Irresolved

Welp, it’s 8:38 on Sunday morning. I’ve been up since 5. 4:30, really – I got up to pee and optimistically tried to sleep more before I had to get up at 6:30 to take the Silver Fox to the airport so he could anon to Tahiti.

8:38 on Sunday morning and I’ve been up since 5.

I’ve read the news.

Exercised.

Showered.

Completed said airport run.

Filled Angela’s tank.

…and called myself a dumb bitch three times. I’m averaging once an hour today. I suspect it’s having nothing to do for the foreseeable hours remaining in the day.

So I thought I’d do something productive to snap myself out of that self-effacing doldrum.

Can you have a single doldrum? Maybe that’s a torpor.

Neverthemess…I debated asking my parents to breakfast, but I don’t want to drive in this halfhearted rain, so I’m not going to make them do it.

That kind of leaves writing. Am I going to finish my Christmas week post? Finally? No. No, I am not.

I’m jumping into ‘23!

I’m not one for resolutions – or proper English simply for the sake of proper English, hence the nonsense title of this post – but at the same time, I realized in the shower today that I was presently living out a fairly common resolution.

Call it wasting less or doing something for the environment, but that’s what I’ve found myself in the middle of. (There’s some more bad English for ya.)

As I was heading out to pick up The Fox, I had the thought that I should take my redeemable recycling with me to drop off after. I had to stop at Freddy’s anyway to get Myrtle more cat food on my way back from the airport – her breakfast sounded like only two or three kibbles when the feeder went off at 5. Then I surprised myself when I realized I was short of my two bag usual for a trip to recycling and decided to leave it. Besides, who knew whether the Silver Fox would have bags that needed to go in Angela’s cargo area? Best not to risk it.

This is when I realized I’d left my fob to The Fox’s building in my car last night, so I’d have to have him meet me at the door to get in. That was dumb bitch #1.

Then as we were driving to the airport in the dark, drizzly wee hours, I was struggling to see clearly and remembered that I’d intended to bring my glasses so I could see better, but didn’t have them: dumb bitch #2.

On my way home, I took backroads to avoid the blurry freeway. This also took me right by the home of the bi-guy I’ve been banging out with lately. That was kind of a fun realization – but now I’m horny. Sadly, I’m withholding with him because last time I saw him he left a mark like we’re fucking high schoolers.

Do I seem amused?

I stopped off for gas before hitting the grocery store. I’d been at 31 miles to empty when I left for the airport and was at 11 when I made it back to my ‘hood.

Then I forgot to stop at the store for cat food: dumb bitch #3.

Crap! I just realized I’d miscounted my dumb bitches, so that’s dumb bitch #5!

#4 was walking to the RiteAid up the street for cat food and not realizing they don’t open until 9 on Sundays. Staffing issues.

So, yeah…I need some positivity this morning. That required reflection, so I reviewed my day.

I had a shower victory this morning. Two, really, if you count showering so early in the day as a victory (I do). But I finally figured out the “right” number of swipes my shampoo bar requires for a good lather. It’s two.

Two.

I’d picked it up at Trader Joe’s last time I was there – purely on a lark. I’d been looking for a candle and struck out. But right next to where candles should have been was their personal care section and for $3.49, I figured why not give a shampoo bar a try? I knew I was getting close to empty on my current shampoo bottle at home., so this was also an opportunity to be proactive versus finding myself shampoo-less in the near future.

The first time I used it, I gave myself three swipes on each side of my head.

Waaay too much. I looked like a shampoo commercial on crack.

Plus side: this bar produces an insanely rich lather. I noticed this as it covered my shoulders and oozed toward my navel.

For the next week or so I regrouped at two swipes per side. Still too much, but I wasn’t mad since it smells so good! It also does an amazing job of pulling the prior day’s product off my hair, so why under-do it?

But this morning I was in a hurry – I know, up at 5 and end up rushing my shower to be on time, can you believe that didn’t earn me a dumb bitch? – and shaved a second or two off my shower by giving each side of my head one swipe.

Realizing that two swipes total was plenty left me looking at the bar in amazement. It looks barely touched after a week+ of daily use. At this rate, if it only lasts me six months, I’d be surprised. But in that half year, it’ll keep three plastic bottles out of my (non-redeemable) recycling.

Looking back on that made me feel pretty good. I felt even better when the reason behind me not having enough redeemable recycling to merit taking it with me when I left the house hit me.

I bought myself a soda stream late last year. I’m actually rather enjoying it. At first I was conflicted about it for political and environmental reasons.

It’s a company based in Israel, which is ire-some to some.

Plus, I don’t like bubbly water just for the sake of bubbles. Hence, the flavoring syrups in front of it. The Bubbly brand concentrates come in glass bottles and make around 12 liters. The larger containers say they make up to 9 liters, but I’ve only been using 3/4 the recommended dose, so they’ll each get me around 12 liters, too. So for the environmental price of two plastic bottles, I’m keeping about two dozen plastic bottles out of the system. Add another dozen for the glass bottle of flavorings and you’ve got quite an impact.

I’m ok with the return on that trade off.

I realized that over the course of a year, that will be hundreds less plastic containers coming out of my home. That made me feel pretty good.

And it all happened without setting out on a resolution spree.

Not bad for a dumb, ol’ bitch, eh?

Irresolved

K-GAY TV Goes to the Movies

This could all be an exercise in how emotionally broken and busted up I am.

Or bitter.

Or self-loathing.

Or what have you.

But I watched some movie and now I want to talk about it.

Merry Christmas Eve, by the way!

Anyway. I’ve fallen into this avoidance trap. I don’t know why, but I’m doing anything in front of the TV to avoid watching Christmas movies. Maybe it’s because I watched Bad Moms Christmas last year and it put me off the whole genre? Nonetheless, this has manifested by me creating my own themes to binge.

One of these was gay themed movies. The two I want to discuss today both put me off watching them for one reason or another – fine, they both annoyed me – if that tells you how hard I was resisting Christmas themed movies.

How can a movie annoy me before I’ve even seen it, you ask?

Not surprisingly, it was the usual trigger for me: idiots.

When Bros came out and the first weekend earnings were reported, they lacked a certain luster. It made less than $5 million in its opening weekend. The writer and star blamed straight people for not seeing his rom-com because the main characters were gay.

Like…what?

Ballpark cocktail napkin math, there’s 20 million gay men in the US. Countless others who identify as queer, questioning, gender-fluid or trans. And then a handful of lesbians who sympathetically tolerate gay men.

Y’know what, that’s too complicated. The old rule of thumb (and by “old” I mean outdated) is that 10% of the population is gay. In America, that translates to around 35 million people. If just ten percent of that 10% <ahem> came out for opening weekend, that’s a $35 million opening weekend.

Bitch, your own people didn’t show up for you. Trust me, having written a couple of gay themed books, I understand the phenomenon. Don’t blame the straights, it’s your community.

So, yeah…that kinda put me off.

Conversely, the other gay themed movie is been awaiting was My Policeman. After the media hullaballoo surrounding star Harry Styles’ other movie release this year (Don’t Worry Darling) I was looking forward to something I could enjoy without experiencing a shitshow of humanity-baiting press beforehand. But the idiots came through and pissed me off again.

Several of the reviews went out of their way to mention Styles’ English accent sounded contrived and unbelievable.

Harry is from the United Kingdom.

What the hell is wrong with people?

After overcoming those frustrations – at least to the point that the idea of watching them bothered me less than the idea of viewing Christmas content – I made a weekend of it.

Are you ready for this? Gird your loins. No, on second thought, you little peeves put your loins out of your minds altogether. I’m sorry I mentioned it.

Bros

Months and months ago, I heard about this gay movie that was coming out this year called Bros. It was written by and starred Billy Eichner, who I am not a fan of – he’s just not my cup of personality tea. Conversely, it was directed by Nicholas Stoller who brought us okay titles like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. It was also being produced by Judd Apatow.

So there was plenty of recognizable name power behind it. You gotta assume that if anyone could succeed at being a gay-centric rom-com into the mainstream, it was a crew like this.

I spent the time mentally playing Russian roulette. This wasn’t a movie, it seemed as it was a sentence.

Don’t get me wrong, I was only mentally playing Russian roulette, not literally, so it wasn’t that bad. But even weeks after watching it I’m still trying to figure out if I’m bending over backward to not hate it.

Here are me takeaways:

1) There’s some (singular) guy candy. The whole premise of the trailer is that nerdy gay Billy can’t grapple with the reality that hot co-star Luke MacFarlane could be into him. Ok, I feel that particular struggle. Anymore what used to be surprise at learning someone was attracted to me has turned into outright suspicion. Like when a good looking guy pays attention to me my response isn’t to be flattered, it “What do you want?”

2) Sadly, Luke’s character – as easy as he is to look at – has almost the entire patchwork of gay fucked up-ness in his quilt: your basic gym bunny of a commitment-phobe, hyper-sexualized, Homo. Even when the story opens him up a little by giving him a totally out of character secret dream to make him look vulnerable, it’s immediately thrown in the dirt and stomped on by throwing his gay-shame in our faces when his family visits the Big Apple for Christmas.

3) Stunt casting is alive! But maybe not well? Several out actors played roles in this film. That was nice to see – even if the community didn’t come out for the show, it supported the community of out entertainers in its casting. The winner for me was Amanda Bearse playing Luke’s character’s mother. The conservative mindset of the character explains some of Luke’s dis-ease with Billy meeting them, but it was her eventual understanding of how her narrow worldview impacted others that did it for me. It was nice to see Guillermo Diaz play a het dad instead of an unhinged killer. Jai Rodriquez playing Luke’s uber-masc brother pretty much made me realize casting members of the community was more important than casting people who could sell the characters they were playing. Debra Messing is a moderately bright spot in the film playing herself as an out of date star that basically has a meltdown during her scene over being famous for being a fruit fly.

4) The Gays can’t seem to evolve professionally. In the 70s and 80s, we were all basically hair burners and retail queens. Now we’re all drag queens or caricatures of people with no real depth or involved in something that serves our ungrateful and entitled community. Case in point, Billy’s character is a podcaster who is named to lead the blah-blah-blah LGBTQ center. But first he had to build it, which is a central theme in the movie. The closest we come to an actual profession is Luke’s character who is an attorney who does estate planning. To further the programming of The Gays and reinforce that we should not aspire to such respectable professions, he hates it.

5) For as much as we call ourselves a community, there’s truly no unity here. Again, The Gays didn’t go to the movie, but if they had, all they would have seen is the usual selfish infighting amongst the alphabetical factions.

6) The Gays are as self-unaware as ever. Bowen Yang (more stunt casting!) plays a billionaire media mogul who briefly comes into the orbit of this storyline. The scene ends with him dismissing the main characters by telling them he has to go to a Pride pool party and they are too “old” to go in the pool, so they have to leave. Now, I’m all for cleverly bitchy wit. I’m also one for accountability, too, and watching this scene play out made me cringe. Excluding people based on things that are out of their control like age or genes is just not ok. Yang is no underwear model, so I can’t imagine how he felt delivery such an ageist line. If he’s the typical ‘22 model of The Gays, I’m sure the point was entirely lost on him.

Honestly, this is pretty much how I felt about the whole movie. I couldn’t figure out if it was just basic or if it was trying to lampoon was passes for Gay Kulture these days but just wasn’t smart enough to pull it off.

That’s my main takeaway – confusion.

Honestly, props to those involved for taking a big swing on this. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a big miss for me. If you want to see a gay movie about a nerd and a stud falling in love with an out of date TV star having a meltdown…see 1999’s Trick. Tori Spelling was an amazing bit of stunt casting in this indy flick whose meltdown is truly a memorable moment. Plus, Coco Peru’s cameo alone is worth the ticket – rental, now – price, because…it does burn, Coco!

My Policeman

After bracing myself for Harry’s inability to pull of a convincing English accent, I settled into this little slice of life time capsule. Then again, after watching Bros, it was pretty easy to settle in with the expectations bar set pretty low.

This movie takes place in two different times in the three main characters’ lives, separated by 40-some odd years and splices the events of the two points together as the story unfolds.

I’m not going to try and do that here. Suffice to say, it ends up unfolding as a three-way tragedy.

The movie starts with an infirm old Patrick being delivered by medical transport to the home of childless couple Tom and Marion. He’s just recovered from a stroke and is here to convalesce. Marion is glad to have their old pal from decades earlier back in their lives, not to mention someone to take care of to give her days some purpose. Tom is not so happy about the arrival, spending his screen time walking the couple’s dog on the beach.

As the story hood between the past and present, we learn that Tom is a retired policeman who early in his career was a lone singleton in his precinct who was told that single officers don’t get promoted. Enter Marion who is a school teacher that is instantly smitten with the handsome young Tom – let’s face it, regardless of which side your bread is buttered on, Harry Styles is pretty easy to look at, weak-assed English accent be damned.

Tom introduces Marion to a young Patrick, who he claims to have met after an accident.

The three become friends. And it’s a friendship independent of the marriage. Marion and Patrick enjoy cultural outings together without Tom. Tom, for his part, enjoys his alone time with Patrick in…other ways.

Marion does what wives in the 50s-ish era did, ignored the signs about the true nature of Tom and Patrick’s relationship. On that note, maybe we understand a little more of Marion’s motivation behind inviting Patrick to their home to heal. Certainly, it’s easier to understand Tom’s absence in the house.

But it was nostalgic viewing for me. Even though my early relationships with men occurred in the late 80s and early 90s versus the 40s or 50s, the closet was still the room I spent the most time in. Beards – as the women in relationships of convenience were called – were still commonplace. A friend of mine who was a bank VP in the early 90s was told the same thing Tom was. Being a VP versus a beat cop, his response was more “Who the fuck cares?” versus pairing up, but it still happened.

Maybe nostalgia is the wrong word. Because the end result was that I was mad at the memory. The secret life gays were forced to live. The way women were treated as results. The emotional costs on both sides of the transaction.

Regardless, it was a far better depiction of this type of gay-straight love triangle than Threesome. But that probably went without saying – even if you never knew that movie existed…

What upset me most, though, about My Policeman was knowing that the current – or recent – generations of The Gays are oblivious to the trauma of the reality so many generations of their predecessors existed in. Their own culture. But it’s not their problem and certainly nowhere near as traumatic as their realities. Y’know, the one where no one gets their pronouns right and they don’t make enough on their OnlyFans to support their undeserved caviar tastes, leaving them no choice but to self-diagnose with anxiety and/or depression as a result. That’s tragedy.

So while I quite enjoyed watching the story of My Policeman unfold – as well as Harry’s too-infrequent naked ass – the movie left me angrier for what our culture has lost than anything else. That loss is history. Such an important piece of any culture and one of the reasons I spell the word with a K when I pair it with the word gay.

Still, as a counterbalance to my reaction to Bros, I feel like my emotional Geiger counter might not be as broken as I alluded to in my intro. I was still a bit intrigued by the fact that neither of these stories really had the emotional impact upon me their creators would have imagined.

Until

I rewatched Top Gun: Maverick.

Sixteen minutes in and I am shedding tears the way I wish I could shed belly fat: fast and voluminously.

“What the fuck?!?” I asked Myrtle, who opened one eye at the question to let me know it was my problem and not worth rousing her from her nap.

If it would have just been that one instance of nostalgic tears, I could have written it off. But sixteen minutes later, there’s I was again, wiping my face – not my eyes, my face – with both hands.

Then fourteen minutes later.

Then ten.

And it really didn’t let up for the two-plus hours of the movie.

Top fucking Gun fucking Maverick. That’s the movie that provoked an emotional response from me?

Maybe I am more emotionally busted up than I want to let on.

On the other hand, maybe before I decide I should survey a bunch of naval aviators to see what their response was to TG:M. If they didn’t have a strong emotional reaction to the movie, maybe that’s my out: if you’re in the community, there’s a normalizing factor that familiarity breeds where you’re more witnessing the story versus becoming emotionally invested in it.

Oof. I should have stretched before that reach.

K-GAY TV Goes to the Movies

The Blight

It started at the north end of my indoor garden, with my dracaena – Ming the Merciless. At the time, I attributed the yellowing and now darkened leaf tips to the attention Ming was getting from a truly merciless creature: Mistress Myrtle. She was quite keen on sitting on the edge of my TV console and rubbing her cheeks on Ming’s point tips. Eventually, she worked herself up into enough of a frenzy to take some live bites off the tips – which she then unate somewhere else in the house for me to clean up when I stumbled up (read: slipped on and nearly fell into) it.

But then that yellowing and darkening phenomenon spread to the side of Ming that Myrt couldn’t reach. Soon after, water just started running through the pot when I watered him – so I think the roots died and the plant is surviving off cannibalizing itself. If that’s something plants even do.

Then it started its spread south, this blight. It arrived at the other end of the TV console and hit Moppet.

At first, it – Moppet was <sniff!> agender – just dropped a couple leaves from the base. Again, Myrtle was my first suspect. I definitely allowed for some wildcard causes like trauma caused when I watered it, since the base leaves had to be moved in order to avoid water simply running off them and onto the floor; or, I’ve never seen a plant like Moppet before so maybe this was part of its growth process – dropping lower leaves and having more of a canopy of foliage.

Then I came home one day to find Moppet’s top half had broken off and fallen to the floor. There were some new leaves popping out around the base, but they are withering now, too. RIP: Moppet. I barely knew ye.

Still, these two situations I can accept. Either as the result of a simple numbers game at work or the likely more accurate result of my blind luck with plant keeping situationally running out. I’m not avid gardener, I just water the things, chat with them every now and again about world events and try to keep Myrtle from molesting them too aggressively.

Sure, every now and again I’ll take a stab at advance actives like repotting a plant or propagation. That’s definitely an exception to the daily routine.

But then this blight became a true curiosity. A phenomenon – and one that was not welcome.

It jumped from the TV console to Spiderella.

Spider plants are a curiosity in and of themselves to me. As a kid I could grow them like nobody’s business. As an adult, they die. Makes me wonder if mom was giving me an anonymous alley-oop in my youthful endeavors. She absolutely would because she wanted her kids to have confidence and accomplishments they could take pride in. A little behind the scenes assistance while I was at school wouldn’t surprise me – although, I’d like to know where it was when it came time to clean the gerbil cage.

Anyway, Spiderella was hit and declined quickly. Her crazy Liza inspired ‘do looks like it’s had one too many colorings applied in too short a time. That’s almost an overnight change…nearly as sudden as hair color changes themselves, no? This morning I trimmed off “The Kids” and put them in water to see if they’d root. Maybe something positive can still come of the sitch.

The weird thing is that if this would have started with Spiderella and moved north, I would have attributed it to changing temps. You see, my south wall is all windows and notoriously drafty. As the temps cooled – now dropping often into the 30s at night – it would have made sense for those closest to them to suffer a bit.

That’s not what happened, though.

Plus, it’s not like the inside temp in my place ever gets below 65 degrees. Still, maybe cool air from one direction and warm from the other just fucks unnecessarily with these poor plants’ sense of season and they don’t know what they’re supposed to do – so they die.

I think I just somehow blogged myself into moving when my current lease expires this coming spring. Luckily, I’ve been chiding the Silver Fox in an attempt to manipulate him into permanent residence in town by telling him I plan to move into his place during his Tahitian vacation in January, so…I’ve already got a plan! Plus, that would give me three months to proChristinate my move out cleaning. That’s a win-win.

I kid, of course. Except I really should think about moving at the end of this lease.

The issue with my drafty windows affects the whole stack, so the fix needs to be covered by the HOA and no one has even brought it up with the Board yet, so the solution is years away.

On top of that, I learned last Saturday night that I have a new upstairs neighbor. At midnight. Because he was singing in his bedroom loud enough to wake me up in mine.

The HOA Prez sent out an Unknown In The Building email that ended with us both learning he was the new renter above me. His email handle is Jeremy4Christ for Christ’s sake. The song he was singing loud enough to wake me in those wee hours was about his gun, so this is bound to be a shit show.

Pass.

I think I’ll just take my plants and myself – and, yes…even Myrtle – and find a new place. It shouldn’t be too hard to find somewhere with better weatherizing and peace of mind.

Y’know…where I’m the craziest person around. That I can live with.

The Blight

Austerity…and Everything After

Feel free to cue up some Counting Crows while you read along, if you’re inclined to give a nod to this post’s title inspo – August and Everything After.

If not, no worries. It just popped into my head last night in a near-literal fit of frustration.

I’d gone into the weekend feeling victorious, namely over finally getting paid the balance of my last week of work before transitioning to a Core employee with the company I’d been assigned to for nearly six months.

Knowing the rhythm of their processes, I know when I get an email saying my paystub is available, my direct deposit hits the next day. Since I got that Friday, I was expecting the deposit Saturday morning. I was just a little surprised when it didn’t land, and left curious as to whether that was a systemic issue or whether good, old RH had one more petty fuck you left for me.

Regardless, I’d planned this weekend to finally get some real time in with DoorDash for the first time in weeks. I think the two weeks I’ve been back from the desert, I’d averaged about 4 hours a week. I just don’t like it!

Just disregard all that foreshadowing.

Admittedly, I’ve been letting the looming of my grandfather’s estate settling allow me to shirk my 35 delivery per week goal. And the damn thing never seems to close – despite the original June estimate back in January! Last I heard was almost three weeks ago when dad told us the attorney said it was time to write checks. My inclusion and my siblings’ is strictly a matter of my dad’s generosity, him committing to share his share with us. For me, it’s moderately life-changing money, regardless of whether it’s equally divided or something just under the reportable threshold.

Anywho. Not having expected Robert Half-Ass to find its wallet at all, let alone in a conveniently timed fashion, I knew this weekend was going to be a rather austere one. In past similar instances, ie: pretty much the beginning of any month this year, I’ve pretty much lived off my Apple Wallet. That’s where my DoorDash earnings deposit. Unfortunately, no ATMs in my area seem accessible via their card-less technology. Go figure.

But I manage. I can always order food and grocery through my Apple Wallet, there’s just no real going out in that first week situation – although, I did discover that Regal Cinemas of all places has a functional card-less point of sale. So, that’s nice. If there’s no movie showing that I want to see, then there’s always new movies I can rent/buy through Prime if nothing grabs me on the streamers.

What I’m saying is, even though it’s tight sometimes, it’s still pretty good to be me.

This weekend, of course, I’m finally motivated. I know I’ve got another week to go before my first two-week paycheck arrives. Further, I was kind of daunted by the prospect of having to budget for two weeks versus getting paid weekly, having just adjusted to that weekly schedule versus the daily pay I’d been used to the last three years.

It wasn’t my strongest beginning. Friday night was tough, after a longer than normal Friday at the day job. When I saw the pay was just base-plus-$2, versus the usual base-plus-$3 I get when I drive, I decided to save my mojo for Saturday night. Why? I don’t know…at the end of the day, it was a $5-10 issue, depending on how long I stayed out. But I stayed in.

I hit the road last night at 6, after buying myself a pop and a lottery ticket. My first order was a two-fer with a total of 3.3 miles for $19. I usually like to stay over a $10 per-delivery average, but it was such a short distance, I took it as a win and shagged it.

Plus, these things usually net up a bit when all is said and done. Especially when an order comes through a secondary app. Even if it didn’t, though, I’d be on my “second” order in about 20 minutes since these first two deliveries were so close.

Except…forgot whose life I was living.

The first pickup was a block from where I accepted the orders and they said they needed a “couple minutes” to finish up. Not surprising, since I’d been so close.

Twenty fucking minutes later…I’m finally on my way. I pick up the next order in less than 90 seconds and am on my way to the drop offs – which are conveniently around the corner from one another. Unfortunately, what I hadn’t realized was that there was a Portland Timbers match last night. These two apartments were two blocks from Providence Park.

What I’d assumed would be the start of a $50 hour finally ended 40 minutes later. As I ended the second delivery, I was accepting the reality that I’d need another delivery set up like my first to finish my first hour in my usual $30-35 range.

Except the app kept reverting to the prior delivery instead of completing and taking me to the Home Screen.

That’s more like my usual life. After I’d crossed the Willamette River that divides the city’s west side from the east, I had pulled over to call support. I’d unsuccessfully tried to complete the order for 10 minutes – Portland is small, you can absolutely cross town on a Saturday evening in 10 minutes – so it was time to get some help.

After 15 minutes on chat waiting for someone to get to me, the chat had ended itself. Fine. I called in to the driver support line. That call started with a recording telling me there was high call volume so they were prioritizing active deliveries. Also fine, since I’d been unable to end my last delivery.

Then the system ended my call. So much for getting into the queue based on a technicality.

Worst part? I didn’t even get paid for the deliveries I did until hours later when I was comfortably stoned on the couch.

That prompted me to try signing in again, not that I was going anywhere. It still failed, so I put it away for the night.

I tried again this morning. Still nothing, and the only troubleshooting I can get to without signing in says, “Just keep trying!” Thanks, Dory.

The support line is still hanging up after the same pre-recorded message, so I’m sensing it’s a bad weekend for a lot of people.

And DoorDash.

But that’s all had a rather disabling effect on my day. This weekend I came into feeling motivated is ending with me not showering or brushing my teeth today until 3 pm.

I did somehow manage to whip up a concoction and eat a 1/2 pound of pasta – but managed to hold off til noon before diving in.

Eat your feelings, Xtopher.

I’ve watched two Harry Potter movies today – save your TERF comments, I’m watching the movies to feel good, not endorse the author’s anti-trans mentality – and suspect a third is coming.

And while I feel like I’ve survived a hardship and tomorrow I’ll wake up with more than $15 in my primary checking account, I’m not feeling a strong sense of relief. Most of my bills are “late” or actually late at this point. I prefer to pay them as they come in if they aren’t on autopay. Autopays are bouncing back – thank gawd they aren’t considered overdrafts! – and the balances on the bills I haven’t paid yet are now larger than the check I’ll get on Friday, so I’ve got to prioritize bills instead of clearing them out.

And given the time of month – I swear I didn’t mean to riff on TERF bullshit there – were in, my next check has to be for September rent. On top of that, I suspect it’s time Myrtle saw a vet, given the size of the puddle I came home to after last night’s abortion of productivity. That couldn’t possibly be a good sign. Or a cheap fix. But at least I’ve talked myself back from my comments to the Silver Fox last night – something along the lines of “Myrtle lives outside starting tomorrow”. And, no…I do not have a yard.

Grandpa’s probate attorney needs to find his damn checkbook. At least this slog of a weekend is almost over. Take that, Sunday Scaries. I’m looking forward to Monday!

Austerity…and Everything After

Innate Skills

This is what happens (to my crazy ass, anyway) when your subconscious self thinks that your conscious self needs a reminder that you really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house unsupervised.

No, your personal retina/rod/cone situation has not been hacked.

Yes, I do know that orange is my favorite color.

And you can and have heard me joke about being OCD.

Wreckreationally.

But when I go into a store for a maté and a snack and the maté are on sale 2/$5, I get two. Of my favorite flavor.

Which is blood orange. I get it…

However, being responsible – or trying to be – about snacking, I’ll opt for something not crunchy or too processed. Dried apricots, right?!? They’re just hanging right there…

Obviously, also also orange-y.

No. I did not see the emerging theme.

But then I had to wait in line for some Karen-type. Her behavior stressed me out. Maybe it was more of an annoyed reaction. I dunno.

But those bastards at the Brodega run their line right down the goddamned chip and chocolate aisle – yes, they have about 18 feet of gourmet chocolate bars. Naturally, my response to this person’s behavior was emotional eating.

Plus, they recently – as I discovered in that moment – revamped their Cretor’s assortment to include cheese flavors again. Before this, they’d switched to only a pickle flavored SKU, and…no, thank you. Homey don’t want that.

However…

Anything cheesy and Cretor’s is amazing.

Highly recommend.

But what would you have me do in that situation?!? Of course, I picked one up.

So now I’ve got that calling me home. Myrtle could take a page out of cheesy popcorn’s playbook…

Innate Skills

Training Myrtle

Long time readers may be familiar with my struggle, which is being my cat’s steward. Those who aren’t or those curious for a good reason to nominate me for some sort of heroism award can read up under the #mistressmyrtle tag.

A quick summary: I occasionally indulge in a one-sided conversation with Myrt that goes something like this:

Am I your fourth home because you’re such a bitch, or are you a bitch because I’m your fourth home?

For her part, Myrtle gives me an inscrutable cat stare.

I am curious, though, since I got her at a year and a half old. That’s a pretty bad track record…averaging a bounce every six months.

This was last year’s FB reminder…

For my part, I’ve been her home for six years.

You’d think that would get me a little loyalty, but no. It’s always something. This door is too closed, these windows face the wrong direction, you’re not warm enough, there aren’t any birds outside. Or – her fave, I think – you aren’t bleeding freely enough.

Breakfast was served too late, or not early enough. You served me the same dinner two days in a row. And it was cold tonight.

I dunno.

She has a distinct way in which she voices her displeasure. I call them Protest Poops.

They started as part of her complaining about her litter box, and usually occur about a foot away from the box. Subtle, no?

The cat seems to like smelly things, food & treats mostly – but her litter box is no exception. I learned that changing the litter resulted in her boycotting the box altogether. That was certainly no good.

A cat who is freaked out by fresh litter?

The workaround seemed to be that I scoop for a few days and then add in some fresh stuff. But that’s not an exact science, and sometimes I was reprimanded with a protest poop to encourage me to do better on my ratio-making.

Quick reminder, she doesn’t seem to care too much for me, so there’s that.

Lately, though, The Mistress’ displeasure seems to be escalating.

And traveling.

She had a habit a couple years ago of peeing in the shower. I blamed it on some rando pissing in my shower after an evening of – um…entertainment, so I couldn’t really be mad at her for doing what animals do, right?

Simple solution: my bathroom door is always closed now. Plus, it saves toilet paper.

You get the idea…

But she’s also started pooping further away from her box. Behind the front door, behind her cat tree, in the bedroom, behind her other cat tree.

We’ve had conversations about it. Well, some conversations. It’s either she doesn’t want to talk about it or she just screams at me and won’t have a dialogue.

With few choices left in my arsenal, I started punishing her. If she pooped outside her box, no dinner/breakfast, depending on the time of the offense. On the flip side, I started giving her treats exclusively when I cleaned her box. Same with breakfast, if I heard her using her box, I’d get up and clean her box, then give her breakfast.

She’s always been a food motivated creature.

Of course, she started gaming the system. She’s no dummy.

She’d use her box and immediately jump up on the shelf where I give her treats.

Waiting.

Meow.

I look over, tail twitching, chin bobbing in my direction, as if to say, <ahem>!

Well, it was a system that worked, I guess.

Until the other day.

I was on a call and heard her scratching dramatically at her box.

Really hamming it up.

But I’m on a call, so I’m stuck at my desk, right? There’s only so far you can go wearing a headset that’s plugged into your laptop. And I’d already learned that my desk was too close to the cat box, so I’d moved it across the living space.

After the call ends, I get up to go do my scoop and reward routine. The box was empty.

Laughing at how manipulative she is, I go looking for her. I find her mid-poop in the bedroom behind her cat tree.

“Do we need to talk about this, Myrtle?!?”

Meow!

“You’re a bad kitty! So baaaaad!”

Myrtle runs for the bed and stuffs her fatness flat as her back paws claw her slowly under. It’s quite pathetic to witness. Probably how she feels when she sees me trying to get off the couch.

All I hear of her for the next six hours – aka: dinner time – is a random plaintive meow from under the bed when I walk by.

Such a bad kitty.

And a bad kitty who still wanted dinner?

The feline hubris.

I made her wait a few hours. Just on principle.

Training Myrtle

The Homeless Guy With Game

You gotta admire a down and out guy with moxie.

I was running into my building to feed Myrtle last night. In doing so, I passed one of the fire exits to my building. These are recessed doorways, making them a perfect opportunity for someone wanting to duck out of weather, shoot up or take a nap – hell, maybe all three, depending on the day.

I saw the bike-turned-upside-down gate and a pair of feet stretched out under it before I passed by, so I knew it was occupied. Turns out, there were two occupants of the tiny makeshift shelter. He looked like he was feeling no pain. The other occupant was sitting cross-legged with a jacket draped over her head, like Cousin It went as a coatrack for Halloween.

“You’re pretty fun to hang out with. Do you want a boyfriend?”

I mean, way to just casually toss that out there. A directness I can appreciate.

“No”, I hear in a tentative voice from under the coat,” I mean…I already have one.”

Ouch.

And what had they been doing – and for how long – that this guy knew he wanted to lock her down but didn’t know she was already taken?!?

I acknowledged he at least shot his shot as I fobbed into my front door. My trip home was a quick one, literally ran in to feed my cat, hit the can and then I was off again.

Passing back by the door, I saw the girl was still wearing her coat wrong and the guy’s head had lolled back and to the side a bit. He was apparently not done making his case.

“…I also speak Japanese and Farsi, but I can’t write in Japanese…”

Geez. How far down on your assets list are those tidbits? I’m assuming his “physical” attributes – those most exaggerated bragged about by dudes – were either previously known or had topped the list. Then again, based on where this conversation was taking place, we knew he skipped right over where he lived and what kind of car he drives.

Oh, Portland…

The Homeless Guy With Game

John Lennon Was Right

Instant karma got me.

Or, car-ma…as the case t’were. I’m accepting that it was my fault for kvetching about one measly 4-star rating out of two and a half years of 5-star rides.

Hence the karma pun.

Anywho…Angela crapped out by the side of the road tonight. Actually, it was in a drive lane, but it was the curb side of the road – if you’ll allow me to split that hair.

I had called my friend, Diezel, before she died. He sometimes works on things like brake pads for me – hey, he works for burgers! His take on it was that it was an alternator and/or battery issue.

Angela had given me a “charging malfunction” error before I had called Diezel. When she had died the first time, giving me a last minute “drivetrain malfunction” message as she locked herself down in a parking lot.

The middle of a parking lot.

At sundown.

In The Numbers. Let’s just say that’s nowhere for an old white man to be broken down. Particularly after dark,

I Google “drivetrain malfunction” + “BMW X3” and learn that I can probably restart it after five minutes. I find a tree, take a whiz and go back.

<Le poof>

She starts up.

Knowing what to expect performance-wise, thanks to the prophet Google, I set out for home. I’m crawling, since Angela isn’t feeling like giving me more than 20-ish MPH.

Sticking to arterial surface streets, I had called Diezel as I limped westward. He tells me to look for a side street to park on and he’ll come get me and take me home, I can have her towed tomorrow.

I know he’s right – he’s an engineer and a rational thinker. I am an emotional thinker.

Emotionally, I want to get home. Knowing Diezel is right, my fallback is to get out of The Numbers.

Shit goes down there. BiPOC folx who live on the west side are reluctant to head to that part of the eastside when it’s dark. Last year was Portland’s deadliest in decades: gun violence, fire deaths, homicides, traffic deaths. You name it, if it was violent or deadly, we either broke a record last year or came damn close.

The Numbers – a nickname based on the blocks between ~122nd and 180th on the eastside of town – had more than the lion’s share of traffic and gun violence deaths last year. Don’t even get me started on the record number of stolen cars last year – October and November had around 13k stolen cars for the two month period.

Two months.

I didn’t want to leave Angela there.

We made it into the double-digit block numbers. I’d just crossed 102nd and was promising Diezel I’d pull off as I hit the 205 overpass at about 93rd.

She died. On the uphill approach to the overpass. I briefly considered jumping, but only therapeutically. Well, mostly.

I told Diezel what happened and he told me to drop him a pin for my location, he was leaving that moment.

Friends like him…they make me feel like I don’t deserve them as friends.

I throw a little pity party while I wait.

I’d just squared up my Multnomah County business taxes from 2019 and 2020, because TurboTax small business doesn’t do them – nor does it tell you that ain’t happening.

The county, though. They tell you. Two years later.

Well, that’s when they told me I owed $1400 in tax for 2019…the year I started driving for Lyft. In August. I decided to get ahead of 2020 – when I’d driven the whole year and made 4x what I made in ‘19 – and dig it out before the county hit me with penalties like the 2019 miss had created.

So much for buying a new place this year.

It wasn’t looking good, anyway, based on financial timing and the likely prime rate boosts coming down the pike this year. At best, I’d be looking at two hikes before I had mutual acceptance.

I’d accepted this. It was nice to at least have a goal to work toward, however briefly.

But here I was again, in crisis mode.

I was startled out of my pity party by a pair of headlights in my windshield.

Diezel!

But…not Diezel.

A Good Samaritan!

Yes! This was the Portland I knew and loved.

It was a woman who had passed by and pulled a u-turn in front of me to pull up to my hood grill – let’s not call it a hood whilst stalled in The Numbers. She walked up to my passenger window and asked if I needed a jump. I told her, “heck, yeah!” and she was off to her cargo area for her cables.

BMWs are weird. The battery in my X3 is in the back, but you jump it from the front. Actually, there is a positive post, that’s it. I’d been watching videos on this, so I kind of knew this – but she wanted to check in with her significant other, so we FaceTimed him. He agreed with my guess that we just needed to attach the negative to a hunk of metal and we were good to go.

She started her car and I got in mine to give Angela a wake up call.

She started right up. I revved her a few times. I was ready to let her sit and charge for a few minutes, but my Good Samaritan was antsy to go. I couldn’t fault her, but knowing about jumping cars from watching my parents do it while growing up in the 80s, that was my best guess for next steps.

Sadly, she was already talking about how to disconnect the cables with her Boo when I came around. He agreed I was good to go, so I yielded to their current information.

As soon as she turned and left, I put Angela in gear…and she re-died.

Diezel immediately pulled up behind me.

My first and third savior of the night.

“Galbs”, he said to me, “you need to call a tow truck to take this to a garage.”

I knew from his tone that this was his way of telling me this repair was beyond his capabilities. At least as far as roadside repairs were concerned.

He gave me a towing company name and number. Three hours.

He pulled another from his list and dictated the number to me. One hour!

Between calls and hold times, Diezel had been amusing himself by blowing his air horn at passing cars that had cut their lane change around us too closely. One of those blasts had clearly scared the towing company dispatcher shitless.

Fifteen minutes later, Diezel decided to get out and strobe his flashlight at the Stupid Americans who were too distracted to see his emergency flashers and proactively – not to mention safely – merge into the other lane.

He was worried about someone rear ending him. Looking at Angela’s dark brake lights and dead emergency lights, I couldn’t blame him. I was grateful to him for being there to save a near-certain collision.

There was a car backing down the overpass in front of Angela. He stopped and popped his rear hatch.

“Why don’t you go meet him?”

I acquiesced, and the man met me by my car with three flares. Another Good Samaritan.

For such a crappy night, the universe was putting a lot of amazing people in my path.

By the time the tow truck was a half hour late, the flares had burned through. Diezel was strobing approaching cars again. We could not believe how people fucked up such a simple thing as not hitting a stalled vehicle.

I couldn’t decide if it was distracted driving, stereotypically too polite Portland-slash-Portlandia-type drivers, or a combination of the two. Cars in our lane would slow to zipper in behind the car with the right of way, and that car would in turn yield its right of way by slowing to let it in front of them.

Both lanes of traffic came to a stop or near-stop several times. I retreated to the cab of Diesel‘s truck for an update on the tow truck.

Fifteen minutes.

Ten minutes later, the driver called. He was ten minutes out. He told me the tow would be just under $200. I asked if he could invoice me because I didn’t have it immediately – see also: why I was out driving on a Tuesday.

No.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuckity-fuck-fuck.

I’d payed two year’s worth of County back taxes and my January bills in the last ten days. Followed by also taking several days off to process my 4-star rating.

The savings I can usually access within 48 hours was nearly tapped. I was anticipating needing to tap into my other savings for the repair – that savings has a five day turnaround, so no driving for the better part of a week on top of opening the drain on my savings again. Not to mention any significant penalties for early withdrawal – or its modern day equivalent.

I was feeling hosed.

I looked a little more longingly at that guardrail. Sensing my distress, Diezel handed me his credit card and told me gently not to worry, pay him back whenever, but get the repair taken care of first.

I offered to at least get him a beer, but he demurred. It was after 9:30, after all…this one hour wait had turned into two and a half hours, not to mention the 30 minute transit and depositing Angela at the garage. He usually turns in closer to 8. Proposing a counteroffer of a hug, since we hadn’t seen each other in real life for over a year, he took off for home.

Realizing Myrtle’s dinner was over four hours late – a millennia in cat-time – I rushed upstairs to feed the mistress.

Then I prescribed myself a therapeutic Emotional Support Pizza that I keep in the freezer in case of emergency.

Don’t judge my Hawaiian pizza tastes!

You cannot understand the number of weekend nights I’ve come in from driving to bare cupboards. This was one of several I picked up after deciding I simply couldn’t face another 3 AM pizza from 7-Eleven. Plus, you can dress up a frozen pizza with red pepper flakes and – especially – an herb mix from Penzey’s Spices.

You’d eat this. <chef’s kiss> Admit it.

Plus, I broke open a bottle of the Columbia Gorge’s finest – from Marchese Cellars – to polish up the therapy session.

It’s a $30 bottle of amazing red. Not a bad companion to a $7 pizza…so if those herbs and red pepper flakes don’t make that pizza palatable…this will! Then this happened

Come the fuck on!

Undeterred, I got that cork out on the second try. Hopefully, that’s a harbinger of the ease of repair for Angela.

Now, I think I have some In Case Of Emergency Ben & Jerry’s around here somewhere…

John Lennon Was Right

Conversations With My Cat

Me: Is that you or me that smells like cat poop?

Mistress Myrtle: I think it’s you.

Me: And I think it’s you, Myrt.

Mistress Myrtle: <gazes at me inscrutably>

Me: So, you admit it was you? <sits up>

Mistress Myrtle: <continues staring>

Me: Oh, god…you were right. What did I eat?!?

Mistress Myrtle: How did you not even realize you farted, Stoopid Hooman?!?

This is pretty much the disdainful regard that I expect my cat holds for me. Despite, it seems, a post-vacation affection she also seems to be displaying.

Like, we’re talking daily cuddles versus the pre-vacation quarterly allotment I was afforded. It could be a throwback reflex to her early childhood abandonment issues.

I was, after all, her fourth home when I adopted her at a year and a half of age.

Still, if that were the case – gratitude at my tolerance for her return-to-the-pound-worthy behaviors, why not have graced me with these cuddly rewards earlier in our going-on-six-year relationship?

The answer?

Tortitude.

That’s like catitude on steroids.

Torties are notoriously and viciously psychotic.

Psycatic, if you will.

So I’m reveling in this abandonment-flashback-induced post-vacation affection that I’m receiving.

To wit:

<End photo dump>

Mind you, this is against the backdrop of the Silver Fox’s caretaking. He seemed proud that my dire warnings of Myrtle’s Protest Poops seemed unfounded. A smug security that lasted only until Day 5 of his sentence tenure feeding my lil beast. Then he contritely provided photographic evidence of his dethroning as a special human in Myrtle’s estimation.

Ironically, in a post-vacation conversation, he also divulged his slight concern that she only peed once while I was gone. I was all, “No, Boomer, she peed. She peed…” knowing that this damn cat of mine prefers peeing in carpets versus in her box.

Specifically, area rugs. I’ve gone through three area rugs, a hallway runner, my neighbor’s doormat, a bathroom rug and a bath mat. Having removed all common area rugs from my condo and kept the bathroom door consistently closed, I had foolishly thought myself out of the woods.

Alas, the rubber-ish sweat mat under my Peloton seems to work just fine for her in whatever she perceived as a pinch. I’m a crazy twist, her litter box in a foot away from my exercise bike.

But, to let me know that I’m still at the top of her disdain list, she gifted me this little Myrtle Bomb 30 hours after I returned.

And, yes…she bothered to do this while I was home.

I’m going to eat some therapeutic junk food…

Conversations With My Cat

Groceries With Galby

Some have infamously noted that I possess the palate of a seven year old.

I might say I’m simply a victim of my own lack of planning, spontaneity and the resulting impatience that the hunger those qualities engender.

Let’s ease you into this…

Gross Out:

Because I don’t know when I shop on Tuesday what I’m going to want on Friday, I’ve learned to just shop more frequently. Odds are, if it sounds good Tuesday, I’ll probably still have a taste for it Wednesday. No guarantees beyond that.

Therefore, I’ll shop Grocery Outlet for staples like wine shelf stable pantry items. That way, they are there when I have a hangry moment and don’t have time to spare to run to Freddy’s, Safeway or the lil Brodega across the street.

Nonetheless, since being urged to eat more veggies and fiber, I’ve been making an effort to have a salad several times a week. Gross Out has the same salad kits as the big chains, usually for a buck less (we’re talking $3 versus $4 at the chains), so I’ll pick up three or four when I pop in for wine other supplies.

The other day, though, I went specifically to grab a couple bottles of wine Caesar salad kits to go with my pizza leftovers from Wednesday night. I’d gotten a Caesar with the pizza, but ate it all, worried that the concoction wouldn’t age well once the dressing was on…and I’m a weird one with leftovers, so just accept that was my logic and be happy I’m eating salad.

I pop back to produce, breaking the Gross Out rule of hitting every aisle so you don’t miss a deal, avoiding the wine department temptation and intent on my mission.

Plus, it was past Myrtle’s dinner time.

When I hit the produce corner, I see that I’ve also hit the jackpot. There are several “Reduced For Quick Sale” options. But, hey…I made a point of stopping here to save a literal buck, so I decided I could do a chop salad instead on a Caesar and save another literal buck.

Right?

Save $2 on two salads: good

Save $4 on two salads: great!

I’m beating feet back up front and my inner seven year old palate demon steers me down the pasta aisle.

Maybe there’s Mac & Cheeeeese!

Ugh.

Fine.

Luckily, the Velveeta Deluxe that was 2/$1 were long gone, which made me sad but happy. A good deal is a good deal, but I’m not paying for my eventual coronary by saving $4.49 on a box of food I shouldn’t be eating anyway…Plus, I still had a dollar’s worth at home. Plus-plus a box of some strange broccoli added version that I’d picked up last time…

Proud of my situationally forced ability to resist temptation, I remained on mission. Until

Look, I’m just a man with a child’s tastes, ok? I haven’t had Velveeta in probably 20 years. And it’s not like I’m going to eat this like a college kid would – by peeling it like a banana and going to town.

I’m getting some damn crackers and a good bottle of wine. Because adults compensate.

Speaking of college kids…

GoPuff:

These bastards.

They are my new Stoner Cafe.

And they most certainly have my number are out to get me.

Usually I can ignore their marketing emails. Generally, they are either of the “redeem points and save” variety or the “Ben & Jerry’s BOGO” variety.

Admittedly, that last type is harder to ignore.

But then I saw one that was too intriguing to resist.

Something like, “Try Something New For A Nickel”. Let’s be honest, I think we can all agree that my seven year old palate is not adventurous. But for a nickel, I could explore.

Especially when the “something new” ends up being spiked seltzers! I’m not sure how they got this promotion past the iron fisted OLCC, but I jumped on $.20 worth of a new seltzer called Basic. The flavors sounded…safe fine.

Not wanting to look like a cheapskate, I figured I should order something else. Since it was right there in my “Buy It Again”, I added a 12-pack of White Claw.

New problem: now I just look like a booze hound.

So I added in some energy drinks. Since they didn’t have my go-to brand/flavors in stock, I – wait for it – tried a new drink called G.O.A.T.

I could live with the delivery person assuming I was on a liquid diet.

Now, a Pro-Tip: when putting away your “groceries” do not put energy drinks between alcoholic beverages.

That was a close fucking call this morning.

So, despite the opening assertion, I’d dare say that I’ve somehow refined this seven year old palate that I seemingly possess.

Crackers and wine with my cheap cheese?

Boutique spiked seltzers and energy drinks?

I should have a Pinterest page for my culinary embarrassments…

Groceries With Galby