Saturday, March 31, 2012

BILL AND BLANCHE and Richard Armitage


 Bill and his wife Blanche go to the state fair every year, 

And every year Bill would say, " Blanche, I'd like to ride in that helicopter " 

Blanche always replied, " I know Bill, but that helicopter ride is fifty bucks, And fifty bucks is fifty bucks! " 

One year Bill and Blanche went to the fair, and Bill said, " Blanche, I'm 85 years old. If I don't ride that 
helicopter, I might never get another chance " 

To this, Blanche replied, " Bill that helicopter ride is fifty bucks, and fifty bucks is fifty bucks " 

The pilot overheard the couple and said, " Folks I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and don't say a word I won't charge you a penny! But if you say one word it's fifty dollars. " 

Bill and Blanche agreed and up they went. 

The pilot did all kinds of fancy maneuvers, but not a word was heard. 

He did his daredevil tricks over and over again, But still not a word... 

When they landed, the pilot turned to Bill and said, " By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed! " 

Bill replied, " Well, to tell you the truth I almost said something when Blanche fell out, 
But you know, Fifty bucks is fifty bucks! "


(damn, I thought it said wrinkles)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Ok, where did we leave off?  I'll recap for you.

We own a condo that we are upside down in or under water, or whatever the term is for a piece of property that was once valuable and is now worth shit.  We have a mortgage to pay and a non-paying renter who won't leave...

We went there Saturday to see if she had left - she told me for certain the last of her things would be gone Friday night.  You guessed it.  She was still there - opened the door only wearing a sleeveless scoop neck t-shirt.  Nothing else.  Richie spun around and went outside.  The house was still piled with garbage, dirty dishes, old rugs, boxes, dirty laundry - I went nuts.  I told her I had had enough (finally).

Monday Richie and I went to the Clerk of the Court to begin the process of Eviction.  She could already by gone, I'll never know because I won't go there anymore.  We live in a very small Florida town, but it's the County Seat so we have a nifty court house with Barney Fife and Goober manning the scanning machine. (Actually I think it's a cartoon show they're watching and just pretending it's a scanning machine)  Rich and I studied hard and both passed through the machine, found the place where we filed the papers, but Richie had to run to the post office to get a stamped envelope that the Court insists upon - they mail a copy of the eviction notice to the party as well as hand delivering it.

(Richie is using a body double for this part of the blog)

When Richie came back he had to go through the scanner again and he beeped - or it beeped.  Goober, who wears wire rim sunglasses inside, told Richie to remove his belt (Richie's belt, not Goobers).  Richie did and his shorts fell down.  It was a bonding moment - I could hear the laughter all the way down the hall.  Anyway, the process of filing for eviction cost us $198.50 (I know, it doesn't make sense but remember, this is Florida.  The entire state is on some sort of drug at all times.  Double parking fine is $46.78)

Then we took the 5 day notice to the Sheriff's office.  It costs $40 to have a sheriff deliver the notification.  He tries in the morning, then if he can't deliver he returns again in six hours.  If there is still no one there, he can post the notification on the door.  That gives her 5 days to come up with a plausible reason for not leaving, like I am only a crazy bitch with a vendetta (not so far from the truth - I am part Sicilian)  After the five full days - not counting the weekend - we can file the rest of the papers with the judge, he checks them over, and then they evict.  What could go wrong?

First problem happened before we even returned home.  I failed to indicate West on the address.  (La, my brain)  The Sheriffs office wouldn't deliver without that little bit of information so Rich had to go back down the following morning and add "west" to the address.  Fine.  We figured they would deliver that day, then we had five full days, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday (No weekend).  We could file eviction on Wednesday of next week.

I called this morning (Wednesday) to see if it was delivered.  Now they tell me its a 5/20 form.  That means I said we are owed rent so they have to hand deliver to the person - no posting - if we want the money.  They were waiting for me to call I guess because no one had gone out yet.  I said I DON'T GIVE A SHIT  ABOUT THE GODDAMN F'ING MONEY.  Or did I just want to say that.  Can't remember.  Actually I said we would waive the rent for the month and agreed that if we decide later to pursue that course we would proceed with small claims court.

They said they'd post the notice on her door today.  That means our five business days have moved up one day - so now we can't file the eviction until next Thursday.

What judge is going to evict someone on Good Friday?  It's almost biblical, isn't it?

(Another tenant I would not evict)

Saturday, March 24, 2012


She's still there.  My renter is still in the condo.  She won't leave.  Oh, she says she's going to leave.  Today she said it would be this afternoon at about 5:00 p.m. so we're going to sneak over there and see if she's gone.  You know she had her court date on Thursday.  That was the day she was supposed to be taken away to jail and God forgive me but I was ready to celebrate, run through the yard with scissors, jump into the swimming pool when it's only 80 degrees, eat meat.  Nothing is too wild for me when I'm happy.

But she didn't go  I wonder if she told the judge about her slipped disc and her infected tooth and her gestation period of over twelve weeks now and of her car accident with the little old lady and her flat feet and her swollen feet and her..

She must have cause she's not in jail.  (It's nice to know that a respected judge in our community is as big a sucker as Richie and I are).  Well, as it turns out Toni was only the driver and the guy with her was the one who tried to sell drugs to the undercover cop and they are trying to pass a law here in Florida that excludes non-selling drug people in the cars from prosecution, or something like that.  She shouldn't be punished since she didn't know what was happening.  She told me she just needed gas money so that was why she gave this fellow a lift.  To a drug deal.  Yeah, I know, sounded screwy to me too.

Said said that she would have been gone Thursday night but it rained so hard and the driver who was taking away her bed and a few things couldn't do it in the rain.  Makes sense.  She said today she will be definitely out by 4:00 p.m.  5:00 at the latest.  That's good because I believe her.  I've believed her for a month now.
We hugged.  She loved all the food we bought for her the other day too.  That's nice.  She likes us.

Richie and I went over at 3:00 and she's still there.  Is Ashton Kutcher behind this?  We're being punked, right?  She was naked except for a t-shirt so Richie spun around and waited out on the lanai then I had a mini nervous breakdown when she asked me for one more day.  The guy who was coming Thursday night - and then Friday night - to pick up her bed - well, his parents died.  Together.  It doesn't pay to get to know Toni too well, evidently.  I told her I didn't care.

She said she has nowhere to go until tomorrow night.  I told her I didn't care.

She said call the police, go ahead.  Nothing she can do about having nowhere to go.  I explained calmly at the top of my lungs that we have tenants coming in April 1, we need two weeks to paint the place, clean the filthy carpet, get a new dishwasher installed.  We don't have two weeks anymore and we lost the deposit for the painter.

She said she didn't care.  We didn't hug.

Tenant I would not evict.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Scandalous Renter, or How I learned to to worrying and love disaster. And Colin Firth.

In the immortal words of St. Jerome, "...we're in a pickle, Dick"

That's what I said to my husband a few months ago when the troubles began with a lady who rents a condo from us.  My husband and I are not very good at this.  Our first renter had to walk us through the lease proceedings, and I still think our paying for her monthly visits to a masseuse was out of the ordinary...But I Digress.

Ok, so we have this tenant.  Let's call her Toni.  Cause that's her name.  Every month for three years I have had to beg Toni to get the rent check from her.  She had a zillion excuses for being late and I have no way of knowing if they were true or not.  The fact was, and is, that my husband and I are pushovers, plain and simple.  And we liked Toni even though she nailed plastic grape vines to the ceiling and popped out the screen on the lanai and brought in a guy she met at the pool to fix the dishwasher.  (He was about six feet tall and looked like a combination Mr. Clean/Bushman the Gorilla.  He had tattoos everywhere )(I'm guessing at that really) (and he was on work release.)  We paid him for work done already, asked him to leave, and then found our own repair man; however, I don't think the Luca Brazzi of the Palms Swimming Pool Association ever forgave us.

The last few months Toni's payments have been worse than usual, impossible you say, and you would be wrong.  In addition she stopped answering her phone, and she rarely responds to text messages.  According to what she's told us she's lost at least nine cell phones to theft, curbside flooding, or the thing mysteriously doesn't ring - unless I threaten her.  I finally had enough and went banging on her door to find her at 10 a.m. with a bottle of whiskey before her and a big coffee mug.

Turns out Toni is going to prison.  Holy shit.  The girl is pregnant too, and she's in her 40's - it's not like she's a kid anymore.  She was originally sentenced to 30 years for being in a car with a man who sold dope to an undercover cop.  She swears she had no knowledge of what he was doing, just giving the poor guy a ride out of the goodness of her heart.  Her sentence was reduced to three years and that was the story when I broke into the condo and confronted her.

Besides the preggers problem she also claims to have excruciating tooth pain and no funds for a dentist, a slipped disc in her back which makes it hard for her to walk; she gave up her dog because of going to prison then, when she was sobbing from delivering her dog to the new owners, was broadsided by an old lady (old ladies are like shingles in Florida, you can't get rid of them.  They're everywhere).  Her car is totaled, she has no job, she is pregnant, she is in horrible pain in her back and mouth and she's going to prison.

Well, we told her she could stay on until her court date when they would take her away. We are tough though - this was her last break!


The court date came and went and she's still there.  They postponed taking her away because the law may be changed for people who merely accompany a drug dealer so they postponed the prison thing.  She had another two months until her next court appearance.  Could she stay?  Now everyone told us to just kick her out, but did we?

Of Course Not - my husband and I are connected by an imbecile cord.  We let her live there another month, but I did tell her she had to be out by March 14 because we were renting the place on April 1 and we have to wash, paint and delice.  No problem, she said.

Then for the next three weeks I couldn't reach her - she didn't answer her phone, her texts, her door - nothing.  She was holed up in there on March 14 when the painter was supposed to arrive, on March 15 when I taped a three day notice to leave or pay rent to her door, and on March 16 when I told her I was coming over with a policeman to get into the condo.  I should mention here that the condo is a disaster.  It is filthy with dirty dishes everywhere, clothes piled ceiling high in every corner, the carpet is black, the lanai is trashed and the cigarette smell in the place could gag the dead.

This morning Richie and I arrived at the condo with the police (I wanted the police there because I really didn't know if she was stable.  In Florida a person is allowed to shoot anyone breaking into their house if they think they are in danger.  I noticed however today the the policewoman stood behind Rich and I when we opened the door.  Way behind.)  I had no idea if Toni would be in there or not or dead.

You guessed it. She was.  (There, not dead)  She had been asleep on her couch, the place still looks like an explosion at a rummage sale and she had a blanket wrapped around her because she was naked.  I went inside and Rich and the policewoman stayed outside.

Toni said she hadn't eaten in three days, she can't walk from her slipped disc and her face is swollen because now she chipped a tooth and it's infected.  I was tough though - I have learned a thing or two about dealing with these deadbeat losers.

Maybe not.  What we ended up really doing was buying her food for four days (the frig was completely empty), Rich bought her Aleve for the pain, and I'm going there tomorrow to help her sort through the junk.  I can't wait to tell my best friend in Chicago all this.  Diane had told me she'd love to tell Toni off.  "She won't just leave the condo - she'll flee"

Wait until she hears I washed the dishes too.

Pray for us Colin, Amen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Way Men Think (and Colin Firth)

As she sat by him, he whispered, eyes full of tears, "You know what? You have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you stayed right here. When my health started failing, you were still by my side... You know what Martha?" 

 "What dear?" she gently asked, smiling as her heart began to fill with warmth. 

 "I'm beginning to think you're bad luck."

Ok, so I stole this from an e-mail joke I received, BUT, it is both scary and true.  Men do think differently than women.  Not an earth shattering revelation, especially to anyone who's been married more than five minutes (living together doesn't count - trust me on this)

There are 10 big differences between Men's and Women's brains, according toMasters of Healthcare.  I'll only give you  nine because I will more than likely lose interest around #8.

#1 - Human Relationships - Women tend to communicate better than men, (and more often, according to my husband) share their emotions more freely, we read non-verbal cues better (such as, say, the man of the house going for the paper and not returning for twenty years).   I was sharing some emotions with Richie just the other night, or trying to, when he excused himself.  The lock on his bathroom door was way too secure for me to get the crowbar wedged inside.

#2 - Left brain vs. both hemispheres - Men tend to utilize only their left brain hemisphere while women can move freely between both.  On one hand it could be the right side of men's brains are too cluttered with socks and fast food wrappers for them to venture there.  On the other hand, perhaps they can't find it and refuse to ask directions.  On the other hand (think of me as an Indian Goddess with lots of arms, like Kali) perhaps we women just can't decide which hemisphere makes our butts look smaller.  You never know do you?

#3 - Mathematical abilities - Well, that's just cruel.

#4 - Reaction to Stress - Men have the "fight or flight" reaction to stressful situations (refer back to #1 where our hero goes out for cigarettes and returns with a beard and flyers from his trip to Bermuda)  According to this article women "tend to befriend."  That's going a bit far for the sake of rhyming psychiatry.  How about "stop to shop" or "phone and moan" or "shoot to kill".  Now we're talking.

#5 - Language - Two sections in the brain with regard to language were larger for women than for men.  Surprised.  Hardly.  Surprised it was only two.  There you go.

#6 - Emotions - Don't even go there.  Did you roll your eyes just now?

#7 - Brain size - Now this is hard to believe.  Men's brains are actually larger than women's brains.  I personally just think it's their heads that are bigger.

#8 - Pain - Women require more morphine than men to reach the same level of pain reduction.  (I prefer botox injections myself)  It also says women tend to vocalize pain more than men.  (This person was obviously at my last Brazilian waxing appointment)  It says that the placement of the amygdala (I blush) - seriously, I don't know what that is either - in the woman's brain makes her feel pain more.  Really?  Then I say we make a motion that men have the babies.  All in favor raise your hand.  Unanimous.  Passed.

#9 - Don't care

#10 - Susceptibility to disorders - men have more disorders when it comes to comprehensive language ability, women get depressed.

Yet, somehow, everything levels out occasionally.

Or, in the words of the wonderful Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham, 1988
" a guy will listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay."

Friday, March 9, 2012

My First Jobs - a Frightening Retrospective. And Richard Armitage

Melts in your mouth - not in your hand

When I tell you I've had hundreds of jobs over my lifetime I am not exaggerating.  Really.  Just ask my husband, he loves to tell people about my bizarre career path.  I was pretty steady for my first job however - seven years as a secretary in the computer department of G. D Searle and Co., the company that invented motion sickness and birth control.  An odd combination but I digress...

I was about twenty-one years old when I went to interview for the director of the company's computer department.  I should have known from the start it was going to be unique kind of place.  Computer programmers were different in those days, locked away from the rest of the company, self taught, skinny geeks with long hair.  Odd.  I mean really odd.  In a mixed up, twisted and abnormal kind of way.  Let's speak plainly here - they were all crazy, literally.  But smart.  But odd.  Now remember, this was during the infancy of computers, before PC's, before, laptops, before electricity - ok, not that far back but still, we're talking antiquity now.  These programmers were the pioneers of the revolution that was to come.  Somewhere in California Bill Gates and Steve Jobs might have been cleaning out the garage and buying typewriter parts, but in Chicago, programmers were running wild at companies like G. D. Searle.

Computers then were called mainframes I think, looked like a lot of washers and dryers, and there was something called Real Time that I never quite grasped.  Everywhere you heard a soft whirring sound and people would walk back and forth carrying large tapes and mountains of printouts.  I remember as I waited to be interviewed by Tony Vaccariello, the man I would end up working for (euphemism if I ever heard one) for seven long years (I worked for him for seven years, I didn't wait for the interview that long) the secretary announced that the computer had gone down.  I had no idea at the time what that meant so I checked my nails.  No one else said a word - the huge room was very quiet.

Suddenly a young guy jumped on her desk and blew a fog horn into the intercom.  I jumped a foot in the air, my heart actually stopped.  I remember that guy's name was Ron something and he was pretty smug knowing how he had freaked me out.  Ron was kind of a rat bastard to tell the truth.

So, I began working for Tony and I immediately developed a crush on him.  He was safely married so I was able to indulge in my very rich fantasy life.  I rarely dated, I just had crushes.  Hundreds of them.  Well, it didn't take me long to realize, like I said, computer programmers were nuts.  They would unscrew phones, dismantle desks, smoke funny cigarettes - it was a loose group up there at Searle.  I took to the people immediately. Discussions about where to have lunch began at least fifteen minutes before lunch and then lunch itself was at least two hours long, breaks were an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.   Managers gathered in closed offices to play bridge.  We left early and arrived late and STILL managed to complain about the work.  It was wonderful.  I loved Searle.

In those seven years I worked at G. D. Searle a great many revolutions took place.  One was the sexual revolution - missed that one entirely.  Evidently, during the mid seventy's, everyone was screwing like rabbits, free love, Jane Fonda, flower children, marijuana was discovered in Evanston, there was Woodstock, Patty Hearst - oh, it's all a blur now and I missed out on the entire ride.  I was the last virgin in America.

I remember one of Tony's managers was talking to me at a party - in retrospect I think he was making a pass but I was way too stupid to know that then.  Anyway, his name was Rolf.  Interesting aside. Tony Vaccariello looked like Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners and his best friend was Rolf Turner.  Rolf looked like Norton.  I swear to God.

Anyway, Rolf asked me what I was using for birth control.  Now I spent a good deal of my day not looking into guy's faces because I was too unbelievably shy, but I did look at Rolf in shock.  "Nothing," I squeaked out.  I think my voice actually cracked. "Well," smooth old Rolfie whispered.  "How do you keep from getting pregnant?"  I was totally confused by this.  "I don't sleep with anyone."  I replied.  Duh.  Poor old Rolf never saw that one coming.  He also never bothered me again.

No reason for this, really.  Humor me.

Comins soon...I leave Searle and go to work for Brown, Coleman and Hale.  Another seven years of my life shot to hell.