum heal either. My manila folder flesh tear and fleshy waggle has plagued me since noonish today, when I was careless with a folder that was untouched since 1995. Twenty one years of imprisonment in a 4-drawer tan HON, only to be glanced at and tossed on the recycle pile in today’s bright afternoon sunshine. Of course it wanted blood. I saw it happen. I opened the folder. Found nothing of use inside. No. That’s not entirely true. I saw what will probably become cooperative market toilet paper in the form of a college program brochure from back before we had email and websites and civilization.  Gone. …

What price frugality?

I blame the following on heat stroke. And pain. (Read in the tone of drained awfulness.)   One hour, two hours, three hours, four – I really don’t want to do any more. We scrape and we wash and we prime and we paint. We dangle from scaffolding until we are faint. Tibbit is hungry, Hamish is bored. The house is still green in one corner more.   The garage lurks out back, all peeling and grim. I think we’ll be painting when the stars go dim.   Twenty thousand dollars seemed a lot to pay. Maybe, we said, there’s a more economical way? Scaffolding, scrapers, and gallons of tint – Up to the soffits and bump outs we went.   Lamentations and griping, match blisters and pain. If only, I think darkly, we’d have days of rain.   (Sigh.)   Would we do it all over? When the end is so near? Oh God we sure would. Sweat equity wins out when the cost is so high. We’d do it again, and ask ourselves …

Independence Day.

Thanks to the bold minds and brave signers of the Declaration of Independence, and their willingness to see it through we are here now:  equal, free of abuses, repeated injuries,  and usurpations from Government, free of a Government which refuses to pass laws, free from the obstruction of justice, free of taxation without representation…er. Ok. Well. Thanks to the bold minds and etc. etc. were here now: basking in a glorious summer day of picnics and simply joys. The people of the WideEyedHousehold came of age in one of the New Jersey shore towns, working to serve the holidays of one hundred thousand city-folk. Now, we wallow in the quietude and privacy of a day of independence, without obligation. Sweet Tibbit the Useless-Little-Black dog waits patiently for more raspberries to ripen on the thicket in back yard. She already harvested all within reach using her front nibble teeth, stretching her neck, balancing her dainty toes on the edges of the raised beds to reach more. Hamish watches, pretty sure this is Not Allowed but not sure …